Thursday, June 30, 2011

What I'm Listening To: Week of June 26th

I have a hard time pronouncing the word rural. It always comes out roowal or rulal or rrrrrrrral. This makes it difficult to tell people about the band The Rural Alberta Advantage. Even though I can't say their name, I like them a lot. I first heard them last fall and they've quickly become one of my most listened to bands on A lot of their music is influenced by growing up in Alberta including an incredible song about a tornado that hit Edmonton, Canada in 1987. That song is below, including a couple of my other favorites.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I hope you don't mind if I vent a little bit. I figure if I can't vent on my weird design/music/miscellaneous blog, where can I vent? Quick side note: I spelled miscellaneous right on the first try with no spell check! This is worth noting because spell check is used more frequently that punctuation when writing this blog. I did not spell punctuation correctly.

Back to the venting. I happen to drive a ridiculously long way to get to my job every day and I work very strange hours. Usually, I leave work at 11:30 pm but sometimes, I am there until as late as 1:00 am. One of the few benefits of working this strange schedule is that I miss traffic. Traffic is, without question, the worst part of living in the DC area. A trip that should take fifteen minutes will, more often than not, take forty five minutes. If I worked the same hours that most normal people work, my already long commute, would take twice as long. The ability to zip up and down I-95 without sitting in a mind numbing parking lot is the best thing about my schedule.

I work near Tyson's Corner and there are about 7 different ways that I can get home. The fastest is to take 123 to 495, (The Capital Beltway, or as I like to call it, Satan's Thoroughfare), to I-95 South, to home. This stretch of road has been undergoing some major road work recently and by recently I mean the past 20 years. The current road work is focused on 495 right around Tyson's Corner. To avoid causing major delays and inconveniencing drivers (I need a font just for sarcasm) the road work has been mainly done after midnight. I am well aware of this road work. I have seen the signs and orange cones. The problem wasThe local news channel has warned me that I can expect intermittent closures of 495 after midnight for up to 45 minutes. After midnight is in bold type because it is relevant to this story. On the weeknights when I work past midnight, I simply take another route to avoid the hassle. Usually there is no road work on Friday or Saturday nights so I will take my normal route. Up until about two weeks ago, I've experienced only a few minor hiccups in my normally smooth drive home.

At some point within the past couple of weeks, the people doing the road work, or at least organizing it, have lost their minds. My first indication of this was when I was getting onto 495 from 123. I was on the on ramp when I realized that there was a line of orange traffic cylinders (the big ones that tell me they mean business) stretching horizontally across two lanes of the highway, reducing three lanes to one, just after my on ramp lane ended. This was not a gradual lane closure that gives drivers time to merge into the one open lane. This was a wall. There must have been some warning to drivers already on the highway because they were already in the left lane speeding by at 70 miles an hour. I had about 100 yards to make my way across the two empty lanes and into the 70 mile an hour lane without plowing into the orange cylinder wall or getting creamed by a car in the open lane. I must say it was thrilling, just like a roller coaster, only deadlier.

Then, this past Friday, a night when there should have been no road work, I got onto 495 and instead of a wall of orange cylinders, there was a wall of stopped cars. It was after midnight so this was partially my fault for not checking the traffic before leaving work but I had become accustomed to there being no road work on Friday nights. I spent the next 2 hours inching along a mile stretch of highway, learning all there was to know about my new smart phone. I don't condone using your phone while driving but I am totally ok with it while parked, which I was. I finally got past the road work at about 2:30 in the morning and walked into my door at 3 am. The worst part of this is that if I had taken the road from work that spits me onto 495 just a couple of miles south of my usual route, I would have missed all the traffic.

The following night, I left work at 11:30. Before midnight and there is the promise that road work will occur after midnight. Still, I was careful to check the traffic map before heading down my normal route. Google Maps showed green lines going in every direction. It wasn't until ten minutes to midnight, when I was parked on 495 listening to the heavy bass of the car parked next to me, watching the endless line of break lights flickering in front of me, that Google Maps showed a bright red line indicating heavy traffic and a little blue dot indicating my location on 495. I have been angry with the Virginia Department of Transportation countless times but never with Google Maps. This was a first.

So on Monday night, I took a different route. I entered 495 further past where I normally would and was glad I did because the highway was empty. This means that the road was closed in the same place it had been both Friday and Saturday nights. I breathed a sigh of relief and drove happily south on 495 and then exited to take southbound I-95. I was halfway home when I saw the break lights. Road work, that I was not expecting, was set up and 4 lanes merged into one. It took about 15 minutes to get through and then I was on my way again. I breathed another sigh of relief. Then, about 10 minutes from home, more break lights, more orange cones, more lane closures, more road work. I sat for 45 minutes behind a van built in 1972 with horrible exhaust fumes. I was so close to home. My apartment is very close to the highway. I can sometimes hear the traffic from the highway from my patio. From where I was sitting that night, stuck on the highway, I could the lights from the neighborhood next to mine. I wanted to scream.

I have sat in traffic on many, many occasions but I believe 2am traffic is the worst by far. All I can say is, to the Virginia Department of Transportation, keep up the good work!

Monday, June 27, 2011


My favorite color is green which is not a very popular color when it comes to home decorating. Whenever I see a room using just the right shade of green, I save the image for future inspiration. Right now, I live an apartment but when I have my own home, I can promise one of the rooms will be very, very green.
(found here)
(found here)
(found here)
(found here)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Favorite Etsy Shop: KitschyKitschyCool

I don't remember when I came across this Etsy shop but KitschyKitschyCool is one of my favorite sources for inexpensive art prints. These prints have a vintage feel and I love the muted colors. It was hard to pick my favorite few to share here.
(Sunset Village)
(Red and Blue and Mod Monogram)
(Victorian Bicycle)
(Retro Fish)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Do it Yourself Lighting

I have been on the hunt for a couple of glass lamps to put on my bedside tables. I would love to have 2 matching Phantom Lamps from CB2, but unfortunately, they are no longer available. Even when they were available, they were $99 a piece, which is well out of my price range.
(CB2 Phantom Lamp)
Isn't it beautiful? Since the Phantom Lamp is not an option, I have been looking for alternatives, which lead me to a search on Pinterest for DIY Lamps and DIY Lighting. The search resulted in some very cool ideas and some very strange ideas for lighting throughout the home which I thought I'd share here. The best option for lamps similar to the Phantom Lamp was this project from I could use glass vases of any shape or size and make two lamps.
(found here)

The rest of the lighting ideas are for pendants and chandeliers including one made from coffee filters and one from ping pong balls. Some of these are more practical than others but I like them all, particularly the first photo.

(found here)
(found here)
(found here)
(found here)
(ping pong ball lamp found here)
(found here)

Friday, June 24, 2011

What I'm Listening To: Week of June 19th

Have I mentioned before that I am a huge Shins fan? I'm not sure if I have. Maybe once or twice? If not, I am a huge Shins fan. I really, really love them. It has been four years since their last album, Wincing the Night Away, and I have been waiting patiently for new stuff from them while James Mercer has done side projects. Then this past March, at a benefit concert, James Mercer mentioned that they working on a new record and played one of the new songs. My reaction was "SQUEEEEEEE!" Since then, I have been searching for any details I can find about the new album but there hasn't been a lot. Then, last week, it was announced that they would be headlining the Popped! Music Festival in Philadelphia in September. Another "SQUEEEEEE!" I don't plan on making the trip to Philly for the Festival because it's pretty expensive and there are only a few other bands playing that I'm interested in so I hope that this is an indication that the album will be out by then and that they will be going on tour. Needless to say, I am so very excited for both of these things.

This is the new song that James Mercer played. It's a slow one, which is fine by me. I look forward to hearing the rest.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Something to Write About

More than once over the past couple of weeks, I've thought "I should probably write a blog post." The problem is I haven't been very inspired lately. Before I had a blog, I constantly had ideas of what I would write about if I had one. Now that I do, I can't seem to find anything I want to write about. That being said, I am determined to write more and keep up with this blog. Starting now.

It's been an eventful couple of weeks since my last blog post. I got a new phone (kind of), a new kitten, and I turned thirty. All of these things are significant in their own way and I thought I'd write a little about each of them.

I happen to be a smart phone nerd. I like to keep up with the newest, fastest, shiniest phones available by reading tech blogs. I mentioned recently that the Palm Pre I've used and loved for the past two years was dying and a couple of weeks ago, it became unusable. It kept freezing and wouldn't charge. I had hoped to get the next version of that same phone, the HP Pre3, since I'm partial to Webos, but it is not yet available. Jason had a phone upgrade available that he was not planning on using anytime soon so I used his upgrade to get a temporary phone to hold me over until the phone I want is available. The temporary phone is an HTC Evo which was on sale for half price at Best Buy. When I get a new phone, Jason will take over the Evo. At first, I found the Android operating system clunky and frustrating but after using it for a while, I like it quite a bit. I miss the intuitive user interface of Webos but what Android makes up for it's lack of elegance with function and available applications. I have just about given up on getting the Pre3 because I like Android enough and it's looking less and less likely that Sprint will carry it anytime soon. Now I just have to decide on which Android phone I want.

On to turning (gulp)thirty. My birthday was last week and I was surprised with how depressing I found it to turn thirty. When I was younger, I always saw thirty as the point when you become officially all grown up. I know that it's still relatively young but to me it always seemed so OLD! To make matters worse, about a week before my birthday, I found a short, frizzy, gray hair sticking straight up from the top of my head. I nearly fainted. I can handle being thirty but I am quite sure I can't handle gray hair. Even at the ripe, old age of (gulp) thirty, I AM TOO YOUNG FOR GRAY HAIR! I know that you're not supposed to but I plucked that gray hair faster than you can blink an eye. Now, whenever I'm in front of a mirror, I search obsessively for more of them. I just know the stress of it is causing more gray hairs to sprout daily.

The last recent change in my life is the kitten that Jason brought home. I have always considered myself a dog person and never really cared for cats. We have two dogs, Ollie and Dublin, and they are awesome. I had no interest in cats but about a year ago, Jason's brother's cat had kittens and we took one home and named her Tiny. Now we've added another kitten, which we've decided to name Boone. I wanted to name him Linus, after Ben Linus on LOST, but Jason didn't like that. So we settled on Boone, another character from lost. That makes four animals in our little, two bedroom apartment. It's a bit of a zoo and I'm pretty sure our neighbors think we're crazy. Tiny can be kind of a jerk at times but this new kitten is snuggly and sweet. He is also ridiculously cute. No matter how cute he is, he will be the last animal we adopt. Any more and we will officially be those weird people on the corner with all the animals. We may already be those people.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What I'm Listening To: Week of June 5th

Yeasayer- "Swallowing the Decibels" I had decided that I did not like Yeasayer after hearing them a few times on Pandora about a year ago. They are described as experimental, psychedelic, and electronic, which to me, usually just means weird. And they are weird. The music is not immediately beautiful or catchy. It is filled with synthesizers and drums and, occasionally, thumb cymbals and sitars. When I first heard them, I didn't like them at all. Maybe I didn't give them enough of a chance or my tastes have changed since then, but I now like them quite a bit. The song "O.N.E," which I've shared here before, is what got me to give them a second chance. I can't say I love all of their songs, but they have several that I do like a lot. They may be eccentric but at least they're not boring. They recently released the song, "Swallowing the Decibels," which didn't make it onto their last album. I can't imagine why because I think it's become one of my favorites.

Peter Bjorn and John- "Eyes" I still occasionally buy entire albums. Every month, Amazon sells 100 albums for five bucks and every month, I find two or three albums on the list that I want. One of the albums for sale this month is Peter Bjorn and John's newest, Gimme Some, which I've heard bits and pieces of and liked. This is nothing ground breaking, just good, energetic, indie rock. So far, I've only listened to the entire album once. Here's my initial favorite, "Eyes."

Beat the Heat

Today, while sitting in traffic on I-95 in 93 degree heat, my mind started to wander to the subject of swimming pools. I day dreamed that instead of driving to my itty bitty apartment, I was heading to my dream house with a beautiful, refreshing pool in the back yard. I understand pools are a lot of work but, on a day like today, it would be worth it. Of course, the pool in my dream house's back yard will have to be unique and stylish like one of these. I especially love the pool from the first and second photo.



Wednesday, June 1, 2011

What I'm Listening To: Week of May 29th

Maybe it's the warm weather, the sunshine, or the holiday weekend, but this week I've been in the mood for upbeat and happy. We're planning a day trip to the beach tomorrow and this is what will be blaring out of my headphones while I re-apply sun block for the sixteenth time.

The Submarines- "Shoelaces" 

Generationals- "Green Leaf"

Of Monsters and Men- "Little Talk"

Workspace Inspiration

I started a new job recently which allows me to, occasionally, work from home. The problem is that I don't have a decent workspace to work in. So, I've been collecting inspiration photos for a small work areas. I like the idea of having a little corner with shelves, storage, and art work. Here are some of the photos I've accrued.