Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Random Twos

Here is something a little different than my typical blog post! (I know it isn't Tuesday anymore, I am a little late. Got busy,sorry!)

2 Random things about me

1. I am afraid of heights... Yep, sure am. Yes, I was a flight attendant for 4 years. Make sense? No. I am well aware of how crazy it sounds. I guess it runs in the family. My dad was a career army pilot, yet I remember all those vacations where we had to drive through some sort of mountain area. I would look over at my dad (who was NOT driving at this point) and notice that he was several different shades of green. I also remember teasing him just a little. Boy, paybacks are a .*!@*!...... My children now beg me to ride the tallest roller coasters and the Tower of Terror was the favorite of my 5yr old at Disney World. I am now the teased! I would sit and scream at the 13 story drop while my sweet little boy had his arms in the air with a smile on his face! (all 10 times he made me ride it!)

2. I hate all things vanilla...
I know this probably makes me weird. From the time I was little anything and everything vanillla just made my stomach turn. It is mostly the taste, but the smell is just as bad. I have no idea why! I can walk into a room and smell vanilla air freshener and be close to throwing up. My poor mom has these sugar cookies that she makes, normally everyone goes crazy for them. Not me. I can taste the vanilla. If I am going to eat a cookie, it better have chocolate chips oozing from it. It totally irritates me that places like Sonic do not offer their Sundaes and shakes made with chocolate ice cream. Don't they know that those of us "non-vanilla" people can still taste the vanilla when they just add flavoring?? Hmm... it's just communist, I tell you!
Strangely, this is the complete opposite of my little sis who is anti-chocolate. Anything chocolate makes her gag. How can 2 people who are so alike have such different tastes?? We may never know...

Friday, March 26, 2010

My cleaning tip for "hospital clean"

Hospital clean!

Ok, so I know that the "hospital" smell is not necessarily a good thing. But, one thing I always notice in certain parts of hospitals is that clean smell.

Well, my house has all hardwood floors with the exception of two rooms: the kitchen and bathroom. Coincidentally, these are the two rooms where I want the floors to be really clean! The kitchen is a nice linoleum and the bathroom a very nice tile (yep, laid it myself!! - that is a story for another day...)

I have found that the best way to keep these floors clean is NOT with those expensive floor cleaners, but with simple rubbing alcohol. THAT is why hospitals smell so clean. (Well, that and bleach!)

You don't want to use this on your hardwood,but when I get ready to clean the floors in these two rooms i pour a bottle of rubbing alcohol into a spray bottle and grab an old rag. You can use a mop if you like, but this will use a little bit more alcohol. Let me tell you, you will not have to scrub anything! Just spray on the alcohol and let it sit for a few minutes. Then, you wipe it off. It will take little or no effort to give your floor a quick wipe and you will have that "hospital clean." If you look at the back of those expensive floor cleaners, guess what the main ingredient is? Yep, alcohol. The real thing is much cheaper and works just as well!

Once you're done just light a candle if you don't like the "hospital" smell but enjoy knowing that your floors are really clean!

Friday Fives - my "guilty" pleasures!

We all have "Guilty Pleasures" right? Those things in life that we probably should not enjoy as much as we should.... So, these are mine!

1. Dr. Pepper
Sounds crazy, but when I pull through the drive-thru at McDonald's and pick up a large, COLD Dr. Pepper in one of those styrofoam cups (that stay cold a LONG time), my day gets better right away!

2. Crime Novels
I don't do sappy, feel-good, or love stories. Life is full of things that make you sad or want to cry so I enjoy curling up with a book that is exciting. For me, a good "who-dunnit" takes the cake! I LOVE to try and figure out all the twists and the excitement that comes at the end when the surprise is revealed. At the same time, I think I just like to imagine that in another life I could have made a great detective ... who knows. One of my absolute favorites is James Patterson. ALL of his books are AWESOME! They are full of suspense and good twists. You can get them through Amazon (just click on the link to the right).

3. Magic Shell
I know what you are thinking..... and NO, i'm not 5 years old. That is why these are guilty pleasures! I don't know why, but having a bowl of chocolate ice cream with chocolate magic shell on top makes me happy.
4. A great massage
Who can argue this one? It isn't something that I get to do very often, but I just love treating myself to a massage. It does so much to relieve stress and it helps loosen the tension I get from working at my computer so much. (hmmm, I wonder if that would count as a tax write-off as business related? :)
5. Starbucks Caramel Macchiato
These babies are really expensive, otherwise they would be put into the category of "daily habit." But, since I am the definition of frugal I only get them on special occasions or when I have a gift card. My mom, who has always been "anti-Starbucks" tried one today and was instantly hooked. Now, if only the IV was actually a possibility....

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Another nerd in the family!

I must admit, I am one of the family.....

Yep, along with my mom and sis, I am a grocery nerd.

The total for everything here was around $17.85 before tax! One of my favorite stores is Publix, but every now and then I make a trip to Green Hills or Belle Meade to visit the Harris Teeter. Not only do they take coupons, they will occasionally TRIPLE them (up to 99 cents). It only lasts a week and there are certain restrictions, but I always get amazing deals!

Here is my list from yesterday:

3 bags No Yolks egg noodles
2 6oz Dannon light and fit 4-pack yogurts
2 bags frozen smiley face french fries
2 16oz Internation Delight creamers
1 pack Solo cups
1 bag Texas Toast croutons
1 Lysol toilet bowl cleaner
2 Lysol Antibacterial kitchen cleaner
2 tubs Lysol antibacterial wipes
1 large Carnation creamer
1 can french fried onions
1 Smart Balance sour cream
3 tubs fresh strawberries
1 squeeze container Welch's jelly
3 trays of 98% fat free boneless skinless chicken breasts

Cool, huh? Now consider this: The strawberries were buy 1, get 2 free (for $4.99) and the chicken breasts were also buy 1 get 2 free (for about $6 per tray.) So, if you take $11 off my total, I got everything else on my list for just $6.85.

My tax was around $2.50. I walked out of there having only paid $20.45 total.

I am going back tomorrow with a new list....

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

How To Wednesday - Let's Crop!

This week I figured I would work on something that is fairly simple but it will become one of your favorite tools! I asked some of you after the last "how to" post what you would like to see next and I received an overwhelming request for the technique of "How to Crop", so here we go!!!

Once again you will need to be in Adobe Photoshop, any version will be fine.

Next you will need to open the image you have chosen to work with and make sure it fits on the screen. If it opens too large you will need to zoom out. Do this by clicking on the symbol in your toolbox that looks like a magnifying glass. Once you do that you will see three buttons at the top of your screen. One will say "Actual Pixels", another will say "Fit on Screen", and the third will say "Print Size." Click "Fit on Screen." This makes it a reasonable size to work with.

Now, look at your image. Decide what is the most important part of this picture and what is just "junk." The "junk" in your image is all the extra stuff you were not trying to get a picture of..... like your neighbor's kid sticking his tongue out in the background or the guy driving by in his car while shoving a doughnut into his mouth (Ok, whatever else is in your picture you get the idea!!) In this one you can see my mailbox and my neighbor's car in the driveway. I don't need all of that in my picture, I just want Cameron.

On the left side of screen you should still see your toolbox. Look for the crop tool, which should be about the 4th or 5th down and looks like a criss-cross sort of box. Click on it. You will now see 2 boxes at the top where you will enter the size you want your final image to be. If you want a 4x6 then these are the numbers you will put in these boxes. Make sure you pay attention to which box is for height and which box is for width.

Ok, now figure out where you want the top left part of your image to be and put your mouse there. Click and hold and then drag your "box" down and to the right until you have a box in the size you want. Once you draw your box and let go, the center of your box will still be lit and the rest of your image will be darkened. This is to show you what it will look like. If you want to you can still move the box around. Simply place your mouse inside the box somewhere (you will see an arrow), hold down and move. You will be able to drag your box anywhere over your image until you get exactly the picture you want. When you are happy with it you can press "Enter" or click the check mark at the top of your screen.

You can do this as many times as you like until you get it as close as you want. Keep in mind, though, that the closer you crop your image, the less you will be able to enlarge it. You don't want to crop out all but an inch of space if you want it to enlarge to 16x20! You lose pixels every time you crop, so just be careful. The last thing you want is to create a blurry image.

That's it! You will now see your finished product! Just look at the difference it makes to have all the "junk" out of the way! This comes in handy when you take those family beach pictures, vacation pictures, and much more!

Many thanks to my sweet Cameron for leaving his homework long enough to pose for a quick picture for me!

Any problems or questions? Just leave a comment and I will respond!

Happy cropping!