ny seltzer poster

Exciting news! Anyone else besides me remember Vintage Soda???

This is one of those days that got very exciting because I decided to read about food. Food makes the world go round. And if I was a hippie, I’d say food can bring even the worst enemies together and bring peace to a table. With food, comes drink. More specifically in this case, soda! But not just any soda. A soda that hasn’t touched my lips in two decades. I’m talking about Original New York Seltzer!!

I happened to stumble upon this article on Eater today and I gasped when I saw the picture. We’ve all gotten nostalgic over old food brands and drinks we grew up with that don’t exist anymore. For me, I remembered this soda so vividly. Growing up, my parents were pretty big health nuts, and we didn’t have a lot of money so we didn’t splurge on eating out or frivolous things like soda pop. We ate a lot of roast, chicken breast, and milk. But every once in a while, my mom would bring me home a candy bar (Rocky Road was my favorite!) and sometimes at the store I got to bring home a soda. My favorite was Original New York Seltzer, specifically the Vanilla Cream flavor. Now looking back, I realized this wasn’t even what we consider soda today (I’m thinking Coke, Pepsi), but to me, it was the best soda in the world and I passed up all the colas in the store for this. I loved it. It was so bubbly, and the flavor was so creamy and delicious. The bottle felt so heavy and big in my hands, that I felt special carrying it around.

And now it’s coming back. I’m more excited than I probably should be but I am. Memories start to flood in and I swear I can taste the reminiscent flavors of Vanilla Cream on my tongue.

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I don’t remember the commercials but they sound amazing. Here’s an excerpt from Eater about their commercials.

During the 1980s, the company’s original owners became well-known for their colorful, often over-the-top personalities and antics. During public appearances, the duo wore the kind of Miami Vice inspired suits that would make Don Johnson blush, riding into events on roaring motorcycles with their flowing, David Lee Roth-style locks blowing in the breeze.

I’m definitely going to have to get on Youtube and see if I can find these commercials.

In one particularly notorious advertisement, a shredding guitar blares with ear-piercing wails as Randy Miller stands perched on the side of the Mondrian Hotel in West Hollywood, ready to take a flying leap for the sake of seltzer and stunt. A Tiffani Amber Thiessen look-a-like grabs a bottle (hair flip!) and—woosh!—Randy jumps from the building towards the ground below as a Whitesnake-sounding seltzer jingle blares in the background.

Smash cut! The paparazzi are swarming around Randy as he lands.

Smash cut! Randy is pouring seltzer triumphantly over his head.

Smash cut! Randy is walking a tiger on a leash.

Man, that just sounds amazing. The fact that they described their commercials with descriptions like “David Lee Roth-style locks” and “Whitesnake-sounding seltzer jingle”, I’d buy it just because of the commercials. Yeah, I’m like that.

 

*I’m editing this post just now because I found….the video. This….is…epic….

What’s also amazing about this is that this soda brand was way ahead of its time. Pepsi, Coke, Mountain Dew, and the like, had taken over in the 90s with their dark brown and anti-freeze green colored sugar drinks, but once people realized what they were doing to their bodies after 20 years of consumption, they became conscious about what they were consuming and started thinking about alternatives. What big soda brands are doing now (taking out preservatives and artificial flavors), these guys did all of that 20 years ago. The Original New York Soda brand were hipsters before the term was invented.

This is great timing for the brand to come back, with people becoming more health conscious and watching the ingredients they eat. What’s hopeful about this if they market it well, is that people will latch onto its healthy aspect and get the brand revved up again.

I know that when I see it in stores, I’ll be buying it up.

What food brands do you remember from childhood? Any you’d want to bring back?

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Deer & Ditches

Yesterday was about as normal as any other day, but it took an unexpected turn when my co-worker told me he’d found a fawn stuck in a drainage ditch across the street from our building. He didn’t think the little baby could get out, and it’s mother had just crossed the street over near our building. She was turning her head back and forth, wandering, like she wasn’t sure what to do.

I went outside with my co-worker to see what was going on and what we could possibly do to help. Sure enough, the little fawn had dropped down to the ditch and couldn’t get out. The ditch was a giant cement square, about 25’x25′, ascending from two to four feet deep, like a pool, and covered with dirt and leaves. The poor baby had probably dropped down into the ditch out of curiosity, then couldn’t get out. When it saw us, it came over towards us, but then started running in circles in the ditch, bleating loudly, most likely calling for its mother for help. I had the idea that if I could corral the fawn to one area, my co-worker could corner it and we could get it out of the ditch. I didn’t want to stay too long and scare mom away from ever showing up again.

When we first dropped down into the ditch, the fawn became visibly nervous, running toward the back of the ditch, slipping as she was obviously very new to walking. It continued to run quickly back and forth along the wall, but soon enough wore out. We slowly approached the fawn, and it dropped down to its haunches, worn out. My co-worker carefully picked it up and we brought it over to the other side of the ditch, where it was fenced for safety, and there were some shade trees and grass. The fawn laid down exactly as my co-worker put it down, its heart beating rapidly from the scare, and we backed away, in hopes that mama would come back to look for her baby.

About two hours, later, when my work day came to an end, I checked over at the space where we’d left the baby. It was no longer there, so I’m guessing/hoping mama came for baby. I’m no deer expert, but guessing from the time of year and size of the fawn, the baby is at the stage of its life where it stays put while mama forages for food and comes back to feed baby. My guess was that mom and baby were looking for a quiet place for baby to lay while mom went to get food, and they just happened to land in the ditch.

This all happened pretty quickly so I didn’t have my camera with me so I wasn’t able to take a snapshot of the fawn. Last year though, we had a fawn in front of our building, laying down, waiting for mom to come back from eating, so I do have a snapshot of that one, and they seem similar in size, so I’m guessing this fawn was in that stage of life, waiting for mom to return with fresh milk after foraging. One can only hope.

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It was  great way to mix up the day. You never know when your assistance will be needed. Hopefully mama and baby are safe and sound, enjoying some breakfast about now.

Entry down, bathroom to finish

With renovations, comes snags. Even in the home improvement shows, there’s always snags. Last night after work, we planned on finishing up the top piece of the framed mirror and painting of the cabinets. Well, the top piece was warped and we spent more time than I’d like to mention, stationed in front of that mirror, pressing the ends in, waiting for the glue to dry. It was a bit frustrating and cost us a lot of time. I was able to add another coat of paint to most of the cabinet doors, but basically ran out of paint. Also, the paint isn’t covering that well, so we’re thinking of doing a final coat with spray paint. This should help coverage and hide any streaking from the brushes. I’m going to buy the spray paint tonight, but we’ve had rain for the last couple days, and it doesn’t plan on stopping for the next few days, so I’m not sure how much spray painting we’ll actually end up getting done. We basically have until Wednesday of next week, so hopefully that will be enough time to get everything done.

The hubs, at least though, was able to get the entry trim finished (minus a little caulking), so that’s looking much better. We’d gone months missing tile in the front entry when we ripped out the old flooring. I was able to find a pretty good match in tile and grout and I’m happy with the final product.

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Borrowed a wet saw from a friend. Don’t be afraid of these if you’ve never used them. They’re fun, relatively easy, and do a great job cutting tiles.

I ended up cutting the grout with the wet saw outside…while storms were coming through. I don’t recommend that but I only had a handful of cuts and was getting anxious to get working on it so I could return the saw back to our friend.

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Entry before

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I was patient with tile shopping and was able to find this at Home Depot. It’s not always easy trying to match tile that was placed in a home 30 years ago, but luckily it was neutral and common enough to find a match.

One project down, more to go!

living

Gimme an inch…

This last weekend started out quite normal. It was our 9th anniversary so we celebrated with dinner and a show with local artist Emily Wolfe at Lamberts BBQ downtown. We had a great time, despite me deciding to try heels and ruining my feet. It was still fun.

Saturday was a trip to visit some breweries as we have a good excuse right now. We signed up for Barks for Beers, which is a great fundraiser, raising money for therapy dogs. We pay for a pint glass, and we get tickets for a free pint at a dozen breweries in town. The catch is that you have to hit them all by the end of the month. So far we’ve hit three of 12 so we have some work to do. We met up with some friends and had a good time hopping from Independence brewing down to Hops N’ Grain brewing.

Sunday, we decided to upgrade the bathroom a little since we plan on having some friends over during Memorial weekend.

Gimme an inch and I’ll take a mile….

We started out thinking about framing the mirror. I’d seen a cool idea on Pinterest (of course), on framing your big 3′ x 5′ standard mirror they stuck in every 80’s house. So we trekked to Lowe’s thinking we’d pick up the boards and be on our way. Well, then we decided, if we were going to frame the mirror, why not paint the cabinets too? They’re currently oak veneer. We could paint them white to make the little bathroom a little brighter and cheerier. Okay. Check. Paint the cabinets too. Oh, and we should replace the cartridge that’s been leaking in the shower. Picked that up. Oooh, let’s replace the shower head too. The one we have looks kind of ugly. Since we’re replacing that we should replace the handle as well. And since we’re here, we need quarter round to finish out the entry as well….

I went to Lowes for $10 primer and $20 for boards and left with a $200 bill. Lowes is worse than Target or Costco for me.

I don’t have any finished pictures because nothing got completely finished but many things are 80-90% done. We got the trim down in the entry but just need to finish with caulking. Same with the new shower head and handle. The mirror needs the top section and caulking for the frame. And I need to add another coat or two to the cabinets. THEN, pictures will come. We’re hoping to have this all finished by the end of this week so when our friends come out during Memorial weekend, we don’t have to put up caution zones in the house.

The weekend was mostly rainy so we had to set up shop in the living room and garage. We hate messiness, so at least it’s motivation for us to keep moving ahead.

A weekend of productive planning

I didn’t get much done this weekend. I had this list of things I wanted to do, which included hanging up another new window blind and finishing up the entry tile, but none of that got done. But I’m okay with it because we did a lot of planning instead. Planning doesn’t immediately show results so sometimes it may feel like you didn’t do anything, but in reality, you did so much.

Saturday was wrapped up in volunteer work at the library, then a trip to the Pecan Street Festival to see Royal Teeth for free. The show was great and the people who showed up were entertaining. It was like the state fair but with more homeless people.

Sunday was all planning. We’d had a guy from a landscaping company come in and do some consulting for us on Friday, on how to improve our backyard. Right now, it’s uneven, rocky, and patchy. We have a very large deck that needs replacement, and a big shed that’s taking up more room than it’s storing stuff. He gave us some good advice on what to do and what not to do, so now we’re trying to figure out exactly how we want to tackle our backyard work.

We went to Treehouse, a very hippie-type green home improvement store. The prices are a little steep but they have a lot of neat stuff that gets the creative juices flowing. They sell everything from reclaimed wood, to recycled glass counters, to water barrels, metal roofs, solar panels and ceramic grills…which is where I lost my husband for about a half hour…

After Treehouse, we ventured to the more normy home improvement store of Home Depot. We looked at deck options as we’re currently trying to weigh between wood and composite. The current deck needs to be redone as it’s old, too big, and is not in good shape. We plan on cutting it down to about half size, to give us room for an outdoor kitchen and hangout space.

On top of this, we also finally decided on a color for the house. Of the three we were looking at, we ended up deciding on Porpoise, which funny enough, was the most brown of all the colors. I know I’d mentioned that I really liked gray, but that’s why you talk these things through before making any decisions. Usually, the more I talk out decisions, the better I feel about it. This color is great because it has a lot of brown tones, but depending on the light, definitely has gray in it as well.The two colors below are both porpoise, but at different angles.

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Half this deck will be gone and in it’s place will be a kitchen. Goodbye blue house, hello porpoise.

The husband also started drawing out some plans for the backyard. The bottom right of the picture shows our to-be shortened deck with chairs and a small table. To the left of the deck is the simple outdoor kitchen. and above it, the rectangle, is a picnic-type table. Currently that area right now is part deck and part grass. Once we downsize the deck (I can’t imagine what’s underneath it), we’ll even it all out and add crushed gravel. We also plan on making a fire pit area and vegetable garden to the far left, against our back fence.

Lots going on, and it’ll take time, but I’m excited for it. We’re working on something that’ll be a retreat for us, as well as a great place for friends to gather.

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Next up is calling painting companies to see how much they would charge to prep the house for us to paint. I’m cool with painting the house, but the prep work is daunting on this house. If we can swing it cheap enough, we might just have someone take a few days to prep, so we can go in and just start painting.

My biggest project yet – tackling exterior paint

Our next big project is to repaint the exterior of the house. Normally I wouldn’t have any problem playing with colors, but this isn’t just a room. A room is a few days of work and $30. Painting a house is days of prep work, days of painting and multiple gallons of paint. It makes me a lot more nervous choosing colors.

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I’d like to give the house a more modern look with either a dark gray or brown, with a craftsman style door, preferably in a bright color. At first, I had my thoughts on a gray brown, but the more and more I look around for inspiration, the more I’m heading toward the grays. But at the same time, I don’t want the grays turning blue.

I recently went to Lowes and grabbed a couple Sherwin Williams samples and tried them on the side of the house. Neither one blew me away. I liked the gray at first, but I think it has too much blue in it.

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Depending on when the light is shining on the side of the house, the brown looks like a rich dark brown, which is what I was looking for, or a lighter otter brown, which is nice, but  not what I’m going for. The gray sometimes looks great, but then starts to take on a blue tone, and I don’t know if that’s because the house itself is already blue, and pulls your eyes to the blue tones, or if the gray itself has blue undertones that will come out at different times during the day. I’m not sure if I want blue undertones. I’m thinking warm gray, not cool gray.

My inspiration of course comes from scouring the internet and Pinterest. I re-looked through all the websites I’d been saving and think I need to go back to the paint store. I’m going to pick up a couple more samples and try them out tonight. Painting the house is such a big effort that I want to feel confident when I start the actual painting process. I’m going to hit up Benjamin Moore after work and grab swatches. I don’t know if I plan on getting the paint there because 1) it’s a bit out of my price range and 2) a pro painter friend of mine said any good quality paints from Lowes or Home Depot are just as good. I think I’ll grab the swatches and see if Lowes or Home Depot can match.

Here’s some of my inspiration I’ve gathered over the past few months. It definitely seems as if I’m leaning more toward the grays. And why not? I love gray.

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I love the idea of a bright contrasting door as well. We’re thinking of going with a craftsman style, honey yellow door.

midcentury-gray dk gray Benjamin Moore Iron Mountain

This last picture interests me. The sample looks like a rich charcoal gray, but on the house, it looks like it has quite a bit of brown in it. It’s called Iron Mountain and it’ll be one I pick up at Benjamin Moore. The others I’m going to grab are Mink and possibly Graphite, but that one looks like it may have some blue in it as well so I may pass.

Do any of you have house painting stories or advice? Do you have a color preference? Let me know. I’m all ears and eyes right now.

The struggle is your story

struggle

My memory stinks most of the time. I need a lot of reminders. I have a paper calendar organizer (remember those?) and I also use google calendar for everything.

I also need reminders about life.

Life can bring you down if you’re not in the right mindset. For the last eight months or so, I dealt with a lot of anxiety, anger and depression. I’d been away from home for training for six months and dealt with a lot of pressure. And as much as I’d like to think of myself as being strong, I fell weak to anxiety and the pressures involved in constantly having to perform well or face the possibility of failing and being in training longer, never mind having to tell people you failed something. The onslaught of pressure turned my anxiety up and depression kicked in. I started questioning myself; who I was, what I was doing there, was I smart enough or strong enough to handle all of this? It was tough. I had some really bad times when I came back. I had a hard time caring about anything. I had to get myself out of it.
And I have been. Little by little. There were ups and downs. But I learned to let positivity enter my life and push negativity out. I learned to not let negative people, news, attitudes, all of that, affect me the way it used to. One bad encounter could ruin me for the whole day.

“The struggle is part of the story” – Unknown

I’m still working on it daily, but I’ve learned to take every day at a time, reminding myself to appreciate the things I can do even though it’s not perfect,and be patient about everything. Sometimes I focus on wanting something so badly (a different job, a vacation, a different car), that I start to hate and under appreciate what I have and who I am. I can’t let that happen. Where I am now, is where I am supposed to be, and if changes are to come, I’ll let them come, in due time.

I’m learning to reflect on my experiences, exist in the present while enjoying all the things I have, and look forward to the future. Why be anxious about the future when I don’t know what it holds?

30 seconds of fame and 50 years of Rock N’ Roll

Last night the hubs and I went to see Joan Jett and The Who for the Who’s 50th anniversary tour. Thinking about that takes a bit to sink in. 50 years. Most people work a typical job for 30, maybe 35, or even 40 and then retire. To make it 50 years is quite incredible, and to make it as a rock star for 50 years is absolutely remarkable. It’s also amazing to think that, 50 years after recording a song, your music is still popular enough to bring in thousands of people.

Joan Jett, who started the show, and who was recently inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, was fantastic. She has a lot of charisma and charm on set, which gets people excited. She can still belt it out and wear crazy sparkly rock outfits. Truly shows you that you’re only as old as you want to be.

The whole show was just over three hours long and I was entertained the whole time. I even got my 30 seconds of fame with a picture on Austin’s entertainment page, Austin360. We were waiting for our friend to show up when the photographer started taking photos. It’s not much but it’s pretty cool to me.

I’d show a bunch of really cool pics from the show, but alas, I have a camera on my phone that takes decent pictures during the day but horrid pictures when it’s dark. I don’t want to give away the name of this phone because I know there are fan-types out there that would think it’s blasphemy to say such things but I will say that it starts with an “I” and ends in a “phone”. So what I’ll do instead is give more credit to Austin360 photographer Suzanne Cordeiro for all the cool pics and send you to some great shots she took here, here, herehere and another here.

If they come through to your city, I highly encourage going to see them. This could be one of the last few icons left of Rock N Roll. The Who, in my eyes, were a huge part in the creation and development of the Rock N Roll era and I don’t think it would’ve been the same without them.

Comparison

comparison

This is a vice of mine. I’m constantly comparing where I am to others. And I think it’s so much easier to do these days with facebook and instagram and other social media outlets. Sometimes, it seems that these methods are only to try to one-up the next person. Look at my new car! Look, I’m on vacation! Look at me! Look at me! These devices can be great with keeping in touch with others, but they shouldn’t be used as a bragging piece or as a complete replacement for keeping up with friends and family, and they certainly shouldn’t be used as a comparison piece for yourself.

Comparison to others is devastating to our mental health. Be happy for that friend who’s on vacation. They deserve it. Be happy for the person with the new car. The last one they had might have been a complete nightmare. It doesn’t matter how your car compares, or where you last went on vacation. Be happy for them and be happy for yourself. We are all individuals. We all have our ups and downs.

Comparison can also create isolationism. We see someone else’s successes, compare them to where we are, only seeing the negative aspects and not the positives, and many times, fail to acknowledge them with a congrats, or a good job. We feel jealous and therefore don’t feel like telling them we’re proud of their accomplishments. It hurts too much when we compare ourselves.

As advice to myself and to others: be happy where you are and where you are heading. If you want changes, make reasonable goals for yourself and don’t expect an overnight change. Congratulate your friends on their accomplishments. And be grateful for yours. We are all on this long, exciting and many times frustrating journey of life. Take the positive and humble road whenever you can.

Garden Monday

The hubs and I went to visit friends in Little Rock this weekend and took Monday off as well, so we could rest after visits and travel. I don’t remember the last time I took a day off just to hang out at the house and it was wonderful. We let the day decide what we were going to do. We started with a walk with the pups, then decided after lunch to head to Lowes to finally do a little landscaping. We’d be so preoccupied with working on the inside of the house that we hadn’t really done anything yet with the outside. The front of the house really didn’t have anything as far as flora. There were a couple of small hosta like plants, but because the way the overhang is in front, it would nearly drown them every time we had rain.

I love going to Lowes for plants because they have a great selection, and they even have a clearance section for plants that don’t look too good. As long as you give them some extra care, I’ve never had any problems getting them to come back. People just want to buy a pretty plant when they get it at the store so if you can look past that, you’ll save some money.

For the little corner of dirt by our driveway, we planted a Gardenia that will flower, grow up to 6′ tall and smell wonderful as you approach the house. The yellow flowers in front (I can’t remember their names) will remain short (and were on sale for $1!). The main bed has a wide variety of plants. Closer toward the door are plants that like water (spikey grass and calla lilies). We drilled holes on the bottom and sides and filled it with rocks to catch water from the roof and disperse gently into the bed. Previously the water would come down like a waterfall and drown the couple of plants that were in the bed. In the center near the windows are boxwoods. They will bush out and once established, are very low maintenance. To the right of the boxwoods are some hostas. I love how easy going hostas are. Once they establish, you only need to pick off dead pieces, and once they get big enough, you literally can make more by hacking it into pieces and replanting it. Littered throughout the rest of the bed are begonias that will also fill out in the next few weeks. On the walkway is a pot with Gerbera daisies (also on sale for $1 each). And unseen in the picture are three bushes we bought (on sale for $3 each), that will be planted behind the house, near the street that backs up against the house.

Overall, a few hours and around $100 for all the flowers, plants, topsoil, mulch, and plant fertilizer was totally worth it.  Now when I pull into the house, I don’t see an empty bed, I see a collaborative effort and care put into the home. I also know that overtime, I’ll get to see the plants grow and flourish and fill up. I can’t wait.

It’s no finished products, as we plan on doing more intensive landscaping/hardscaping in the front eventually, but for now, this adds a nice, welcome touch to the house.