Sunday, November 23, 2014

.. 6 months ..

I cannot believe its been 6 months (and a week) since my dad and I left Virginia and arrived in Arizona after 5 days in the car. That feels like it was yesterday, and yet it feels like I have lived in Phoenix for much longer. Learning has been the main thing I have done in the last half year - learning a new (giant) city, learning a new job... and another new job, and learning how to do everything on my own again.

I feel at ease here. This city is huge, but I love my neighborhood and my surroundings. I love that my sister and brother in law are only 6 hours away (I went to visit twice... more on that later).

Here are a few things that I've learned in the last 6 months:

1. YES, its hot in Phoenix

2. While it gets scorching hot here, its not unbearable.

3. Drinking water is very important.

4. Don't go hiking in the summer... I went in October and it was barely doable

5. This is one of the easiest cities to get around since its all laid out in a grid

6. But... they forgot gutters! Major flaw when it comes to rain storms and leads to (major) flooding

7. NEVER cut your hair thinking it'll prevent you from overheating. It doesn't work and you'll regret it (trust me)!!

8. I love palm trees!
I have a great paying job and while it is not even remotely what I would like to do forever, it is good for now. The feeling of being able to pay all your bills, and have money left over to save and do fun things has been one that I've never felt before, and I love it.

It'll be time to decided if I want to renew my lease in January and it'll be a tricky decision. On one hand, I love it here and I feel like I haven't experienced all that Phoenix has to offer just yet. On the other hand, there are different places to explore and I don't know if I want to go and explore those while I can. I love being close to my sister and can't imagine living on the other side of the country, and I loved Los Angeles (and surrounding areas) more than I thought and I wouldn't be opposed to moving to Cali - granted I can find a job that pays muchos money so I can keep paying my bills :)

But guess what? I don't have to decide right now - I am loving life right where I am today!

Happy 6 month-a-versary Phoenix!!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Remember me?

Yea hi...over here! Remember me? I took a long, unintentional, but necessary blogging break. I'd like to promise that I'm back...for good, but we all know how that goes!

A little update. I've been living and loving Phoenix for almost 6 months now! Some days I feel like I just moved here yesterday, and other days I feel like I have been here for forever. There is a lot to love...I love my apartment, I like my jobs, and life is good at the moment. Not sure if I mentioned it on here or not, but I started working for another company. I'm a full-time broker for one of Arizona's fastest growing logistics company. It's just a fancy way of saying that I work in the male dominated world of freight and truck drivers. So far it has been a crazy but fun ride, and I'm finally settling into a routine at work. I'm starting my 5th month with the company....crazy!

My sister and husband made it to LA! I've visited twice and LOVED it! I love being near the water and just the overall vibe of the state is amazing. If it wasn't so darn expensive to live there, I'd move in a heart beat!!

My apartment is coming together nicely. I thought it would take me about 6 months to get it completed, but now that the 6 month mark is nearing, I'm realizing that I need a little more time to get everything together. I will probably do an apartment tour in December since I hope to have the majority of my apartment finished by Christmas when my parents come to visit! Plus, I'm trying to buy pieces that I'll be able to have for years and I want everything to be perfect....perfection takes time...and money, lots and lots of money!

So stay tuned for the big reveal! I have some other fun DIY project that will be posted to the blog soon!! Not making excuses, but working 2 jobs leaves little time for blogging, but I'm thinking about posting maybe twice a week for now. I miss blogging, and I miss the here we go again!

Please follow along on Instagram (@sprinklesontoast) since I post on there more regularly! Especially when it comes to my apartment :) 

Glad to be back - thanks for following along,

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Animal cruelty & what you can do to help

At one of my random Petfinder searches, I stumbled across an organization that rescues animals that have been put on a euthanasia list for being injured or sick. A lot of people surrender their sick or injured animal to their local shelter because they are unable or unwilling to pay for them to get better.

M.A.I.N (or Medical Animals In Need) is a 100% volunteer organization that saves these animals, fixes them up and helps them find forever homes. Maricopa county (my new county) has the second largest shelter in the nation - taking in an average of 150 stray or unwanted dogs EACH DAY! This means that about 50,000 dogs and cats are euthanized in Maricopa county each year. People who are looking to adopt are looking for healthy dogs, and are usually unwilling or unable to adopt a sick or injured dog. These dogs don't stand a chance of being adopted, and that is where M.A.I.N steps in - saving over 150 dogs from euthanasia and provide new loving homes for them in 2012 alone.

I have been crying for 3 hours straight, watching rescue videos from M.A.I.N, realizing that most of these injuries are at the hands of another human. These dogs have been abused, neglected, starved, strangled, and all together broken. As I type this, I am listening to Izzie snore...she could have been one of these dogs. This could have been her life had someone who like me not adopted her. I remember crying the entire way (45 minutes) to the shelter to pick out a dog for my roommate - I couldn't imagine driving that drive knowing I needed to surrender Izzie, and I made sure to tell her over and over again that I would never leave her (she came to meet any new potential doggie roommates). I am at a loss for words looking at some of these injuries knowing that another person could do that to a living, breathing, full of love and life animal. It breaks my heart and amazes me at the same times, that these dogs are still capable of loving a human regardless of what they have been through.

Due to the graphic nature and upsetting images (trust me, I've seen the pictures and it is heartbreaking) - I decided to not share any pictures of the dogs that this organization has saved. If you want to read some of their stories, I suggest looking them up on facebook (Medical Animals in Need) or going directly to their website. It will break your heart and restore your faith in humanity all at the same time.

If you are able and willing - please consider donating to this wonderful organization as they are 100% volunteer based and 100% of your donations go directly to saving the lives of many dogs that are in need. Lets end animal cruelty, shall we!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

my first haboob {dust storm}

Holy cow! Those are the only words I have....holy cow. I took Izzie for a little walk since she was whining to go out. It had been a cloudy day which I knew would make for an awesome sunset. I checked the temperature...106 {its about 7:30pm at this point} and cloudy. I snapped some pictures of the clouds before I realized that they looked as if they were rolling. Rolling clouds here means dust. I scooped Izzie up as fast as I could and raced her inside. Haboob's pick up all sorts of particles on their journey through the desert and dogs are especially susceptible to catch Valley Fever, a fungal infection {about 70% of dogs who get Valley Fever are asymptomatic and the symptoms can range from mild to occasionally fatal - not risking that!} People can get it as well, but I wanted to make sure Izzie was protected from the dust as much as possible.
A haboob, or dust storm according to Wikipedia {the most trusted internet source} - "The word "haboob" comes from the Arabic word habb, meaning “wind.” A haboob is a wall of dust as a result of a microburst or downburst. The air forced downward is pushed forward by the front of a thunderstorm cell, dragging dust and debris with it, as it travels across the terrain. These dust storms are much more serious than dust devils. The wind during a haboob is usually up to about 30 mph and dust can rise high into the air as it blows over the Valley. A haboob can last for up to three hours." Its now 10:30pm and there has been a lot of rain and some lightning - temperatures have dropped significantly. It was 106 when the haboob came roaring in and it has dropped to 82 now. I can't walk Izzie yet because the storm hasn't passed yet and I can smell dust when I walk out onto my balcony - its been 3 hours now. I did not realize these things last so darn long!!
Here are some pictures from the haboob. Some are taken from instagram {#haboob}. 
 The day started beautiful and cloudy

What I thought were thunderclouds rolling in

Starting to realize these clouds may not be what they seem

In the dust storm - it was relatively dark with at times 0 visibility. It temporarily halted all air traffic - incoming and outgoing - to Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport.

Below are some pictures from Instagram

Have you ever been in a haboob?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

#housetohome {TUTORIAL} $35 rustic headboard

Ya'll - headboards are expensive!! I love the way they can bring a whole bedroom together and make such a big statement. Most of the time, that big statement comes with a bigger price tag. I looked at Ikea and even there a bedframe and headboard combination is over $400!! I had a budget of less than $100 for the frame and the headboard combined and I wanted something that would go well with my color scheme (grey, white, gold, and turquoise). But anyone that knows me knows I change my mind on colors (and life) every 5 minutes so I needed this to go with a lot. I am so proud of the way it turned out - it couldn't have been any easier or inexpensive!! And like with the other projects, I love walking into my bedroom knowing I made myself!
I found this tutorial and I modified it to fit what I needed my headboard to look like. I ended up mounting mine straight to the metal frame that I bought. This felt sturdier to me than hanging it on the wall...I can just see myself knocking it off on many occasions. The basic outline on her blog is great, and so easy to follow the steps.
Here is what you need to build this headboard:
8 pieces of 1x4's 60 inches long (60 inches is the standard size of a queen bed) - $23.36
2 pieces of 1x3's 40 inches long - $3.64
wood screws
a tiny can of Minwax Dark Walnut stain (LOVE this stuff) - $4.78

Step 1:
Head to Home Depot and have the wonderful guys there cut your pieces of wood. This is the nice part - they do all the hard work for you! I took home the left over pieces since the 1x4's were 8 feet long (using that to hopefully make a coffee table). I bought common board - basically a composite of many types of wood. It was $2.92 per 8 feet for the 1x4's and $3.64 for the 1x3's.
Step 2:
Lay your 60 inch pieces out - make sure to put it ugly side up. There will be scuffs and/or lettering on the wood, and you want to make sure that this is on the back of your headboard. Put all the pretty sides down so you can lay the 40 inch piece on top of that. Mine aren't all straight and flush with one another, I didn't want it too even.
Step 3:
Attach your 1x3's to the headboard. Make sure it is as close to the edge of your pieces of 1x4's without showing. Screw the woodscrews in - I bought the wrong size and ended up putting screws in the front too after some boards let go while I was carrying the contraption outside to stain. I bought 1 inch screws and they were too short, I would recommend buying 1.5 inch screws!
Step 4:
Lightly sand the boards before you stain them. I say lightly because I literally just sanded the ends of my boards where they were sawed and sharp and that's all I did. I use an all-purpose sand sponge because they were cheap at Walmart :)
Step 5:
Its time to sand your boards! I used a rubber dishwashing glove (you know, the ones that come to your elbows!) and a sock over that. Make sure you go with the grain of the wood - I had a minor mishap with a splinter and it is no fun!

Make sure you give the stain time to dry completely. Fun fact: its 8pm here and 106 with a humidity of 11% - this headboard was dry in no time. It might take a few hours to dry completely depending on where you are.
Step 6:
Its time to screw in 2 screws per leg to attach to your metal frame. I put mine 3 inches from the bottom of the leg. Don't screw them all the way in, leave some room so you can get them through the holes in your frame.
Step 7:
This was the step that took by far the longest to figure out. I spent an hour and a half figuring out how to get the headboard onto the frame...not as easy as it looks. If you have access to a second person, I would recommend getting them to help. At this point, your headboard is pretty heavy and hard to maneuver. I ended up taking the metal frame apart, and attaching the headboard to it, and building it back up.
Flipping this sucker upright was quite the challenge but its amazing what you can do alone when there is no one you can turn to for help :)
And voila!! You have your very own rustic headboard for only $35 and the satisfaction of knowing you made it!!

Where did I get the...
'E' - Joann Fabrics (I spray painted it gold)
'Hey ya'll' pillow - Hobby Lobby
bedding - Ikea
Let me know if you plan on making this headboard - I would love to see what yours looks like!!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Hup Holland Hup

{I was given permission to use this picture by Lynne from Holland-Amerika line}

I couldn't care less about soccer, but once the World Cup of soccer rolls around, I become a little more patriotic towards my tiny, soccer loving country. The Dutch are probably the most all around awesome sports fans...we go all out! There is orange...everywhere, and everyone participates. There are orange streets, orange baked goods, orange shirts, hats, and even animals participate in dressing up!! Here are some pictures for you to laugh at :) {No images are my own - they are all from Google, unless otherwise specified}

Yup, we support out team - what can I say. I'm sad I don't have an orange shirt to wear the next time they play since they are in the semi finals. I'll rock some orange if they win the world cup ;)

Sunday, June 29, 2014

#housetohome {TUTORIAL} - $30 ombre, ruffled shower curtain

I have been pining for a ruffled shower curtain but I'm not willing to spend large amounts of money on it. I was roaming pinterest when I found this blog post on DIY ruffle shower curtain. I modified the instructions some, but I followed her basic outline. So here you have it - the steps to make your own ombre, ruffled shower curtain!!
What you need:
1 twin size flat sheet - $4.97 (bought at Walmart)
2 full size flat sheets - $9.47 each (bought at Walmart)
fabric dye (color(s) of your choice) - $3.79-$4.99 (depending on the color - bought at Hobby Lobby)
about 10 hours of time :)
Step 1:
Cut your full size sheet (I used a little bit of the second sheet, but if you have sheet with different measurements you might only need 1 sheet to cut) in 5 inch strips. I used a tea box as my ruler so I didn't have to keep whipping out my measuring tape.

Step 2:
After you cut your plethora of ruffles, you want to use a zig zag stitch to prevent them from fraying. I ended up getting lazy and only zig zagging the bottom of the ruffle and leaving the top part because you wouldn't be able to see that when it was all finished.

 Step 3:
This was my favorite part, and the best part is that I made it up as I went along! After you finish your zig zagging, it is time to dye your bottom pieces for the ombre effect. I had no clue what I was doing, and didn't follow a single direction on the container :) I read that you are supposed to stir constantly for 30-60 minutes...who has time for that? I had to dye 6 strips and I didn't have 3-6 hours to spend stirring fabric. So here is what I did. I put a little bit of dye in a big bowl of hot water. I then dipped one ruffle in the water, swirling it around for 5 minutes.
Take it out to compare it next to the white piece of fabric and decide if you like the way it looks. I rinsed my strip in cold water, and hand washed it with a little detergent and hot water. Wring it out, and hang it to dry. Next, add a little more dye (think a tablespoon or so) for your next ruffle, and another tablespoon for the one after that. Since I needed my bottom layer to be dark enough to cover izzie's hair, I bought black and added a little in the last 2 ruffles. I kept taking my ruffle out after having dunked it in dye for 5 minutes to check the color next to my other pieces.

Make sure your ruffles are all the way dry - here in no humidity Arizona, it took about 20-30 minutes!
Step 4:
Starting at the bottom, it is time to attach your ruffles! I figured I should write that excitedly even though it is a tedious process, haha. So what I did was find the middle of the sheet and the ruffle, and pin it there. Then pin it again at a quarter.
I hand ruffled the remaining fabric as I was sewing with a straight stitch. Let me just say that this part takes FOREVER!!
eventually it will feel like the ruffles are taking over, and you become buried in ruffles.
Step 5:
Buttonholes! This is where you will put your shower rings through. A normal shower curtain has 12 holes...I managed to miscalculate (I'm horrible at math) and ended up with 11 button holes? Still not sure how I managed that.
Anywho, I made buttonholes using a tiny zig zag stitch since I lost my buttonhole foot for the machine and off course promptly found it not 5 minutes after I finished my project!
Here is the final ombre, ruffled shower curtain!

I am so in love with the way it turned out, the ombre couldn't have been any better! If you end up making one, leave a comment so I can see your unique version of the DIY ombre, ruffled shower curtain!!