Thanksgiving is Dead

Okay, not really, but it’s in danger of being trampled by the retail shopping season.  I ask that you think twice before going to a store on Thanksgiving day.



Personally, my family will be eating Thanksgiving Dinner around noon so that a family member can go work a MANDATORY four hour work shift at one of the big mall stores.  Then they will also get the joy of working Black Friday and all its madness.  I can only imagine the desperation shoppers will feel if they can’t get their hands on floral arrangements and scrap booking supplies. If you go out and shop at one of these stores on Thanksgiving, you’re reinforcing the retail industries determination that its profitable to open earlier and earlier.

I understand that many retail workers need the extra hours and have no problem working the holiday.  But my family member as well as many others would rather have the day with their families.  The holiday retail season is ridiculous as it is, the amount of people that get injured or robbed on Black Friday is scary. I worked at Sears during the holiday season at it was absolutely exhausting.


I don’t plan on being highly political or opinionated on this blog, but I want everyone to think twice before going shopping on Thanksgiving Day.  Think of it this way, if the retail stores all stay open, your office might as well be open for business too.



Five for Friday

Its almost Thanksgiving! I’m excited for the start of the Holiday season.

It’s finally feeling like winter in DC, so I’ve been warming up with this tea daily.


I’m already a fan of the Stash Chai teas, they have so many spices.  I purchased mine at my local Harris Teeter, but you can also find them online.


For cold morning commutes waiting for the bus, I’m going for the Snood, part scarf and part hood.


In preparation for Holiday Hosting, I picked up some dishwasher safe placemats that look amazing in person.  I got a different color for each place setting. I found mine at Su Casa in Fells Point, Baltimore.  I think these should be mandatory for anyone with cats that are known to walk across the dining room table. I’m looking at you Coco & Max!


From their website: GO AHEAD – SPILL SOMETHING!! Top shelf dishwasher safe!   Pacific Merchants place mats are completely cleanable and easy to maintain!   For everyday use, our materials can be simply cleaned with warm soapy water or thrown in the top shelf of the dishwasher.  The fabric is so amazingly durable that it can withstand abrasive rubbing.  Extremely stain resistant & durable.  Impervious to bacterial growth – no mold or mildew.

There is no way I’ll be taking part in the Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday store madness.  My mother will be working on both days and I think its ridiculous for stores to be open on Turkey Day.  Instead, I’ll be keeping an eye on online sales.  I use and to watch for deals.

I also started using Ebates this past year and look forward to the cashback for my holiday purchases.  So far I’ve gotten about $50 from Ebates, and now that they offer the funds as an Amazon credit, its a great deal.  Check it out if you are interested (affiliated link)

Last but not least, my skin finally caught on to the change in seasons.  If you are looking for a new skin regime, I highly recommend BareMinerals Skin Renewing line.  Sephora sells a trial size kit so you can check out all the products before making a big commitment.  My skin looks amazing when I use these products.


What are your favorite finds for the Winter season?

Will you be out in the Black Friday crowds?

Have a great weekend!!

ReStore Pantry Makeover or How I keep Trader Joe’s in Business

One of my favorite places to score furniture is the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.  The locations in the NoVa area are huge, and carry items from hotel renovations, construction projects, and hardware stores closing.  Tons of vintage finds, and tons of tacky tacky furniture.  It’s all about finding the potential.  Some of the ReStores are in slightly sketchy industrial areas but its well worth the parking spot next to a dumpster.

While walking the aisles I’ve come across a vintage 1950’s oven range, a hot tub, and tons & tons of tile.  On a visit a couple months ago I found a sad little pantry sitting in the rain outside.  At only $20 it was a definite purchase. There were some great details and I liked the little vintage key hole. I convinced them to bring it in for the rain and returned the next day to haul it home.




It was obvious it had recently been painted with a thin coat of white paint, but no primer so it was peeling off easily.  I was able to use a scraper to get that top layer off to provide a smoother surface to start from. I actually like the green color underneath but it looked a little dingy and I wanted the details in the trim to pop.



I then added a coat of white primer to start evening the surface and help the next layer stick.



I used some basic semi-gloss white paint for the trim, then used a greenish turquoise for the door and side panels.  When I first started I thought I’d do a pattern on the door panels with some painters tape.  But after seeing the color on the pantry, I felt the pattern would be too overwhelming. It took two coats of the white and turquoise paint for the final look.



I left the key hole as is and added a magnet lock to the interior of the door to keep it from swinging open.  I also added a small glass knob to the outside.  Cost of both under $10 at Home Depot.



My parents paid a visit this past month and my father took measurements to build some add-in shelves.  Should have an updated interior after the holidays.  This pantry has provided the hidden storage I needed.  Don’t judge my Trader Joe’s hoarding………..

IMG_0265Total cost of the pantry and supplies was $40, great find for so much storage!

Repairing a Dryer that Won’t Heat – How I saved myself $600

There is nothing I fear more then the thought of my washer or dryer dying suddenly, mounds of laundry piling up, and spending tons of money on a repair call. All of my major appliances came with my condo when I purchased in 2011, most of them from the mid 1990’s. They are all a beautiful bisque color and function pretty well.  I know at some point I’ll need to replace them with shiny white versions, but for now I hope to keep them working for a little while longer.

I have a fairly reliable Whirlpool stackable thin twin washer/dryer combo.  The only issues I’ve had with it have been when wiring comes loose.  A couple weeks ago I noticed that my dryer was tumbling, but not heating.  I had been running a lot of laundry the week before, so I figured I had overheated the dryer from the use.

I held back from calling a repairman, hoping that if I didn’t panic, I could possibly repair it myself.  I started with research,  using the very reliable Youtube to get an idea of what would be involved.

The repair process seemed fairly simple, I just needed to purchase a Voltmeter.  I went with a basic version, I have no plans to become an electrician, otherwise I may have invested more.


Once my Voltmeter arrived, I then had to figure out how to actually get to the back panel of my dryer.  A common problem of the DIY’er that lives alone, I had something heavy to move all by myself.  Safety first, I cut the power to the washer/dryer from my fuse box and then also unplugged the unit.  I ended up doing a tilt and lift method, magically not injuring myself or the dryer.  The wall got a little banged up. This is as far as I could move it on my own.


I promised myself that if I started to feel like I was causing any damage to the dryer and getting in over my head, I’d stop immediately. I’m still haunted by the time I tried to install my own faucets and ended up paying a plumber $700 to fix my install. Getting the top panel of the dryer off was pretty straight forward, just unscrewing and carefully lifting off to keep from scraping the paint.


Once off, the back of the dryer had wires and access to the heating elements.


At this point I referenced a Whirlpool troubleshooting guide that I found online. 

Repair Checklist

I went step by step checking each circuit and fuse with the Voltmeter.  If I didn’t get a reading with one measurement, I tried the others incase I had the setting wrong.  I got a number for every item except the Thermal Fuse, a tiny little piece about an inch long.




After seeing that I could order one for less then $10, I figured it was worth a shot. 

My handy little manual also included instructions for changing the thermal fuse.  Once installed, I used the Voltmeter to make sure I got a reading, which I did!

Now the true test, I shimmied that washer/dryer back into place and ran a load of laundry.  It worked! It’s been over a month now and the dryer is still going strong.  I’m careful now that I don’t overheat and blow the fuse again.  I now feel more comfortable taking a shot first at simple repairs 🙂 Overall I spent less then $20 on the dryer repair, compared to what I’m sure would have been a $600 service call.

Please note: I am in no way a trained electrician or appliance repairman, I wanted to share my experience as a novice.  Repair at your own risk!


Mirror Makeover

I found an antique mirror in Birmingham Alabama that had great lines, but a very boring white paint finish.

The beginning

Using one can of Rustoleum spray paint in Lagoon Blue and one can of clear lacquer finish, I was able to refinish the mirror to a more modern look.


I used painters tape and newspaper to protect the mirror area, then used thin layers of the blue paint to build and evenly cover the mirror.


Its easy to think that when using spray paint, you can rush through the job.  But being patient and using thin layers, ensures you use only enough paint to cover and avoid drips.