January 31, 2011

Lisa: Tool of the Week

When I found out I was pregnant for a second time (yay, us!), I was faced with a bit of a (head-) hair dilemma. I didn't want to fume out the fetus with a lot of nasty chemicals right up near my (eye, nose, and mouth-type) sensitive membranes, but I also wasn't ready to grow out nine months' worth of ashy, light brown roots. I did a lot of research on more natural hair-coloring methods, including henna, but I wasn't left with a lot of hope regarding either their effectiveness or any increased gentleness.

Time passed. My roots got more obvious. Finally, in a fit of desperation I rushed into a nearby drugstore, intending to just get a box of the regular stuff and open some windows and hold my breath while I slathered it on. BUT! The drugstore didn't carry my preferred brand (or was out of my preferred color? I don't remember) and I found myself in the dye aisle, searching for an alternate solution. Enter...

(Beware, Angela Martin starts talking to you when you open that link, and I couldn't figure out how to turn her off.)

Allow me to tell you why this product is awesome/what makes it different.

1) It's guaranteed to match any brand of home or salon color, and even lists the popular brands and their colorways on the side of the box.

2) It's significantly cheaper than the regular, full-application box.

3) It comes with significantly less product. This is probably why it's cheaper. HOWEVER, this is a plus in my book. As a long-time same-color dyer, I was following the touch-up application instructions in the full box anyway. That means that after applying dye to my roots, I was supposed to finish by combing it through the rest of my hair, resulting in an unattractive ombre effect that was darkest at the ends. Also, there was so much more dye than I really needed that I was probably overapplying, in an effort not to waste what I'd bought. The Nice 'N Easy has just enough dye to apply to the roots over my whole head--no anxiety about throwing half a bottle away.

4) The dye is mixed and delivered in a different format--with a little dish and brush instead of the squeeze bottle. The little brush that comes with the Nice 'N Easy lets you apply just the amount of dye you need right where you need it. With the squeeze bottle, I found I was applying a ton of dye pretty inexactly. No more sploogeing it out past your hairline!

5) You wait with the dye on your hair for less time. The box I was using before was a 25-35 minute wait, but Nice 'N Easy takes only 10-15 minutes.

6) The dye doesn't seem to contain a foaming agent that you work into a lather before rinsing it out in the shower, like the L'Oreal did. I don't know if that's better or worse, but I haven't noticed a major difference.

7) The only slight downside I see is that the Nice 'N Easy doesn't come with the tube of conditioner that is the best part of any box of home hair dye. This isn't a huge deal for me, because I never use those up before I get a new one, and thus I have a bit of a stockpile.

SO. To sum up: less dye on my hair for less time means fewer fumes to sting my eyes and make me start worrying about hurting the baby. The lower price is just a bonus. Plus, I've been using just touch-up packs for four months now, and I haven't noticed any weird stripeyness from not dyeing my whole head in between. I call that a win.

(Edited to add parenthetical explanations for sensitive, dirty-minded types.)

October 26, 2010

Lisa: last minute costume, awesome edition

Maybe you weren't planning on dressing up for Halloween this year--a valid if unexciting choice--but then you got invited to a costume party. Don't hide at home because it's too late to put together a cool costume! If you can work a space, future, Tron, or robot costume into the party's theme, you're in luck. This might be the easiest and cheapest costume I've ever put together, and it's well within your capabilities.

1) Find a basic black dress and some black boots you already own.
2) Buy a couple of different colors of masking tape at the hardware store (usually in the paint section) and a roll of SILVER METAL-LOOKING TAPE from the area with the heating/duct repair stuff. This metallic tape is a dress-up miracle.
3) Lay your dress flat or put it on a dress form if you're a sewing dork like me, and start laying out the tape in a cool pattern. You might want to sketch out your design idea on paper first, to avoid repositioning tape too much. In my experience, the masking tape isn't sticky enough to move around, and the silver tape is just sticky enough that you start worrying about the dress underneath if you're taking it on and off.
4) Tape up your boots, too, IF YOU DARE.
5) Check the dollar store for some glow-stick necklaces or bracelets. I taped some sticks to the side of a headband so they'd stick up out of my hair, too.
6) The dollar store is also a good place to find chunky, brightly colored plastic earrings and bangle bracelets. Intermix them with glow-bracelets.
7) Dig out a pair of black tights with no holes and put on the whole shebang. DONE.

I didn't even look lamer than everyone else at Val's Future party! Proof here and here. I now pass this costume secret on to you. See you at the Tron Legacy premiere?

May 28, 2010

Lisa: Tools of the Week

I consider myself fairly lipstick-impaired. During my formative years, the vast majority of my dress-up occasions involved playing the flute--an activity I cannot perform while wearing lipstick. It wasn't until I saw photos of myself singing with Voices as an adult that I realized lipstick is the only thing keeping me from looking like a particularly lipless decaying corpse. Unfortunately, the only decent lipstick I have owned for the last 10 years or so is an old tube of Clinique Plum Brandy that I'm sure I stole from my mom. It was time for me to woman up, do a little research, and take the plunge. Here's what I found.



The internets told me that matte lipstick is the best for vintage looks, but there aren't many drugstore-level choices around nowadays. This is a good option to try, to see if you like the effect before you spring for MAC or something even more glamourous. The color I bought is In The Red, which is a bit more on the orangey side than I expected from seeing it in the tube. I still like the color with the right outfits, though, and I love the texture, especially when I first put it on. It does get eaten off my lips pretty quickly, but I think that might happen with all lipsticks. Anyway, it's a bargain at $6 for a pack of two through Amazon right now, so you can afford to reapply as often as you like.



YouTube makeup tutorials convinced me I had to try these. At $12.50 apiece, they're not as cheap as the Revlon lipstick, but still somewhat reasonable. Plus you only use a teeny bit at a time, so the tiny tubes should last a long time. Lip Tar (which does not contain actual tar) applies wet like a gloss, but is highly pigmented like a lipstick. Both of the colors I tried (Plum and Vintage) are great: dark and rich with a shiny finish. The plum looks pretty improbable in the tube--it's really bluish--but on, it's awesome in a vampire-y sort of way. Lip Tars are really made to be mixed with powder pigments or with each other to create custom colors, but I'm not that advanced yet.

There's definitely some feathering action with the Lip Tars, which I think is more common with lustre-finish lip colors, but that can be minimized by layering over a base of lipliner. It helps with darker/brighter lips also to create a really sharp lip line with concealer and a brush on the skin around your lips. I did find that the pigment of the Lip Tar sort of sinks into the cracks in your lips, so that when the main surface of the color gets eaten off, you're left with a really bizarre Jack-the-Pumpkin-King kind of look. A little more Lip Tar or even just some lip balm smeared around to pick up and spread the remaining color can salvage things.

So. That's what I've been playing with so far. What's your favorite lipstick?

March 10, 2010

Sarah: Clean out your desk

I'm pretty sure it's not only because I've been doing some cleaning out of desks lately, but I like this site:

Simple Desktops

I hope they add more options.

I feel the need to declutter. This will help.

February 25, 2010

Sarah: Sleep Cycle, Part 2

Welcome to Sleep Cycle, Part 2, otherwise known as My Friend Might Be Undead.

E and I are still fascinated by this iPhone App and compared sleep charts. And let me tell you, the scientific term for E's sleep pattern is "bizarro". I've included some sample charts to explain.

A normal night should consist of 90 minute cycles between dreaming and deep sleep. Your phone registers these cycles based on you moving very little during deep sleep and then moving more while dreaming. That was your lesson for the day. Now here's a typical night for E:

I can only assume that someone knocked on her coffin and startled E at 6:50 am.

E claims that she wakes up several times during the night. But according to her sleep graphs (and every night is like this, you guys), she must hold perfectly still, eyes open and blinking ominously. I am concerned for her well-being.

On the other hand, she would be an ideal bed mate. Until you rolled over and saw her staring at you, immobile but awake.

February 23, 2010

Sarah: Tool of the Week

I am still not positive how I feel about this iPhone App, but I'm excited enough to tell you to download it:

Sleep Cycle

You plug in your phone, turn on the app, set an alarm, and place the phone, glass down, on your mattress next to your head.

Then in the morning you can see how you slept, based on how much you moved around during the night. This is very entertaining to me, as I've always secretly wanted to spend a few nights in a sleep lab, or record myself (Do I snore regularly? How much? Do I talk in my sleep? Please say yes.). Or video tape myself (not creepy. Okay, a little creepy but how much do I move? I need to know).

So. How do I sleep? If you asked me last week, I would guess that I spend an abnormal amount of time dreaming, then fall into a deep death sleep at the exact moment that I should wake up. But instead, I got this:

Disappointingly normal.
Let's see what the Sleep Cycle website says is normal. Well this is an example of a drunk person:

Wait. That looks like my sleep one day when not drunk.

And what happened here?

So far (I've only had the app for four days) I haven't noticed a significant improvement in my waking-up experience, which is supposed to be one of the perks of using this app. The first night I was more awake because I felt like I was trying to win the game of sleeping. I'll be interested to see if my sleeping changes as I become accustomed to being watched by my phone.

One other thing that's changed: I usually am almost awake/awake but not ready to get up about two hours before my alarm clock goes off. I usually will check my phone at this time, see if I have texts or emails. This app makes it so that I can't use my phone. This is probably a good habit to break, but part of me wishes that it didn't monopolize my phone all night. Though I guess it cant sense my movements if I'm playing a round of 5 am Boggle.

Moral of the story: This app is a fun distraction and my own personal sleep lab, even if it is an ineffective alarm clock.

September 17, 2009

Lisa: Tool of the Week

I'm probably going to sound really stupid on this one, but I don't care. This simple cable was enough of a revelation for me that I want to share it with any other idiots who might be in need.

What I'm talking about is a cable that has a headphone-style audio jack on one end, and RCA-style audio plugs (you know the kind, they're the red/white components of the standard red/yellow/white TV cables) on the other end. Something like this.

I have no idea where we got this handy-dandy cable, since I just found it in our cord box at a very opportune moment. It must have come free with something we bought in the past, because I had no idea it even existed until I was holding it in my hand, realizing it would be the perfect solution to our current problem.

Two ways I've used this cord in the last two weeks:

1) When we hook the laptop up to the TV to watch movies on the bigger screen, the Apple mini-DVI-to-video setup only sends the video signal to the TV (not the audio). In the past, I've had to unplug the speakers from our desktop computer, lug them up from downstairs and set them up on top of the TV cabinet, since the laptop's internal speakers aren't loud enough. This new cable allows me to feed the audio right into the TV as well, using the TV's built-in speakers that are controlled by the TV remote.

2) When Sarah and I were rehearsing a few days ago, we wanted to sing along with a background track that I have as an mp3 on my laptop and iPod. Since I don't have speakers for my iPod, and again the laptop speakers were too soft, I just plugged the iPod into the TV and used the internal TV speakers instead.

So. What seemingly obvious/inexpensive thing has made a huge difference in YOUR life lately?

May 27, 2009

Lisa: Tool of the Week (cheapo edition)

I'm sure only the most die-hard readers of our site remember when I featured Proactiv as a Tool of the Week back in aught-six. I still love Proactiv, but I've had a few problems with it that I thought warranted looking around for another option.

1) I never finished all three bottles of the set at the same time, and buying individual bottles at the mall kiosk in an attempt to even things out is insanely expensive.

2) They seem to have difficulty working out certain billing issues, which is important when their system is based on automatically deducting funds from your account and delivering the product right to your door.

3) They recently doubled the price of the regular 3-piece set, and justified the price increase by calling the same size of bottles a 2-month instead of 1-month supply.

The first imitation I tried was AcneFree, which does seem to have the same results as Proactiv. I found the textures of the products just different enough to be a little unsatisfying, though. The Proactiv cleanser is a little gritty and exfoliating, and AcneFree is not. The repair lotion is different, too--more opaque white and thin. Also, the bottles are identical in size (and design) to Proactiv, so I run into the same problem using them up unequally.

On my next trip to the skin care aisle, I decided to try Klear Action, another Proactiv clone. The slightly sketchy-looking cashier swore Klear Action works just like the real thing, and so far she's right. Plus, the set is sold with a bigger toner bottle (which should help even out the quantities) and the textures are much closer to the originals. Yay!

Both AcneFree and Klear Action are about half the price of Proactiv, and are available at my local RiteAid.

February 25, 2009

Lisa: Tool of the Week

Last week, Blake and I suddenly found ourselves in the market for a new vacuum cleaner. The Hoover we got for our wedding is now quite aged, and though it has served us well over the years, it recently stopped picking up much of anything at all. Since we now have a toddler who seems equally interested in holding up and inspecting every bit of debris she finds on the floor, and in carpeting our home with Cheerios, it's more important than ever that we have a functional vacuum.

On the strength of a glowing recommendation from E, we investigated and eventually purchased a


and so far, we love it. It's bagless, and watching that clear cylinder fill up completely with dirt, dust, and rug fuzz the first time we used it was simultaneously appalling and satisfying, in a way usually reserved for the popping of really juicy zits. Of course, it has a HEPA filter for making the air cleaner while you vacuum, but even more of a selling point than that is the attachments that actually WORK. You know that grody little line of dusty carpet at the edge of the baseboards, that the vacuum doesn't really reach? Yup. No longer a part of my life. And it may have been some kind of post-purchase-euphoria-related placebo effect, but Blake swore that the carpet even felt cleaner when he sat on it.

Some of the online reviews criticized the Bissell as being too heavy, but it doesn't seem to be any heavier than our old vacuum, so that didn't bug us. Plus, Blake does a lot of the vacuuming, and he doesn't mind lifting heavy things. It gives him a chance to flex his manly muscles.

If I had to complain about anything, it's that the Bissell is maybe a little bit too awesomely strong. It vacuumed (or at least enlarged) a small hole along a seam of our area rug--but it's nothing that can't be fixed.

Incidentally, my mom pointed out that the problem with our Hoover might be nothing more than a broken belt, and her suspicions were only strengthened when I looked at her blankly and just repeated, "Belt?" Apparently you're supposed to check and maintain these mysterious "belts" on a regular basis. Blake opened up the bottom of our old vacuum, and sure enough the belt was just hanging there, lifeless and snapped in half. I picked up a replacement at the grocery store (right next to the vacuum bags, which I've been buying for years) and we're going to fix the Hoover up and keep it downstairs. Win-win!

October 13, 2008

Lisa: Tools of the Week

Contractor Series Mini-Roller

Meredith was not kidding, this little roller is a life-changer. It completely eliminates cutting in with a brush, and makes small areas a breeze. I'll never paint without one again.

HELMER Drawer Unit

By far the most impressively designed and packed piece of IKEA furniture I have ever purchased. A pleasure to build (yeah, I said it) and a handy little set of drawers, too.

June 05, 2008

Lisa: practically zero calories

I couldn't resist these tiny 4.23-ounce Haagen-Dazs minis (with a little "spoon" inside the lid!) when I saw them on sale at Harmons for $1 each. They're the perfect size; you can eat the whole container in a satisfying way, but you get to skip the self-loathing that comes with polishing off an entire pint in a single sitting. Plus, there's the extreme cuteness factor.

Of course, I had to use a regular-size spoon for faster delivery.

December 04, 2007

Sarah: Tool of the Week

When I went to Seattle most recently, Marci and I spent some time wandering around Sephora. One thing I tried and loved was


There are many different kinds and brands, but each one blends weightlessly into your skin, making it feel even, soft, and smooth. The idea is that you put this primer on before any other makeup and it creates a smooth base. It made my skin feel amazing and glowy, and I'm so sad I was too broke to buy any.

October 30, 2007

Lisa: Tools of the Week

#1: IUD


Target didn't have the annoyingly-packaged silver Pure Pigment Shadow Stick I usually get, so I bought Molten Metal in Scene Steel-er to try instead. It is AWESOME. The packaging is totally pleasing, with a lipgloss-style foam tip applicator. You shake together two layers of clear liquid and silty pigment, and then swipe it on. It's shimmery but not too heavy, and stays on all day. I'm totally converted--no more scratching my eyelids with the plastic edge of the Shadow Stick!

October 23, 2007

Sarah: Tool of the Week

This is not exactly an original post, since I was inspired by the hilarious and delightful Mindy, she of the excellent suggestions, but I still have been edified by having


in my life.
[Note to self, that self-loathing you feel might be warranted, since you just linked to the Kraft Foods site, which seems a little shameful. Like, why not just eat a slice of plastic cheese and then chase it with a Jello JIGGLER? Dude, now that you've spent more time on their site, aren't you sort of wondering if Kraft sells any food products that are ACTUALLY MADE OF FOOD?? Ahem.]
I've cut down substantially on my Diet Coke intake recently, and these little packets have made staying hydrated much easier, as well as tricking my brain into thinking I'm indulging in a tasty sweet beverage. Mindy recommends the Raspberry Lemonade flavor, and although it is a bit more flavorful and matches my phone, it has a bit too much of that fake-sweet-fruity taste for my liking. I recommend the regular Lemonade, which is just tart enough to combat the fake sweet and just flavored enough to feel like a treat.

August 16, 2007

Sarah: Tool of the Week, a cautionary tale

Thank you,


for teaching me that all shine serums are not created equal. You smell tasty, but make my hair almost instantly greasy. You are being demoted from behind-the-mirror storage to green-tupperware-of-bathroom-products-never-to-be-seen-again. I'm sorry. It's not me, it's you.

I worried that it no longer existed, but was happy to find that the superior shine serum,


still exists. Glass makes my hair silky smooth and shiny, but without feeling product-y and greasy after I style it. A curly haired girl needs a fair amount of help to get straight hair that doesn't feel like straw, and Glass does the trick. I love you, you tiny vial of expensive magic.

Yes, I even like it better than AFTERPARTY, as plugged here.

March 13, 2007

Sarah: Tool of the Week

During these early spring days I use


An application every other day,
Takes the ghostly pallor away.

March 12, 2007

Sarah: Tool of the Week

Edited to add: If you have any interest in Vroom products, go to Target now. They're on clearance.

Although I've blamed my dirty cars on a busy schedule and an older hand-me-down vehicle, I am slowly coming to terms with the fact that I'm not a very tidy car owner. This does not mean, however, that I am incapable of improving myself. In fact, as a part of my Semester of Sacking Up (This was never officially announced, but I made a list at the beginning of this school semester of ways I wanted to improve my life. Some things have been crossed off, some I haven't yet completed.), I vowed to get my car-squalor under control. Enter:


I was attracted by the packaging and intrigued by what my dashboard might look like if not covered by a warm blanket of dust. It wasn't until later that I wondered if this earth-friendly product in the sleek container could be somehow related to Method, which is close to my heart. Why yes. It seems that it is.
I didn't even remember that LJC, who has been one of my favorite bloggers for some time, wrote about this line of products some time ago.
Sadly, it appears that Vroom's website no longer exists. I fear this may mean that the line has been discontinued. If that is the case, you should hurry to your nearest Target and snatch up the last of their products. You'll have to fight me for them, though, so be prepared to lose an eye, or at least some hair.

Oh, and without the layer of dust? My car looks much better, thanks for asking.

March 09, 2007

Lisa: Tool of the Week

Over the last 15 years or so, I've tried a lot of mascaras. Luckily, I wasn't makeup-age during the era of the colored lashes, but I've tried every tube my mom ever bought (Clinique, Arbonne, and various other high end stuff), every brand they sell at the drugstore, and some things in between.

By far, the best mascara I've ever used is...


The tube is divided in half, with one end being a whitish "lengthening primer" and the other end the black top coat. No lie, this mascara does make my lashes look significantly longer and more full. My natural eyelashes are barely average, but when I started wearing Intense XXL...

  • My mom (who historically only comments on my eye makeup to say that it makes me look like I've been crying) said my eyes looked very glamorous.

  • Defying husband stereotypes everywhere, Blake told me my lashes looked "long and luxurious."

  • A woman I was helping at the library told me I should be an EYELASH MODEL. No, really.
  • This is obviously no ordinary mascara. Try it! And tell me about your favorite beauty product in the comments!

    February 28, 2007

    Sarah: Tool of the Week

    You know what goes great with lovely waxed eyebrows?


    It goes on smooth and dark, but you have more control over the thickness and general application than with my old eyeliner.

    And no, there's nothing wrong with being ignorant to the wonders of a common beauty product until one is 22 years old. Why do you ask?

    Edited to add relevant links to past Two Loose Teeth entries.

    October 19, 2006

    Lisa: Tool(s) of the Week

    I don't find infomercials to be a particularly pleasant or effective marketing technique, but I must admit that there are some good as-seen-on-TV products out there. Especially...




    It's hard for me to admit, but Jessica Simpson and Diddy sold me on Proactiv. That ridiculousness aside, now that I've tried it, I don't think I'll ever go back to another skincare regimen. My skin is softer and clearer and more glowy than it ever has been, and new boxes magically appear on my doorstep when I need a refill. The only downside is that my purple towels now have giant pink bleached spots from the benzoyl peroxide--but it was time for new towels anyway, and I was already planning to replace them with white. Problem solved!

    It's only been a few weeks since Marci introduced me to Turbo Jam, but so far I am loving it. The routines are relatively easy to pick up, go by quickly, and leave me completely sweaty (which I figure has to be good). I can't wait for my "ripped, rock-hard abs."

    September 21, 2006

    Lisa: Tool of the Week

    Even though I've had my Powerbook for years, I never took advantage of one of its handiest tools:


    Until now, that is. My awesome new phone is also equipped with Bluetooth, which means I can wirelessly browse the files (read: self-portraits) on my phone, copy them to my computer, and post them here for you fine people to see.

    See? Everybody wins.

    August 21, 2006


    I know everyone already knows about


    but seriously. Where else can you find the Osmonds completely rocking out, Mormon-style (thanks, Heather!)? Or the worst music video ever? Or D-Bo dancing on Angel? And all on the same website?

    Thanks, YouTube, for improving my quality of life.

    August 15, 2006


    So, you know how sometimes clothes are made of spandexy material? Especially exercise clothes? And you know how when you exercise, you might sometimes sweat? If you're doing it right? Well, have you ever noticed that clothing made of spandexy material sometimes has a...stank...to it that doesn't go away with washing and just gets worse and worse the more you sweat in it? No? Well I have noticed the stank.

    Mariko noticed it too, and recommended Win detergent, which is apparently available not far from me at the Salt Lake Running Company. The thing is that my washer uses high-efficiency detergent, and besides I was hesitant to buy special expensive detergent from the expensive running store for only a few items.

    I have been unimpressed by Febreze in the past, but when I was at Harmons the other day, I couldn't help but notice a new flavor: Antimicrobial. I bought a bottle and gave it a try. No more stank! Success! And I can continue to use my regular high efficiency detergent and only target the stinky items.

    FEBREZE ANTIMICROBIAL: It Gets the Stank Out.

    P.S. I hope Sarah doesn't mind that I hijacked her category. But seriously, you should try this stuff.

    August 23, 2005

    Sarah: Tool of the Week

    Lisa and I recently watched "13 Going on 30". It's obvious that we like the chick flicks with no actual substance, and this one was cute. But there was the MOST repulsive character, who's annoying-ness was only topped by the actor himself, who we saw in the cast interviews. And so,


    is the biggest tool yet to be featured on our blog. Mr. Ball won this title without question when he told the interviewer about how this film compared to his other, larger projects. Excuse me, Sam? NO ONE KNOWS OR CARES WHO YOU ARE.

    August 19, 2005

    Sarah: Tool of the Week

    Because I have been a slacker with posting my favorite tools, this week is a double feature! My friend Mallory is a firm believer in the magical healing powers of


    and enjoys her elementary school confection while at work every day. Her only complaint is that it does not freshen her breath. Mallory, if you're reading, Keep The Backstreet Pride Alive.

    Lisa (and our fairly recent viewing of New York Minute) inspired my second tool,


    who defines "tool" in almost every way. I know Lisa still sees him as "Cute Dean," but she, unlike Mallory, can no longer keep the dream alive. Cute Dean is dead. Tool Dean with lame hair is alive and well.

    August 05, 2005

    Sarah: Tool of the Week

    I'm totally psyched about my new hair product


    that makes my hair look better than it ever has when straight. My hair is naturally really curly, but I can use this product when my hair is wet (and then blow dry and flat-iron) or dry (after I've styled it) and my hair looks smooth and healthy, almost like it's naturally straight. I'm inspired to actually do my hair more often.

    July 22, 2005

    Sarah: Tool of the Week

    My latest addition to my desk:


    for increased organization! Perfect.

    July 13, 2005

    Sarah: Tool of the Week

    This is a very special entry, because I am not only announcing the perpetually underrated


    as this week's tool (perfect for softening records for turning them into bowls, plus doesn't this make you want to create Shrinky-dinks?), but I am pleased to announce that I received a cordless drill for my birthday, an item I have long desired. Now I need only to find something to drill...

    July 07, 2005

    Sarah: Tool of the Week

    In honor of my birthday next week, I would like to compile a list of items that would be a welcome addition to my toolbox.


    and, for crafting metal and glass,


    which, since Blake thinks Lisa and I will kill ourselves, would necessitate a


    and just imagine how many things I could build if I had a


    Of course, if I receive the gifts which I ask for, I'll have to build a workshop behind my apartment building...

    June 29, 2005

    Sarah: Tool of the Week

    I think my close friends saw this one coming. Every hour that I can spare has been spent with my new and fabulous


    which is a simple way to create unique and fun gifts or accessories. I made at least ten last night, and am now filling a bowl with buttons. I suppose I will wear the ones I choose, and give others away as gift toppers (Blake and Lisa received a Kiefer Sutherland button upon their return from Europe) or party favors or just small surprises. Lisa and I have wanted a button press for ages, and NOW WE HAVE ONE! Perhaps at some point we could consider selling them. We shall see.

    June 21, 2005

    Sarah: Tool of the Week

    When you realize that you've only mopped your tile floors once in the two months you've been living in an apartment, it's a sign that you need a...


    to keep your floors looking nice. Just believe the instructions when they tell you to sweep first. Because your floors? Are dirty.

    June 17, 2005

    Sarah: Tool of the Week

    This week is a tribute to my mom, who is the clothing salesperson of the year. She rocks, and she was fun to watch a movie with while she used a...


    Mom quickly got wrinkles out of countless skirts without any iron, spray, or intense labor. Plus, she's cute, and acted like she enjoyed the Tool of the Week feature. And I didn't even know she read our site!

    June 08, 2005

    Sarah: Tool of the Week

    Before I announce this week's tool, I'd just like to bring to our readers' attention that this feature has now existed for three weeks. That is longer than most of my relationships. Its longevity surprises even myself.

    This week's tool of the week is...


    for painting frames, clips, and other accessories for your home. Yes, your stuff will look painted, not like they're actually silver or anything, but they will look better than the plywood or colored plastic that they once were. Also, having many items the same color will make them a more effective grouping. I had a bunch of picture frames that were all different colors, but once several of the cheap ones (wood and plastic, mostly gifts from high school... picture frames were somethng I never spent much money on) were painted silver, I could have a surface that was all pictures and looked very put together. Also, I painted several clothespins (that I already owned) silver and put up fishing line on a wall so that I could use the clothespins to pin up horizontal rows of small photos. I liked this look better than my old tactic of taping photos directly to the wall, but didn't have to pay anything! Having the silver frames/picture holders makes my room feel more consistent without involving any significant purchases.

    June 01, 2005

    Sarah: Tool of the Week

    By request of Lisa, and for just TOTALLY DESERVING IT, I am proud to announce that
    is the Tool of the Week.

    No project to follow. You are forbidden to make your own Carson.

    Next week: It's shiny, painless, and leaves funny outlines on your driveway...

    May 23, 2005

    Sarah: Tool of the Week

    As a new apartment renter, I'm discovering fabulous tools, appliances, and other objects as I maintain, decorate, and fix up my apartment. This week we celebrate:


    fabulous for cutting flowers shapes out of soda cans, which you then attach to "stems" (pieces of wire hangers, also cut by the tin snips) and put in a $1.00 vase. An awesome free crafty project (after the initial tin snip purchase), easy to do for any period of time. Just make sure your friends don't mind the sound of tearing aluminum.

    The details:
    After I sacrificed myself for "my art" (sic, Mallory) and drank a few cans of Diet Coke, I cut around the top and bottom, then snipped down the can length-wise so that I had a small rectangle of metal. I lightly imprinted the basic shape of my flower with the tip of a pencil. This helped me to end up with an okay shape, and also make sure I included the parts of the can that I wanted. I'd rather have the wavy colored line in the petals of my flower, rather than the nutritional information. You know what I mean. I made all of my flowers with at least two layers of metal. That way, I felt like they were a little more interesting, and looked a bit more finished. Doing so, however, makes it hard to get more than 1.5 flowers per can. Thus, my project is ongoing. A girl can only consume so much soda in one night. To attach the flowers to the stem, I punched a hole through the center of the flower with a hammer and nail, and then threaded the stem through, bending it around the hole with pliers. It's hard to explain, but perhaps I can add pictures eventually. I also made a few leaves, but I have not been able to successfully attach them to the stem. I've tried pinching them around the stem and punching a hole in them, but either way they slide to the bottom. Ideas are welcome.

    December 16, 2004

    Lisa: Trillian

    I downloaded Trillian the other day, and I have to say it is pretty cool. You can use one central program for instant messaging through AIM, ICQ, IRC, MSN (Hotmail) and Yahoo!. Also, you can sign in with more than one account at a time on each service. To make it even cooler, you can install Trillian on a network drive and then run it from any computer on the network, or on a USB key and run it from any computer you plug the key into--while maintaining all of your preferences, buddy lists, etc. Unfortunately, Trillian isn't Mac compatible--if you know of a good Mac alternative, post it in the comments. I know Sarah, for one, would be interested. (Has anyone used Adium?)

    In other Trillian news, I saw the trailer for the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie before watching National Treasure with my family the other day. My little brother and I were the only ones in the theater who clapped after the preview, and everyone in my family craned around to see who the big dorks were and give them a disapproving stare. Hey, what can I say? I think the movie has a lot of potential, and certainly has more credibility with me than a certain other book-turned-movie Jim Carrey-starring Harry Potter coattails-riding popular phenomenon. (If you know what I mean, and I think you do.)