Thursday, June 26, 2008

Today I'm In Love With...

I don't know about you, but right now I'm hating my wardrobe! With higher gas and food prices, it's hard to justify buying new clothes and shoes (unless I can make a few sales in my Etsy store that is!).'s tons of fun to look! Here's what I'm currently lusting after, mostly on Etsy.

Fun hair accessories

I've been letting my hair grow out, and now I'm ready for fun things to accessorize it! That, and just get it out of my face some days. I love all the gorgeous hair sticks available on Etsy - like this funky one (which I see is on clearance now...hmmm).

Barettes are harder to find, as I don't like lots of fuss - but this gorgeous copper one has caught my eye, and will someday be mine!

Girly Summer Clothes

As an engineer, I mostly wear sensible clothes - pants, flats, loose tops. It serves me well when crawling on the floor beneath a lab desk to hook up equipment...but it's not very fun. I miss dressing like a girl, and LOVE to wear skirts and frilly things whenever I can!

This "pillow shirt" seems like such a great compromise...casual yet girly. And this cut-out skirt could be dressed up or down as needed, yet still be feminine.
No new outfit is complete without shoes of course! I'm a huge fan of Cole Haan...I grab whatever I can find in the thrift stores, which isn't much. But what I really, really want is a pair of their Nike Air shoes for work. I'm on my feet a LOT, and would love to have shoes that look great and feel great! This pair of Jena Air pumps, for instance, would make me supremely happy. (Too bad I can't grab a pic of them!)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Why Yes, I have Been Busy

For those who have noticed a decrease in my posts (and my Etsy posts, and my blog-reading...) - yep, I've had other things to do.

First, I took some vacation time with my family. No email access. It was like cutting off some vital part of my body - yet liberating in a way too.

Part of that vacation time has involved taking time to create for my sake, and for my family's enjoyment. I did quite a bit of sketching, and even made a pendant for my mom out of a shell we plucked from the beach (plus a pearl, some copper wire, and one big cuss word when I almost broke the shell). It's been fun and liberating (yep, that word again) to simply do what feels good, and what makes people around me smile.

Now, I haven't completely slacked off - I have 3 custom bids I'm working on right now, thankfully all at different stages. I'll be sure to post pictures of those completed projects, once they reach photo stage.

Will my posting get back to normal levels? Maybe, but not for a while. I plan to keep busy, enjoy the lovely weather...and bellydance.

Yep, bellydance! I've signed up for a local community college class - once a week for 8 weeks. I have many years of dance experience - mostly ballet, and mostly pre-puberty - but still, I have high hopes of good things.

Or at least, of not being the worst dancer there. How bad can it be?

So wish me luck - and I'll sure try to share the experience with you soon!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Really?!? This is OK?

I promised myself I wouldn't dip into politics again....yet here I am. But it's only incidentially related to politics, really!

I have a cube-neighbor, we'll call him Bill. Bill is a nice gentleman in his 50s - but Bill is incredibly conservative. Bill has pictures of George W Bush up on his cube walls, as well as various propaganda items for John McCain's 2008 campaign. (He is also an ardent Yankees supporter, but we won't hold that against him)

Bill mostly keeps his opinions to himself - cube decorations not included. Mostly he does that because I'm outside Portland, OR...home of hippies, Prius's beyond count, legalized suicide, and more pot jokes than you can stand. Saying Bill's political view is unwelcome here is an Bill tends to keep his mouth shut.

Except this morning. When for 20 minutes, he took a phone call from the Republican National Committee - they were looking for campaign money.

Now, if you don't currently work in a cube farm, let me enlighten you. Those 6' fabric-covered walls give a nice illusion of privacy - but it's only an illusion. All conversations are audible to people up to 30 feet away or more.

So I and my fellow workers were "treated" to a 20 minute discussion on why he's not going to donate to the RNC because he'd rather give it to McCain directly. Said discussion also included how much he gives (on a monthly basis, he proudly mentioned several times). He also had a nice chat with the solicitor on McCain's chances on winning, and apparently both agreed that it would be a long struggle, but McCain would manage to eek it out over Obama. It was, to all intents and purposes, a 20-minute commercial for McCain.

Since when was it OK to (1) solicit people at work and (2) take that kind of call and chat WHILE AT WORK.

((Oh, and I guarantee that if I were the person on the phone with an Obama staffer...he'd have something to say to me when I was done))

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I'm back, kinda

Quickie post for me today - I'm at work for 2 days before resuming my beach vacation. hee hee

It being Oregon, the beach has been less

And more of

Ok, perhaps that's a slight exaggeration...but with highs that barely scrap 60 F, and a stiff wind from the north 99% of the time - it's been quite chilly! Still, I've enjoyed the last four days of sunburn and tidepool gazing. It's better than this anyday!

Friday, June 13, 2008

And the Winners are...

Thanks to everyone who participated in my June Giveaway!

First prize (the pink flower earrings) goes to Kat Bryan!

Consolation prizes (free ad space) go to Pampered Ponytails and Matilda Sue!

I'll be contacting the winners this space for the next great giveaway.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Giveaway Ends Today!

Be sure to leave a comment with your favorite item from my Etsy shop to enter!

Prizes so far:
Handcrafted earrings
Free Ad space on this blog!

The more entries we get, the more prizes I'll offer! If you've previously entered, YES you can enter again. (Once per day, per person please)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hypermiling 2 - The Downside

If you've read my last post on the great fuel savings that is Hypermiling...then I must tell you, there ARE down sides to it.

You will be slower. My 17 minute commute has stretched to about 25.

You will not be liked by other commuters. Especially the kind that want to gun it at every green light.

You have to be extra careful about pulling into traffic...since you are SLOW, people can fly up on you very quickly.

You will become obsessed with calculating your new MPG. This will annoy your spouse/children/in-laws.

All in all - as long as you exercise a little extra caution when driving, I still think Hypermiling is the way to go.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Hypermiling – Save Bucks!

Perhaps you’ve already heard of hypermiling – and maybe like me, you’re a bit skeptical of the claims. Some of the numbers seem crazy (30-50% mpg improvement for driving less aggressively?), and certainly some of the tactics mentioned sound suicidal or silly (turn off your engine at red lights, tailgate all the time).

So, as a scientist, I did my own hypermiling experiment at home – and yes, it really works. Best of all, you can see significant increases without doing stupid things or plunking down money! In my own little 2004 Hyundai Elantra, I went from 28.7 MPG average to 39 MPG average. That’s a 36% improvement….THIRTY SIX PERCENT. My 12.1 gallon tank used to get about 350 miles a tank…right now I’m at 370 miles and have 2 gallons of gas left.

Are you amazed yet? You should be.

Let me run some more numbers by you (with a little rounding to make life easier). At my old MPG, I needed to fill my tank every 9 days. That’s about 40.5 fill-ups a year, and at an average of $4 a gallon for gas – I’m spending $1960 a year in gas. (36.5 fill-ups x 12.1 gallons per tank x $4) Now, by increasing my MPG to almost 40, I’m stretching my fill-ups to once every 12 days. That’s only 30.5 fill-ups a year – I’ve instantly saved 10 fill-ups a year, which for my car translates to $484. And that’s assuming gas is “only” $4 a gallon! I live in Oregon, where gas is currently running $4.09 a gallon – which translates to $494 a year in savings.

$500 a year less in gas. Amazing.

So here’s the quick and easy way I’m saving gas – again, you don’t need to buy anything! Give it a try – and let me know how much you save!

1. Coast a little to start. When you first release the brake (automatic transmission only), the idle of the car will pull you forward just a bit…so let the car start rolling on its own before applying the gas.

2. Accelerate gently. Keep your RPMs around 2000, and ease your way up to speed. Think of how you would accelerate if behind a truck, and match that. Word of Caution: use common sense. If you have a short acceleration lane, or a large truck is barreling up behind you…MPG is not as important!

3. Use your cruise control. Look at your cruise control buttons – see how you have ‘accelerate’ and ‘coast’ buttons? Use them! When you set your cruise control, try using those to increase or decrease speed gradually. (Still use your brake for emergencies of course) This works best when you leave a 2+ car-length buffer zone in front of you.

4. Use your cruise control (again). Let’s say the speed limit is 60mph. Accelerate yourself up to 50mph, then set the cruise. Now use the accelerate button (pressing and releasing, not holding) to get up to that 60mph. This is a slower and smoother acceleration than you can ever do, and saves gas.

5. Don’t speed. Not only does extra speed mean extra gas…by not being the faster car on the road, you can take advantage of “drafting”. This is where faster cars pull you along slightly in their wake. (Tailgating is drafting taken to the extreme – it’s illegal and crazy, don’t do it!)

6. Coast to stops. When you see a light that is likely to turn red ahead of you, turn off the cruise/take your foot off the gas. Coasting to a stop saves gas…and really, are you in a hurry to wait at that light? The idea is to stay in motion, however slowly.

7. Put ‘er in neutral. When you do get stuck at a red light, put that transmission in neutral. It takes less energy than leaving the car in drive – but is easy to switch back when the light changes. (Much easier and faster than restarting an engine too)

Edit: Let me add that one big thing is to NOT idle as much as don't turn on the car before you are already buckled in and ready to roll, shut off the car as soon as you put it in park, and yes, turn it off while in the Starbucks drive thru. It's worth it!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Coming Monday...

Be sure to return for Monday's post...

I've increased my car's MPG from 28 to 36 - and will save about $500 a year from it. Learn how easy (and free) it is, and make it work for YOU!

(And in the meantime, be sure to check out the post below for my GIVEAWAY!)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

BLOG GIVEAWAY - Starts Today!

It's time for another giveaway! Who wants free stuff?

This giveaway is sponsored by ME - because I'm feeling generous!

First prize: Pink-n-purple flower dangle earrings
*Free US shipping too, international addresses get $2 shipping charge

When we reach 30 entries, we get

Second prize: (mystery)

When we reach 45 entries, we get

Consolation prize: FREE AD SPACE, right here on my blog, for 2 weeks!

How to enter: Visit either my Etsy Store or Custom Jewelry Site. Then, leave me a comment here on my blog - and mention your favorite item! You can enter once each day.

Earn extra entries by promoting this giveaway! Mention it on your blog - one entry! Create a forum thread on Etsy about it - one entry!

Contest ends at 9pm PST on Thursday 6/12.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Coming Soon! Another Blog Giveaway!

That's right people - I'm going to do another giveaway!

First prize wins these fun little earrings - perfect for summer!

If we get 30 entries into the contest...there will be a secondary prize too!

And....I'm even going to offer a consolation prize to the biggest loser. Free ad space on my blog!

Watch this blog for details - contest starts June 5th, ends June 12th!

Monday, June 2, 2008

The World Just Keeps Spinnin'

Today is no fun.

I'm dealing with a lovely bout of vertigo. No, I'm not watching Hitchcock's movie.

And I'm not afraid of heights either.

Instead, I have a constant feeling like the world and I are not in sync...and one of us needs to quit moving already!

I've had bouts before, so I know what what I have is just benign vertigo (BPPV), possibly linked to my occasional migraines. To quote Ah-nold, "it's not a tumor"...which I guess should make me feel better. Except it's hard to feel better when you feel seasick just sitting at your desk!

Adding insult to injury - yes, there is a medication to deal with vertigo. Dramamine. (And other Rx versions of course) So, my choices today are (1) feeling like I just got off the Spiral Rollercoaster of Death or (2) nappy time. I'm trying to split the difference - take a half dose - so I can function enough to work...but I seem to have achieved some DMZ state of staggering and drowsiness that I can only compare to heavy alcohol consumption.

I just hope HR doesn't pull me aside for a breathalyzer.