Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Visiting Cadillac Ranch

After we visited Route 66, we traveled to CadillacRanch!  I have wanted to visit Cadillac Ranch for YEARS!!!  YEARS!  I had never been to West Texas but I have heard about Cadillac Ranch and knew I wanted to visit it. 

Apparently, for years some local people have been lobbying to tear down Cadillac Ranch because it’s an eyesore (but a beautiful/cool/unique one, I say!), but the eccentric millionaire owner had always been able to stop them from tearing it down.  However, this past July the owner died and people are unsure if the fate of the famous landmark.  Just in case it is to be torn down soon, I wanted to make sure that I saw it first.  That is another reason why I decided to axe the Marfa, TX lights in favor for Cadillac Ranch.  I figure that unknown natural phenomenon’s (they think) will be there for a lot longer than man-made, spray paint covered ones.

Yes, it is just a bunch (10) of old Cadillac’s stuck in the ground, but I loved it!  I had three cans of spray paint that I had used for various craft projects, so I brought them with me.  I had heard that the local Home Depot sold more cans of spray paint than any other store in the country.  How cool is that?

We arrived at Cadillac Ranch and it was freakin’ freezin’!  I mean cold, man.  I had my new gloves and hat, but I didn’t want to wear the gloves because they might get paint on them (my fingers did, so I know I would have ruined the gloves).  Each of us was armed with a can of spray paint and went to town on painting the Cadillac’s.

There were about 20-30 people there when we arrived, ranging from kids to older adults.  The paint was so thick on the Cadillac’s!  Someone next to me found a paint chip next to me on the ground and it was at least an inch thick!  Crazy!  I can only imagine what the difference will be when they pull the Cadillac’s from the ground and you can see the front end with no paint.

After we had our fill of spray paint and the cold weather, we decided to pack it up and head on out.  We gave our cans of spray paint to other people that were walking through the gate.  I didn’t want to take it back home and some of the people didn’t have any in their hands.  Share the wealth, I say!

Right down the street from Cadillac Ranch is a RV camp that has Cadillac Ranch souvenirs ranging from t-shirts to postcards to magnets to guitar picks.  I got a Cadillac Ranch pin that I am going to make an ornament from with felt and a ribbon (or some other sort of craftiness medium).

Bucket List item #2 for the day is complete!

For more pictures of this trip, go here.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Traveling Down Route 66

We got up the next morning to a cold and chilly morning in Amarillo.  I hadn't realized that Amarillo was part of the famous Route 66 and I realized that I could check off another bucket list item!!!!!!!!!  If all went well, I could get three done in one day!

We got directions from the front desk at the hotel and headed that way.  The famous Route 66 in Amarillo is off of 6th Street and Georgia.  From I-40 you exit Georgia and take a right (or left depending where you are coming from) and went all the way to 6th Street and took a left.  There were a ton of antique shops (and tattoo parlors-weird!) on that street.  We got there around 9 am, but the stores didn’t open until 10 am (this was a Saturday-I think they open earlier on the weekdays). 

We took some pictures of the signs but we were so cold that we decided to go get some hats/gloves beforehand and then come back.  *We actually went to Cadillac Ranch next, but for the purpose of this story we will pretend we went straight back to Route 66 after we got some warm clothing items!

After we got our hats and gloves it was after 10 am and we headed back to a cute store that we saw some Route 66 items through the window.  It was an antique store but also a souvenir shop and I found a cute postcard and magnet.  I was really looking for an ornament for my tree, but I couldn't find one.  I decided just to buy a magnet and add a ribbon to it with a hot glue gun.  Simple!

Quick story:  I decided that when I travel from now on, I will buy an ornament at each place I visit or when I complete a bucket list item, I will try and buy one then too.  I don’t want one for souvenirs when other people travel, only when I travel somewhere.  Doesn't that sound like a fun tree?!

Anyway, after we went to Route 66 we visited some other cute antique shops and we almost went to get an ice cream at the place across the street but we were too cold and it wasn’t quite lunchtime yet.

Bucket list item #1 of the day completed!  Route 66 was fun!  For more pictures, go here.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Roadtrip to Amarillo

I was looking over my Bucket List the other day and noticed that I have only completed 1 BL item this year!  I am not sure if I counted “go to a professional basketball game” as last year’s or this years, but since it was NYE, I think it was 2013.

So, only one BL item this is was unacceptable!  I do have some very valid excuses as to why I didn’t do much this year, but I wanted to finish off the year with a bang.  Next, I needed to decide which ones I wanted to accomplish on my limited time and budget resources.  A road trip sounded like a good plan and I had to decide on where to go.

I have always wanted to see the mysterious Marfa, TX lights and also Cadillac Ranch.  I had never been to West Texas and I figured while I am at one of them, I might as well go to both!  I am not sure if you are familiar with Texas, but you can drive for over a day and still not get out of the Lone Star State.  Marfa, TX is about 9 hours from Houston and Amarillo, TX (home of Cadillac Ranch) is about 8 from Houston, and about 8-9 hours in between.  Once I started to do the math and called around to check on hotels, I realized that 24 hours of driving in 3 days is not very fun and we wouldn’t get to see much.

We axed Marfa, TX and decided to only do Amarillo, TX on this road trip.  Why?  Because Marfa, TX doesn’t have much to do around it in the winter and Amarillo, TX had a lot more to offer.  I want to go to Marfa, TX maybe in the summer when I can have a longer trip and head to Big Bend State Park to swim/hike/explore.  Amarillo had two (three, but I only knew of two when we changed our plans) Bucket List items that I wanted to do, so it was an easy choice.

My friend Lili and her sister came with me on the road trip.  Lili is one of my 3 single friends I have left (yes, only three).  I headed to her house early on Friday morning (about 7:30 am) for the start of the trip.  We had reserved a car and had to pick it up; otherwise we would have left a lot earlier.

We had about an 8-9 hour drive ahead of us.  We were driving through Dallas and Wichita Falls, TX.  I was watching the Travel Channel (or one of those type shows) and saw a funny story about the World’s Littlest Skyscraper that was in downtown Wichita Falls.  You can read the full story here, but basically it was a scam that is the equivalent of $2M in today’s money (or $200K back then) that happened during the oil boom of Texas.

We couldn't find it at first but then I looked online and found a picture and was able to find the building quickly.  There is an antique store there today that allows you to go inside the ‘skyscraper’ and walk up the four floors.  It was super tiny!  The stairs took up a ¼ of the room.  It was really neat though!

After the skyscraper we went to visit the Wichita Falls Waterfall that is right off the freeway.  You can go above and below it as it falls into the local river (or canal?) that runs through town.  It is man-made, but still a really pretty waterfall.

We got back on the road and found this super cute pecan shop called Valley Pecans in Chillicothe, TX.  They had excellent fudge and even pecan flavored coffee!!  So good.  They also have cute gifts and books for purchase.

That was day 1 of our road trip to Amarillo!  Stay tuned for the bucket list items!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Handmade Earring Holder

I have been meaning to get an earring holder for awhile now.  I was just going to buy one and I googled "earring holder" and saw a whole bunch of handmade ones.  I said to myself, "self, you can totally make one of those" and I did!  My PawPaw helped me make it (he cut the wire and stapled it to the back of the frame).

The entire project cost about $10 for the frame, wire, and spray paint.

Directions for How to Make an 
Easy Handmade Earring Holder

Materials Needed:
Frame (thrift shop, baby!)
Spray paint
Wire (available outside in lawn section of most hardware stores by the chicken wire)
Staple Gun
Sandpaper (optional)

1.  Take glass and art out of frame
2.  Use spray paint to paint frame in whatever color you wish.  Let dry.
3.  Cut wire to appropriate size of frame
4.  Staple wire to the back of the frame
5.  Use sandpaper to 'rough up' the paint to make a rustic feel (optional)
6.  Hang on the frame on the wall and add earrings

Use spray paint that adheres to the type of material you are using.  This one adheres to wood, plastic and metal.

With staples


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Extra Christmas $$

I have mentioned before that I have been earning extra money doing surveys and mystery shopping, but I wanted to give you a little update about how much I have made (so far) this year. (Scroll to the bottom for the final total)

Surveys from Inbox Dollars:  $57.70 (I already got a $30 check but have $3 to get the other $30 since you have to get to $30 before the payout).  As you can see in the picture below, I have gotten $3.29 from my referrals (that's you!) joining Inbox Dollars (go here to join).  Plus I am eligible for prizes, but I haven't won any of those.  There are lots of ways to earn money on IB, like surveys, paid emails (just click the button), grocery coupons (I haven't done this), games, apps, etc.

Mystery Shopping: $1,033.81 ($788.81 money earned and $245 reimbursement for things I would have bought anyway). $78.21 (plus $61.89 for reimbursements-movies and vitamins)
TrendSource:  $457 (plus 135 for reimbursements-groceries mainly) $188 (plus $20.51 for reimbursements-coffee and burgers)  $65.60 (plus $27.60 in reimbursements-gas and burgers)

Total of $1091.51 in 2014!!!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Hosting A Holiday Door Decorating Contest

I can't believe it is Christmas time already!!  Lots of people have found my blog via a search for door decorating contests.  I wanted to add a few more to my blog and also add some 'rules' for a door decorating contest that you may want to follow.  Of course, no rules, everything is game is more fun, but some work places like to have rules. :)  You can change these rules up for other door decorating contests throughout the year like Rodeo, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day, etc.

We choose volunteer judges to judge each door and gave them a small gift for judging.

This is the scoresheet that I created to tally up the scores. Each judge decides on a scale of 1-10 how many points to allot each entry.  The one with the most points, wins!

If you would like these sheets in word/excel format, please email me at steph53282 at yahoo dot com and I can send them to you.  I haven't quite figured out how to upload things and share them as a document!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Four Survey

I thought I’d round out this post with the “Four Survey” that’s been going around the blog world.  Here are my answers!  Join in!
 Four names that people call me other than my real name:
1.   Steph
2.   Sully
3.   Aunt Steppy
4.   Aunt Stephanie
Four jobs I’ve had:
1.   Childcare Center Worker (high school!)
2.   Event Analyst
3.   Accounting Assistant
4.   Accounting Coordiantor
Four movies I’ve watched more than once:
1.   Iron Jawed Angels
2.   Veronica Mars Movie
3.   Troop Beverly Hills
4.    Clueless (I had trouble coming up with a 4th one-I will have to revise this once I think about another one. LOL)
Four books I’d recommend:
1.   All the Harry Potter books!         
2.   The Crossfire Series
3.   The Lorien Legacies Series
4.   The Graceling Realm Series
Four places I’ve lived
1.   Nacogdoches, TX
2.   Abington, PA
3.   Houston, TX
4.   Dallas, TX
Four places I’ve visited:
Four places I’d rather be right now:
1.   A beach
2.   In bed, asleep
3.   Hanging with my niece and nephews/family
4.   Completing an item on my Bucket List
Four things I prefer not to eat:
1.   Cranberries
2.   Oysters
3.   Licorice
4.   Deer meat (poor Bambi!)
Four of my favorite foods:
1.   Salsa, Queso and Chips
2.   Watermelon
3.   Marshmallows
4.   Steak
Four things I’m looking forward to this year:
1.   A far away vacation
2.   Saving $
3.   Starting over
4.   Losing weight
Four things I’m always saying:
1.   Ummmm
2.   Sure
3.   Well, apparently

4.   I’m fine

Monday, December 8, 2014


On Thanksgiving afternoon we took my nieces and nephews to the park .  We were all taking turns sliding with my niece down the slide.  She was laughing and giggling, it was so cute!

Kali is very squirmy and does not like to sit still, but what 1.5 year old does?  I was sliding with her and she was squrimy and kicked out her leg.  It got caught between mine and the slide. :/  We couldn't stop because of the slide momentum and she broke her leg.  I felt so bad but everyone keeps saying it was not my fault and it was an accident.  I still feel like it was my fault. :(

Anyway, that is the back story as to why she has a cast on her leg at a year and a half.  My sister bought her cute Casttoos (cast tattoos) in the shape of candy!  My nephew broke his leg a few years ago and got Casttoos then.

They are super cute and easy to apply.  You just peel them off and use a blow dryer for 10 seconds to adhere them to the cast.

The only thing is that the images are huge for a little toddlers cast.  My sister ordered them and got the small size, but they are still overly large for a toddler.  There is a sizing chart on their website though.

You can even get them in the shape of whatever bone you broke!
Image taken from the Casttoo website

Kali is doing well with the cast, she can't walk on it but can stand up with one foot pointed like a ballerina.  She crawls around (hence the dirt on the top) with it just like before she learned to walk.  That kid doesn't let anything slow her down! :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Clarissa's 30th Birthday

One of my best friends, Clarissa, lives in Dallas and was turning 30 a few weeks ago.  Dallas is about 4 1/2 hours away from where I live and it is really far!  Clarissa had asked if I wanted to come up there and party for her 30th birthday, but I couldn't go.  I had actually made plans to go to a fish fry (what? who am I?) and didn't really want to make the long drive.  I was sad, but I send her some cookies to make up for it! Don't worry, I bought them, I didn't make them.
Yummy chocolate covered Oreo's!

Hector had called to see if I was going and I told him that I wasn't because I didn't want to drive that far and put that many miles on my car.  He said he would drive if I went with him and we could surprise her.  I thought it would be fun to surprise her, so I said yes!  I had to hurry and get dressed and packed before we left.  I don't know why I bother to be anywhere on time when it comes to Hector though, because he is NEVER on time.  EVER.  He picked me up over an hour late.  SMH.

Anyway, we were on the road and talking about stuff.   He was annoying and I wanted to strangle him by the time we made it to Dallas (in just 4 short hours).  I love Hector, he is one of my best friends, but man a 4 hour road trip with him is taxing. LOL.

We made it to Dallas and found a parking spot.  There was some sort of military ball that day and people were dressed up in evening attire. I was so jealous of their outfits!!  I need to find me a military man so I can recreate prom. :)
Leddy, Clarissa, Me and Laura. Could my hair BE any taller?!
We walked into The Library Bar and found them at a table.  Clarissa was so surprised and excited that we were there.  I am so glad that I was able to go.  Clarissa has always been there and will always do anything she can to help you.  We have been best friends since 2007 when she and I were planning Amber's baby shower together.  Man, times have changed! :)

After we got done at The Library, we went to Pete's Dueling Piano Bar and spent the rest of the night.
I think this is one of my all time favorite pictures!

Hector and I drove back the next morning after we had a late lunch with Clarissa and some other Driving Jacks alum friends of ours.  It was a fun weekend and I am very glad I was able to celebrate with Clarissa for her 30 birthday!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Rough Day

Last Monday was a rough day in my little world.  This happened:

It all started at 7 am when I woke up and took a shower.  The lights had started flickering while I was in the shower and even turned off completely at one point.  I got out of the shower thinking not much of the lights flickering because it had happened before and the maintenance said it was just a loose wire and easy to fix.  I figured I would call the maintenance later that day and tell them it was happening again.

So I was starting to heat up my breakfast of leftover chinese food (yes, I eat whatever leftovers I have for breakfast) and the microwave wouldn't turn on.  I checked to make sure it was plugged in (it was) but it wouldn't work.  About this time is when the washing machine started 'popping' with a power surge.  I ran to my neighbors house to see if anyone was home and when I got back the washing machine had started to smoke and you could see flames coming out of the bottom.

I called 911 and was told not to try to put out the fire myself and to get everyone out of the building.  I ran upstairs and was banging on my neighbors doors to get them out and everyone was coming out in the pajamas.   I had tried to call the apartment maintenance, but the line was disconnected when you try to call the emergency maintenance.  Luckily, my neighbor across the way works in the apartment office and was able to get the manager from the office.  The manager asked if everyone had been notified to get out of the apartment and I told her I got everyone out and she asked about the other side of the building.  OOPS!  I didn't even think about them.  Technically they are my neighbors and attached to my apartment, but for some reason they didn't even enter my brain to get them out.  I felt really bad, but luckily no one was hurt.

Firetrucks (about 3) and ambulances (1 or 2) started arriving.  They opened the windows and smoke started pouring out.  Luckily some very cute fireman were able to contain the damage to only the laundry room of my apartment.  There is smoke damage on my stuff, but nothing was damaged beyond repair.  Well, besides my washing machine.

On the bright side, no one was hurt and I got to see some hot fireman at 7:30 am. :)    I am just lucky that I was awake and at home during it or I wouldn't have an apartment.  I was going to stay at my parents house the night before, but decided to go home that day instead.  God kept me safe!  The fireman said that in about 10 minutes everything would have been gone.  Crazy!!!

After they got the washing machine out, they had to cut out sheet rock that was too hot.

My apartment complex is paying for the washing machine, so I didn't have to make a claim on my renters insurance.  I had to wash my clothes many times to get the smoke smell out.  The apartment complex also send someone over to clean my apartment.  I thought they were just going to clean out the soot and stuff from the laundry room and kitchen, but they cleaned the bathroom too!  Score!!!!

The important thing was that God knew what was going to happen and kept everyone safe.  I can replace stuff, but you can't replace people.  One of my biggest fears when I had Jabba was that something like this would happen and I wouldn't be home to save him.  I can't say 'luckily' that he had already passed and I didn't need to worry about him too, because oh how I miss him, but he is safe from flames in Heaven.