Archive for the 'random' Category

impulse buys

I miss the days of pre-Amazon, pre-smart phone shopping. Before we were saturated with information. Before we scanned every product with our phone. When we could pick something up just because it looked cool, rather than buying it because we’d scoured reviews, weighed all options and finally purchased from the most reasonably priced quality seller we could find.

I get anxious when making a purchase decision now. Is this the best price? Is it a high quality product? Could I do better? The opportunity cost of each purchase grows proportionally to the depth of data at our fingertips. For me, it means I often delay buying – sometimes to my detriment.

It’s not just products either. Services are the same. Yelp has created a plethora of service data – which, while informative, are all subjective and dependent upon the mood of the customer and the provider on a given day. Take my search for a lasik doctor, for example. Pre yelp days, I would have asked around, gotten a few personal recommendations, met with a few doctors, then jumped in. Now, though? It’s a different story. I gathered opinions from friends (which still holds the heaviest weight in my mind). I read about Billy Bob’s negative experience, and I file that in my head. Then I read Sally’s glowing review, and I file that away, too. Repeat. Soon, the good and the bad start the blend, and the individual reviews get a bit blurry. Here I am, a month in to the process and I haven’t been able to decide on who I should see. There are just too many options, and all have pros and cons.

For me, delaying decisions often leads to paying more in the end – and the hit stings financially and emotionally. Knowing that if I had just decided sooner, I could have saved some money just kills me. Most recently, I delayed pulling the trigger on a hotel for a trip this fall. I created a spreadsheet, compared options, weighed objective and subjective data, but just couldn’t come up with a decision. I was a click away from booking one hotel, but when I found several negative reviews I hadn’t seen before, and it stopped me in my tracks. In the end, I booked that same hotel a few weeks later, but paid $30 more per night because of the delay.

Here’s my dilemma – it’s expected that you’ll research things before making a purchase, choosing a doctor or booking a hotel. It’s a world of buyer beware, where the it’s on you to check things out before you commit. There’s no (or very few) times when you can shrug and say, “There’s no way I could have known.” That responsibility weighs on me when making these decisions. It’s taken something as simple as buying toilet paper, and turned it in to a statistical analysis – giving weight to all factors and trying to find the best option. It’s making life more complex than it used to be.

The number of options we have today is also wonderfully problematic. I watched a TED talk on choices a few months ago. It discussed how having more options can actually diminish our purchase satisfaction. So, while it’s great to have a few options, once it goes past 5 or 6, we start to feel less satisfied with our decision. I think it’s due in part to the opportunity cost that comes from the items we didn’t choose – and in part because making that decision took so much dang time. It’s just doesn’t feel worth it. The small cost savings or incremental quality increase isn’t worth the time and energy we put in to the decision itself. Multiply that process time by a whole shopping list,  and you leave the grocery store feeling rather depressed.

There’s a surprising genius behind grocery stores like Trader Joe’s. They have one or two options for most of their fresh and frozen products – organic or not. The dried goods isle gives you a bit more variety, with five or six types of sauces and various types of pasta. The dairy case has a wide range of options, but still keeps the options slimmed down to around four options for each type of item. The number of options feel manageable – easy, even. Either you like what they’re selling, or you don’t. They don’t offer 18 different options for chocolate ice cream – there’s one, maybe two. (The wine section blows away my point, but it still doesn’t feel as intimidating as the larger grocery stores.) I leave Trader Joe’s feeling satisfied with my purchases.

As with so much else in life, once again, less is more.

small details

Her death haunts me. More accurately, her life haunts me. She finds her way in to my dreams, displaced in her surroundings. She knows she shouldn’t be there, and yet, her presence defies logic.

In my dreams, small details come back to me. The smell of her perfume, the hair spray she used, the scar on her arm. Those little gems that are hidden away in my subconscious; not readily available to my waking mind.

Last night, she sat next to me at a table with all of our family at her own funeral. I cried hard, knowing I had to let her go. She just stared at me, not saying much. Her sister and parents sat at the end of the table, Ben sat to my right, she at my left. I heard her sister and father talking – uncertain whether to comfort me and wipe away my tears. They ultimately decided that this was something I had to go through on my own and let me be.

She was there, but not fully connected to us. Her makeup was caked on, perhaps reminiscent of the makeup I saw when she lay in her casket. I noticed the details – things my mind had long forgotten. When I spoke to Ben about her, we referred to her in the third person, as if she were a mannequin. I felt her scar, her hand, her arm. Everything felt so real. My dream felt so real that I was certain I was awake, and yet, in it, we talked about how I could only remember these types of details in my dream.

I walked outside the building and stare at the cemetery where she was buried. I slump down against the rough beige plaster. I see the headstones some distance away, and know that she is gone. The dream morphs from here, turning familiar surroundings in to new ones and embarking on a new story line.

I woke up sad. Sad for the things that happened in the dream, sad that my time with her was over, yet again, sad that it wasn’t real. The small moments of time I get to spend with her in my dreams are enough to keep her present in my life, even though it’s been 11 years since her death. Birthdays and holidays are hard – those were the times I could always count on seeing her at family events. My recent birthday probably put her at the front of my mind.

The fact that she was only 30 reminds me of my mortality. It frightens me that we can be gone so quickly. It reminds me of how fragile we are, and that, despite what our plans may be, life does not continue in this form indefinitely. The fact that she was a mom hits even closer to home now. Knowing how hard she must have fought to hold on for her son’s sake. Her child never having the chance to really know his mom. I know C would do fine without me, but the thought of leaving her before she is grown is crushing.

Perhaps her visits in my dreams are some form of communication from another plane of existence… or perhaps it’s just my brain trying to wrap itself around the enigma of it all.

work, work, work…

I’m still at it. Burning midnight oil to get this rusty ‘ole brain functioning again. Two years out of the rat race will do that to you. Journal entries aren’t coming as easily to me, bigger picture ideas are fuzzy, training from years past is long gone. Things are slowly falling in to place for me, fortunately, it’s just taking a little while to get warmed up again.

The whole working for myself thing (I’m an independent contractor for the company I’m working with) is an odd concept to me. I’m pretty sure I understated my rates when I started this gig; basically using the hourly rate I made when I left the workforce, plus a percent to cover self employment tax. I didn’t add any special consideration my CPA license, the hours I’ve invested in training or the years of auditing and industry experience that I bring to the table. I also didn’t adjust for the fact that I am picking up training cost and time on my own tab, the scrutiny and push back over the hours billed, or the hours I might have to eat for my own trial and error when working on a project.

Hour tracking and goals aren’t new to me. I dealt with it in public accounting; you submitted your hours based on client and task. Overages weren’t that big of a deal for me as an associate, but when I started senioring jobs, it suddenly became my budget on the line, and those extra hours my associates were putting in mattered… a lot. I never loved that part of it, but I got the reasons for it. In order for a job to be profitable, you can’t spend too much time on one project. There’s something to be said for a salaried work arrangement, especially when hour tracking isn’t critical to your role. Someone else’s budget, getting work done on your own timeline, not worrying if it’s taking you a bit longer to finish something. I guess it’s the same deal here – you end up eating hours whether you’re salaried or hourly.

I try… I really do, but sometimes I feel like my brain just doesn’t work. I’ve always considered myself to be a kinesthetic learner, as audible and visual learning never really stuck for me. I learn best by writing things down – they just don’t get in my head unless I physically write them out. It turns out there’s a whole new category of learner since I was a kid, the reading/writing preference learner, which fits me exactly. It doesn’t work well in meetings, though, to be fervently writing while someone is talking to you – head down, pen scratching, processing thoughts and ideas through your pen instead of your head. It’s not until an idea is written and read back that it sticks in my brain and I can roll around the concept. This, most assuredly, is the reason I’m in any sort of customer relations / marketing / sales job. My brain just works best when I can put things on paper. I even run in to this when working in excel. Sometimes I just have to step back and write down, on paper, what it is I’m trying to accomplish. What are the inputs? Where am I trying to get? What am I missing from the big picture?

It’s a humbling thing to be back in the accounting world. I feel “less than” my peers quite often. Ben assures me that I’m not, but, man, sometimes I just feel dumb. I guess everyone has moments of insecurity. Mine are just magnified by the fact that I haven’t had much positive reinforcement from the professional world in a very long time. It’s also tough to work for someone who seems to be “on” at all times. Something I aspire to be. My colleague picks up information from conversations that I miss. His financial statement analysis blows me away. Only a few years my senior, and yet, my skill set pales in comparison to his. Certifications, experience and a resume that far exceed my own.

I have to remind myself that life isn’t a competition… or at least it shouldn’t be. I’ll learn what I can, and expand my own skill sets and competencies, but ultimately, there will always be things that someone else is better at than me, and things that I am better at than others. It’s just how things are.  We all have our own reasons for taking the pace we do and goals that we want to accomplish in life. For me, being home with Claire was important, even if it meant putting my career on hold.
Ok, that’s it for me. Happy Friday everyone!

the no ‘poo experiment – week 2


Here I am... no 'poo and all.

Where did we leave off before? Around day 5?

Well, things only got better from there… I washed my hair as needed with baking soda & vinegar (every 2-3 days). Really, about the same frequency as washing with commercial products.

By day 9 (my job meeting day), my hair looked… well, pretty darn good. At least I don’t think it looked too bad. You can decide for yourself. I got the job, so it couldn’t have been too horrible, anyway.

Today is day 11… washed my hair this morning and I either didn’t use enough baking soda, or my hair is doing it’s balancing act, because it’s a bit limp and lifeless today (read: slightly greasy). There is one more potential reason, though. Here’s what I’ve noticed – I added some essential oils to both the baking soda (tea tree oil & vanilla) and the vinegar (pink grapefruit & vanilla). While they both smell yummy, they seem to leave my hair a bit greasier. I’ll try it again tomorrow with the plain versions and see if things improve.

Given how my hair has looked and managed over the past two weeks, my plan is to continue this low budget & environmental friendly solution! I wish I’d tried it sooner.

eating off the fat… in practice

nachos... yum

We were feeling supremely lazy tonight… neither Ben, nor I, wanted to make dinner. We actually went as far as visiting a local eating establishment to find out what the wait was. Like I said, feeling supremely lazy. Nevermind that we had a fridge, freezer and pantry full of food at home, we wanted a quick fix. No real reason other than it being Saturday night and wanting someone else to do the dishes for us.

Denied at the local BJ’s and nearing C’s bedtime, we nixed the eating out plan and headed home. Looks like dinner was up to us. *Sigh*

We visited Trader Joe’s to pick up supplies for juicing and managed to mostly stick with our list. Dinner tonight was a great example of making use of our inventory… we had a hankering for nachos, so I scoured our inventory and figured out what I could use to go toward said dinner:

- Corn tortillas (freezer) – I defrosted some, cut them in to triangles, sprayed with oil, sprinkled with salt, then broiled for 5-6 minutes to make some homemade tortilla chips.

- Shredded cheese (fridge & freezer) – ’nuff said

- Refried black beans (pantry) – these were actually opened last night, so we used up the leftovers from the fridge today.

- Pulled pork (freezer) – smoked a few weeks ago, taking up a large amount of space in the freezer (mostly due to the container size).

- Jalapenos (fridge) – this jar has been in our fridge for who knows how long. We had a “spare” in the pantry that’s now made a rotation in to the fridge, as we used the rest of the other jar tonight.

- Salsa (fridge) – we didn’t use the whole jar, but we made a dent in it. Yum.

Wishing we had more beans, sour cream and guac to go with our dish… oh, wait… we have guac in the freezer!! Yay!

As for beans, I’m making a pot tonight. We will have backups in the freezer soon enough. This is turning out to be a pretty awesome experiment.

eating off the fat

It’s become overwhelmingly obvious to me that we (as a family) have an embarrassing amount of food. No, really. Between our pantry, fridge/freezer and upright freezer, we have enough food in this house to feed a small army. It might be a strange meal of veggie stock, edamame and roasted eggplant dip, but a meal, nonetheless.

Meal planning, while great in concept, continues to be lacking in execution. I get a wild hair to make this dish, or this one, or maybe this one, and simply must have it. Even if it means the food in our pantry/fridge/freezers goes untouched.

So here’s my goal for the next week… eat from our abundant inventory of food in the house and not go to the store. This is an incredibly difficult thing for me. I LOVE going to the grocery store. Trader Joe’s is one of my and C’s favorite outings. “Want to go to Trader Joe’s?” I ask. “Go to Trader Joe’s? Get sample? Find the horse?” So sweet. I <3 that kid. We also LOVE our farmer’s market outings. It’s a great way to get fresh produce. But, to utilize the things we already own, and for the good of our pocketbook, we must abstain. The one exception I see in this “no buying” plan is getting fruits/veggies for our juice day. I guess I could stock up now, but if that’s all we end up buying in the next week, it’s a small expenditure. Or, maybe we do a smoothie day instead, using up some of the frozen fruits and veggies we already have. Hmmm… that may just work.

Think we can do it? It’s a pretty lofty goal, but I think it’s manageable. We’re working through some leftovers from last weekend and I depleted some of our freezer stock at a St. Patty’s Day party yesterday, so we’re already on our way. The things that will be more time consuming are the beans, and veggie/chicken stocks I need to make (and then freeze). I managed to buy about $25 worth of stuff at the Sprouts market here, though, so I haven’t fully hopped on the “no buying” wagon yet.

c's pantry

The rest are a matter of coming up with creative preparation. We have lots of frozen veggies, frozen fruits, some frozen meats and some carb-y stuff (which, honesty, we never eat and can probably just get rid of). Our standing pantry mainly has foods for C… lots of dried fruit, cereal, oatmeal, pastas, crackers, etc. Stuff that, for the most part, she doesn’t eat. Again, pretty astonishing how quickly food accumulates. Especially when you’re buying in bulk from Costco. We probably don’t need half of what’s in here, and yet, we hang on to it. This next week will be a great opportunity to find out what we need to keep around.

Wish us luck!

mason jar lids – revisited

About a month ago, I posted about my mason jar lids. At the time, it was a wonderful addition to my mason jar cups.

Fast forward a few weeks… frustrated with rust accumulating on the underside of my mason jar rings, I needed to find another solution. At first, I thought that I could, perhaps, just spray them with rustoleum and they would be water tight. Yes, there were flaws in my logic, and admittedly, if I’d thought this one through completely, I would have realized that spraying the insides of my rings with paint was not the smartest solution, but I digress. That clearly wasn’t the ultimate solution.

Another option out there is the cuppow lids. I love the concept and idea, but I am not paying $12 (cost + shipping) for a single lid. Not when there are other options available, at least.

Besides, I think I’ve found the new hotness in mason jar lids… ready for this?

INTRODUCING…. (drumroll, please)…

The new mason jar lid!!

new and improved!

Want on board with the latest and greatest trend? Here’s how you can make one yourself…

1. Go to your local grocery/walmart and pick up some plastic canning lids (the ones for storage, not for canning/processing).

2. Follow one of the two methods laid out below to put holes in your lids.

Because this was (once again) a matter of trial and error, I’ll tell you what not to do first.

Method #1 (the less awesome way to do this):

drill meets lid

1. Pull out your drill. Use a board or something you don’t care about to do this on top of. Figure out where you want your hole to be on the lid. Steady the lid with one hand, the drill with the other. Be VERY careful to keep your fingers away from the moving parts.

While drilling, the lid will try to spin due to the torque of the drill bit. Once you get all the way through, the lid will get a little stuck on the bit and you’ll have to ease it out. Just go slowly and be careful. This method, as I’ve stated previously, is not the best method for adding holes to your lids.

goal accomplished, holes drilled

2. Goal accomplished, but the holes were rather messy, and the danger level of this project was about 9.5 (out of 10). Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating, but I wouldn’t do it again this way. I was seriously concerned about bodily harm. Maybe I would have felt more comfortable if I had a vice grip to hold the lid in place, rather than my hand.

drilled lid

3. Ready for drinking, but this is one ugly hole. I tried to pull off the extra shavings the drill left behind, but that just ripped a larger chunk in the top. Not pretty.

Method #2 (this is the one I’d suggest trying):

lid meets soldering iron

1. Heat up your soldering iron. You want it to be good and hot before coming in to contact with your lid. Also, do this project on something you don’t care about that’s NOT flammable. We have a (tiny) black mark on our counter from where the soldering iron may have come in to brief contact with it. Oops.

If you don’t have a soldering iron, go to radio shack and buy one. They’re not that expensive. I found this one in my husband’s electrical repair kit in our garage. (shhhhh! don’t tell him I’m using his soldering iron for this… oh, wait… the jig might be up already.)

2. Once heated, push your soldering iron through your lid. I wanted my holes to be about the circumference of the base of the iron, so I pushed it all the way through. Be VERY careful while doing this. Do NOT come in to contact with your skin. Soldering irons are darn hot.

There will be a bit of melted plastic still on the iron when you pull it out. I keep a piece of cardboard handy nearby to scrape off any excess, rather than letting it burn off. Just don’t let it come in to contact for too long – cardboard will burn!!

Oh yeah, one other thing of note… melting plastic is a hazardous thing. Not good for your lungs, brain, eyes, whatever else you want to throw in there. Be like Bill, and DO NOT inhale. Or just don’t use this method at all. Please don’t do it just because I said I did. I’m not cool enough to have that kind of influence.

Here’s a tip… to get a perfect, clean hole, melt your hole from the bottom side of the lid. The extra “stuff” will be on the inside and not visible. See the picture above? The top lid was done from the bottom side, and the bottom lid was done from the top side.

perfection! hole was started on the inside of the lid.

Check out that amazingly perfect hole!!

3. This lid is ready for some action. Screw it on, stick a straw in it and suck. (Man, that sounds dirty. I swear it’s not meant to.)

Using the same scale as before, the danger level of this method still ranks around 8 (out of 10), but the fact that there are no moving parts gives me some relief. I have a healthy respect for power tools. Just be smart with the soldering iron and don’t let your husband know what you’re using his tools for. :)

And what of my old mason jar lids? All is not lost. A quick trim and they fit perfectly in my magic bullet cups. Ahh, the circle is complete. I love it when things work out so well.

the birdy lives to see another day!

the no ‘poo experiment

To be clear, I’m not talking about the #2 kind of poo… rather, no SHAMpoo. And, to really, truly be fair in my description, this should be called the “baking soda ‘poo & vinegar rinse experiment”, but now we’re getting quite technical.

I heard about this “no shampoo” idea years ago, and was intrigued. I never actually had the guts to try it, though. I just couldn’t get past the idea of a couple weeks of gross hair during the intermediary period where you’re waiting for your natural oils to take back over. The weeks after having C would have been a fantastic time to try it, given that showers were a luxury anyway, but that wasn’t a voluntary circumstance, and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the showers I did get back then, beauty products included.

Back to the point… the no shampoo idea has been around for a while. Seriously, there are so many websites about it. I’ll just link the wiki page here, and you can hit up Google for the rest. I came across the idea again while researching lotion recipes. Once again, intrigued. Considering I have a potential job meeting next week, the timing really isn’t great for this experiment, but I figured I’d give it a week and if my hair is a horrid mess by next Sunday night, I’ll go back to my old ways.

We first tried this new method on C. She has so little hair, that I figured it wouldn’t be devastating to her if it didn’t turn out well. Poor C… our little guinea pig. Her hair has been a challenge for us – any time she sleeps on it (bed, carseat or otherwise) it turns in to a nasty rats nest. The only treatment is a spray bottle with a mix of an all natural conditioner and water. It’s essentially a homemade detangler. Spray in, then comb out. It’s worked, but it would be nice if her hair was less nappy to begin with.

C's standard "wake up" hair

Well, I was pleased to report that her hair was much more manageable and less of “Russel Brand”-esque after the first baking soda wash! Subsequent “washings” gave us nice, manageable hair. I even plastered a Dora sticker on the front of her bottle of “shampoo” so she’d be excited to use it. The marketing worked – she wanted to wash her hair immediately. After seeing the positive results for C, I was convinced this was worth a shot for me, as well (I left the Dora sticker off my bottle, though).

  • Day 1 – Saturday night, after our friends left from an soiree at our home, I hopped in the shower with my baking soda & water mixture and gave it a shot. I followed it with a white vinegar and water rinse.

Some of the websites I saw mention that you should not use white vinegar (opting for apple cider instead) as a rinse, but I’ve found others that support it. The websites that say not to don’t give any good reason why I shouldn’t, so I choose to ignore their advice. Maybe they’re in cahoots with the apple cider vinegar racket. Here’s one added benefit of white vinegar;

“white vinegar is powerful enough to provide an effective solution for creating or enhancing blonde hair highlights…”
(Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/149058-uses-of-white-vinegar-for-hair/#ixzz1p3u8cOjf)

Those highlights I’ve spent mucho dinero on are looking brighter and better than ever. Who woulda thunk it!?

  • Day 2 – Sunday. This is the first time I’ve gotten a good look at my hair, as I threw it up in a ponytail wet and went to bed late Saturday night. Still damp in the morning, I combed it out again and blow dried it. Although it seemed thicker than normal, it was surprisingly easy to comb through.
  • Day 3 – Monday. My hair was still looking pretty darn good, so I skipped washing it today. Thick, full of volume, not at all greasy.
  • Day 4 – Tuesday. Still not much oil build up, but I decided it was time to give the baking soda and vinegar routine another go, just for preventative measures. Again, combed out easily and was thicker than normal. It was nice and straight today, despite the drizzly weather (which usually makes my hair quite wavy).
I think I may add some essential oils to the vinegar rinse, just to make it smell pretty. Some vanilla paired with lavender or grapefruit extract. I’ve also seen suggestions of steeping some nice smelling herbal tea in with the mixture.

I’ll update again as the week progresses. So far, so good. I wish I tried this sooner!

My next experiment? I love this homemade deodorant recipe… I’m thinking this one is probably best to try out in the winter time. :)

Ack! What happened to my ponies?!?

After finding a stash of My Little Ponies dolls from when I was a kid, C became very interested in watching the video (after we told her about the show). A quick google search sent us to Hasbro’s webpage, where we found… this.

Someone please tell me, how did My Little Pony go…

from this (1980′s version)… sweet & lovely, the original My Little Ponies

to this (1990′s version)… Not terrible, just a slight makeover. I can handle this.

To THIS (2012 version)?!?! Who are you and what have you done with my ponies?!?

What happened to the sweet, innocent ponies I used to know and love? What was so terrible that they needed such a dramatic overhaul?

The first revision isn’t too drastic – they shined and sleeked the ponies up a bit. Not that they needed it, but essentially gave them a makeover and put them on a low carb diet. The latest version, though? That was fully blown plastic surgery. Hey Pinkie Pie, drop another 20 lbs. Scootaloo? Lose that curl. All of you… your eyes need to be at least 50% larger. Maybe this is all a plan to make the original dolls obsolete so they can sell more toys. There’s no way my old school ponies are passing for these new ones. They could maybe get by as distant cousins… maybe.

For now, we’ll be searching out “vintage” My Little Pony episodes to share with C. Maybe I’m getting old, but these new fangled MLP’s are just too much change for me.

(this post was far more exciting with photos, and even though it would most likely fall under the review/criticism/comment section of “fair use” copyright laws, I opted for links instead. click on the links above to see the photos I’m talking about)

butcher block counter tops – convince me, please

We’ve been toying with the idea of a kitchen remodel. We’re stuck in our house for at least another five years, thanks to the california real estate market, so we’re taking a look around to figure out what we might want to change. The kitchen is a big one. As are the bathrooms. But, for today, we’re focusing on the kitchen.

The overhead lights are atrocious, but not a main concern. They should be easy enough to change. Perhaps inset lights instead. A microwave hood above the stove would also be nice.

The main issue is the upper cabinets. To start, there is a large purposeless gap at the top, which, aside from the cool retro nineties back lighting, is largely wasted space. I’ve thrown a few things up there where I can, but it looks messy and I’d love for this space to usable for storage. Cabinets up to the ceiling would be fantastic.

our upper cabinets - complete with lots of wasted space!

Next, the cabinet shelves are around 12 inches high. And the depth is about the same. Larger items just don’t fit. Cereal boxes? Forget it. We had to add a separate pantry (thanks, Ikea) to store most of our food. Ben and I are in agreement that the upper cabinets need to be reworked. Style, color, wood are still in negotiation.

ikea cabinet - our food pantry (ignore the christmas cards still up on the side... i'm way behind in taking them down)

The lower cabinets aren’t fantastic for space, but they are much taller and deeper than the upper ones. If we had more space above, I’d care less about the wasted space below. They’re workable, if you don’t mind crawling in the back of dark cabinets to find the pot or pitcher you use once a year. (here’s a great alternative to crawling in to dark corners!)

We both despise our counter tops. I’m not sure what material they’re made of, but they’re very porous. They stain easily and the slightest brush of metal scratches them (doesn’t matter what kind – tinfoil, stainless steel, whatever). The stains and scratches come out with bleach and aggressive scrubbing. We agree that the counters have to go.

Here’s the main difference of opinion we’re having – what do we replace the counters with? Ben loves the look of butcher block. I’ve never been a big fan. Recently though, I’ve seen it done really nicely, and I’m starting to sway. For example, I like the look of the dark stained butcher block with contrasting white cabinets.

I’d love to be convinced that they are, in fact, wonderful. But I still have hesitations. And I just don’t see what’s so great about them. For example, do you actually cut on the counter tops? Or are they just for looks? If you do cut on them, doesn’t that mess up your counters? How well do they age? What’s required for maintenance?

To all you butcher block lovers out there, tell me what’s so fantastic about them? Sell me on them, please. I’m all ears.



Mom to "C", wife to Ben. I'm a part-time blogger, cook, organizer, seamstress, house cleaner, taxi, nurse (the mom kind), accountant... I could go on, but really... it's all in the blog. Read away!

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