Adventures in home ownership: caulking edition.
One of the first things I noticed upon moving here last year was the tub/shower surround was in need of nee caulking. I let it go as being good enough for the time being. Over the course of the past year and a half-ish since then, when I would clean the tub I would notice small bits of the old caulking coming off. On the most recent cleaning however, that changed. Instead of a couple smaller bits coming off in the cleaning process, lots of the caulking came off. Enough I knew I absolutely had to get it dealt with right away.
So this morning when I was out running errands, I grabbed a tube of caulk, a caulk gun, and a pack of caulking tools (one to remove the old stuff, and one to finish the new stuff). Well my first attempt was a disaster in the most Leah-like of ways. As in I had to go back to the store for another gun and more caulk. I had already begun the removal process of the old caulk, so I HAD to finish the job I had started. I decided to grab two tubes this time as I was doubting whether one was enough or not.
Upon returning home after my third (sigh) outing for the day I proceeded to work on removing the old caulk, cleaning and drying the areas as best I could, and getting the new caulk in place. After the first disaster I was nervous but turns out once you actually know what the hell you’re doing, it is not a terribly difficult process.
I am concerned about one particular area I just could not seem to get dried well enough – I’m afraid that means there is water damage behind the surround in that spot already. But I couldn’t worry about it too much for now. I just did the best I could and will have to hope for the best as far as that area is concerned.
Task completed, I’m pleased with my work. It is an imperfect job to be sure. But it looks much better than it had, and considering I didn’t really know exactly what I was doing I think I did a pretty darned good job.
Now I just have to wait for the caulk to dry enough I can use my shower again. I think that will be the most difficult part of the process.
It’s a small thing, perhaps. But for me this is a big accomplishment. I’m not great with home repair stuff.
Until next time. xoxo
Just a random list of some of my favorite things from this year.
Aerin Hibiscus Palm parfum – I only have a tiny sample bottle as this is ridiculously expensive and I could never ever justify purchasing any size of it, but it smells amazing.
Victoria’s Secret Love Spell Lace – I have body lotion and body spray in this fragrance. Absolutely love it!
Skin So Soft Radiant Glow Illuminating Dry Oil Mist – I’m a huge fan of Avon’s Skin So Soft line of body care products. This combines said love with my love of glitter. 💖
LipSense lip colors/glosses – duh, we all know I am obsessed with LipSense in general! My favorite shades lately have been Nude Pink*, Cappuccino, and Sugar Plum*. They are each lovely, soft shades perfect for the more subtle makeup I like to wear. * – these shades were limited edition colors that may or may not still be available at the time this post is published.
Bissell PowerFresh steam mop – I talked myself out of buying this for well over a year before I finally decided to go for it. My only regret is the fact I did that! This thing is amazing and I absolutely love it! Mopping the floors has always been one of my least favorite chores but with this steam mop it is fast and easy to do and I don’t mind it one bit. Worth every single hard earned penny for sure!
Dash compact air fryer – My dad got this for me, and it has seen a lot of use over the handful of months I’ve had it. Despite the name it doesn’t really fry food. It’s more like a tiny countertop convection oven. It’s perfect for a lot of things though, the size is ideal for just one person, and it was available in a color that goes with my other appliances.
Mason jar look salt and pepper shakers – another gift from my sweet dad because he spotted them and they are “my color”! I love mason jars so mason jar inspired things like this are right up my alley. I only wish these were actual little mason jars with twist off tops to fill them. But they are of the variety you have to flip over and pull a small plastic plug out of the bottom to fill them.
Crystal Visions Tarot deck by Jennifer Galasso – I love this deck! The artwork is beautiful, and I seem to have a natural connection with the deck. I love that the back of the cards is designed in a way that you do not immediately know if the card is in upright or reversed position (so no “cheating” in how you flip them over to see the card). My one complaint lies in the book that comes with the deck. The book should provide a message/general insight into what the card means and for some of the cards it does but most of them just give a description of the artwork for the card. If you are familiar with tarot this isn’t going to be much of an issue, and reading is often more intuitive than “by the book” anyway. But it is nice to have a quick reference as a refresher of what the cards traditionally represent, and that information is essential for beginners. The book also only offers up one spread. Again, not necessarily a big deal to someone who already has some tarot experience but for beginners it would be nice if several spreads – along with what they are best suited for – were included.
Tal water bottle – This is one of those spiffy bottles that keeps hot drinks hot for up to 12 hours and cold drinks cold for up to 24 hours. One of the prettiest such bottles I ever did see. 😁 They’re pretty durable too. I’ve dropped mine more times than I can count and while it has some dents to prove it, it still functions just fine.
Castello Del Poggio Moscato – I hate wine. I want to love wine. I feel like as an adult human female, I should love wine. But with one exception (a specific apple wine my brother had at his place several years ago for Christmas or Thanksgiving, from a local winery) I’ve hated every single one I ever tried. I decided to talk to the guy who is in charge of the wine where I work, asking specifically about the sweetest of the sweet wines he has available. He recommended this one and happened to have a bottle open for sampling. It’s actually pretty good. Not fantastic – not best wine ever territory. But good enough I have since bought a handful of bottles to enjoy. They also offer a rosé which I tried and it is also pretty darned good. Not sure which of the two I would peg as better than the other; I think they’re about equal.
Kleenex Wet Wipes – Maybe not a total must-have item, but I love these things. They are especially nice if you are, oh, I dunno… maybe a cake decorator who needs to wipe icing/air brush spray from their face/hands/arms on lunch break or after work before starting the drive home. They are also nice to have if you have a cold or sinus infection or such. They are a little more gentle on a sore nose that has been blown/wiped five hundred times in a day thanks to being sick, than a traditional dry Kleenex. (Note these are not flushable wipes y’all.)
Simply Fit Board – I’ll be the first to admit I do not use this as often as I ought to. But I do make sure I use it for at least 15 minutes, two or three times a week. I like that it is simple, yet challenging at once.
Well, that is twelve items and I suppose for a year-end list of favorites that is a good number to stop at.
What are some of the products you’ve loved this past year, whether new or old?
It is getting way too cold for my liking. But then, it is nearly winter. It was 26° F (-3° C) this morning when I took the girls out to potty. I didn’t bother looking at the thermometer I have in the kitchen that tells me the temperature inside. I know it was under 50° F as it only managed to creep up to 48° F yesterday at the warmest point of the day.
I don’t care about finishing the work that needs done on the house for many many reasons. But a good deal of the work would help seal things up to make the heating and cooling at least a little more efficient and effective. I’m going to have to try to get some stuff done, I guess. I don’t like where I live at all and the ultimate goal is a cozy house in the country with plenty of acreage for some horses and chickens and sheep and bunnies… but for now I’m in the hood and it would be nice to not freeze every winter. To not have to wear layers and my jacket in the house while trying to cook and clean. I need to pick a room, figure out what supplies are needed, and start adding them to my list when I go shopping. Then figure out how the hell to actually do what needs done.
Until next time.
Years ago, I experimented and made batch after batch of brownies till I came up with brownies that I felt were amazing. My tastes have since changed, however, and my carefully crafted recipe is no longer suitable.
I’ve been tweaking the recipe to try to get something more to my liking now. I still have not quite gotten it worked out to be something really awesome, but it is at a point where it is pretty good, and the results are consistent. It yields a rich, dense, chewy; fudgy brownie. It also uses cocoa powder. Most brownie recipes use chocolate chips – and yes I love the way brownies turn out when made with chocolate chips. (Those recipes are far superior, honestly!) Though I do a fair bit of baking, chocolate chips are just not one of the things I often keep on hand. Cocoa powder, however, I do usually have on hand. Thus this recipe was created all those years ago to use cocoa powder so I could have a recipe that is reliable for times I do not have chocolate chips on hand. (And yes, I’ll share my favorite chocolate chip based brownie recipe at some point in the future.)
I like my brownies a little thinner than most, because they bake a bit more quickly that way and we all know patience is not something I possess much of. I bake them in a 9 x 13 pan, but you can certainly bake them in an 8 inch square pan for thicker brownies if you prefer.
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1-3/4 c granulated sugar
3/4 c cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 c all-purpose flour
Place oven rack in lower third of oven and pre-heat to 325°F.
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add sugar, cocoa, and salt and stir till well combined and warmed through.
Stir in vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one.
When batter looks thick and shiny, add flour and stir till well incorporated then beat with a wooden spoon forty to fifty strokes. You can also use an electric mixer, mixing on a low/medium speed for about 20-30 seconds. The batter will be very thick.
Spread evenly in a parchment-lined and greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake for 17-20 minutes. A shorter bake time will yield a more gooey brownie while baking longer will have a less gooey, fudgy result. You can also bake this in a 8-inch square pan for thicker brownies – increase the baking time by several minutes if you do this.
Your serving options are up to you: plain, iced with your favorite icing, dusted with powdered sugar, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of hot fudge sauce… however you like your brownies!