February 25, 2012

I am Not a Witch- Campaign Furniture DIY

I am not a witch.

Political jokes aside, I am also not "crafty." (Some background on my lame joke: my roommate is very artsy and crafts-y, but she thinks when people tell her she's crafty, it sounds like she's a witch. Ha ha.)

But I am thrifty (and maybe also cheap?). And lately, I've been seeing all sorts of DIY websites and blogs online with regard to home decor and crafts and things. So... after miraculously coming across my new (to me) desk and dresser for my new room, I took to the Internets for inspiration. I came across some surprising information. Apparently, this style of furniture is called "campaign furniture." (So fitting, no? :) ) And... it's worth some monies. According to Nifty Thrifty, this stuff sells online for  $a lot (!!) and is undervalued by Craigslist sellers. Look how CRAZY the price is for THIS dresser!!

My set started out royal blue and looked like this:

Perfect color for a 7-year old boy, but certainly not for me!

I started sanding/taping/painting the day I got the furniture but didn't have enough time to finish. I made the mistake of buying the cheapie spray paint from Walmart (Don't buy it! It did NOT work!), and I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong... Luckily, my roommate and her boyfriend are pretty crafty people, and they saved me with better paint (courtesy of our local hardware store. Support your local, small businesses, peeps!) and sound advice.

Unfortunately, since I'm sort of juggling three jobs + school + you know, normal life stuff right now, I didn't get a chance to finish this project 'til the night before I moved. I stayed up 'til 3am painting and taping and such, and let me tell you, it's really hard to see what you're doing when you're painting outside by moonlight.

Some "during" shots:

I stood them up this way, because it was easier for me tor spray paint them horizontally.

Dry drawers + touchups the next morning

I may or may not have finished painting these a few hours before moving.

All the blue = spots I missed while painting at 3am.

Now they look like this:

Not done fixing my room, but at least the furniture is all in here!

Ooops! I forgot to put back one of the desk drawers. Heh.

Not perfect, but better than before. I'm actually quite pleased with how they turned out. Not too bad for my first attempt at being "crafty," eh?

Lessons learned from this project: 
  1. Don't buy the cheap spray paint.
  2. When attempting crafty things, having friends who are already crafty is extremely important!
  3. Buying spray paint from your local hardware store = good for everyone.
  4. Spray paint goes on better if the surface is horizontal, rather than vertical (ie- I had to turn the dresser on its side in order to spray paint the sides flat.)
  5. If can do something crafty, ANYONE can! Maybe one day when I actually have "spare time," I'll do some other "crafty" things. :)
For some more campaign furniture DIY's, click here, here, here, and here. To turn your Ikea "cheapies" (Ikea is expensive, y'all!!) into "campaigners," click here.

And to learn more about the history and current "trendiness" of this style of furniture, click here.

February 23, 2012

My Baby Brother is Going on a Mission!

My baby brother is going on a mission!! In our church, young men serve missions for 24 months . Young ladies who choose to serve are assigned for 18 months. (My philosophy is that we complete in 18 months what the men take 24 months to do. Not sure if that's really the reason for the difference in time length... Heh heh.) He opened his mission call last night, and he will be assigned to labor in the




starting July 5th!

How did he go from this:

to this:

(Yes, I got him tickets to a Utah game AND field passes for his b-day! Am I the best big sister ever or what?!)

and now soon to THIS?!

I'm proud of you, BB! I'm excited for all of your adventures.


My mission was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, and I hope you will love yours as much as I loved mine.

1 BB down, 2 more BB's to go... :)

February 22, 2012

Signs of God's Love

Lately, I've sure been feeling the love from the Lord. A few signs of said love:

1- This weekend, I moved into a new apartment. And my room is teensy. My desk at my old house? Not so teensy. Two weeks ago, I was panicked thinking, how am I going to fit this desk? I need a desk. I need a smaller desk. How am I going to afford a smaller desk?? Gah!! It occurred to me that Craigslist has a free section. I  immediately hopped online, and just a few minutes prior, someone had posted a free child's desk and dresser. Naturally, I thought- child's desk = small! I'm small! This could work! I e-mailed right away and got the set! I couldn't believe it! God takes the time to look out for even the minutiae of my life! And guess what? I then went on to find out that these desks are apparently worth something. (Details to come in a future post.)

2- Answering my prayers about where to live. I was sitting in Spanish institute at some point in January, and while I sat there, thinking about the power of the Book of Mormon in my life, I had the distinct impression that I should stay in Maryland. Not just in the boundaries of the DC 2nd ward (I'd originally been looking for housing in the District closer to school), but in Maryland, specifically. Answers to prayers = signs of God's love! Within a few days of said prompting, I found a private room in my price range. 

3- Last week was cold, and snowy, and wet, and cold... but move-in day... The day God knew I needed it to NOT be cold, and snowy, and wet, and cold again... it was SUNNY, and BEAUTIFUL, and WARM (as in, short sleeves!).

4- If you know me, you know I hate asking for help. I hate bothering people, and maybe... something about pride? Anyway, here I was, planning to move, but I didn't want to ask anyone for help. I am blessed with dear friends who offered to help me pack and move (Karly, Caitlin, April, Myles, I'm lookin' at YOU!). Thank you for asking me if I needed help. You have no idea how much that meant to me... And Brett, you're superman! (No, really. He can move anything!) You saved the day! A special shout-out to Eve for helping me move my desk and clean the fridge and to Tim for helping me move the new desk/dresser in the first place.

5- Last Tuesday (ie- Valentine's Day), I was in the shower, thinking about HOW in the world I was going to find TIME last week in between my three jobs (yes, I have three jobs right now... But only for now.) and school to 1- pack, 2- clean, 3-move, 4- sand/paint/finish fixing my new desk and dresser??!?!! When I got to work that morning, I had an e-mail from my visiting teacher. Did I need any help with the moving/packing, she wanted to know? God was once again looking out for me through my visiting teacher! Thanks to Leanne for the offers of help (and for even remembering that I was moving, even though it's been a month since I told her) and to Molly for getting me the moving boxes.

This post is now much longer than originally intended, but my point is that God shows His love for us in the details of our lives, and I'm sure thankful for it! He loves YOU, too, and He shows it to you every day. Are you looking for it?

February 17, 2012

So You Want to Work on Campaigns?

Why, yes I do! I am excited to share with you all (ie- the three people who love me who actually read this.) that I'm officially the new Director of Hispanic Outreach for a U.S. Congressional race in Maryland! To give you a taste of what I'll be doing as a campaign worker, I recorded this little video:

(J/K. I didn't record this. It's been making its way 'round the Internets, and I'm just sharing what someone else so creatively put together. I wish I had a source to cite... If anyone knows, please message me, so I can give proper credit!)

Basically, my life is about to get a whole lot crazier (is that possible?) and a whole lot poor-er (*Note: I'm aware that's not a real word.). Instead of working at one full-time, private sector job with things like health insurance, metro benefits, etc., I'll be working TWO jobs: my new campaign job and a Science/STEM education policy job at a non-profit organization with Groupon as my health insurance and Ramen as my breakfast/lunch/dinner. I can't wait! :) Oh, and I'm moving to a new apartment this weekend with (gasp) my own room! Huzzah!

February 15, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day + Blogs I Like to Read

Today was Valentine's Day. It was a pretty good day, albeit CUH-RAY-ZEE busy! I had a 10-page paper due today that I am happy to announce I finally finished! Here's hoping for a good grade on it. I also enjoyed a splendid Valentine's lunch with Stephanie and Caitlin at the Well-Dressed Burrito. It's this hole-in-the-wall place in a back alley in Dupont Circle. (No, really. It's in an alley, and you have to go in through an unmarked side door...) We didn't take any pictures (why, girls, why??), but we had a good time. I will say, though, that I've been a little let down with this place. Usually, the hole-in-the-wall joints have the best food, but this one... meh. I'll take Chipotle or Baja, please. And what I really mean by that is... Adorable little ladies of Oakland who fed me real Mexican food, where art thou?? And why doesn't DC have taco trucks on every corner? Tell me this!

In other news.... I'm officially a blogger for Voto Latino! Here is the link to my very first article!

Unrelated: in celebration of Valentine's Day, I'll share this adorable video from The Girls With Glasses with all y'all. I just love their style and their little videos. Part of why I liked this one is because Danny and Mara Kofoed are in it. I've been following their blog for a couple of months now, and I have to tell you, it's pretty great. But this little video was kinda crazy, because woah! Multiple bloggers that I love interacting! Worlds colliding! And shoot, why in the world can't I look that good with a head scarf casually tied around my hair?? So not fair.

While I'm telling you about all of this, let me share with you some of my other favorite blogs. Caitlin and I have a favorite of favorites one: Nat the Fat Rat. If you've never read her blog, check it out here. She'll be your new bff. (Or at least you'll feel like she is, y'creeper!) I also like Rockstar Diaries, and I occasionally peruse A Beautiful Mess. Oh, and if you ever need a good laugh, this one is hilarious!

***PS I meant to post this yesterday (ON Valentine's Day), but apparently I hit "Save" instead of "Publish?" Whoops! I'm happy to report that I got that 10-pager back, and... I got an A!! It's a miracle!! And serious proof that God loves me, because I started the paper at midnight the night before. (Shhh! It's a secret!)

To make up for the belatedness, here is an amazing link Caitlin sent me yesterday of "DC Valentines." Trust me when I say you want to click on it!

February 13, 2012

The Political Musings of 17-Year Old Me

I'm working on a blog post right now for a non-partisan political non-profit (details to come!), and in doing my research, I had flashbacks to an article I wrote for the TX. section of the Standard-Examiner (my home newspaper) ten years ago (YIKES!! SO long ago!) about youth involvement in local government. (TX. was the weekly teen section.) Thanks to the help of my amazing friend Chris, I was able to access my article via the Weber County Library archives, thereby avoiding the $2.95 fee to access each of my articles on the Standard's website. I found the article I was looking for and thought I'd share it with all y'all on this here blog. This was one of two articles for which I received negative reader feedback that year (The other one was the April Fool's article I wrote about a fake Justin/Britney break-up! Oh, gosh, I'll have to dig that one up to share some time. Perhaps for April Fool's 2012?). There was even a letter to the editor written about this lil' article!

Anyway... I hope you enjoy these thoughts from the politically fired-up 17-year old me. For the record, 27-year old me still agrees with everything I wrote about the importance of young people being involved in local government. And I 100% support my points about the need for elected officials to listen to everyone's feedback, regardless of voting status. Happy reading! Let me know what you think. :o)

Teens have a voice in issues - By YÁNDARY ZAVALA - TX. Bonneville High School

Standard-Examiner (Ogden, UT) - Monday, January 7, 2002

As a resident of my community, I believe I have the right to be involved with my local government, for the simple reason that I live here. The fact that I am "just a kid" and not old enough to vote should not affect how I am treated or how others respond to my views. 

But apparently, some people do not agree with me. 

As youth mayor of Riverdale's City Youth Government, I try to be involved with what goes on in my city. One of our youth government projects is hosting a "Meet the Candidate Night" every election year. Here, citizens ask candidates about topics they feel are important to the city. 

During the recent elections, building a senior citizen center in Riverdale was a big issue. A lot of the mayoral and council candidates said they supported the construction of a separate senior facility, but I personally felt an entire new facility was not needed. Senior programs, yes, but these could easily be implemented in existing buildings. 

Since most of the candidates' views were opposed to mine, I ventured to speak to several of them individually. I expected to be treated like any other serious citizen, but unfortunately, this was not the case. 

All of the candidates I spoke to laughed as they listened to my remarks, and one of them even ventured to say to me, "Even though you don't vote, I'll still listen to you." 

Even though I don't vote? Why should the fact that I'm not old enough to vote yet affect how my opinions are treated? Everyone, regardless of voting status, should be able to express his or her views regarding what goes on in his or her city. Although it was good that this candidate listened to me, he seems to have forgotten that youths' needs and concerns matter also, not just the concerns of older voters. 

Julia Meldrum, a Bonneville High senior and a youth adviser to the Riverdale youth government, says, "Through my interest and involvement, I know more about aspects of Riverdale than some here do. I feel that I have ideas and opinions that are more educated than a few of the "voters" of the city." 

Adults and elected officials should remember even though teens are younger, we aren't stupid. Those of us who are involved in city organizations are especially aware of what's happening in our city. 

Meldrum believes if elected officials don't listen to the youth, they are neglecting one of their most important responsibilities -- us. If officials ignore the younger generation, many teens will be discouraged from pursuing future leadership roles. But the officials will also jeopardize their own future. 

Yándary Zavala, a senior at Bonneville High School, plays the violin and viola. Her favorite quote is: "Welcome the task that takes you beyond yourself." She welcomes e-mail at ykarina60@hotmail.com.

February 08, 2012

Let's Move!

Tonight, I want to tell you something you may not have known about First Lady Michelle Obama: she is one fit gal! And she wants the children of America to be active, too. Her Let's Move! initiative is about to turn two years old (woah, that's as long as I've been in DC!), and in honor of that milestone, I wanted to blog a little about it.

(Image credit: Zimbio. April 20, 2010. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images North America)

Did you know that today, 33% of American children are either overweight or obese? And it's even worse for minorities: 40% of African American or Hispanic kids are overweight or obese. If these kids and their parents/mentors/educators don't help them make lifestyle changes, these children will have to deal with obesity-related problems such as diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure later in life. The goal of Let's Move is to "solve the problem of childhood obesity within a generation, so that children born today will grow up healthier and able to pursue their dreams." Let's Move combines healthy eating with increased physical activity to encourage healthy lifestyles for children (and I daresay for adults, too) all across the U.S.

Now back to my point about FLOTUS's fitness. (FLOTUS = First Lady of the United States, fyi.) If you don't want to take my word for it, watch her in a push-up challenge with Ellen DeGeneres here. And watch her beat Jimmy Fallon in a fitness contest at the White House here. (Spoiler alert: she wins both!)

After watching these two videos, I have two thoughts: 1- I don't ever want to get in any sort of fight with FLOTUS. 2- I should probably at least do my 30-minute yoga routine before bed. (And something about those cookies I ate for dinner after the Temple tonight...) So, guy's, let's move! How do you move?

February 07, 2012

Homework Haikus


Homework every day.
I work, work, work and don’t play.
But sometimes, I blog.


Paper due today.
Can't wrap my head around this.
Time is running out.

(No, but really. Class is in an hour and a half!)

February 06, 2012

Bullet Points

The truth is... I don't have time to form cohesive thoughts into one post, so... I'll share a few things with you in bullet points:

  • This may or may not add value to your week, but... I'm in an egg phase. (I like mine over medium right now.) This makes me sad, because it probably means that in a week or two, I wont' be able to even look at an egg. Do you ever go through food phases? I do. But then I get sick of that particular food and can't eat again for a while. It's been months  since I could eat a sandwich or had any desire for one...
  • My baby brother was ordained an elder yesterday. He's preparing to serve a two-year mission for our church, and I'm so proud of him! I hope he sees the potential I see in him. He'll be the second one to serve; I was the first (see picture below)! I keep telling him how lucky he is to have me in his life to set the way and such. Wouldn't you agree? (Kidding!) 

Me, in my missionary days, overlooking the Bay area from the
balcony of the Oakland Temple

  • I find it terribly ironic/frustrating that I spent 18 months studying, reading, and re-reading the 8th chapter of "Preach My Gospel" on my mission. (It's entitled "How to Use Time Wisely.") I have yet to master this, and that makes me sad (and often, quite tired).
  • I have my car back, and I'm SO grateful for it! I say a prayer of gratitude for it every day.
  • I learned this week (twice) that when in doubt... Listen to your mom. Had I listened to my mother about a couple of things this week, I would have saved my self needless trouble and heartache.
  • Sometimes, it's hard to be a Mormon Democrat. But what do you do when you know you're not a Republican? I wish there were a viable third option. Or that "independent" actually meant something. Blasted two-party system...
  • Decisions are hard. The only one that ever came clearly to me (as in, 100% crystal) was serving a mission. I'm in a decision-making phase right now, and, dangitt, it's hard.
  • When making decisions, I process, evaluate, research, gather information (mostly through discussing with Mom, Dad, friends, and relevant peoples), read the scriptures, and pray. This is a beautiful talk on prayer that also happens to be this month's First Presidency message. Reading it made me feel overwhelming gratitude for a Father in Heaven who is aware of my need and who always, always, 100% always answers my prayers.
Those are all the rambling thoughts I can muster right now. Happy start of your week!

February 03, 2012

When Justin Bieber DIDN'T come to DC...

I work a half mile from the White House, and every now and again, everything shuts down on our street to make way for President Obama's motorcade. This morning was one such morning. I got off the metro and realized the road was completely blocked off. Cop cars on every corner, police officers on foot up and down the street, trafficked backed up at the cross streets, like so:

Empty street

Same street

It was pretty obvious that it was the President, but I asked a police officer anyway if he knew why the street was blocked off. His response: "Yeah, Justin Bieber is coming." 

Can you believe it?! The nerve of that officer... Surely there was no need for such sarcasm! I rolled my eyes, mumbled the most sarcastic "OK..." I could muster, and crossed the street to my building...

where I ran up the stairs and made it to the 11th floor window just in time to see this:

Presidential motorcade! I heart DC!

It was NOT Justin Bieber. 

P.S. In more significant news, my friend Cindy's 6-month old baby boy, ISAAC, had open-heart surgery today (on Cindy's 25th birthday, no less). Prayers for them, please.

Also, congrats to my cousin, Evelyn, who gave birth to her 4th baby, ALYNA EVE, today. Isn't she beautiful?!

My cousin Alicia, holding Baby Alyna. Today was also Alicia's birthday. :)

Happy birthday, Cindy, Alicia, and Alyna!! And all my best wishes for Isaac!

February 01, 2012

Time Out

Tonight, I took a much-needed time out with my friend Camille. This week has been cuh-RAY-zeee, what with job stuff, school stuff, car accident stuff, and I'm really glad I got to just... chill tonight. 

I've been on this planet for 27 years, and I still haven't mastered how to have balance in my life. Yet for some reason, I always add more? I sometimes think... How will I ever handle running a household, taking care of my husband and 17 children, being active in church and community, AND helping elect our nation's leaders, when I can barely take care of myself?? Trial and error, I suppose. In the meantime, when you need a break, might I recommend nail polish, an Audrey Hepburn movie (which we only half watched, but, you know), AND, of course, chocolate-chip cookies. :)

I threw in some wheat flour with the white stuff, so it's a healthy snack, right? Right?

In need of a cookie dough stirrer? Call this girl. If you're a guy, 
and I think you're good enough for her, I might even give you her #. ;)

The finished products. :)

P.S. In keeping with tonight's chocolate theme, imagine my delight when I hopped online and found out I am being followed on Twitter by "Success and Chocolate" (@SuccessnChoclat)? Does that mean I get these things in real life? :) I sure hope so!