Kitchen Countertop Shopping

Yeesh. So countertops are expensive. Well, that is if you’re trying to use quartz. Granite is nice that it’s plentiful enough that stores have slabs of them marked down to pretty low prices. Of course, the biggest $$$ factor that I’ve noticed is labor. You found a $100 slab of granite? Great, now who is going to cut it down to size for you and cut a hole for your sink? I’ve seen prices ranging from $200-$350 to cut out a hole for a sink (sometimes sink mounting is included). That doesn’t even include cutting things down to size and installing the countertops.

So if you’re quartz people like we are (we don’t want to have to seal our countertops…ever), then you will likely not find an abundance of slabs at a store. Most places that we’ve gotten quotes from would quote by the slab. What if you use only 1.25 slabs? Well, you have to pay for 2 slabs. However, we did find that some stores will charge you only for what you’re going to use. They do that because of the high volume of quartz they use for certain colors/patterns.

Finding places that will charge you on a per square foot basis could save you a few hundred dollars, which when it comes to remodeling a kitchen, will certainly come in handy.

Scarf Girl, signing off.

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US Airways Dividend Miles Grand Slam

So back in the fall, I decided to try and collect some bonus miles through US Airways’ Grand Slam promotion. After gratuitously spending money on various random items, I collected 13 “hits.” The breakdown is as follows:

US Airways Shopping Mall - Kohl’s (bought some things I was planning to buy)
Points.com (Exchanged my useless Hawaiian Airlines miles for US Airways miles at a dismal 6:1 ratio)
Biscoff.com - bought some peanut butter
Dividend Miles Dining - We dined at an overpriced Vietnamese restaurant for our anniversary!
FTD - bought some Mrs. Fields cookies (definitely got ripped off on the shipping)
Magazines for Miles - Subscribed to Sunset Magazine for 400 miles
ThanksAgain.com - bought a restaurant.com coupon (and used a coupon code)
NetFlix - paid for 1 month of NetFlix (these miles didn’t post yet. Grr…)
Officemax.com - bought some supplies for the office and got reimbursed!
Skymall - Bought something cheap for the house (but it’s actually kinda useful)
Trackitback.com - bought a digital id tag. Not sure if I will use it.
USA Today - signed up for a 4 week subscription.
Vinesse.com - bought some wine

So I ended up spending about $183 (although I bought some wine at another website where I didn’t get any points, so I’m adding that into the $183). Including all the bonus miles from the program, along with the miles you get for using the partners, I should end up with around 15,400. That makes the cost 1.2 cents per mile.

If you redeem 25,000 miles for an across the country round trip ticket valued at $350 (although these days it might be more or less), that comes out to 1.2 cents per mile. Not too bad I’d say.

Scarf Girl, signing off.

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I’m Still Alive… Just Busy/Lazy

I couldn’t believe how long it’s been since I was wrote a blog post. I suppose after all these years of blogging, it starts to be come a chore. Anyway, the summer was great and flew by way too quickly. Our master bathroom was finally finished and now we’ve been planning for a kitchen remodel. It’s going to be nice to get that done and finally be able to host a party!

Good luck to the Giants in Game #4 of the World Series!

Scarf Girl, signing off.

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Climb On

So it’s been a while since I went climbing (besides last week). I managed to squeeze in a 2nd week in a row today. Let’s see, I did 4 climbs, and with a little nudging from my friend, did some harder climbs. 5.9, 10a, 10d, 11a. Whew, my forearms are definitely tired, but in a good way.

Scarf Girl, signing off.

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Police Gas Stations and Other Musings

So the other day while driving by a gas station, one question popped into my head: where do the police, fire trucks and ambulances fuel up? I suppose it would make sense for each respective station to have some sort of fuel pumps for convenience. The last thing a cop would want to be caught doing is filling up at their local gas station. If they had to, would they get free gas?

One thing thing I was wondering was what kind of mileage does a fire truck get? I mean, a Hummer H3 gets around 13-14mpg (city), so I can’t imagine that a fire truck would do any better. I suppose while manufacturing the fire trucks, they don’t really have to think about fuel economy so much.
Scarf Girl, signing off.

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Strawberry Fresca

A yummy “strawberry water” drink for those hot summer days. Taken from Allrecipes.com. http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Mexican-Strawberry-Water-Agua-de-Fresa/Detail.aspx

Ingredients
25oz Strawberries - hulled and sliced (4 cups)
1 cup white sugar
8 cups water

1) Prep strawberries and put into a bowl (w/ lid).

2) Mix with sugar and 1 cup of water. Cover and place in fridge for 4 hours.

3) Blend until smooth in a blender/food processor.

4) Strain out pulp and seeds.

5) Mix with remaining 7 cups of water and chill or serve with ice.

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What the world needs…Door Stop Hook

So we recently put the door back on to our hallway bathroom. Well, we realized that we didn’t buy a door stop, which could lead to our doorknob making a hole in the wall. While I like the function of the door stop, I don’t really like how they stick out and become something you can accidentally kick/trip/stub your toe.

Then it dawned one me. We also need a hook or two behind the door. So…. why not a door stop that’s also a hook? Does such a thing even exist? The answer, I discovered, is yes, after a quick search online. The only thing is that I don’t really like the look. The ones that exist are pretty much a modified version of the doorstops you normally can find at a hardware store.

I did, however, come across a cool looking ninja star clothing hook. http://www.clickshop.com/product/3308/ninja-coat-hook/ninjachook/?sort=&user_length=6&cat_id=109 However, that could cause a very different issue than just stubbing your toe (like stabbing your eye).

Scarf Girl, stopping doors and hanging clothes.

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Mosaic Tile Backsplash

So we finally finished tiling, grouting and caulking the backsplash for our 2nd bathroom. It took such a long time because we were pretty lazy.

Here’s the breakdown of the costs:
1) Jeffrey Court 5/8 Vintage Merlot 12 In. x 12 In. Glass Wall Tile (from Home Depot) - $13.99 each. We used 2 sheets and cut each 12×12 sheet into three strips.
2) 1LB Laticrete Tile Repair & Bathroom Fixture Adhesive (Mortar) - $2.94
3) 1LB Laticrete Unsanded Grout - Bright White - $1.88
4) White caulk - We already had this in the toolbox so I’ll count it as $0!
Total after tax: $35.82

Not too shabby if you ask me. I gotta say that grout really makes a difference. I wasn’t as enthusiastic about the color/texture mix when the sheets went up, but after the grout went in, I really liked how it turned out. It seemed to mellow out the colors (if that makes any sense).

Next up is to finally put on those baseboards!
Scarf Girl, signing off.

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Time Sure Flies

Wow, I blink and suddenly two months have passed. Crazy! Well, I’ve mostly been distracted with trying to remodel out house. Although, we haven’t started construction of our master bath. We’ve been doing a lot of planning for it (and lazing around). I’m happy to say that we’ve been using our hallway bathroom for a while now although the finishing touches haven’t quite been, well, finished.

I finally got around to tiling the backsplash. It was my first time tiling anything on a vertical surface. I pretty much just decided to dive into it. “How hard can it be?” I used strips of mosaic tiles (that I cut from a 12″x12″ sheet), and applied them to the wall after putting some mortar on the wall. Next step is to grout. I wanted a small gap between the sink countertop and the tiles, so I used quarters as bottom spacers. I just cleaned off any mortar that got stuck. Hooray for free remodeling supplies!
Scarf Girl, signing off.

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Being Handy Comes In Handy

So our 2nd bathroom is pretty much complete except for the vanity, medicine cabinet and some finishwork. I gotta say, the tilework that our tilers did was excellent. You can tell that they didn’t take shortcuts. One example is that they found the center point of the tub walls and started tiling from there. I think many tilers start from the left and go to the right. That way, they only have to measure and cut tile for one side, versus cutting it for both sides. It’s more work, but you get better symmetry. I didn’t notice this right away when I saw the finished work, but realized that I had liked it more because of the symmetry.

As a result of putting up new tiles, the tilers put up some greenboard (some sort of drywall I think). In order to do this, they had to attach it to the nearest stud, which stuck out past where the files would be. What does that mean? Well, it means I’ve got some drywall that needs to be prepped, primed and painted. It also means there’s a seam between the existing drywall and the new drywall.

So what did we do? We called up the guys who painted our house to see how much they’d charge to do this. $300! Err… what about the hole where the medicine cabinet will be? $300! Aiyah! That means they would charge us $600 for these items. Err…I didn’t like the idea of paying $600 for stuff that we could probably do if we learned.

What are we going to do? Well, I figure that we can buy about $30 worth of supplies and try to tackle things ourselves. Why not? It’s worth a shot, and if we screw up, at least we know there’s the fallback plan of hiring the dudes.

Wish us luck.

Scarf Girl, signing off.

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