Monthly Archives: March 2014

DIY dry erase board


A new DIY today! If you have any old frames lying around that you don’t know know what to do with or scored a cheap frame at a secondhand store, this would be a perfect project for a weekend afternoon.

I have some frames that I found in the hallway of a friend’s apartment a while ago so I’ve been trying to come up with ideas to use them. In their old form, I think they’re pretty ugly. So for one of them I popped the glass and backing out and painted the frame silver and used it as a part of my gallery wall as you can see in this post.

The other day I decided to make a dry erase board with another (since you can never have enough surfaces to write down your to-do list or grocery list, of course). Here’s the step-by-step tutorial.

1 can of white primer spray paint
1 can of spray paint in a color of your choice
Newspaper or paper shopping bag to spray on
Patterned paper larger than the size of the frame

1. Remove the glass and backing and wipe down the frame to prep it for paint.

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2. In a well ventilated area, spray on a coat of primer onto the frame and let it dry for about 10-15 minutes.


3. Spray on the first coat of paint in the color of your choosing. I chose a can of mint colored spray paint that I already had. Let the first coat dry for another 10-15 minutes.


4. Spray on the second coat and if you really want, a third coat for maximum coverage (let it dry in-between coats!).


5. After the paint has dried completely, cut your patterned paper into the size of your frame backing. You can glue it onto the backing before you lay it onto the glass but I just laid it against the glass and since the size of the paper is the exact size of the glass and frame backing, I know it won’t budge even without glue. And here’s the final product. Take a dry erase marker and write away!


Junk mail and PaperKarma

Topic of the day: Junk mail. I know, exciting, right?

Junk mail, which includes retail catalogs, soliciting brochures, and those pesky pre-approved credit card offers, is a huge source of trash and waste. Consider this pile of mail below…

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Out of the 3 inch high stack of mail, 90% of it (or all 3.75 inches of it) is going to end up in my recycling bin. Even though I’m recycling it, can you imagine how much raw resources were used to create these things that we automatically toss without a second thought? And also how much energy and resources have to go into recycling the paper products that didn’t serve any useful function in the first place?

Because I hated the thought of that and I hated sorting through ginormous piles of junk mail just to get to the important stuff, a while ago I started calling companies to PLEASE STOP sending me those stupid, useless, wasteful catalogs, brochures, and credit card offers. First off, even with my initial determination, it got pretty daunting. While some companies have their phone numbers printed on their mail, others didn’t and so I had to go searching on the internet for a phone number to call. Once I had the phone numbers, I had to jump through hoops and numerous automated options just to get a live person on the phone. Then I had to explain to them that I didn’t want their junk mail anymore and a lot of times they asked for customer numbers, name, address, etc, which became a long winded phone conversations. In essence, NO BUENO… After going through the first batch, I lost some steam. It was pretty discouraging that it was that time consuming and inconvenient just to get people to NOT send you stuff. Seriously?

Then I found out about PaperKarma. What a godsend. It’s a free mobile app and basically, all you have to do is take a photo of the “offending piece of mail” and PaperKarma does the leg work for you by contacting the companies and unsubscribing you from their distribution lists. No more time consuming phone calls to make!

Here’s how it works in PaperKarma’s own words:

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In less than 24 hours, out of 34 requests, I had 20 successes, 4 pendings, and 7 fails. The failed requests were my fault though. Being a PaperKarma newbie and despite clear instructions to include the name of the company in the picture, I didn’t and therefore they didn’t know who to go to with the request. So don’t do what I did!

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Less trips to take the recycling out, less mail to sort through, less junk mail produced, less raw materials used, less useless marketing $ spent by the companies, less work for the postal service, I say it’s a win-win-win-win. Definitely try it out!


Fried plantains


I made Peruvian-style whole roast chicken the other week for some friends and in thinking of what sides should go along with it I decided to make fried plantains. The last time I had Peruvian chicken was in Baltimore (which was to die for) and we got yucca fries with them. I know yucca and plantains aren’t the same at all but maybe because because they’re both fairly “exotic” and both fried, it totally made sense in my head to make fried plantains with the chicken. And yes, they went together fantastically.

The recipe is from Guy Fieri. His recipe has directions for a sweet and hot sauce to dip the plantains in but I didn’t bother since I had made the Peruvian green sauce for the chicken.

Canola oil (for frying)
2-3 plantains
1/4 cup minced garlic
Red pepper flakes
Cayenne pepper
Salt & pepper
Optional: 1 lime

1. Remove the peel of the plantain and cut into 1 inch thick diagonal pieces.


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Some of my favorite things around the CPL apartment


Nesting in a tiny city apartment the past year hasn’t been easy as we severely lack storage space (it took me about 3-4 months of moving in to fully unpack and get rid of any traces of moving boxes). But with the combination of some kind friends who allowed us storage space in their basement plus me purging a lot of unneeded items the past year has allowed at least some decent living space in our 300 something square feet apartment.

I’ve been slowly decorating as I go but as we’ve been recently discussing the pros and cons of moving to a bigger place and as it seems likely we will move when our lease is up in the summer, I’ve lost much of the motivation for some of the projects I had planned for the apartment. But before we move, here are some of my favorite things around the CPL apartment!

Living room:


This gallery wall in our living room are all mostly from frames that I’ve received as gifts or found secondhand from flea markets. The faux Van Gogh on the bottom is from a Paint Nite with some girlfriends.


The outer silver frame is one of several frames I found in a friend’s hallway that was left out as “trash.” I popped out the glass and the original artwork and painted the once brown and gold frame all silver and tada, instant new life.

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Philadelphia Recycling Do’s and Don’ts

Please forgive my prolonged absence! I’ve been in a funk this past week with all motivation zapped to do anything productive, including blogging. Naturally, I spent the week curled up in bed rereading the Harry Potter series wishing I was a witch and Harry was my best friend. Anyways, I’m (almost) ready to rejoin the real world and be an adult again (of the Muggle kind, sadly…).

A week and a half ago before my hibernation from the real world, I came across Philadelphia’s recycling guide and wanted to share with you all.

I’ve been called a recycling nazi once or twice in my life, but I have to admit, even I get confused on what is recyclable and what is not at times. And each city has differing standards and rules so it can get rather confusing. Broken light bulbs? Styrofoam? Batteries? Pizza boxes with grease? Do they go in the recycling bin or the trash???

I should have done my due diligence sooner but when in doubt, I usually just put it in the recycling rather than the trash. Until recently I finally found THE LIST of Do’s and Don’ts of Philadelphia single stream recycling. It’s not an exhaustive list by any means but it does clear up a lot of confusion on certain things. At least it did for me.

I know plenty of people who don’t recycle for various reasons but for those who do and who kind of care about recycling, hope the list below is kinda sorta enlightening.

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