Friday, January 29, 2010

Critic's Choice Friday!

My weekly "Critic's Choice" post will always feature a review of some sort.  Could be a movie, book, product, TV show, whatever!  And I'll be looking to you, dear reader's, to share YOUR reviews as well!

I've felt considerably better the past few days... my nose is draining like none other (that's a good thing, right?!) and I still have daily stomach upsets that I will not discuss here... but other than that it seems I'm on the mend!  JUST in time for a one and half hour drive to a six hour Saturday class non "Budget & Accounting for Non-Profit Organization's" class tomorrow... oh joy!

Other than my sickness, one of the most exciting points of the week (this indicates the general excitement level of our life, lately!) is that Travis and I joined Netflix!  Yes, yes, I know Netflix has been around for YEARS and the novelty has quite worn out for most of you... but it's all brand new for us!

You see, in general I wouldn't call us movie people.  We don't go to the movies often, and we don't even rent them too often.  Except that last month, we rented about six movies (because it was the holidays, perhaps?) and then last week we rented two in one week.  We were just appalled with the fact that for two new releases at Blockbuster it was more than $10 after tax.  Yikes!

So we checked out Netflix.  We're on the basic plan with one movie in and one movie out at a time... and our first month is free.  Maybe I'm a dork... but I've had  a lot of fun searching through the databases and strategically planning the order of our "queue"... and we were BOTH excited when our first movie came in the mail!  Yup... it's never-ending excitement here at the Roehm's!

Plus (and I never knew this before) with a Netflix subscription you can watch all kinds of things (tv and movies) instantly on your computer.  Love it!

I bet you're just dying to hear about our first Netflix movie, aren't you?!  Drumroll please...

Julie & Julia

Ha!  Were you expecting something a little more cutting edge?  Thrilling, perhaps?  I think Travis took pity on me because I was sick and let me choose the movie.  He's nice like that.

Seriously though... I've wanted to see the movie ever since it came out at the theatre, so I was really glad to have the opportunity to finally watch it.  I love Amy Adams, and Meryl Streep is a legend of course.  And the movie appealed to me a)  because although I wouldn't consider myself a cook by any stretch of the imagination, I have been rather "into" baking over the past year or so... and could see that maybe developing into an interest in cooking someday and b) because the storyline revolves around a blog.

In case you've been under a rock and don't know the storyline... Julie Powell (Amy Adams) started a blog in 2002 where she challenged herself to cook every single recipe in Julia Child's (Meryl Streep) "The Art of French Cooking" in 265 days.  The blog was released in book from in 2005 and then was re-written into a movie by Nora Ephron which tells the story of BOTH Julie and Julia simultaneously.  Neat-o!  The original blog is still online here:

Anyhoo... it was a good movie.  Full of laughs and life... and I could definitely relate to Julie (during the kitchen meltdowns, perhaps, Travis?!)  I certainly recommend this to all of you... cooks or not!

What movies have you seen lately?  And are you a Netflix friend?  Let me know the secrets of the Netflix and movie rental world!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Very much looking forward to this movie!

Husband, take note!

Yes, I'm a sucker for romantic comedies.

This reminds me a little of Love Actually -- great flick.

What do you think... will you go see this?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Place Holder

No "Where I Live Wednesday" today - even though there's a beautiful fresh blanket of snow on the ground this morning.  I'm still sick, so after finishing some schoolwork I'm laying low today.  If you'd like, head over to my other blog to check out a giveaway I have going on there.  Until later this week, take care of you!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Weekend in Review - The Birthday Edition

I'm a day late with this post, but I'm fighting sickness (again!) and spent most of yesterday in bed.  Booo!  I did go to the doctor and got an antibiotic as well as some things to help with all my sinus congestion problems so hopefully that will do the trick... and soon!

This weekend was a very special one... it was our friend's son, Landon's, first birthday party!

 We also did a weekend-long celebration of Travis' 25th Birthday!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY TRAVIS!

Night out with friends...

 Birthday breakfast and fun decorations!

Dinner, cake and gifts with Travis' parents...

Birthday gifts and dessert at home...


Friday, January 22, 2010

Critic's Choice Friday!

My weekly "Critic's Choice" post will always feature a review of some sort.  Could be a movie, book, product, TV show, whatever!  And I'll be looking to you, dear reader's, to share YOUR reviews as well!

I'm a planner girl.  No matter how far technology has come and how much I utilize a million forms of online communication, I'm still bound to pen and paper when it comes to mapping out my schedule and to-do's.

This year I dropped the ball a little bit and didn't pick up a planner until (gasp!) mid-January.  When I finally did set about picking one up, I did it rather haphazardly.  I stumbled into Barnes & Noble and picked up this teeny little thing (I generally go for over-sized, way too much info, will not fit in my purse type of daybooks!) for 50% costing me a whopping $4 and some cents.

And you know what?  It's seriously the best planner I've ever owned.

And not just because it's little, and cute, and pink (watermelon, actually!) but because it's so much more.  You see, it's made by a company called ecosystem...

And it gets better.

There is a handy-dandy pocket inside the back cover (along with daily calendar space and a notes page for every week!) and on that pocket is an ID number.  Now, if someone were to find my planner, they could go to the company website, plug in the number, and get in touch with me.  And if I login to the site, I can find out EXACTLY what my planner is made of, where it was made, how many people are employed at that location, and more.  It's incredible, really!

So if you're a planner person or even if you're not (they also have lines of journals and other books) head over to ecosystem and learn what they are all about.

And in the meantime - tell me about YOUR planner, or lack of one.  How do you keep yourself organized?  Leave me a comment below!

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

(a day late) Where I Live Wednesday: Our House, in the middle of our street...

"Where I Live Wednesday" will feature a different place in Michigan each week.  It will start out very local, with the immediate area in which I live (different areas of town, my house, stores and restaurants, etc. etc.) and expand over time to include adventures to other places in the great state of Michigan.

Miss last week's "Where I Live Wednesday" post?  Go check it out!

I apologize for being a whole day late on this post... but life got the better of me.  Schoolwork was out of control and I just couldn't find the time to get this post up until today.

I knew that I wanted to talk about my house here in the Eastown community of Grand Rapids this week, and show you around it a bit.  As I was planning the post, I started having anxiety about the current messy state of the house and trying to clean it up for pictures.  Then I realized that I wanted to give you a true portrait of where I live - so I abandoned any extra cleaning and just took some shots!  I hope that's okay with you!  : )

Here is my lovely home... 

This picture was actually taken last Spring.

We moved into our FIRST (owned) home in October of 2008.  It is a 1920's craftman-style home on a one-way street.

It's not perfect, it needs some TLC, and its sometimes a lot of work, but it's ours and I love it.  I know that no matter where we go, I will always love this house.

This summer we turned our back yard mud pit into a lovely area for entertaining...

After living in an apartment for years, it was so lovely to have an outdoor space of our very own.

This is our (slightly fuzzy) living room... complete with sleepy dog on the couch, and shredded TP rolls (aso courtsey of the dog) on the rug.  One of my projects for this year is to completely re-do the curtains, I'm going to try and MAKE them.  We'll see how that goes.

Here is our dining room.  When schoolwork gets crazy I bring the computer downstairs and take over the dining room table, where there's more room to spread out than in the office.

I looooove this leaded glass built in, and the windows.  And I'm extra proud of the chair in the corner... I covered it myself!

We haven't made any changes to the kitchen since we moved in.  I plan on painting it yellow.  Eventually we'd like to completely remodel it.  It's a good size space, which is nice.

We call this the blue room.  It's technically a bedroom on the first floor.  We have a futon here that converts into a bed, the piano and all things musical reside in there, and this is also where we watch movies (the big TV is behind the door out of sight).

The downstairs bathroom is super tiny.  It's a jack and jill so it connects the blue room and the kitchen.

We're lucky to have this HUGE jet tub.  It was completely unexpected when we were looking at the house.  Unfortunately it hardly ever gets used, and we're currently discussing if we want to keep it or not when we re-do this bathroom sometime in 2010.  Taking a long bubble bath always SOUNDS like a great idea... but I hardly ever do it!

So that's it, the first floor!  Next week I'll share with you the upper floor, and some shots of our street and neighborhood.  In the meantime -- why don't you tell me what you LOVE (or hate?!) about your home?  : )  I'd love to hear about your place!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

First Week of School

Remember when you were a kid and the first week of school was exciting fun, colorful, and easy-going?  At what point did it switch to a week of fear, panic, and overwhelming workloads?!  Ha!

Last week marked the beginning of another semester of graduate school for me at good ol' WMU.

Having done my undergraduate work as well as my master's classes at WMU, I do love it.  What I don't love about this semester is that both of my classes are held at the Battle Creek Campus.  That's a good hour and a half drive from my house.  Yowser!

The good thing about this semester though, is that it's sort of my final semester taking classes.  You see, during the summer all my classes are online, and then in the fall I write my thesis.  If all goes to plan, I will graduate next December.  Woohoo!

I have a class this semester that meets every other Saturday from 9-4, a total of 6 times.  It's a budgeting and accounting class, and I'm actually kind of liking it.  My professor is fun and very down to earth and I think I'll learn a lot.

My Wednesday night class is another story.  It's going to be HARD.  Hundreds of pages of reading each week, three to four page papers per week, and I have to declare my THESIS TOPIC two weeks from now!  Yikes!  I know I bitched about my statistics class last semester, but this very well may be WORSE!  Wish me luck!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Weekend in Review

(top to bottom, left to right) 

1.  Watching the Golden Globes (yea, Glee!) 
2.  Teaching and old dog new tricks (FINALLY taught Bella to consistently "sit pretty")
3.  Six hour graduate school class on Saturday
4.  Comfort food - chili with noodles, Hill Family style!
5.  Stampin' Up! Open House (Read more about this on Tuesday HERE )
6.  Homemade Chicken Tikka Masala
7.  Valentines M&M's -- sooo pretty!
8.  Dinner and cards with Justin and Kristen.  A TON of delicious to-go Chinese food!
(yup, we certainly ate well this weekend!)

Happy Monday to you all!


Saturday, January 16, 2010


I know I said I wasn't planning on posting on the weekends, but here I am nonetheless!

On Thursday we welcomed a new addition to our home and family...

Isn't she pretty?

Trav's parents are getting rid of some things in their home, and were gracious enough to pass on their piano to us (which, as I understand it, has been in the family for years)

I am beyond stoked to, for the first time since I was a very little girl in England, have a piano in my home.

Yup, that's me as a wee one.

I majored in music you see, and as the years go by I find myself moving further and further away from all things musical.  If it's not your career (I never intended to be a professional musician) then it's hard to find appropriate outlets for it, and squeeze it into a busy schedule.

So when the piano arrived on Thursday night I spent an hour plunking out poor chordal accompaniments (yeah, despite my music degree I'm actually a downright poor pianist!) and singing my little heart out.  And it felt good.

Thanks, Kim and Phil!  We will take great care of it!


Friday, January 15, 2010

Critic's Choice Friday!

Welcome to the first edition of Critic's Choice Friday! 

My weekly "Critic's Choice" post will always feature a review of some sort.  Could be a movie, book, product, TV show, whatever!  And I'll be looking to you, dear reader's, to share YOUR reviews as well!

This week, I've got two delicious food items to recommend to you!

No matter how yummy and satisfying my dinnertime meal is, I'm almost ALWAYS left craving something sweet to finish it off.  In my half ass effort to slim down a little before our trip to VEGAS in May, I decided to search out some low-fat ice cream while grocery shopping last week.

Edy's ice cream was 2/$4 at Meijer (apparently Edy's and Dreyer's are the same company -- I was confused by the differing names on my container and the image below I pulled off of the internet.  Good ol' Wikipedia can tell you more HERE) and I picked up some of this...

Yup - black cherry vanilla swirl!  I was a little hesitant, because usually anything that's frozen yogurt-ish tastes less ice cream-y and more sorbet-y, but this was rich and delicious!  And the best part?  100 calories per serving!  Now I just need to stick to one serving!  : )

And here's my second food recommendation... Folger's Gourmet Selection Creme Brulee coffee.

My addiction to taste for coffee has only come into play in the last couple of years.  Before then I wouldn't touch the stuff, and couldn't stand the taste!  Even now I'm one of those girls who likes the froofy drinks at Starbucks that are actually very little coffee and lots of other really high calorie sugary stuff. 

That being said, when we buy coffee for home I insist on something with a bit of flavor.  A lot of times we'll buy bagged coffee and it will smell delicious but you can't really taste the flavor when it's brewed.  This stuff is quite the contrary!  It smells AND tastes yummy!  It's so good I can drink it with only a little bit of creamer.  Yum!

Want to do a review for me on Critic's Choice Friday?  E-mail me at joanneroehm(at)yahoo(dot)com and we'll get you on the schedule!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I'm crazy for Flash Mobs!

Wikipedia defines flash mobs as follows:

A flash mob (or flashmob)is a large group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual action for a brief time, then quickly disperse. The term flash mob is generally applied only to gatherings organized via telecommunications, social media, or viral emails.The term is generally not applied to events organized by public relations firms or as publicity stunts.

Wikipedia will tell you all sorts of interesting tidbits about, and history and examples of flash mobs HERE, but I'm most concerned with the dancing ones.  Yup, I'm a sucker for dancing flash mobs.

My first encounter with flash mobs was this video, which I actually posted in this blog previously...

And then there was the prank pulled on the Oprah season kickoff show... (note the HORRIBLE live performance by BEP.  Booo!)

A couple of days ago I encountered this... a flash mob performance in Italy to a medley from the show GLEE!  Now you know I love Glee, so Glee + Flash Mob is pretty much the best thing ever.

So there you have it.  Dancing flash mobs.  Anyone want to get together, choreograph some dance moves with me, and get a big group of people to do it in a public place?  Just let me know... I'm so in!  : )

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Where I Live Wednesday: An Overview

*** Pardon the interruption!  I'm doing some re-organizing here today, so don't mind my mess while I make some improvements to the blog!***

"Where I Live Wednesday" will feature a different place in Michigan each week.  It will start out very local, with the immediate area in which I live (different areas of town, my house, stores and restaurants, etc. etc.) and expand over time to include adventures to other places in the great state of Michigan.

For my first post, I wanted to give a general overview of both Michigan, and Grand Rapids, where I live.

According to Wikipedia...

Michigan is the eighth most populous state in the United States. It has the longest freshwater shoreline of any political subdivision in the world, being bounded by four of the five Great Lakes, plus Lake Saint Clair.  Michigan has 64,980 inland lakes and ponds.  A person in the state is never more than six miles (10 km) from a natural water source or more than 87.2 miles (140.3 km) from a Great Lakes shoreline.

Michigan is the only state to consist entirely of two peninsulas. The Lower Peninsula, to which the name Michigan was originally applied, is often dubbed "the mitten" by residents, owing to its shape. When asked where in Michigan one comes from, a resident of the Lower Peninsula may often point to the corresponding part of his or her hand. The Upper Peninsula (often referred to as The U.P.) is separated from the Lower Peninsula by the Straits of Mackinac, a five-mile (8 km)-wide channel that joins Lake Huron to Lake Michigan. The Upper Peninsula is economically important for tourism and natural resources.

Although born in the UK, I moved to Michigan when I was in 8th grade, and lived with my parents and brother in the small city of Tecumseh (I'll introduce you to Tecumseh in another post!)  I now live with my husband Travis and our small zoo of animals in Grand Rapids.

Again, according to Wikipedia...

Grand Rapids is located on the Grand River and is approximately 30 miles from Lake Michigan. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 197,800, making it the 114th largest city in the United States. It is the  second largest city in Michigan (after Detroit), and the largest city in West Michigan. 

Nicknamed the "Furniture City", the major industry in Grand Rapids once was furniture production. However, the city and surrounding communities are more economically diverse today, and contribute heavily to the health care, automotive, and consumer goods manufacturing industries, among others.

You'll have the opportunity to read lots of posts about Grand Rapids in the future, there is a lot going on here and plenty to photograph and introduce you to!  But for now, take a look at this video.  It is a little cheesy, yes, and some of the footage is a little dated, but it's nice all the same.  The accompanying song "My Giant Little Town" is written and performed by Brian VanderArk, of The Verve Pipe fame.  Grand Rapids is pretty proud of Brian and takes to using him in promotional things whenever possible it seems!  : )


Come back next week Wednesday to start exploring my life in Grand Rapids!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Bloggy Plan

Thanks so much for all of you who gave me feedback about this blog... it's really helped me come to grips with where I want to go with it.  I've given it a lot of thought, and decided that in order to continue with this blog and keep things interesting - I need a little more structure.

A lot of blogs that I've checked out, and some that I read regularly, have themed posts by certain days of the week.  Now, I didn't want to have a pre-established theme for EVERY day, but I figured that doing something consistent a few days of the week would give me a little more focus.

So, without further ado, here's the weekly lineup:

Monday's:  "Weekend in Review"
In my "Weekend in Review" posts, I'll share a photos and stories from my weekend.  You can see my first one, which I posted yesterday, HERE.

Wednesday's:  "Where I Live"
"Where I Live Wednesday" will feature a different place in Michigan each week.  It will start out very local, with the area in which I live (different areas of town, my house, stores and restaurants, etc. etc.) and expand over time to include adventures to other places in the great state of Michigan.

Friday's:  "Critic's Choice"
My "Critic's Choice" post will feature a review of some sort.  Could be a movie, book, product, TV show, whatever!  And I'll be looking to you, dear reader's, to share YOUR reviews as well!

I'll fit in other things on Tuesday's and Thursday's as they come along, and will generally not be posting on the weekends.  Because let's face it... we all have more exciting things to do on the weekend than post to or read blogs!

I'll be making some cosmetic changes to the blog over the next couple of weeks too... so bear with me.  I have a renewed excitement about this blog, and look forward to sharing my little piece of cyber-space with friends old and new!

Happy Tuesday!  Come back tomorrow for my first ever "Where I Live Wednesday" post!  : )

Monday, January 11, 2010

Weekend in Review

...Anthony's 11th Birthday... Belated Christmas with Meg and Matt at PF Changs (with a HUGE bowl of wonton soup!... Sunday night Scrabble (I won)... Dinner date at Carrabas Italian Restaurant (Adam was our server)... Dog Park on a sunny Winter day... Sunday breakfast with Irish Creme coffee...

Friday, January 8, 2010

Feedback, please!

My dear, dear blog friends... I need your assistance!

You see, I have to be honest.  I just don't know what to do with this blog!

If you've been paying attention, you'll notice that I have two blogs.  This one (obviously) and this one.  The latter is a craft blog (again, obviously) with entries detailing my adventures in stamping, scrapping, sewing, knitting, and baking.

My other blog is a lot more high maintenance than this one.  A lot more people read it.  I post to it much more frequently.  It has a focus.  It knows what it is supposed to be.

This blog.  Well... it doesn't have much focus.

As I learn more and more about blogging and the community that is the blogosphere, it seems that blogs tend to fall into categories...

Special interest (art, music, craft, cooking), Babies and Family, Awareness for illness or disease, Business Promotion...

You get the picture.

And my blog... well... it's just kind of here.

Half my readers know me in real life (helloooo, friends and family!) and half of them have surfed in and happened to come by one of my better, more interesting posts, and have chosen to stick around (thanks!).

I'm not one of those super clever, witty writers.  You know, the ones who blog about everyday life but are sooo enthralling and funny and clever while doing it?  I'm not good at posting consistently, I share a lot of pictures but am so bored by the time they have all uploaded that I can't bring myself to write much about them.

I'm bored with my blog.  Which makes me feel even more sorry for you -- since you're actually reading it!

I should give myself a bit more credit I suppose.  I think yesterday's IKEA post was pretty fun.  And I have some other favorite posts... like this one, this one, and this one to name a few recent ones.

In general though - I feel like my life is pretty un-interesting on a day to day basis!  : )  Ha ha!  If I'm going to continue with this blog, I'd like to make sure I'm appealing to those that know me well and those who don't.  And I'd like to inspire you to leave me some comment lovin' and participate in the dialogue.

Sometimes I feel like I'm talking to myself... (chirp, chirp...)  Is anyone out there??!?!

So what do you think?  What do you like to read about?  Do you like lots of photos?  Silly stories?  Shared articles and video clips?  Movie and TV reviews?  A little bit of everything?  What keeps you swinging back by my little piece of cyberspace?

So please... help me, help you, help me make this a better blog.  We'll all be better off I swear!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Joanne and Heather's IKEA Adventure

Have you ever been to an IKEA store?

We have ONE store here in Michigan, and Heather has been wanting to take me for AGES.

So yesterday we set out on my maiden voyage to IKEA!  It was a mini road trip... about two hours from Grand Rapids to Canton, MI.  In fact -- mile for mile it is about the same distance from Grand Rapids to the Chicago IKEA store -- but when you factor in Chicago traffic we were much better off heading to Canton.

Anyhoo... off we went, and two hours later... we arrived!

It wasn't long before our big blue bags were getting heavy, and we had to get a little granny luggage cart, thing... yup, I hung my purse on it too in true old lady style.  I'm sweet like that!


We were kind of amazed by this under the kitchen sink cleaning supply organizer thingy.  Isn't it sweet?  It affixes to the inside of the cupboard and then pulls out, as Heather is demonstrating!

I purchased these spice racks -- since we don't have one.  I loved it because you could buy each rack individually for only $3.99 and then a pack of jars for $2.99 and then you can hang them how you want them.  So fun!

The kids room section was ridiculously cute.  Almost made me want a kid of my own so I could decorate their room... but not quite...  : )

After almost two hours on the upper floor, we stopped at the cafeteria-ish area for a snack...

You know, power shopping food -- real healthy stuff...

Revitalized, we headed down to the lower floor to embrace all things kitchen gadget-y and more!

Seriously, wow!

And then we ran into this...

FABRIC!  On sale for $1.99 per yard.  I almost bought some, but am trying to exercise some crafting restraint.  If I'm not purchasing for a particular project - I shouldn't buy it.  Right?  But so cool nonetheless.

By now the granny cart was long gone and we upgraded to a real cart...

Heather looks so happy to be at IKEA!

We eventually finished up, and loaded up the back of the car...

I didn't actually buy anything big, no furniture or anything.  Just going there and looking gave me TONS of ideas for our house, but because I'm a good wife I figure I should talk them over with my husband first before making any large purchases...  : )

After all of that shopping there was only one thing left to do...


Both Heather and I's moms LOVE them some Bahama Breeze (as do we!) and they don't seem to have them on the West side of the state where we live.  It's a super fun restaurant that's island themed.  Feels like a little bit of a tropical vacation when you eat there.

Of course these helped with the tropical theme...

YUM!  Bahamaritas!  I know you're jealous.

So we sipped our fruity drinks on the heated, covered deck.  We ate some delicious food and jammed to the guitar player/singer guy doing some bad, overly synthesized covers of Bob Marley tunes, and relished in a kid-free evening (okay all of my evening's are kid-free, but Heather's are not.  And as much as we both love those kids, it was super fun to have an adults only, girls only evening)


Pretty much the best Winter Wednesday, EVER!  : )