On hiatus

Thursday, January 3, 2013
Filed under: Everything Else

Be back soon!

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15-Minute DIY Earring Holder

Thursday, March 8, 2012
Filed under: Do-It-Yourself, Everything Else

I happen to love crafts, and if you’ve known me long enough, you know that I kinda dig being likened to an Asian Martha Stewart.  I don’t intend to post many craft projects on the blog, just because I don’t have the time to spend on them.  I wish I did.

Any way, I got a little crafty bug in me today when I saw my messy bathroom cluttered with several pairs of hook earrings that I rotate through.  I made this very cool jewelry holder several years ago with a fairly large frame and chicken wire (actually, I found out today, it is called hardware cloth).  So, I made three smaller versions to keep in the bathroom for easy access as I get ready every day.

Start with three 4x6 frames

I used 4×6 frames, but it’s up to you what size frames you’d like.

Add 6 inches of hardware cloth...

Or as much hardware cloth to fit in the frame(s).

Disassemble the frames. Remove glass, backing and all the insides.

All you need is the frame.  I purchased these frames new, but this is a great project for old frames where the glass may have broken. I am saving the leftovers to see if I can come up with a way to repurpose them some way.

Cut the hardware cloth to fit inside the frames. You can use the paper insert that comes in frame with the picture of the "fake" people as a guide.

Place the hardware cloth into the back of the frame, they should fit snugly if you used the paper insert as a guide.  And voila!  This project took me 15 minutes.

It was so easy and quick, I wanted to make more!

Any way, here are some pictures of my bathroom earring clutter…

Bathroom Clutter BEFORE

The jewelry clutter..

Counter & Jewelry Clutter

and here it is a little better…

AFTER - My earrings neatly hung!

Looks like art :-)

A close-up look

I used a little bit of that putty adhesive on the back of the corners to keep the frames in place.  Total cost of materials was $40 ($9 per frame, $2.50 for the hardware cloth).  Fifteen minutes of my time to make them, and then about another 10-15 minutes to hang them up.

Here’s a picture of the larger version I made several years ago.  I have this in my bedroom, it’s very decorative and does look like a piece of art.

Large Jewelry Holder is art in my bedroom

On the large version, I had purchased small stainless steel s-hooks to hang necklaces and pins from.

These holders don’t work for post earrings but I’m going to put a little thought into it and maybe I can come up with a solution.

I made this project years ago after seeing something similar at a shop.  I’m sure they’re out there for purchase but this is so simple, why buy when you can make it exactly to your specifications? Have fun!


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I’ve been a slacker

Thursday, March 8, 2012
Filed under: Everything Else

Okay, I know I’m long overdue for a posting.  Not to make excuses, but I have been very busy despite the fact that I don’t currently have a full time job.  While seeking out “real” work 😉 and juggling some other challenging personal stuff, I have been working on my hobby.  I officially launched my hot yoga studio, VIRV Yoga, in downtown Steamboat Springs!  After doing a very simple business case in my head, I confirmed what I already knew, that I wasn’t going to build up my retirement plan on hot yoga. But, I did think it was worthwhile to fill a small niche in the yoga market here, as well as establish what I will be doing when I do eventually retire.

So, the hot yoga business is doing great, and my job search is still on and I’m finding some interesting leads.

Any way, I started a draft to review my NatureMill indoor composter some time ago, and it is on the agenda to finish soon.  I had been struggling on what my final assessment was going to be, but after 6 month of consistent usage, I think I have made up my mind.  Coming soon!

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Answer to my expensive espresso habit

Monday, December 6, 2010
Filed under: Home & Garden

I don’t think I’m alone when I say my Starbuck’s habit has at times been a little out of control.  Like a lot of people these days, I need to tighten expenses.  I don’t ever want Starbucks to go out of business but it’s a matter of reality, I need to temper my spendy habit.

I have been on a quest for over a year to find the perfect automatic espresso machine.  “Automatic” is an important criteria in this search. There are tons of espresso machines out there. I’ve owned several standard manual ones in my past.  They make great espresso but I use it for a short while and then it ends up collecting dust because it’s just so much easier when a barista makes it for you.  Manual machines can be a hassle to use; grinding up the beans, scooping the grounds into a small metal basket and usually spilling some so wipe that up, filling up a tiny water reservoir, steaming the milk, then taking out all the little bitty parts out, throwing out the grinds without making a mess, and washing and drying them, so it’s ready for the next go around.  whew! What if I want a macchiato later that day?!  Do I really have the time and patience to do all that over again in the same day, and every day? NO.  So a few bucks spent at Starbucks for on-demand espresso is worth it for me; and the barista deserves a tip for giving me that convenience.  So if I want to spend a few hundred bucks on an espresso maker, it needs to make me silly happy every time I use it, like a kid’s favorite toy.

Sometimes You Gotta Spend Money to Save Money but Nespresso Automatic Espresso Machine is Reasonably Priced
A good coffee machine will run you around $100 but an automatic espresso machine could run into several hundred or even over a thousand dollars.  So when we stumbled on the Nespresso automatic espresso machines at the Homesteader store in town, after a personal demonstration and sample, we knew it was the one for us.  Joel got the Essenza for his office and we have the CitiZ at home.  The automatic Essenza is under $200 and the CitiZ is about $280 on Amazon.   I’ll have to admit, when I started researching machines last year, I immediately ruled out the ones that used pods.  Mostly because pods would be more expensive and I thought it would be inconvenient to have to purchase them. The Nespresso machines use capsules and I love it!  They’re so easy and no mess.  (We have a Keurig machine for regular coffee and love having a fresh cup every time, and don’t have to dump out extra coffee now; so I’m much more open to the capsules now.)  The machines are reasonably priced, but you do pay a little more for the capsules and convenience.  Online ordering is simple; capsules arrive in 2 business days.  One capsule is 55 or 62 cents; and come in packages of 10.  A double shot will run you a buck and some change.  When you buy a doppio at the cafe, the price difference is not huge, it’s the margins on the milk and syrups in all those espresso drinks that hit your wallet.  But I’m not going into that here, it’s a whole different conversation.

When you buy a Nespresso machine, they give you a complete sampler of all 16 profiles to try.  Joel likes it strong and these days the Arpeggio is his favorite.  I like Roma and Cosi.  However, if you’re like me and happen to like cream with your coffee and steamed milk even better, you absolutely have to get the Nespresso Aeroccino Milk Frother.  It was the frother that really sealed the deal for me.  The foam is creamy and it has both hot and cold settings.  Lattes and cappuccinos are a cinch! The Aeroccino will run you another hundred bucks but it is worth it, and I would say essential.  Amazon offers both the Essenza and CitiZ bundled with the Aeroccino and you save $40-$50.  If you live in Steamboat, buy locally and get it at the Homesteader on Lincoln.

CitiZ & Aeroccino

CitiZ Espresso Maker & Aeroccino Milk Frother

Like I said, I do not want Starbucks to go out of business, so I usually drive-thru once a week to get my fix.

There are lots of espresso machines out there.  They’re like cars, you have to find the one you want, but if you ask me for a recommendation, this is the one I would suggest because every time I press the lever, push the button and sip on my freshly made cappuccino I get a great satisfaction from having this little luxury while saving some precious time, a few pennies and even some calories.

p.s.  Unfortunately, there is one objection for some, the capsules are not recyclable at this time in the USA.  They are made of aluminum, so the capsules are made of recyclable material, and Nespresso is currently working on a recycling solution and testing it out in some other countries, but the U.S. is not currently in the trial.  I hope they’ll be introducing the program to the U.S. soon.  Check out their Ecolaboration website for more information.

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it’s a mud mud world

Monday, April 5, 2010
Filed under: Steamboat Springs, Winter Activities

Spring is here in Steamboat Springs, which means MUD season.  Mud is everywhere!  We could still have snowstorms through June, however, the sun beats down upon that glistening snow, and the beautiful white slush immediately becomes a chocolate slurpee.  This is a little late in the season for a recommendation on a winter trail shoe but these are definitely worth mentioning as a mud season running shoe.  Joel, Lyllah & I went for a run at Spring Creek Trail a couple of weekends ago, and as much as I tried to dodge those really murky puddles, you can’t avoid them when the whole trail is one long path of chocolate milk, and your husband is behind you calling out, “Why did you even buy those shoes, if you’re not going to run through the puddles?”  An hour and a half later, we got home and, my feet and socks were as dry as they were before we headed out of the door.  There are lots of great running shoes, but it’s hard to find one that keeps your feet that dry after a long soggy run.  The traction in the mud is great, and the gaiter works.  It’s not for running in knee-deep snow (how many people really do that?), but it does a good job keeping snow and debris out when it’s at a moderate level on the trail.

Saucony ProGrid Razor

Next time, I'll take a picture of my muddy versions!

They’re not cheap at $130-$135, but now, I run around in these all weekend.  It’s perfect for running on the trail or around town in the sludge.  And, I will still get some use out of them next winter running, and snowshoeing for even longer.

You don’t have to just take my word for it.  Here are a couple of other reviews:

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Spring forward at cruising speed

Monday, March 15, 2010
Filed under: Summer Activities

I don’t know anyone who feels totally on their game the Monday after daylight savings in the Spring.  If I remember to, I like to change the clocks some time Saturday afternoon, so it isn’t a huge shock to my system.  I actually got to work early this morning, but quite a few people were late and completely thrown off, or red-eyed zombies fighting to get through the day.  They really should make the time change happen on Friday night so we have the weekend to adjust, or better yet, the Monday after should be declared a national holiday.

But daylight savings is when I let myself start to believe that Spring is finally coming.  Time to start thinking about packing up the winter gear, and getting ready for mud.  Snow melt makes it hard to go out for hikes or picnics too early in the season here in Colorado, but there’s no excuse for not getting out on the bike.  And better to start out slow, cruising in town and on the bike paths, and work your way up to road biking and mountain biking when it’s a little drier.

One of my favorite things for my pink retro cruiser is my Detour TOOCAN bike rack bag.  It’s a rack bag, but it easily slips out of the rack and has handles and shoulder straps, so you can tote it around.  This model is a little more durable but great for running errands, or a farmer’s market run, and it’s waterproof.  It even comes with a raincover.  I have a black one, actually two, but they come in other colors and new designs.

Check out the Detours site.  They came out with some new designs this year, and also have expanded their product line in the past few years to include some recycled and natural products.

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Saturday, March 20th, 2010 is the 19th annual Steamboat Pentathlon.  I have a distant memory of this event a few years back.  It’s a humorous one.  It is always good when you can laugh at yourself.

The Steamboat Pentathlon is held at Howelsen Hill, one of the oldest ski mountains in Colorado, which also boasts a world-renowned ski jumping complex.  The standard course for the pentathlon is comprised of:

(1) Alpine Ski – Ski down 400 vertical feet on the face of Howelsen Hill, but wait, you first have to run up the 400 vertical feet on foot, get your gear on, and then make your way down what is a quick short trip down a steep ice-packed run.   What is nice is that you do have your choice of alpine, nordic, telemark or snowboard.  The trick to this leg is to not wear yourself out running up that hill.  Take it slow and save your heart, you have the rest of the course to catch up.

(2) Snowshoe – 2.5 miles along a windy path.  In my opinion, it has more inclines than what the course description may lead you to believe.

(3) Cross Country Ski – You can classic or skate ski for 4 miles on Howelsen’s intermediate/expert Nordic trails.  It seemed like it was all uphill, but according to Joel, it’s up, then up & down, then up again.  Once you “summit” then the return is downhill very fast back to transition.

(4) Mountain Bike – 12 miles out and back on paved road; turn-around is muddy (so I’m told).

(5) Run – 5 miles out and back, along the Yampa River Core Trail, finishing back at Howelsen Hill.

I am not an athlete, but I have run in four marathons, more half-marathons, and I can’t count how many 10K’s.  Joel will do an Ironman with minimal training, so I thought how hard could this pentathlon be, especially if I can get a team for a relay.  Well, the gal who was going to do the cross-country ski leg couldn’t make it, so I did both the snowshoe and cross-country ski.  I’ll spare you the details, it was not pretty.  We were pretty much last in the first three legs and then DNF’d (did not finish).  Names have been omitted to protect the innocent ;-).

My recommendation is, if you aren’t sure, sign up for the Short Course.  You’ll thank me!

This event is not for the casual athlete.  It is a lot of fun to participate, if you’re in shape; but if you’re not, come and watch.  It is amazing to watch these athletes, who are usually locals or from the nearby ski towns who all boast exceptional athletic ability.

There is a reason why Steamboat Springs, with population of less than 10,000 people, has produced more Winter Olympic athletes than any other town in the USA.  This year, 17 athletes from this town represented the U.S. in the Winter Olympics.  So far, at the time of this post, the cross-country skiers have medaled in three Nordic-combined events. Not sure whether Steamboat is the “egg or the chicken” when it comes to the caliber of these athletes but I don’t think it matters, the exceptionally athletic chickens are here.

So if you’re not of the faint at heart, love a challenge and have your cardiologist’s approval, come out and try this event.  Your friends and family will have a great time watching, and get to spend time here in beautiful Ski Town USA.

I am looking forward to hanging out with Lyllah in her Chariot, sipping hot chocolate and cheering on Joel, and our friend, Mary Beth, as they come over the finish line.  The next time I try the Pentathlon, it will probably be in a dream.  I am a great spectator, cheerleader and support crew.  I love having that job, for now.

If you’re seriously thinking about doing it this year, and need help in putting together your list of gear for the Pentathlon, send me an email and I’ll be happy to help.

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kaela’s it-lists

Sunday, February 28, 2010
Filed under: Kaela's it-list

Coming Soon, Kaela’s It-Lists!

Everything these days requires some kind of gear or need for organization, so wouldn’t it be nice to find a nice simple check-list somewhere?  I am on a quest to build a library of “it-lists” which will provide easy check-lists of the “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves”, with some times product recommendations and warnings, if I happen to have any worth mentioning.

Let me know if you need help on developing a checklist, and maybe I can help put one together for you and post it here.  Just email me at kaela{at}cogeargirl.com or use the contact page on this site.

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Hello world…

Sunday, February 28, 2010
Filed under: Everything Else

…wide web!

Well, here I am, Kaela, CoGearGirl, ready to make my contribution of bits and bytes on my blog.  Hope you enjoy some of the things I have to share.
I’m looking forward to your feedback.

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Hi, my name is Kaela. This blog is my way to share information about things I love and great things I stumble upon in life. Read more here

Would you like to submit an it-list idea? Send it in via our contact page.


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