Thursday, January 30, 2014

Home Organization Check-In: Month One

Well guys, I kind of failed at this month's organization goal of doing the entire bedroom. I got quite a few things done, but not as much as I wanted to! I think instead of trying to get one room done a month, I will try to tackle a few projects from different rooms a month. A lot of my projects aren't going to be able to be done until the weather gets better, so it doesn't make any sense to push all the rooms off until then. I just hope I will be better motivated to get more done! So today, I will share with you what I did get done in the bedroom so far and share my ultimate home projects list! It is pretty expansive, but it's better to dream big I think :)

Here was my list to do for the master bedroom and what I actually got done:

1. Purge through clothes and reorganize closet and drawers
2. Get new curtains for the room
3. Find a duvet cover for our comforter
4. Put a colorful sheet on the box spring so it doesn't look just like a box spring
5. Find a tall mirror for our wall (right now I'm using a cheap one from Wal Mart from college)
6. Find and hang small mirrors for either side of the bed
7. Hang more pictures/artwork on the walls
8. Clear out the clutter!!
9. Find a basket to put next to the bed for magazines
10. Reorganize nightstand


4 out of 10. Not bad, but I know I could have done a lot more. Here is what the room looked to begin with:


Also, I apparently suck at taking pictures. I have some documentation of this list I completed, but I guess you're going to have to imagine the rest. (I really need to be a better blogger!)

Here is my closet before. You can see all the shoes and clothes and stuff piled in there:


And, of course, I forgot to take an after picture. But look at all the clothes I'm getting rid of! It feels so good to just purge through everything and just keep the pieces I know I wear regularly. (Does anyone remember those sexy, shape-ups shoes shown at the bottom of this picture?? I don't think they even really worked...) I separated them into 3 piles: things I want to try to sell, things I'm going to have my younger sister look through, and a Goodwill pile. Now I just have to get off my lazy butt and actually bring them to these places...


Here you can see the mirror we hung on our wall. And by we, I mean my handy hubby ;) The wood matches our bedroom furniture set, but I'm still not sure how it looks with all the white trim around the room. We will see if that gets changed. 


The only picture of the duvet and new curtains I took was on my phone, so you'll have to forgive the crappy quality. But I do love the colors and pattern the duvet brings to the room! The white curtains brighten up the room a ton too!


Here is the master list of things I want to do to the house this year. Some of them won't make sense because I don't have pictures of the spaces, but I promise I'll try harder to document all of this!

Bathroom
1. Paint
2. Organize under the sink, cupboard on the wall, and drawers
3. Get new hardware for the sink and tub

Hallway
1. Hang pictures on the walls
2. Reorganize the linen and main closets
3. Remove random door (the one I used to take outfit pictures in front of)
4. Find a small accent table for under the mirror in our main entry

Kitchen
1. Find a buffet table
2. Organize and clean off counter tops
3. Reorganize cupboards
4. Reorganize pantry
5. Clean out fridge and find a better method of organizing

Living Room
1. Refinish buffet table
2. Find matching covers for the couch and love seat
3. Make new pillow covers
4. Paint the fireplace white
5. Refinish piano stool
6. New shade for lamp and spray paint base
7. Frame wedding painting
8. Curtains for the windows

Office
1. Find a rug for the room
2. Get curtains for window
3. Chair for the desk
4. Organize top of desk
5. Organize desk drawers
6. Organize file cabinets
7. Organize closet
8. Make coat rack for back door

Mudroom
1. Paint
2. Make coat rack/bench
3. Refinish stairs into basement

Guestroom
1. Get larger storage for DVD collection (we have a ton!!)
2. Organize closet
3. Curtains for windows
4. Organize and purge junk!

We also hope to start finishing off our basement too this year (it is unfinished). This is quite a list! But some of these projects are smaller, so they won't take up too much time. We will see what I get done this year! I plan on doing a month-end recap to keep myself accountable of my progress :) Wish me luck!



Wednesday, January 29, 2014

What I Wore: Week 4

Before I share what I've been wearing this past week, I just want to say thank you to everyone who takes the time to visit my blog, all my followers (new and old), and to everyone who leaves comments! I'm still figuring out the direction I want my blog to go, and all the sweet comments really help me to figure that out! I do try to reply to all my comments, but if I missed you, know that I really appreciate all your kind words! :) And now, on to the outfits!

1. I'm in a new location! (We are trying to figure out different places that may look better for pictures) You can't really see the top very well, but it came from the neatest little thrift store in New Hope, MN. It is right next door to the New Hope Cinema Grill, so whenever we go to a movie there, we make sure to get there extra early to do some thrifting beforehand. They have really good brands of clothes too! The Limited, Banana Republic, The Loft, Gap... I've definitely scored some cute items there! Also, my very talented brother painted the picture on the piano for our wedding! If you are interested, you can see more of his artwork on his website.


Top: Thrifted/The Limited
Sweater: Banana Republic Outlet
Pants: The Limited
Scarf: Gift
Shoes: Gift
Earrings: Gift

2. This is the third of these short-sleeve turtlenecks I own. Since it's brown, though, I'm never sure what to pare it with besides jeans. But I think this works- neutrals on the top, pop of color on the bottom. (And of course, the perfect golden retriever accessory, who doesn't know how to keep her eyes open during pictures!)


Top: The Limited
Tank (underneath): Old Navy
Sweater: Banana Republic Outlet (yes, I wear this a lot!)
Pants: The Limited
Shoes: Target
Necklace: Target
Golden Retriever Zoe: Breeder in North Dakota :)

3. I really like this sweater from The Limited and got it for a song a few years ago! However, it's super warm to wear most of the time, so I figured that Polar Vortex: Part II (or 3?) was the perfect day to wear it :) Oh, and pardon the bags under my eyes- that was the beginning of my cold last week :/


Sweater: The Limited
Tank (underneath): Old Navy
Pants: New York and Co.
Shoes: Target



Linking up here: Tucker Up

pleated poppy
MIX MATCH

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Chicken Tacos

We had friends over for dinner last week and I wanted to try out a new recipe. I found this one [I believe] in the latest edition of Good Housekeeping. Not only was it delicious, but it's very healthy too!




Ingredients

  • 3 cups cabbage-slaw mix
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves, fresh
  • 1 1/4 cup red or green salsa
  • 1 can reduced-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2/3 cup frozen (thawed) corn
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 cups shredded chicken breast meat
  • 8 small taco-sized whole grain tortillas
1. In a large bowl, mix together the slaw mix, carrots, cilantro, and 3/4 cup salsa; set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan, combine the beans, corn, cumin, and 1/8 tsp each of salt and pepper. Heat on medium for 3-5 minutes, or until hot, stirring occasionally. Gently stir in the chicken.
3. While the bean mixture heats, wrap the tortillas in a damp paper towel. Microwave on high for 1 minute, or until warm. Serve the chicken mixture in tortillas topped with slaw mixture.

I topped with a little sour cream, some more salsa, and a dash of hot sauce for extra kick :)

Enjoy!
A Peek Into My Paradise
The Weary Chef

Monday, January 27, 2014

Weekend Happenings

Hello all! Did everyone have a good weekend? I suppose some of you are still on your weekend, with Polar Vortex Part 3 (or is it 4?) hitting the country today. Crazy stuff! My cold moved from my throat/lungs into my head over the weekend; but between picking the right cold medicines and napping, we managed to have some fun.

Friday

After work, I hit up Target to score some good deals. Everything below was about $30 and I saved almost $30 in coupons! Each of those shampoo/conditioner/styling bottles were about $0.64 after all my coupons and other deals! Can't get better than that!


We also went to Olive Garden for dinner, because we got a couple gift cards for Christmas. (out of pocket, our dinner was $5!!)

I also had some Sadie snuggles:


Saturday

I tried out some different cold medicines I had throughout the day, so most of the morning I was pretty much a basket case, sleeping on the couch. But we did manage to make it out of the house and finally saw "The Hobbit." I do love the "Lord of the Rings" movies and I did enjoy this one!

Dinner and early to bed rounded out this day.

Sunday

We went to church in the morning, then I saw "Gravity" in the afternoon with my dad since he hadn't seen it yet. I really like it! Even though I'd seen it before, I still got anxious during some parts :)

We had dinner at my in-laws, then I watched Downton Abbey to round out my weekend.


I hope you all had a fun weekend and are staying warm!




Weekend Highlights

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What I Wore: Week 3

We are almost through with another work week! That means it's time to share what I've been wearing the past week.

1. This is what I wore to hubby's company's Christmas Party. I (and come to find out a lot of the plus one's) were kind of worried on what to wear. It was business casual, but what exactly does that mean? But I ended up being kind of mid-way dressed up compared to everyone else, so I guess I made the right choice :) (But I can't decide if the collar over my sweater makes me look like a clown??) Oh, and I actually did something with my hair instead of wearing it straight all the time! 


Pants: The Limited
Polka-dot top: Old Navy
Sweater: The Limited
Boots: Payless
Jewelry: Hubby :)

2. Honestly, I'm not sure about this outfit. The shirt I haven't worn since this summer, so that's why I pulled this one out. It's just okay, and that's where I will leave that one.


Pants: The Limited
Shirt: New York and Co.
Sweater: Old Navy
Shoes: Target


pleated poppy
MIX MATCH



vodkainfusedlemonade.com

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Homemade Egg McMuffins

How many of you like to go to McDonald's for breakfast? I know I do. But the cost and the calories aren't always worth it to me. So what do I do instead? I make my own McMuffin sandwiches! It is a lot cheaper, saves you calories, plus you can make a big batch and freeze them for later! And they are SUPER easy to make, so why wouldn't you try them??



Ingredients
  • English Muffins (I only had white, but you can use wheat for a healthier option!)
  • Eggs (I used the carton of egg whites)
  • Turkey Bacon
  • Cheese slices (I used the thin slices and only used 1/2 a slice per sandwich)

Cook the eggs to your liking (I used a little cooking spray and 'fried' them in a pan), and assemble all the ingredients together to build your sandwich. I individually wrap each of them in plastic wrap and keep them in the freezer until I use them. When I'm ready to eat one, I take it out of the plastic wrap, wrap it in a paper towel, and cook it in the microwave for about 1 minute, or until heated.

McDonald's Egg McMuffin: 290 calories, 12 grams of fat
McDonald's Egg White Delight: 250 calories, 7 grams of fat
Homemade McMuffins: 208 calories, about 5.5 grams of fat



Sharing this at: Saturday Night Fever
Table for Seven

Monday, January 20, 2014

Weekend Recap #3

Hello readers! Sorry I was MIA again- I was sick again on Thursday, and I think I'm getting a cold now too? What the heck, body, not cool. But anyway, I have a full week of posts planned, so hopefully getting back into the swing of things!

How was everyone's weekend? Do anything fun? 

Friday evening we went to hubby's company's Christmas Party at the Loring Pasta Bar in Minneapolis near the U of M. We wen't there once before for dinner (on the day we got engaged!). It is a very neat place! If you live in the Twin Cities you should definitely check it out!

Saturday I went to Zumba in the morning (which I love!) then spent the afternoon doing some grocery shopping, cleaning the house, and reading. Pretty low-key day.

Sunday was more of the same. I did a TON of reading (doing good on that resolution so far!), went to church in the evening, and finished my day with Downton Abbey. 

I hope everyone has a good week (and stays warm with another polar freeze coming...)! We are going bowling tonight, which I haven't been in probably 10 years!


Sharing my weekend here: Impractical Composition 
Weekend Highlights

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

What I Wore: Week 2

 Happy Wednesday! I feel really off in my blogging the past week- didn't post on Friday because I was sick, didn't post a recipe yesterday, today's post is late getting out... oh well. I need to get back in the mindset of posting because I want to, not worrying about a set schedule! Does anyone else have this problem? I'm sure everyone does at some point in their blogging career. Anyway, enough with my little rant and on to what I've been wearing the past week!

1. Again, I've been trying to wear pieces I haven't in awhile. I'm in the middle of my closet clean-out and really trying to purge through everything and not just hanging on to things for sentimental reasons! This shirt I haven't worn in at least a year (I have it in 3 colors and haven't worn any of them in awhile...) so we will see if it makes the cut!


Pants: The Limited
Shirt: The Limited
Sweater: Banana Republic outlet
Shoes: Hand-me-downs
Necklace: Forever 21


2. This dress is also something I haven't worn in a long time! I bought it up in Canada at some mall 3 years ago and I can probably count on one hand the times I've worn it. It's pretty comfortable, though, and I like wearing it layered like this. 

Oh, yes. I have to tell you about these boots I'm wearing! Definitely a LONG time coming. So I joined Just Fab and ordered my first pair of boots (which you've seen around the blog a lot!). I had just placed the order at the end of the month and it came time to place an order or skip the month a week later, which I didn't realize was happening, so I got charged anyway and had a credit for a pair of shoes sitting on my account. I really wanted a pair of black riding boots, but they NEVER had anything in my size! I kept looking month after month and FINALLY I found this pair in my size! I got them in the mail and was so excited to wear them, I open the box, and inside are not these black, riding boots, but a pair of ugg-looking boots... I was obviously disappointed because I'd been waiting to get these for a while. So I called the company and did an exchange for the correct pair. Those finally came a few weeks later and they were the right pair! But then I was going to try them on and the zipper was stuck! grr. I was not going to return these again so I worked and worked at that zipper and finally got it unstuck. And finally put on the black riding boots I had been waiting so long to wear. Man, I'm exhausted just writing about my saga...



Dress: some store in Canada
Sweater: The Limited
Leggings: Target
Boots: Just Fab
Scarf: Farmer's Market

3. This outfit feels very Valentine's Day. I don't know why. Maybe the combination of the red sweater and the polka-dot ruffled top? Oh well. Just getting ready early I guess. I do like all black with a pop of color.


Sweater: Target
Top: Old Navy
Pants: The Limited
Belt: Off another dress
Shoes: Hand-me-downs
Necklace: Gift


Linking up at Tucker Up and The Pleated Poppy




Monday, January 13, 2014

Weekend Recap/2014 Resolutions Update

Hello to my lovely readers! A special welcome to all my new followers! 

[Side story: I joined a couple link parties last week specifically for growing your Google plus followers, and I literally TRIPLED my followers in one day!! How awesome is that!! So thank you to all my followers- new and old! If you're not a follower yet but have been poking around the blog from time to time, join in the fun! I am almost to 100 followers so maybe I'll do a giveaway once I hit the magic number :) ]

I hope everyone had a good weekend! Mine was so so. It started off Friday- I went in to work for a couple hours, but started to feel really sick with a migraine and nausea; so I went home and went to bed for the rest of the day. [Don't you love being a married woman and being sick with nausea? Whenever this happens to me I feel like I have to justify myself saying I'm NOT pregnant!] Hubby thought I was coming down with the flu; I think my migraine was so bad I was getting sick too. Not fun.

Saturday I was still recovering. I did leave the house and did some grocery shopping [which really wore me out after being bed ridden for an entire day]. The rest of the day was spent on the couch reading and watching TV.

Sunday we went to church [they moved the time back from 11 am to 10 am and I still have to get used to that :)]. I finally took our Christmas decorations down yesterday. It looks so sad and bare in our house now! I have to get going on some furniture diy projects so it doesn't look like we are either moving in or out. I finished off my weekend watching the Golden Globes and Downton Abbey.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So we are two weeks into the New Year- how many of you are still following your resolutions? :) I think I'm doing alright with mine. I did join a fitness studio with my sister-in-law and we've been doing one Zumba class a week, which is a lot of fun! She also joined a gym that lets her bring a guest with every time she works out [!] so I'll hopefully get my butt off the couch and go with her sometimes. 

I already read one book towards my goal too this year! I also just found out Goodreads has a 2014 reading challenge you can sign up for and keep yourself accountable. Here is the link if you want to join up! It's a neat way to keep track of what you've read and see what other people are reading too!

I hope everyone has a good week!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Freebies!


Don't tell me you don't get a little excited when you hear that word! Probably within the last 6 months or so, I've been discovering ways to get freebies and I want to share with you all how to do it too!

One thing before I begin, you do need to provide an email address when signing up for samples. I'd recommend getting an email address specifically used for things such as this that may warrant more 'spam' type emails in your account. (Either a new one or that one you had to get in 7th grade computer class that you still have? [aka something with awesome, super, puppy, flower, etc and a random assortment of digits in the name...] Yeah, use that)

It also takes on average between 4-6 weeks for your samples to arrive. So while it will take awhile initially, if you keep signing up for things every week, you will keep getting nice surprises in your mail regularly :) I've gotten different types of coffee, tea, soup, razors, contact solution, reusable grocery totes, hair care samples, the list goes on and on!

1. Freeflys

This is a site that lists all the freebies available on the internet. They post links that take you to the manufacturer's site, Facebook, Target, etc. and you follow the directions to sign up. You may not qualify for everything out there, but it doesn't hurt to try! I've received both sample sizes and full size products. I also follow them on Facebook and they are very good about posting freebies available everyday!

2. Heavenly Steals 

Another site like Freeflys that lists freebies available online as well as showing free or cheap deals in stores such as Target and Walmart. I also follow them on Facebook to see the deals out there everyday.

3. Store Sites

Store websites such as Target and Walmart have a page of freebies or sample sizes. I've found that these can go rather quickly, so keep checking to see what's available!

4. BuzzAgent

This is a new site I just found out about and joined. It is a site that works with companies to promote their products. You sign up for an account, take some surveys about your interests and habits, and if you are a good fit, they invite you to join in a campaign. During a campaign, they send you a free product which you try out, then complete tasks on their website, such as writing reviews, posting comments to Facebook, sharing on your blog, etc. This is a really neat way to try out products you may have never been inclined to try in the first place (I just finished my first campaign on Cottonelle's new moist wipes, for example. They were neat to try out but I may have not bought them for myself in the first place!)

How about you? Are you a freebie hunter like me? What sites are your favorites to check out?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

What I Wore: Week 1

Here are a few of the outfits I've been wearing this first week in January. It's been super cold here in MN! (like -30 wind chill...) So I've been trying to work with more layers. But it was warm enough I got a couple pictures outside. And by warm enough, I mean it wasn't cold enough I'd get frostbite in 5 minutes...

1. Honestly, I'm not sure when I wore this outfit. New Years Day maybe for running errands? Not sure how I like the collared shirt with the scarf, but oh well. You live and learn.

 

I love Zoe in these next pictures! Whenever we take pictures outside, she goes crazy running around the yard! :)



Jeans: Gap
Chambray: Old Navy
Scarf: Gift
Boots: Gift from hubby when we were engaged :)
Belt: Off another pair of pants

2. I haven't worn a skirt and tights in the winter in a long time, so I decided to wear it on a warmish day before the deep freeze. All day, though, the skirt was riding funny and doing weird things, but maybe it was just clinging to the tights? I don't know.



Skirt: The Loft
Shirt: The Limited
Sweater: Old Navy
Scarf: Gift
Tights: Probably Target
Shoes: Hand-Me-Downs
Earrings: The Limited

3. I talked a little bit here about my quest to find a black vest for winter. But seriously, I guess everyone else had the same idea, because EVERY store was sold out in my size or in the color black! I didn't want to settle on something I only kind of liked and I wanted to get an investment piece (I've already worn it every day since I got it and I know I'll probably wear the heck out of it this winter!), so I finally found this beauty at REI. Even though it isn't down, it keeps me SUPER warm! and it has a nice blue color on the inside. AND it packs conveniently up into a tiny, built-in pocket! I think I got my money's worth for this one. (As you can see, too, Zoe wanted to be featured on my blog! I know I posted a lot of pictures, but she is seriously too funny in all of them not to!)





Jeans: Gap
Shirt: Banana Republic (I do miss the 50% employee discount!)
Boots: Just Fab
Vest: REI
Necklace: Target




pleated poppy