Thursday, May 27, 2010

Book #2: Committed

I have been reading up a storm, both for school and for fun. My summer class has me reading about individuals with disabilities and it is truly very interesting. My fun reading is all across the board.

Last weekend I picked up Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage by Elizabeth Gilbert, and I've struggled to put it down. Her last book, Eat, Pray Love, was one of my absolute favorite books. The story of her journey of self discovery that led her across the world was so inspiring, and of course, a best seller. I absolutely cannot wait for the movie to come out later this summer.

In her new book, Gilbert picks up somewhat where she left off, having started a relationship with a Brazilian man, "Felipe," while she was in Bali, with whom she made a commitment of eternal fidelity, along with a vow to never get married. Unfortunately the pair runs into some immigration issues that force them to reconsider the latter, when they are basically told that they must get married in order for them to be together in the United States. While waiting for everything to process, the pair journey across the world to Southeast Asia, where Gilbert spends her time researching and examining the customs, traditions, and realities of marriage.

For those like me, who loved Eat, Pray, Love,  be warned that this is a different book, but not in a bad way. Gilbert starts off with a note to the reader, pondering how it is that she can follow up a book that was so popular and had such an impact on people (while being a deeply personal journey), knowing that there would be certain expectations from her readers, a different crowd than in the past. She struggled, writing this book, and then leaving it, then starting completely over.

While this is another memoir, one about making peace with marriage, her personal stories of travel and relationships are interspersed with the data and history of marriage. She shares some useful insights, including the results of a Rutgers University report titled, "Alone Together: How Marriage is Changing in America," which shares results of a marriage survey done over 20 years and factors which predicted a successful marriage. As someone who is 27 years-old and not yet married, there were a few factors I was excited to see, including level of education and age as two pluses. Apparently if you can wait until you are over 25 to get married, you are more likely to stick it out. Hooray for that!

I'm at that age where friends and colleagues are getting married left and right, and the focus often becomes wrapped around chair covers and engagement photos, plus all of those other little details that you would never think would be important. For some people, those little details are what make the wedding fun and personal. To me, they are overwhelming and often, costly. As so much in the media focuses on the wedding, it was interesting to think more about the marriage piece. One day versus a lifetime (hopefully).

Perhaps my favorite part of the book was the section in which Gilbert talks about expectations for a partner. In society today, there is the expectation that your partner should "complete you" (thanks Jerry Maguire) - they should be your soulmate, your inspiration, your source of life, etc. That is probably not very realistic and is likely to lead to disappointment. Gilbert argues for the importance of realistic expectations and that "one plus sometimes supposed to equal two." She also talks about keeping hobbies and interest of one's own and being okay with being your own person.

I appreciated the stories from Gilbert's travels, her interviews with family members and a glimpse into her internal conversations as she considers marriage. While the history gets a little heavy at times, it was definitely an interesting read. Check it out!

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Few Final Splurges

As June 1 approaches, I am finding it hard not to spend lots of money. One final splurge before I go a year without spending. I went all day Friday without spending any money. Saturday was less successful.

When they sent me a new Gap credit card, they of course sent me a coupon for $10 off at Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy. You get to use it once at each store! While I can typically pass on a coupon, this was just too good a deal. So I headed over to Old Navy, just down the street and happened upon a major sale day (of course). While I planned to be in and out, spending as little as possible to get my $10 worth of stuff, I left $60-some dollars poorer. I did get a pair of shorts, two dresses, two tank tops, and a pair of sunglasses for that amount...but still. While they are all practical things (I put back the two swimsuits that I also wanted), they weren't really necessary purchases. Okay, maybe the sunglasses were...I didn't have any.

One of the points of this spending freeze is to get away from the over-consumerism where we buy for the sake of buying. It seems to be my habit that I'll do really well for awhile, and then spend a lot all at once. I need to break this habit, and fast.

I worry that I'll have a few more splurges along the way. I do intend to make at least one more trip to Target. And I may try to utilize the $10 at Banana and Gap to get a nice work blouse or cardigan to get me through the next year. I'm hopeful that I can get all of this out of my system before this year starts.

Here's hoping I can develop some will power!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Book #1: The Wednesday Sisters

As I mentioned earlier, I love the time that summer affords to do more reading. I made a trip to the library last weekend, and stocked up on a variety of books that I hoped to get through within the three-week borrowing period. I'll inevitably have to renew some, but my goal in getting several was that I'd commit the time to doing the reading.

I thought it would be worth sharing a brief review of the different books I read, in the event someone stumbles upon my blog and wants to pick one up for his- or herself. I am definitely not a professional book critic, these are just my humble two cents.

The first book of the summer that I just finished is The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton. Clayton writes about a group of five women living in Palo Alto, CA in the late 1960s. They meet in the park where they take their children to play, and form a friendship that blooms out of their shared interest in writing and a yearning for something more in their lives that can fulfill their intellectual and creative desires during a time when they are expected to be "just mothers." Throughout the story, Clayton describes their experiences with the changes happening in the society around them, including the Vietnam War, the space race, and the women's movement. Their lives become intertwined and they navigate together through a number of successes, challenges, and tragedies. Their sisterhood may not be one in blood, but they clearly form a family together.

The book is on several recommendation lists for book clubs, and I can clearly see why. The women's shared love of reading would be an interesting parallel for any book club. I loved getting to know each of the five women better: Frankie, Ally, Brett, Linda, and Kath. And I enjoyed the historical elements that were woven through the plot. The advances in technology and medicine were a big focus in their lives, as the narrator's husband works for Intel at its start, and other characters face medical issues treated very differently back during that time.

As someone who is not yet a wife or a mother, I found the historical view of motherhood very interesting. When one of the characters looks for a job, she is confronted by the men who are hiring, who wonder why she would want to leave her kids or be anything other than a mother. It is interesting to think about where the discussion is now, roughly 50 years later, after women have made so many strides forward in education and the workplace. To think about the current choices, and the challenges that come with them. The challenge often discussed now for working mothers to be not just effective, but outstanding in both realms. The criticism of a mother who chooses to be "just a mom" versus a career woman. The financial constraints that may be present in homes where only one parent works. Definitely a relevant conversation.

Beyond that, I think the novel is a great story about friendship, and how we all long to have friends and to belong to something. There are so many good books about groups of women, and this is definitely one to add to the list.

Here's a reading guide that was posted on the author's site, for anyone who is interested.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Pay What You Can

Last night I heard about an interesting new venture that St. Louis Bread Company (Panera, for those of you outside of St. Louis) has taken on right down the road.

They have opened up a new non-profit cafe here in St. Louis that will operate on donations and will allow customers pay whatever they can afford for their food. An individual with only $5 in their pocket can still order an $8 meal. And someone who has a little more to spend is welcome to leave a bigger donation for their meal, offsetting the cost for those who pay less.

The current cafe is an experiment. If it is successful, the company will continue to open additional cafes of this type. According to the article, the response has been very positive so far. Since it's not too far from my apartment, I may have to check it out.

Here is the link to the full article from KSDK.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

It's Official

The cable has been turned off. As of this afternoon, I am down to less than 20 channels.

It's a little weird. I don't think it's really going to hit me until all of the good shows end this week and next. Once the summer season starts, I think that's when I am going to start missing the cable channels.

And then there is when I am going to miss the cable most. College football season. When I made this decision, did I completely forget that I would want to watch the Badger games and that they tend to only be available on ESPN or ESPN2? Yes, I'll be honest, I completely forgot. And when I figured it out, I got sad.

After a little research done by my boyfriend, I think I will be able to pay about $3 per game to watch streaming on the Big Ten Network online. Not a bad option. I'll probably skip some of the non-conference games, but for the others, I'll consider it an investment. Perhaps I should start saving up now, haha.

Outside of football, I really do think this is going to be a good thing. Perhaps I'll do a better job of focusing on my homework. Speaking of, I'll get back to that...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Office Project Update

Today starts week three of the office cleaning project. As of right now, I've eliminated two boxes and one filing cabinet worth of papers. I didn't get a whole lot done last week, as compared to the week before. I'll be honest - right now it looks even worse than it did when I started. I need to commit some time this week and next. My plan is to stay late a few nights to make some solid progress.

Wish me luck!

Recipe to Try: Homemade Granola

I love granola. It is one of my favorite breakfast treats. But man, it is expensive!

My mom has been making her own granola for some time, and it's always turned out really well. For some reason, I've never tried making it myself. I think it's about time.

I found this recipe online, and it sounds delicious and fairly simple. Cinnamon...good. Honey....good. Raisins...good. I see no issues here.

My granola adventure will begin once I can get to the grocery store for some honey (and after my class and homework are done).

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Can I Do It?

I've been reading a lot lately about individuals who have given up spending for a year. Yes that's right, a year. I know it sounds crazy, but I'm considering it.


There are several different reasons that people do it. There is a movement towards downshifting, in which, based on my understanding, people remove themselves from the overconsumerism of our society. Individuals involved in the movement look to lead a more balanced life and to reduce their carbon footprint and promote sustainability. They positively embrace living with less. It increases time to connect to family and friends. Downshifting promotes individuals being conscious consumers. According to Wikipedia, the major lifestyle changes promoted by downshifting are:

  • Making a list of weekly purchases and eliminating non-essential items
  • Cutting up a credit card
  • Not buying impulsively for instant gratification
  • Hand-making items
  • Donating, recycling or reusing old items
  • Buying quality secondhand goods
These items demonstrate that there is also a financial benefit to spending less (obvious). By not spending money on impulse buys or other items, many individuals have used what they've saved each month to pay off credit cards and other debts. Living with less debt can certainly free one's mind from a lot of stress.

For me, this is the bigger reason that I am considering giving up spending. At 27 years-old, I know that the financial decisions that I make now will affect my future. It's so important to get on the right track, and I'll be honest...I'm not on it right now. A year from now, I would love to have all of my credit cards paid off and to hopefully make a bigger dent in my car payments. I look forward to the day that all I have left is student loan payments, at least for awhile. I also know that because I am considering taking more classes in the upcoming year, I'm going to have a smaller disposable income than I even do now. More than anything, I need to live within my means rather than accumulating more debt. I think one of the most important things about considering this is understanding that I'm not "learning to live poor." With this plan, I hope to have a richer life, focused on relationships and balance. It's not just about the money. 

If I go forward with this, I will start on June 1 and go until May 31, 2011. Yes, a year seems like a long time. And I am sure that there will be times where I will slip up. But committing to a year now can mean a lot more later. I'm hoping it will also provide some perspective on what does and doesn't matter.

The Best Banana Bread

I love banana bread. I don't make it nearly enough. But on those occasions where I have the really brown bananas, it's such a great treat.

I made some yesterday, using this recipe that I found on Kudos to Libby for a truly fantastic recipe. I didn't change anything at all, and it's amazing. Definitely worth the title "The Best Banana Bread." It's a very simplistic recipe, although many reviewers on the site felt the need to add things to it - cinammon, nutmeg, brown sugar, nuts, chocolate chips, etc. There's just something to be said for the delicious banana taste that doesn't need anything else.

Definitely worth checking out!

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Today I made the first step towards turning off my cable. I bought a digital antenna. 

I find technology very intimidating. Correction, I find stores that find technology very intimidating. Best Buy, Radio Shack, etc. I always find that when I talk to the salespeople, I inevitably feel either stupid, or pressured to buy something that I don't need to buy. Do you feel that way too? 

I am thankful for one of my coworkers, who is really good with technology. On Friday, he showed me which antenna to buy, one for only $30. I knew that there would be much more expensive options, so I had the product number written down and with me when I headed in to the store. Ignoring all of the staff members, I ended up getting the RCA AC1400. I was in and out in 10 minutes. Wahoo! 

It's not your old fashioned tv antenna. It's basically a white flat box, that I was able to hang from the wall with a Command hook (you can barely see it!). I hooked it up to the tv right away when it got home, and the reception is decent. There are a few channels that come in better than others. Fox, NBC, CBS, ABC and the WB all come in great with the digital signal. PBS has been a little iffy. There are a few other random ones, like HSN, that have quite a bit of fuzz. Oh well, no shopping on tv for me. I haven't officially turned my cable off yet, but I plan to do it on Monday, now that I know I can still get all of the main channels. 

It's really strange to think about not having cable, when I've had it my whole life. I can't imagine how much time that I wasted during middle school and high school watching MTV. Now that I'm and adult and living by myself, I've gotten used to utilizing the tv for background noise, typically Food Network or Bravo unless there are some good movies on TBS or TNT over the weekends. When I think about it though, I don't really watch the cable channels all that often. Most of my main tv watching any more is usually online. And with all that is available on Netflix or Hulu, it just doesn't make sense to pay for something that I don't watch. 

So next week I am going to call to unbundle. 

Friday, May 14, 2010

16 Days Until Poolside!

It's almost here!

For me, summer hasn't officially started until the pool at my apartment is open. There's no better way to spend the weekends then laying out next to the pool, reading a good book, and drinking a cold beverage. It's by far the best perk of where I live, and I intend to make the most of it.

To further add to my summer fun, I bought two new beach towels for just $11 each at Kohl's. They are giant, which means that my ankles won't burn from touching the hot black plastic of the lounge chairs...ick!

Aren't they cute? They are also much more plush than my current towel collection, which includes: one Wisconsin Badger beach towel, a free gift from a few years ago and paper thin; one Shrek 2 beach towel, yes complete with Shrek and Donkey - totally age appropriate, haha; and one Busch Gardens beach towel that I've had since a seventh grade field trip and still have 15 years later.

I think that we can all agree that I was due for some new beach/pool gear. Now I'm just counting down the days until I can start to get some color!

A Day Without Spending

I was home sick yesterday with a migraine. Boo.

The amazing thing that I realized last night as I was watching tv was that I hadn't spent any money at all yesterday, since I ate all of my meals at home. There honestly aren't many days where that happens. Even if I don't spend a lot, I usually get a snack while at work or pop over to Walgreens for a bag of gummy bears (The Haribo ones are the best). Plus then there are those days when I spend a whole lot more.

As I was thinking about it, I looked up a few tips from different financial blogs. One blog, I Will Teach You To Be Rich, encourages individuals to put one day a week on their calendar that they will not spend any money. By committing to it on a calendar versus just doing it whenever, it's more likely to happen. This was just one tip in their overall plan to save $1,000 in 30 days. I'll be reading through the other tips to see what might also be helpful.

This one definitely seems like a good idea though. Worth giving a shot.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Green Thumb Update

I thought it was time for a little update on my plant experiment.

Here is what the orchid looks like:

Doing beautifully in it's new home on my kitchen table! Several more of the flowers have bloomed. I love the pink!

And here is what the violet looks like:

Not great. Not great at all. The flowers have all fallen off. Sad face. I'm hoping I can bring it back. Step one - keep away from kitty.

Speaking of kitty, I thought I'd share this cute photo of Bucky. It was taken last weekend before I left to go home. He was boycotting my trip, and figured if he sat on top of my suitcase that I couldn't pack it. How sweet, right?

Pages of the Past

All of this talk about summer reading made me recall the many books that I read last summer, over twenty I believe. I thought I would share a few, just in case any inspire others to pick one up.

In addition to reading, one of my other favorite hobbies is knitting. Yes, I'm kind of a grandma. I, of course, picked up The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs when it came out a few years ago. She released the sequel last summer, Knit Two, which picks up with the club five years after where the last one left off. It took me a minute to recall each character's storyline when I first picked up Knit Two, but then it was a comfortable adventure throughout the rest of the tale. It was interesting to see how the relationships of the women continued to grow and change throughout the book. Definitely a great story. One of my favorite things about the books is that they each come with a knitting pattern. How cute, right?! I haven't had the chance to read it yet, but the third book in the series, Knit the Season, came out last November. Perhaps I'll pick it up this summer, even if it's not the right weather for it.

I don't know why it took me so long to read The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom. I've had it for some time - I think I got it as a Christmas present a few years ago. It is truly a beautifully written story about the life and death of Eddie, an amusement park mechanic. The story really makes you think about the impact you've had on others' lives. It's a book that everyone should probably read.

The Queen of Babble series by Meg Cabot is such a cute read. You can't help but fall in love with Lizzie, her socially awkward heroine who can't seem to keep her mouth shut causing a number of different issues and funny moments along the way.

While most of the reading that I tend to do is light in nature (read: chick lit), I do try to mix in some non-fiction every once in awhile. And as a cat lover, who grew up in Iowa, I couldn't possible pass up Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Changed the World by Vicki Myron. The story tells the tale of Dewey Readmore Books, who was taken in by a librarian in Spencer, IA, after he was left in the book return slot at the library on a cold winter night. Interspersed with the story of the cat is the story of Myron and her family, as well as the history of the town. Cute story, although a little long.

Sticking with the animal theme, I also read Marley and Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog by John Groghan. I had already seen the movie in the theaters, but thought I should probably check out the book. Definitely worth the read. Groghan's naughty dog tales are quite reminiscent of some of the experiences that I've had with Bucky. It really shows how much that pets can mean to our lives.

Okay, so I won't give you the deets on all 20+ books, but those were some of the highlights. Happy reading!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Summer Reading 2010

I love reading, and I love that I have more time to spend doing it during the summer months. I can often be found at the library browsing through the fiction section and bringing home more books that I can possibly get through.

I've already begun placing holds at the library for the upcoming summer for some of my favorite authors. All of the good chick lit is coming out this summer, just in time for some beach/pool reading fun. I'm most excited for:

Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner - You might have read In Her Shoes, Good in Bed, or most recently, Certain Girls. All good books, although In Her Shoes is probably my favorite. Fly Away Home is scheduled to come out mid-July. From her web site, it will feature a politician and a sex scandal - ripped from the headlines, haha.

Mini-Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella - I love the Shopaholic books more than any other book series (I don't love the movie quite as much, even though Isla Fischer is adorable). I relate to Becky Bloomwood in so many ways. Kinsella hasn't written a Shopaholic book in quite some time, focusing instead on her stand-alone novels: Twenties Girl and Remember Me. According to her web site, it won't be out until September. I'm #17 on the hold list at my public library. The cover says "Like mother, like daughter." I can only imagine.

Promises to Keep by Jane Green - The first Jane Green book that I read was Jemima J, the fantastic book about an overweight woman who loses the weight, embarks on an adventure in love online, and finds herself in the process. Jemima J came out in 2000, and it's already outdated in it's Internet references. Ten years later, it seems like Green's writing has gone from over-the-top and cute chick lit, to more refined and geared towards a crowd that has aged with her (not that she's old). Her characters have progressed from 20-somethings in search of love to married women and mothers, which makes sense since she has six kids! Her new book is set to release in June, right around the corner. Read more about Jane's books on her site.

Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin - Emily Giffin is another "chick lit" author that I got into one summer while reading by the pool. Her books are not necessarily my favorite, but they are still pretty good. Giffin's new book, Heart of the Matter, features two women, one, a mother who has given up her career to stay home with her family, and the other, a single mother and career-woman who has given up on romance. The intersection of their stories is deemed tragic, so it's sure to be an interesting story. Great news - this book was released yesterday! For those interested in reading it right away, head to your nearest Barnes and Noble. I just have to wait for 38 others to read and return, then it's all mine (for the three-week check out period).

One author who I had hoped to see something from this summer is Meg Cabot. I've enjoyed all of her adult series, especially her Heather Wells mysteries, since Heather is a former teen pop star, who now works in a residence hall on a college campus in New York City. Can you believe it, Student Affairs has made an appearance in "chick lit"! Cabot seems to have been focusing on her young adult books lately, which include the Princess Diaries series. While I'm sure they are super cute, but I was hoping for something for me! According to her web site, she does have a big kid book coming out this summer, Insatiable, which seems to jump on the vampire bandwagon with everyone else in the post-Twilight craze. Although I've read the Twilight books, I might have to pass on this one.
Thank goodness for the public library, which saves me tons of money on all of these great books! Kindle schmindle.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Down to the Heart of the Matter

I love food. Love it.

But during the academic year, I'm challenged to prepare my own meals due to all of my night and weekend commitments. One of my goals for this summer is to spend more time preparing my own meals, since I will typically be able to get home at a reasonable time. It will also help me save some money.

Tonight I headed out to the grocery store and picked up some delicious ingredients to make an italian sub - yum! I also got some fresh artichokes. If you've never eaten an artichoke (or you've only eaten the kind that come in the can), you should definitely give it a shot. I cannot think of a better snack than a steamed artichoke dipped in melted butter.

They are not hard to cook at all. For more directions, click here. I'm busy wiping up the butter dripping from my hands!


While at home this weekend, I had a conversation with a family member about geocaching. I don't know about you, but I'd never heard of it. And most things that I know about that start with geo are either math or science related, which usually means that I'm out. But after a little research (because I hate not knowing about things), I've found out that it's actually pretty cool.

Here is what I've learned from It's basically a treasure hunting game that goes on worldwide, utilizing GPS technology to hide and seek the treasure. Anyone (who creates a login on the site) can look up the coordinates to various treasure locations. After plugging the lattitude and longitude into the GPS device, you're off on an adventure (via car, foot, etc.) to find the location of the treasure. Sites often include parks and other nature sites, allowing visitors the opportunity to hike, and see new places or explore as a family. Typically the cache (what you're looking for) is a box or other container that is well hidden at the coordinates (making it even more of a hunt). The cache contains a log book where all seekers can record their find and leave notes for other visitors. It might also include small trinkets or other items left by other visitors. You're welcome to swap a new item for one in the box, leaving a memento of your journey. After the trip, visitors can log their find online as well. It's

According to the site, the exciting part is usually the journey to find the cache. It's more about the adventure than the box you find.

Now, I know that:
a. I love adventures. (And treasure)
b. I love activities that are free.
c. I have a whole summer ahead of me.

I think it might be something to check out. I don't have a Garmin, but I do have an iPhone, and there is apparently an app that you can get to easily find the coordinates of the geocache. Once I'm GPS functional, I might see what's in the area. Perhaps I will have to tie it in with other adventures, like picnics, family vacations, etc.

Every girl needs some good adventures. Stay tuned.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Happy Mother's Day - A Day Late

I am back from a fantastic weekend visiting my family in Wisconsin. Not only did I get to spend Mother's Day with my mom, I also got to celebrate my Grandma Ruby's 80th birthday! It was a fantastic brunch - my mom truly is a great host. I can't stop thinking about the food - pulled pork sandwiches, breakfast casserole, fruit...I could go on and on. It was great to see family, especially since I don't get home very often. I got to meet my cousin's new baby, who is just adorable, even when she's projectile vomiting. Okay...that wasn't exactly my reaction at the time, which was to run away to the other side of the room. Babies kind of freak me out. I also got to introduce the extended family to my boyfriend, who gets some major brownie points for making the trek, and dressing up in the assigned party color (red, duh!). And of course, Grandma looked fantastic on her birthday. Here's wishing her many more birthdays to come!

Side story: Even though we knew that we'd be having a delicious brunch meal, my sister and I had to go on a little morning adventure to get morning buns from Simma's Bakery. If you've never had a morning bun, the best way to describe it is a crusty, "cinnamon roll meets croissant" pastry, that is covered with cinnamon and sugar on the outside (no icing), and soft and buttery on the inside. For a better description, click here.

Our morning bun adventure started at 7:30, as the bakery was only open from 8-noon on Sunday. And we were fortunate that we got there when we did. At 8:15 (ish), they bin that is usually stocked with morning buns was empty. When Rachel inquired, she was told there was a pan just coming out of the oven that still needed to be sugared. While we sipped the complimentary coffee and waited, the man ahead of us took six. A few minutes later, we got the other six from the batch, and were told there wouldn't be more for an hour. Sad news for the line that was practically out the door. Great news for us. Does that not look amazing?!

The best part was that we had one leftover, which meant a delicious pre-drive treat!

I really need to get home more often. I love being able to see my family, and enjoy my mom's wonderful hospitality (she treats me like a guest and puts the good shampoo in the shower, just for me!). I like going to all of the places you can only visit at home (like Simma's) and passing the familiar landmarks. And I love just sitting on the couch, watching trashy reality tv that was DVRed. It's nice not having other things to do.

Perhaps someday I will be closer. But for now, I have to make the most of my visits. I can't wait until I'm back in July!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Mission Organization - Continued!

I spent yesterday helping my friend Lucy move into her new apartment, which inspired me to continue organizing my apartment. Today's focus - my kitchen. After a few loads of dishes and a major fridge clean out (yuck), I reorganized my pantry cabinet, silverware drawer, and the cabinet with all of my drinking glasses, etc.

I also cleaned out my spice drawer and put everything on a lazy susan, which freed up some space for all of those miscellaneous kitchen gadgets.

My favorite new area is my desk area in my spare room. I usually use my computer while sitting in front of the tv, so I thought it made more sense to utilize it as a space for crafts, present wrapping, etc. I stole some ideas from one of my favorite blogs, Young House Love. Here's what it looks like now!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Happy Birthday Bucky!

My favorite little tuxedo cat turned 3 years old today! It's hard to believe it was 3 years ago that he was born on a farm in central Iowa. And now look at him!

Although he hasn't received any presents yet, I can vouch that he's had a great day! He started it off with some great cuddle time with me, followed by a long day of naps and sitting in the open window, enjoying the beautiful weather.

Look at him way back when... Happy Birthday Bucky!

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