Thursday, February 27, 2014

February Thankful Thursday and Best of Instagram

Blood Donation OOTD
Ugg boots are the best at keeping my freezing feet warm.
Wearing short sleeves so the nurses can get at my veins.

1/30 I found a job listing I was excited about and I applied for it.
1/31 I donated blood. I was able to find a great use for the kitchen style crushed tomatoes I bought by accident.
2/1 Hubs and I watched a movie together. Our friends came over and we went to Tim Horton's.
2/2 We Skyped with our college friends while watching the Super Bowl.
2/3 I went to a job fair and wrote a cover letter for a real lawyer job!

Our Backyard on One of the Snow Days

2/4 I called my old nanny for her birthday. I got a call back from one of the recruiters at the job fair. It's not a lawyer job but it is a job.
2/5 Snow day! Hubs stayed home.
2/6 I have an interview with a firm! I got more contract work. I did five loads of laundry.

Bundling Up! Dressing in the Winter is a Multi Step Process
Wool Socks, Long Under Wear, Regular Clothes,
Warm Sweaters, and Arctic Rated Outwear Wear

2/7 I had my last shot before I move on to matinence allergy shots! I had a nice chat with the director of career servicces at the law school and got more books about hanging out my own shingle.
2/8 We went to Five Guys and OrangeLeaf (froyo) with Hubs' collegues.
2/9 I sold two things on eBay! Yeah for money!
2/10 I had my second shift as a volunteer tax preparer. Hubs and I had some good quality time together.

My Interview OOTD & Rocking my New Hair Cut

2/11 Got a great hair cut! I am so happy to have a stylist I trust.
2/12 I had two job interviews and I heard that another application would be passed on to the hiring manager. I took charge at the the Junior League New Member Meeting and rallied my subcommittee.
2/13 Snowday! Hubs came with me to the allergist so I got to sit with him while they waited to see if I had a systematic reaction. I am starting on the most concentrated vial of immunotherapy and soon I won't need shots every week.

2/14 Snowday! Ben bought me doughnuts and Dunkin gave us a carnation. (The carnation ended up lasting over a week and a half!)
2/16 We watched Minority Report together. It was a good interesting movie.
2/17 I watched Despicable Me 2 while donating blood. So funny!
2/19 We went to the theater and watched the Lego Movie. It was great! We got fresh snow. I just love fresh snow.
2/20 I got a free slushie at the gas station.

Random OOTD #lillypulitzer #jcrew #tiffanys

2/21 Looked at office space and started trying to get a quote for malpractice insurance.
2/22 It was warm (45) and we went for a walk. It was nice.
2/23 We went sledding.

An Abandoned Factory.

2/24 I was so productive yesterday. I got a lot off of my to do list and I fixed my broken Bose headphones.
2/25 So excited for Taco Tuesday on Wednesday. (See above where we saw the Lego Movie.)
2/26 I was so anxious about Junior League neighborhood meeting. It was at a member's home and I didn't know that member and I wasn't sure who else was in my neighborhood. But it was great!

LL Bean Signature Dress + Ugg Boots =
Little House on the Prairie Look

New Year's Resolution Updates
I did not exercise at all except for going for a walk and going sledding. I also didn't use myfitnesspal to track my food intake until this week. But hopefully I can keep up with tracking. I stopped drinking enough water using my water bottle really helps so I have to fill it up even when I'm at home. I'm flossing and using my Clarisonic pretty regularly. I am still so full of envy but I am working on finding the joy in my own life as you can see from my Thankfuls above. I am working on saving money. We averaged $36 a week on groceries (food items only) this month according to Mint! We did stockpile non-food grocery items (vitamins, paper towels, toilet paper). Over all in terms of saving it looks like our net income for February was positive so that puts us a little closer to owning a home!

How was your month? How are you doing with your new year's resolutions (if you had any that is)? What do you think of all my crazy facial expressions in my OOTDs?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


We got quite a bit of fresh snow this past week. We got back up to about two-ish feet of snow. Some of it was incredibly wet and hard to shovel and some of it was really light and fluffy. Then we got a thaw and it was so warm. A lot of snow melted but we've still got a little less than a foot of snow cover, even in sunny spots.

So during the thaw we went sledding when it was 45º and there were puddles on the ground. I may or may not have been two warm in my ski gear. My in-laws have a spot. There's a great sledding hill in one of the nearby towns and when we got there we were the only ones there!

Hubs and my MIL where both terrified of sledding down head first but I wasn't.

A horrible wipeout. Everyone wipedout on this sled. I was so glad I had a lot of padding. Fun fact. My ski pants are from the summer between my senior year of high school and my freshman year of college. They still fit (but are tight). I have no idea why I worry about my weight.

How was your weekend? Did you get out any enjoy the outdoors?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Black Bean Tacos

Mr. H LOVED this accidental creation.
We had an extra jalapeño and leftover chicken broth and
I decided to make tacos with black beans for the filling.
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup dried black beans, soaked (about 2 cans cooked black beans drained)
1 jalapeño pepper diced
1 to 2 onions diced (I used 1½ small onions because I also made blender salsa)
1 Tbsp chili powder
½ Tbsp paprika
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp cumin
⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
⅛ tsp red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon oregano
½ tsp seasoning salt
½ Tbsp corn starch
1 1/2 c. broth (chicken, beef, or vegetable your choice)

Saute onions and jalapeño in 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil until soft. Add soaked beans, broth, and spices. Bring to boil then simmer covered for an hour or until the beans are cooked through. (If you use canned beans you do not need to cook the beans as long.) If there is too much liquid with the beans after simmering for an hour take off the lid the pot and turn the heat up to medium to cook off the extra liquid.

Serve the beans on tortillas with your favorite condiments (pinterest blender salsa and sour cream) and veggies (olives, tomato, and iceberg lettuce). Or try serving it over delicious cheesy Mexican rice.

I just tried recreating it to test the recipe I wrote down after I the first time I made this and it is pretty spicy! I was at my limit. If you need to keep things mild omit the cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, and reduce the amounts of chili powder and paprika. If you don't want to mix up the spices yourself or buy them all you can use a packet of taco seasoning instead of the spices in the recipe.

I had originally thought to make black bean tacos  because ground beef is really expensive but I love tacos. I've been subbing black beans into other "Mexican" recipes where there's ground meat like Skinny Taste's Taco Stuffed Succhini Boats and Budget Bytes' Beef Taco Pasta (like Mexican Hamburger Helper) and so I gave it a go with tacos. I usually use the equivalent of a can of beans per pound of meat when substituting because most cans of beans weigh just short of a pound. Generally, half a cup of dried beans yields the same amount as a can of beans.

Step by Step Photos

Cooking the veggies

Adding the spices

Starting to Simmer


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

House Tour Part II: Upstairs

Welcome to the second part of my house tour! Let's go upstairs.

This bookshelf  is one of the first things you see going up the stairs.
It has a lot of knickknacks and things I have no place for.

The Knickknacks on Top of the Desk

The Bathroom
We run a dehumidifier because our apartment gets horribly humid and my allergist said that to combat dust mites and mold (things I am allergic to) we should keep the humidity below 50%. I can run that dehumidifier all day and the humidity hardly ever gets below 50% and it is so loud! It was nice gift from my BIL. He found it and gave it to use for Christmas one year. In the summer we run it in the basement but in the winter it is too cold for it in the basement, the coils on the back freeze solid so we move it upstairs to the bathroom.

The Bathroom Sink, Clean

The Bathroom Linen Closet.
 It's been taken over by my cosmetics and lotion.

My Husband's Messy Desk

Going into the Office/Guest Bedroom
The flowers are above my desk are from by bouquet.

A Bookcase from College
Hubs' Childhood Desk

The Overflow Closet
My goal is to clean out my closet enough that my in season close fit in my bedroom closet and my out of season clothes fit in here. Right now my summer clothes are folded up in plastic tubs in the basement. And our spare closet is full of things of things that I might eBay, work shoes, purses, a filing cabinet, and my steamer. It is just a mess and it drives me crazy.

Looking at My Desk

The cork board has been amazing! I am so glad I put it by my desk. My sewing machine is sitting on my now full comic book drawer so I've got to sort through my comics and figure out what to do with the over flow.

There is just enough space on the floor for our air mattress so we have plenty of space for a house guest!

Another Bookcase Left Over from College

Into the Bedroom . . .

Looking In

I have hurt myself on that red chest so many times! Hubs got it from one of his grandfathers and he used to use it for storing toys. We use it as a linen chest now.

The chair left over from college, it was gift to Hubs from his ex-girlfirend. I put my Star Wars pillows on it and sometimes use it to air out my sweaters before putting them back in the closet. I usually don't wear shoes in my OOTDs because I hate wearing shoes in the house, especially in my bedroom and my only full length mirror is in our bedroom.

Looking into the Bedroom Closet
My green dirty clothes hamper from college has three sections for sorting Laundry.
The plastic bin has light weight sweaters that I usually don't wear during the depths of winter.

I don't wash all my clothes after every wear because washing your clothes wears them out faster and washing things when they're already pretty clean wastes water. So I hand up sweatshirts, shirts, and pants things that I've only worn once on the closet door at the end of the day. If they still look and smell clean I put them back in the closet on the "not dirty but not fresh from the washer clean" side of my closet. Please tell me I'm not the only one who does this. I don't want to be that filthy person who wears dirty clothes but especially in the winter when I wear long underwear under everything and don't sweat because I'm always shivering it doesn't quite make sense to wash all my layers after one wear.

The Top of the Closet

My closet drives me crazy. Hubs takes up about two feet of closet space and I take up the rest but it's to enough. Right now I'm in an awkward place wardrobe wise. I am unemployed but I want to be employed. So I can't get rid of my casual clothes because I wear them pretty much every day but I can't get rid of any work clothes and I'm not sure what kind of work clothes I will need for where I end up working. So all my suits and nice dresses are just taking up space and I can't find anything to wear since I'm not going to lounge around the house all business formal. Also, I forgot to pack up my shorts for the winter. I also feel like I can't get rid of clothes that don't fit because I plan on having a baby at some point and maybe after that the clothes that don't fit now will fit or they'll make good maternity wear.

I love my Star Wars Sheets! I need someone to get me some flannel ones.
The go crazy poster is from our wedding.

Our "dressers"
You may have noticed that we've kind of got a nautical theme going on in the bedroom with all my sail boat prints. My favorite is my "Summer on the Lake" print from Marshall Field's.

My Jewelry Storage
Both Jewelry Boxes were gifts from Relatives
The hand my necklaces hang on was a surprise from a college friend/roommate. Hubs got a package in the mail one day with no return address. Inside was a replica of a human hand. Later we found out that it was from our friend who we helped move to Chicago. Later he sent us a Styrofoam head that I now store hats on.

I forget to put deodorant on if I leave it in the bathroom. So it lives by my jewelry box.
Steg (a rare Beanie Baby) and Mrs. Steg.

So we have too much stuff and I need to figure out how to get rid of some of it before we move but it looks like I've got a couple of years to figure that out. One thing that I'm really curious about is how other people store their clothes and how many other people have. I guess if I have about as many clothes as other women then I probably don't need to ruthlessly edit my closet.

So my question for you: What do you guys do with your closet? How big is it? How do you keep it all organized? Do you swap out for seasons or do you keep all your clothes in your closet all the time?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Apple Crisp in a Pie

We buy apples when they're on sale. Sometime we get more than we can eat before they get yucky. When they get yucky I chop them up, add sugar, and cook them! Also, we had whipped cream that we needed to use up.

This recipe is a mix of my grandma's apple crisp recipe, my mother-in-law's apple crisp recipe, and Muffy at the Daily Prep's apple pie recipe (I really like this crust recipe because it does not have butter).


1/2 cup white flour
3/8 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt (don't leave out)
1/4 cup canola oil
1/8 cup milk

6 or so apples peeled and diced
1/2 cup sugar 
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oats (I used quick oats)
1/2 cup brown sugar
6 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Grease pie plate. Mix ingredients for pie crust and roll out between waxed or parchment paper. Put crust in pie plate, it will be crumbly. Peel and chop apples. (I prefer my apple pieces very tiny.) Mix apple pieces with sugar and cinnamon.  Mix dry ingredients for the topping. Cut cold butter into 6 or more pieces and cut into topping. Add apples to the pie crust and cover with topping. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until apples are soft.

Update: This pie is just as good with half the sugar.

Step by Step Photos

My apple peeler in action.

The apples in the crust.

Making the topping.

The Finished Topping

Ready to Go into the Oven!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


I was so excited about preparing for the two job interviews that I have tomorrow that I forgot to edit the pictures for the post had planned for today. Not to worry though I'll have a fresh post for you guys on Thursday.


Thursday, February 6, 2014

House Tour Part I: Downstairs

I figured I'd do a "house tour" since I tend to stay inside my house in the winter. We rent. I describe our apartment as being like a townhouse. We have an unfinished basement, a downstairs, and an upstairs. We share walls with two neighbors, one nice old lady and a crazy old dirty hippy couple who blast loud music and drum and dance loudly at odd hours. Our landlord won't let us paint our walls. I took these pictures right before we had a house guest so things are a little neater that usual.

So with that let us begin the tour in our kitchen . . .

Our first floor is all open so our kitchen and our living room blend together. This is good during baseball season so we can listen to games while eating dinner. (My husband has a mistress, the Red Sox, and it's okay by me since I knew about it when we started dating.)

Walking in the Back Door Into the Kitchen

Most of our stuff is from his parents' basement, yard sales, or our dorm rooms. Our TV stand came from Walmart and the black shelves next to it from Target. The Big dark cabinet that holds our board games is from Big Lots. The wire shelves with the cookbooks, pots, and microwave came from Target.

A Look Into the Half Bath Off the Kitchen
Having a half bath downstairs is great. I hand my dishwashing gloves up in it because there's no good place to do so in the kitchen. We have a calendar hanging in the kitchen so that hypothetically we can write down things that we plan on doing to keep the other informed. Hubs started doing this but he has stopped

The Sink in Our Half Bath

There is hardly any storage space so we have a rolly bin from target to hold vitamins and toilet paper and things like that. We use the top for guest towels, lotion, and hand sanitizer.

A View of the Kitchen, Showcasing the Appliances

We have an electric stove. It doesn't work when the power is out. I think wood stove or a gas stove or a generator will be something I want to look for when we go house hunting.

The metal shelves hold a lot. Like my oatmeal, fruit that doesn't need to go in the fridge, all our pots and pans, our cook books and phone books, my mini food processor, my hand mixer, and the bottled water I got for free. I've got my aprons hanging off the side of the big cabinet. They used to live in our downstairs closet but they were so close to my shoes and so far away that I didn't use them as often as I should.

The fridge is well decorated. We have a white board for writing down what produce we have in the fridge so we can remember to use it before it goes bad and another space for writing when leftovers are from so we can eat them before they go bad. We have a chore chart so hypothetically I don't have to nag Hubs about helping out with chores, I hate the thought that I might nag him, so hypothetically he can look at that and see if there's anything that needs to be done and do it.  I also keep our meal plan on the fridge and I'll use a magnet to hold up any recipes that I plan on cooking that week.

Our fridge is so old. The label on the inside with the instructions directs people to contact Sears in the Sears Tower, Chicago, IL. Sears completely moved out of the Sears Tower in 1995 and eventually the building was remained the Willis Tower. This fridge is at least 20 years old. I wonder how much we would save on our electricity bill if our landlord  put in a newer more energy efficient fridge.

A Look at the Kitchen

I stack our dirty dishes on the left side of the sink. I also keep a small trash container to keep really smelly trash in until there is enough to take to our trash bin outside. We generally wash dishes once a day since we don't have time in the morning and there aren't really enough dishes to make it worth doing in the morning.

I had just cleared the cabinets of the mugs we never used and I hadn't taken them down to the basement. We have no space for dishes and cups in our kitchen cabinets because we do not have a pantry so we keep our dry goods in our kitchen cabinets. As you can see our pantry has spread to "above" the cabinets.

I keep my recipe card box, a fresco I painted, paper towels, and a knife block from Marshall Field's that my maternal grandmother gave me as a handle down on the counter. We have hardly any counter space. I wish we had enough space for a stand mixer or real food processor.

We have no dishwasher or garbage disposal. This makes me super sad.

Walking in the Back Door Into the Kitchen
Another Over View of the Whole View

Hubb's Video Game Collection and DVDs

I hate our "entertainment center." Mr. H collects old video game systems and it's just so hard to keep them by the TV and neat looking. There are wires everywhere the cords for the controllers always end up all over the floor! Plus the old game systems are so hard to dust around. Since the entertainment center is black it really shows the dust.

A Close Up on the Video Game Systems

Do you have any suggestions as to how better organize all these old video games? The really old ones (the NES, the SNES, the Sega System, and the PS One) don't get used that often. And we also have too many DVDs.

You can see the door to the basement/our coat closet on the right.

In Side Our Coat Closet/The Top of the Stairs to the Basement

I think shoes are gross so do not allow them in our bedroom at all and I try to keep most of mine down stairs. So our down stairs closet is full of all my shoes. I'd like to get nicer containers for to store our hats and gloves in but for some reason that is a low priority.

The Bottom of Our Closet

The big plastic tub is our worm bin. We compost with worms. In the winter it gets too cold for them in the basement so they come up to our closet. It does not smell at all. Unless all the worms die like they did this summer.

We have hooks for hanging things.

Now, back to the living room . . .

The Other Side of Our Living Room

The couch is one of the few things we bought new when we moved into our apartment. The wooden thing behind the papasan besides the couch is a folding table that my maternal grandfather made for me as a wedding gift. It is beautiful.

The top of the Cabinet

I put random nicknacks on top of the cabinet that holds our board games. I have dried flowers from the centerpieces at our wedding and other random things.

One of Our Side Tables

I love the doughnut scented candles from Bath and Body Works. The potted plant on the table has died in between now and when I took the pictures. I kill everything. The airplane diorama with dinosaurs in the glass bowl was a gift E2 made for me. It was originally in an ornament but since that kept getting knocked over I put it in a bowl.

The Other Side Table

We are still looking for a lampshade, green, for the pineapple lamp.

The Stairs!

I'll show you the upstairs next week. I hope you enjoyed the tour. I will say that I'm kind of disappointed with my decorating because it's so haphazard and unplanned. We have so much random stuff that I don't particularly care for that we use because it was free or very cheap. I would also like to put more photos and prints on the walls because they seem so bare and I am so upset about how none of the wood in our apartment matches. But I keep telling myself that it doesn't make sense to really invest in things just for this apartment since it's only temporary. Instead, I should save up my money for buying a house that I can really decorate.