Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tidbit Tuesday :: Beware of the Guard Bunny

This picture was difficult to get! I didn't want to startle Peter.

I have a special neighbor who I've come to have a fond relationship with. It's my guard bunny. I like to call him "Peter", and see him quite frequently when I walk from my front door to my car. I like to think that he's not afraid of me - I try not to startle or chase him off whenever I pass. He brings me comfort knowing he hangs around so much. I probably would think differently if I had flowers that he could eat, but I'll leave that resentment for when I actually own the house. For now, he's a nice neighbor to have, and I hope to see him more in the summer months.

Here is a zoomed-in version on the iphone. I'll have to work to get a better shot this summer.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Running for the non-runners

Throughout my life, I've been athletic. I was fortunate to have parents who put me in everything and I loved it all. From swim lessons to soccer games, softball and t-ball, volleyball, tennis, and golf; I seem to have a bit of ability in each sport which drove me to continue to go back and helped grow my love of being a part of a team.

I gave everything up in college, burnt out from the constant practices and desire to have my own free time. It only took a few years of laziness to find how much I missed the physical activity and the team support that I had grown up with.

One thing was true growing up - I hated running. I refused to get out unless there was a ball in front of me. Now, being an adult, I still continue to be on teams. I am blessed to be a part of a gym that specializes in group workouts. It is the most supportive and encouraging environment that I believe anyone can put themselves in. For those days when all you want to do is roll over and stay in your nice warm bed, Horizon Fitness has been my workout family that gets me up in the morning before work. They provide so many classes so there is no excuse to keep you from heading to the gym.

But, in my older age, I've come to start to enjoy running more and more. Not the actual activity - it doesn't seem to get easier. But I get addicted to its efficiency and the sense of accomplishment that comes after each run. Also, the gratitude it brings that I am able to do it when so many others cannot or have injury from it.

For the last 4 years I have 2 rituals that I've kept consistent on. The Chicago Shamrock Shuffle and Madison Crazylegs. Both are 8k runs that help get me motivated to get out and running. I typically don't get many runs in before the Shamrock, but it's a good awakening for the work I need to do to prepare for the Crazylegs.

Heading towards the start of the race.

The start line is in view!!! Right by the art museum, one of my favorites.

Waiting to get to the front of the line - is it really March?

About mile four with forty thousand of my closest friends.

This year was one of the best Shamrocks. The first few years I did the race we endured below freezing temperatures and blizzard snowfall, but this year it was shorts and t-shirt all the way, baby! No excuses! So run we did and enjoyed the after-party that much more! If you've never ran in a race with forty thousand people, it's definitely an experience to be had on everyone's bucket list.

Great day for a celebration
The clouds decided to clear and we hung out for ours in Grant Park enjoying the sun. 

Chad and I in front of the fountain. Can't wait until there's water in it. I'm so glad we did this together!
Perfect day for a run and to be outside!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Bloglovin: time-saver for those time-wasters

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Do you have multiple blogs you follow? I try, but am overwhelmed by how many there are out there. While searching ideas and things to add to my blog, I came across "bloglovin". It's a really nice page that allows you to set-up an account to get a quick-view of all the blogs you like to read without actually having to bookmark and go to all the separate sites. It posts current posts for you to breeze through and mark once read - a very nice feature. You can also categorize each type of blog. This is convenient for those larger blogs (ie. apartment therapy) that seem to take over views from other blog posts because they have like 20 posts each day. I have one group category for these types of blogs.

I hope you find this useful - I know I have! It also comes in handy for easily pinning new ideas on Pinterest instead of always repining! Don't know what Pinterest is? You need to get an invite asap! It's one of the best inventions and  a great way to organize ideas and anything visual you find online. I hope to do many of the "Pinspired" projects in the next couple weeks, so get excited for what's to come! But, beware - you can waste many hours rummaging through all the posts!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Windows are for seeing out of, right?

4 nasty window panes on the top and the screen on the bottom.
I can't believe I've been staring at this grossness for the past 8 months!
This weekend is full of mixed emotions! I have one job to do - get my taxes done, but the weather is so unbelievably gorgeous for March in Wisconsin. We are averaging temps in the mid 70s, which is incredible for this time of year. Unfortunately, I am on lock-down in my apartment until I have my taxes done because come hell or high water (or great weather) I'm going to get the dreaded return submitted!!!

Of course, because I'm forcing myself to stay in until I've done the necessary work, I have the impulsion to clean! Another favorite procrastination of mine! Evidently I'd rather clean my entire house instead of weeding through receipts and filling out paperwork! But, I'm being good. I'm ONLY going to let myself clean one major thing before starting, and it's decidedly my kitchen window. This window is a disaster! It's full of chipped paint and looks awful. I bet it hasn't been cleaned in 10 years from the looks of it - it's truly disgusting! So, at least something good comes from me putting off the actual task-at-hand!

It's funny how when you HAVE to do a job or project, you are immediately inspired to work on those other little jobs that you've been putting off that aren't nearly as bad as the ultimate project!!! In college I would go to lecture and suddenly have so much focus to write the paper for a different class that I'd been putting off. Why do these moments of deadline and limitation make us suddenly feel so motivated? Why, when we have oodles of time, do we not take advantage of those back-burner jobs only to leave them for when we have so many other things that we should be doing? C'est la vie, Such is life! At least I'm getting something done, right?!

My inventory, reports and travel log are again delayed! So here I am, enjoying the warm cross-breeze now able to come into my apartment since it's been so warm! The window cleaning took a good 2 hours once all was said and done. It's still not as good as I'd like it, but the before and after images are quite satisfying. Although, through this process I seemed to have destroyed my shower; I now have these lovely dark marks on the white tub that were left behind by my screen and storm windows. Another project to do - cleaning my bathroom? Not today! It's tax time.... wish me luck! It is St. Patty's day after all. Do you think I can drink green beer while doing my taxes? ;)

PS - if you're reading this and you've already done your taxes, GET OUTSIDE! It's AMAZING!

Here are some tips that I learned from cleaning:
• Use Dawn soap and hot water to clean and scrub with a brush.
• Use a squeegee - it is what allows you to NOT have streaks.
• Wipe squeegee after each pass so it' doesn't leave residue.
• Be very careful of the screens if you was in your bathtub so that they don't scratch and make lots MORE work for you to clean. I recommend doing this outside if you have the hose and space to do so.

Do you think cob-webs will ever come into style? Me neither...

Screens are about the WORST to clean.
I might have to invest in a garden hose if I can find a hook-up outside.

See the shadow of the siding on the left in the window?
Yep, that's a gross cob-web hanging.

This is in my kitchen - it makes me lose my appetite, which is tough to do.
My poor tub! I'm glad I haven't JUST cleaned this! So Gross!

Still not great - but SO much better!

WHAT a difference! I can actually see outside!
Next procrastination? Daydreaming!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tidbit Tuesday :: It's the little things...

Today's tidbit is short and sweet! I don't like a lot of clutter in my life, but there are a few chosen little things I've collected through the years that just make me smile. One of my 'favorite things' is not only cool but also is functional. Plus, it's something that makes me happy every time I get to use it. It's my puppy pot holder!

He hangs out on my towel rack in my kitchen - and I love the contrast in color with my Kitchen wall color. If it ever gets food smudge on it, it easily wipes off. Not much description needed for this fun addition to my kitchen! This pup came from one of my favorite places to shop when I have no-where to be and I'm lollygagging on State Street in Madison: Pop Deluxe.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Wire Basket Love!

I have had these wire baskets for FOREVER! They were super cheap from a liquidator outlet so I bought up a handful of them. Only problem is that they are not the easiest to use because they are not easily stack-able and are a bit limiting with what you can put in them.

One use I have for them are for plastic and random containers in my kitchen. Luckily they fit perfect in my cupboards, and are light and easy to pull out and put-away.

My second use is today's project! I've had these 2 baskets floating around my apartment with random papers and pieces that I have not gotten to put away or organize. The random mail and papers are the worst, and I'm the worst at actually going through and filing as it comes in. I usually dump the stack of important receipts, bills, statements, letters in these baskets. The problem? How do you make them functional but still have them be out and useful?

Of course, I knew from the start that I wanted these in my Craft Closet where they would be out of the living and relaxing areas. But, I want to keep as much desk space available as I possibly can. Solution? Hang them!! I wasn't quite sure if I wanted them hung from my top shelf or under my desk, but decided hanging from the top would be more out-of-the-way and functional.

Lots of junk in here that needs to be organized!

This is what my room rarely looks like. I tend to keep the curtain pulled back most of the time.
The 'real story'. Lots of stuff stored away.
Remnants from many projects.

So, I ran out to Target and found some cute hooks. They ended up being a dark bronze finish. I would have preferred a silver finish to match the baskets, but I guess this space is a hodge-podge of different materials - being a craft area and all!

I've been trying to get this crap off the floor for forever. I DID add the white ridge so I could store some shoes.

Drill a hole first. Remember - smaller is better because you can always go bigger if you have to! (that's what she said, hehe!)

Hey! It works! And fits!

Here is the finished product! I'm so glad these are finally up, off the floor, and out of the way! Now I can finally sit at my desk and get some DIY's up and running. Oh, also, here is a new project that I have in the works... I really want to paint the back wall of this closet and I'm tempted to make it difficult and do a painted pattern to make it a bit more interesting. Any ideas of colors? I have a few ideas, but I'd love your opinion! :)

Now the 1st one won't get lonely.
Aaahhhhh, organized feels so good. Look at the floor - no clutter! :)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Container Crazy...

It's amazing how something little can really make a day great! Being a Wednesday, it was very slow-starting and I woke up super sluggish. We are doing inventory of all our furniture at work in preparation for a move. You all know how exciting inventory is - about as fun as doing taxes! Anyways... in the cleaning of the basement that a co-worker was doing, she found some Spaten Optimator glasses. Who knows where those came from, but somehow they ended up in Marketing! I thought they were SO COOL! Amazingly, no one else wanted them, so I excitedly horded them immediately!

I've always had a thing for glasses, and water bottles, and bags, and containers... Can anyone else relate? When I want to drink more water - I purchase a new water-bottle. I want to get more organized? I get a new basket. You know at Trader Joe's when they have a new, cute design for those recycled grocery bags? I just can't resist!!! Plus, beer glasses are some of the coolest out there! My aunt and Uncle have this amazing collection of thermal plastic beer glasses - many of which are old Schlitz beer brand designs. Uncle Dave always raves about how he has had them since the 70s, and I love hearing those stories! Awesome retro stuff is always the coolest!

First thing when I got home, I washed it and test-drove my new beer mug! I didn't have any Optimator but instead enjoyed my favorite beer of the moment: Lake Louie Arena Premium. The biggest question now, is the glass half empty or half full? ;)

Yay, to a FREE glass to add to my collection!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tidbit Tuesday :: Before & After of My Apartment

So, a big part of this blog are the improvement ideas to my current apartment. It's 600 sq ft of "all mine" that I am completely at home and enamored with! Although it can feel a bit crunched at times, I love that I'm limited with a certain amount of space to continue to improve upon - this will make for some pretty awesome posts to come!

Please check out my recently updated "My Apartment Page" for updates on the current and before looks! I'm still trying to find the best ways to take pictures of my small spaces, and I'd love any feedback or tips if you've got them (aside from buying a wide-angle camera lens.) I also know I need to get better images of my bedroom and "Craft Closet" up soon, so please watch for that!

I have lots of ideas for projects that I will be doing to my space - one of which I promise I'll be doing this week, so watch for that!!! But these current pictures are an overview of what I've already done. I'd love to hear your take on it so far!

I have to say, I LOVE my kitchen paint color. My bedroom and kitchen are also great, but my mind does at times question my color choices. Oh! Just a heads-up! I really want to paint my closet/craft area space! This is probably where many of my DIY's (do-it-yourself) are going to happen. I really want to paint the back wall of this space, but will probably need YOUR help deciding on the final color. :) My plan is to paint it with a wall-paper texture. This isn't the DIY for this week, but this is one that I'm am hoping to take on in the month of April - YAY! What do YOU think? More pictures to come, soon....

Here is my messy, but soon-to-be organized and awesome "Craft Closet"

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Egg Quesadillas!

Last night was a rough night of sleep! It snowed and we now have about 6 inches blanketing everything. It's beautiful, but in my old house it's tough sleeping through the loud noises of the plows and people shoveling outside. I can't complain - I don't have to partake in the snow-removal, but the favorite time for my driveway to get cleared is about 4:30-5:30am. This makes for a pretty slow start to the next morning and little desire to make anything too difficult for breakfast.

It's a beautiful sight this Saturday morning!
I've mentioned before my love of eggs... they are the greatest! Like a good hooker: they are cheap, easy, tasty, flexible, and very satisfying (haha)! Today I'm winging a recipe I've never tried, but it snowed last night so I'm limited with what I've got since I have no desire to get outside! Last night's dinner was chicken tacos so homemade guacamole, tortillas, and greek yogurt are left over.

Here are about the easiest ingredients you can grab for a easy breakfast!
I think my newest food love has to be greek yogurt. Sour cream is something that you really can't live without for tacos and dips, but I'm so grateful that there is a similar substitute while I'm trying to eat a bit healthier. Not one for dieting… I try to make little changes here-and-there, and the fact that I can have loads more dip without the loads of calories thrills me!

The coffee today is a seasonal holiday blend that I haven't gotten to try yet. I usually make coffee for myself in a french-press, but Chad isn't so much a fan. For the last 6 months I've been driving around with a small coffee pot that I earned from selling Mary Kay, that I just haven't got around to get into my apartment yet. It's funny how those littlest of tasks are there but never quite get done! My car has turned into a black hole for random stuff that I haven't taken the time to bring into my apartment. Since storage is limited… and I hate cleaning my car out in the winter, things tend to accumulate in my large trunk.
Nice and hot, in my favorite mug.
Anyways… back to the coffee! It's a "smooth and balanced blend with notes of cherries and nuts followed by a lingering chocolate finish" that is from Stone Creek Coffee Roasters. My new little coffee pot didn't make much in quantity for Chad and I, but the way he brewed it… it was definitely full of quality. I'm pretty wired, even now, which is about 6 hours and counting! I even went to target and was so jittery, that I was afraid I was going to trip or fall over… guess I can't handle that my caffeine. :)

So here are some images of my successful egg quesadillas! Chad and I split the one 4-egged quesadilla. I think next time I would cook 6 eggs and make 2 full quesadillas. Maybe even add some meat like spicy sausage or crushed bacon, if I have some on-hand. I have to say, the best part (if you like spicy) is the sriracha sauce! Enjoy!
Scrambled eggs are done. Tip - Scramble eggs with water!
My mom taught me to scramble with milk,
but I like the consistency and color with a little bit of water better.
I feel so spoiled having a gas stove. It's definitely the best way to cook!
Add eggs, sriracha sauce, and cheese, then cover with 2nd tortilla.
Flip! Isn't this little stove the cutest?
Cut with a pizza cutter. Yay! The sun is coming out!
It's great to get so much color on the plate for breakfast!
That's something I always have a tough time with in the morning.
Comfy morning in my robe, with my awesome apron, and slipper-boots.
It's so nice to actually be home during the daylight!
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