Tuesday, May 31

New Apartment Essentials

So... I should be working on my homework for yoga teacher training right now... but since we get the keys to our new apartment tomorrow(!!!!!), pretty much all I have on the brain is IKEA. My enthusiasm for that store may be a tad overwhelming sometimes, and I realize that not everyone is lucky enough to have one nearby, but IKEA is part of my abode-history. Half of the stuff in my parents' house growing up was from IKEA, in fact, we took frequent trips there as a family. It's also where I went when I moved into my first apartment, and each and every single one after that one... so my love for IKEA goes way back.

Needless to say, whenever Shawn and I are looking for anything house-related, 99% of the time IKEA is the first place we look. We've been daydreaming about the new apartment, and now that move-in day is within fingertips reach, we can finally make our daydreams reality. Since we're pretty good on furniture and don't currently intend to buy any more (minus some for the balcony, and possibly a new bed/mattress...) I thought it'd be nice to focus on the little things that help freshen up a new spot.

Here's a list of (what I believe to be) essentials for a new apartment. Essentials being, pretty much anything that isn't furniture. Or, more specifically, anything that gets a lot of use and could probably stand to be replaced every year or so.

Potholders: You know, those grimy squares you use to pull roasted vegetables out of the oven, or to keep your lap from getting hot when you're too lazy to eat at the dinner table? Yeah, those somehow manage to get close to all of the most epic kitchen messes, and yet they never get washed. I think it's time to buy some new ones.
Dishtowels: Yeah, those get pretty messy too. And even though you remember to wash them will all your other linens, somehow they still start to fray after 6 months and then you find a random hole in one.... hm, I think replacing these every year isn't too much to ask. And you can use the beat up old ones as cleaning rags!
Cutting boards: Sure, the wooden ones are prettier and they last longer, but they're porous and that leads to all sorts of potential issues that I don't trust my particular roommate to be aware of (ahem... raw meat), so we stick with plastic and just replace them once they're well worn - usually every year... we do a lot of chopping.
Towels: Our bath towels and hand towels get a lot of use because we purposefully only have one set. Mostly because we haven't had room to store any extra towels. Plus, having only one set forces me to stay on top of laundering the linens, because let's be honest, I don't do that nearly as often as I should. So new towels every year or two? Sure!
Sheets & duvet covers: Unless you shower every night before bed, sheets get gross fast. These are another thing we only have one set of, also for lack of space, so they get a lot of use. Duvet covers probably don't need to be changed as often, but they're still fun to get. They'll make you excited to hop into bed!

Not yearly essentials, but we also need:
Pots & pans: We aren't at a point in our lives where we can spend a lot of money and get some super-quality cookware yet, so we've been buying mid-range cookware that, with heavy usage, generally lasts us about three years. We are due for some new pots and pans... especially a big pot! Our biggest pot right now only holds 3 1/2 quarts!
Silverware: Certainly not something you need to get every year, but every few years it's nice to switch it up. We're still using the same wooden-handled set we bought back in 2010, and they're looking a little worse for the wear. Plus, we seem to have lost two forks over the years, so it's time for a change.

Is there anything you would add to the list?

Thursday, May 26

Inspiration: Living Room

When it comes to living rooms, I find myself torn between wanting neutrals and soft pastels paired with dark wood and plants, or wanting ALL the colors and patterns imaginable. Clearly two opposite ends of the spectrum, and I think it really depends on my mood. So how exactly do we work with that? We can't have a living room that changes depending on my mood... (wouldn't that be amazing?!) Shawn is mostly drawn to color, patterns, and textures. If it were up to him we would have wood paneling, 70's floral wallpaper, and furniture that exhibits the entire color wheel. Thankfully, it's not entirely up to him!

This is a great combination of our tastes - colorful, but tasteful. (source)

Not a fan of the couch, but everything else about this room is awesome! (source)

Soft pastels and pillows exude comfort. Side note: we both love that chaise, but it's out of our current budget. (source)

Floor cushions, big rug, and a funky couch - love it! (source)

This doesn't fit into our whole bohemian theme, but I love the feel of this room. That coffee table/ottoman blend is genius! Also, can anyone tell me where we can get a shelving unit like the one in the corner?! (source)

Bold color, personality, and plants... now that we can do. (source)

More plants and pillows! I mean, seriously. (source)

Pillows, cozy rug, industrial lamp... need I say more? (no source!)

Patterned couches, rugs, a hanging egg chair.... Drea's house is ah-maze-ing! (source)

So what I'm taking away from all of these inspiration posts is that we really need to stock up on pillows and plants in the new apartment.... sounds easy enough! Our biggest living room struggle is that we don't have proper couch. The couch we purchased for our first apartment didn't fit up the stairs to our current apartment, so we kept the cushions and ditched the rest. We bought a kid's bed frame to stand-in as a couch base, but after two years of sitting on that, we're itching to get a real couch again! There's a decent one in my parents' basement that we can take, but we have to figure out how to get it here, and whether or not it will fit into our new apartment. I honestly think that a proper living room is built around the couch, so I guess we'll see what happens!

Friday, May 20

Fun Finds Friday #126

I didn't intend for all of today's photos to be clothing-related, but...


Happy Friday!!!!!

Thursday, May 19


Favorite things lately....
  • Last week I went for a hike with my Mom and my sister and it was amazing. Partly because of the company, and partly because I hadn't been out in nature in so long that I had forgotten how great it is!
  • A cat on a (not hot or tin) roof. Shawn and I witnessed our neighbor's cat sneak in and out of their window. At one point, he was so curious about people on the street that I thought he was going to fall off the roof! (Don't worry, he didn't.)
  • I did three bake shifts last week and although it was exhausting, the bread turned out awesome! Usually I'm just baking dough that someone else mixed, and then mixing dough that someone else bakes. I got to bake some of the dough that I mixed though and I was super proud of how it came out.
  • A friend got me back into coloring books lately; I've been trying to spend at least fifteen minutes coloring every morning. It makes me want to get new coloring books, but I really need to finish the three that I already have first.
  • Attended my first weekend of yoga teacher training, and I still don't have the right words to describe it. We're a small group - there are eight of us - but it's the perfect size. Everyone has a different story and perspective to bring to the table, and I really love it. The weekend was soul-filling; I worked more hours than I slept, but I didn't feel tired at all. The energy in that yoga studio is something I haven't felt in a long time. I am absolutely humbled by the first weekend, and I can't wait for the next one! That stack of books above is what I'll be reading over the next few months...

Tuesday, May 10

On Fitness

mat | shirt | shorts | shoes

The last time I wrote about fitness the whole post was kind of a downer, despite positive highlights. That was almost two years ago though and I'm happy to say that lately, I've been in a much better mental state about my body and fitness in general. Part of that is because, despite my love of alcohol and salty foods, I'm the healthiest I've been in years. Another (big) part of that is because I've been embracing positive thoughts and having a positive attitude has seeped into every aspect of my life. I've been taking each day, each week as it comes. Some days are self-proclaimed lazy overly-indulgent days, and that's okay! I also work a fairly physically grueling job, where I'm on my feet for 8-9 hours a day, running up and down stairs at least 20 times a day (I've never actually counted), and lifting up to 50 pounds some days, so if I don't do anything but that most days, that's okay too!

But actually, I've been wanting to write this post because my exercise "routine" has been pretty on point lately. One of my friends & colleague moved into our neighborhood three months ago and she and I have been running 2-3 days a week together. She comes from a family of runners and has the endurance of a cheetah, whereas I struggle to run half a mile without getting out of breath (but that's okay!). It has been a really fun two months so far though, and I've seen my endurance improve dramatically. Our runs are usually about 2.5 miles long and last about 20 - 25 minutes, but I can now run 1.5 miles without stopping to walk or get out of breath! The goal is to get to the point where we're running 5k (3.1 miles) every time we go out for a run. It feels really great to have some cardio back in my life, and it has been a nice contrast to my other physical activity - yoga.

I've had an on-and-off relationship with yoga for the past eight years. The short story is, my mom introduced me to it back in 2008 and I fell in love with the practice, though it was mainly just a way to exercise at that point in my life. Then Shawn and I moved to Philadelphia in 2010 and I had a hard time finding a studio that I liked... when I finally found one, they closed their doors a few months later. I tried practicing at home but we've never had an apartment that has been conducive to it (that and, cats + yoga mat = trouble, right?). So I kind of forgot about yoga for a while, even though I still really wanted to do it. Then in 2014 I finally found a studio with great teachers and my yoga practice began once more. Over the past year and a half, yoga has become so much more than a physical exercise for me; it has made it's way into my mind and into my spirit. I've been taking things I learn on the mat and finding ways that they apply to my life off the mat. I've never felt more connected to myself, and the world around me!

Doing a yoga teacher training has been a thought dream of mine for a few years now, but it was always too expensive, or the schedule too inconvenient... and then I realized that maybe those were just excuses and the reality was that I just wasn't mentally or spiritually ready to start one. Like everything else in my life, my practice had to evolve to a point where what I want is just the logical next step. (There's my life philosophy...) And so, now eight years into my relationship with yoga, I'm finally doing a yoga teacher training! I followed one of my favorite teachers to a new studio this year, and when they announced their first ever teacher training program, I knew I had to be a part of it. Everything just felt right. It finally felt like the logical next step. The last studio I went to was very alignment-focused, and I learned a lot from them. This studio is more about spirituality and that's more in line with where I am in my life currently. It's a 10-month long training (one weekend every month from May - February; that's how I'm able to fit it into my work schedule), and this weekend is the first weekend. I'm so excited!!! And nervous. But mostly excited! I really just can't wait to see how this training transforms my practice, in all aspects.

So be prepared for a few yoga-centric posts in the next year (maybe). It's just another aspect of my life I want to share with you guys. Hopefully I'll have some very introspective things to say.... and if not, well at least I can share a few simple poses that you can all incorporate into your daily lives. I worry sometimes about being a "yoga-pusher", but really, I just love to share my enthusiasm for it. It's something we can all benefit from, whether physically, mentally, or spiritually, so I really encourage everyone to tap into their personal yoga.

Annnnnnnnd here's a gratuitous shot of Sylvester saying "Mama, don't go to yoga tonight!" :)

Wednesday, May 4

What a $100 Grocery Trip Looks Like

I've been wanting to do some budget-type posts over here for a bit now. It's just something that has been on our minds lately, while we think about our 5-year plan. (That is a post for another day.) In my last Fun Finds Friday post I linked to this article about people who were given $100 to spend at the grocery store, and how they each spent it. The stark contrasts in how people spent their money fascinates me! The college student who mostly bought pre-packaged food, the bartender who spent more than half the money on a bottle of wine, the couple who bought mostly meat and produce... it's a great peek into other people's lives!

Yesterday evening I made a grocery run and when I got home I realized everything had totaled close to $100. (Okay, $125, minus a $6 bag of cat litter that isn't pictured... $119 is close enough, right? I didn't feel like doing the math to omit things.) I bought all the household stuff at Target, and all the actual food items at Acme. Granted, this isn't really what a usual grocery store run looks like for us because we prefer to go to Trader Joe's and our local farmer's market. But as you can see, we really needed to re-stock on household items, so a trip to Target was in order. Thankfully, we don't need to buy all those things every week. A weekly grocery run for us usually costs closer to $50/$60, and that's just for food. Next time I go to Trader Joe's I should snap another photo of all the goods so that you can see the difference!

  • Charmin ultra soft mega plus toilet paper - 12 pack
  • Bounty paper towels - 2 pack
  • Kleenex tissues - 2 boxes
  • Dawn dish detergent - 34 fluid ounces
  • Softsoap hand soap - 56 fluid ounces
  • Colgate toothbrushes - 4 pack
  • Colgate toothpaste - 1 tube
  • Bic Soleil razors - 3 pack
  • Secret women's deoderant
  • Ibuprofen - 100 count
  • Ground turkey - 2 pounds
  • Extra sharp cheddar - 8 ounces
  • Carrots - 1 pound
  • Lemons - 5 pounds
  • Oranges - 3
  • Yellow onions - 2
  • Tomatoes on the vine - 5
  • Mango - 1
  • Yams - 3
  • Lettuce - 1 head
  • Red peppers - 3
  • Seeded multi-grain bread - 1 loaf
  • Old fashioned oats - 42 ounces
  • Molasses - 1 bottle
  • Tomato paste - 1 can
  • Ground coffee - 12 ounces
  • Goldfish crackers - 2 bags
  • Chocolate chips - 2 bags

It seems like we always run out of toilet paper, paper towels, soap, detergent, etc... at the the same time! This always makes for one costly shopping trip, but on the upside I suppose it means I only ever need to make one trip for everything. Does this happen to you too? How would you spend $100 at the grocery store? Thankfully it's just the two of us... I can't imagine having to shop for a family!

Monday, May 2

Inspiration: Bedroom

Now that it's finally May, it seems like our move is just around the corner! We're still super excited, even though we still haven't found a tenant for our current apartment, so we're not sure if we'll be moving at the end of May or at the beginning of June (and listing the apartment on Craigslist has been a huge fail and utter waste of my time these past few weeks)... but rental-frustrations aside, we still can't stop thinking about the space that we will soon call home!

My last inspiration post was all about plants and balconies. Today we're looking at bedrooms! You'll notice that the bohemian and plant-y aesthetic from that post carries over into this one...

I love these colors and the general feeling this photo emits! (Though Shawn will tell you red in the bedroom is not feng shui...)(source)

Same with this photo - a simple wall hanging and darker colors on the bed to contrast the white walls. (source)

White in the bedroom makes the sunlight really pop! (source)

This room is all about textures, and I'm diggin' it. (source)

We've been thinking about making our own wooden headboard - probably not this intense though! (source)

I get such a soothing feeling from the colors and furniture in this room. (Could it be the spa bench?) (source)

Definitely planning on ombre-dying some curtains, even if not for the bedroom! (source)

Pillows, plants, and sunlight... what more do you need? (source)

These photos made me realize that when I'm finding inspiration, it's not just about the way something looks, but much more about the way something makes me feel. Especially when we're talking bedrooms, the one space in your home that should feel serene and peaceful. Colorful blankets, textured pillows, and leafy plants may not be everyone's cup of tea but to me, they make a room look and feel so cozy! And isn't that the way a bedroom should feel?
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