Posts filed under ‘Family’

Moving tips from a (non) expert

Hi lovelies!

I’m currently plopped on the couch with my feet up, a glass of wine next to me and a show about polar bears on TV. Because I’m REALLY cool, obviously.

Don’t you just LOVE when I upload weird, random pictures of myself with PhotoBooth? Man, I’m a creeper.

You may notice (that is, if you can keep your eyes off that lovely giant litterbox) a bunch of boxes in the first picture. Well, those are there because…*drumroll* I’m moving. AGAIN.

This will be my third move within 12 months (I moved July of 2010 from Madison to Chicago, May of this year from an apartment with roommates from hell to a studio, and now I’m moving back in with a new roommate). I’m pretty excited to have more space again, but moving is still insanely stressful. You’d think that after doing it…oh I don’t know, 15 times I’d be better at it but alas, I am not!

hot mess

A few things I’ve learned from the 14 billion moves I’ve made over the years:

  • Always buy more boxes than you need; many places (like UHaul) will buy them back if you buy more than you need, but even if you have leftovers, it’s rarely a bad thing. More often than not, you won’t have too many — I promise.
  • If you don’t want to shell out on a bunch of boxes, check the Craisglist “free” section — a lot of the time, people have zillions of leftovers and will give them to you for free!
  • Dont’ use boxes that are “medium” or larger if you can help it; even though small boxes will fit less, they are MUCH easier to move.
  • Hire movers. I know it’s expensive, and I know it’s scary, but seriously, just do it. It will change your life.
  • On that note, don’t hire cheap movers off Craigslist. Just trust me on this one — don’t do it.
  • Start packing two weeks before your move date, at a bare minimum. Time slips by quickly, especially if you have a full-time job. A good way to start is by packing up all but a few essential dish/kitchen items & silverware, and set aside just enough clothes for the next 2 weeks, then pack everything else. It can be annoying if you need something in those 2 weeks, but you can make it work.
  • Make your last bigger grocery trip (pasta, pasta sauce, frozen stuff, etc) two weeks before moving at the latest, and make your last smaller grocery tip (milk, veggies/fruit, eggs, other perishables) 1.5-1 week before moving at the latest, and keep it small. Only buy what you need, and try to use up everything you can before moving — boxing up/transporting fresh food is a huge pain in the ass. Pack up any rarely used dry food/pantry items farther in advance (rice, extra oats, sugar, etc).
  • Pack under-sink stuff in grocery bags and leave it under the sink until you move. (For example, I keep my Ziploc bags, aluminum foil, cleaning stuff, dish soap, etc. under the sink) You’ll probably use it enough not to pack it, but when it’s time to leave, you can just grab them and go, and they’ll be ready to use right away in the new house/apartment.
  • Label the room where each box belongs, as well as a simple but detailed explanation of what’s in the box (not just “clothes” or “living room stuff” — try “couch pillows and blankets – living room” and “summer clothes – bedroom” instead). Sounds tedious, but you will be glad you did. Trust.
  • Make a separate box (or boxes) for things you will need to use right away — for example, a box of the stuff you keep on your bedside table, a box of your toothpaste and everyday toiletries/makeup, and a box of the food things you use everyday (for me, this is oatmeal).
  • As the countdown gets shorter, make a loose schedule of what things you need to do/pack on which day, so you can spread out the work and won’t get overwhelmed at a specific point. This helps a LOT, and it’s also a good way to help you remember to do important things like set aside all sets of keys (to return if you’re renting), change over bills/utilities, etc.
  • Use this as a time to de-clutter your life. Never more than when I move do I realize just how much crap I have. While you’re packing, make a few piles, bins or boxes divided into things that you want to donate, things you want to throw away, and things you’re considering doing one or the other, but haven’t yet decided on yet. Moving into a new place is a new beginning, so it’s really nice to get there without all the extra junk to drag you down.
Phew! That’s a long list! Moving is crazy, but hopefully (unlike me) you can learn quickly.
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This week isn’t the best to move because I just started working another part-time job (I already work as a nanny semi-regularly) as a web content manager (!!! yay !! big news!), but my mom also had surgery on her spine today :(
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It’s a long complicated explanation of what she’s having done, but she was in a tremendous amount of pain leading up to this, so my whole family has really been looking forward to a relief from her pain. I’ve been worried about her all day, but my dad just called me a little while ago to let me know that she came out of the surgery and “everything went perfectly,” according to the surgeon. What a relief!!!
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I’m going to watch Millionaire Matchmaker now (classy) and finish my wine, then attempt to finish up packing. Hopefully I can get through these next few days without losing my mind.
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Tell me, what are some of your moving stories — good or bad?

October 13, 2011 at 8:23 pm 3 comments

Philly girl at heart

Well, hello there! Fancy seeing you here!

 

As you can see, I had a wonderful time on my trip to Philly. I’m trying to slowly taper off my extended blogging/social media/real life sabbatical and get back to it all — despite needing a break, I do really love blogging. Sometimes, as y’all know, you just need a break.

Life is, as usual, a little cray cray right now. For one, as I briefly touched on previously, a close family member — who happens to be my momma — is having surgery this week. It’s not just any surgery, though — she is having two vertebrae in her spine operated on. She has debilitating back pain and the operation will correct it, but I mean…they’re operating on her spine. It’s a good thing, but it’s scary. I’m really, really looking forward to getting to the hospital after work on Thursday to see her recovering. I’m not going to lie though, I’m very freaked out. Please keep her in your thoughts, if you can!

On top of worrying about my mom’s surgery (which is the number 1 worry in my mind right now), I am MOVING on Saturday. Since I am insane, this will be move #2 within 6 months. As you guys all know, I had some, er…serious issues with my last roommate and decided to suddenly move the hell out. I was much, much happier getting away from her, but I am not really thrilled with living alone in a tiny studio apartment. My friend Kati and I found a 2-bedroom apartment for a super reasonable price that…get this…has a washer and dryer in the unit. Oh yeah, baby! This is unusual for an affordable apartment in Chicago, especially in the neighborhood we’re in. I’m totally jazzed, but not thrilled about packing up my life, again, for the 8459348593485039th time. I’m also not too thrilled about dropping $200 dollars for movers on top of all the other stuff we have to pay for, but I think it will save me a lot of time and frustration, especially while I’m already worrying about my mom.

—–

Phew!

—–

I’ve also started working another freelance job on the side, which I am really, really excited about. I will be managing web content for a financial website, and working mainly with WordPress, of which I am obviously a big fan :) Also, it will help pay the bills. Can’t lose!!

—–

Last weekend was spent catching up with my beautiful and dearly-missed best friend/roommate from college, Caitlin. It had been over a YEAR since I had last seen her, which was simply not okay. It had also been several years since I had even been on a plane/vacation. It was desperately needed!

Isn’t she gorgeous? We spent most of the weekend catching up and just vegging on the couch with wine and movies (fine with me!), but managed to also get out and enjoy lots of what Philly has to offer. These goofy pictures are from Saturday night, when we went to a Wisconsin Alumni event at a bar to watch the Badger game. It was PACKED, and there was free food and drinks too! Total blast and obviously so much fun to watch the Badgers win!!!!


There was lots of beer being passed around, as well as free stickers. Obviously those two things equal me making really weird faces, right? Man, I’m so weird.

We also got to walk around Philly and check out the pretty buildings, LOVE Park, and of course, taking a tip from you HLS gals, Reading-Terminal Market!!

our faces got weirdly warped on this one

 

 

I wish I had thought to bring my real camera (these are all phone pics, so I’m sorry for the crummy grainy pictures!), and also take more pictures, but I was way too overwhelmed by drooling over all the food. It was AMAZING, holy smokes. We waited in the epic line and got DeNic’s sandwiches. I got roast beef with provolone and broccoli rabe. I thought it was so cool that they put broccoli rabe on sandwiches there! I’ve never heard of that before, but LOVED it. The sandwich was ungodly huge, but I somehow managed to eat about 2/3 of it.

We had a blast walking around and seeing the city. We also managed to go to the free day at the art museum, and walk around the old city. I’ll put up some of those pictures next time — they’re pretty…er…hilarious.

The rest of the time was spent at Caitlin’s apartment snuggling with her adorable pit-mix, Lexi Lou. There were lots of kisses.

…on the mouth. Lex doesn’t mess around.

 

I’m off to get back to work! Tell me, what fall-inspired foods have y’all been noshing on lately? I’ve been making pumpkin pie oats every morning to accompany my toasted pecan coffee — aka I’ve been in heaven. What about you??

October 10, 2011 at 12:19 pm Leave a comment

Sometimes, it’s the little things

Hi, friends!

I am currently up late, icing my knee because it is throbbing. It has been all day. It’s kind of starting to freak me out how much this pain has progressed, so I’m really glad that I have a physical therapy appointment on Monday. A healthy 24 year-old should not have this much knee pain. Blegh.

I kept up and iced last night too, while watching the presidential address.

I didn’t have much energy to make a fancy or involved meal, so I rolled with some gluten free Amy’s mac and cheese. I’m not sure why I had GF instead of regular or whole wheat, but I like rice pasta so it was fine with me! I made a big serving of Brussels sprouts to have on the side. Perfect quick but relatively healthy (as opposed to takeout, which I would have done in this situation in the past!) meal for a takin’ it easy kind of night!

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Last weekend I had originally planned on joining some friends over in Michigan to celebrate a birthday on the beach, but the plans were a little too last minute and ended up falling through. I didn’t mind so much though, because my brother and sister-in-law had invited me over to their new apartment in Old Town for some barbecuing, drinks and chillin’ with my parents and my sister-in-law’s parents, who we all get along with very well. It was such a blast — the perfect day :) Sometimes, it’s the little things.

There was lots of food, including Lisa’s (my S-I-L) delicious homemade caprese pasta salad, along with some orzo and quinoa salads as well.

It was so good, I had to actively prevent myself from devouring the entire gigantic bowl she had prepared. Props to the chef!!

While the boys worked the grill, I had some tasty chilled  Riesling.

Before long, Lisa had brought out the fixin’s for the grilled food. Again, I had to watch myself as not to drool all over the food.

The chicken kabobs came out first. I didn’t know they were an option so I hadn’t requested one, but thankfully my mama let me have a bite…or three :)

My brother’s amazing corn recipe came out next. It smelled so good!

By this point, I was ready for the main event — my mouth was watering!

Thankfully, the burgers were ready!

The delicious smells invited some visitors of the canine variety.

That’s Mason, my nephew :) He gets his good looks from his auntie Laura! :)

…Perhaps that’s where he also gets his mischievous and sometimes naughty behavior from…

That’s their neighbor’s dog, Jake. As I snapped a picture of Lisa petting him, Mason decided to make himself the star of the shot. Check out that sneaky little devil!!! What a punk!

After Mason had his own pee incident, more drinks were served.

And I insisted that everyone pose for some more pictures. Say cheese!

Hi, momma!! She looks too cute in my hat :)

My wonderful dad. It’s hard to get him to do a normal smile, so I was thrilled with this picture!

My brother, however, wasn’t as thrilled.

He may or may not still think of me as his annoying little sister :D

Aren’t they such handsome fellas??

Mason came in for some more glamour shots.

He really is too adorable. Tough to photograph, though! Lots of blurry shots, and I had to lure him with the promise of blueberries to get him close enough!!

Our friend Andrew stopped by.

We had some amazing dessert…brownies with fresh berries!

They were so good! I definitely had two or three. Nothing beats summer berries. Well, okay…brownies are a close call!

And as it got darker, a few more drinks were had ;)

All in all, it was the perfect day and evening full of friends, family, laughter, and delicious food. I couldn’t have been happier. Life is good :)

July 27, 2011 at 3:09 am 9 comments


Hi, I’m Laura!

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