Posts tagged ‘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

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!

—————————————————–

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

Crazy eats, good friends, and life’s ups and downs

Hi friends.

I was still sort of in a funk today. I got to work from home, which was nice, but right now I’m having trouble shaking these yucky feelings.

One thing that did totally make me smile was a slew of Twitter conversations from some of my favorite bloggers :) I’m starting to realize that it’s almost impossible for me to get anything done if I have Twitter open in the background (as Angela noted today on Oh She Glows), so I’ll have to check in a little more sparingly in the future, but today it really did the trick.

On a similar note, I tweeted at Tina, asking if she would blog about how to be productive when working from home. I can’t wait to see what she says!

After running a few errands and wasting a ton of time reading blogs finishing up the working day at Caribou, I called it quits and headed home to drop off my computer. I texted my friend Allison to see if she wanted to join me for a walk since it was so nice out (and the fact that I hadn’t seen her in awhile!), and she jumped at the chance, which totally made me smile. In an earlier post, I mentioned making fitness dates to keep up with your social life — I am a perfect realistic example, right here!

We strolled around the neighborhood while chatting about our respective weekends, then passed some of the tennis courts nearby. Apparently Allison is really good at tennis and has some rackets, so we’re going to try to get a court sometime soon and play! By “play,” I mean having her embarrass me horribly while I run around, red-faced and panting. Even though I totally suck at tennis (poor hand-eye coordination, or at least that’s what I keep telling myself), I’ve always thought it was fun, and it will be a nice change from the run-gym-run routine.

It was a beautiful evening.

After passing though the park, we walked over to the lake and Al showed me how to use my fancy schmancy camera. I still have no freaking clue how to use any of the manual settings on this thing.

I love living so close to the lake, and it’s amazing in the summer when all the sailboats are out :) If this is exercise, count me in!

After strolling around  and chatting a bit more (including some serious discussion over the Casey Anthony trial), we decided to head back. We made plans to get together this weekend though, which I’m super excited over because I never see Allison enough — every time we hang out, I’m reminded about how much I enjoy her company.

As I was walking back home, I realized how hungry I was for dinner. My eats are always a little wonky on work-from-home days because I wake up later than usual and either spend the day parked on the couch in my pajamas, grazing away, or head to a nearby coffee shop and end up getting coffee, iced tea, or occasionally a baked treat.

For example, this was a work-from-home breakfast one week:

deceivingly healthy!

And here was a lunch from last week:

turkey, swiss and spinach -- NOM

nom nom

See? Wildly inconsistent. Today I had a bowl of Kashi Go Lean! Crunch for breakfast with some unsweetened vanilla almond milk. Lunch was my leftover massaged kale salad alongside a small bowl of whole wheat rigatone topped with a spritz of olive oil and some pecorino romano.

A short while later I was hungry again, so I had a bowl of blueberries. They were SO good though, that I had to have more, so I finished off the pint. I seriously can’t resist summer berries, mmmm.

After working some more, I hit the point where I needed to get out of the apartment so that’s when I went to Caribou. Before walking out the door, I had a Kashi waffle topped with that same cream cheese, fig spread and chia topping to tide me over. While running post-work errands, I nibbled on a mini cherry pie Larabar (not my favorite), then did the whole walkin’ thang with Allison. See! Eats all over the place!

Guess what I had for dinner, though? :D

EAT MEEEE

Yep, another FlatOut pizza. I am so obsessed with these, and I’m getting really good at making them! This one started with a new-to-me type of marinara sauce — it was Bella Terra Organic‘s Tomato Basil, and it was SO GOOD. It had just the right balance between savory and sweet, and tasted super fresh. I wasn’t thrilled about the 25% daily value of sodium in one serving, but I eat too much salt anyway so I was able to look past it, haha. Overall I highly recommend this brand!

Next, I topped the toasted wrap with the usual spinach, then added some sliced roma tomatoes, a few leftover sliced grape tomatoes, yellow bell pepper slices, creamy goat cheese, a few shreds of mozzarella and a sprinkle of pecorino romano. I made sure to do less cheese this time around (although it doesn’t look like it) to see how it would fare without as much fat, and I was so glad I did! The runniness of the marinara, cooked spinach and tomatoes made it super juicy, so you better believe I licked the plate clean. I’m obsessed with these pizzas!

On the side, I cooked up some Alexia spicy sweet potato fries. Note to self: your oven is very small, so it cooks things (and therefore burns things) much faster. Plan accordingly.

I totally burned these, but they were so good I ate all of them anyway! Well, okay, maybe not that one on the left side…But seriously, the combination of the sweetness from the sweet potato and the chipotle seasoning is to-die for, and at only 130 calories and 4 grams of fat, along with loads of vitamin A per serving (30 fries!!!) these are totally a great bang for your nutritional buck. Go out and buy these. Now.

So I got about halfway through this post when I realized that I left my computer charger at Caribou — d’oh! Had to call and frantically run back to retrieve it, but thankfully people in my neighborhood are awesome and neighborly, and someone turned it in to the register. Phew.

Earlier today I got some fantastic news — I called my insurance company about a bill I had received from Quest Diagnostics, a medical testing lab, for $400. Not only do I believe that medical insurance exists to pay things like this, but I also believe it’s insane that they would charge me for super important tests of the female persuasion. After chatting with the lady for about five minutes, she offered to call the company and check into it. As it turns out, there was just a paperwork error on their end, and I never should have gotten the bill. I was SO SO happy to hear this news, I can’t even tell you. I do NOT have that kind of money, plus — where would that leave me to be able to tame the wild hair? ;)

Sadly, I also got some really awful news about half an hour ago, but I’m going to hold off on posting about that, as I still need somet time to process it. If you have a spare second, please send some positive thoughts out into the universe…Not for me, though. Lately it seems as if bad things keep happening to good people left and right. Gotta push the negative out with some positive thoughts.

I’m off to bed — last night I stayed up way too late again reading The Hunger Games, but it’s so good that I can’t put it down! I’m almost finished!

What are you guys reading lately?

July 7, 2011 at 12:37 am 3 comments

Ch-ch-ch-chia!

Hi friends! Hope you’re having a great day.

If you haven’t already heard, it has been SWELTERING in Chicago these past few days. Seriously, walking outside in the morning is like walking directly into an oven. It has not been fun!

One of the things I really love about my work is that we have the option to work from home every Wednesday as long as we get our work done (obviously). I planned on sleeping in this morning since I was pretty tired from the concert last night, not to mention that it was already like, 800 degrees already by 9am (okay, more like 90 degrees, but still!).

Unfortunately, we got an email from our tech guy saying that the VPN connection was down since our company is still working out some server changes, and everyone who was working from home had to come in. What a bummer, dude. I lost some time commuting since I planned on starting a little late anyway, so I think I’ll have to be at work late tonight. Oh well, it’s too freakin’ hot to do anything outside today anyway…

Millennium Park Crown Fountain...wishing I could be cooling off here!

source: ChicagoNow

Even though it was a BAGILLION degrees when I met up with my brother to head over to the park yesterday, I was super excited for Mr. LaMontagne. After work, I changed into some sweat-wicking workout clothes and couldn’t have been happier that I did.

Of course there were all these girls looking super cute in their colorful sundresses and maxis, but I was perfectly happy in my ratty t-shirt and Nike shorts :) I could have been mistaken for someone who clearly didn’t belong there, but thankfully my brother held up his end of that whole, looking stylish thing.

what a neat venue, huh?

source: PlaybillArts

The show was a blast and I had such a good time hanging out with my big bro. I’m so glad we don’t hate each other anymore like we used to :) He TORTURED me when we were kids…Farting in my face regularly, doing the “I’m not touching you!” game, and just about anything else he knew was guaranteed to drive me insane. Ahhh, siblings…

This morning, I took my time getting ready since I thought I would be working from home, so I decided to brew a fancy cup of Joe with the French press. The AC has been on non-stop (I don’t turn it off when I leave the house on super hot days, because I worry the kitties might overheat — my electricity bill most likely thanks me for this…), so hot coffee wasn’t a dealbreaker, even in Hades Chicago today.

Unfortunately when I got the word that I had to go into the office, I needed to hustle my undressed and unkempt self, so I decided to have Julie’s famous chocolate chia pudding for breakfast. I had prepped it for a post-work snack s. Not my typical yogurt, granola + fruit or cereal + almond milk for breakfast, but at least I started off the day with some protein, fiber and omegas.

I didn’t take a picture because honestly, this stuff looks SUPER nasty, but I swear it tastes amazing and the texture is really neat! As Julie said, it’s sort of like tapioca, but a little crunchier. I love it. In my mix:

  • 3-4 tbsp chia seeds (didn’t measure)
  • 1/2-3/4 cup original almond milk (didn’t measure either)
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tbsp sunflower butter
  • packet stevia
  • pinch cacao nibs

All you do is mix everything together in a bowl the night before, and the next day, you’ll have a gooey, gelatinous mess to tantalize your taste buds. Oooh yes you will.

I just tried sunflower butter for the first time and this stuff is INCREDIBLE! I can’t believe I waited so long after seeing Tina and Kath having it to try it out. It’s savory and salty and just has this delicious flavor that is really unique. Yum :)

Off to finish some more work. Stay cool, kiddos!

June 8, 2011 at 2:00 pm 2 comments

Hey, I put some new shoes on and suddenly everything was right…

Retail therapy, much? (Mr. Paolo Nutini sure knew what he was talking about)

image

I’m thinking I like ’em. They’re a little funky/unusual for me, but I kinda dig em. The only issue is that, while you can’t really see it in the photo, they’re feeling a tad bit large. When my foot moves back into that little molded heel-cup thingie, there’s a lot of space between my toes and the rest of the shoe, and I hate how that looks (do you know what I’m talking about? Where there is too much…sole showing…?)

Thankfully, I have this hideously pukey-colored green carpet to walk around on and test em out :)

My other “therapy” plans for the night? Seeing Mr. Ray LaMontagne in Millennium Park with one of my best buddies in the world — my big bro! I CAN’T WAIT!

Ray Lamontagne “Jolene” (Directors Cut) from Ben Unwin on Vimeo.

June 7, 2011 at 2:20 pm 1 comment

Merry Christmas!

image

I hope that whatever you’re celebrating and whoever you’re celebrating it with, you have a safe, wonderful and happy day.

December 25, 2010 at 12:29 pm Leave a comment


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