House List Update!

So, many moons ago, before I needed a break from blogging, I shared with you my House List, and how to prioritize that list. As of my most recent update about my couch, here’s what the list looked like:

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In my absence, I made some changes and now, here’s where we are:

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I’ve got some posts brewing about having made those changes, so I can explain the processes. But the real reason I wanted to give this update is because I first started talking about this a little less than a year ago and I’m not even halfway done.

That feels a little pathetic.

It also feels more than a little realistic.

I think it’s easy to get caught up in the idea of how quickly things should happen, or to compare ourselves to the work / rate of others. But, when I really think about, for as much as I love to tackle house projects and make my little apartment feel cozy, I’d rather lay out in the sunshine, or have some lemonade with my mom, or laugh with my friends.

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I don’t actually think that life is too short. I think life is incredibly long and we should get everything we can out of it. And that means that some days I want to be barefoot in the sunshine, and other days, I want to paint little flowers on a flower pot.

I make a million lists and like to check things off of them and love the feeling of accomplishing both big and small projects – that will never not be true for me.

It’s also true that I still have a hard time not feeling guilty when I pick to hang out and live rather than be task-oriented, almost like I need permission to take a break.

So, here you go: an updated house list and permission to go take a break and play in the sunshine, or the rain; permission to go have the life you want.A. Rose (1)

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& Cookies

I’ve been an avid blog reader for the last six years and my favorite posts are always the personal, here’s-my-life-in-the-last-month-rounded-up kinds of things. I was thinking about this, and about my cousins son whose favorite time of the day is Cookie Time, where he, his mom and his grandma have milk and cookies. So I was thinking about the idea of having milk and cookies with people I like, but I stopped being able to drink milk around age 25, so here we are: & cookies.


This week has been a doozy! Anyone else caught up in the whirlwind that is summer? I feel like I can’t stop going. I love feeling like I’m getting a lot done, but I definitely need to be more intentional about meditation and taking time for myself to just sit quietly. Any great suggestions on how to do that?

On Saturday, D & I went to a diaper party / quadding adventure, for which I had no clothing. I really don’t own much that can get that kind of dirty. It was originally supposed to just be a cookout, but because of the weather, the hosts suggested clothes you didn’t mind getting covered in mud. My sister swooped in and was the amazing sister she is and helped me find something for $20 that I can wear again and again.

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I got this baby on Amazon for $8 on Prime Day! I’m not really a big Prime Day / Black Friday shopper, but I always like to look, just in case there’s something I’ve been wanting. My fridge has wire shelves and so pop cans go every which way on them. This is a much better solution, and you barely notice it’s there.

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One of the ladies I work with had a cucumber explosion in her garden so she brought a bunch into work. I snagged a bunch and am going to try my hand at Dill pickles! I’m a little nervous about it, but the recipe doesn’t seem too hard. I’ll let you know how it goes!

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I snapped this sad picture this morning. This is the file box I’ve been using since 2005 to keep my life in order. It’s broken, and has been for years. It’s also too small and difficult to put things in. As a result, I end up with stacks of paper all over my house, rather than neatly put away. I need to spend some time with it, figure out what I need to use it for and what I want to use it for, and then I think I’ll need to invest in something more stable and less cumbersome.

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I’ve also been trying to figure out how to wrangle all my earrings and bracelets. I really wear the same handful of necklaces, but I switch out earrings a lot. I found this one on Amazon, but I think I might try to make it myself, instead, so I can get the size exactly the way I want it. #particular

A. Rose (1)

Planner Inspiration

I basically live my life in my amazing planner.

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This system of putting to do lists over the top of the actual dates isn’t 100% the greatest. It’s been fine this summer, as I’m not taking classes, because I end up using a smaller sticky note and just have one. But the above photo is what my planner pretty much always looked like. #nothelpful

So, I’ve been thinking about making my own. Is that crazypants?

I started searching the internet for ideas.

I know that I mostly use the weekly view to list meetings, appointments and assignment due dates.

I basically don’t use the monthly view for anything, but I do make use of it.

I like the idea of having a little weekly planning page like this one:

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And some kind of meal planning page would be good, especially for during the school year:

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Montly meal plan NO logo

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I also love this financial challenge spreadsheet:

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And any kind of goal setting is also amazing:

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Phew. That’s a lot. What do you all think? Is it crazy to create my own planner?

A. Rose (1)

Exercise Confession

I feel uncertain about writing about my body, and certainly have a lot of thoughts about why that is.

I’ve never been skinny.

I’m 5’2″ and tend to fall into the “full figure” category (which is the smaller end of “plus size,” apparently. *shrug*).

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I’m sure some of my reluctance is because figuring out all these terms that exist for women’s bodies is basically a full-time job. But I’ve been thinking about it a lot, because I actually love my body, my shape, how I move.

When I had my gallbladder out, I had to closely examine my relationship with my body and taking care of it. Not talking about it hasn’t helped me.

When I was younger,  I was a cheerleader, played volleyball, ran all the time. I grew up playing outside and riding bikes. I like to be active; I like to move and go. But I’ve always worked at a desk and prefer to read a book when I’m done with the work day.

That’s really what happens: by the end of my day, I think about going to the gym or going outside for a run, but instead I’m so worn out that I don’t stick with it.

But I know that I’m not a healthy weight. And that is of the utmost importance to me. I could care less what the number is: I care completely about how my heart beats and how easy it is to breathe.

So I’m going back to what I know: yoga and walking/running. I’ve been doing this yoga routine for years, off and on. And I downloaded the Couch to 5K app because I’ve liked the pacing of it in the past.

I don’t have a weight goal. I don’t care what size my skirts are. I only care that I feel like me again. I think I’d like to talk about that regularly here.

Is this a scary conversation for anyone else? What do you do to get over the fear of talking about it?

Quick Fix: Reusable Bags

This post is part of my Quick Fix Friday Series. The Quick Fix Friday Series is comprised of cheap and simple tricks to make your life easier. I started this series because I often feel like I have no time to make a change in my apartment, and I wanted to remind myself that it’s true. I also have realized that while there is a plethora of information about quick fixes when you own a house, that isn’t necessarily true when you live in an apartment. Each of these tasks takes under five minutes.

You can read the other Quick Fix post here.


I talked a little bit in this post about how my reusable bags were taking up precious real estate in my coat closet:

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See that glorious long shelf on the right? It’s the one covered in reusable bags that are lying on their side, taking up as much room as possible. When you live in an apartment, you pretty much have to use every single spot as carefully as possible. This shelf was not a good example of that.

Enter stage left, the White Knight of this story.

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D got me this bakers rack for Christmas two years ago. I highly recommend it if you live in a place without a pantry. Or with. Whichever. It’s amazing. What added some amazingness to it is that the posts that hold the shelves in are not flush with the shelves on top. Meaning they are the perfect place for reusable bags!

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Which meant that this whole open shelf now gets to have important things on it:

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Dryer sheets – super important
D’s work files – super important
Pink bags – super important
Strange collection of lamps??? – super important

& that’s it! It’s amazing how much a little rearranging can do for a space!

What’s you favorite quick switch like this that you’ve done?

P.S. – My sister got me these reusable vegetable bags for Christmas this past year and holy smokes do I love them! I’ve been working hard at decreasing the amount of waste I produce and these totally help!A. Rose (1)

The Situation

There’s something very unsettling going on in my little apartment.

It looks something like this:

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And this:

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*Sigh*

I’ve been on the hunt for a dresser that can double as a TV stand, but I can’t find anything that is 55″+ and low enough and not a billion dollars.

And then – oh, then – I was walking through everyone’s secret favorite place, Pier One, and I found this:

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Isn’t she beautiful? Couldn’t she easily be shorter and wider, with bins that are the perfect size for DVD’s? Couldn’t she not cost over $300?

I think it’s all possible, if I make it myself.

So I’m going to!

I started a little plan up:

  1. Source bins / bin sizes
  2. Draw diagram
  3. Talk it out
  4. Adjust diagram
  5. Learn anything about building furniture
  6. Source wood on the cheap
  7. Build!

So, I’m on step one! I’ll keep you updated on what I learn – I’m going to guess this will not be just a weekend project for me.A. Rose (1)

Nine Months Later

I’ve been reading blogs since 2011, and started thinking about writing one in 2012. But what actually pushed me to commit, was reading Amy’s vulnerable, honest and hopeful post about her journey with Lyme Disease.

Even though she wrote it a few years ago, I only read it about nine months ago, when I learned that I was going to have my gallbladder out.

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This isn’t the same as having a chronic illness. This was a simple surgery with few incisions that lead to some changes in my body that I’m still trying to figure out. But the candor and truth that Amy spoke with made me realize how many people are probably facing a surgery like mine, or a new diet like mine.

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There’s a lot I didn’t understand about how my body works when I decided to have the surgery. Do you know what your gallbladder does? I didn’t get it and then I read this and a lot of things started clicking together for me.

I am still working on shifting my diet to less processed and more whole foods. It’s definitely complicated to find the time and brain space to make new things, and stay focused on how what I eat connects to any digestive distress I have. Some of the complications I’m encountering have to do with having both IBS and TMJ, which both limit what I can and can’t eat.

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Nine months later, I’m still learning, still growing, still working on understanding. My belly is usually still bloated by the end of the day, and I’m trying to get a handle on that first, since it’s the most uncomfortable thing.

And then I realize that that’s the most uncomfortable thing. Nine months ago, sitting was the most uncomfortable thing. Sitting and walking and breathing deeply all hurt. And here I am, uncomfortable with this one thing mainly. That’s amazing!

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There’s not a lot out there about what happens to your body after you have your gallbladder out. Maybe people don’t struggle as long as I do. Or maybe we’re all just uncomfortable posting pictures of our bloaty, scarred up post surgery bellies (y’all – it’s seriously making me super uncomfortable but I’m trying to just be honest about my body and what happened). I think I need to talk about it, so I’m going to keep doing it. I think more of us need to talk about our bodies regularly. Maybe it will help us love them more.

What do you think?

A. Rose (1)

& Cookies, July Part I

I’ve been an avid blog reader for the last six years and my favorite posts are always the personal, here’s-my-life-in-the-last-month-rounded-up kinds of things. I was thinking about this, and about my cousins son whose favorite time of the day is Cookie Time, where he, his mom and his grandma have milk and cookies. So I was thinking about the idea of having milk and cookies with people I like, but I stopped being able to drink milk around age 25, so here we are: & cookies.

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I got to start off this passed weekend with D’s parents and two nephews. They came over for tacos and stayed for laughs. Those two boys love hanging out with “Uncle D” and playing games, and they’re great little helpers in the kitchen!
No AC pro-tip: put a fan in the kitchen, for the love of all that is good.

I did some hardcore grocery shopping: 3 stores, 2 hours, 1 month worth of food, including cat food (not including weekly perishable purchases): under $140! I’ve talked quite a bit about grocery shopping here and here. But I don’t know that I’ve really given an overview of how I’ve managed to bring my grocery bill down as far as it is. Maybe I’ll do that sometime soon; would that be interesting to you?

The other piece is that I got this Tide Ultra and successfully got D’s work pants (read: jeans that are coated in layers of motor oil) clean after just one wash! I can’t even believe it. It was like the laundry version of Christmas!

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I went Downtown with my adorable, amazing bestie this week. She’s basically the greatest mom of three. When she isn’t working, she’s doing things for others. It felt really good to facilitate a little mini-vacay for her. How happy she is in the picture above: that’s how much she smiled the rest of the time.

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These are the incredible skills of my cat, the Pirate King, who has been waking me up by screaming non-stop every morning. Ugh. Do you know cats that do that? What causes it? He gets fed in the evening, including treats. Maybe he just wants snuggles?

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And, of course, I had to include some 4th of July fun! My sister and I spent too long in the pool, followed by D and I spending too long in the pool, followed by more pool. Wanna know the key to a Florida girls heart? It’s swimming.

I should probably say some stuff about sunscreen and not letting yourself get melanoma buuuuut….

 

Have a great weekend, folks!

A. Rose (1)

Learning to Can, Part 1

This post is part of a series on teaching myself how to do home canning. I decided to do this series in part because the reflection that’s part of learning is really interesting to me, and because I think it’s amazing the things we can teach ourselves when we’re dedicated to it!

Learning to Can, Part 1

For one of my classes this semester, we have to do a Self-Directed Learning Project. We got to pick any topic and we don’t have to be successful at it, which may seem strange. The idea is that by attempting to teach ourselves we’ll understand the limits of ourselves and the limits of this method of teaching.

Not being successful at something isn’t a process I enjoy. Sometimes I wish that weren’t true, but like most things with identity, you can turn it down, you can’t turn it off.

I spent a long time going back and forth between two topics: quilting and canning. Obviously, I live in the 1800’s….

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My mother is a quilter and I always admire the beautiful works of art she creates by sewing. But, with all the recent health issues I’ve had with my tummy, I thought canning would be a more beneficial way to go. This way, I can control what goes into the container, and save some money at the same time.

So, I bought this book:

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Y’all. It’s amazing. I had absolutely no idea that canning required such a wide knowledge base. I’m keeping pretty detailed notes on what this learning process is like, and am excited to share this with all of you.

I set a timeline and some goals for myself, which include an increased knowledge of the health and safety of food preservation. The more that I’m learning about this, the more I am really excited to take control of another area of my diet that laziness has allowed me to throw to the wayside.

Every day, I feel like I get a little bit closer to feeling like I have my pre-no-gallbladder life back.

A. Rose (1)

Non-Dairy Smoothie!

I wrote a little about some of my tummy struggles a little while ago, around the time I had my gallbladder removed. Since then, I’ve been on the yogurt struggle bus.

Honestly, I’ve probably been on it forever and I’m just paying more attention now.

My standard breakfast, since I was 22, has been yogurt, fruit and granola.

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Lately, I’m less interested in chewing. haha. Sometimes that happens though, yah know? I don’t really have the time to sit down and eat breakfast, not even while I’m working. So, I’ve been rocking the smoothie! It’s been pretty great, actually. but I found that the dairy in the yogurt was still really bugging me. I found a great non-dairy yogurt and thought I’d share my little, non-specific, super simple recipe with you!

Please forgive my 5:45am lighting in my window-less kitchen. 🙂

Non-Dairy Smoothie

You could totally change up the ingredients in this; and ice would make it more … granulated? icey? smoothie-y?

I start by putting the frozen mixed berries in.

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I use about… that many. It’s two shakes of the bag, usually, depending on how hungry I am. Then I add in a broken up banana and about 1/2 a cup of oatmeal.

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This oatmeal is not cooked – it’s just straight up dried oatmeal. Then I add about 1/4 cup of flax seed.

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over which I pour about a cup of the star of today’s show: Good Karma Dairy-Free Probiotic Drinkable Yogurt (the strawberry kind) and about 1/4 cup of Chocolate Almond Milk. You could probably do not chocolate, buuuuut… I’d rather have the chocolate. #letsbereal

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It looks really gross until you start blending it up:

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I love this color! And the taste is super delicious!

I usually make a little too much, so I store the extra in a mason jar for the next day, that way I don’t have to make breakfast every morning:

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That’s it! Easy-peasy lemon-squeezy!

This is, by far, my favorite breakfast. I have a 30 minute commute to work, so being able to drink my breakfast is a great time saver. And since I’ve switched to this non-dairy yogurt, I’ve had absolutely no troubles!

I’m really excited to try other combos as simple as this one. What are your favorite smoothies made out of?

A. Rose (1)