Quick Fix: Towel Hooks

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 see the others in the series by following these links:
Couch Cover
Space Swap
Reusable bags storage solution
Shower Shelf


With the first week of school underway, I am craving all projects that take a really limited amount of time – Ha! Anyone else in that same boat?

That’s why I’m excited to share with you a simple tiny-apartment change that I made this week. I talked in this post about my dreams for my little apartment. One of the little things I talked about was needing to find space for my towel to hang dry because of this situation:

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Super classy…

So, there was this spot on the other side of the closet, similar to where my robes are hung (to the right of the doors in the image above). It was perfect. But it has been home to a bed frame I borrowed from my mom that had been there for like, a year, because even though I see her most weekends, getting a bed frame to my mom in my little Chevy Malibu is…complicated and easy to forget about.

I wrote it down a thousand different places, and finally asked if I could put it in her car one day when she picked me up to go to the Farmers Market. Brilliant!

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Now, I have the perfect little spot for two towel hooks – one for my body and one for my hair!

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I hung these Command Hooks adjacent to each other, since that provided more space than placing them next to each other.

When I take my morning shower, I usually leave my body towel to hang over the door until I’m just about ready to leave, then I hang it on the hook. That way, it isn’t super moist and doesn’t get all mucky quickly.

I have to tell you, even though I wrote this super positive post about why it’s okay to chill out and take your time with things, it feels SO good to have gotten this done!

Here’s a little update of where I’m at on this list as of today:

  1. Talk to sisters about coffee table
  2. D – wtf is with this bean bag chair??
  3. Find home for reusable bags
  4. Bed frame to moms house
  5. Hang towel hooks in bedroom
  6. Find new home for donations
  7. COUCH
  8. Arrange bedside table
  9. Lower super high shower shelf
  10. Revamp system for online selling
  11. Get a rug – $45
  12. Refinish coffee table – $20
  13. Get Bedroom Art – in process
  14. Replace the truck with a dresser that can hold DVDs – in process
  15. Make desk a workable space
  16. Move off kitchen table
  17. Window treatment for sliding glass doors
  18. Reorganize Bathroom closet
  19. Upgrade the trunk
  20. Reupholster dining room chairs

Phew! Truthfully, this list has actually gotten longer over the last few months. Once  I have it mentally sorted out, I’ll put it all down on electronic paper for you!

What kinds of little, inexpensive projects have you done recently? I would love to hear or see what has made your life easier.

A. Rose (1)

Learning to Can, Part 2

This post is part of a series on teaching myself 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 2

So I shared a little while ago that my interest in home canning was connected to both health and a class.

I got this book and started taking notes. But as I tend to do, I got partway through the reading and just started doing it myself.

If you’re interested in home canning, I highly recommend that you don’t go that route because you can screw things up in a dangerous way. I realized that once I’d already kind of started doing things and had to go back to my original plan.

I picked up what’s called a water bath canner at a hardware store. I recommend getting the kit because a) it’s cheaper and b) it’s – legit – everything you need.

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It turns out that home canning is super easy. Basically you fill up a bunch of jars with natural foods that you’ve made, boil them and then wait until you hear them seal. That’s it.

The tricky part is cooking large volumes and knowing the correct duration to process them for (“process” here means heat in the water bath canner). This is why a book is helpful.

I learned how to make Bread and Butter Pickles for my first round of canning!

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Y’all – they were not hard at all. You just chop cucumbers and onions, mix them in a bowl with pickling salt and cover them in ice for a few hours. Then, you mix up some vinegar and spices, bring it to a boil, add the cucumber/onion mix and voila! Pickles!

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I’ll keep you posted on what other kinds of things I test out. This summer I’m hoping to make a red spaghetti sauce, a jam and some apple butter.

D’s brother-in-law has a garden growing, so I want to learn how to preserve things like onions, carrots and green beans.

Seriously though, if you have a little garden, this is totally worth learning. I think I spent about $40 on the canning supplies, and jars are about $9 for 12 jars. But think – that’s 12 jars of homemade, organic goodness. Totally worth it, if you ask me.

What kinds of summer projects did you have? Did any of them turn out to be easier than you thought they’d be? How about harder? What were you most surprised to learn about yourself when you took the project on?

A. Rose (1)

Quick Fix Friday: Shower Shelf Dilemma

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.

Copy of QFF_ Trading Spaces

The funniest thing about this Quick Fix Series is that each of these things only take a couple minutes, but I never do them.

I mean, obviously I’m doing them because I’m writing about them, but I’ve had lowering the shower shelf on my “to-do” list for months and it wasn’t until my bathroom ceiling started to leak and had to be repaired that I bothered to do this.

Getting this fixed was a week long process, since I’m a renter. It was a major problem, with quite a bit of mold involved. Talking through this with a rental company, and ensuring things went correctly was complex, especially trying to keep my feelings in check. Would a post about that be interesting to you all? #rentallife

This is how it goes for me, sometimes: the quicker the fix, the longer it takes me to do it unless something really dramatic happens.

You can see in the picture above just how high that top shelf is. You can kind of see conditioner peeking out from the second shelf. It’s fine. But it’s also not great. So, when the leak happened, I pulled everything out of the bathroom and stored it in my bedroom.

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This was a great time to do a quick adjustment to the shelves, since I had already removed it from the shower.

If you’ve never done this before, or if you got here because you were trying to figure out how to assemble your shower shelf, this is SUPER easy. You start by lifting the shelf and back ring.

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I used my nails to move that little rubber piece down about 18″

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Then I pressed the black ring and shelf back down, on to the rubber ring.

It turns out, that little corner spot that holds the shelf also holds a great deal of gunk. #goodtoknow

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So I gave the tub a quick scrub because ew, and then put the shelf back in!

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So. Easy.

Then, I put all the items back on the shelves, after clearing out anything that was empty.

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Yes, that’s dish soap in my shower. D works on trucks all day and the only thing that gets his hands clean is the incredible duck-washing power of Dawn. #seriously

Now, when the curtain is closed, you can’t see the conditioner anymore!

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Glorious!

Seriosuly: why did I wait so long?

I think sometimes that the reason I can’t bring myself to do these things is because I’m a renter, and in my mind, I’ll just be moving again in 9 months so why bother? This is the longest I’ve lived anywhere in over a decade, so I’m still adjusting to the idea of making even very little changes.

What kinds of things do you find that you don’t do because you’re a renter? & What kinds of things do you despite the fact that you’re a renter? #teachme

A. Rose (1)

Thirty Minute Dinner: Stir Fry

This post is part of my 30 Minute Meal Series. The 30 Minute Meal Series is comprised of recipes that either take 30 minutes or less of hands-on time. I started this series because I believe that good food doesn’t have to take forever, but what should be forever is the impact that sharing this food with others and your body has on your life.

30 Minute Stir Fry

This meal was born out of boredom: I was tired of the food I was eating. I wanted veggies, but I didn’t want them raw. I pretty much always want rice. I needed something warm because it was week 4,098,204,495 of snow in the tundra I live in. So, I decided that I could probably make stir fry even though I had no idea how to do it.

I understood the basics enough – I know veggies have to cook longer than rice does. And I know you add soy sauce. Everything else in this meal is flexible, and based almost entirely out of what’s in my house already – feel free to make the changes you need to make!

img_4689First, I set some rice to boil. This whole meal only takes five minutes more than it takes to make rice. Caveat: I keep chopped onion and carrots in my fridge all the time and have a garlic press. If you don’t do/have those things (a) I recommend them and (b) you have to also account for chopping garlic and onions in your process.
If you want to do what I actually did next the first time I made this for this post, you should then dump out the rice because your boyfriend decided to take you to a steakhouse instead. Then, start over again the next day. #eyeroll #itwasworthit

If you need to chop onions, carrots and/or garlic, you should do that now. I use about a quarter of an onion, one and a half large carrots (five-ish baby carrots) and five cloves of garlic but everyone’s pallet and tummy is different – just do what’s right for you!

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Then, put some oil in the biggest pan you have and heat it up on medium. So far as I can tell, it doesn’t actually matter what oil you use (it’ll change the flavor some, but get creative!). After a few seconds, add the chopped onion and give it a little stir.

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While the onions are cooking, chop your protein into cubes or strips. It doesn’t matter which one. Just try to remember the last stir fry you ate and which it had and copy that.

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Add the garlic and the carrots. If you don’t have carrots, don’t sweat it! We’re gonna add some frozen mixed vegetables soon, which also usually have carrots. Stir them around a little – maybe about 2-3 minutes. You just want to soften the carrots a little.

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But first! Add your protein. You can see I kind of pushed the veggies to one side. I like to be sure that the meat got cooked on all sides before continuing and it’s just easier this way. You don’t have to do that – you’ll be cooking meat for nearly 25 minutes so it’s very unlikely that it won’t be cooked through. Once it’s cooked on all sides (if you’re using tofu or another plant-based protein don’t worry about it), move on to the next step!

This time, I happened to have sugar snap peas and water chestnuts (D asked that we try them next time we made stir fry) in my house so I added those. Stir them around for about 1-2 minutes or as long as it takes you to get frozen mixed veggies out of your freezer and some kind of nut out of your pantry.

I use about half a small bag of mixed veggies because I have the carrots and water chestnuts. If you don’t, or you just really like veggies, add more! Just about anything goes with this stir fry. I also usually add either a very small amount of ghost pepper or Hot Shot at this point. We like spice in this house, but you definitely don’t have to do that.
This time, I used sunflower seeds because I had them. I’ve used cashews, pecans and almonds before. I don’t recommend the pecans. They were a little too pecan-y and threw the texture off, but you do you!
Check on your rice – how’s it looking? Can you hear it bubbling still? You want the rice to be a little wet still, so that you don’t dry it out too much when you cook it. Turn it off before it’s all the way done.

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Add your rice! Just dump the whole thing on your veggies and give it a good stir! Then, add some soy sauce. I add about three long shakes of the bottle – it’s probably about a quarter cup. Depending on how much salt you like/eat, do more or less.

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This part gets tricky. I move all the veggies to one side like I did for the meat and add some eggs. This makes a lot of stir fry and I usually take it for lunch for a few days, so I add four eggs. I actually push the pan so that the eggs are the main thing getting the heat, then add salt and pepper.

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I just scramble them like you would if you were making scrambled eggs. It’s totally okay if some of the veggies or rice get in with the eggs – it’s all going to mix together eventually anyway. But I try to keep the eggs separate for a while, so I know they’re getting cooked all the way.

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Then stir it all in! I don’t scramble the eggs all the way. I actually just get them close, so they’re still a little runny. I keep stirring for about three more minutes so the eggs have time to cook and then, voila!

stir fry

Stir Fry!

Here’s the quick and dirty version:

Tools You Need
Small pot for rice
Giant Pan
Spatula/Big Spoon

Food You Need
Onion – about 1/3
Garlic – however much you like, I use 4-5 cloves
Oil – any kind
Protein
Frozen Veggies (or not frozen; whatever you like)
Rice – 1 cup uncooked (you’ll need to cook it)
Soy Sauce – about a quarter cup
Seed/Nut – if you want
Spice – any kind of heat you like

Steps:
1. Start cooking rice. Chop onions and garlic.
2. Heat oil in a pan. Add onion and hard veggies (ex. carrots). Stir frequently. Chop protein into strips or cubes.
3. Add protein. Stir frequently.
4.  Once protein is cooked, add frozen (or not frozen) veggies. Stir frequently. Add heat, if you want it.
5. When rice is most of the way done, add rice to pan. Stir.
6. After a few minutes, push mixture to one side. Add four eggs. Scramble
7. Mix it all together.
8. Eat!

What’s in your favorite stir fry? Have you ever made it before? How did this recipe work out for you?