Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Tisket, A Tasket

Baskets. There are so many great uses for them. Since I like to keep things organized and orderly, I use baskets a lot to group things together and keep them from going crazy.  The best part about these baskets is that I only bought one of them for the specific purpose it is serving. The rest I just happened to have and was able to find a useful place for. 

So, what can you use them for?

Dog supplies.  Eliza is high maintenance. This is no shock to those of you who know her.

 Lotions and potions.

Socks and other unmentionables.

Dog toys.

Snacks. (This really helped me maximize space while still being able to reach everything.)

Light bulbs. Secure they are much tougher to break.
Fact: I absolutely HATE the sound of a lightbulb breaking. And hey- those energy efficient ones don't come cheap. I can't afford to have them break. 

Toilet paper. This way, my guests don't have to go rooting through my closet to find more toilet paper if the roll runs out.

I did actually buy these with the specific purpose of desk organization a couple of years ago for another desk. I was so happy when they fit in this desk! Each basket is labeled too. I know it is obsessive but it makes me happy.  It's the little things, right? 

Sometimes you have to get creative with your resources, and it works out quite well.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

On Blogging

In September, I made the jump and finally started blogging. This, after originally getting hooked on Kelly's Korner  (I blame that on my BFF Courtney) and subsequently getting sucked into the world of décor and lifestyle blogs.  Many of my favorite blogs are highlighted on my right-hand sidebar. I do hope you will visit them and give them some love. 

Back to why I started blogging. I guess I decided it was time to contribute and I wanted to test the waters of joining a different type of community. I also wanted a place to post pictures so that my girlfriends could see my new apartment. (And let's face it- facebook is not the best place for such a thing anymore. That's another topic for another day.)  

When I first started this blog, I knew I would have at least two faithful readers: Courtney and Emily. I knew (or trusted) that they would read my blog because they love blogs as much as I do, even though neither one of them have taken the plunge and started contributing to the community... yet.  And when I first started blogging, I was so excited with every single comment I got. And I still get excited whenever I see a new comment. Like really excited.  And when people regularly started reading my blog it made me really excited (and surprised).

Well now, after six months of blogging, I have over 30 followers. Let me just say that I am astonished by this and so thankful to each one of you for visiting this little blog and sharing your thoughts with me. I feel a bit like Sally Field: They like me! They really like me! 
I didn't start blogging looking to build a blog "brand" and that still isn't my goal. My goal was to document things about my new life as a semi-adult and as a young woman starting out and making her way in life. That is still my goal. The idea that blogging can lead to more is just icing on the cake.

That icing materialized last weekend when I had the chance to attend a local Blogger's Brunch with several other bloggers in the DC area. I've highlighted all the attendees under my new sidebar section: DC Bloggers.  I really hope you will go and visit some of these wonderful ladies and read about all their ideas for life and living!  The fact that I have made new friendships through blogging is amazing to me and I am very thankful for it. I hope blogging will continue to be a connector in my life and for other people.

I've noticed that I have a few new followers following this brunch extravaganza! I thought I would point to a few of my favorite posts for anyone who might be new around these parts. 
Click here for:

I say all of this to say, thank you. Thank you to people who read this blog regularly and hopefully get something out of it! You keep me going and motivated.  If I wasn't a poor little old graduate student I would have some giveaway to show you all my love. 
But instead I'm just going to give you all a big virtual hug.
I really do love ya'll more than my luggage.
(Major props to anyone who names the source of that quote.)

Sweet Tooth

Looking for a couple of recipes to satisfy your sweet tooth? You've come to the right place. 

The first recipe I have for you is for Bakerella's "Brookies."
Brownie + Cookie = Good
 2 3/4 cup all purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter, softened
1 lb. light brown sugar (Oh my and thank you!)
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
11.5 ounce package milk chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
(I used half a package of chocolate chips and a couple of handfuls of m&m's.)

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Set aside.
 Stir brown sugar into softened (not melted) butter in another large bowl until butter disappears. You can use the back of your spoon to help incorporate the two together.

Add eggs one at a time to butter mixture and stir well after each egg.
Add vanilla, chocolate chips and nuts. Mix well.

 Add dry flour mixture and stir until well combined.
 Coat a 13 X 9 pan with non-stick spray and spread batter evenly into dish.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until top is golden brown. Make sure you don’t over bake.
(Mine actually took 40 minutes.)


The second recipe is for "Cake Cookies."
2 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 °F. Grease baking sheets.

Combine cake mix, eggs and oil in large bowl. Stir until thoroughly blended. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts. (Mixture will be stiff.) Shape dough into 36 (1 1/4-inch) balls. Place 2-inches apart on prepared baking sheets.

Bake at 350 °F for 10 to 11 minutes. (Cookies will look moist.) Do not overbake. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheets. Remove to cooling racks. Cool completely. Store in airtight container.

Enjoy! And make sure you give some of both of these away! (I recommend bringing them to group project meetings.)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Put A Little Spring In Your Step

I don't know about you, but every springtime, I find myself shopping for some new shoes. My spring/summer shoes just don't seem to hold up as well as my other shoes, and the ones from the previous spring and summer usually need to be thrown out.

In D.C., we do a lot of walking. And I mean a lot.  Come visit me and you'll see. It is necessary to have comfortable shoes, and for me, comfort takes precedence over style. But when I can find both, I go for it!

I recently found these sandals.
These are by B.O.C. and have pretty great support for flat sandals.  I wore them one day last week (when the weather was actually warm) and it worked out pretty well. They still need more breaking in, I think.

I also found these at the same time.
These are by Naturalizer and have great air support and cushioning as well. They are a little tight in the front for me, but I think that just may be my foot. I'm going to take them to a shoe repair place to see if they can be stretched a little.

Keds are also a classic stand-by for me.
The classic Keds are great, but this "sport" type has great supports inside. They might be a little dowdy, but let me tell you. On a day full of sightseeing, your feet will hurt even if you wear the most comfortable shoes known to man, so you might as well do yourself a favor and wear the most comfortable thing you own.

I thought it would be fun to play with some outfit ideas for all the shoes I think I'll be wearing out this spring and summer.  Here's what I came up with.

What items are you adding to your closet for the new season?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Quilt It

No, I'm not talking about Vera Bradley, people.

I'm talking about Susan Weinroth's blog. Have you seen it yet? 

Susan is the mom of two young boys and as a hobby/ side job, she makes the most beautiful quilts for her sons and for her friends and family. No, seriously they are unlike anything I've ever seen.

Here. Let me show you.
(All photos used with permission). 

This one is called "scrappy stripes." 

Isn't the back so quirky? I love it.

Look at this sweet little embroidery. Perfect for a sweet baby girl.

Isn't this one pretty? It would make really great inspiration for a nursery or any other room for that matter. And yellow & grey are all over the place these days.

This one is called "The Princess and the Pea."  How perfect is that? 

This quilt was one Susan used in her son's room. It is so bright and happy.

Look at that sweet giraffe!

Susan even makes pillows... I like it!

This one is called "Sunshine Squares."  It is so lovely.

I love that all these quilts are so modern, yet somehow they are still classic. Definitely inspirational to me. 
Let me add this to my list of reasons to learn how to really sew so that someday I might be good enough to make something like these. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Weekly Gratitude Post #3

I'm thankful for the "Easter Bunny" who sent me this little package of goodies to the left. Yum. He also sent me some chocolate truffle filled eggs. Yum again. I'm going to try to save them for when we get closer to actual Easter. Can you believe it is still like 3 or 4 weeks away? It's so late this year.

I'm thankful that I survived this week with school work. Whew. It was a doozie.

I'm thankful for my readers who keep coming back, even when I don't have anything new to share for a few days. Thank you! 

I'm thankful for the weekend (which starts for me on Friday). And I'm thankful to have the time to hopefully get some work done this weekend.

I'm thankful for this cold snap. Because even though I'm ready for spring, it will be summer all too soon. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Oldies But Goodies

While I was studying yesterday, I put on a combo of i-tunes and pandora and was revisited by some old pals.

 "The Bitch is Back" by Elton John is one of my all-time favs for elevating my mood. The tempo is so upbeat and in your face.

Pandora started me back on John Mayer today with "Daughters." Then I switched on iTunes and jammed to "St. Patrick's Day" (my all time favorite) and "Gravity." 

What are your old favorites? Do you have any favs for studying? 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Happy Spring!

In case you weren't aware, yesterday was the first day of spring. 

I have a few suggestions for what you can do to get yourself in the mood for spring- in case the warmer and beautiful weather isn't doing it for you.

2. Take a stroll or bike ride around your neighborhood or a local park.
Bringing your pet is encouraged!
3. If you are in the DC area, plan a trip to see the cherry blossoms at the tidal basin!
This is on my list of things to do soon.
4. Head to your local farmer's market and stock up on fresh in-season fruits and vegetables.
According to, some of my favorites such as asparagus, pineapple, strawberries, butter lettuce, spinach, and oranges are all in season during spring.

5. Get in gear for spring cleaning. Or at least organize something that's been bothering you lately.
I cleaned and reorganized a couple of my kitchen drawers last week and I feel so much better about it. Now everything is where I think it is and it's all clean and fresh!

6. Buy yourself something new that says "spring" to you!
I love this ring that I found on etsy. It's adjustable, so it should fit most ring sizes, and it is a bargain at $18. Plus the fact that its an etsy find guarantees that nobody in your classes or at work will have anything like it! 

What ideas do you have to get ready for the new season? 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Weekly Gratitude Post #2

I'm thankful that I was on spring break this week. Although I was not nearly as productive as I wanted to be/ should have been, I am now certainly well rested. Although, for some reason, I could sleep more...

I'm thankful that in the past week, I've been able to see three people from my internship this summer and am planning to see another this weekend for brunch. I'm glad i've been able to maintain these friendships and relationships.

I'm thankful that my dog Eliza got a good report of health from the vet this week and a haircut/ bath. She needed both. And now she looks even more adorable and lovable. [Lovable really only has one "e"? Who knew?] I'm also thankful that my dad was able to foot the bill for the vet and the groomer. Cause if he hadn't, I woulda had to float a loan.

I'm thankful for in-building laundry and multiple machines. I can get all my laundry clean in two hours. Awesome.

I'm thankful for zipcar giving me wheels when I need them... even though I think they could nudge the prices down a little!

I'm thankful for hot water and a dishwasher. Both vastly improve my quality of life. 

Have a great weekend, people. I hope you get the chance to do a little bit of nothing this weekend! 

Frugal Finds Friday: Nautical Tote

I've always loved the look of these tote bags from j.crew.  They are made out of sails. How perfect is that, right?
Angela Adams and Sea Bags dipped Sail Bags  From j.crew, $198.00
My only issue with this bag is the $198 price tag. That's just a bit unreasonable in my opinion.

So, recently I found a similar look in the Lands' End Canvas collection. 
Nautical Tote  Lands' End Canvas, $69.50
The color is a bit different, but it's basically the same look. It would be perfect for the beach this summer!