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Archive for the ‘the apartment.’ Category

I was very productive during yesterday’s snow day. I drank a lot of water. I crocheted two wash cloths. I purged and cleaned out my closet, finally.

Confession: since moving into our apartment last April, I’ve had a least one bin of clothes lingering in our bedroom. Within the last month, all four bins made it up to the third floor and spilled across the hardwood floors. As of last night, all four bins are back into the basement- sorted, labeled by season and stacked neatly next to my tennis racket and mini grill.

Second confession: I have so many clothes that I can literally go about a month without doing any laundry. And while for many that may be a sign of wealth/success/great sense of style, for me it’s an embarrassment. Where do you think one keeps a month’s worth of dirty laundry? I can tell you that it doesn’t neatly stay put in the tiny laundry basket in the bottom of my closet. Nope. That stink becomes mounds of nonsense.

My solution: I give you Project 333.

I don’t know when I had first heard of this solution but I’ve been trying to implement it for a couple of years. The concept is very simple: the less wardrobe items one has…

  • the less confusion there is about what to wear
  • the more room one has in their home
  • laundry day is much easier because there is less to wash

I am determined to make it work this year! Not only because I’m sick of hauling ten loads of laundry to the laundromat, but because I’d like to be a better roommate and not take over our place of rest.

Here are the basics:

  1. Every three months, you evaluate your wardrobe. This is important for us in upstate New York because we have four distinct seasons. I like to break the months down by January-March, April-June, July-September, and October-December. Mark your calendars!
  2. Choose 33 items including clothing, accessories, jewelry, outerwear, and shoes. Confession: I’m not to this point, yet. I realistically only choose 33 items of clothing, which don’t get me wrong, is a HUGE improvement. I feel like I’m in transition with my shoes, weeding out those that aren’t vegan as the season comes. As the year goes on, I may start to limit my outerwear and accessories because realistically, I don’t wear accessories frequently.
  3. Items that are not counted as part of the 33 items – wedding ring or another sentimental piece of jewelry that you never take off (for me it’s my college ring and acorn necklace), underwear, sleep wear, in-home lounge wear,  and workout clothing (you can only wear your workout clothing to workout). I don’t have in-home lounge wear but I do have two designated drawers in my dresser for hiking and running.
  4. Choose your 33 items and put the others out of sight. I put them in bins, labeled with tape in the basement. Out of sight, out of mind. *This was my downfall in the past; I didn’t always get the items out of the bedroom. Call it laziness for not wanting to carry them all down three flights of stairs, but last night the beau helped and they are out of mind. I have four bins: Spring, Summer, Cold Weather and Work Clothes/Special Occasion Dresses.
  5. Remember that you aren’t doing this to punish yourself, you are doing it to clear your mind. Well, that’s what I tell myself anyway. Last night I purged items that I knew I wasn’t going to realistically going to wear this year, items that I didn’t wear this past winter and items that no longer fit or have holes and/or stains. There are a couple of staples that I’m going to replace over the next month (white tank top and tee). Remember to donate when you can!

I filled up a big basket of clothes that I’m going to either donate or take to Plato’s Closet for cash trade. I know I won’t get much for the items but it would be better than nothing.

My idea or goal for the year is that with each season, if I don’t wear a piece of clothing, I will purge it. Last night I saw so many items that I didn’t wear last year simply because I have too much and didn’t choose wisely. It’ll be tough but it’ll let me appreciate the items that I love (and for many, have been a part of my wardrobe for many years).

Do you rotate your wardrobe with the seasons? Do you limit the number of garments that you keep out? Does this sound like the answer to your laundry prayers? Let me know if you jump on board!

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One morning while walking back from brunch, we noticed how chilly it had become over the previous week. I then thought that I should put out extra feed for the birds to enjoy; I did after all have to winterize the porch. And then the idea of a vegan alternative to suet came to mind.

While understanding that most birds in the ‘hood are indeed omnivores, I’d prefer not to purchase any products made of animals and bring them into our living environment. I quickly turned to the Internet for a recipe and took to the kitchen early yesterday morning. It was the chilliest day yet!

Veggie “Suet” Blocks Makes four blocks

  • 2 cups of veggie shortening
  • just over a cup of bird seed
  • about half a cup of peanut butter (it’s all I had in the cupboard)

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Melt the veggie shortening over a low heat to prevent it from burning. Once completely melted, turn off the heat and stir in the peanut butter. Then stir in the seeds. Pour into a mold (I used an aluminum pan) and cool until solid- I put the pan out on the back porch and it only took about thirty minutes to harden. Cut and put into feeder; I had a leftover suet cage from last winter. Hang and watch the birds gobble it up!

Oh, and you can keep the leftovers in the freezer until the next time you need to refill.

This was a softer recipe and next time I think I’ll try adding a little chickpea flour to firm it up more- but it did hold it’s shape well. I love having birds around and jump out of bed in the morning when I hear them in the (glass) feeder. I’ve only seen one blue jay this year and he was gorgeous! Don’t get me wrong, the little chickadees are darling but I’d love to have mister blue come to visit again this winter. Here’s to lending a helping hand and enjoying every bit of nature, even while living in the city.

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In celebration of the seven hundred and thirty days that the beau and I have known each other, I got a little special something made locally for our wall of art. We both agreed on no gifts but I still wanted to make this a surprise. It was a last minute idea and Petra over at Anchor No. 5 Boutique made it happen.

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A Scorpio constellation hoop! I love the idea of having mix media hanging up on the walls and this little installation looks perfect up with our favorites that we’ve both collected. Does that YOU + ME print look familiar?

These little hoops would make the cutest little gift for any birthday, nursery or as a holiday decoration. Aren’t any good at embroidering or in a hurry like myself? Hit up Petra or better yet sign up for one of her upcoming embroidery classes. So cute!

{This was not a sponsored post.}

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I did absolutely nothing yesterday other than eat and cook and then eat some more, and I could really used to doing that each Sunday. I loved having the entire afternoon to prepare meals for the week, something I did a lot in the past when living alone. I woke up this morning knowing exactly what to pack for lunch and had a sense of “bring on the day!” attitude, which is rare lately. Working two jobs is tough, it always is, but coming home after seven each night and preparing a fresh meal is even more tough. We love to cook together but when in a rush to eat and both feeling a little h-angry, things get messy.

So, with my new-found time, I’m going to plan our dinners for our week on Sundays and prepare as much as possible to make dinner time a little more pleasant, and a little less scrambled.

Monday: Date night with the beau at The Palace Theater. We love getting take-out from our favorite Albany restaurant, Kinnaree. The Tom Yum soup is so spicy and delicious, and the vegan Pad Thai hits the spot. His go to choices are the Drunken Noodles and fried Spring Rolls.

Tuesday: Homemade FG carrot soup with a tahini sauce and crunchy chickpeas. I’ll only have to bake the chickpeas while the soup is reheating on the stove.

Wednesday: Homemade Chinese take-out! We have FG broccoli on hand and it takes the beau only but five minutes to make the most delicious garlic sauce. Basmati rice only takes about twenty minutes to cook up- add in some tofu to the mix and we’ve got a meal!

Thursday: Halloween! I picked up some chipotle pumpkin pappardelle from Flour City Pasta at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday. The recipe that came in the bag includes tossing it in butter, lemon juice and parmesan cheese; I have all the vegan alternatives on hand. While that’s boiling, I’ll toss some brussels sprouts, also from the Farmer’s Market, in some EVOO and lemon juice into the oven to serve on the side. Hopefully we’ll have our pumpkins carved by then, and we’ll be able to toss in a handful of baked pumpkin seeds for some crunch.

Friday: Sauteed FG braising mix with farro. Can’t prep this meal really, but it’s quick and I won’t be at a loss for what to make.

Are you one to plan your meals? Do you shop all at once or receive a CSA delivery like we do? 

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It’s been a while since I’ve been this productive on a weekend. I work for at least six hours on Saturday at the store during the Farmer’s Market and either have plans for the evening or pass out early because Sundays are typically spent hiking. But with the rain this weekend, I was stuck in Troy… in a very messy apartment.

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I slept in, we had a wonderful brunch at our usual Sunday spot after yoga (the beau’s class- I stayed in bed) and then he had to go into work to get a head start on this week’s work. I was bound and determined to make our apartment sparkle! When we both come home at the end of a long day, neither of us wants to clean; so we don’t. And with commitments on the weekends, cleaning takes the back seat then too.

So for almost five hours this afternoon I swept, mopped, scrubbed, washed dishes for what seemed like an eternity, dusted and organized. I think I only saw three mosquitos, possibly only two, and killed one in my closet. I added a little pour of my natural bug spray (made up of essential oils) to the mop bucket and sprays; I wanted to repel those pesky insects! I poured bleach down drains and made sure to check all indoor plants of stagnant water- we are in the clear! I think we just have to wait for the few remaining mosquitos to die! (insert evil cackle)

For the remainder of the afternoon I cooked up two meals: one for dinner tonight and the other for tomorrow. I still have a list of organizational stuff that I’d like to accomplish this week and having a clean apartment helps me focus. Having a meal pre-prepared really gives me a boost because then I don’t have to spend time in the kitchen cooking/cleaning up. Both meals came out delicious so I figured I’d share. You’re welcome.

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Hearty Mushroom Farro Serves two very hungry adults

  • 16 oz of your favorite mushrooms, sliced
  • 3/4 cup uncooked farro
  • 1 1/2 cup water or vegetable stock
  • balsamic vinegar
  • 1-3 garlic cloves, diced
  • salt & pepper, onion powder, no-chicken bouillon cube to taste
  • fresh thyme
  • EVOO
  • crispy onions, optional

Boil water and cook farro according to package directions. Drain and set aside until mushrooms are done. (We love Trader’s Joe’s fast-cooking farro; it’s done within 10-12 minutes!)

In a pot, add EVOO and the mushrooms and garlic. Cook over medium heat until tender and reduced significantly in size. Add a dash (tablespoon or so) of balsamic vinegar, the fresh thyme and the rest of your seasonings and stir until coated. You can add in the no-chicken bouillon at this point too if you aren’t using stock for more flavor. Add in the liquid and bring to a boil. Cook for about ten minutes. I used our hand blended to slightly chop up the mushrooms at this point, but didn’t liquify it. Stir in the farro and top each bowlful with some crunchy onions. Enjoy!

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I also baked up the chioggia beets from this week’s share by simply tossing them in EVOO, a little dash of balsamic vinegar, S&P and topped them with raw walnuts and fresh thyme.

lentil tomato soup

Tomato Lentil Soup Serves 2-3 adults

  • 3/4 cup dry lentils, rinsed
  • 4 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 4 cups water or vegetable stock
  • shallot, diced
  • 2 big parsnips, diced
  • EVOO
  • paprika, salt & pepper, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, bay leaves
  • ketchup or tomato paste

In a pot, add the EVOO, shallot and parsnips and cook over medium heat until the parsnips are tender. You could also use carrots- I just had parsnips on hand from last week’s delivery.

Add the lentils, bay leaves and liquid and cover until the lentils are almost cooked to perfection. At this point you could add a no-chicken bouillon for more flavor, I did not. Once almost done, add in the tomatoes (canned could work too if you don’t have fresh) and ketchup or tomato paste. I added about two tablespoons of ketchup. Mix in your other seasonings to taste (I like it with a little kick!) and cover to simmer for about another ten minutes. I used a hand blender on this dish as well (the beau doesn’t like chunky tomatoes) and serve hot, maybe with a chunk of bread and simple salad.

*I personally like thick soups- simply add more liquid if you like it a little thinner. The picture really doesn’t give it justice- the flavors are fresh and fantastic!

It feels great to have a clean apartment and to have clean meals prepared or lined up for the coming week. Do you practice better habits if your home is neat and tidy?

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I don’t want to bring bad luck to my experience in the woods, but thus far this year, I’ve probably only gotten bitten once while hiking.

In the apartment on the hand, I wake up with five or six new bites, at the least. The culprits: mosquitos.

And it’s driving me insane. Like, can’t function past 7 o’clock in the evening because my sleep has been interrupted kind of insane. For almost three weeks now.

At first, we had no clue where they could be coming from. We inspected all of the screens and realized it was most likely the kitchen. So, for the past three weeks we’ve had no fresh air in the kitchen and hoped that the life span of a mosquito wouldn’t be that long. But no matter how many we’ve killed over that time period (three last night alone), they keep returning.

I seem to be affected more than the beau because I sleep with my bare arms up over my head. No matter how much I try, I can’t sleep soundly with my arms down by my side or under the covers. Insert mega frustration. Insert an even bigger frustration being woken up in the middle of the night from the buzzing of a mosquito. Night after night. Can you tell that I’m just a tiny bit annoyed by this whole predicament? I’m sick of having welts on my arms and smelling like a citronella candle (natural oil salve).

I hope this explains my distance this past week with my lack of posting. It’s really difficult to stay up and write when I could fall asleep immediately after eating. My running has been non-existant this week as well. Poop. Even though I’m pretty bummed not to be hiking tomorrow, I am determined to get this apartment sparkling and free of these pesky insects.

Has this ever happened to you? How in the world did you get rid of them? I’m not sold on setting off a bug “bomb” in the apartment but because I have some pretty rad (and all natural) bug spray from Meow Meow Tweet, I may give specific hiding spots/screens a spray or two. Or ten.

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As mentioned last Friday, my mom and I drove downstate to see my little sister this past weekend. She and her boyfriend bought a condo last month or so, and I finally had one weekend free to go see it for the first time. It was cute! I’m jealous that they’re paying on a spot that they will one day own but remind myself that my day too will come.

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We decided to go back to the state park that we visited last autumn, but first stopped to pick up some delicious food at World Market for a picnic lunch. Unfortunately, by the time we got there, it was starting to drizzle. We decided to set up on a picnic table anyway, but were left running to the car when it started pouring. During this sprint, I dropped my lunch in the grass, used my hand as a mitt to scoop it all up and then plop it back into the container; I was starving and wasn’t about to waste. But when I got to the car with greasy fingers, I couldn’t get my keys out fast enough and set my noodles up on the roof. By the time I was back in the car, we were all laughing and diving into the chips and salsa. The next thing we knew, there were pecking noises coming from the roof of my car… seagulls! They were eating the stray noodles that were left up there! They were surrounding the car as if they knew we had more inside- too funny!

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It didn’t rain too hard for too long; we got out and walked along the shore for a little while before getting back on the road. Next stop: IKEA!

My mom had never been and I think we looked at every single item available in that warehouse. No joke. I knew exactly what item I wanted to buy for the apartment before making the trip, but didn’t mind browsing because this was only my second trip in a couple of years. Other than the bookshelf for our records, I got a cute magnetic/chalkboard organizer, new sheets, and chalk. All for under $100!

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It was a great weekend spent with the two of them- we probably aren’t going to have a separate autumn trip this year because I’m going to be hiking for the next four weekends, two of them being overnights. The next time that she’s up she’ll have to stop at my place because she hasn’t seen it since the beau and I moved back in April. We are finally starting to feel settled and have discussed painting in each of the rooms = a coat of fresh paint makes a big difference! (And we aren’t in love with the green and cream wallpaper)

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