Adulting Resource Pinterest Roundup

So on Sunday I posted about trying to find a balance between all the different facets of life, and in truth I didn’t expect to get much of a response. I mean, most of us are pretty clueless about life. It’s why Self Help books, talk show gurus, and the Lifestyles section of the newspaper makes so much money.  Personally, being both cheap and a sucker for good photography and infographics, I’ve begun to utilize Pinterest for its myriad of tips on everything from how to clean my house to composting guides. Here’s the roundup of my favorites Pinterest finds:

Budgeting 

When we first moved in together, my then-fiance and I tried to mentally tabulate our expenses. As anyone who has ever been an adult for longer than a year knows, this isn’t something that ends well. It’s confusing and stressful and we made some dumb mistakes. So! We switched to a budget binder, which we also replicate online in the google document.

The binder that we use is a free download that you can get here. It’s pretty and also covers just about everything. She also has created a number of other binders for organizing, if binders are your thing!

Moving Tips

The common plight of most of my 20-something friends is that we’re at an age where we move a lot. Most of my high school and college friends have moved at least once in the last three-four years, and it’s typically a group effort. That’s why I recommend this list to every person who is about to go through the process of moving. If you have the time to utilize some of the tips, it will make life so much easier.

Home Decor: Small Space Living 

As I mentioned in this post, our first place was a gorgeous space that was also very tiny with built-in features that complicated decorating. Currently, we’re living in a much larger space with a lot of dedicated rooms. This means that the challenges in decorating our first home are completely different from the challenges facing our second home (for example, we went from banging our head on our ceiling to not being able to reach it, because it’s 10 feet tall).  Luckily, this list (which is definitely sponsored, just an FYI) is pretty comprehensive. I’ve used most of the tips and they definitely work!

Cleaning Guides

   Ah, cleaning. It’s the never-ending task, especially when you have three cuddly little hairballs.  Of course, one of our kitties has a sensitivity to hard-core cleaners, so we have to be careful about the supplies that we use. For most things, we buy all-natural cleaners (typically Meyers or Method Brand) for others, I make my own. That’s where this guide to natural cleaning has come in handy. It has some great tips for non-expensive cleansers, and most of the cleansers can be made from things that homes just have. I use that guide in conjunction with a personalized Daily Cleaning List that I created based off of this list here (I blended the “kid’s bath” and “guest bath” into general bathroom cleanup on Tuesday to leave Friday open to relax).

Cooking Guides

A year ago, I had never cooked anything more difficult than chicken tacos, grilled cheese, and Ramen noodles. I baked the family Christmas cookies and occasionally made chocolate covered blueberries or oreo truffles, but mostly I stayed far way from the oven. Truth be told, ovens terrify me. They are metal boxes of witchcraft, and I don’t trust them. That said, Lean Cuisines are expensive, and so I had to learn how to cook. The years of sitting in the kitchen with my mom while she cooked gave me three very specific types of knowledge: 1. Always use fresh herbs when you have them; 2. Always crush your garlic to get the best flavor; and 3. Summer tomatoes should be eaten with a sheep’s milk cheese or a pinch of sea salt straight from the garden. You will find no better flavor anywhere.

Now, since I can’t put my mom on Pinterest and most nights my cooking style can be described as “Winging it,” I’ve turned to Pinterest more than a few times for a last-minute recipe. But more helpful are the fresh herb flavor pairings, the infographic guide to smoothie making (because I hate breakfast foods), and Buzzfeed’s healthy eating tips (which were actually incredibly helpful).

 

So there you have it-the Pinterest life cheats that I’ve been using while I figure out how to do things properly.  What sorts of online guides have you guys used to learn new things? Please share them with me. Please?

Also, if you’re wondering what other things I’ve pinned (spoiler: it’s recipes, tattoos that I want, and country kitchens) check me out on Pinterest!

 

 

 

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Finding the Balance (and revealing my immaturity).

Since graduating from college two years ago I’ve been struggling to learn a new life-balance.  Of course, in the last two years my entire life has changed significantly, so it’s seemed like the moment I’ve captured some semblance of balance it’s been upset by something new and I’ve had to go through the process all over again.  And so, as my husband and I settle into married life and the new home and jobs that have become increasingly demanding over the last couple of months, we are still trying to find that “balance.”

This is something that is amazing to me, because we are two people. I cook, and he cleans up dinner (or vice versa). He feeds the cats, while I tend to all of the grooming, nail trimming, flea treatments, and pilling (because there is always something when you have three cats). I clean the house, and he does the laundry. We both track expenses (to varying degrees of success) and go to the farmers markets/grocery shopping. We make our own lunches. In essence, we are each doing half of the work that we would be doing if we lived alone. And yet, by the time 9pm rolls around, we’ve exhausted ourselves from the day and all we want to do is be on our computers and zone out. And ultimately, there isn’t much wrong with that, except we still need to meditate, study (we both have a heavy-duty reading list to work through for some individual projects that we’re working on), exercise, and get things in order for the next day. Not to mention I need to be writing, and if I’m not writing, I’m working on editing projects for a writing collective of which I am a member.  (<— This sentence was brought to you by Not Ending a Full Stop With a Preposition.)

So I guess my big frustration right now is figuring out how to do all of the Important Things (cooking, cleaning, exercising, meditating, studying, etc.) without essentially driving ourselves bonkers in the process.

Fellow grown-ups! How do you do this? Drop a comment below- I’d love to get some tips!

P.S. Sorry this post was not done on Thursday. The week caught up with me.

Favorite Things Roundup: Fall Edition

So on the East Coast the weather is FINALLY changing. Seriously- I don’t know if I’m bitter about no longer being able to truly enjoy Summer Vacations, or the fact that I actually see what air conditioning does to an electric bill- but whatever it is, I just don’t enjoy the summer months the way that I used to. Of course, I say that knowing full well that most summers I hid in my parent’s basement spending hours on the internet. But anyway! Fall is here! Kind of! And that means that it’s time to bring out all of those fabulous fall favorites that I yearn to use all summer long.

Supergoop CC Cream

photo from Supergoop website

photo from Supergoop website

Supergoop is a product that I had never heard of before I started my Birchbox subscription, but has quickly become a staple in my daily routine. During the summer, I used Supergoop’s SPF Sunscreen religiously. Now that I no longer have to worry about my makeup melting off of my face, I can change my morning product rotation a bit- and it definitely includes this CC cream. It has essentially replaced my previous BB cream/concealer/foundation regimen that left my face looking caked in awfulness. I just throw a bit of this cream on and blend it with a stipple application brush, throw on some powder foundation, blend, and I’m done! It totally helps me to pretend like I got up early enough to do my makeup instead of laying in bed cuddling with the cats for that extra forty fifteen minutes.

Granted, the awesomeness comes with a definite price- it’s expensive, but totally worth the splurge.

 

Aveeno Skin Relief Moisturizer 

Photo was grabbed from google images

Photo was grabbed from allure.com

 

The second that it starts to get cold, my skin begins to revolt. Seriously. Every year, by the time Thanksgiving rolls around, I have cracked and bleeding knuckles purely from exposure to the cold. It’s gross. I’ve tried every lotion-related option that the drugstore has to offer, and this is the only option that works. It was recommended to me by my sister-in-law last winter, and it’s an absolute dream. Plus, it’s not greasy at all- which is a HUGE perk since there’s nothing more disgusting than grease marks on the keyboard at work.

 

Essie: Smokin’ Hot

smokin_hot

Photo from sleekhair.com

Okay so my favorite thing about fall is getting to pull out the rich colors- particularly purple, which just doesn’t have the same impact in its lighter spring and summer hues. This color by Essie (which is the only brand of nailpolish that I can use that will last more than half a day.) is my current obsession. I top it with Essie’s “No Chips Ahead” top coat for a manicure that sticks around a few extra days.

 

Merona Satchel Handbag (with removable crossbody strap)

merona bag

Photo from Polyvore

Part of the pain-in-the-butt-ness of being a recent college grad with loans and car payments and all that fun stuff is being effectively broke. That’s why basically this entire list except for the Supergoop can be purchased at your friendly neighborhood Target (#I’lltradeyoushamelessplugsforcreditdebtforgiveness). But I go to a lot of meetings for work, so I need my handbags to hold a lot of my crap that I can’t leave the house without (yes, this includes a 3-inch tall Batman plushie and five lipsticks that are all red. STOP JUDGING ME.) My favorite bags are always the Merona lines that Target sells, because they look pretty rocking for the weekends but are work-appropriate. Plus, the awesome front clasp on this bag is a fantastic statement.

Rimmel London Lasting Finish Lipstick in Bordeaux

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This photo is of me, by me. #selfienation

Since I’ve already revealed my lazy-as-hell makeup routine, I may as well let you in on the secret to my “put together” look; I play up the lip drama. I own a dozen different shades of red, coral, and burgundy lipsticks that I pull out whenever I’m feeling particularly sassy or (admittedly) when I need to distract people from the fact that my eyebrows desperately need to be done. My favorite color, and the one that I’ve desperately wanted to use for weeks now, is Rimmel’s Bordeaux color.

 

So now that the season is turning, what are your go-to fall favorites? Anything I should try? Tell me in the comments!

Changes

Clearly, I’ve neglected my blogging responsibilities over the last few months. But I promise, I had some fairly good reasons.

For example, in July I did this:

Photo courtesy of Jessica Catts Photography

Photo courtesy of Jessica Catts Photography

And then a few weeks after my husband and I moved out of the attic flat and into our new home:

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And then immediately thereafter our very kind friend Megan took care of Nacho and Charlie so that Jim and I could go on our honeymoon!

Whiteface Mountain, Adirondacks, NY

Whiteface Mountain, Adirondacks, NY

And then the day after we got back, we added another furry addition to our family!

Sophie being groomed by Charlie, who desperately just wanted her to stop nibbling on him.

Sophie being groomed by Charlie, who desperately just wanted her to stop nibbling on him.

That said, I thank you all for bearing with me during my absence. I’m hoping to return to a Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday schedule this week!

A Kitten Adoption Story

Two hours ago, I was attempting to enjoy a milkshake that Jim made me while I watched Pushing Daisies. I say attempting, because while I was trying to indulge in Ned the Pie Maker’s life drama, there was a cat sitting on my chest, trying to paw at the contents of my glass. I tried to move him, to push him off, but his purrs of contentment as he nudged my spoon and licked my fingers made it hard to get too frustrated. While one cat was trying to acquire a milkshake, my other cat was curled up by my side, sleeping. The other cat still has a few lingering cuts on his neck, residual effects of a six-month long mystery that we’re only just getting to the bottom of. I’m not a parent yet, but these kitties are the closest things to kids that I’ve ever had (seriously, give twice weekly green tea compresses to one cat and do daily management on the weepy eye of the other and have them NOT feel like babies. I challenge you). So today I’m going to tell the story of how we acquired our kitties, mostly as a prequel to Thursday’s story, which delves into holistic cat care and vet services, which will be for more practical and much less “crazy cat lady.” I promise. Anyway, here goes;

Last September, my fiance and I adopted two striped orange tabby cats from the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society (PAWS). We went through a wonderful foster mom who was a great, loving home for our boys before we were able to take them in.

The kittens at the foster's house, 5 months old.

The kittens at the foster’s house, 5 months old, getting into mischief.

We decided to get a cat early on; I had grown up with cats, and knew that I would miss having one around. Additionally, at the time, I wasn’t working as much as I am now, and was worried about being lonely while the house was empty. The intention was for us to pick out one cat, preferably from a shelter, which was kid and dog friendly, and had either already been declawed by a previous owner (I don’t believe in declawing cats) or was able to have its nails clipped or filed. About a month after making our criteria, Jim’s sister sent us an email with pictures and descriptions of four five-month old cats that her friend was fostering.

Of the four, I immediately fell in love with a cat named Pirate, so named because of an eye condition that made his one eye “weepy.” Truth be told, I was worried that he wouldn’t be adopted out because of his eye and his age- lots of people want cute kittens that are little 8-to-10 week old fluffballs of perfect love, not 5 month old rambunctious kitties that are more interested in mischief with an eye condition to boot. The entire litter had had ringworm soon after they were born, and they spent their first 3 months going through icky treatments and tests, so by the time they were cleared for adoption, they were no longer seen as kittens in the eyes of most people.

Charlie at 5 months

Charlie (then Pirate) at 5 months

But when we were able to meet with the foster momma and see Pirate, we were told straight off that he had pretty significant separation anxiety, and that we’d have to adopt a second cat if we wanted to take him. Luckily, as we were being told this, another kitten named Nacho curled up in Jim’s lap and started playing with the hem of his shirt. Meanwhile, Pirate was chewing on my hair, perched in my arms. We were sold pretty quickly.

Nacho at 5 months

Nacho at 5 months

It was actually a very unique experience- Jim and I picked the kittens out in late July, but construction at the new place didn’t finish up until Mid-September. For the interim month and a half, we visited our kitties at the foster’s house every other week, bringing them treats and toys. When we were finally able to pick them up to bring home, they were almost seven months old. Pirate was re-named Charlie, Nacho kept his original name, and we spent the first night in our new home listening to the sounds of the new house curled up together.  Or, Jim and I were curled up together. The cats spent the evening running from one side of the flat clear to the other, endlessly, for the entire evening. I got about 3 hours of sleep that night, in 15 minute intervals, and at one point one of the cats jumped onto my face in the middle of the night and his foot landed in my mouth. Not an appreciated wake-up call.

As the months have worn on, Jim and I have become those crazy cat parents that the internet constantly makes fun of. We bought high-end food (which ended up still being poorly chosen, but more on that Thursday) and treats, have piles of boxes and toys for the kittens to play with (and chew. endlessly), and each cat gets vet-approved supplements and vitamins. At night Charlie curls up either on my chest or between my shins, and Nacho sleeps near Jim’s feet underneath the covers. They chase each other around the flat after breakfast every morning. They groom each other, and have torn our curtains to shredded bits. Charlie once found a way to open up the drawer where we keep our files and he chewed up his own medical records, and last week Nacho opened Jim’s dresser, jumped in a drawer, and got himself trapped inside while Jim and I searched the house for him in a panic for twenty minutes. They’re mischievous, needy as hell, and the most loving cats I’ve ever met. We definitely lucked out.

Nacho and Charlie at 11 months, Valentine's Day 2014.

Nacho and Charlie at 11 months, Valentine’s Day 2014.

Monkey Muffins (Banana Muffins)

Last week a pretty severe snowstorm locked down the roads and stores, leaving us without much to do besides stay in the warmth and wait out the weather. Typically on a weeknight I’m more concerned with getting ready for the next day than anything else, but on this particular occasion I was looking at a most definite snow day, so I decided to try making banana bread… with a little bit of a twist.

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The biggest twist being that I actually made muffins because I didn’t have the patience to wait for it to cook in loaf-form.

Ingredients

3 bananas (smashed)
1/3 cup melted butter
1 egg
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 tablespoon mini chocolate chips
1 tablespoon pecans

Set aside:
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon shredded coconut

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

Beat together banana, honey, and melted butter until mostly smooth. There will still be some banana lumps- try to leave as few of these as possible.

Add the 3/4 cup of sugar, the egg, and the vanilla. Sprinkle in the salt and baking soda. Blend.

Add the flour and blend thoroughly. Finally, add the mini chips and pecans, mixing them into the batter.

Scoop batter into muffin tins. Sprinkle sugar and shredded coconut on top.

Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the batter clean. Serves best when warm.

Recipe yields around 12 muffins. 

(I used this base recipe, and added different things from there). 

Perspective

I had been struggling with what to post today, because I’m working on a few projects that need finishing touches and there’s this recipe that I’m really excited about that needs some work on the “not coming out of the oven raw in the center” front. But it’s past ten pm now, and I should have put something up hours ago. In a desperate attempt to find something to blog about I started going through the pictures on my phone, trying to think of something to write about. It worked- but not in the way that I expected.

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I passed this photo on my phone just as the song “love, love, love” by The Mountain Goats started to play [listen here].  I was taken back immediately to the moment in the photo, what had been going through my mind and why Jim and I had decided to go down to the lake in near freezing weather. It was a quick moment of perspective and reflective appreciation for the moments of calm in life.

Ultimately, I don’t really have anything to post about today. All I have is the hopes that whatever you’re doing right now, you take a second to listen to a song that you love or find a photo that makes you happy and ruminate in it for a second or two. Take a deep breath, appreciate that life is good, smile, and get yourself ready for tomorrow.

Some nights it’s important to just remember the little things.