Pinterest Food Challenge!

Why yes, I did design a logo for a challenge I may be participating in solo.

I seriously have about one million recipes pinned on my Pinterest account, and really what’s the point of pinning all these things if I’m never going to do anything about it. Since I started pinning I have only posted about this one recipe, made these and failed to document it,  and followed one tip so I’ve decided that at least once a month I’m going to cook something from my “Om Nom Nom” board and move it on over to the “Things I’ve Made” board.

I decided to start this challenge off with possibly the most unhealthy, delicious thing I had on there: Cinnamon Bun Waffles. Awww yeah. Go big or go home. Also, I recommend eating these things only once in your life because any more then that and you’re just begging for a heart attack.

Notice how I picked something that doesn’t even have a recipe? Yeah, I’m off to am amazing start here:

You need a waffle maker (or in my case, a George Foreman grill with waffle plates), cinnamon rolls, and non-stick spray. You also need a ferocious appetite because these things sit like a rock.

Spray the iron then place two rolls at a time on the iron, had I bought smaller ones I could have placed 4. It took under 5 minutes for these to cook, so keep a close eye and leave the iron on a medium setting.

Spread the icing and eat as much as you can before your arteries close!

Matt only made it through one and a half of these babies, I clearly finished both of mine and the half he did not eat. We both agreed that they taste AH-MAZ-ING. So give it a try if you don’t care about carbs.

Want to join in on the challenge? Just comment on the post with what you’ve cooked!

What I Wore Wednesday VI

It’s Wednesday! And you know what that means… it’s raining. It’s a curse. But besides that, it’s finally warm enough for summer clothes!

Now that all the students are gone it’s pretty slow around here, lots of time for revisions and catch up work. Today I decided to wear a blue button down, brown dress capris, and blue shoes.  Nothing too fancy, but still work appropriate. I haven’t worn these capris since last summer and whew they still fit, but seriously I really need to get my exercise on. As for the shirt, I don’t wear it a ton because it wrinkles super easy and animal hair sticks to it like crazy- but for a slow day sitting at my desk it should be fine.

What you can’t see too well in the picture is a pearl necklace, a slim gold bangle, and a gold pinky ring. If nothing else, WIWW is encouraging me to actually wear some of the jewelry that’s been hiding in my room for years. I have a hard time wearing nice jewelry, the Revere girl in me really just wants to wear plastic hoops and fake diamonds every day and unfortunately that’s just a weekend look now. ::le sigh::

But let me not forget to mention the real superstars here: Jergens lotion and Blister Block. I’m so pale that my tan is basically everyone else’s natural color, so there’s no way you’re getting me in shorts, skirts, or capris unless I’ve had at least a week’s work of time with Jergens natural glow. It’s the only thing that doesn’t turn me orange and doesn’t look completely unnatural.

Further, most of my open toe non-wedge heels are very pinchy. So Blister Block is amazing, it’s like this teeny tiny deodorant looking stick that goes on like an invisible wax wherever you might get shoe bites and it just runs house all day long. I think I picked it up in the band aid aisle- I’ve had this same tiny stick for a couple years now, so it’s worth the $8 or $9 that you spend.

 

 

As for where everything came from:

  • Shirt: Charlotte Russe (within the past 3 years)
  • Capris: Kohl’s (within the past 3 years)
  • Shoes: Payless (within the past 3 years)
  • Necklace, bracelet, ring: all gifts!

So what are you wearing today? Let me know in the comments or join me in linking up to The Pleated Poppy!

Curb Appeal Part 2!

Things are really starting to come together outside, and even though it’ll take a few years for everything to grow in as it should and get settled it’s nice to see the light at the end of it all.

Yesterday morning I finished working on flower bed numero uno:

I added impatients here and there around the bed then mulched the whole thing over. It took two bags of mulch, and could probably use half of another bag- way more then I expected. Hopefully things will fill out and grow nicely over the next few months!

 

From the front steps it still looks so tiny, but with the lawn mowed and the bed replacing so many weeds and patchy spots it still looks really nice.

 

This morning I got up and out by 7am to put in flower bed numero dos, which doesn’t have nearly as flashy a finish:

My coworker gave me some shasta daisy plants from her yard, which are supposed to grow and spread. Along the base of the stairs I also planted gladiola bulbs, so hopefully they’ll come up nice and tall and hide the ugly cement. I haven’t mulched it over yet because I think I should wait until the gladiolas spring up.

 

It all looks a little puny now, but in 2-3 weeks it should be much more full. On the steps I have more impatients (gifted from my mom), basil and parsley (which I started from seed in the house a month ago), and a rose plant that I’m trying to nurse back to life (also from my mom). The short round pot is empty right now, but I’ve got oregano sprouting up from seed inside and once it’s big enough it’ll be added in there. One day I’d like to create a walkway from the front steps to the driveway, but that’s a year two or three project for sure.

 

Our front yard is pretty huge, so the addition of the two beds didn’t take up much space at all. And in addition to this part of the front yard, we also have land in front of the retaining wall that we haven’t even touched yet.

 

This summer is all about adding order and color, next summer we’ll work on grass seed and weeds.

 

 

Between the two flower beds I had 6 or 7 full barrels of dirt and dug up grass, and nothing goes to waste in this house! When we got the inspection done the inspector said that we needed to build the lawn up to be level with the retaining wall so that in the winter as snow and ice melts it’ll flow over the wall instead of trying to push through it (which causes damage and wear).

Each bucket full was dumped out and spread at the front of the yard. We still need a lot more building up, and  I fully expect it to be a dirt-weed disaster zone, but we’ll deal with that all next summer when we seed.

 

 

 

As for what’s left, well, plenty! The side yard is very rocky and mossy because we’re on a hill, and there’s a flower bed built in there that I’m just going to let overgrow this year to see what pops up. I’ll weed and clear it as needed, but otherwise I’m just curious to see what the previous owners had planted in there:

 

Underneath the sun room bay window (also part of the side yard) is another flower bed I’m sitting back on:

I planted some zinnias that I got from the greenhouse where I work and I cleared out a lot of weeds, but that’s all I was looking to get done right away. I think I may move the filler green spider plants on the right side of the bed to where the mailbox is at the end of the property but I want to see how the hostas I moved down there do first.

 

 

What have you been up to this memorial day weekend? Any yard work? Relaxing? BBQ’s?

Hope you have a great day! Yay America!

Curb Appeal Part 1 of ?

Let me start this post off by saying I have no idea what I’m doing here. I am making it up as I go along, and hoping it looks ok in the end… I have literally never even mowed a lawn.

Ok, disclaimer over. We are in the process of making our property look somewhat acceptable from the outside and man is it a lot of work! Current plans include:

  • Creating 2 flower beds on the front lawn (started today!)
  • Cleaning out the 3 existing flower beds (ongoing)
  • Building up the front lawn so it meets the retaining wall (started today!)
  • Setting the backyard on fire and starting from scratch…. I wish.

This morning, because we’re insane, we were up at 5:30 and working by 7am. My goal for the day was to tackle the first agenda item and I’m proud to announce it is 50% complete and we made some additional progress outside as well!

I hope you’re ready for a picture party….

Before: This is the front lawn view from the middle of the lawn facing right. The grass is patchy, uneven, covered in weeds, and just not at all pretty.

Before: This is the front of the lawn facing to the right. Our ugly cement front stairs that we have literally never ever used and more patchy weedy grass.

Middle: We decided to add a flower bed to the corner where you drive up to the side by side parking. I used rocks as a guideline for the shape and size of the bed, and a pitchfork and shovel to get it all up. I pitchforked solo for the first hour while Matt wrapped up some painting in the half bath, then he came out to take over that job while I cleared out additional weeds and rocks.

Middle: Here she is gutted and ready for flowers! Look at my man, hard at work! Ow Ow! We have a rose bush that was a housewarming gift from Matt’s aunt and uncle and pansies that were a gift from Matt’s brother. The rocks we’re bordering the bed with have been dug up from all over the property. The wheel barrel and pitchfork were left behind by the previous owners. The mulch is the only thing I actually bought for this whole project, four bags totaling $20.

We planted the rose plant in the center and the pansies all along the border. We have absolutely no idea how big the roses will get- tall or wide- so this bed is most likely going to look pretty empty this year while we watch it grow and we’ll fill in more flowers next year when we’ve got a better idea.

Almost done: Isn’t it looking so much nicer? We decided we do want to pick up a few more pansies because it is just a little too bare, and then we’ll mulch it over by the end of the weekend.

Start to finish this took almost three hours, mainly because we relocated the dirt as we went (more on that in a future post) and because there were so many roots we had to dig up. And yes, we do plan to mow the lawn but we’re putting in another flower bed tomorrow (in front of the cement stairs) so we’re going to wait until that’s done.

BUT THAT’S NOT ALL! We were really movin’ and groovin’ so while we were at it we decided to relocate some shrubbery and clean out the shed. I don’t have before pictures because we just got right to work, but here’s how things shaped up:

Our house is up up up on a hill, so this is more front yard property. It’s a complete disaster down here and we need to get a weed whacker STAT because it’s too uneven and rocky to mow.

I moved those three little green shrubs from in front of the shed to in front of this flower bed. They weren’t making sense where they were because they were buried in grass and not in an area that anyone really sees. It’s my first attempt at transplanting so pray with me that I didn’t kill them. In the flower bed are what my Nonna refers to as “hens and chicks,” she gave them to me a few weekends ago and I haven’t kill them yet so HURRAH! Hopefully they’ll continue to spread out through the entire space.

While I was transplanting and digging, Matt completely emptied out the shed and rearranged it into sensible order. The previous owner left behind quite a bit of supplies, and we have some of our own stuff as well.

Our shed is huge, but here’s just one angle for you to see: on the top shelf are our metal folding chairs, below that are our patio set cushions, and then all sorts of yard supplies on the floor. The shelves are lined with cardboard boxes to act as a buffer. Good work Matt!

All that done before noon! This afternoon we’re headed out for a winery tour and tasting because frankly we’ve worked hard enough for one day, but tomorrow hopefully I’ll be back with flower bed number 2!

What are you up to this weekend? Any tips for me?!

High 5 for Friday!

What a crazy busy week it’s been! I haven’t had much time for projects because of parties and houseguests, so I thought today I’d link up with From My Grey Desk to give a run down of the top 5 things that went down this week (in no particular order):

1. After 12 long years Matt finally walked at college graduation! Over the years he’s been in school, out of school working full time, and back in school with a new major and he’s finally approaching the finish line. In the fall he has to do a semester of student teaching and he’ll be officially 100% done with his Bachelor’s degree! Woot woo!

Matt and I met my senior year of college (2006), which was one of his in between years. He re-enrolled in college in 2009, when we started dating, and has been working full time while going to school full time ever since. This is a huge accomplishment for him and I couldn’t be more proud!

 

2. To celebrate Matt’s graduation, we had a huge backyard party where our families met for the first time! I’ve been sweating it for months, but it came together really well and everything was awesome. The yard looked as good as it could possibly look, we had about 40 people over from both sides of our family, and we had so much leftover food that I haven’t had to cook all week! HOLLER.

Matt’s impression of how I’ve been all week, and me finally relaxing!

 

I was worried about having so many people over that had never seen the house, worried the yard wouldn’t look good to anyone but me (because not everyone saw what it started off looking like), worried we wouldn’t have enough food, worried we wouldn’t have enough drink, and most of all worried that our families would not get along. All of my worry was absolutely unnecessary because it was a great day and a great way to kick off our summer!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. The day after Matt’s graduation, I participated in a 5k with my brother, cousin, and dog. My cousin Tish lives at New England Pediatric and for the third year in a row we got involved with the “Cool Kids Fun Run” to raise money for the facility.

We surpassed our fundraising goal, had beautiful weather, and got some great excercise! It was an overall awesome day and I look forward to doing it each year.

 

4. I decided to indulge a bit and spend an stupidamount of money on something not house or bill related! Because I felt like it! Sometimes you just need to throw the budget out the window and do what you want.  I get so locked in to making sure the house is coming along, the bills are all paid up, the fridge has food in it- yes these are all things that need to be done, but what about things that I want . I think as long as I don’t get too crazy it’s fine to deviate sometimes!

Whenever it’s nice out Dutch (my dog) & I like to go walking on the trails near my house. I absolutely hate having to wear my keys on a chain around my neck, lock my wallet in the car, carry a water bottle and a leash… blech. So I spent $30 and bought this Contigo Kangaroo Water Bottle. It has a caribiner on the top so I can attach it to the leash, it’s spill proof, and it’s got a pocket for my id and car key. It’s just one of those little everyday annoyances that is now gone! I wish it came in another color, but fuscia will have to do.

It’s scheduled to arrive tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

 

and finally…. drum roll please……

5! I came home from work yesterday to find that Matt had torn apart the half bathroom so we can redo it! Did you even know we had a half bath? Probably not, because it’s gross and I’ve never posted about it before. Hopefully on  Monday I’ll have some slammin’ pictures for you, but right now it’s a bit of a hot mess so I’ll keep it in the dark. :)

What was awesome for you this week? Anything worth noting? Leave it in the comments!

What I Wore Wednesday V

It’s Wednesday again and guess what- it’s still raining. I think WIWW has seriously cursed the weather around here. Anyway, I tried to insert a little cheery color into my outfit today to help brighten things up… but that’s not really my thing so once again I’m mostly draped in dark colors.

We’ve got an office retreat today from 8:00am-1:00pm, and by “retreat’ I mean we’ll be sitting in the basement of the library today and hopefully we’ll all make it out alive. But for that reason, I wasn’t super worried about being fancy and decided to be a little more fun.

Point of note: so many of my clothes and shoes right now have some sort of ruffle on them. It’s nearly impossible to buy clothes without ruffles right now.

My pants look a little stretched and pulled, but that’s just because they’re straight out of the dryer. By the time I got to work today they were back to they’re usual self, haha!

What you can’t see in the picture above is that my pants have the slightest pin stripe going on. I have hemmed them up 5inches even though I bought the petite size! Let me just say that I absolutely hate how “petite” and “ankle” and “short” labels still assume that you’re over five feet tall. Well I am not! I’m five feet on the nose and because of that everything needs heels or a hem. Ugh.

My shoes have the slightest snake skin pattern on them, I’ve had them for years and they’re one of my go to summer shoes because the heel is only about two inches and the front is wide enough for my big fat feet.

Here’s the run down on where it all came from:

  • Cropped yellow top: 5*7*9 (over 3 years ago)
  • Shirt: Ann Taylor loft (within the past year)
  • Pants: New York & Company (within the past 3 years)
  • Shoes: Payless (within the past 3 years)
  • Bracelet: I honestly do not remember, probably Forever 21 though.

So my friends, what are you wearing today? Leave it in the comments or hook up with me on The Pleated Poppy. Dutch is just dying to know….

Yard Improvement

You may have noticed that over the past few weeks things have been full steam ahead here at the house. Well that’s because we were getting ready for Matt’s huge graduation party- not only did he earn his degree, but our families all came to our house to meet for the first time!

It was a gorgeous day for a party, and it was so awesome to finally sit back and enjoy our home instead of spending a day fixing this and tweaking that. A few days ago I posted a video of what our yard looked like “before,” and even though we’ve got a ways to go things are definitely looking up:

The turf is cleaned up, the cement swept, and the weeds weeded! Matt actually had to take a pitchfork to most of the yard to get the weeds up, they were seriously rooted in and overpowering everything else. Once it was all up I sprayed 2 coatings of weed killer (over a period of 2 days)- I got one that was safe for dogs and kids, and it worked pretty well but not perfectly.

And here it is from the opposite side: grass is mowed, fire pit is rocking, patio table built, tiki lights ready for a par-tay! You can see on the lefthand side that unfortunately there was no way we could get up all the sand from outside the box, but we did our best.

We got our patio furniture set from Walmart- it’s a seven piece set that came with 6 chairs, the table, chair cushions, and 2 accent pillows. The umbrella and the umbrella stand came from Big Lots. It was actually super easy to put together. The chairs took about 15 minutes each and I put them all together myself, the table about 10 and we needed to people just because of the weight of it.

Eventually we really want to patio this section of the yard, but for now at least it was a hot day so the dirt wasn’t muddy. I am actually planning to take a patio building course in June! It’s two nights, a few hours each night, and it’s only $30 for me at the college I work for!

The fire pit is my absolute favorite addition because it was F-R-DOUBLE E FREE. The cinderblocks were stacked up against the side of the house, left by the previous owners, and we put sand in the holes once the pit was arranged as well as sand on the ground inside it. The sand came from the sandbox on the side of the house. It was supposed to be a temporary fix until we could buy a real one, but honestly I think we’re going to keep it.

So how was your weekend? Did you putter around the yard or sit back and grill? I hope it was as sunny and lovely as ours!

As final as it gets

The gallery wall is “done.” As done as it can be! About a week ago one of the black frames from the lower section fell off and broke :(  When it did though, it sort of made a new shape to the gallery and I decided to go with it.

Now, the wall sort of starts on the bottom left and works it way up to the top right and I think the curve of it makes this hodgepodge of a wall look a little more orderly and on purpose.

I added another circle shape to the top right and lowered the “F” on the bottom left to even things out and create the diagonal line a little. Luckily, some of the lighter weight frames are just attached to the wall with velcro so moving things around is easy and doesn’t expose any nail holes. The pictures on the wall aren’t final because a few of them just have scrapbook paper in them, but I’m all done buying frames:

I also like how now all the black frames are straight lined and plain and just the white ones have the embellishments, so it’s not TOO over the top. Three of the black frames are wooden dollar store frames repainted, which really helped to keep this inexpensive.

What do you think? Is a gallery wall for you? What have you been up to around the house lately?

What I Wore Wednesday IV

Welcome back for the fourth edition of WIWW! It’s still raining and dreary out, but it’s finally not freezing so I’ve been in sort sleeves all week. It’s a pretty exciting time around the office right now, I work at a community college and graduation is tomorrow night. The program I work in has lots of graduates moving on so we’ve had award ceremonies, lunches, professional development, etc. Today is the first day I have nothing on my schedule but regular day to day tasks!

We normally keep it pretty business casual around here, but especially so now that the students are gone. Surprise, surprise- I’ve got more navy, elastic waist, comfortable clothes on today.

 

 

 

I really am all about being outwardly professional and inwardly super comfortable all day long.

My top has a boat neck and a peacock feather pattern, and the sleeves are that extra wide drop style so I’m cardigan free this week. My pants have got to be at least 5 years old and in ironing them this morning I noticed how badly I need new brown dress pants- but man are they hard to find! I don’t want cream, I don’t want beige, I don’t want stripes- I just want plain old brown pants. Also, I only want them if they’re from the Gap because their petite length pants are the only pants I can find that I don’t have to hem shorter. I’ll be keeping my eyes out for a sale!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition to my simple little outfit, I picked out some really cute accessories. I have to admit, I’ve been wearing the same earrings everyday for months now so I really needed to switch it up.

 

I’ve been using this purse all week- it’s work appropriate beige, but Stephanie appropriate metallic :). Then I’ve got a gold watch bracelet and some dangling pearl earrings.

 

 

 

Here’s the run down on where it’s all from:

  • Satin shirt: honestly, I have no idea. Sorry!
  • Brown pants: Kohl’s, about 5 years ago
  • Shoes: Walmart, about 5 years ago (you’d never know!)
  • Purse: TJ Maxx, Ecko Red brand, within the past 2 years
  • Bracelet: Modcloth.com, within the past 2 years
  • Earrings: Etsy.com, within the past 2 years

 

So tell me- what are YOU wearing today? Tell me in the comments, or join me in linking up the The Pleated Poppy!