Saturday, February 16, 2013

(Almost) Spring Cleaning

by Katie Barry

I've decided to return to blogging by letting you bear witness to my shame.

While I wouldn't label myself a slob, I've been known to let certain areas of our house get a little out of hand. 

One of the worst examples of this type of housekeeping oversight has been, from the moment we bought this house, our linen closet.  

Dun, dun, dun.

This, our one go-to receptacle for all things related to the bathroom, had come to resemble a scary back aisle in a forgotten Eastern European drug store. In addition to every bottle, jar, canister, box, and bottle that entered our humble abode, we started just shoving in every sort of linen we've every owned (towels? sheets? cloth napkins? random aprons we received for Christmas? leftover curtains? no problem!). We had an extra iron; in it went. We changed around some knickknacks; the undesirables were thrown unceremoniously in the closet. Toolbox/curtain rods/level/random extra screws and nails? Sure! Hall closet seemed an appropriate landing ground. Every time I opened the door, I winced--but never did anything about the impending disaster. Just kept shoving stuff in and ignoring the problem. Until it looked like this:

Witness our shame.


I'm not proud to be showing you this. I'm horrified at what we had 'accomplished'. And one day, I finally had enough. It was time to do something about our dirty little secret. We needed organization, and we needed it STAT.

But here's the thing you might not know about me. I'm cheap. Cheap as hell. And when I started shopping around at fancy places like Target and the local grocery store for bins and baskets and all those other fancy things fancy people use to organize their crap, I realized that it's kind of expensive to make things look nice. Was I going to spend $8.99 per little wicker basket thing, times like ten? To organize a closet that only we see? No, ma'am, I was not. I'm just not that kind of girl. So I thought about how to solve my problem of being incredibly cheap AND incredibly disorganized, and I realized there could be only one solution.

The Dollar Store.

Heck yes, that true-blue destination for the limited-of-funds. That haven of cheap plastic and poorly painted figurines. That mecca of fake flowers and generic holiday candy. They might have just the answer for my two-pronged dilemma!

And sure enough, they did. They had all kinds of baskets and "Rubbermaid" containers, and all for the delectable price of a buck a piece! So I went nuts, spending about $10 and coming home with my treasures. Here is what I managed to accomplish on my ten dollar budget:

An improvement, no?

It might not be the most Martha Stewart-y of closet spaces, but it also didn't cost $200 to straighten up. The little white bins do their job beautifully, and they didn't break the bank. I couldn't be happier with my cheapie results.

You'll be happy to know that I ditched the items that didn't belong here (which took some interesting organizing elsewhere, but that's beside the point.) The closet is now dedicated solely to the things that make sense: toiletries, meds, towels, sheets, and washcloths. Everything has a place, and everything is in its place. Now every time I open the closet door, I smile--and reach for exactly what I need. The miracles of organization!

No (almost) spring cleaning story would be complete without the rejuvenating affects of indoor flowers--a little February pick-me-up we both needed up here in Wisconsin. My lovely partner picked up some $3 daffodils from Trader Joe's and found ways to sneak them all around the house. Now everywhere we turn, we see their little hopeful blooms. Makes a huge difference in every room! I highly recommend.

Friday, November 30, 2012

A trip to visit a friend...

by Crystal

Remember when I said I was going to visit Katie? It already feels like so long ago. But it was so much fun and just what I needed! We spent our time doing crafts, drinking wine, eating delicious food, and watching episodes of Parks and Recreation. Perfect weekend, right? Right. Now that we've got that settled...

Can we talk about this oxblood craze for a second, please? The name just seems so...gruesome? I'd much prefer to be wearing a color called burgundy, plum, sangria, wine, or even maroon, than a color named after the blood of an ox. Has anyone else thought about this? Just me?

Added bonus for the weekend - Mom stopped by for a visit!

Outfit details:
Cardigan: Gap
Cords: Gap
Boots: Target

Thursday, November 15, 2012

(almost) Friday favorites!

by Crystal

Last night we watched one of my all-time favorite holiday movies:

E was afraid it might be a little early to start watching holiday movies. But for me, it's never too early! We still have a few more we need to get through before December 25th. And then obviously we'll need to watch A Christmas Story two or three times that day.

That got me thinking about a few more of my favorites, so here goes:

Favorite colder weather song:

(I mean, come on. How can you not love John Legend??)

Favorite new iPhone app: PicFX.
 This has some of the best editing capabilities I've seen for the iPhone! If you can spare a few bucks, I highly recommend it!

Favorite new blog I'm following: The long and short of it
Maybe it's because she lives fairly close to me, and I think we should be friends, but I'm really loving this blog! 

I'm heading to Madison, WI tomorrow to visit our lovely Katie! We are looking forward to some fun times walking dogs, drinking wine, eating cheese, and doing some much need thrifting. I'm so excited! (And I just can't hide it.)

Happy early weekend y'all!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Tights weather.

by Crystal

Temperatures are really starting to drop over here. I look at it as a reason to incorporate tights into more outfits!

We visited a local mill and winery last weekend while dad was still in town. I don't know what it is about going to wineries that I feel like I need to wear a dress, but I've definitely made up that rule in my head. And I'm one to follow the rules.

Outfit details:
Jacket: Target
Scarf: Target (old)
Dress: Forever 21 (old)
Boots: Sole Society

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election day!

by Crystal

Watching the news about how long some citizens were waiting in line to vote makes me grateful I moved to a small town. Within 20 minutes (including the four block drive to the voting site), I had done my civic duty and cast my ballot. I hope everyone was able to make it to the polls! If not, you still have about 50 minutes! They said as long as you're standing in line by 7 p.m., you'll be allowed to vote - even if you don't actually get to do it until a few hours later. If you're one of these people, I suggest bringing some hot cocoa/tea/coffee/cider to help keep you warm.

We'll be up way too late tonight to find out who will be our POTUS for the next four years. I've done what I, we wait.

We took these photos right after I walked in the door from running errands. I wasn't going to photograph this outfit, but I got complimented on both my jacket AND my scarf. So obviously they needed to be shared on the internet. And yes, I'm wearing blue for a reason today!

Scarf: Pieces Boutique - adorable local shop!
Jacket: Gap (2011) - similar
Sweater: Gap
Jeans: Gap
Boots: Target

Monday, November 5, 2012

A day off.

by Crystal

My dad came to visit this weekend! He's only our second guest we've had, and first family member to experience this new place we call home. I took off on Friday, and we had the chance to visit a local dairy that delivers milk, ice cream, butter (all the essentials) to grocery stores and shops in this area. It was wonderful!

It was a beautiful day, my dad was in town, and I'm stuffed full of peanut butter chocolate chip ice cream - so I was especially happy! Special thanks to him for snapping these photos!

...and a few more from the day.

Outfit details:
Sweater: Target (2011)
Cords: Gap
Boots: Sole Society

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The nature walk that turned into a hike.

by Crystal

How was everyone's Halloween?? Ours was pretty uneventful. We don't really get any trick or treaters in our apt. building, so instead, we cuddled up and watched a Halloween movie. Little Shop of Horrors counts, right? Neither of us are much for scary movies. E did dress up for work, though. He did a mash up of a wizard and a football player. He was a FANTASY FOOTBALL player. Get it? He's a creative one, that guy.

Anyway, I wanted to share a little something my friends and I discuss quite a bit. The difference between nature walks/nature trails, and hikes. Basically, here it is:
  • Nature Walks/Nature Trails: Light amount of effort, mostly flat terrain - for those who want to take a trail walk outdoors and be one with nature. Wear what you want for this one
  • Hike: Medium to lots of effort, moderate to steep inclines, with a destination to get to a certain point (mostly the top of a mountain/hill). Wear loose fitting/comfy clothing and sturdy shoes
While visiting the family-in-law this weekend, we decided to grab some fresh air and head outside to nearby state park called Stone Mountain. I thought we were just going to walk on a trail or two, enjoy the brisk weather and some conversation, but instead we ended up walking up a mountain literally made of stone.

Now, I'm normally a person who loves a good hike, but this time I was completely unprepared (attire-wise, of course). We went about halfway up, starting getting a little sweaty, and turned around to walk back. That's just how we roll.

My outfit may have stopped me from hiking, but it obviously didn't keep me from dancing.

Top: H&M
Boyfriend jeans: Gap
Shoes: Sperry Top-Siders
Sunnies: Target