Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August was Awesome


*shuffles through calendar*

Wait a second. There's no way this is the last day of August.

It's only been, like, 2 weeks since I wrote this post, right?

Is the rest of my life going to continue to accelerate at such a burgeoning pace?!

August actually ended up being a pretty stellar month. Lots of things happened I couldn't have even anticipated when I wrote that post on August 1. Without further ado, here's a recap of my Make August Awesome goals:

1. Have something to look forward to.

In the original post, I said I was looking forward to school starting. Turns out, I was just looking forward to eliminating the fear of the unknown. It's a long story (don't you love it when people say that? I just mean that you get to see a long, rambling post on this subject alone soon) but I opted out of the Midwifery program at the last possible moment and am in the process of setting everything up to start a different program IN PERSON this October. And I actually AM excited to sit in a classroom and take my first class!

2. Create a goal for the month.

Mine was to go to yoga 3x/week. It actually ended up just being 2x/week most weeks with an additional workout or two thrown in at home. I LOVE yoga and I'm really enjoying getting into this practice with my 20-class pass. I can tell I'm improving, especially after my physical therapy session last week (more on that later, too).

I have been lusting after a gym membership for Body Pump classes, but yesterday I found the Tone it Up blog and YouTube channel and I'm in love. These will definitely kick my booty a few days a week until I am able to join a gym!

3. Plan a dinner party or fun event.

This flat-out didn't happen. We're trying to find another couple to go to First Friday with us this weekend, but that's not exactly August anymore. But, unexpectedly, we now have a nice grown-up apartment to host in!

4. Go through your summer clothes and decide what you didn't wear this year and need to get rid of. 

DONE! I went through the closet AND the pantry and cleared stuff out. Moral of the story: just because you can fit into something from American Eagle circa 2002 doesn't mean you should wear it in public 9 years later. I also sorted through the mass of papers that was threatening to overtake every open surface in the apartment. 

5. Go for a swim!

I really miss the lap swimming I was able to do earlier this summer, but another pass wasn't in the financial cards. However, last week I finally managed to go sit by the pool at our apartment. I wanted to go again today, but apparently all the pools in town are closed due to a cryptosporidium outbreak. Sad! Oh well, at least I have the memory of last week to last me through the cold winter... Okay new subject!

6. Pick up a new cookbook to try this month.

I've made 2 delicious recipes from Peas and Thank You and I hope to make more soon! I also mentioned in the original post that I just wanted to go to the grocery store twice this month. That didn't happen. BUT I am going on a week and a half since going to the grocery store. And so far I've been able to go to the farmer's market weekly, which has been great.

Overly dramatized, of course.
And speaking of farmer's markets, Ross tried eggplant and didn't hate it!

7. Sign up for a fitness event with a friend.

I haven't done this. I literally just started running again on Monday and slow and easy is the name of the game. I'm running 5 minutes at a time, so it's probably undue pressure and expense to sign up for a race right now. But I do still have the Disney Princess Half pipe dream.

8. Plan a vacation with your significant other.

I forgot about this one. I think I need to bring it up tonight!

9. Go out for girls night.

I got to hang out with some wonderful high school/lifelong friends a few weekends ago in Omaha. It was so good for the soul! The most fun I've had in a long time. Erin and I walked around Dundee for hours just talking and losing track of time. The evening air was perfect. And then I met up with Tina for a drink and lots of wedding talk (less then 2 months until her wedding!)

How is this Moscow Mule my only picture from that night?!
I do still need to hang out with Rachel and Johanna from work (seriously ladies, why do we all seem to work opposite days of the week?!) And plan a happy hour with Brie and Chandra- lunch at Lulu's last week was fun so hopefully we can start hanging out more!

10. Eat a local, ripe peach!

Done. And I wish I had more now. I bought a bag on the way back from Omaha a few weeks ago and sliced and froze most of them for future smoothie and baking use.

11. 13-Week Dave Ramsey course.

Ummm no. We don't have the time right now. But I do still want to do one within the next 12 months!

August highlights:

-Getting the all-clear to start running again for 5 minutes every few days.

-Harvesting grapes at my dad's vineyard for the first time.

-Redoing the apartment. We got a new couch and it all kind of cascaded from there. But it feels much happier and more permanent now. Fitting, since we just renewed our lease for another 18 months!

-Changing my life goals. (No big deal, right?) I had a long list of reasons why I was uneasy with my decision to start Midwifery school and I feel 1,000 times better about my decision to pursue nursing education instead.

-Lots and lots of farmer's market delicious. I love vegetables!

-Ross and I started a small group and we love it. Hopefully some good friendships come out of it.

-Speaking of friends, our friends Chris and Amanda moved up here with their sweet baby this month. Clearly KC is the cool place to be!

What was the highlight of your August?

Extreme Makeover: Apartment Edition

Thanks for all the kind comments on the apartment decor! Now we just have to keep it clean on a weekly basis.

This is my view of cleaning (courtesy of Natalie Dee):

This is Ross' view of cleaning:

Wish us luck!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Extrememe Makeover: Apartment Edition

{The Pantry}

Seriously, this is all the pantry space we have. There are 4 cabinets in the kitchen that hold dishes, glasses, and baking pans and we're left with these 5 shelves for food (and believe me, I know we're blessed to be able to fill them). But it is annoying that they're so deep; it's really not practical to fill them all the way to the back wall.

This wasn't a huge thing, but something had to be done. I cleaned and organized this about 8 months ago, but it got cluttered again. This time Ross put a shelf up above the washer to help make things more visible. It was cluttered enough that I was knocking stuff over any time I reached beyond the first row of food.

After 1
After 2
We feel so much better every time we walk into the pantry/laundry room now. And we can grab Ziploc bags and baking stuff without digging around and knocking things over. Hooray!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Extrememe Makeover: Apartment Edition

{The Office}

Our office actually wasn't too bad until recently. There was a long shelf along this wall, to the left when you walk in. But it fell down earlier this summer.

And Ross had built himself a nice computer desk last fall, but I hijacked it with my statistics homework. The desk is on the right when you walk in, and there's a window at the back that looks onto the balcony.

If we ever hoped to have a clear dining room table, we were going to have to redo the office. Ross made an awesome desk with drawer last fall (this picture doesn't do it justice), but he volunteered to get rid of it and make one big desk for us to share. (I felt really bad because his first frame was so nice, but he did this all over the weekend while I was at work). And again, just like the living room we Ross flipped the office around.

New desk on the left. With a purple wall behind it! I did help pick the color, but Ross also did this while I was at work and tried to surprise me with it when I got home. I loved the desk, but it was so dark I totally didn't notice the color until hours later. Oops!

Guess whose side is who's? Haha!

I spy a cute bebe. And my inspiration board!
Chair on the right.

We really love this chair. It was our first piece of 'adult' furniture from a Nebraska Furniture Mart post-Thanksgiving sale last year. It was our Christmas present to each other. Now I wish we'd bought two of them, even though there's no room for a second one! We bought the pillows during Crate & Barrel's winter sale online and for months afterward, just walking by this 'big kid' chair made me smile. When it was by the wall bookshelf, it was the perfect place to curl up with a book and a hot drink. Now that it's by the window, I'll love sitting there in the sunshine this winter.

Finally, in lieu of the homemade bookshelf that fell apart, we finally hung up the Design Within Reach bookshelves I got for Ross for our first married Christmas in Texas. Ross has such a good eye for spacing them!

So that's our happy, sunny office. It's also warmer in the winter, which hopefully means I'll have an added incentive to do my homework!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Extreme Makeover: Apartment Edition

{The Living Room}

I don't pretend to I have an ounce of design sense in my body. I can tell you if I do like something or don't like something, but I'm not great at creating a cohesive 'look.' I think I exhausted all creative decorating juices when I re-designed my bedroom in high school. (Amazing buttery yellow walls with a beachy theme due to my obsession with the Florida Keys and blue and aqua walls with an ocean theme in the bathroom. Loved it.) Thankfully, Ross has more than enough design sense for the two of us! Although since living with him, I find myself complaining about things like the "poor design" of feeding pumps at work, so maybe he's rubbing off. Sometimes simple is better. And I know Ross will be happy to hear me say that!

This month we finally got around to de-Ikea-fying our living room. I do love Ikea, but Ross and I are both over the age of 25 and our apartment still looked like a student rental. (Granted, we are actually both students again. But graduate students with full-time jobs. And that's beside the point.) Plus, the red couch was fading to an ugly dull orange and sagging in the middle. And the seat pillows had developed holes in the front, so the zipper side was always exposed instead.

The opposite wall held the entertainment center, but I didn't get a picture of the placement before Ross moved it. Here's the big, black, credenza that held our TV.

First of all, we (and by 'we' I mean Ross) thought the layout would be better flipped. It was kind of weird having the couch right by the door so we moved it to the opposite wall by the patio door and put the TV stand on the wall by the front door.

We also wanted to get rid of the red and black theme we'd ended up with so we found a nice brown couch for a reasonable price at Crate & Barrel. We also fell in love with some geometric prints and the white pillow there. The pink flower pillow is from Target this month and the blue blanket is from Target... ummm... my freshman year of college.

Then Ross got crafty and made a 'coffee table' out of reconstructed wood. He was so excited to go to drive out to the woodlot and pick out some pieces.

I'm told it's mid-century modern to go with the couch.

The fun orange elephant is a piggy bank from Urban Outfitters this winter that I fell in love with. Ross has grown to love the whimsy as well!

Then Ross decided to build a credenza to put on the wall where the red couch used to be.

It still needs to be sanded and stained, but you get the idea.

The picture frames and flowers are from Hobby Lobby and the purple vase is from Crate & Barrel. Finally, here's the view when you walk in the door and look to the right, toward the patio.

The rocker is some fancy-schmancy molded chair that Ross loved. I'm so happy we seem to have found a decorating style that's classy enough for Ross (I swear he'd live in a white cube if he could) but colorful and fun enough for me. Such a happy space!

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Last weekend, I got to go to Nebraska and harvest grapes on my dad's vineyard. I'm so glad I was able to help out this year! And what a good reminder that "you reap what you sow." My dad has put a lot of work into this land in the last 10+ years and it was so wonderful witnessing that work come to fruition (literally)!

My Saturday started with a beautiful sunrise drive. I-29 has been flooded all summer but what the alternate route lacks in speed (it adds an hour to the trip), it makes up in beauty. What a scenic drive!

foggy sunrise in the valley
flood waters
small town charm

Before I knew it, I was at the vineyard by 9am and jumped right in picking grapes (and taking pictures)!

"I am the vine, you are the branches. All who dwell in me will bear great fruit." John 15:5

Oh hi, Dad!

fun with the sun

1-ton bins
1400 pounds of grapes
15 pounds of grapes makes 1 gallon of wine, which in turn makes 5 normal bottles of wine. Not a bad harvest for a small, organic vineyard! This weekend we harvested the Brianna grapes. Hopefully I can also go up there in October when they harvest the red grapes. Anyone else want to join?!