Friday, September 30, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy

These next couple of weeks are going to be crazy busy around here. The fiance is moving in the last of his things tonight - which means he's officially moved in!! Then tomorrow we leave for Georgia to see my cousin Jacob get married. The next two weeks at school will be filled with test preparation and the actual testing. Also, it means that I need to get my large pile of papers graded and in the computer. And let me tell you...that pile is pretty large... And then the weekend before our wedding, we'll be back up in Georgia again for my other cousin Jaime's wedding (Jaime is Jacob's older brother).

Speaking of wedding, we're officially 6 weeks away! So with that comes last minute planning, purchasing, and organizing. Plus, all the showers & parties. I'm slowly starting to feel the stress of the wedding, but I think part of that is thanks to everything else that is piling on my plate. Everyone keeps telling me I'm too relaxed for a bride. Maybe I am. But I told myself a long time ago that I wouldn't let myself get all worked up over it. The point of a wedding is happiness and joy, and I think that being stressed over the whole thing ruins that. I don't want to be one of those bridezillas that you see on television. I want to enjoy my day. I've been waiting 6 long years for this day to finally come, and I'm going to enjoy it darn it!

So that's what will be going on here for the next couple of weeks. I'm hoping to do a couple of posts here & there, but I can't make any promises. It may or may not be a while until you hear from me again. So please excuse me if I'm a little MIA. :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Slowly Getting Organized

So, I'm having another one of those nights where I just can't seem to fall asleep. And I figured I'd try to calm my mind by writing up another post.

We're officially 53 days away from the wedding (it's getting so incredibly close!!), and those feelings of anxiousness are starting to set in. What am I suppose to do if no one RSVPs to the wedding? What will happen if people just decide to show up and they didn't give us a yes/no on the RSVP? Do we have everything organized so that people know where to put everything if I'm not in the room to help them set it up? Will we be able to set up the entire reception hall & ceremony site in less than 2 hours? Is there enough money to cover everything? I really hope it doesn't rain on our honeymoon... and God forbid a late-bloomer of a hurricane decides to make its way through the Caribbean at that time... you never know, this season has been pretty active so far... And hopefully if Dan gets this new job, they'll be understanding of the fact that we're getting married & have a honeymoon planned and will be willing to allow him to take time off for it. (Don't get me wrong - I desperately want him to get this new job. It's what both of us have been praying for. The timing of it just seems to be adding to my stress/anxiety. But I know that if it's what is meant to be, it will happen the way God wants it to. So fingers crossed & prayers for a new job with an understanding, flexible schedule!)

I know... I'm starting to sound like one of those brides. But, luckily, I don't think I've really taken out my concerns on anyone yet. Well, except for maybe the fiance. But that's part of the deal - he gave me a ring, so he gets to put up with my wedding anxiety, right?? I'm trying to stay busy right now getting everything organized into boxes that I possibly can (more on that later) so setting up the reception hall will hopefully go smoothly (again, fingers crossed!!). But lately I find that I'm trying to keep myself occupied. I either spend my time on Pinterest looking for wedding & home decor inspiration or working on my new class website. But this past Sunday I finally tackled a project on my to-do list: yep, I organized the master bedroom closet! You might remember these pictures that I mention in the apartment tour:

It was a hot mess! We simply took whatever was in that large box on the floor, put it on a hanger, and found a spot for it. We had a slight system during move in: Hang up whatever could be hung, and whatever needed to be folded would be folded and placed on the shelf. And that's how things stayed - box and all. Getting dressed in the morning was a bit of a chore, always searching for a certain item of clothing.
Step one was to move my wedding dress into the guest bedroom. It's just easier that way - none of us really go in there right now because it's swamped with other wedding stuff. Plus, we've been keeping the door to that room shut lately so that the cats don't get in there. Next step was to finish emptying out the box on the floor. I just followed the same method that we used during moving day. After everything was hanging up or folded onto the shelf, it was starting to look pretty decent.

 The black & white dress hanging up is my old senior prom dress. For some reason I can't see to give that one, or my senior homecoming dress, up. I've donated all my other dresses from previous weddings or dances, but these two seem to hold more sentimental value. One, I went to both of these dances with the fiance. And two, my prom dress was purchased for me by my Granny. She was suppose to by my wedding dress, but passed away sort of suddenly last November before I was engaged. I've been trying to find a way to incorporate a portion of the dress into my bouquet or wedding dress, but can't seem to bring myself into taking that dress apart.

The fiance will be getting the high shelf on the right side of the closet which is why it is currently so empty. I had to hang my dresses there because the shelving on my side is simply too small. We're planning on sharing the bottom shelf and hanging up all of our pants on there. Also, if you notice on the right of the middle picture, I hung the fiance's ties up. All I did was slide them through the shelving and let them hang there. We're hoping to eventually get some sort of tie organizer. Although this was better than what it looked like before, it was still bugging me. So, I spent a little extra time and changed it to look like this:

Maybe I'm weird, but I like to color-coordinate all of my clothes. In the past, I organized them based on sleeve-length, but I still found myself taking a lot of time trying to match a top to pants (I'm a little fashion challenged, OK?). But I find that when the clothing is hung up based on its color, it's much easier for me to visualize what will go well together. The only thing that isn't coordinated according to their colors is the dresses & skirts that I own. They all go on the far side of the closet because they aren't worn as often as the rest of my clothes.

And of course, Periwinkle had to get in on the action!

Oh, and here's a better picture of my shoe organization situation:

It really bugs me that I have 3 totally different shoe racks that I have to work with. And yes, the one on the far right tends to lean a little bit. Really, all of them seem to be on their last legs and I can't wait to replace them.

So, did anyone else manage to cross something off of your to-do list this past weekend? How do you organize your closet? I'm definitely interested to see how many go according to sleeve-length, how many go according to color, and how many simply chose to allow their rooms/closets look worse than a 13 year old's room.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Weekend Adventures: Heart Walk

So I know it's not technically the weekend anymore, but I wanted to share what we did this past Saturday. Once again we found ourselves waking up crazy early, but it was for a good cause. The fiance & I registered for the American Heart Association Heart Walk that was being held in Orlando. It was my first time walking in a 5K (second time for the fiance), and I have to say I enjoyed it.

The fiance currently works at a cardiology office and they set up a team for the walk. For this particular 5K there was no registration fee, but they encouraged fundraising. So the fiance, his mom and I made it down to the starting line at 7 a.m. on Saturday. And let me tell you it was not easy waking up!

The only real observation I had was that it was really crowded! I have never seen so many people in Loch Haven Park before.

Probably my favorite part were all the musicians lining the route towards the end. The accordion club was out there.

And there was this jazz band playing some amazing tunes.

All in all, we all had a good time. I definitely want to do another one. I've talked about wanting to eventually work my way up to running in a 5K. I just don't know if that will ever happen. As it stands right now I can only run for 2 minutes on the treadmill before I'm gasping for air. The fiance has confidence that I can do it - sometimes I wish that I believed in myself as much as he believes in me. But that's one of the many reasons why I love him!

Regardless, I really want to find another 5K to walk in. It would definitely help with my current weight loss push. Right now I'm just trying to fit into my wedding dress... gosh, I never thought I'd be one of those girls! But I bought my dress back in March, and it fit perfectly. Then I got really lazy over summer vacation and gained a few pounds. Now the dress fits a little too tight, so I need to lose a little bit of weight so I'm not struggling to breathe on my wedding day. I'm not going to extremes. Only 5 or 10 pounds will do the trick. But after the wedding, I definitely want to work towards getting back to my high school weight. I promise to share the progress when all of that ensues.

Have any of you walked or ran in a 5K? Any recommendations for building up endurance?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Taking Them Down & Hanging Them Up

I'm back with part two of our little weekend projects. If you remember from this post, we added new-to-us appliances in the form of a washer & dryer. I'm glad to report that the vinegar trick worked! The websites had suggested to add 2 cups of vinegar to an empty load and set it on the hottest possible setting. Well, call me overly cautious, but I tossed in closer to 3 cups of vinegar. And although the ring on the top of the tub didn't disappear, the wash made it much easier to wipe it away.

So, onto our other changes. If you remember during the tour of the apartment, our master bathroom is a little on the small side. Here's a picture to jog your memory:

It's really hard to see from this angle, but the door that leads into the bathroom is on the right side of the picture. When you stand at the sink, if the door is open, the door is literally in your backside. If you need to get past the person brushing their teeth to get to the linen closet, you have to shut the door completely, or do a really awkward shuffle past one another. We've only lived here for a little over a week now, but it was already getting on our nerves. So, with the blessing of the complex, the bathroom got a little face lift.

Yep, we took down the door and hung up a curtain instead. And we are absolutely loving the change! Although it doesn't exactly offer sound privacy, it still offers privacy in the sense that you can't see anything through the curtain. Even if the light is on in only one room, you can't see what's going on. And as for the lack of sound privacy, neither one of us really notice it. First of all, rarely are we within earshot of the one another when relieving oneself. And secondly, I relate it to being similar to a public bathroom stall - you can't see anything, but you're probably going to hear everything. (Sorry if this conversation is grossing people out.) Now, I don't have play-by-play photos of the process when it comes to the bathroom door, but this wasn't the only door that was taken down.

Yep, the laundry room lost its door as well. The reason for removing this door was that every time it was open, it blocked our kitchen pantry (pictured on the left). Also, the cat food bowls are on the floor between the fridge and laundry room, and they were constantly in danger of being bumped by the door. So here's how it all went down:

1. Grab a screwdriver and hammer. Place the screwdriver at the bottom of the pin, and tapping lightly with the hammer, knock it out of place. Once all three pins have been removed, carefully remove the door off of the hinges.

2. Using the screwdriver, remove the screws that attach the hinges to the door frame.

3. Place all of the screws and hinges in a safe place. Even though we got the okay from the complex to remove the doors, it was with the stipulation that we would put them back up before we moved. So, we put all of the screws & hinges into little ziploc bags and labeled each one. Then we placed them into our tool box for safe keeping.

4. At this point, the "hard" stuff is over. All you need is a tension rod (we got these at Target for like $2 a piece) and a curtain (the blue curtain in the master bath was a gift from a friend, and the brown one is from Target and was $15).

5. And this one is a toughy...are you sure you're ready for this?? Hang up the tension rod & curtain.

I think the total time for this little makeover was 15 minutes. And the total cost was $19. Not bad considering we're trying to spend as little money as possible. But honestly, these changes have made things so much easier for us. I do feel like I should mention the whole "sound" privacy thing also applies to the laundry room. When the washer & dryer are running, its definitely on the loud side.
Oh, and the makeover isn't completely over. We still have these to fix:

Yep, there are these lovelies leftover from the hinge removal. Obviously we can't fill the holes, but the plan is to get some cheap white paint and paint over them. And the complex will never know the difference (unless they read this one day) because the hinges will be covering them once the doors are put back on. Besides, I'd argue that its an update, not something that takes away from the apartment.

So that was our quick & cheap makeover. Did you have any projects this weekend? Or did you simply spend time with family? Anyone have any recommendations for hemming the curtains? I don't know how to sew, and I don't own a sewing machine. I've considered hemming tape, but I have not used it before - would it be appropriate for this job?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where I Was 10 Years Ago

Ten years ago today, I was sitting in my 8th grade English class when I found out about the attacks on our country. The first plane hit the towers at 8:46 a.m. and I was either at the bus stop, or already on the bus. When we arrived at the middle school, it seemed like a normal day. At 9:30 our first class started, and the large majority of the student body still had no idea what was happening.

A classmate of mine who had gone to the bathroom came back and told us that a plane had hit the Pentagon. We all told him he didn't know what he was talking about - that there is no way a plane could hit the Pentagon. A few minutes after that our principal came over the intercom. I don't remember anymore what exactly he said, but I remember that from that point on it was no longer a normal school day. Our teacher Mrs. Webb told us about the World Trade Centers towers, and then turned on the television where we all learned together about first the Pentagon and then the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania.

The rest of the day we changed classes like normal, but we didn't do any school work. We just sat there and watched the news. And when we got home, we just sat there and watched the news some more.

Two years ago I got to talk to Mrs. Webb about that day. She told me that they had had an emergency faculty meeting that morning after the first attacks had happened. All of the teachers came together, cried, and then consoled one another. Then, they wiped their tears and resolved to go about their day as if nothing had happened. To this day, I cannot believe that all of those teachers had the strength to do such a thing, but they did. Although I remember being sad and confused on that day, I don't remember being scared, and I think I have Mrs. Webb to thank for that.

I don't think I fully understood what all of it meant that day. And a part of me still wonders if I know the full scope of impact those attacks had. I did not know anyone aboard any of the planes or anyone who worked at the WTC or Pentagon. But my heart & prayers go out to those who were affected by this tragic event.

I feel as though I have a responsibility to make sure the next generation doesn't forget that day. My juniors were in 1st grade when the attacks happened. They don't remember much except that people left school early and that they sat around and watched the news. My freshmen don't remember anything - they were only 4 years old. It shocks me that they don't have any memories of these tragic events, but then I remind myself that it's not their fault. Just like I don't have memories of the first WTC bombing, Challenger explosion or the assassination of JFK, these kids have no memories of 9/11. They've always grown up in a world that includes terrorism, war, long airport security checks, and color-coded security levels.

My grandfather's generation had Pearl Harbor. My mother's generation had the JFK assassination. My generation has 9/11. I pray with all that's in me that this generation will know a life without having to ask themselves, "Where was I when ________ happened?"

Let There Be.... Laundry?

I know it's a little late, but I'm having a hard time falling asleep, so I thought what better way to keep my mind occupied than to write up a blog post. Because you know I have nothing else better to do when I can't sleep like grading papers or creating lesson plans, right? Anyways, we did a few little projects today around the apartment, so here are all the details on the biggest project.

We started off our day with a mini-roadtrip. To explain the backstory, our last apartment had a washer & dryer included. This place only has hookups. So, we were in desperate need of a set (I'm not really the type to use the coin laundry mat the complex offers - waste of money & I just have this thing about washing my unmentionables in the same place somebody else has washed theirs). So, my stepdad called his brother in St. Petersburg who owns a second-hand appliance shop to see what we could do. While he worked his magic, the fiance & I did a little "window shopping" on Craigslist to see what people were selling their used sets for. We found a few for $300, which in my opinion wasn't bad. But, my uncle rose to the occasion and said we were all taken care of, we just needed to get it from his place to ours, and we were to consider it an early wedding present (amazing, right??).

So, we borrowed my stepdad's truck & headed down to St. Petersburg to pick up a washer & dryer from my uncle's shop. And on the way we ran into this:

Yep, right as we were crossing the bridge from Tampa to St. Pete, the clouds opened up and we were caught in a downpour. Being that we're both Floridians, you would think we'd be use to this all-of-a-sudden rainstorms, but this one definitely caught us off guard.

Anyways, we loaded up the washer and dryer into the back of the truck. Luckily both fit in there without having to leave the tailgate down, so we didn't have to tie them down with rope (which we forgot to bring anyways). We bribed with football & food asked our friends if they would help us get them both upstairs, and they thankfully agreed.

The fit is a little tight. I had to take out my metal bookshelf, and for now its new home is in the dining room. Also, if you look at the image of the dryer, you'll notice that the door opens from the right. When it was first brought upstairs it opened from the left. While I was cleaning it, I noticed that the door was reversible, and so I asked for the fiance's help with this little switcheroo. It was only 4 screws that needed to be unscrewed and screwed back into place on the opposite side.

We haven't washed any clothes yet. I'm waiting to clean out the washer's tub. It has a bit of staining to it, and it personally just grosses me out a little bit (again, thinking of what else has been washed in there...). I read on a couple of websites that I should run vinegar or lemon juice in an empty cycle on the hottest wash possible. Being that I seem to have just run out of both lemon juice & vinegar, we'll be making a little trip into town to buy one or both.

It might be really hard to see the staining, but look towards the top. It's more than just a standard shadow. So hopefully we'll have the laundry room working hard here in the near future.

So that's part one of our little weekend projects. I'll try to come back tomorrow to share some pictures of a new quick fix. Does anyone have any other ideas or better solution that? Maybe you did some heavy lifting? Or maybe you just simply spent time with friends & watched the football game.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Home Sweet Home

I'm back, as promised, with pictures and details about our new place. There are quite a few pictures, so I'm going to try and keep the words to a minimum.

We'll start with the entry way. It's basically a narrow hallway with a simple light. We haven't figured out what we want to do with this area yet. We'd love to find a system to house our shoes since we both like to just kick them off as we come through the door. The floor lamp isn't currently plugged in. We've been trying to figure out if there is a place we can utilize it, but if not we're debating on donating it to Dan's office.

As for the little box on the floor near the door, it's a little metal card catalog (similar to this one seen on one of my favorite blogs YHL) that I picked up at a local Habitat for Humanity store for $1.75. I haven't figured out how I want to use it yet, but I do know that it made a great doorstop during the move.

As you can see in the photo above, the kitchen is off to the side of the entry way. It's sort of like a galley kitchen, but with a island on one side. The sink & dishwasher are on the island, while pretty much all of the cabinetry is on the other side. I'm still getting use to whole island thing - I'm finding myself going in circles around the island. My favorite part of the kitchen would have to be my milk glass collection above the cabinets. There aren't a lot of them, but they still make me smile.

The door at the end of the kitchen is to the laundry room, which is currently a little empty.

And yes, I do know I have a lot of paper towels. But in my defense, they were on sale! As for what we're doing without a washer & a dryer, I'm pretty much holding out until next weekend when we're suppose to be getting some delivered (more details to come once they've come in). If you stand in the laundry room and look out to the kitchen, to the left you'll see our little microwave nook (new microwave courtesy of the fiance's parents - thanks again guys!!) slash cat feeding area. And to the right you'll see our pantry.

Beside the kitchen is the dining room. Right now it's looking pretty bare. The plan is to eventually hang some floating shelves and hang some of our pictures of family & friends. But for now, it works.

And as for the microwave on the floor - it's going back to my classroom sometime this week. Our old place had a built-in microwave above the stove, so we never purchased one. But this place didn't have that luxury. We asked for a new microwave in our wedding registry, so we planned on holding out until after the wedding before buying one to see if anyone bought it for us as a gift. But, Dan's parents' beat us to it, and their house warming gift to us was the new microwave you saw a couple pictures ago.

Across from the dining room is the living room. We use to have a couch & love seat in the old place. However, this living room is smaller, and they simply would not fit. So, we tossed the couch and opted to pair the love seat with the pullout love seat that was given to us by Dan's brother and sister-in-law. I'm really loving this new layout. However, it's not exactly conducive to cuddling. Also, the behemoth of an entertainment center was a freebie from someone the fiance works with.

The door to the right (behind the entertainment center) leads to the master bedroom. The bed is definitely an upgrade from what we slept on the first night, but we still can't wait to update it after the wedding to something a little more comfortable. The bedding is a mismatch of a bunch of stuff I've collected over the years. We're hoping to buy new bedding after the wedding. And we're thinking of going with a navy/grey color scheme.

We just purchased the bedside lamps this weekend. All of the major living spaces have ceiling fans, but they don't have lights. So we were a little short on lamps. Would you believe it? The fiance picked these out! We got both lamps (like these, but in black) & shades at Wal-Mart for around $42. Oh, and please ignore that black cord hanging between the dresser & the cedar chest...I'm still working on a solution to fix/hide that.

Warning: What you are about to see is a total & complete mess. But, for the sake of keeping it real... here's my master closet:

I warned you! This is one of two rooms I still have left to organize. I've got one box of clothes left to unpack. Then I like to sort my clothing by colors to make picking things out easier in the mornings. Hopefully by this weekend it will all be taken care of. I'll post nicer pictures once it's all completed.

The second room that needs to be finished is the master bathroom. However, it's not a complete mess like the closet. It's just really small! We're planning on talking to the complex management to see if we're allowed to take the door off the hinges & store it in a closet. The plan would then be to get a tension rod & hang a curtain. Sure, it's not exactly sound-proof, but we are getting sick & tired of trying to brush our teeth at the sink while having the door basically sticking in our backsides.

 This picture probably shows best how small the place is.

If we go back to the dining room & living room, between the two of them is a semi-hallway that has the door to the water heater & air conditioner. Warning: another mess is about to be revealed!

The pile is all of the blankets & towels that we slept on or used the first night in the apartment. We were all so nasty & smelly that I didn't want to put the sheets or towels on anything else until we were able to wash them. So, until we get our new washer/dryer, they're going to stay right where they are.

To the left of that messy pile is the guest bathroom. We sorta went with a beachy-vibe for this one. This bathroom is actually bigger than the master. Only downside is that it doesn't have a garden tub like our bathroom does.

Across from the guest bathroom is... you guessed it! The guest bedroom! Tough one, right? Well, I'd probably say that our guest bedroom has turned into one of my favorite rooms in the apartment. The twin bed, mattress, & box spring were more freebies from another work friend of the fiance's. I'm absolutely in love with the bedding! I don't remember the exact cost, but for the quilt, sham, & two sets of sheets the total came out to just under $55. Oh, and I got them from TJMaxx. The bed skirt ($12) was purchased from Walmart at the same time we bought our master bedroom lamps. The desk is Dan's old desk. The papasan chair is a thrift store find (more on that here). And we bought the bookshelf this past weekend from Target for around $30.

 This was before we got the desk into the room.

And here is the after. There's a lot of cord mess that needs to be cleaned up. And eventually we'll have a proper desk chair in there. I've got a plastic mat that's been sitting in my car trunk that I still need to bring inside.

 We were trying to be sneaky & hide boxes out of view.

And of course, here is a peak inside the guest bedroom closet. This apartment has a lot less storage space than the previous one, so a lot of our things are staying in their boxes.

And last, but not least, our patio. It's a bit of a tight squeeze with both bikes out there, but for now the weather is too hot to sit outside anyways. Our little storage closet out there currently houses all of our Christmas decorations.

So that's the little house tour. It's amazing how quickly this place is starting to feel like home. Last time I moved it took a few weeks for it to sink in. But already we feel like we're where we're meant to be.

And on a side note: anyone want to take a guess as to how many times the cats snuck into the pictures?? Not cheating! Huh? Huh?

Well here's two more for you:

And if you count the last picture, the total comes out to 5 pictures that were invaded. The cats have adjusted really well. They honestly seem to be happier here than in the old place. And for that I'm thrilled. I was really worried about the move and how they would handle it.

So, there you have it. Our new place. Our new place. That's still really weird to say. But weird in a good way. :)


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