30 November 2016

I started posting these "view through my lens" posts to help recap each month as seen through the lens of my iPhone to help keep random snapshots saved and easy to find. They are, by far, my favorite posts to write and look back on, as I am able to relive each memory from the month!

Thanksgiving 2016

Delicious Broccoli Salad Recipe

28 November 2016

Today I am sharing a delicious and easy broccoli salad recipe that is sure to be a crowd pleaser. 

The ingredients that I use for the salad include:

  • 6 Cups of Broccoli Florets
  • 1/2 Cup of Chopped Onions
  • 1 Cup of Shredded Carrots
  • 1 Cup of Raisins
  • 1/2 Cup of Salted Sunflower Seeds

I went ahead and combined all of the ingredients into a large bowl. One change that I did make is that I did not include bacon in this recipe. I swapped it out for shredded carrots. They add some flavor and color to the salad, plus it is a little bit of a more healthier option. Once all of the ingredients were combined I tossed the salad to make sure everything was mixed together and all of the ingredients were distributed evenly.

The ingredients that I use for the dressing include:

  • 1 Cup of Mayonnaise
  • 1/2 Cup of Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar

Once I combined all of the ingredients for the dressing, I went ahead and mixed them together until the sugar had dissolved and it was smooth. This dressing is very sweet, but that is what makes the salad so good. I dumped all of the dressing right on top of the salad and then I tossed the salad again with the dressing to make sure that every piece of the dressing had some dressing on it.

I went ahead and put the salad in the fridge for a couple hours to let it cool and let the dressing settle. If you are ever doubling this recipe, you really don't need to double the dressing. There will always be more than enough, as it settles on the bottom.


ORGANIZE: Greeting Card Organization

09 November 2016

While sorting through our new IKEA hack of a cabinet the other day, I came across a couple organization solutions that I had put into place and felt as though their functionality was worth sharing with you. One of which is how we keep all of our greeting cards organized.

Prior to the system that we have now, I used to throw everything into this jazzy box and slapped a swanky label on it. It wasn't the worst system, however it wasn't as functional and efficient as it could be.

The container that I used for this project is made by IRIS and is actually a photo storage box that I purchased form the container store for around $14. Out of the two sizes that are available (4"x6" and 5"x7"), I used the one that was made to hold 5"x7" photographs. I have seen inserts for this same container at Michaels and on Amazon, however I have been unable to find the entire set. IRIS also makes a larger container that is made specifically to organize greeting cards. It comes with 6 or 7 plastic inserts that can divide the box into different card categories. I noticed though that the inserts didn't stay in very well, so if a certain section was overfilled it would push the insert out of place. I prefer this photo box method because it is more compact and each card category is separated by containers.

I'm also a fan of how easily these stack on top of one another. As you can imagine, I have a small supply of these which makes storing them a breeze.

I taped a chart to the interior of the lid that has our friends and families birthdays and anniversaries with the date and year of each event. This is helpful for when I'm writing a card and am trying to figure out how old they are turning or how many years of marriage they are celebrating!

There are six different compartments in this container. While I may have preferred a few more, six is just fine and works just as well. I labeled each section with clear label tape, adhered it to some fun washi tape and then put them in order of use. We tend to reach for blank cards and thank you cards the most, followed by birthday cards, congratulations cards, mother's and father's day cards and then sympathy and get well cards.

I originally wasn't going to include a mother's and father's day section, however I almost never have those on hand when I need them, so having a container for them serves as reminder to make sure I have them in stock for when those holidays creep up on me! The congratulations section works as a mixed bag for weddings, babies, graduations and anniversaries.  

I pick up most of my blank and thank you cards form Marshall's which means I usually have a collection to choose from. I typically just wrap a rubber band (or a hair tie in my case) around them or clip them together to keep the different cards separated.

I also always try to keep some more "manlier" cards on hand as well.

In the last container, which is also usually the most empty, I keep a book of stamps, a pen and extra clips. It's always nice to know that there are stamps in the house! I hate when I go to send a card and we don't have any.

So far this system has been working out extremely well for us. Whenever I need to write a card, all I have to do is refer to this container... all of the resources are right in front of me!

How do YOU organize your greeting cards!?


31 October 2016

I started posting these "view through my lens" posts to help recap each month as seen through the lens of my iPhone to help keep random snapshots saved and easy to find. They are, by far, my favorite posts to write and look back on, as I am able to relive each memory from the month!

We started out the month of October at a pumpkin festival near my parents house where they shot pumpkins into a lake using a giant slingshot and other machinery - something I had never seen before! The pumpkin in the above picture was one of the two perfect 100lbs+ pumpkins that my mother grew. We lucked out and brought one back to our house to show off to all of our neighbors (:

L and I snuck off to our favorite ski mountain the following weekend to enjoy the gorgeous fall foliage and festivities at Okemo! So much fun and so beautiful.

The next day (Columbus day) was fair day for me! My dad and sister arrived around 9 and we scooted over to the Sandwich fair to nosh on elephant ears, participate in a skillet toss, watch the truck pulls and take a beautiful helicopter ride!

Sometime this month I also put together a little Ikea BESTA hack which I love! Macy cat was very intrigued as well... 

 I captured this gorgeous view from one of our after work walks along the lakes. New England, you're beautiful!

Looking forward to what November has in store!

Fall Foliage in Vermont

L and I snuck up to one of our favorite places earlier this month to enjoy New England's gorgeous fall foliage and festivities. It probably comes as no surprise that that place was the infamous Okemo. Okemo is like a second home for my entire family which always makes every trip up there extra special. The last time we were there was in February for a fun ski week with family!

We swung by Market Basket and picked up every fall themed food that we laid our eyes on! Pumpkin spice life, pumpkin bars, cider, caramel donuts, apple pie... you name it!

Early Saturday morning we bought tickets to take the sunburst six up to the summit house to get a little fall foliage tour from above. I was hoping that the summit house would be open so that we could indulge in some hot chocolate and a chocolate chip cookie, but I suppose that will have to wait until our next trip up when there is some snow!

We explored a little more and hiked up to the fire tower for some one of a kind views of gorgeous Vermont!

There is something eerie about a snowless ski mountain.

After our lift ride up and down the mountain, we found ourselves at Jackson Gore for their fall into winter festival. They had a band, ski gear sales, beer, and their outdoor adventure courses and the timber ripper was open!

Nothing tops of a trip to Okemo without a visit to the waffle cabin for a sweet and delicious chocolate covered waffle on a chilly fall day! Looking forward to our next trip up when there is some snow!!

DIY Ikea Besta Hack

26 October 2016

L and I have a room in our house that wears many hats. It is a space that serves as an office, dressing room and storage. One wall has two racks of clothes, another wall has a bureau, the third wall has my all time favorite storage containers stacked to the ceiling, and the last wall had a small bookcase filled with all of our office supplies. Unfortunately, that cluttered and dark bookshelf was the first thing I would see every time I walked into the room making it a huge eyesore. Because this space (which I lovingly refer to as my woman cave) is undergoing a makeover so that it will eventually be a cozy and bright oasis, this bookshelf was the perfect place to start!

If you want to skip past reading this post in its entirety, I made a short clip that shows the project from start to finish with all of my mistakes along the way!

I guess you could say I did a lot of homework when deciding what type of furniture I wanted, but I was most intrigued by the versatility and affordability that the Ikea Besta system offered (this is not sponsored, btw!). When planning this project out in my head I knew that I wanted it to be bright, mirrored, chrome, I wanted it big enough to house our printer, I wanted it to have adjustable shelves, I wanted to have the option to add to it down the line, and most importantly I wanted it to be a cabinet with closing doors so that I could hide the mess clutter. I also wanted it to be somewhere under the $300 mark. It was no surprise that I couldn't really pin down what I was looking for. SO... to Ikea it was! ...and when I say "to Ikea" I'm referring to the website because I can assure you there are no Ikea's east of Boston where I now live.

Because it's Ikea, you do have to order all of the parts individually. Don't assume that the doors come with hinges, or the cabinet come with feet and a support leg... those are all extra pieces that you should add to your shopping cart. I purchased:

  • IKEA Besta Frame - $60
  • (2) HANVIKEN doors - $50
  • (2) BESTA shelves - $20
  • (2) packages of NANNARP legs (4 legs total) - $30
  • (1) BESTA support leg - $10
  • (2) packages of BESTA soft closing hinges (4 hinges total) - $20
Other items purchased for this project that were not from Ikea included:
  • (2) custom cut mirrors - $56
  • Metallic wallpaper - $25
  • 3M Super 77 Spray Adhesive - $5
  • (2) Liberty Brushed Steel Bar Pulls - $15
The total for all of the products used for this project cost me $281 (not including any shipping expenses).

I love the look and brightness of mirrored furniture which is why I really, really wanted to incorporate it on this cabinet. I took both of the HANVIKEN doors to a local glass shop and they kindly cut two mirrors to size and glued them onto the doors so that they were flush with the trim. I was thrilled. If you don't have a local glass store, I'm sure Lowe's or Home Depot would work as well, however you may need to glue the mirrors yourself.

The Besta cabinet comes with what I believe to be flat "feet" that you can screw onto the bottom of each corner so that the cabinet is not sitting directly on the floor. I knew I wanted it to be lifted a little and I knew I wanted the feet to be chrome to match the handles so I purchased two packages of NANNARP legs to dress it up a little. I do plan on eventually adding another Besta cabinet on top which is why I also purchased the support leg to help give it a little stability should I add on to the cabinet down the road. This isn't really necessary, however I would like to add to it eventually.

The next customization that I made was dressing up the two panels that slide in the back of the cabinet. I wanted it to have a little pizazz as well as tie into the chrome accents that I was adding to it. I purchased come metallic wallpaper from an online store, aliexpress, which I have never heard of before... but was pleasantly surprised by the speedy shipping. I definitely purchased way more wallpaper than I needed for this project but am sure I will be able to find another use for it down the road. I glued it down with some 3M spray adhesive which ended up making a huge mess. If I were to do this again, I would try to use something a little more controllable and less messy. This stuff gets everywhere. By the end of this I had glued every speck of dirt from the floor onto my fingers!

Unfortunately, when I went to slide the panels into the back of the cabinet, they kept catching and ended up ripping. This made me very sad... especially after the whole 3M glue fiasco!

SO! Back to the drawing board I went, this time I covered the entire panel except for where it would be sliding on the sides.

I ended up putting wallpaper on both sides of the panel which meant that the back of the cabinet got a little facelift! What a beautiful surprise, I love it!

I wanted the cabinet to have a little bit of a dramatic flair which is why I purchased these 15" Liberty Steel Bar Pulls from Home Depot for the front of the doors. They also tie in nicely with the feet and wallpaper that I added to the cabinet earlier.

I'm no master measurer, however once I figured out the correct measurements for one of the doors, I stacked them on top of each other and drilled through both of them to get a consistent and even measurement. This probably isn't the most proper measurement technique, however, it worked for me!

It was important that we use this new space to store our printer, so we drilled a small hold towards the bottom of one of the panels to feed the printer cord through to the outlet.

I haven't quite organized it how I would like to see it organized, however, here is an idea as to how we are able to store all of our office supplies so that they are out of sight, yet still functional! The lower left shelf has a container filled with cords, cameras, cables... you name it! The lower right shelf has our printer, binders and my favorite zippered poly envelopes. Above that I have several sterilite containers filled with paper, envelopes, ink, manuals, pen, paper, tape, etc., and the other top shelf is a mixed bag of other random items (greeting cards, notepads, stapler, labeler).

 I'm pretty please with how everything turned out! My only complaint would be that the door on the left is slightly higher than the one on the right and it's my own fault. One day when I am feeling ambitious I will fix it by loosening the screws. Over all though, I am loving the clean, crisp and bright aesthetics that it brings to this multi-purpose and slightly busy room.

What's your favorite IKEA hack!? 
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