five on friday: episode 2

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I can’t believe it’s already Friday again!  This week has been awesome: lots of relaxing, lots of laying low.  This Friday, I am linking up with DarciAprilChristina, and Natasha to share my favorite things about this week.

[ONE]

Serial Podcast 

Graphic via http://serialpodcast.org/
Graphic via http://serialpodcast.org/

I started listening to this series a few weeks ago, and I must say, I am hooked! I like to listen to podcasts if I am running or doing something repetitive at work. I love a good story, and the story of this case has me completely enthralled.

I don’t want to give anything away, but per the website: “Serial is a podcast from the creators of This American Life, and is hosted by Sarah Koenig. Serial tells one story – a true story – over the course of an entire season. Each season, we’ll follow a plot and characters wherever they take us. And we won’t know what happens at the end until we get there, not long before you get there with us.”

If you love podcasts, you have probably already heard of Serial. If not, or if you are looking for something new, I definitely recommend checking Serial out. Be sure to start at the beginning!

[TWO]
Healthy Dark Chocolate No-Bake Bars
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At 26 weeks pregnant (today!), my appetite continues to ramp up.  However, I feel like I am carrying a baby that doesn’t want to eat junk.  Sometimes mommy still eats junk…almost immediately after, mommy feels like junk.

I think baby doesn’t really like junk.

To be fair, I have been doing my absolute best to stay healthy this pregnancy, and I feel great as a result.  I found this recipe in hopes of satisfying my sweet tooth, while still getting in some good stuff.  Please, please, please check out Healthy Dark Chocolate No-Bake Bars from Confessions of a Bright Eyed Baker.

The recipe is perfect!  I like to just add a little extra sea salt, for my own taste.  I haven’t been able to stay away from these bars, and baby doesn’t mind at all!

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[THREE]
Movie Night: Boyhood
Graphic via Fandango.com
Graphic via Fandango.com
 For a movie date night on Saturday, Jon and I went to see Boyhood.  Going into the theatre, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Originally release in July of 2014, I knew 2 things about the movie: one, it had done well at the Golden Globes; two, it had been filmed over the course of 12 years.  As it ended up, I really liked it!  It’s a coming of age piece that kind of felt like a documentary/reality show to me…probably because I felt like I got so close to the characters.

The plot was subtle, and I love the intimate feeling that I got from following the characters as they naturally progressed for 12 years.  The transitions between years were seamless.  Beyond seeing the characters change physically, I noticed things in their home that make me feel like family.  For example, childhood photos that Jon and I noticed before Mason’s High School graduation made us both feel nostalgic…and yet, we don’t actually know him.

Although the movie primarily follows the story of the main character, Mason, I felt myself getting attached to the whole family.  The movie is a bit long, so eat your popcorn slowly.  However, I really feel like there isn’t one thing that could have been cut out.  I didn’t want to leave the family when it was over.  It’s a movie I recommend seeing, you’ll leave full of stuff to think about (and maybe a few false memories).

[FOUR]
My newest craft project
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With our little baby girl on the way, I really want to get sewing again.  I learned a little bit when I was small, and growing up, my mom always sewed for my sisters and I.  I remember always having beautiful, original Halloween costumes and matching Easter outfits.  I love these memories, and I’d like to be able to give this to my daughter; sewing really is a dying art.

I asked for a sewing machine for Christmas for Jon, and a got a Brothers, which is awesome! Although we’ve been too busy for me to take it out just yet (the story of every craft project, it seems)…I picked up some light-weight flannel for my first project. I love, love, LOVE the prints!

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I picked-up an easy Simplicity pattern, and I plan to start out with some bibs and pants.  I am excited to get started; I know that my progress will be slow at first, and riddled with opportunities to “learn” (i. e. mistakes).  I will be sure to post updates as they become available!

 

[FIVE]
An outdoor winter run
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As winter has moved in, I have been sticking pretty closely to my old buddy, the treadmill.  My last outdoor run was at the end of December.  However, on Monday, the temps in New England peaked around 48 degrees and I knew there was no ice.  I truly admire pregnant runners that run regularly in the frigid cold.  It’s typically something I feel too clumsy to do, and it’s not easy.

 On Monday, the conditions felt good, so I decided to run the roads.  I’m glad that I did, but at 25 weeks, I noticed some major changes in my body since my last outdoor run: my left leg/ankle felt very tingly and strange, I felt a lot more impact on my joints from the extra weight, and the hills that I once loved…I now cursed.  I also forgot to bring my gloves…rookie mistake.  48 degrees running against the wind feels much different than 48 degrees running with the wind.  Despite the slightly increased discomfort in my legs and my freezing hands, I was thankful for the refreshing, cool air in my lungs and the ability to enjoy and outdoor run.

Overall, it was great week!  Super relaxing, and I spent lots of time thinking about all the newness we have coming.  I am enjoying the quiet while I can…only a few more months until our world is changed, yet again.

 

it’s finally november!

I’m not really a fan of Halloween.  To me, it seems messy, I don’t like being scared, and I eat candy year round.  I view Halloween as the gateway to happier holidays.  My favorite part of Halloween is November 1st, because it’s over…and all the candy goes on sale.

Most years, Jon and I don’t do much for Halloween.  However, this year, we needed to dress up, as we had friends throwing a house party.  When I have dressed up in the past, my goal has always been to make a costume using what I have.  I’m tall, I’m picky, and store bought costumes never fit me right. Also, why would waste money on an over-priced outfit for a holiday that I don’t even like?

Contrary to current couple protocol, Jon and I decided that we didn’t really need to match.  Don’t get me wrong…I appreciate a clever couple costume.  However…we usually have trouble agreeing on anything.

Last time we tried to agree, we ended up as twin girls.

In case you can't tell us apart...I'm the one in glasses.
In case you can’t tell us apart…I’m the one in glasses.

 

And that is why this year, we ended up attending the party as…a Decaf Coffee Frappacino with Extra Whip, and a Guy Stuck in a Wind Storm.

My costume consisted of a brown sweater dress, brown tights, brown boots, a $5 feather boa, and a $0.70 green folder rolled into a “straw” and held into place with headbands.  I printed the Starbucks logo and pinned it to my dress with one of our thousands of pins left over from racing bibs.  Although my patent attorney husband was quick to point out that I was committing trademark infringement, it worked perfectly!  All in all, my costume cost under $6!

I was trying to figure out a way to misspell my own name on my dress without ruining it, but I didn't leave enough time.
I was trying to figure out a way to misspell my own name on my dress without ruining it, but I didn’t leave enough time.

My hubby’s costume was also basically free…all we paid for was the $5 umbrella, which we broke on purpose.  Surprisingly, this is not as easy as it sounds.  To complete this look, we lined his tie with a wire and pinned it to his shoulder.  He got creative with all of the “trash” stuck to him: he pinned a circular to his leg, fastened a grocery bag around his ankle, and pinned a Bed, Bath, & Beyond coupon to his shoulder.  Being extra careful to get to physics right, I’d say his look came off as very realistic!

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We had a great time…but I am really glad Halloween is over.  I’m so glad, I already snuck into to Christmas section at Michael’s on Sunday.  Maybe I was inspired by our early season snowfall?

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Happy November!

improving our door decor.

Even though there are roughly 3 people that pass our door on a daily basis, I still have been wanting something to make our apartment feel more like a home.  Something simple and classic…like a wreath.
 
We’ve been in this apartment about a year.  We had a wreath for the holidays, but our door is lonely for most of the year.  I had about 12 examples of wreaths during my fanatic, obsessing Pinterest stage (after I hit 2,000 pins, I decided to take a break).  Two weekends back, while looks for shelves for my spice rack creation, I felt a wave of ambition.  Maybe it was the sense of satisfaction from finally tackling the spice rack that had been hanging over my head for the past year…or maybe it was the coffee.  Either way, I decided to take on another project: a simple wreath.
I wanted to create something that wasn’t too flashy. I love burlap and twine, and I love opportunities to use burlap and twine without looking tacky or forced.
 
I selected a basic twig wreath, costing $5.  I picked up a package of burlap roses for $3 (with a coupon), a wreath hanger for $2, and I bought the wooden “W” for $.09.  I had the fishing line and twine around the house from previous crafts.
The materials for the project totaled about $10.09, and it took me about 15 minutes to assemble.  If you needed twine and fishing line, it might bright the total up to $12.09.
 
I used a heavy-duty needle to thread the fishing line through the twigs and around the “W.”
I used the same needle to sew each burlap rose to the twigs, taking care to arrange them into a bunch.  After sewing on the decorations, I wrapped a bit of twine around the wreath…and I was done.
I’m pleased that this wreath is versatile and will be easy to change up to match the season: some strands of leaves for fall, some ribbon and cinnamon sticks for Christmas, a bird friend for spring…if I always use fishing line instead of glue, the possibilities seem endless!
I believe that crafting doesn’t have to be complicate or time consuming.  This project looks more difficult than it actually was, and I’m ok with that.  I get a definite feeling of satisfaction when I come home every day, pass by my wreath, and think: “Yea…I made that.”
 

the spice rack that almost wasn’t.

I have to admit that this summer, I have gotten spoiled.  Every Sunday has been sunny and between 70-80 degrees…perfect beach weather!  When I found out about the pending thunderstorms this past Sunday, I got excited.  Sure, I’d miss my weekend dose of Vitamin D…but it was perfect weather for crafting!  My most recent project had been in my mind for over a year.

Rewind to April of 2013.  Hubby and I were shopping at Ikea for our big move back to Massachusetts.  We had just finished combing the furniture section with virtually no Ikea-induced tension: “That sofa is ugly,” “This is taking too long,” “I want meatballs.”  We were ending our trip in the Ikea marketplace, aka “The Land of Reasonably Priced Stuff You Don’t Need.”  I found a set of 4 small jars (or Reikens or whatever) for $6.  Immediately I had something in mind: a cool, vintage-looking spice display.  I bought 3 sets.

Flash forward to last week, and you’d find those same jars coated in dust and sitting behind my craft cube.

My neglected craft cube.

 

Enough was enough.

I spent part of last Saturday seeking a cute and inexpensive shelving solution for my jars.  I really was open to anything.  When I came across some $5 wooden crates, they didn’t seem perfect at first.  It was only after I combed through every other aisle of Michael’s twice, purchased an alternative shelve from Target, and got them home to try that I realized these crates were perfect.

I took time to reinforce the seams of the crates with super glue and put an extra tiny nail in each corner.  I wasn’t sure how much weight they’d hold, as I was assuming that they weren’t designed to be used as shelves.  I found the best way to hang them up wasn’t with any sort of kit.  I needed them to be flush against the wall.  I hammered in a row of small nails and let the box catch on the nails.  Sturdy and easy to do!

I wanted to label each jar so that I could tell my chili powder from my paprika and cayenne.  Using my glass etching cream and stencils, I labeled each jar with the first few letters.

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If you liked to craft, glass etching cream and a good set of stencils are a MUST. They can be about $16 each, so watch for coupons.

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I have a LOT more than 12 spices, but I decided on 12 to be the spices I use most: chili powder, paprika, cayenne, cinnamon, cumin, dill, parsley, thyme, velvet salt, oregano, garlic powder, and onion powder.  These were the spices I most likely would need to measure out for a recipe.  Sadly, I could only fit 10 jars in my 2 crates, so I decided to display the most colorful.

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This entire display cost about $25 to create (minus the etching cream/stencils).  I am so happy with how it turned out!  It was helpful to pull these spices out of the crowded cupboard.  I am already using more spice in my cooking!

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It’s looking like it might be rainy again this coming Sunday, but that’s fine with me! Now that I remember how much I love being crafty, I’m thinking my craft cube is going to be getting a lot more use.