Bite the Bullet

If you’ve been following along with this blog at all in the past, you’ll know I’m a sucker for organization. When I was searching for the perfect planner for 2016 in which to write all of my world domination plans, I was stumped. So many options! And the number one thing holding me back is my current daily journal.

I’ve had my Piccadilly Essential Notebook since January 2014, and it’s been my everything. Story ideas, shopping lists, habit trackers – they’ve all gone into my little black book for

two years. I know of many planner-addict bloggers who swear by their three-planner system, but I’m a one-and-done kind of gal. Having a planner and an everything else notebook was making me a little crazy.

Then, I stumbled upon Bullet Journaling via Pinterest.

To sum it up, it’s an analog system of organization that can be applied to any blank notebook. It has basic rules in place to help you better make use of your paper system.

Mind blowing and very, very simple.

Instead of buying a new planner, I’ve started using the bullet journal system in my Piccadilly, and it’s made all the difference.

Some of the basics of bullet journaling I’m not a fan of (like the month overview page; I hardly used the one I made for January), so I skip them. The beauty of the system is that you can customize it however you like.

In fact, there are pages dedicated to so-called bullet journal “hacks” (see one below) that people have come up with. Some of the coolest ideas can be found here. Just a few more ways to personalize the system to fit your individual needs.

Can you tell I’m obsessed?

Check out the video below that explains more about Bullet Journaling:


Happy planning!

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Desk Makeover

OctMono

My bestie and I moved to Koreatown in Los Angeles back in August, but our efforts to make the place homey have been less than stellar. With Thanksgiving on the horizon – and the promise of visiting guests – we’ve started to put the place together. I hung art in my room, she organized her bathroom, and jointly we bought a cute recliner on sale from IKEA.

About a month ago, I was poring over Craigslist in search of a dining room table when I stumbled across an ad for old student desks. You know the ones – metal body, fake wooden top, made you squirm in first grade. Apparently the seller had a ton, and the more you bought, the better the deal. My DIY instincts kicked in hardcore, and I texted the number listed.

Flash forward a week and I was dragging my roommate across town to meet the guy I dubbed Craigstlist Carlos (CC for short). CC led us to a shabby backyard that was, as promised, filled to the brim with these old desks. We picked the best looking two, I paid him in cash, and were out of there like cats in a lightning storm.

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Before it received a little TLC

The makeover I had planned was largely inspired by a link my cousin // collaborator Jess sent to me on Pinterest. My roommate and I had previously agreed on an ocean // mint-esque color scheme, and so even though I was drooling over the gold, I settled instead for Rustoleum’s Ocean Mist and White Gloss.

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After separating the tops from the bottoms, I followed the instructions on the spray paint. Every 48 hours I would give each piece another coat. Spray painting is harder than it looks, I’ll tell you! Get too close and you cause it to run. Go too far away and you’re just painting the air. It took me 3 cans of Ocean Mist and 2 cans of the White Gloss to finish the project, which was completed over the span of a week and a half. Additionally, I finished the desks with a clear gloss protectant spray.

Midway through coats

Midway through coats

Another thing you learn along the way – the paint comes off very easily. One morning, after having painted the night before, I was moving the lids // desks together in my arms when they bumped up against each other, leaving a small tear in the paint. You have to be very careful, lest they be jostled in any way.

Though slightly imperfect, the desks turned out better than I’d hoped. One we are currently using as an entryway table, the other I’m temporarily utilizing as a mini desk.

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Our new entryway! Baskets courtesy of Target

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I’ve got the feeling it’s going to be a creative fall // winter!

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Well, I Tried: Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken

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Well folks, it’s the weekend, and you know what that means! After a long week of some very non-clean eating, it’s time for another installation of “Well, I tried”. This week’s recipe is for slow cooker honey garlic chicken, from the blog Just a Taste. Here’s what I thought:

The Ingredients: For the most part, very easy to find grocery items. Once again, I tried to get everything at Target, and was successful EXCEPT for soy sauce, if you can believe it. The only thing I blinked an eye at was the hoisin sauce, but I figured it’d be a worthwhile investment if I was sure to use it again.

The gang [minus onion] is all here!

The Prep: Not too bad, actually. You whisk the main ingredients together, pour them over the chicken breasts, and voila! It’s ready to cook. The only thing that took some time for me was dicing the onion, but that’s because I don’t know how to properly do so.

** Note: I took some liberties with the recipe. Firstly, I used boneless breasts, simply because Target didn’t have any with bones. Secondly, I used coconut oil instead of olive oil – it was convenient, because I already had it. Third, I stacked some pieces of chicken on top of each other, even the recipe says this is a no-no. I had to because my crock pot is tiny, and I wanted enough to last me. Next (yikes, I didn’t think I made this many changes), I cooked it for two hours on high, rather than four hours on low. This is because I don’t know proper time management skills and wanted to eat at a decent hour. Lastly, I skipped the toppings because I ran out of money at the store.

Simmering the sauce with the slurry.

How’d It Come Out? Wow. Hands down a really delicious, flavorful recipe that yielded more than I expected it to. The chicken came out moist and tender and had really absorbed the marinade without having sat in it for too long. I promptly devoured it with some rather unhealthy potatoes from a box but hey, this is a step in the right direction!

I took this photo and then promptly inhaled the food.

The Verdict: SO DELICIOUS! A huge recommend for everyone except my poor mother, who is allergic to chicken.

Stay tuned for more recipe adventures!

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Well, I Tried: Mexican Sweet Potato Casserole

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Passion, thy name is cooking!

Seriously, though. If my kitchen didn’t heat up to 1,000,000 degrees every time I used the oven – and if groceries were a wee bit cheaper – I’d be in there every day whipping up a batch of this or that.

Cooking, as opposed to baking, has been relatively new to me. Sure, I helped make dinners at home growing up, but I lived in a residence hall all four years of college and depended heavily on the dining hall. Living on my own has thrust me into this new world of meal planning, shopping, and cooking, and I’m loving it so far. Nothing is more exciting than trying a new recipe and fervently hoping it A) doesn’t burn and B) tastes alright.

Additionally this year, I’ve embarked on a campaign to eat clean. This, to me, means less processed foods and more home cooking, using natural and healthy ingredients.

Thankfully, Pinterest exists, and has been more than obliging with providing dozens of new recipes to try. Some have been less than stellar, while others have become tried and true favorites.

Tonight, as apart of a series I’m going to call “Well, I tried”, I cooked up this week’s main dish: Mexican Sweet Potato Casserole from Olives’n’Wine. Here’s what I thought:

The Ingredients: Super simple grocery items, all of which I was able to buy at Target (I just so happened to be there shopping for other things). The only splurge was the quinoa, but luckily I had a box leftover from another recipe.

So...much...sweet...potato

So…much…sweet…potato

The Prep: Takes a bit of time. You’re supposed to grate the sweet potato into little pieces. Turns out, I don’t own a grater, so I used a potato peeler instead and turned them into little slices. It took about twenty to thirty minutes to grate down the giant potatoes I bought, AND I ended up having lots of leftovers, which I froze. Otherwise, you only have to chop the onion and the asparagus, and that’s fairly easy. The only other time consumer is cooking the quinoa (15 minutes-ish).

All tossed & ready to go

All tossed & ready to go

How’d It Come Out? Pretty good! Not a great idea for those who don’t like sweet potatoes, of course, considering that’s the main ingredient. I cooked it for 35 minutes, and that left everything softer, yet still with a slight crunch to it (just how I like it). It’s tasty, but not overtly flavorful. I started tasting it slowly, and then ended up going back for seconds and thirds.

Mmmm cheese!

Mmmm cheese!

The Verdict: Definitely a re-do recipe. PLUS it yielded tons of servings, so I won’t have to worry about running out mid-week.

Stay tuned for more recipe adventures!

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Table for one: A Pintrest Dinner

I have finally taken the leap into the adult world by moving into my own place-well, room. I am realizing the level of freedom that comes with living alone is quickly overshadowed by all the responsibilities that comes with it. From budgeting to taxes, the copious amounts of adult related responsibilities pile up quick. More importantly, the responsibility of feeding myself is the most challenging.

I am no stranger to cooking. It has been a love since my toy kitchen days. I am also a lover of food shopping. Yes, I enjoy the days of clipping coupons and shuffling carts around Coca Cola displays. However, these fun activities quickly lose their kick when it is done for only one. Balancing a budget and cooking for one is difficult and a little boring. On one hand, it makes sense to get the chicken that is on sale. But,does it make sense to get 10 lbs. of chicken to get the sale? And if I did buy 10 lbs of said chicken, what can I do with it?

If you can guess, I can never pass up a sale. I turn to Pinterest to help solve my dinner woes. Specifically, last night I needed a little help. Here is what I had to work with: 5 lbs of drumsticks (.99/lb you can’t beat that!), 1.5 lbs of carrots, and 1.5 lbs of sweet potatoes. Here are the recipes I found:

Yet again, Pinterest saves the day. This $6 dinner held my budget in tact and allowed this solo diner lunch and dinner for a few days.

Jess (2)

Putting Your Pinterest to Work

OctMono

Let’s be honest here for a moment – we all have stuff. It might be a little, it might be a lot, but America is a nation of consumerism, and we are the ones doing the consuming. I try to be very conscious of how many possessions I have, and what purpose they are serving. In college, I even wrote my sophomore thesis on hoarding as a spectrum disorder (but more on that later). If I bring something into my house (new shoes, new decor, etc.), something also has to go out in its place. Does this always work? No, of course not – as any New England girl would know, you can’t have too many sweaters. Or pairs of riding boots. In general, though, this serves as my rule of thumb.

Which is why I am so flabbergasted at my own behavior when it comes to my Pinterest page. For those of you not currently obsessed with the website, it describes itself as “a visual discovery too that you can use unnamedto find ideas for all of your projects and interests”. Scrolling through, you can find hundreds upon
hundreds of ideas and inspirations for everything from fashion to DIY to cooking to tattoos. Should you ever see something you like, you “re-pin” the item into your own virtual collection, where it’s saved.

Admittedly, I hadn’t been overly rambunctious in recent months when it came to pinning things. Suddenly, though, I had an entire apartment to decorate and furnish! Pinterest was the go-to site for me to look up tutorials on building a bed frame and de-anting our kitchen.

Your first question is most likely, “How did that go, Aub?” Funny you ask, because it hasn’t! Interestingly enough, the rules I so strictly abide to in the “real” world in regards to accumulating things hasn’t translated well to the digital realm. Just yesterday, I observed that I have 40 pins on my recipes board. 40 pins, and I couldn’t tell you what kinds of recipes are stored there, nor have I even attempted to make any of them. I’ve become a digital hoarder, entranced by the idea that if I pin something, obviously I’ll make it at some point. And forget about deleting the pins – what if I needed one of them one day?

Enough was enough, I finally decided. Reluctantly, I chose to delete those pins I hadn’t looked at in months. Gone are the outdated outfits from My Style board that can no longer be found in stores. That tutorial about transferring images to wood? I’ve lost interest – deleted. As were the room inspiration pictures selected prior to my current apartment as a lot of them don’t match the space. I even deleted an entire BOARD that was dedicated to workouts I’ve never looked at and never will.

Obviously, there were things I didn’t and, quite frankly, wasn’t ready to get rid of yet. There are a lot of craft projects I have added there that I plan on doing for Christmas, and recipes I want to try for Thanksgiving. The trick will be to delete these pins if their allotted time frames come and go. Keeping everything current is my goal, in addition to actually taking the initiative to try these projects out. Otherwise, it’s sayonara, pins!

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Pulled directly from my Pinterest, this is a main inspiration for how I’d like my room laid out when finished!

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