Saturday, June 30, 2012

Spider Country

I'm officially done with week one in the office! I am absolutely loving the University of Richmond. With a gorgeous campus, awesome staff and welcoming community I'm not sure there's much I couldn't ever love.

So many signs pointing to UR on the way to campus

Dang trees, I'll need another angle because this doesn't do it justice

Found this my first day, Sig Ep was founded at UR and I snapped it for my Poppi who's a member

Sweet present from MC I came home to my first day

It's been a pretty laid back first week as our office is still conducting a search for another position, but interviewing candidates meant eating in the dining hall all week! Before this TCU has been the best campus food I'd had the pleasure of eating, but I think UR has greatly surpassed it.

Brown Sugar Bacon Cupcakes. Unfortunately I no longer eat bacon, but almost turned on my pescatarianism for these.

We also had a staff retreat and wrapped it up with some time at a All Fired Up, a ceramics painting studio in town. For those of y'all that met me post-high school, I am a ceramics nerd. I took it for three years in high school and my senior year I spent two months on crafting the perfect ceramic gingerbread house complete with a Hershey Bar sidewalk lined with sparkly gum drops. Yep... So naturally I was overjoyed about this outing and had a blast painting a post it note holder while chatting with my new office mates.

I've used downtime this week to do tasky things like get my ID card, parking pass etc. and start decorating my office and bringing all my knick-knacks in to make it feel like home. After I've decided to become a grown up in my new apartment, I was excited to completely decorate my office how I wanted without worrying about being too girly or having a lot of clutter. Though I still don't need clutter in the office.

It's official!

I've started collecting pennant flags from schools I've worked at or attended, inspired by a past supervisor

View outside my window of Westhampton Lake #drool

After this first week I'm really looking forward to the next, the rest of the summer, and especially for students to be back on campus as it's currently eerily quiet and empty. I am glad to have some time to settle and get to know UR before having to work with students though. Can't wait to see what this new job will bring, but judging from the first week it will be a whole lot of greatness!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Cooking for Deux

I've had a few recipes I tried out earlier this spring and never had time to share which is unfortunate because they have been some of my favorites! These were dishes that MC and I had previously eaten together as I've been working hard to find vegetarian friendly (or seafood) dishes that would appeal to both of us. We have rather different tastes when it comes to food but luckily he'll eat just about anything, so that works pretty well!

It's been a while since I've done a Simply Sensational Tuesday, so time to link up!

The first dish is Mexican Baked Eggs, the recipe which I found via Pinterest. I've actually made this one a few times since finding it since you can save the base sauce to make it individually fresh throughout the week. Since we like a certain egg to veggies ratio we actually used six eggs instead of four this time, and naturally...extra cheese.

Look at that cheese all bubbly and beautiful. Mmm can't you just taste it?

In the picture with the original recipe, there are some avocado slices on the side which we copied the first time and it added some creamy coolness. Tonight we felt like guac and so I smashed up our avocado with a little salt, cilantro and lemon juice (I've yet to get lime) for instant guac and voila! With some wheat Tostitos scoops, which are awesome to compliment this, you've got one great and hearty meal.

This next one looks (and tastes!) so fancy, but it's seriously one of the easiest dishes to make. Roasted Tomatoes with Shrimp & Feta was also found via Pinterest, and you can see the original recipe here. The only labor is chopping tomatoes and garlic...seriously. Throw everything in olive oil and roast it, mmm. As recommended we had some good crusty bread with it, and being the Italian that I am I sopped up every last bit of the yummy olive oil/roasting/heaven mixture in my bowl. That part may have even been more tasty then consuming the dish itself...

Trying to be accommodating and letting MC also pick a menu item, we finally made his Clam Linguine  that he requested over a month ago. I had thought he emailed me a recipe so I searched "clam" (awkward) in my Gmail and found that back in January Hungry Girl had featured a swap for the dish--even though I usually delete the emails I knew they'd all come in handy one day! Naturally, her version clearly had much less calories and was still great. I accidentally got a little eager and actually threw the grated parm into the sauce rather than sprinkling on top, but it made the sauce cheesier and thicker turned out to be good. Despite my hesitations it was a pretty good dish!

I'm hoping to try out many more recipes as MC and I start cooking together and I continue to work towards my goal of 52 in 52, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

New Places, New Faces

No worries friends, I am alive and I didn't have to tell anyone off due to any towed Uhaul trucks during my move! It has been a crazy two weeks since I last posted and can't believe I'm in a new apartment, new city, new state and at a new job--what a whirlwind.

Moving became just peachy when my body decided that it hated me for our three big moving days. Had a great dinner at Rhinehart's, one my favorites, and some froyo with MC's friends our last night in Augusta. Day one we got the Uhaul and tore through, packed and scrubbed down loaded Mr. Charming's already packed boxes and furniture. The entire day I felt like I was going to blow chunks everywhere, for lack of better words, and literally laid down and slept off and on all day. I felt pretty worthless, and mainly anxious due to my helpful nature of wanting to get up and control assist. 

Day two we were up to Columbia having movers pack my apartment into the truck, and that day my body decided to feel like it was going to faint all morning. Walking up and down three flights of stairs did not help. Laid in my closet (only space movers didn't need to go into--see it's a good thing I always have HUGE closets!) until it was time to go and then lasted an hour on the road to VA before I felt like I was going to fall asleep. Then MC realized I hadn't really eaten in 48 hours and after a half hour nap in a McDonald's parking lot (yes, you read right), a small fry and two apple dippers later we were back on the road. 

Made it to VA, signed lease and found that our AC (which the guy noted during our visit was broken and would be fixed by the time we moved in) was just not working 100%. Luckily this was before the heat wave and we were able to get cool air with the windows open. 

Day three movers come to unpack the truck. I already felt a little queasy, and when we opened it up to find that our lovely SC packers didn't strap in my six foot bookshelf and it was torn to pieces I got a little more sick. Luckily my mom came an hour later, and we all know that moms can fix any ailment. 

The end of the story is that I finally got better (then MC got a stomach bug for the day), our AC was completely replaced (after three days of no air in a heat wave, hello 86* inside!), and we finally got the apartment together (after I blew through the remainder of both my checking and savings accounts). 

All in all though, it was a decent move and I'm excited to have a "grown up" apartment. Really "grown up" to me just means that everything isn't pink, green & orange (the color scheme I've used since freshman year), I'm drinking out of actual glass glasses, I've thrown away tons of clutter...and I'm sharing a closet. 

As I'm slightly obsessed with some of the things I've bought for the apartment I of course want to share and think I may do so room by room. Also because the guest room/office/man cave still has stacks of boxes that we've shoved in there rather than unpacking. Whoops, maybe I'm not really a grown up. 

In the meantime you can enjoy these snapshots from life in Richmond...
Coming into RVA for good

I'm seriously in love with these placemats, I could just sit in my dining room and stare at them all day

And also in love with this duvet (which looks way better in person, if possible)

Introducing MC to Cookout, not sure how this never happened in Cola
Mmm Banana Pudding milkshakes

Enjoying our new pool over the weekend after hard work setting up all week!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday Funnies

It's just barely 9:30am and my Friday is already off to an interesting start. Every morning after snoozing 4 times rolling over to hit my alarm, the first thing I do is (drum roll please) pick up my phone, duh. I scan for any emergency emails/texts, look at notifications and then get on Twitter. Like most mornings my timeline was filled with Good Morning America and the Today Show, but luckily this morning I didn't just scroll through all of them and saw that the Biebs was on Today Show. I'm typically a GMA person, but I turned the TV on right in time for "Boyfriend" to start, and immediately got out of bed and dancing!

I went and got coffee at Starbucks with the excuse that I already packed my coffee maker, coffee, filters, life, etc. On the way back I popped into my apartment's office to ask them a question about moving. And here's what I got:

Disclaimer: everyone that works in this office is horrible (except one kinda sweet girl) and this has been the worst place I've ever lived, they have the strictest visitor spot policy in the world. I wouldn't even refer my worst enemy. 

Me: Hiiiii! I have a question about moving next week. I'll have a Uhaul Sunday night to pack up and leave Monday morning, just wanted to check and see where I should park it?

Life Ruiner: Hmmmm (stares up at her supervisor, who is the queen of all evil)

Me: Well since school has been out, it's pretty empty around my building so there are plenty of spaces I could use so it doesn't stick out in the parking lot.

Life Ruiner: It's definitely going to need to be in a visitor spot.


Life Ruiner: You should try to park it in a row of visitor spots.

Me: On a Sunday night? You think there will be a row of visitor spots available? 

Life Ruiner: Sorry, I mean they're really strict about that here.

I gave them a death look and as I walked out noted that it wasn't going to happen and if my Uhaul gets towed the night before I have move they'll never hear the end of it. Are you kidding me? Hopefully I won't have to post about any missing trucks next week...

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Summer Quinoa Salad

I promised a recipe for the Summer Quinoa Salad that I mentioned in my Saturday Snapshots a while ago and here we go! One of my favorite things about summer is pasta salad, and when I had a craving and no pasta I decided to compromise...and this was a great swap. It was even lighter than regular pasta salad and had so much more to it.

It's a bit of a rough recipe as I didn't particularly measure anything out and just kept adding things until the dish was perfect. That's how I typically tend to cook and how my original recipes will come out so take it for what it's worth. Add and subtract ingredients you like or don't care for, change measurements, use what you have in your kitchen. Make it you!

Summer Quinoa Salad

2 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup diced tomato (or halved cherry tomatoes)
1 cup diced cucumber (cut into slices, then cut slices into quaters)
1 cup finely diced onion (color of your choice, I used sweet yellow)
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 diced hard boiled eggs

Dressing: Safflower Oil (could use olive), Vinegar (I used apple cider because it's what I had!), salt & pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and toss. Then mix 1 tbsp. oil and 1 tbsp. vinegar, stir and pour into salad to coat. After taste test if you'd like more dressing, add a bit more. I hate soggy salads so I went conservative and added some more. I also added a splash of a vinaigrette salad dressing I had in the fridge which gave some fun flavor.

I think I may have used more veggies than what's listed. I prefer to have more veggies & eggs and then coat them with quinoa vs. having huge heaps of quinoa. Add ingredients to your desired liking.

This was so light and awesome! Use it as a side dish, or as a meal since the quinoa & egg have some protein. If you're a meat eater I bet some cubed chicken would go great, I was also thinking that flaking some cooked salmon into it would be tasty as well!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Top 5 Tuesday: Packing Tips

As I announced yesterday I'm moving in less than a week (ahh the panic sets in!) and needing something outside of packing to keep me sane I figured I'd bring back my Top 5 Tuesday series. If there's one thing I can do it's pack, which I am forever grateful to my mother for these skills. I've counted up how many times I've moved since 2005 and came up with this...

Aug. 2005: Home to College
May 2006: College to Home
Aug. 2006: Home to College
June 2007: Campus apartment to off-campus apartment
Aug. 2007: Off-campus apartment to sorority suite
May 2008: Sorority suite to off-campus apartment
May 2009: Off-campus apartment to Raleigh
July 2009: Raleigh to Home
July 2009-May 2010: Home to Sigma headquarters then somewhere different every week
May 2010: Sigma headquarters to Home
July 2010: Home to Columbia College
May 2011: Lots of junk to a friend's apartment to storage and then the rest in my car out to TX
July 2011: TX back to an apartment in Columbia
Aug. 2011: (two weeks later) to a different apartment in Columbia

Grand Total: 14 moves in the past 7 years

For the first time in my life I'm using a moving company (though I'm still packing all of my belongings) and I really feel like a princess to not have to schlep everything down from my third floor walk-up. Especially my bulky over-sized living room furniture...good luck movers!

I've definitely picked up some great tips when moving and figured I'd share. I know a lot of my grad school friends are currently moving and it seems that quite a few of my other friends from different walks of life are, so here you go, my magical tips that are 14 moves in the making:

1. Don't be a pack rat!
This tip is coming from a pack rat herself! I have been someone who saves absolutely everything for fear that there will be that one instance that I may need a John Deere hat, plastic zebra figurine, or random old key chains. Moving is the perfect time to de-clutter and clean out your life. Instead of just throwing everything into boxes, sort it out. Your clothes, desk drawers, drawers of odds & ends, pretty much everything! I made a "keep", "toss", and "give away" box that I used as I went through everything. I have a huge pile for Goodwill, took tons to the dumpster, and packed the rest. If you have a lot (and some big ticket items) in your toss/give away piles, consider a yard sale or Craigslist to get some cash. Then you'll have a stash for things you'll need at your new place. Who wants to move a bunch of clutter to a new place?

2. Organize, organize, organize!
After you de-clutter your life, again please do not just throw it into boxes. Box up each room separately and methodically. For example in the living room use one box for DVDs and electronics and another for decorations and knick knacks. And definitely label! I like to label using index cards taped to the side of boxes. I've found the best way to label is noting what room the box should go to, and then a brief description of what's inside. Like this...

If you want to get even more detailed I thought about doing an Excel document with a tab for each room. Then you could number your boxes and in Excel make a note of everything in there. Then when movers (or friends helping) see "Master Bedroom", "Kitchen", etc. they know exactly where to place the box so you don't have to do extra moving once you're in.

3. Cloth Storage Bags
I have used these since my very first move to college freshman year. You can pick them up at Walmart for cheap (I think around $5), find them where they have ironing boards, laundry bags, etc. I love to use these to pack up all of my clothes, jackets, bedding, towels, pillows, etc. Anything squishy! These are great for these items because one, you don't have to put them into a dirty/smelly box, two, they will squish and fit easier into your car, truck, etc. and finally you can fit SO much stuff in them. Hence how many I have currently used:

4. Think Ahead
Purchase some things you know you'll need immediately after arriving at your new place. Some of these could be trash bags, toilet paper, shower curtain liners, etc. Even though it's giving you more to pack, once you get there and start unpacking you may not want to have to go out the first day/night for some of these essential things.

5. Use Anything & Everything
When I move I'm sure to use every bag I have in addition to boxes. I've seen people pack up duffel bags and suitcases and I have no clue why. I use all of mine to pack clothes and shoes in, though always leave one duffel to actually pack clothes and essentials in so I have them for traveling and once I arrive. Now that I've gained a collection of re-usable shopping bags I've used these as well and they work great for certain items like non-perishable food from your pantry, shoes, hangers, or items already purchased for your new digs.

And just because I'm feeling great I'll give you a bonus today...

6. Hangers
If you're anything like me, then you probably battle with hangers whenever you move. They are a b*$&h to pack, transport, etc. They poke holes in trash bags, and if you put them in a bag or box they don't really take up all of the room, and I hate wasting room when I pack. A few moves ago I discovered the trick of packing them in a laundry basket. The trick is to take them out of your closet in bunches and line them up, keeping a hand or object there so they don't fall over as you move the next bunch. Good to have a friend help with this. Start with shirt hangers and then stick pant/skirt ones in last, you'll have some empty spaces to do this with. Voila!

Hope you'll enjoy and find these useful, do you have any tips or tricks for packing and/or moving?

I've linked up with Simply Sensational Tuesday over at Organizing Homelife, this is a great link up to share any organizing tips or tricks!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Virginia is for Lovers

It's finally time to announce my big news, I'm moving to Virginia! 

I've been a little MIA the past few weeks and this is why, I will be leaving Columbia in one week from today and venturing north to Richmond, VA which I'll now call home. And what makes me even more excited is that I won't be doing it alone, Mr. Charming is coming along for the ride! I am looking forward to beginning work at the University of Richmond (Go Spiders!) in the Office of Alumni and Career Services in two weeks and joining a wonderful staff. 

It's definitely been a whirlwind so far. I found out about UR the same day MC got an interview, he interviewed the next day, got an offer the day after that, and then the day after that (still with me?) we left for the cruise. After we got back from cruising we went to Richmond to house hunt and found a great apartment, the last of about 11 that we looked at. Typical.

After being at least six hours, if not more, from home for the past seven years I'm looking forward to being closer to my parents who are about two hours from Richmond. I'm excited that there's a Wawa within two minutes of our house AND that there's a Cookout about five minutes away. I nearly screamed in the car when I spotted it last week! We've already looked into season passes for Kingsdominion (where I used to go every summer growing up) and I'm already secretly (but really openly) hoping that I'll run into Sherry and John from Young House Love

One thing you can be sure of is that I'll chronicle the adventure! From packing, to traveling, setting up and exploring a new city. I already have a ton of projects for updating furniture and making things for the apartment and a growing to-do list of things to see, check out, and places to eat at (naturally). 

Don't know a lot about Richmond? I found this great list of reasons to visit Richmond which makes me even more excited, and for my friends hopefully this will persuade you to come visit me :)

As many times as I've driven through Richmond I've never actually spent time there so if you have any tips, places you love, or even things to avoid let me know. We're really looking forward to this next chapter in our lives and a new adventure together. Here's to being a big girl now!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Saturday Snapshots

Back on track with sharing snapshots from my week! It's been a long crazy week and I'm glad to be out of town for a bit for my friend Whitney's wedding. I'm so excited to be a part of her big day and can't wait to see a lot of my sorority sisters that I haven't seen in forever. Enjoy my week in photos!

1. Crabs were an awesome way to end a weekend at home and start a new week. Nothing better than a Maryland blue crab, mmm mmm mm!

2. Packing is getting serious, I think boxes are about to get stacked up to the ceiling...

3. Made baked oatmeal (which I've been wanting to do forever) for my last staff breakfast and it was awesome! Found the recipe via Pinterest

4. Food is getting sparse in my house. So dinner the other night was grilled cheese and it was awesome. I used a little bit of veggie cream cheese and then pepperjack...major nom!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Bahama Mama

My cruise to the Bahamas was fabulous! Everything that I bought definitely came in handy, though I definitely over packed a bit. I'd for sure pack differently the next time around but I was for sure prepared for anything that came our way.

I'd definitely be interested in cruising again, though this time not into a tropical storm (thanks for nothing Beryl). I'm thinking of following up with tips I learned from cruising, what I would/wouldn't do again. Not only for y'all but so I can remember myself too for next time.

Enjoy some of the highlights!

We're on vacation, yeah!

Mr. Charming racing an eight year old girl

MC eating up on lobster night

Ported in Nassau

Best $8 ever spent for a water taxi to/from Paradise Island and this amazing tour guide

Atlantis was soooo pretty, it's now on my list

Thinking I may abandon all plans and just buy a condo in Nassau?

Bahama Mamas!

Fancy dinner

MC surprised me with flowers!

Our favorite wall mural

Next stop, Freeport!

Port Lucaya was beautiful and an awesome place to shop

Pretty like a post card!

Leaving Freeport to head home

There are about 5 of these pictures from the trip
A: Smile, I need to see teeth, cheesy, c'mon!!
MC: Like this?

Finally got our Pina Coladas!

We had an awesome dinner table full of young couples and the best wait staff, this really made the trip that much better!