27 Aug
2015
Posted in: DIY Projects, Life
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Family Tree

I have been interested in genealogy practically my entire life. I remember looking at family history books and annuals and trying to figure out how I intersected all these lives. For my #30before30 list I wanted to make a family tree. I looked at a lot of different styles of family trees. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be more literal and include a tree or if I had it in me to go more modern. Etsy offered all kinds of options.

The “Traditional” Tree-Shaped Family Tree

ArtandArtisan

Art and Artisan

ShabbyLadybug

My Shabby Ladybug Design Shoppe

TheFreckledOwlPrints

The Freckled Owl Prints

A More Modern Tree-Shaped Family Tree

BrambleCrafts1

Bramble Crafts

AncestryPrints

Ancestry Prints

ShabbyLadybug

My Shabby Ladybug Design Shoppe
 

The Traditional Bracket Family Tree

EphiphanieDesign

Epiphanie Design
 

An Abstract Circle Chart Family Tree

mycirclefamily

My Circle Family

mycirclefamily2

My Circle Family

moderntrees

Modern Trees

Modern Geometric Family Tree

mypeopleprints

My People Prints

Artistic Family Trees

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evajuliet2
evajuliet3

 

My Family Tree

At the end of the day, I decided to choose an option that had a tree, looked traditional, but hopefully made it easier to understand each tree by choosing a fan chart style tree from FreshRetroGallery.  A bonus of this choice was that I got 2 charts for the price of 1 so I could make a tree for myself and for my husband.
Family Tree
This tree holds 6 generations, including myself. That means it goes all the way back to my great great great grandparents. Sadly, my tree has some blanks in it but it’s important to think of your family tree as a living document that you can keep updating. You find new records and you make adjustments. For me, that meant making sure I had an erasable pen and I found one that not only had strong lines but a fine tip.
I hope to write a post about how to research ancestry soon but here are some good tips:
  1. Research through free documents first. Ancestry, Findagrave, Family Search, state websites, and even your attic may have hints and clues along the way
  2. Sometimes it pays to pay. Ancestry does have paid content but they are fantastic for building a tree and organizing your research.
  3. Document all your finds. You won’t remember how you knew Grandma Betsy came over on a ship or even which ship unless you save it. Find a standard to save documents and live by it.
  4. Just because you find a leaf on Ancestry doesn’t mean that leaf is about your tree. I bet you there were millions of Johns born to John and Mary Lastname so check your dates, locations, and then double check.
  5. Just because it is written doesn’t mean it is true. Just because Grandma has down in the family Bible that she was baptized in 1920 doesn’t mean it’s true. My own grandpa spells his name so many different ways over the years.
  6. Talk to the older generations and find out what they know. My grandma knew nothing about her grandma till she found a letter from a relative who had passed. You won’t always get clues from the grave.
  7. You might find some things others will wish to stay buried. I live by the mantra that there is no bad data but sometimes kissing cousins aren’t the worst you’ll find.
  8. Go to your local library. The librarians there are so helpful and want to help too.
Here’s a look at my completed trees.
Family Tree
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25 Aug
2015
Posted in: Life
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City Museum

City Museum

Just before my birthday I convinced my husband, my brother, and my brother’s girlfriend to come with me to the St. Louis City Museum. In case you don’t know, the City Museum is not some boring old museum. It’s a place where everyone can be a kid in a reclaimed metal jungle with slides, tunnels, and even some museum exhibits.

City Museum

City Museum

Since visiting here was a 30before30 goal, I knew I had to pay extra to visit the roof and see it all. The roof is only open in warm weather without rain so plan accordingly. You do get a discount on admission to the museum if you go on Friday or Saturday after 5 PM and the later you go, the more adults (and fewer kids) there will be. The museum serves alcohol and food so you can make a whole night of it.

City Museum

City Museum

If you’re a control freak like me, you’ll have to let go of that. There are no maps here and the museum is like a giant maze. Even if you get it figured out, the museum is “always growing” so there’s a new path or direction to take. There are tunnels you crawl through and more often than not I was having an 8 year old explain the path to a slide I wanted to take. Also, sliding is more difficult than I remembered. My husband turned out to be a champion slider while I wondered how I could make it down a 10-story slide. We opted to go up instead of down and try out the big Ferris wheel on top of the museum.

City Museum

One thing I learned at the City Museum is how old I really am. When people say “Bring kneepads!” it is not a joke. My knees and shins were bruised the whole next week from all my adventures. Still, we had a blast and I’m glad I had more time to spend with these awesome people.

City Museum

 

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4 Aug
2015
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July: Three Things

Food

  • For my big birthday meal I decided to try The Libertine in Clayton. They’ve recently swapped chefs and had a menu redo and while I was a bit hesitant, I shouldn’t have been. Matt Bessler has made some fantastic decisions regarding the menu. We had mussels and bacon brodo with a broth so delicious I wanted to drink it up with a spoon. My husband had steak & frites while I had the Filet ‘Oscar’. Both of us equally loved our dishes and regretted not getting the others. (I also regret that my phone must have been so hungry it ate the photos when I attempted to transfer them) My steak was like butter and the crab cake had barely any fillers and was beyond delicious. For dessert we even had some bon bons. Ben Bauer is the beverage director here and he made some great decisions to source local liqueurs like Big Os. They are launching their happy hour menu this week and I know I’ll be back.
  • You all have the Skinnytaste Cookbook, right? I’m officially obsessed with it. The jerk pork tacos with mango salsa was fantastic. I’m not always one to mix fruit with my savory dishes but this was worth it. Bonus: This was a crockpot recipe and had lots of leftovers.
  • I got a new gas grill and we’ve been testing some new recipes. I’m loving the burgers my husband made, the skinnytaste Asian Glazed Drumsticks got a big thumbs up. Next up: I think I need to try a butcher for some ribs and steaks. Anyone been to an STL butcher?

Entertainment

  • I’ve loved The xx so now that Jamie Smith has come out as Jame xx in his solo act, I’m of course listening to the new album nonstop. Loud Places is my current favorite.
  • Please tell me someone else out there watches Orphan Black. I watched the first two seasons as fast as I could on Amazon Prime and now I can’t wait to get my hands on Season 3. Tatiana Maslany came out of nowhere to just wow me in her roles. Her acting is amazing.
  • I made it to the St. Louis Art Museum to see Beyond Bosch before it closed. I also had a great time looking at Thomas Cole’s Voyage of Life. Nothing like turning 30 to make you want to visit exhibits that cover mortality and aging.

House

  • I managed to get the deal of a lifetime from West Elm on some new office chairs.  We’re getting closer to the office being finished.
  • Even better – we just got the brackets for some office shelving in the mail from an Etsy seller. I need to finalize some bookshelf plans or you know, start on them.
  • Not the sexiest of home improvements but we had our air conditioning system get some new intake for the air return and I swear I feel the improvement. I’m hoping my bills do too. I didn’t want to wait on improving my heating and cooling since it’s so important in the home. We have dual systems for the house and 3 stories so we need everything to work at its best. Hopefully 2015 was our year of service calls and repairs and in 2016 we’re just in maintenance mode. We’re onto our second home so we’ve taken a proactive approach to the big issues.

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On the Web

  • I remember growing up and hearing about New Horizons and the mission to Pluto but it still caught me by surprise when the photos began to come in. Pluto may have lost its planetary status during the journey there but I think it has captured my heart. Don’t forget the St. Louis Science Center is hosting a New Horizons themed Pluto party for August’s First Friday.
  • I’m taking all my inspiration for home decor from this Pinterest board. Didn’t every girl grow up and want a Practical Magic house?
  • I’m hugely invested in the justice and legal system so this story about life after prison really hit home for me.

Personal

  • I got called for jury duty this month which wasn’t actually that bad. Two days of reading books, bad daytime TV, and eating lunch from food trucks in City Garden was pretty nice. I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be picked (and not because I’m a criminal) so it wasn’t a surprise when I got sent home. So far my only days off work this year have been for a funeral and jury duty though so I need to step it up.
  • I was diagnosed with cancer on July 8, 2005 so now I’ve made it 10 years past that big day. Tomorrow marks 10 years since I started chemo. I had expected surviving cancer this long to be more of a celebration but it felt more solemn than that for me. People I cared for didn’t make it like I did and there’s always a dark cloud that comes with survival. It’s a lonely world when you’re diagnosed with cancer at 19 and it’s even lonelier down the road when you don’t have all those voices celebrating with you.
  • On a happier note, I turned 30 last week. My coworkers pretended not to know and pulled out a surprise birthday cake at the end of a lunch meeting. I went out with my girls to a happy hour and we got to remark on just how far we’ve all come in the last year. I had a nice dinner out with my husband and phone calls from family. My husband even made me a custom piece of art featuring our girl Nova. Then the next morning I work up with back spasms to remind me that I just can’t fight aging.

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28 Jul
2015
Posted in: Household
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The Desk

Any day now I’m expecting some office chairs and shelf brackets to arrive and it reminds me that I’ve never shown off my new beautiful desk.

Back in September of last year I had a chance to see some tables and desks made by a local company called Rustic Grain. The company uses reclaimed wood from barns in the St. Louis metro area. You can see the desks, bars, tables, and even lights at local places like Juniper, CIC, or Death in the Afternoon. I didn’t even have a contract on a house and I knew I’d be using Rustic Grain to build me something. My husband was on board and back in March we finally settled on the idea of a desk big enough for the both of us.

Jimmy from Rustic Grain met with us in their workshop. He showed us how the wood was being used, the skills of his employees, and what they were capable of. We discussed things like size first but he gave us lots of options for finishes and even wood. We were able to get bids from him for just plain milled wood, sanded barnwood, or rough barnwood that would have an epoxy layered over it. It was the last option that sold us and got us to sign on the dotted line.

One of the neat things was that they would post teaser photos on social media of my desk being made. I love knowing the steps made to create the piece. (All photos below courtesy of Rustic Grain)

Desk frame

Desk wood

Wood in desk

Epoxy 2

Epoxy 1

Isn’t that gorgeous? The desk was ready for delivery right around Independence Day and thankfully they took care of getting it up my stairs and into place.

Desk in office

Desk wood final

Desk against brick

Doesn’t that just look fantastic against the brick? Like I mentioned earlier, I’ve got some black chairs on their way and some iron brackets to go above the desk for some open shelving. I’m still having trouble with a rug (has anyone tried a jute rug with office chairs?) and a new light but soon this little nook will be complete.

Rustic Grain is a fantastic place to work with and they make a quality custom product. They’ve in no way compensated me for this review but I really loved working with them so I wanted to give them a shoutout. It’s important to me to support local businesses and this company is a great one to work with and made me a beautiful desk. It’s been 6+ years since I’ve had a desk to sit at in my home and this one is a dream.

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23 Jul
2015
Posted in: Life
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The Time I Jumped Out of a Plane

My most adventurous 30before30 goal was to go skydiving. The backstory on this is that I planned to go skydiving when I graduated high school. Except oops, I was only 17 when I graduated and they don’t tend to let minors jump. Then I thought I’d do it when I graduated college but oops, I graduated in December and had just had surgery and was the bride in an upcoming wedding I wanted to be sure to attend. Time slips away but I wasn’t going to miss my jump. So I took the plunge.

skydiving 1

I decided to go with Gateway Skydiving Center in Illinois for my jump. They were super helpful on the phone when I booked my appointment. They let me know that you arrive, take a short little ride to the hangar, watch a video on safety, have some quick lessons, fly up in the air and jump out. That seemed easy enough.

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My husband was more interested in watching me jump so he decided to come along for moral support while I did my thing. Sadly, the day of the big jump ended up being pretty cloudy so we had to wait a couple of hours to do the jump. It wasn’t so bad since it gave me a chance to chat with Jaco who would be my tandem jumper.

skydiving 2

The part most people don’t realize about skydiving is how small the plane is. The pilot is in there and 4 other people can cram in very tightly. We were squished.

skydiving 3

skydiving 4

You are in the plane quite a while as you circle up and up. They opened the door right around 8500 feet in the air and then the other jumper went out. Suddenly I was up in the doorway and it was my turn to go. It’s so windy up there that I couldn’t even get my second foot on the platform. Luckily my tandem jumper helped me. The jump itself isn’t a jump so much as a lean. And then you’re free-falling for the next 45 seconds.

skydiving 6

skydiving 8

skydiving 9

Freefalling is weirdly fun. There’s air flying everywhere, you can feel your skin moving around and jiggling (you can even see it in the photos above). You’re also moving faster than you probably ever have. Then they pull the parachute. It was quite the jerk for me and kind of cut off some circulation at first. I told my tandem jumper and he had me put my arms above my head and steer the parachute so I’d get the blood flowing again. It was so calm up in the air with the parachute open. Jaco helped me circle around so I could see the view of the lake and dive through a cloud. How cool is that?

skydiving 11

skydiving 10

For the landing, you just lift up your legs and the tandem jumper takes care of the rest.

For me the hardest thing to comprehend was that I was back on the ground. It was so strange to know I jumped out of a plane only a few minutes earlier. I felt so fast in the plane at 110 mph, freefalling for 4000 ft, and then I slowed down when the parachute opened but standing in place on the ground everything just felt so still. I couldn’t believe it was over.

skydiving 12

The most common question I get is ‘Was I afraid?’ I was aware of the risks but I was more excited than nervous. I was afraid I wouldn’t get to jump when the clouds rolled in but the crew kept me posted all afternoon. When the airplane door opened I suddenly realized I was jumping and that caught me a little off guard since I wasn’t sure it was really time but then I was out the door. I never thought about backing down. Then again, once I was on the road driving back home, I suddenly became alarmed that I had just jumped out of a plane and kept insisting that it was dangerous and also I really needed to eat some meat. Your experience may vary.

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21 Jul
2015
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House Tour: The Outside

One of the reasons I fell in love with this house is the huge amount of outdoor space. All three stories of my new home have an outdoor sitting area. My last house always had outdoor space on the to do list but it never got done (though I hear my buyer is having fun with a fire pit).

Outdoors - back yard

On the first floor, just off the kitchen we have a small deck with stairs down to our yard. We’ve already added some outdoor lighting and some small decorations but we’ve always got bigger plans. I want to redo the path out here, conceal the AC, attach both rain barrels and eventually upgrade the deck furniture here.

Yard

We have an interesting kind of garage called a California carport. It means we have off-street parking with a garage door off the alley but no walls. We can add walls later if we want but right now this is working for us. It’s very common in this part of the city and it makes our tiny yard feel bigger.

Deck

The old blue chairs and DIY pillows made the trip with us. We’ve just added a new friend for them.

deck 1

The grill is a new addition thanks to Amazon’s Prime Deals Day. I’m not sure if this was part of the sale but I’d been stalking it for about 4 months and when I saw the markdown of $30 I jumped on it. I also was glad that it was delivered to our house rather than hauling this beast in my car and up stairs. We debated which deck to put the grill on but the 1st floor won due to kitchen convenience, the lack of desire to haul it up to the third floor, and wanting to protect it from the elements.

We have another deck on the 2nd floor, just outside the master suite. On nice days you can sit out here and just relax.

balcony

Potting bench

I put the potting bench up here because I’m envisioning lots of flowers everywhere. I saw all these beautiful balconies in France just full of flowers cascading and that’s my long-term goal. I’ll buy a couple of planters a year and by the time I’m an old lady my vision will be complete. The chair set is from Target, pillows and potting bench from World Market, and the rug is from Overstock.

Our third story deck is one of the biggest selling points the home had and it also has the fewest photos. I haven’t made any progress on it except to sunbathe with a book and a drink. The photos I have are from December when I bought the house.

3rd floor

new buyers

It’s hard to see on the camera shot above but you can see the downtown St. Louis skyline including the Arch from up here. We were more focused on showing off our themed shirts for our new neighborhood than capturing the view but here’s a more recent shot.

The minute I saw this view I was sold. Thankfully all the other details eventually came together. The house is really gorgeous outside but we still have a lot to do before we have our first rooftop party. My big plan is to stalk the end-of-season sales happening now to help fill in the rest of the gaps outdoors. Be sure to let me know if you want in on the guest list.

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15 Jul
2015
Posted in: Food
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Life of the Paella Party

I set my 30before30 goal of making paella because I’d recently been to Spain and enjoyed paella the best of all. I had my paella in Barcelona so it was more seafood heavy than some of the Valencian paellas that are known for their use of rabbit. Paella was the very first meal I ate in Spain so to me paella has a special place in my heart.

paella2

For my paella, I wanted to make a paella mixta. I remembered my paella having seafood and chicken in it with rice and a deep rich taste. The recipe I used was from Chow and it came out perfectly. You’ll want to consider buying a paella pan that can be grilled, used on the stovetop, or in the oven so your rice can cook evenly. I was able to find a deal on a paella pan at World Market. I also grabbed some Spanish chorizo while I was there. Make sure it is Spanish and not Mexican for the right flavorings. I bought all my seafood at Whole Foods since I wanted clams and mussels and you can’t always guarantee that will be available at my local grocers. For me, the biggest surprise was how hard it was to find the rice. You need a special short-grained rice known bomba rice and despite checking nearly every grocer in St. Louis, I had to go online. It goes by a couple different names but this is the one I bought.

paella1

The paella itself was fantastic. It makes a complete meal and then some. If you are eating it solo you can eat on it for a few days and if you plan to serve it to a crowd consider making some tapas to start with so there’s enough to go around. I chose a Spanish red wine, a Campo Viejo Rioja Reserva, with ours but with a paella mixtas you can go red, white, or even rosé/rosado.

paella3

Paella Mixta

Ingredients

  • 2 medium, ripe tomatoes (about 12 ounces)
  • 16 large shrimp (about 12 ounces), peeled and deveined
  • 1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 8 ounces Spanish chorizo, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil, as needed
  • 1 medium yellow onion, small dice
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 large pinch saffron threads
  • 2 cups paella rice (about 1 pound), sometimes labeled bomba or Valencia
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning the shrimp and chicken
  • 4 cups (1 quart) low-sodium chicken broth
  • 16 mussels, Manila clams, or a combination, scrubbed
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 2 medium lemons, cut into 8 wedges each, for serving

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
  2. Core and halve the tomatoes. Grate the flesh side of each half on the large holes of a box grater set over a medium bowl, stopping when you get to the skin. Discard the skins. You should have about 3/4 cup of tomato pulp and juice; set aside.
  3. Place the shrimp in a medium bowl, add 1/4 teaspoon of the paprika, and season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine and refrigerate.
  4. Place the chicken in a medium bowl and season generously with salt and pepper; set aside.
  5. Place a 15-inch paella pan across two burners and heat over medium-high heat until hot, about 2 minutes. Add the chorizo to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until it has started to brown and the fat has rendered, about 2 to 3 minutes. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a large bowl; set aside.
  6. There should be a thin layer of rendered fat in the pan. If there’s not enough, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the seasoned chicken to the pan in a single layer and sear, stirring occasionally, until both sides are golden brown, about 6 minutes total. (You will need to rotate the pan occasionally over the burners to evenly distribute the heat.) Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to the bowl with the chorizo; set aside.
  7. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, remaining 3/4 teaspoon paprika, and saffron, stir to combine, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  8. Add the reserved tomato pulp and juice and cook until the mixture has slightly darkened in color, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and measured salt and stir to coat in the tomato mixture.
  9. Increase the heat to medium high. Add the broth and stir to combine. Arrange the rice mixture in an even layer. Distribute the reserved chorizo and chicken over the rice, adding any accumulated juices from the bowl. (Do not stir the rice from this point on.)
  10. Bring to a lively simmer and continue to simmer, adjusting the heat as necessary and rotating the pan 90 degrees every few minutes, until the rice grains have swelled, most of the liquid has been absorbed, and the rice starts to make a crackling sound, about 12 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
  11. Arrange the reserved shrimp and the shellfish (hinge-side down) in the rice, nestling them slightly. Place the pan in the oven and bake until the shellfish have opened, the shrimp are just cooked through, and the rice is tender but still al dente, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  12. Remove the pan from the oven and place on a wire rack. Cover with foil and let stand for 5 minutes. Before serving the paella, discard any unopened shellfish and sprinkle the dish with the parsley. Serve with the lemon wedges.
http://www.thehyperhouse.com/2015/07/life-of-the-paella-party/

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1 Jul
2015
Posted in: Life
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June: Three Things

This year is already halfway over, how great is that? Here’s what I’ve been up to this month off the blog.

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Food

  • My dad requested we eat at Pastaria for Father’s Day. What’s not to like about pizza, pasta, and gelato?
  • Vanilla is not a boring flavor at Clementine’s Creamery. I had a chance to sample some a a picnic and it was a new view on plain vanilla. The shop is located just off Lafayette Square Park in the city.
  • My favorite recipe from this month comes once again from Gina at Skinnytaste. The zucchini she suggests you add to turkey burgers really takes the flavor up a notch and my husband loved the Greek burgers almost as much as I did.

Entertainment

  • I won a year’s membership to the St. Louis Art Museum and got to attend the members’ picnic this past weekend. We had picnic foods, avoided the rain, saw the new Senufo exhibit and sculpture garden, and enjoyed some of that Clementine’s ice cream I mentioned above.
  • I have nothing but great things to say about Netflix this month. Another good season of Orange is the New Black and if you haven’t yet watched Daredevil then you need to! This is better than the movie version with Bennifer v2 in it a decade ago.
  •  I’ve also been enjoying my Amazon Prime access to TV shows. Catastrophe is a hilarious take on love and other things. With just 6 short episodes you could binge watch in one sitting but I suggest you savor it.

 House

  • Our desk has arrived! Now I need to build shelves, settle on a rug and office chairs, and keep a lookout for a new light.
  • We cleared out a decent part of the basement and installed our first set of shelves. We celebrated by sitting in the basement during a tornado watch on Sunday night.
  • My in-laws drove into the city to join us in some architectural salvage hunting. We did a circle of the town stopping at Cherokee Street to visit Riverside Antiques, Junque over in the Lemp Brewery, Architectural Artifacts off Lafayette, and Refab. Then we went back to Cherokee Street for Mexican at Neveria La Vallesana.

On the Web

Personal

  • Ikea has announced they are opening the St. Louis store on September 30. I work just a block away so this will be quite dangerous.
  • I celebrated 1 year with my new employer in June. Not everything about this job is perfect but it’s starting to feel like home. I miss my close friends at my last job and the good I felt I was doing in the world but beyond that I have no regrets about moving on. Ask a Manager was one of the best sites to help me make the decision to leave and helped me form a plan to do it.
  • Last year was a hard year for me when it came to food and working out with the job change and house hunt. I’ve managed to lose all the weight I gained in 2014 and then some. I’ve also stuck to my goal of only eating out once a week at lunch for all of 2015. Next week I am joining a gym in my new neighborhood so I stay on the right track.
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17 Jun
2015
Posted in: Household
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A Better Basement

I have had it with my basement. I haven’t unpacked all the tools because I don’t have a workbench yet at this house. I don’t have a workbench since I don’t know where all the tools are. The cycle seems a little silly when I have bookshelves, tote shelves, potting benches, and more in the queue to be built and yet it is all dependent on getting my basement organized. I know making a craft room for the blog would be pretty and finished off the office would be nice but none of it can happen until I can build. So, enough is enough- the basement is the priority now.

Are you ready for the horror that awaits?

Basement Before 1

Basement Before 2

This is one big project ahead of us. (That’s right husband, us!) We have some issues: our last house had no space so everything lived in the basement and the old owners left a bunch of stuff in the basement. For issue 1 we will need to unpack some things but as a temporary solution all the totes and seasonal items will live on some wooden shelves we’ll be building. For issue 2 the plan is to store some things in a better way (i.e. on shelves) or throw some things away. Living in the city means bulk trash pickup each month so we have a couple weeks to make some decisions.

The basement has several roles to fill.

  1. Hold seasonal items– think Christmas ornaments but also the lawn mower. It also needs to keep us safe in tornado season and hold our emergency gear.
  2. Hold hobby items- We like to spend time outdoors but need a place indoors to store gear
  3. Hold household items- from extra toilet paper to paint cans, everything needs a home
  4. Be our construction center- We need workbenches, tool storage, and space to build

There’s several long-range plans we are going to have to do, like add more lighting and run a water line so we have a faucet in our backyard, but this is the “Clean the Basement” phase so here’s the plan.

Basement before and after

Doesn’t that look nice and organized? It’s a multi-step process and while I’m sure I’m missing a few steps, here’s the current plan:

  1. Buy metal shelves for paint cans and other tools
  2. Clear out the back half of the basement to allow us to build a workbench
  3. Build saw cart
  4. Put all the tools where they belong
  5. Build tote shelves along the front half of the basement and relocated all totes
  6. Buy rug, pair with table and chairs for tornado shelter storm seating. Add emergency kits.
  7. Organize outdoor gear like shovels and lawn mower with some wall storage
  8. Buy a locker for all hiking/camping gear
  9. Buy/build potting bench for all outdoor gardening supplies
  10. Drywall staircase wall and build shelves for overstock groceries

Once phases 4 and 5 are finished I can see us splitting our time between the basement and projects on the second floor so hopefully this list will keep me on track. Organizing the basement might not be the most glamorous thing but it will definitely make my life easier.

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3 Jun
2015
Posted in: Food
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Splendid Ice Cream

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams has finally come to St. Louis! Wednesday night I was part of a preview event thanks to an invite from Yelp. The night before the big launch we got to sample some free ice cream.

jenis-storefront

My love for Jeni’s started when some friends in Ohio wouldn’t stop posting about it. Then one day at the mall I spied the cookbook and it was fate. I made salted caramel ice cream and milkiest chocolate ice cream and I was hooked. When Aaron, our lovely Yelp community manager, sent out a call for people to attend the big launch I had to jump.

jenis flavors

The store is located right in the Central West End and per Jeni is one of their biggest storefronts. It’s so clean and open and soon it will be filled with people experiencing some of the best ice cream ever.

jenis store

Jeni was on hand for the preview tonight and she is just as amazing in person. I was trying so hard not to fangirl too much but I got to hear some of her plans to bring St. Louis locally sourced ingredients to the ice cream. She is so warm and passionate about her food and she can just name off her chocolate supplier from memory because every product comes from a person, not just some corporate no name.

jeni and aaron

Speaking of, the flavors are amazing. There’s ice cream, frozen yogurt, sorbet, and so many toppings too. You can even have a sundae or a float. The staff there were so welcoming. If they even saw you eye a flavor they’d have a sample ready to go. When I tried the mango lassi and liked it they immediately told me I had to try the lemon frozen yogurt. The flavor tasted just like when you are a kid and at an amusement park in the summer and eating that fair food but in a wholesome way. Fantastic.

jenis-flavors

I picked up a lemon frozen yogurt + red raspberry sorbet for my husband. For myself, I went with a pistachio and honey + brown butter almond brittle with the salty caramel sauce. It was probably the best thing ever. St. Louis gets hot this summer and I will need a lot of Jeni’s to survive it.

both flavors

Thursday night from 7 – 11 PM Jeni will be hosting the grand opening. Ice cream is free for those four hours. Get down there early and enjoy!

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