Friday, April 25, 2014

7 Quick Takes: Week ending April 25

Did you have a nice Easter?  It was the first one we've had in Ohio in almost 10 years, which was a little strange!   Personally, I liked that we spent time with Michael's side {brunch at ML's} and my side {dinner at Nene's} and we got to spend some one-on-one time at the Indians game!  True, sitting in a stadium may not scream HE IS RISEN but I found it to be fabulous.   I even went to 6 am Mass [during which time paramedics were called to assist an elderly gentleman] in order to get in run.  The best kind of full day


Since Al was in town we did a lot of dessert eating and making.  Also, we watched Frozen.  Yes, we are [supposed to be] grown-ups and no we are not too old to watch children's films.  In less than 6 months the few days Al and I have been in the same place, we have seen Monster's University, Brave, and Frozen.  #adult

Michael celebrated his Baskin-Robbins birthday* this week so we have been eating way too much cake this week.  It's delicious, but MyFitnessPal hates me.

 We participated in our first networking event to support our alma mater.   It was fun to put some alumni names that we usually just see in newsletters with faces, and to promote the summer opening of the store.

In other news, I am impatient.  We still don't have bedroom furniture, no art has been hung, and we have assembled one of two bookshelves.   Yes, I work full time, yes Michael is working on opening a restaurant and yes, we had a major holiday thrown in.  But I am READY for our place to feel 100% like home.   My hope is that this weekend we can take care of some of the smaller annoyances.  Truly it does not look bad but it's not DONE and that drives me crazy.  I know, I know, your home is never done, you can always tweak it, etc.  But until my artwork is out of its boxes and books are unpacked, we are not done with this phase.


Actually we do have 1 item hanging on the wall.   It may keep me doing laundry a little more frequently

In addition to hopefully recycling a lot of cardboard, this weekend will include the North Coast Men's Chorus presentation of VonTrapped.  As if Sound of Music songs were not reason enough to go, check this out:   
Join us as we sing through fabricated Austrian Alps with nuns, soldiers, seven precocious children, a goat herd, and a drag queen baroness!

Auntie and Benita [birthday girl!] are joining us, and we even get to eat at Balaton.   See also #3:
It's delicious, but MyFitnessPal hates me.

*he turned 31

Friday, April 11, 2014

7 Quick Takes: Week ending April 11


The Home Opener did not disappoint!   We were a bit chilly, but nothing layers and a fleece blanket could not fix.   The come from behind win complete with fellow Ohioan Nick Swisher hitting a home run was so much fun.   Michael and I went to Tuesday night's game as well [there were only 9,000 people there] and had a blast.  It was, of course, cold for baseball but we were prepared.  We even discovered that $4 is added to each of our tickets each game.   It is not a coincidence that the freshly popped gourmet popcorn a few sections away costs $4.   Basically, I got free popcorn this week.


We have officially moved!   
Saturday was chock full of activity.   The big strong men unloaded our POD at 9 am and were done just after 10.   Not too bad if you ask me!  So glad we called in for help.  The apartment had tons of boxes, as you might imagine, but we worked hard to whittle that down over the weekend and Monday (I took a vacation day from work)  The kitchen was even ready for dinner Saturday night.   Don't worry.  We ordered pizza.  The photo above was taken at about 8:55, before the fun began

Unfortunately we have no bedroom furniture.   Just a lot of piles of clothing.   We had been considering a *nice* bedroom set that we would have forever... but it's super pricey.   So now we are thinking PierOne might be a good idea, but then we would have to assemble everything.  Ick.


Oliver is settling in as well.   He had a bit of culture shock the first couple days.   No surprise for fellow cat owners.  Kitty found a good hiding spot initially, and has been getting braver each day.   Yesterday he spent some time in my office basking in the sun.   Almost back to normal!

New neighborhood means lots of new places to run!  I had an 11-miler on my schedule this weekend, which was not really on my list of things I wanted to do, with a mess of boxes in here.  But I did it and it felt pretty good, and I discovered how tasty chocolate Gu can be.  The run actually went by pretty fast, since all the sights were brand new.   AND!  I did not get lost.   

Our apartment is configured differently than our house so we are in the discovery stage of learning what organizational items we are lacking to function here.  Am I the only one who has these epiphanies?  Target's shelving section is going to get a workout.


Al is coming for Easter!  YAY   I don't remember the last time we were in the same place for Easter - it might have been high school.  All I can say is, family, WATCH YOUR EASTER BASKETS!   We are sugar experts

Check out Jen's takes!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

My Work Family

Look at what was delivered to our new place Wednesday afternoon!   

The note reads:

Congrats on your new apartment!  Here's a little something from the Team to help it feel homey and springy;-)
~Your Family

Isn't that the cutest idea?   Among the mild chaos of unpacking, what room cannot use a vase of fresh flowers?  and they are TULIPS!   One of my favorites, and they always remind me of my BFF Pannie.

The moral of the story?   My colleagues are the best!  Even though we don't all work in the same office location we feel connected and supportive to each other.    I love it and consider myself lucky to be part of this Team.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Gift inspiration: A Box of Money

In February, my cousin David turned 14.    For the first time in many years, Michael and I were here in Ohio to attend the party.    I asked my aunt if David had anything in particular on his birthday list.  When I was 14, I am sure I had a list and I'm also sure I got plenty of bizarre items that were not ON the list !   I did not want to perpetuate that cycle :)

What a cutie!

Nene suggested gift cards to a few retail establishments because evidently the items on his list were pretty pricey, so he was trying to save up.   Excellent!  I am all about gift cards because they allow the recipient to choose whatever he wants, and negates any possible customer service/return counter situations.   But we have a huge family, and I got to thinking how boring it might be to open a bunch of birthday cards with gift cards inside.   I'm not saying he would not want the gift or appreciate it.   Simply that it might become monotonous after awhile.

Luckily, we were able to throw a bit of creativity in the mix.   I decided I would bring a large box resembling a mystery present, but it would actually be full of cash.   Clever, huh?

First, I determined how much money to give.   This is a largely personal decision and often varies depending on your budget and how much you like the person [just kidding!]  It just so happened that the amount we decided on was divisible into 14 bills of varying amounts.  (I did not give him 14 $1 bills, in case you are wondering!)  But you can do whatever you want - if someone is turning 14 but you want to give $30 and would like them to pop 30 balloons, speak to the bank accordingly!

I obtained balloons as well as the 14 bills, in appropriate denominations, and started to fold them up teeny tiny.   This is key because you're going to put a bill inside each balloon, and then inflate.   If you have a spouse or a significant other, or a gullible younger sibling, now is an excellent time to ask for help.   I mean, who wants to blow up that many balloons?  So poor Michael inflated all 14 balloons for me.   (He then rinsed his mouth with Listerine because he was afraid germs from the money might have gotten on the balloons.)

You can see my attempt at a close-up below.   That's money, folded into a tiny square, inside a balloon.  Riveting!

I inadvertently purchased a bag of balloons that was assorted sizes and shapes, which meant some balloons were really too small to put anything in but water.  [Check back in a few months to see how I use those babies!]  But on the plus side, the presentation in the box was that much more fun.

Since my father is known to hoard boxes, and we were still in the Homestead, the basement was basically my oyster.   I found a ginormous box into which 14 balloons would fit, and tossed them in.   Aside from Michael inflating the balloons, he longest part of the process was probably finding wrapping paper big enough to cover such a huge box.

Now, you could obviously leave it at that and let the birthday boy figure out what the box was all about.   But as luck would have it, Michael and I were not able to stay at the party very long, so I added a nerdy sign on top of the balloons, hinting at what was inside.

It was, coincidentally, the ONLY box David had to open.  I'm so glad I did something different, since it was unique and gave the birthday boy an alternative gift presentation, but with the same result as cash in an envelope.

And if you're miles away from the party but still want to be generous, balloons are lightweight and easy to mail.   Even Oliver approves.

Friday, April 4, 2014

7 Quick Takes: Week ending April 4


TODAY IS THE HOME OPENER!   YAY LIKE KERMIT.    It's supposed to rain all freaking day, but we are still excited.   It won't be quite this cold, but we'll look something like this as we deal with Mother Nature's wrath.    GO TRIBE

As if that was not exciting enough, we are moving on Saturday as well.   Such excitement in these parts.  The big strong men are unloading the POD tomorrow morning and we'll be unpacking like crazy.   We did a walk through of apartment on Tuesday and it looks brand new [it's new construction so that part makes sense] and very clean, which is a good start.

The raccoons are still in the attic.   The good news?   The exterminators have set traps baited with peanut butter crackers so now we have to wait.  Sounds to me like raccoons are a lot like toddlers.   They go places they shouldn't be, destroy things, and can be bribed with snacks.

Northern Ohio was hit with a crazy blizzard on Saturday.   We probably got about 5"... two days before April started.   It made for an interesting drive home from the baseball show {Auntie got a killer program from the first baseball game played at Cleveland Stadium in 1932!} and also helped me decide not to stop for an ice cream treat on the way home.   Not because it was too cold, but because the roads were crap.


Michael's grandparents are snow birds who used to summer in Michigan but as of last fall, are now in Ohio.   It's nice for us to be back near family, but so nice to have them here now as well!  This Christmas gave us a taste, since they were 'home for Christmas' for the first time in more than 10 years.  We're having brunch together this weekend (I'll take a break from unpacking!) and I imagine there will be many ice cream dates this summer as well.

Have I mentioned that I have the best sister ever?  I probably have.   This past Christmas she bought me slippers, which were the #1 item on my list.   But the slippers she bought did not fit.  Long story short, I was technically without a Christmas gift.   Not a big deal.   So Thursday afternoon when I got the mail, there was a box from Al.  I had no idea what was going on.   Inside was a note [ode to Elf] reading "I'm sorry for ruining your lives and buying you slippers in the wrong size"  Merry belated Christmas.  I hope this will come in handy once it stops snowing and you can run outdoors.   xo, Al

And inside the box, with the note, was this Sugoi Versa Jacket.  It is amazing!   You see, it's a vest, with sleeves that attach via magnets.   So you start out running with the jacket, but you get warm, so you just take the sleeves off and put them in the little zip pouch on the back.   Genius!


My dear friend Ashley - 1/3 of The Trio - had some pretty major surgery yesterday.  She is in recovery and although she's from hearty midwestern stock, Ash could definitely use thoughts and prayers and happiness if you have a moment.

Want more Quick Takes?  Jen's hosting.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Fool's!

One thing about being an adult is that in most cases, your day is not set up to learn new things everyday.   When you're in school, it's basically all you are supposed to do.   Learn - and remember- new things.   I like to think I learn new things regularly - like how to solve a work issue better, how to make a new food, etc. but it's probably not the stuff that will help me on Jeopardy!   And really, I'm more of a Wheel of Fortune girl.

Anyway - my point is, I learned a lot this weekend when I stumbled upon Twenty Interesting Things About April Fool's Day.   If you're in the mood to brush up on trivia, try out for Jeopardy! or just impress people at dinner tonight, check it out!

My favorite item on the list might actually be something I already knew about.. the Left Handed Whopper.   Those jokesters at Burger King.  

Monday, March 31, 2014

Beat the Monday Blahs

Last Monday I came across a pretty awesome list at The Golden Girl Blog.   (She's the one who had the fantastic idea to try 12 new things this year instead of making official resolutions.)

So, because we got FIVE INCHES of snow on Saturday, my Sunday run was interrupted by an infinite number of puddles, and we're moving in less than a week {with hiccups I may address later but don't feel like typing now!}, I invite you to check out Seven Simple Tips to improve your Monday.

Do I sound crabby?   I might be a little bit ;) but the list is truly worth checking out, and I'd send you there anyway.   I'm loving the suggestions* because they start the week off on a high note and are all very do-able.   Easy + Monday = Happy Jules

Happy Monday, friends!  

*Personally I think the Crock Pot idea is fabulous and once I unpack mine, I just might make it a habit!