Thursday, October 19, 2017

{12} Favorite Things from IKEA

Our nearest IKEA is about 3 hours away but we've still managed to make quite a few visits in the past 4 years (6, by my best count).  Which isn't a terribly large number but it's also not an area I'm in super often.  Conveniently, it's near where I went to college and still visit a few times a year to see old friends.  Not so conveniently, it's still 3 hours away.  

In honor of Indiana finally getting their own IKEA (which is still almost 2 hours away BUT somewhere I am more often!), I'm going to share a few of my favorite things to buy there.  Yes, there is some cheap junk, but sometimes you don't need something real expensive anyways.  It's a great place for basic staples, especially if you are starting out i.e. college student, living on your own for the first time, etc.

I am neither of these things, and haven't been in over a decade, but I've always walked away from there spending more than I plan.  Oops.  It's just that everything seems so's very tempting.

We have bought two bigger items there, both of which we are still very happy with.  The first is our bathroom vanity which remains, of this whole massive project, one of the most complimented items in there.  I mean, it's a small bathroom so there isn't room for a lot, but the vanity, with double sink faucets, almost ALWAYS gets a comment.

I didn't find our lovely, lovely, double faucet topper but here is the vanity, no longer sold in the "high gloss grey" we have.  It's huge, offers SO MUCH storage, and gets us two faucets in a bathroom less than 6' x 6'.  Totally worth it.

The other large item we have is the PS Cabinet for our tv, which got a whole post 3 years ago.  The fact that it locks is still hugely appealing, even with a 4 year old who should know better but sometimes just wants to watch Curious George.  And can't because he can't reach the key.

Now most of the rest of these are under $10, all but two.  And exactly the kind of basics I like to buy there.

1) Bumerang wooden hangers
We spent about a year slowly switching our all our mismatched hangers for wooden ones and I'm still so pleased with the change, even countless hanger packs later.  More about this back here!

2) Papaja pots
I have A LOT of these, in a variety of colors.  A few have broke (blame the then 2 year old for that) but most of them haven't.  I have some with actual house plants in them, some just for decor.  I like having many colors to switch between, depending on the season.  I almost always get a few of these when we go.

3) Fejka fake plant
I have been trying to incorporate more real plants inside our home but I still have a pretty black thumb.  It's a good thing I'm much better at keeping my son alive than I am house plants.  I have this fake one (inside one of the pots above!) and it's fun and stays green no matter how little I touch it!

4) Ribba picture frames

I also have a lot of these.  They aren't great for pictures you are going to be switching out often because the backs are just the little metal tabs you have to bend back and those can break with too much use but for frames we don't switch often, these are great.

5) Sinnlig candles

Another one I almost always buy.  I don't like them as much as the soy ones I buy at Target but those soy ones aren't often on sale so these are good substitutes. 

6) Vartatel throw
This was a complete impulse buy but I'm so happy with it that I'm considering getting a second if it's still sold whenever we go next.  It's cozy, a great size, and has a fantastic weight to it.  Mentioned it back here!

7) Gubbrora Spatulas
I think these are great spatulas, for $1!  I have some nicer ones that say they can go up to 500° or whatever that I always use when making ice cream, caramels, or anything that requires constant stove watching BUT these are stiffer which is great for scraping out peanut butter jars and such.  Definitely nice to have 1 or 2 of these in the kitchen (even if my second one is currently unreachable behind the stove). 

8) Glass Jars
One of those basics that are cheap and handy.  These specific ones are Korken but they always have many varieties.  Another that I almost always pick up a few of.  I don't mind having a mismatched selection in the kitchen.

9) Blanda Bowls
These are our popcorn bowls for movie night!  Because of course we don't want to share! (And, also, all have different salt preferences). 

10) Muffin Liners

I have not seen these sold since I bought mine 3 years ago BUT if you ever see them, they are totally worth it.  They are my absolutely favorite of all the reusable liners I have.  They are thin and peel off muffins super easily.  I always bake them inside a muffin tin and they fill the tin the best of all the ones I own.  I don't remember how much it was for a set of 21 but I'm sure it was under $10 and definitely worth it.  (Talked about them waaay back here.)

11) Trovardig frying pan

For almost a decade we have been using kitchen pots and pans that had already gone through two of my sisters.  We still use all the pots but have upgraded our frying pan to this one.  We've only had for about 6 months but so far it's much nicer than our double hand me down one and has held up really well.  We will likely upgrade some of our pots next trip. 

12) Raskog cart

I was really surprised on the quality of this item.  It's part of my long brewing (and almost done!) craft area reorganize.  It was easy to put together and holds a lot!  So many places this could be used!

That's it!  12 (plus 2 more) of my favorite IKEA purchases.  I'm scared of crowds and so won't go to the new one soon, but these are things I'll be looking out for when I do!

Have you been to IKEA?  What do you like to buy there?

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Lessons in Adulting - You Don't Have 5 Minutes

Throughout high school and college I was always early.  For everything.  I was never tardy to school, never late to class.  I left 10 minutes earlier than I needed to before going anywhere.  At the end of freshman year of college our dorm floor voted on superlatives and I got "Most likely to be early".  And it was true.  I was perpetually early.

And then something happened.  Now, I am rarely early.  On time is pushing it occasionally.  I maybe get too excited when we aren't the last of my sisters to make it to my parents, more excited than I should be about beating sisters with more kids and farther to drive.  That isn't much of an accomplishment.

I've read things about how people who are always late are inconsiderate, etc. but I never thought that was the case for me.  I do care about other people and, as big as I am on time management, I don't want to waste others' time either.

Then I heard (from Laura Vanderkam? Or Gretchen Rubin?)  that the reason a lot of people are late is because they underestimate time.

The time it'll take to fit in one more task.

The time it'll take to drive.

The time it will take to get your kid to potty, put on shoes and a coat.


I'm frequently guilty of trying to do one more thing before leaving the house: unpacking the dishwasher, quick clutter clean-up, dusting my whole downstairs.

I frequently plan on the drive being optimal - that one time we made the usual 15 minute drive in 10.

I frequently underestimate how long it actually takes me to shower (shaving and hair washing really changes things!) and get ready.

And I'm VERY often rushing Luke through the potty/shoes/coat routine.  Then think I can get the dishes put away while he is (supposedly) putting on his shoes and then he sees me doing something else and thinks he has time to disappear and play and then I have to chase him down again and help with shoes because all of a sudden he's forgotten how to put them on.

Lesson: You don't have an extra 5 minutes to clean the house.  EVERYTHING will take longer than I expect: driving, showering, cleaning.  Take that "extra" 5 minutes and get out the door a little quicker.

Maybe I'll start being early to things!

(That might be pushing steps...I'll settle for "not late".)

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Book Love: Reading People & The Four Tendencies

I've been listening to podcasts for awhile now and the hosts of two of my favorites, What Should I Read Next? and Happier with Gretchen Rubin, both had personality books come out last month.  I like the (occasional) random "What kind of cheese?" are you quiz as much as the next person (assuming that next person doesn't like them a whole lot) but I've never put much time or effort into "typing" myself.  I don't know my Myers-Briggs letters, I had no idea what an Enneagram was, it's not something I had much of an interest in.

BUT...then after months of hearing about their books I was slowly worn down and reserved both at my library.  I picked them up the same day and read them almost back to back, so now I have all sorts of thoughts on the whole personality typing thing.  And definitely want to figure out some of my types.  And my husband's.  And my kid.  Would it be pushing it to get everyone I know to type themselves?  (I was pushing it at getting Matt...I know beyond that it's a lost cause.)

Reading People: How Seeing the World Through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything by Anne Bogel
I'm a big fan of Anne's podcast and blog, Modern Mrs. Darcy (where I link up my Quick Lits each month).  She usually has some interesting and helpful insights, beyond providing plenty of book recommendations.  Reading People is like a primer into nine different personality types, adding some of her real life examples to their benefits.

I figured out I'm probably a highly sensitive person, introvert that might be an ISFJ, Guardian, with the cognitive functions SiFeTiNe.

That might sound like a lot of gibberish (and I had to do a lot of book referencing and flipping to get all those right).  And that's only typing myself on five of the nine systems in the book.

I didn't take any of the type quizzes before reading (and as of writing this I still haven't) but reading through some of the descriptions made my type pretty obvious.  For instant, Guardians are described in part as: 
They are creatures of habit who love their routines. ..... They love facts and are good at remembering details: names, birthdays, anniversaries, social events
Ummm...yes.  My mental birthday calendar numbers over 100 people and I LOVE routine.  (And a spreadsheet but that wasn't mentioned.)

It was reassuring to find that some of the things that I may have found odd about myself aren't really that odd, just maybe different than some/most people I know (although, I'd argue that most accountants can appreciate a good spreadsheet).

So what good is figuring out all my types besides feeling a little less alone in my nature?  It helped me appreciate some of why I am the way that I am.  It helped me see some potential strengths, weaknesses and how to maximize the first and work on the second.  And it gave me insight into some of these other types.  Even if I can't get anyone else I know to type themselves, it gave me a better understanding for how different we all are as humans.  Matt might know 5 dates outside of his own birthday but he certainly keeps me a little more spontaneous and less tied down to my beloved routines.

It would be pretty boring if we were all the same, or even if everyone in our house was the same.  I can definitely see a benefit to exploring some of these further but Reading People was a fantastic starting point.

And while Reading People was an overview of 9 different types,  The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better (and Other People's Lives Better, Too) by Gretchen Rubin was an in-depth look at her one type.  She developed her system when writing Better than Before (all about habits, which I have read and enjoyed) and expanded upon it in this book.

This framework deals with how you respond to expectations.  Do you meet your personal expectations but resists outer expectations?  That's a Questioner.   Do you easily meet inner and outer expectations?  Upholder.

I think I am a OBLIGER/Upholder which means I meet outer expectations but struggle with inner expectations to some extent.  I like following rules (As a kid I always wanted to read the campground rule sheet as soon as we got to a new place.  I wanted to know all the rules before I got out of the car so I could be sure not to break them.)  I don't like letting people down but also need some sort of accountability to meet my own goals (even if it's in the form of apps I set-up on my phone).

This would explain why I like doing my seasonal clothes lists, even though I know nobody really cares if I stick with what I said I would buy, it helps me knowing I'll be accountable somewhere.  It's why I use an app to track my water consumption and knowing my running miles will be logged really helps me get out the door.

It's helped me figure out that I need some systems in place to better hold myself accountable for the things I want to get done.  Like having the computer off at 9:30 every night when I'm ALWAYS trying to squeeze in a little more blog really helps if we make a rule that whoever turns off their computer last has to do the dishes.  Or something that we don't really want to do.

But the bigger benefits might be in better understanding how to motivate others.  Right now I'd say Luke is a Questioner, but that might just be the nature of a 4 year old (SO MANY questions).  It helps me give him a real answer instead of just "because I said so" or "because that's how it is".  I haven't figured out Matt's tendency yet but I have been thinking about it.  Maybe more than he would like.  Of course you want your wife to better figure out how to get you to do stuff, right???

I never paid much attention to different personality types before my recent readings of these books BUT I certainly see benefits now.  I like knowing why I am a certain way, my own motivations, how best to maximize myself, in many ways.  These books gave me good insights into that as well as others.  And there is a huge benefit in both.

Reading People by Anne Bogel
The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Quick Lit - October

I felt like I spent a lot of time reading this month, then I realized I was mostly re-reading this month, 7 of the 12 titles I'm sharing below I had read previously, many of them more than once.  So not much got knocked off my to-read list which might explain why it's the largest it's been maybe all year.

Housekeeping notes:

First, linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy with this month's Quick Lit.
Second, if you found me via the above, you can follow me on Goodreads, I'm very active over there.
Third, other book posts this month:

Now, what I read this month:

Grace Grows by Shelle Sumners
For our recent Florida trip I mostly packed books I've read and enjoyed before.  This was, I think, my 4th time reading this since my (4 year old) son's been alive.  It's a favorite.  Story of Grace who lives in NYC with a very predictable and steady life when her life surprisingly interects with a budding musician named Tyler.  She tries to keep on her steady life.  Things don't go according to plan.  It's not high literature but it is charming and entertaining.  4 Stars

The Blue Bistro by Elin Hilderbrand
Another favorite vacation reread and probably my favorite of all her books.   Adrienne comes to Nantucket after a string of bad life choices, looking to make a lot of money.  She ends up running the front of the house at a high-end restaurant in it's final year.  It's fast paced, just like restaurants may be, with lots of delicious food descriptions that SUPER make me want to visit Nantucket and visit this, fictional, restaurant.  It's one of my favorite comfort rereads. 4 Stars

The Beach House by Jane Green
So this whole top row is vacation rereads.  One of my favorite Jane Green novels, about the intersecting lives of a handful of adults who all find themselves renting rooms in an old house from an ecentric older woman.  They all end up there at a challenging times in their lives and become a little bit of their own family.  Also on Nantucket.  I had a bit of a theme to my vacation reading.  3.5 Stars 

The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand
I had read this 2 years ago when it came out but completely forgot the plot and what happened.  I reread it because I heard her latest Christmas book, The Winter Solstice, is also a follow-up to this one.   I've read all her books and have enjoyed most of them but they are largely forgettable which makes them excellent rereads!  This one follows two best friends living on Nantucket (see: vacation theme) and all the drama they find themselves in.  It was fun and perfect for vacation.  3.5 Stars

Lassoing the Sun by Mark Woods
On a completely new note, this wasn't a novel about rich ladies living in Nantucket.  It was the memoir of this writer as he spent a year visiting 12 different National Parks while going through some major family stuff.  I spent many wonderful vacations in my childhood visiting National Parks and so enjoyed them.  I haven't been to nearly all of these (or even heard of them all before reading this) but it made me want to visit (most).  Definitely recommend for anyone with an affinity for the National Parks! 3.75 Stars

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Oh man, this book was a bit of a bear to get through.   Lucy and Josh are executive assistants for co-managers (??, I forget the exact job title) and they, supposedly, hate each other.  Except they obviously don't and actually like each other.  I would feel bad spoiling that, but it's not a great book.  I should have given up after 50 pages but I, regrettably, stuck with it.  I mostly just wanted to knock sense into them and it could have been much shorter.  2 Stars

A Homemade Year: The Blessings of Cooking, Crafting, and Coming Together by Jerusalem Jackson Greer 
This was about living according to a liturgical calendar, observing Lent, Advent, and other holidays, largely religious based.  I grew up, and still am, Catholic which means I grew up with Lent, Advent, and frequently, at least noting, Saint feast days, although maybe not to the extent shown here.  I still found this a worthwhile and interesting read though, about incorporating more meaning into our every day lives.  As well as ways to observe some of those times better.  It was a quick and easy read.  4 Stars

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
This book took me awhile to get into, partially because I got sick while reading it, but it also just took me a couple hundred pages to get into it.  It's about Eleanor Oliphant who lives a very quiet and, mostly, boring life until her life gets tangled up with Raymond as they try to help an elderly man who they found on the ground (passed out? Fallen?  I forget.).  Her life becomes a little less predictable, a little bigger, as she works through past issues from her childhood.  I did like it by the end, and spent much of the book wanting to give her a hug, but also, just not something I was super looking forward to picking up.  3.25 Stars

Echoes by Robin Jones Gunn
Part of my continuing rereading of her Glenbrook series, another book I've read many times.  Lauren and Kenton meet online, back 20 years ago when that was very different than now.  They have an e-mail correspondence and eventually talk about meeting face to face.  It's so dating now but I still really enjoy it, largely for nostalgia sake.  3.5 Stars

Sunsets by Robin Jones Gunn
My favorite of the Glenbrook series.  About Alyssa and Brad who live in opposite sides of a duplex and initially seem to hate each other but, SURPRISE, fall in love.  Alyssa is a travel agent, which was my dream job as a kid, and that might explain part of my love of it.  Also, strong nostalgia here.   4 Stars

Clouds by Robin Jones Gunn
Another Glenbrook book, this one about Shelly and Jonathan who were childhood sweethearts who fell apart right as they were graduating high school.  They reconnect as adults and there's a lot of unresolved feelings and emotions to work through.  It's a slow start to this one but a very satisfying ending.  3.5 Stars

The Dazzling Heights by Katharine McGee
This was the second book in the Thousandth Floor series, I read the first last winter and had...complicated feelings about it (here).  It's YA with an interesting premise - all/most of Manhattan has been overtaken but a 1,000 floor tower where people live and work.  The higher you are, the richer you are.  It's like Gossip Girl in the future.  This one follows most of the teens from the first book with fewer...complicated issues but still plenty of drama.  The things I didn't like about the first were mostly resolved here.  It wasn't great but I liked the world idea and I'm sure I'll read the third one coming out next year. 3 Stars

Whew...I know what's on my list for the next month - knocking a whole lot off my TBR.  What have you been reading lately?  What should I be reading?

Friday, October 6, 2017

Looking Back at September

Oh man, this month was a busy one.  Almost July busy.  A long lake weekend, home for 3 nights, another lake weekend.  A week of vacation prep, driving through the night, 5 nights in Florida, driving through the night, long run, a week at home with final race training and vacation recovery, and running my half.  WOW.  I was looking back at the beginning of September and that felt like FOREVER ago.  Spent 12 of the 30 nights not at home, I ran a whole bunch (in three states!), and nothing really got done around the house!  Now that it's October I feel like I can breathe a little, no more nights away for a long time, no more race training, time to settle in for fall.  It's wonderful.

1) My baby picks me flowers almost daily and it's so sweet.  Even when they come from our flower beds.
2) Sunset at the lake!
3) On my 10.25 mile run around the whole lake!  Where I could actually see the water for about ½ mile.
4) Ice cream at our favorite place in the town where my Grandparents lived, in town for a cousin wedding!
5) Sandbar one last time!
6) Sunset boat rides are almost as good as sunset jet ski rides.
7) Morning glories are still going strong!
8) At the lake, again. 
9) We were at the lake the one cold weekend all month, I wore pants the whole time, Luke, of course, wore shorts because pants are the enemy.
10) One last lake sunset for the year!
11) Hot drink, morning reading!
12) Jet skiing in jeans, sweatshirt, and shoes.  Because that's normal.
13) Teeny tiny bit of fall foliage coming through!
14) Training for his kids' marathon final mile!
15) A front steps sunrise!
16) Waiting in the start corrals for my race!  Finally more excited than nervous!

Books finished: 14 for the month, 152 for the year.
Things sewn: Yeah...I need to get back to that. 
Miles ran: 113.19.  And this month my goal is 25.  (YAY for my race being done!)
Currently watching:  We've been rewatching The Office forever, on season 7 right now.  I'm (slowly) rewatching Smash season 2.   Then our usual shows have mostly come back and, sadly, American Ninja Warrior is done.  That might be our favorite jointly watched show all year.
Most read post this month: Quick Lit  - September followed by Linen Closet: Organized.
Luke's current favorite song: It's still the "Thank You Song" aka "You're Welcome" from Moana. Now we all almost have it memorized.

Right now the most exciting part of fall is being home!  What are you looking forward to this fall?