August Goals Update

Good evening and Happy Monday!

A few weeks ago I posted about setting goals for the month of August. I’m happy to say I’m still on track! The first week, I made Honey Lemon Chicken with Almonds. It turned out really good (except for the noodles, which were only ok). The sauce was a bit more sour than I’m used to, but that’s probably because restaurant sauces are so loaded with sugar that you can’t taste the tartness of the lemon. I’m totally fine with that. Oh yeah and I forgot to take a photo of it😦

This past week I made what The Pioneer Woman calls is the best lasagna recipe ever. After making it, I have to agree, it’s quite delicious. Here’s a photo of it.

lasagna

This week, I made another recipe from my Mediterrasian cookbook called Vietnamese Style Baked Fish. I was doubtful about the ingredients and whether or not they would go together, but the moment the fish sauce started to mingle with the garlic, ginger, mint, and sesame oil, I could already taste the exotic flavors in my mouth.

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Needless to say, this is now my new way to prepare cod. In fact, I think this is my first time even baking cod. I’m so used to having it fried like in a classic fish & chips dish, but I was thoroughly surprised at how much I loved this fish baked. The texture of it was nothing like salmon. And it reminded me a bit of crabmeat in a way, which I love, love, LOVE.

I have one more week of August left which means one more new recipe to prepare. I can’t remember what I flagged in my cookbook as my 4th recipe for the month, but I imagine it’ll be a good one. This cookbook hasn’t let me down yet.

Heavy Duty Paper Shredder Review: Fellowes Powershred B121-C

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This week I decided to do a quick review on my recent home office purchase, the Fellowes Powershred B121-C. The Powershred is considered a heavy-duty paper shredder and can shred up to 12 sheets of paper. It also shreds staples, CDs, DVDs, and credit cards. It has a 10 minute runtime as well as a 5 gallon bin so you don’t constantly have to keep emptying it out if you have a large batch of shredding to do.

Getting Things Done: Get Thoughts Out of Your Head and Into Your Inbox

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One of the first habits you should start practicing when trying to improve your productivity is adopting the practice of getting things out of your head when they come up. For example, when you remember that thing you have to email to a coworker? Don’t just continue with what you were doing. Stop and note it! It only takes a few seconds and will save you a lot of frustration later.

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Thirty One Collection & Summer Haul

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We all have our vices right? Mine just happens to be bags. Bags, bags, BAGS! I discovered Thirty-One gifts about a year ago when my friend Jen hosted a party. A couple months later she became a consultant and so begins what would inevitably become an addiction to the nth degree. In this video I show some of my current collection of items and how I use them. I also talk a little bit about what I purchased from June and July’s specials.

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Setting Up an Organized Home Entryway

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A landing strip, or entry way, should be custom tailored to you. If you live in a rainy climate and always come home with an umbrella, consider adding an umbrella stand and a shelf for your rain boots. Think about the items you bring home and leave with on a daily basis and use that to determine your perfect entryway. Keep in mind, your landing strip doesn’t have to go by your front door, if that’s not the door you always enter through. The important thing to keep in mind about organization is that the solution needs to be tailored to your needs!

Also keep watching to the end for a sneak peek at my Thirty-One Summer Haul and Collection video!

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See, Parents, Sometimes It’s Ok to Let Kids Play Video Games

When I was a kid, I played video games A LOT. Puzzle games were especially my favorite to play–like Tetris or Dr. Mario. Even some of the other story-based video games kept me busy because I loved looking for the pattern in things. Like in Sonic the Hedgehog, I would eventually learn Dr. Robotnik’s patterns in the stage battles and would beat him without any problems after 2 or 3 attempts.

Organizing an area is similar to Tetris in that we try to efficiently use the space available and learn patterns.

Take my plasticware cabinet for example.

Eeks! It's spilling out everywhere!

Eeks! It’s spilling out everywhere!

Obviously at any moment, I’m going to open that cabinet and be buried under a mound of plastic. This fear of mine is only second behind death by choking on Chinese delivery alone on a Friday night (a single person’s worst nightmare).

But anyway, I digress.

When dealing with a single location like this one, I like to start fresh and just empty out the space before I try to organize it. This initial step allows you to take a quick inventory of what exactly you have to deal with. It’s also an opportunity to really evaluate some of the stuff you’re trying to hold onto. Like this one:

Plastic containers, even the best ones, eventually degrade at some point.

When plastic breaks down, it can leech harmful chemicals into your food, especially when heated. After evaluating my current inventory, I learned that a lot of my containers were in the beginning stages of this and would need to be replaced within the coming months.

I didn’t throw out the entire lot at this point. After all, a girl still needs to eat and I couldn’t replace $100 worth of plastic containers overnight. However, I did put it on my list of projects to tackle when I get an opportunity.

Ahhh. A blank canvas.

Ahhh. A blank canvas.

I kept my larger containers on the top shelf because I knew I rarely used those unless I was bringing something cold to a pot luck or something like that.

I have a TON of little containers that I often use to pack salad dressing, toppings, and other spices and sauces when I bring my lunch to work. So the last time I was at The Container Store, I picked up one of these Akrobins.

Akrobins

Narrow 10-7/8″ Akrobin ($6.99)

I’m guessing these Akrobins are primarily used in garage or basement organization systems because you can actually attach them to a wall mount that they also sell at The Container Store. The Narrow Akrobin ended up being the perfect solution for rounding up my small containers and keeping them within reach.

Akrobin

The Akrobin in use. Keeps those tiny little containers in one spot.

Nesting containers was another strategy that helped me reduce the amount of space some of the containers took up, especially the ones that I knew I only used every once in a while.

Nesting containers significantly reduces the amount of space containers take up.

Nesting containers significantly reduces the amount of space containers take up.

After about 30 minutes of moving things around, putting this here, and that there, I ended up with a perfectly organized cabinet AND extra room.

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Much Better!

So a couple things to take away from this:

  • Start with a clean slate. Empty out the space you’re about to tackle.
  • Evaluate what’s going back in. Toss what’s in poor shape, donate what’s no longer being used, and make note of what items will need to be replaced.
  • Find ways to reduce space consumption when putting things back into their place.