Wedding Registry Must Haves

I have had quite a few friends get engaged recently. It is just wonderful, and with it comes the excitement of all of the various wedding activities. One of these, of course, is registering for gifts! James and I were overwhelmed with the generosity of our friends and family during our engagement season, and I am so grateful for all of the gifts we received. Since many of my friends are registering and have asked what were the most practical and useful things we registered for, I thought it might be fun to do a whole post on it!

If you like to meal prep…

Crate and Barrel Rectangle Storage Container

Crate and Barrel Round Storage Bowl Set

 

This sounds so silly, but I actually think these are my favorite items we registered for. Following the wedding I even went back and got more. The glass doesn’t take on the color of some stain-heavy foods like tomato soup or chili. Because of this, whatever you put in them is always appetizing. Seriously. You know when you get an older plastic Tupperware and you go to put watermelon in it but it’s orangey and it makes you lose your appetite? Never an issue with these!

If you are a baker…

kitchenaid-artisan-metallic-chrome-stand-mixer

You have to get the Kitchenaid. I wanted one for years and years. When I moved in to my first grown up apartment after college, there was a surprise knock on my door. The UPS man stood there holding a Kitchenaid box. I thought it was a joke! My big sister, whom we affectionately refer to as the “fairy godmother” had sent me a Kitchenaid as my housewarming gift! Can you imagine? I love my Kitchenaid Mixer, and I really love that it will last for decades. That said, if you don’t bake, don’t register for one! It is huge, and heavy, and takes up a great deal of space on your counter. If it is something that you will use, it’s worth it. If not, skip it!

If you like to make a lot of stir-frys…

calphalon-contemporary-non-stick-13-deep-skillet-with-lid

This pan is my favorite thing. It is enormous! You know when you are making a pasta dish or a stir fry and as you start adding things in you realize that you are going to have to stir very carefully or else you are going to start spilling over? That never happens with this one! Stir with wild abandon! The whole stovetop is your oyster!

If you have a small kitchen…

 

One of the hardest parts about apartment life is the lack of kitchen space. I have two drawers in my kitchen. TWO. This means that often things that would get stuffed in a cabinet go front and center on the counter. Luckily, some of my wedding presents made me want to show them off! A pretty crock really doesn’t take up that much room, and if you are getting married, I recommend registering for all matching utensils. You will never in your life have an excuse to buy all brand new ones so they match, but a registry allows you to focus on the aesthetic. James and I love the Williams Sonoma Open Kitchen Utensils. Bonus? They all run between 5-15 dollars. A friend that wishes to give you a gift but can’t afford the big ticket items can easily grab a few of these and will be able to spend the amount they wish to spend!

Other things to register for:

  1. Wine Glasses – Make sure to buy ones that can be replaced one by one! Breaks happen!
  2. Quality Dishes – Our generation will never use fine china, but that doesn’t mean we can’t upgrade from our Target Threshold brand dishes!
  3. A toaster oven – My favorite thing on a hot day when I don’t want to heat up the apartment with the big oven!
  4. Any missing items in your apartment – James was the most thrilled that we finally got a really big trashcan! So simple, but so joyous!

 

Remember, the biggest question to ask yourself is: “Will I actually use this?” Just because you have the opportunity to make an unlimited wish list doesn’t mean you need to register for everything under the sun! Vary the price points, let yourself register for the things you really will use happily, and then just be very very grateful that you get to do this!

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Year-Round Festivities

I remember, vaguely, a time in which my wonderful old college friends and I were relaxing on a Sunday, sitting around the couch and talking about our friendship. We started going around in a circle, trying to find one word to describe each of us. While this activity was totally Seventh Heaven of us, it was actually very fun, and one of my dearest memories (despite the fact that I can’t remember when this was or why we started!) One of the words that came up to describe me was “festive.” I laughed, but boy, did they hit the nail on the head. I am incredibly festive. If I am completely honest with myself, my favorite holiday is whatever one is currently being represented by the dollar section of Target.

Continue reading “Year-Round Festivities”

Three Historical Fiction Novels

 

Historical fiction is easily my favorite genre. Below are three novels that will transport you to days past, to characters so extraordinary, you will wish they were real! Continue reading “Three Historical Fiction Novels”

Vino at Vernon

A few weeks ago I got a text from my husband asking if I was interested in going to a wine festival at Mount Vernon. Confused, I immediately called him. A wine festival at a historical landmark? He must have meant something else. But sure enough, there is an annual wine festival out on George Washington’s lawn. With a group of coworkers interested in making a night of it, and shockingly affordable tickets, we decided to attend. Continue reading “Vino at Vernon”

Favorite Moving Tips and Tricks

I cannot even believe the amount of times I have moved. If you count all the moves in and out of the sorority house, it has literally been over a dozen moves. While moving is never fun, there is something exciting about new beginnings. I dread the packing, but the redecorating and reorganizing? Sign me up!

Over the years I have gathered a few tricks that have made it easier. I share them below in hopes that it might make your next move simpler!

1.Buy the Uhaul moving supplies.

It wasn’t until about three years ago that I learned that when you book a Uhaul truck, they actually have a popup that asks you if you need moving supplies. You can even enter how big of a space you have (one bedroom apartment, two bedroom house, etc.) and they will provide a list of recommended amounts of supplies. While I don’t take all of their advice, there are a few things that I buy without fail. I always take their recommendation on amount of boxes, because they are not only quality, durable boxes I know won’t break on me, but they buy back any unused ones!

Second, they have a dish saver box that brings me so much comfort. It has built in dividers and foam pouches designed for the shape of the dishes that protect them very well. Why bother wrapping in newspaper when you could wrap them in something created just to help them not break? Lastly, let’s be honest: Uhaul trucks are gross. I always buy the mattress bag for both my mattress and my box spring. I am so grateful that Uhaul does this and I’m all about paying for this convenience. They ship the supplies for free, and it has never cost me more than $50.

2. Wrap breakables in paper towels.

This might sound super silly, but I hate wrapping stuff in newspaper. I much prefer wrapping in paper towels. This purpose is two-fold. First, I end up doing a lot of cleaning when moving. The cabinets all need a wipe down, the counters usually have dust, the bathroom hasn’t been cleaned to my level of sanitation, and the list just goes on. If you use paper towels to wrap your fragile belongings, you have a stock ready to help you with cleaning already ready! Second, whenever I wrap dishes, coffee mugs, platters, whatever, in newspaper, I feel like they get dirty! I can’t stand it in movies when you see people unwrap cups and then promptly put them in the cabinet for use! Paper towels, on the other hand, are clean as a whistle and you don’t have to rewash anything!

3. Skip the pizza and beer. Go for the crock pot.

The old cliche is that you can get your friends to help you move if you offer pizza and beer. It wasn’t until my last move that I discovered something better: the crock pot. Rather than order food, the morning of the move, throw the crock pot on. This way every time a friend is carrying in a heavy couch and wishing they hadn’t offered to help they will be greeted with the delightful smell of their lunch cooking, and they will be reaffirmed in their purpose. We moved right before lunch last time, so I threw together my grandmother’s super simple BBQ Pulled Pork recipe. Throw two pounds of pork tenderloin, one bottle of KC Masterpiece BBQ Sauce, a can of coca cola, and salt and pepper into the crock pot for 6 hours on low. Shred with two forks when ready, and then put back in the pot to absorb all of the sauce. Serve on soft, stick-to-your teeth buns with coleslaw. So. Easy. Every time the door opened the smell of BBQ wafted through the air and I honestly think it made the whole thing go faster. Is there any greater motivator than food?

4. Don’t take it with you, replace it.

Moving is the perfect opportunity to replace things. Frankly, I am actually guilty of putting off replacing things because I know I am moving soon. There are just certain things that you don’t want to pack! What are they? Your toilet brush, your shower curtain liner, and your kitchen sponge. You can literally replace all three for $10. And who wants to pack a used toilet brush anyway?

5. Start early and unpack ASAP.

Every time I move I am so mad at myself when my alarm goes off early. However, when everything is unpacked by dinner time, I am glad I did it. James and I have established a well calibrated system whereby about halfway through the move I stop helping carry stuff in and start putting stuff away. For example, last time one of the first few items that we brought in were the headboard, foot-board, and bed frame. I stayed back and put the bed together while he went down for another load or two. By the time he got back with the mattress, I had the bed frame all read to go to set the mattress right on.

6. Pack your hanging clothes in grocery bags, and your books in suitcases.

These are my two favorite tips the internet has taught me. When it comes to hanging clothes, tall grocery bags are the best trick out there. Open the bag wide, and, while your clothes are still hanging, fill the grocery bag with about 20 items worth of clothing. Wrap the handles around the hangers and tie tight to keep them together. These can easily be laid in the backseat of a car, and then when you get to the new place, hang back up in the new closet and just cut the bags off. For books, why bother testing the limits of your back? Always pack these in rolling suitcases, and you can fill them with as many as necessary without worrying about weight.

What other tips did I miss?

 

 

What’s In My Bag

One of my favorite segments of weekly publications like US Weekly and People is when they do a “What’s In My Bag” segment with a celebrity. It’s always fun to take a look! It makes me feel like I am in on a secret, because everybody knows how personal your purse is! Further, I love finding commonalities.

For fun, I thought I would take a real look inside the bag of a real person: me!

Continue reading “What’s In My Bag”

Pledging Pi Beta Phi

Today marks nine years since the day I moved into my dorm room as a freshman at UC Davis. I still remember the excitement of the day, the careful planning that had gone into it, the simultaneous anticipation and nausea that came from the idea of starting what felt like a brand new life all on my own. As I think back on that first week, I have glimpses of my dorm, the first friends that I made, getting lost going nowhere. But what really sticks out from that week is sorority recruitment. Continue reading “Pledging Pi Beta Phi”