How (and Why) I Meal Plan

How (and Why) I Meal Plan

I meal plan because I found that if I didn't I ended up with meals like chips and cheese with a side of mashed potatoes and pepperoni. And as good as that sounds, there's nothing like a nice plate of some good ol' home cookin'.

Rensselaer, Indiana. Population 6,000 (give or take)

We're here you guys. In our new house. Finally. And I get to write my very first post from my new work space in our new house (will saying our new house ever get old?). So now we officially live in Rensselaer, Indiana. And I still don't know how to spell Rensselaer without looking it up. It actually took me months to learn how to say it. Rennsaleeeeeeer -- nothing link how it's spelled -- in case you're wondering.


It's been a long road as I'm sure you're aware. A road that left us in a dorm room for Christmas. But it was totally worth it.

We moved in exactly one week ago and I actually meant to write a post beforehand, but once we had the official date of possession my brain went into WE HAVE A HOUSE! mode and I couldn't really function. And then we didn't have internet and I was busy unpacking and settling and moving into a house is hard you guys. But I wanted to update you and show you all the things we've been doing. I have so many things planned for this place. I love this house. I feel like I find a new favorite thing every day.

So here's a little tour. And, as you'll see, it's all still very much a work in progress. (Sorry the pictures are of kind of crappy quality and so tall. I have to get the hang of this whole taking pictures of your house thing.)

Side note: I feel a little weird posting pictures of my chaotic, messy house. But this real life y'all. Moving is one big giant mess of chaos. And one of my goals for this blog (and my social media accounts) is to post more real life things. Not worry so much about creating the perfect shot. Show a little of the chaos (not just the collected) and be proud if it.

The living room

When you first walk in there is a little entry way with a closet (one of 994 closets). Then you're immediately in the living room. And just look at how cozy it is. The beams and gas fire place were a huge selling point for us in this house.

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The kitchen/dining room

I have wait my whole life for a kitchen like this. There is so much storage. What you can't see is a whole other set of cabinets on the wall that's not pictured. You also can't see the pull outs in all of the bottom cabinets. Seriously, you guys. The first thing I did was organize this baby and I was in heaven. The dining room area is pretty fab too. The little faux fireplace makes it so cozy and I love that it's part of the kitchen. The double doors lead out to a three seasons room (below) and the doors are actually from an old library.




The three seasons room

Look at it. Full of windows and all kinds of cozy peacefulness. Perfect for writing and hanging out. Our plan is to make it super cozy in here. Maybe set up a spot for games and puzzles. And eventually build a bar of some sort.


Laundry room

I've never had a whole room for laundry. What do you even do with it? Well, you put things in it and have room to clean your clothes and it's pretty amazing. There's also an attic up top.


The bathroom

It's small, but it's pretty awesome. There's plenty of wall space for cute things. And there's also a faux fireplace in there as well.

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We have three. Mama C has one (not pictured). Then one is ours which is severely lacking in the décor department at the moment. We have to wait for our mattress and box springs and our bed before we can do much. And then my craft room/office/shop which will need a week's worth of organization.

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Not pictured

The outside which is a super magical place fill with trees and plants and so many things that I can't even begin to capture through pictures. It's also a snowy winter day so it just doesn't do it justice at all. It's like Narnia out there. If I knew what Narnia actually looked like. I assume it's magical, right??

Three closets in the hallway. THREE. Coming from a Brooklyn gal who had NO closets, one would have been amazing. But three? I almost don't know what to do with them. In fact, one is almost empty at the moment.

All of the big changes will come at a later time, but in the meantime we're working to decorate and make this place feel like home. It's such a weird feeling, owning your first home. I still keep feeling like we live in someone else's place and worrying about all of the things I worried about as a renter. But I suppose that will pass in time.

I promise to keep you all updated as I DIY the heck out of this place and as we continue to get settled. We've done so many fun things already and I simply love this place. And we have some bigger projects too! It's in need of some painting. I want to paint all of the rooms gray so if you have any ideas, share them with me!

I plan on tagging everything I post with the hashtag #AChaoticandCollectedHome on Twitter and Instagram so feel free to follow along with everything.

Can you tell I'm excited about this place?!?

Seven Things I'm Doing So I Don't Feel Blah Because I Work from Home

I wouldn't necessarily call myself a girly girl. I hate frilly pink things and I can definitely leave my place without makeup. But I do enjoy girly things from time to time. I like makeup and nail polish (my nails are pretty much never naked). I also like to smell good and all that jazz. And when I worked in an office, all of that seemed like a normal habit. It was almost effortless. It was especially easy when I was dating and meeting new guys.

Decorate Your Walls Like A Pro: How to Hang a Picture Wall

I talked about making a picture wall over in this post and I promised to show you how easy it was to make your own. I love pictures. I mean l-o-v-e them. Especially since I live so far away from so many people that I love and adore. The problem is, however, that it's hard to put that many pictures around the apartment without it looking totally cluttered. If you hang them on every wall then it takes away from the ability to hang other artsy things. If you place them on a table then, again, you lose the space and it can make the table less functional. Well enter in the picture wall that solves all of those problems.

And I know, trust me I know. It looks like it would be really difficult to hang so many pictures all even and pretty. I mean, who has the time and patience to measure all that. And who wants to buy a bunch of tools that you'll probably never really use again? But if you eyeball it then you'll end up with a mess of 994 holes. And what do you do if you ever want to add to? Well, never fear my friends, it's actually pretty easy and I have a few little steps/tips for ya. Here's how to hang a picture wall.

What you'll need:

  • Frames you want to hang
  • Paper (you can use newspaper, scrap, plain white, notebook, whatever. Just make sure it's not the same color as your wall)
  • Marker or pen or pencil
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Hammer & nails

What you'll do:

1. Choose a wall in whatever room you're planning to hang the pictures in. I usually try to opt for a small wall so you can just kind of take over the whole thing. But if that isn't an option, choose a section of the wall. Above a piece of furniture works because it's defined by the furniture and is easy to make sense. But you can also choose a section and define it with other art or wall hangings.

2. Trace each frame on paper and put a little mark where the hanger is. I also usually make notes as to what frame or picture it is so I can easily find what frame the pattern goes to. While frames might be the same size or shape, lots of frames have different placement for the hanger on the back which causes the frames to hang differently. You'll have a hard time getting everything even and correctly placed in the end if you have no idea what frame goes where. (And that kind of defeats the purpose of this whole thing).

3. Cut out all of the frame shapes.

4. Start with the biggest frame cut out and place that on the wall. I usually aim for somewhere in the center. Then just tape the paper where you want the frame to be.

Picture Wall



5. Start filling in with the smaller frame cut outs and tape them where you want them. I usually try to alternate shapes, sizes, and so on. You can measure if you want, but I usually just eyeball it because you can easily moved things around without ruining the wall. I also make sure that all sides, top, bottom, etc. of the space end in alternating patterns (i.e. a couple hang a little lower than the rest). This usually happens naturally as you're hanging different sides, but it helps if you want to add to the wall at a later time. Stand back and admire your work. Not just because you're awesome, but because you want to make sure everything looks how you want it. Adjust anything as necessary. It's super easy since it's just taped.

6. Put a nail through each mark you made for the hanger for the frame. Don't take the paper off and don't worry, you're not permanently nailing the paper to the wall.

7. Hang each frame on each nail.

8. Pull paper off the nail. I usually wait and do this as the last step so I can be sure each frame looks the way I want it to. It's a lot easier to take the frame down and have to move the paper again ever so slightly than it is to have to move the frame.

Picture wall finished

9. Admire your awesome work because you just hung a cool picture wall that will amaze everyone you know (maybe).

Like I said, it's easy to add to if you plan to buy more frames down the line. But you can also change out the pictures. I also like to add other things, like other pieces of art or cute little sayings that are meaningful. You could do this in frames or just buy cute signs. Lots of stores have all kinds of fun things in their art sections. It just adds to the creativity and the fun of the wall. I added the states pictures I made a while back (they were originally above our bed) and then I also added the picture that Mr. T made for me as a gift for the wedding as well as our wedding sign. Then my sister gave us a couple of cute little signs for Christmas so I hung those on there as well (see picture below).