31 by 32 Birthday Bucket List

I celebrated my birthday this past weekend, and I finished up my 30 by 31 list just in time! My 30th year on earth was pretty sweet. My favorite list items from this past year included raising chickens, taking a pottery class, traveling to Switzerland, doing a 15 day drawing challenge with you all, tiling my backsplash, and making wine (even if it did end up smelling like farts). I also really loved designating one TV/internet free day a month, and I think I’ll keep that habit up. I got so much done on those days and felt refreshed after a break from the digital world. The crappiest thing I did was the 30 day squat challenge. I stuck with it for 30 days, worked my way up to 250 squats a day, and my butt looked exactly the same before and after. You suck, exercising. Oh well, you win some and you lose some.

If you write birthday bucket lists please share your latest list, so we can all be inspired! My old lists are here (28 by 29), here (29 by 30), and here (30 by 31). Without further ado, here’s my 31 by 32 list! This time I left a TBD spot at the end, because halfway through the year I always come up with one more thing I wished I had included.

31 by 32 birthday bucket list

  1. spruce up my childhood bookcasedone!
  2. read a book of poetrydone!
  3. put together a Raleigh guide of my favorite spotsdone!
  4. try beef jerkydone! (eww!)
  5. work my way through this listdone!
  6. take a bubble bath
  7. add at least 3 new art prints to the shopdone!
  8. make a big breakfast for no reason at alldone!
  9. hire someone to paint our great room ceiling (it’s super high and super gross)done!
  10. organize all my favorite recipes in one placedone! (This app is great!)
  11. redo the stone pathway to our front porchdone!
  12. have our old (occasionally leaky) roof replaceddone!
  13. find my dream couchdone!
  14. learn another Christmas song on ukulele
  15. watch a well-known movie I’ve never seendone! and done!
  16. go to The Maker’s Summitdone!
  17. do another drawing challengedone!
  18. make salsadone!
  19. turn the guest room into a nurserydone!
  20. practice yoga consistently (just found this app—love it)done! (until SPD set in)
  21. make travel books for Switzerland, Pacific Northwest, and Norway trips.done!
  22. redesign my business cardsdone!
  23. try to brew kombuchadone!
  24. build a bird housedone!
  25. redo my website so it’s “mobile friendly”done!
  26. after extensive taste testing, choose my favorite local donut shopdone!
  27. tidy & organize my home with the KonMari Methoddone!
  28. go antiquing in Sanford with my pal, Michelledone!
  29. refresh the great room decor a littledone!
  30. travel someplace newdone!
  31. grow a baby and get it out of my uterus in the least traumatic way possibledone!

Sketchbook Flip Through

I filled another sketchbook, yahoo! I loathed this sketchbook, and I’m glad to be done with it. It was a Reflexions brand sketchbook, and something about the paper inside did not interact well with my beloved Pilot Precise V5 pens. Whenever I tried to ink over a pencil sketch, my pen would permanently clog. I had to throw away tons of pens, and it was so frustrating. Why didn’t I just trash this sketchbook right away and get a new one, you ask? Because I didn’t even think about it until just now. I was too intent on filling it up, I guess. I hearby declare Canson sketchbooks to be my favorite, and I doubt I’ll ever stray again!

Totally Awesome Music: “an inherited record collection” by Lullatone

A Few Favorite Dinner Recipes

Does anybody else have recipe hoarding issues? I’ve been trying at least 1 or 2 new recipes a week since I got married eight years ago. (I know, I’m so freakin’ domestic.) I’m never quite satisfied with my basic collection of tried and true dishes, so I just keep searching for something tastier, easier, healthier, etc… In addition to storing hundreds of recipes on my laptop with MacGourmet (and don’t even get me started on cookbooks), I’ve got a Pinterest board filled with recipes I want to try and another Pinterest board of over 100 recipes I’ve personally tried and loved. I made many recipes that didn’t make the cut, too. Yuck. Pinterest is hit-or-miss with recipes, don’t you think?

One of the goals on my 30 by 31 list was to find 10 easy, healthy(ish) dinner recipes Daniel and I both like. That was easier said than done. He’s a diehard carnivore, and I’d prefer to eat primarily vegetables. I found a few great new chicken/salmon recipes to appease my meat lover, but I discovered that hearty, filling vegetarian dishes with lots of beans and plenty of spice almost made Daniel forget about meat. After some trial and error (and yelling at Daniel for not liking perfectly delicious dishes) I eventually succeeded, and I want to share our new favorite dinner recipes. 

roasted chickpea ratatouille

Roasted Chickpea Ratatouille (photo and recipe by Love & Lemons)

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup (photo and recipe by Damn Delicious)

Roast Chicken Breasts with Garbanzo Beans, Tomatoes, and Paprika

Roast Chicken Breasts with Garbanzo Beans, Tomatoes, & Paprika (photo by Lisa Hubbard)

Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas

Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas (photo and recipe by Skinny Taste)

Smoky Minestrone with Tortellini and Pesto

Smoky Minestrone with Tortellini and Pesto (photo and recipe by Food52)

Perfect Baked Salmon (add steamed veggies & baked potato) by The Pioneer Woman

Chana Masala by Smitten Kitchen

Roasted Sweet Potatoes Topped with Quick Black Bean Chili by Marie Simmons

No-Prep Veggie Lasagna by Cooking with Trader Joe’s

Red Lentil Soup with Coconut Milk and Toasted Cumin by Marie Simmons

Winter Love List

It’s the time of year when everybody around here is whining about the cold weather and anxious for spring. But me, I’m mad because we haven’t had a good snow yet! Today the sky looks like this:

winter love list

Doesn’t it look like it could snow at any minute? It won’t. It’s 50 degrees. I had to dig up some snowy photos from last year for this post—my favorite things about winter!

winter love list

winter love list

winter love list

summer love list + fall love list

Greeting Card Inventory Storage

For the longest time I struggled to find a good way to store my greeting card inventory. I started out keeping my cards stacked in these, but cards kept getting caught up and crushed as I slid the drawers open and closed. The drawers could only hold about 40 of each card, so I had to keep extra inventory stored in chalkboard boxes (pictured below). The boxes were hard to access and made it difficult to know when I needed to reorder cards.

greeting card inventory storage

After over a year of brainstorming, I think I finally have the solution! I wanted to share it just in case any other small paper goods businesses out there are stuck on this too, because googling was no help at all.

Five months ago I ordered a whole bunch of Ikea Billy bookcases with glass doors. A few weeks ago they were finally all delivered and undamaged. Dealing with Ikea was a bit of a nightmare (hence the 5 month delivery time). It turns out their customer service is about as good as Time Warner Cable’s, but I had to suck it up since there’s nobody else that can match their prices.

I lined the shelves with these cardboard bins, which are perfectly sized to fit my standard 5″ x 7″ greeting cards and 3.5″ x 5″ notecards. I spent hours searching the internets to find bins or baskets that were the right size and inexpensive. I was positively giddy when I stumbled across these! I even labeled the bins with labels that coordinate with each card’s designated envelope color.

Now I can see at a glance when I need reorder a card, and it’s so easy to grab what I need when I’m filling orders. Shipping all those Valentine’s Day cards the past few weeks was a breeze compared to the mess it used to be!

greeting card inventory storage

The glass doors on the bookcases will protect my cards from dust and humidity, and just look at all those empty boxes waiting to be filled with new designs!

greeting card inventory storage