Figuring Out the Files

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As an unmarried twenty-something, my personal files are not that extensive or complicated. I’ve seen tons of blogs and sites devoted to super-organized filing systems. Lots of them are great, but in my own research, I didn’t find any sites that pertained to my specific situation. Probably because most twenty-somethings don’t think about the need for a filing system, or if they do, they don’t chat about it during happy hour.

Since I don’t have to worry about wills, extensive investments, birth certificates of children, or mortgages, I took a much simpler approach to my filing system. In case you find yourself in the same boat, here’s how I organized mine:

Personal
-Important Documents
-Medical
-Travel
-Manuals
-Phone
Home
-Rent
-Maintenance
Work
-Job 1
-Job 2
Car
-AAA
-Lease
-Repairs
-Insurance
Bank
-Credit Card
-Other Documents
Education
-Teaching License
-College
-Financial Aid
-High School
Loans
-FedLoan
-Perkins
-Stafford
-Barclay Card
Taxes
-2012
-2013
-Current Year

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Cheesy Garlic Bread: Lazy Girl’s Edition

I always have and always will have a deep craving for cheesy garlic bread smothered in hot marinara sauce. Heaven help me. Super Bowl Sunday inspired me to make some for sharing. I originally used sliced baguette for the bread base, and it was excellent. However, I found myself hankering this snack the other night, but I was home and baguette-less. I typically don’t keep a lot of bread in my place, but I did have English muffins. Being resourceful, I took the opportunity to try my cheesy garlic bread recipe with this untraditional base. They certainly satisfied my craving, but I would suggest that you use a baguette if you can swing by the store and pay the $2 for it.

 Before we get into the cheesy goodness, let me take a moment to gush about my butter bell/beurrier. If you’re unfamiliar with this contraption, this site is informative. A small amount of water in the base creates a seal around the butter keeping it fresh while maintaining a malleable temperature. Genius! This can hold a whole stick of butter.

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Cheesy Garlic Bread:

  • Butter
  • Garlic, crushed
  • Italian seasoning
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Bread (baguette, buns, English muffins, etc.)

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Once it’s prepared, broil the bread for about 4-5 minutes, keeping a close eye on it. When the cheese begins to brown and the edges become crusty, take them out.

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I simply heated up some store-bought marinara sauce in a saucepan on the stove. Ready in minutes. Hot and delicious.

When It Snows…

In college, one of the honor houses would throw “No Power Hour” parties. The idea was that all the power was off in the house, candles were lit everywhere, and the evening’s entertainment consisted solely of acoustic sets by the many musicians we had on campus. This was a quintessential liberal arts party experience for sure.

Just last night, we had a heck of a snow storm. All of that luscious snow blowing everywhere diffused the lights from the city and cast a cozy, orange glow that urban Minnesotans know so well. It was so beautiful that I didn’t want to glare it out with too much light. So, I lit as many candles as I could and had my own “No Power Hour.” It turned a nasty Thursday night into a cozy adventure. I cooked myself dinner, sipped on some wine, and watched the snow fly. I will admit, I had my stereo on (a woman needs jazz in a moment like this!), but the whole experience sort of gave me this sexy pioneer vibe.

Wait…

Sexy pioneer vibe?  Okay, we’ll go with it.

Daily Indulgence: Take a night to save on your energy bill AND to indulge in the glow of candlelight. Gather a few candles together and it gives off more light than you’d expect.

Diane Keaton and a Sexy Sax

Between the ages of twelve and fourteen, my guilty pleasure was watching the Women’s Entertainment channel. This obscure cable channel almost exclusively played rom coms from the 80s (Sixteen Candles, Flashdance, The Goodbye Girl), cult tv shows with strong female protagonists (Felicity, McCleod’s Daughters), and a few, budding reality tv shows. It was like crack for me.

My mother took care that my knowledge of classic film and movie musicals was well-rounded; but, this channel was hugely influential in getting me hooked on that unique mix of elements that makes 80s cinema so addicting. I think that as a young girl becoming a woman, there was something enticing about these stories of women coming into their own and learning how to navigate modern relationships and careers. The growing pains of the feminist movement were apparent in the subject matter of these films. These growing pains reflected the confusion I felt as a woman growing up in a “post-feminist” world. But these protagonists, no matter how imperfect or flawed, were still charming, charismatic, and fun. And I think that’s what drew me to them so much. They also weren’t afraid to have a serious meltdown now and again (something I think only Bette Davis was really able to nail down in the 40s and 50s).

Then, of course, there was the sappy music (the job market for sax players must have been rock solid), the disproportionate fashions, the HUGE hair, and the soft filter of the camera. Simply dreamy.

So tonight, I was in the mood to revisit one of the movies from that era. I saw Baby Boom on Netflix Instant Play and wasted no time getting cozy on my bed with some Ben and Jerry’s. The warm, dreamy feeling came right along with it.

Daily Indulgence: Find a film that gives you that warm, fuzzy feeling (whatever genre it may be), and watch that frickin’ thing! Who cares if it’s outdated or if your roommate or partner makes fun of you.

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Ham Sliders with Avocado Spread

After a twelve hour work day and a delicious, but unsatisfying lunch of carrot sticks, pistachios, blueberries, and granola bars (slim pickins in the pantry this morning), my body needed something filling, but not overwhelming. I whipped up this cute little combo, and it hit the SPOT:

  • Mini bagel
  • Avocado spread*
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Ham lunch meat
  • Dijon mustard

I added a salty kosher dill pickle, chips, and salsa to make it a “meal”. The most time consuming part was whipping together the avocado spread. You could call this a plain Jane guacamole, but it’s pretty unexciting as far as guacamoles go. I use this spread as a thick salad dressing, chip dip, and sandwich glue (Mmm, sandwich glue).

*Avocado Spread

  • One ripe avocado
  • 1-2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2-3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • Salt and pepper

Boom. Done. Mash that sucker up and mix it all together. I really just approximate the olive oil and vinegar, so you can play with the ratios.

Versatile, tasty goodness.

The Efficient Efficiency: Bathroom

In November, I moved into a darling corner studio apartment. It’s clean and bright, the hardwood floors are in good condition, and it’s just enough for me. I had fun organizing the space because it is a bit of a challenge. I worked at The Container Store for a year (a great place to work!) and learned a lot of tricks. More than anything, I was exposed to a lot of different organizational problems and situations. It taught me how to get creative.

I think I’ll do a few installments of this “Efficient Efficiency,” but a friend was complimenting me on my bathroom just today, so we’ll start there. It wasn’t the most inspiring slate to start with (tile’s a bit crummy and the sink has marks) but I made it work.

Nice and sunny
Nice and sunny

There’s a window in the shower covered by a curtain to prevent the wood from rotting. This still allows a lot of light in during the day.

A simple organizer for the shower
A simple organizer for the shower

I don’t have a ton of shower products, but everything I have is kept in this simple shower caddy. It has hooks that slip onto the shower curtain bar and simply hangs down. There are holes in the bottom of each caddy for water to drain through. I like that these are more like baskets than wire shelves. Sometimes shower caddies are awkward because your bottles can slip through. This avoids the problem altogether. Link here.

There's no counter space so I try to keep the sink clear.
There’s no counter space so I try to keep the sink clear.

The sink is very small and there is no real counter space. The tiny blocks for soap and toothbrushes are a bit outdated, but I’ve still made use of them for other items. I can usually use the space on top of the sink for makeup and bobby pins, but it can be a juggling act sometimes. I try my best to keep things clear and uncluttered so that I can use the space when I need it.

The medicine cabinet
The medicine cabinet, left
The medicine cabinet
The medicine cabinet, right

The medicine cabinet is the saving grace of this bathroom. All those tiny items you need in the bathroom can easily be stored in here with room to spare. I try to group items by purpose, so my hands have already been trained to know which side something is kept on. Having the small ceramic cup for toothbrushes prevents having to rest the brushes on the dust-collecting bottom of the cabinet.

I store all of my makeup in my small, striped makeup bag. I have minimal supplies and I just take the bag out to the sink when I need it. So far, this system works pretty well.

The medicine cabinet
The medicine cabinet

I fell in love with these little magnetic organizers that hold all the itty-bitty things. The magnets are super strong and the containers are versatile. Utilizing the space on the sides of the medicine cabinet prevents knocking small items over when you reach in to grab something else. Note: Having the tiny  clock on the shelf helps me keep track of time when I’m getting ready in the morning.

An over-the-door shoe bag works wonders for extra storage.
An over-the-door shoe bag works wonders for extra storage.
I have a thing for velcro curlers.
I have a thing for velcro curlers.
Styling tools
Styling tools

I used an over-the-door shoe bag for bigger items that had no home: hair curlers, styling products and tools, space for guests to stash their toiletries, etc. There’s not a lot of floor space for shelves or bins, so this works wonders.