Friday, January 18, 2019

Tidying Up: Organizing Your Kitchen

If you are like me, your New Years Resolution always includes something like "purge unused items", "clean out the basement", or "actually move all the furniture to clean behind and below it". This year, thanks to Tidying Up on Netflix, I am going to try to tackle these types of chores not only to satisfy a resolution, but to see if I can find the joy that Marie Kondo speaks of. I know one thing, any tidying up with bring immense joy to my neat freak husband!
Thanks to the best Christmas gift ever - an electric insert for our fireplace - we started the year rearranging the living room. This amazing remote controlled fire is super easy to install (just plug it in!) and no venting or gas lines are required. 

We previously has a horrible layout in the room because we had three couches thanks to two of them not fitting down the steps to our basement. Once those were sold, it freed up a ton of space. Then we sadly realized that Buffy's vision has deteriorated to the point of not being able to see the neighborhood dogs walking outside anymore. This allowed us to move her favorite chair away from the window. Now we have a cozy room with a fireplace that isn't blocked by the TV. If that doesn't spark joy, I don't know what does!
Confession: I am not a person that feels joy at a completely tidy house. I happen to like a certain amount of stuff "messing up" the pristine emptiness that Ms. Kondo and others prize. I happen to like my little dancing flower on the window sill thank you very much. So I'm going to give you some ideas on how you can realistically wrangle the stuff in your kitchen that is causing you problems.

First priority is all those darn mismatched plastic containers that seem to multiply in the darkness of the cupboard...except for the lids. They must end up in the same place as all of the missing socks! When we moved I tossed all my yucky containers and bought several sets of glass storage containers with snap-on lids. Seriously worth every penny! They nest together or you can store them stacked with the lids on. If you want plastic containers (especially good for folks with kiddos) this 28 piece set from OXO is amazing. 

If you want to do one thing to make your life better in 2019 that is cheap and easy, this is it! Every time I need to grab a container or put them away, I wonder why it took me so long to do this. 

Another "why didn't I buy this sooner" item is this handy spice drawer. Most of my spice containers fit perfectly in it and it's easy to find what you are looking for. 
I put the ones that don't fit in a lazy susan for easy access - one for savory items and one for those that are baking related.

Another thing that I struggled with wrangling is all of our tea. We LOVE tea and have a million different kinds. My favorite way to store them is in clear stackable boxes. If you don't have a ton of tea like we do, this three drawer box is cute enough to keep out on the counter.

If you are like me, you have a junk drawer for all those miscellaneous items like pens, tape, note pads, rubber bands, etc. And we all know how fast that drawer can get out of control! These drawer organizers really help! They make it easy to group like things together and to keep things from bring buried.

Another fantastic addition to the kitchen is this sleek container to store and dispense all of your accumulated grocery store bags.
Finally, we ditched all of our travel mugs except for the two we use every day and a couple spares that we store in the basement for those rare times we forget our mug at work or a guest needs to use one. 

Taking these small steps will definitely make one of the busiest rooms a little less chaotic. What are your kitchen organization hacks? Do you swear by any products that help you stay organized? Please share in the comments because I still have a long way to go to be KonMari ready. :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Giveaway: 2019 Great Big Home + Garden Show

Congrats to winner Meg Austin!

The Great Big Home + Garden Show is celebrating 10 years of bringing inspiration and a taste of spring to Northeast Ohio. This year’s show takes place Feb. 1-10 at Cleveland’s I-X Center and will feature more than 600 exhibits to renew, refresh and restore your home and garden.
Visitors won’t want to miss the fairytale-themed Garden Showcase, Modernized Millennial Idea Home, Backyard Living Showcase and celebrities, including Eric and Lindsey Bennett of HGTV’s Desert Flippers...
...and John Loecke and Jason Oliver Nixon the masterminds behind Madcap Cottage.
This year’s Great Big Home + Garden Show has something for everyone and will inspire you to get started on your next home and garden project.

The 2019 Great Big Home + Garden Show Dates & Hours:

Friday, Feb. 1         11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 2     10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 3       10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Mon -Fri, Feb. 4-8   11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 9 .   10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 10      10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Get swept away into the magic of your favorite fairytale as you explore this year’s Great Big Home + Garden Show Garden Showcase. Fairytales featured include: Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, The Frog Prince and more! The Garden Showcase is sponsored by WQAL-FM, WKYC-TV and WDOK-FM.
One of the things I'm most interested to experience is the Himalayan Cave Salt booth. They say that the salt provides relief from asthma, allergies, COPD, congestion, sinus infections, psoriasis, eczema and more. Find them at Booth #1030.

Petitti Garden Center is hosting its 3rd annual Kids’ Gardening Day on Sunday, Feb. 10 from 12-4 p.m. Families with children 12 years and under are invited to stop by the Petitti Gardening Stage to have some fun completing simple D.I.Y. gardening projects. Projects include making breakfast for the birds, assembling seed bombs, and growing a living heart for Valentine’s Day. 

The Great Big Home and Garden Show is a great place to get a glimpse of spring. Plus you'll get to fight the cabin fever that starts to creep in on us in February as you stretch your legs walking around exploring all the gardens and booths.
Order online and save! Save $3 now with promo code: EATCLE19. 
(Valid on adult admission only.)

And you can enter to win two tickets here!  Use the Rafflecopter below to enter.

Good luck! The winner will be randomly selected and announced on 1/25. You must respond to the email notification within 24 hours or another winner will be selected. 

*** Disclosure: I was asked to help promote the Great Big Home + Garden Show. 
They provided two tickets for my use as well as two to give away.
As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. ***

You may qualify for the Free admission theme days which include:

Sherwin-Williams Day – Friday, Feb. 1 –Visit any Sherwin-Williams store location to pickup a free general admission ticket to the show for Friday, Feb. 1. 

Heroes Day – Sunday, Feb. 3 –Active and retired members of the military, as well as first responders, receive free admission to the show with valid ID. 

Red Hat Society Days – Friday, Feb. 1 and Friday, Feb. 8 –Wear your Red Hat Society attire on either day and purchase a discount ticket for $10. Four ticket maximum per Red Hat purchase.

Ohio Lottery Day – Thursday, Feb. 7 –Visitors bringing in a losing Ohio lottery ticket will receive $5 off admission at the Box Office. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Giveaway: Red & White on Thursday Night

** Winner Announced**
Congrats @@thejaynemusic on Instagram!

The 22nd annual Red & White on Thursday Night to benefit the Arthritis Foundation, Northeastern Ohio is taking place on Thursday, January 24 at Quaker Station at the University of Akron
You will indulge in dishes from Akron’s best chefs, craft beers and local and international wines. Now home of Akron Life magazine's 330 Flavor Awards, the evening will celebrate the top food and beverage talent of the 330 area. And of course there is wine!

Additional highlights of the event include exciting raffles, a unique auction and an exclusive VIP Lounge featuring specialty cocktails. All proceeds benefit the Arthritis Foundation’s mission to conquer and cure arthritis. 
Nosh on sweet and savories selections from Bistro on Main, Cilantro Thai and Sushi Restaurant, Gervasi Vineyard, Kosar’s Wood-Fired Grill, Nuevo Modern Mexican & Tequila Bar, The West Side Bakery, and more. 
VIP guests will also enjoy exclusive tastings from The Galaxy Restaurant & Banquet Center, high-end wines tastings, and specialty cocktails from Brown-Forman in a special area with comfy seating and tables.
And the best part is that all proceeds from this event benefit the Arthritis Foundation of Northeastern Ohio. They help the over 2.6 million people in Ohio!

Tickets are $85 for general admission and $125 for VIP admission. You can purchase tickets online.
You can enter to win a pair of general admission tickets right here! If you live in the 330, it's a obviously a no-brainer. But even if you live in the Cleveland area, it's an easy drive -  plus you will get to try some of the tastiest spots the 330 has to offer. It's a really fun night for a great cause!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can also head over to my Instagram page for another chance to win!

2019 Red & White-Akron
Thursday, January 24, 2019
5:30pm - 9:00pm
Quaker Station at The University of Akron

** Disclosure: I was asked to help promote this event. In exchange, I received complimentary tickets. I've attended this event many times in the past and it's always been a lot of fun. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. **

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Farewell 2018, There's a New Year in CLE

Happy New Year!

I'm not going to tell you to make resolutions that include dieting, breaking any bad habits, starting a new exercise routing or cleaning out your closets. I will however urge you to find the pleasure in simply joys, extend kindness to other and appreciate those you love. 
new year, Buffy, family photo
So happy Buffy is around to celebrate with us!
Another recommendation is to give yourself the ability to be spontaneous. Avoid over-scheduling because those last minute, spur of the moment plans are where the magic happens.
Thai Thai, Lakewood restaurant, Cleveland Foodie Girl
We had no plans for New Years Eve until the night before. Yep, really. But we weren't stressed about it because we are not the people who feel the need to go out and get crazy on the last day of the year. (we have enough craziness throughout the year - ha!) 
happy new year, new years eve, 2018, Thai Thai
Check out that GIANT bottle of champagne I got from Trader Joes!
But when our dear friend Kiwi invited us to a special dinner after hours at Thai Thai, we jumped at the chance! It sounded perfect. And you know what? It was even better than we imagined!

Kiwi and her parents opened up their restaurant and their hearts to us. They treated us like family. And cooked up one hell of a feast for everyone!
thai food, Thai Thai, spring rolls, meatballs, Lakewood Ohio, restaurant
Spring rolls, meatballs, chicken and duck with sauce so good we wanted to drink it.

Incredible Papaya Salad - SO spicy but SO good
The BEST soup - OMG I'm still dreaming of this! Beef and tripe in some sort of magical broth.

This is a perfect example of why blogging means so much to me. While I've have a million great experiences and some amazing opportunities, the thing I cherish the most is the people I've met through blogging and social media. And those of you that I haven't met yet who keep on reading, commenting and sharing really brighten my days.

If that wasn't enough, we ended the night at my hubby's lifelong friend's house for an awesome house party that included some of his our dearest friends. One of our friends has been battling cancer for the past year and celebrating with her was such a blessing. Another friend who now lives in California surprised everyone by showing up. And my two adorable nieces even made an appearance.
The next day there were more parties with family and friends. I absolutely did not want the holidays to end! But now we're back to reality...until next year.
As we kick off 2019, remember to embrace Every.Single.Day. I wish each and everyone of you a happy, healthy and of course delicious new year. Thanks so much for being a part of my life. Each and everyone of you makes the magic happen over here in this little corner of the internet.