Monday, May 21, 2012

{diy: magnetic bathroom rack}

After having dinner at IKEA the other day (yes, we tend to eat there like it's a real restaurant. Don't judge... the $1 ice cream is like crack.) I found myself wandering amongst the kitchen accessories, as I tend to do. I have a difficult time ever leaving IKEA empty handed, and with a store a mere 15 minutes away, Tanner and I have bought all kinds of useless and wonderful things even when we probably shouldn't.

This particular trip I had an idea bouncing around in my head, and I was tempted to test it out. After snatching myself up a $9 magnetic knife rack from upstairs, I took it home and promptly installed it in my bathroom. (Edit: actually, Tanner installed it, because I couldn't find anchors for the screws and it kept pulling out of the wall, much to my annoyance.)

Why a metal knife rack in my bathroom, you might ask? Well, I have a terrible habit of leaving bobby pins all over the house, because you just never know when you're going to need a bobby pin. The trouble is, they're quite small and difficult to keep track of, so even when I round them up, I have no clever place to store them.
Are you seeing where I'm going with this? Enter: the FINTORP knife rack. I originally wanted it to keep tabs on my bobby pins, but it has actually turned out to be far more useful. Now it keeps track of my nail clippers, scissors, file, tweezers, and metal manicure set. Everything is within arm's reach but most importantly, it is off the counter top, which tends to get cluttered so quickly with bathroom paraphanalia.

Tanner loved the idea so much that he ran right out and bought himself another metal rack to install in his own bathroom. I laughed at his enthusiasm, because he doesn't own any bobby pins, but he did manage to rustle up some clippers and files and such to attach to his rack. And he came up with another clever idea: he added a magnet to the back of his weekly pill case, so his medicine is always at hand. I'm considering picking up some of those magnetic spice jars to add to the racks to keep track of other medicines and small beauty products in the bathroom.

What do you think? Has anyone else tried any clever IKEA hacks lately?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

{in which we spend an unseasonably warm may day on our bikes}

It's amazing how the weather can change a mood. I don't think I realized what a slump I've been in until we received an unseasonably sunny week here in Portland.

Sun in May is rare, and sun for days at a time even more so. Oregonians have been practically giddy with joy lately, frolicking about outside as if Christmas came early (that is, if Christmas were 80 degrees and full of people wandering about in tank tops and short shorts.)

As for me, the sun this past week has completely woken me up. The long winter (despite the snowy days of skiing on Mt Hood, which were delightful) slowly hammered away at my resolve month after month. I've lived in hot, sunny climates all my life, so living in a city with overcast skies nine months of the year takes an emotional and physical toll on me. Don't get me wrong -- I love a good cold, rainy day, the kind that makes the air smell sweet and the world grow green around me. There are days when this is glorious.
But shut away the sun for months at a time and I slowly slip into melancholy doldrums. Work becomes tedious. I forget how to enjoy it. Days off feel few and far between. My active drive and productivity turn to lethargy. I sleep late and mope about the house. After a while it becomes habit, and I start to wonder, is something wrong with me? Am I just tired of my job? I have no energy to do anything anymore... everything is exhausting. I forgot what it was to have ambition, and wanderlust, and ideas. Everything becomes a gray mess, blurring together. I wish for change.

Soon it becomes routine, and I hardly notice the difference any more. People talk about "seasonal depression" and I just shrug and think it doesn't apply to me; this is just the way I am sometimes when work and life gets boring. It will pass when I find something more interesting to do with my time. But when?

And then I spent a week on the sunny East coast, and when I returned, there was sun in Portland. Sun. And blue skies. And warmth. And my mood suddenly lifted. It was like a shot of adrenaline that has been running through my blood stream for days -- I've been dancing around the house and listening to loud music with my car windows rolled down. I've been planning adventures, and dreaming of cookouts and lake houses and fireworks. I've been cleaning house with all the windows wide open, and remembering late night summer slumber parties, laughter with friends, the sound of wind chimes on the porch, and the smell of freshly cut grass. I've been craving bike rides and summer dresses and the deep, deep sleep of a body kissed by sunlight. I've been wondering why I forgot myself for so long.

It has been a long work week, but with one day off thrown in the mix we could barely resist the temptation to be outside. The usual oh, I don't know, maybe tomorrow's were drowned out by the sound of our bike tires squeaking as we threw them on the rack. And off we went, to north Portland where we rode 20 miles in the blazingly wonderful sun, chased Mt Hood into the horizon, and dreamed of the bigger life we would own someday.

We came home with sore asses and sunburns for our troubles, but it was well worth the happiness of today.

Monday, May 14, 2012

{home again, home again, jiggity jig...}

Hello, friends! Did you miss me? I've had a whirlwind of a week, and a very nice one, at that. I took a break from work to visit home for my sister's graduation. For some reason I thought the week would be nice and relaxing. I would get to hang out with old friends and family and occasionally rent a movie or two, just to spice up the endless amounts of laziness that was awaiting me. Instead, Tanner and I found ourselves up at 6 am every morning and going going going until midnight each night.
Do you ever have those vacations where you feel like you need another vacation when it's over?

We visited Georgia for a short, busy two days to see his family and friends (read: lots of driving and short "hello-how-are-you's") and then drove up to NC to see my family. There were two days of graduation festivities (in 95 degree east coast heat.... home again, home again!) and then a few final days to hang out with old college and work friends.

On our last day in town, my sister and I bought my mom a bouquet of wild irises from the farmer's market for Mother's Day. They smelled like candy, and I couldn't help burying my nose in them as we brought them to the car to take to her. This was a bad idea; irises have this horrible pollen that clings to pretty much anything. When I pulled my nose away, my whole face was covered in it. Plus, trying to gently "brush it off" resulted in pollen smearing everywhere and staining my skin yellow. Yeah. Staining. For about 20 minutes I was pretty sure I was going to have to tell people that I developed jaundice while on vacation. But after some good ol' fashioned scrubbing, I managed to get my face clean. I didn't, however, escape the yellow-colored pollen sneezes I had for three days afterwards.

Being home with family was so nice, even if it was for a short amount of time. (A week goes by so quickly!) And I'm uber-proud of my sister for graduating with her doctorate and getting an awesome job, to boot!
I told her now that she is gainfully employed she is responsible for using part of her hard-earned paycheck to buy my mother's house some decent toilet paper. My mom likes to buy the bulk packages of TP from Sam's. You know, the ones that come in standard 1/2 ply rolls (Luxurious). Tanner calls it "Jesse James toilet paper", because it's "rough, tough, and don't take shit from nobody." (We're pretty serious about our bathroom time around here.)
At any rate, we're looking to upgrade. 1 ply, here we come!

Other than that, we had some fun adventures in flying (as usual). It's hard to escape airport shenanigans when you spend a total of 30 hours in them.
On our flight out, Tanner and I got to the airport at midnight for a 5:00 am flight. (I don't recommend this.) Turns out, airports aren't really open at midnight. So we napped in the lobby until 3:00 am, checked in, and had to wait until 4:00 am to get through the security check-point. We grabbed a bite to eat and waited for our flight - but since we were flying standby we didn't get on the 5:00 am flight (it was full) and had to wait until 10:00 am to actually leave Portland. Then we flew until 7:00 pm that night and arrived in Atlanta feeling like we had those little cartoon airplanes whirling around above us, like when Wylie Coyote gets hit in the head with an anvil. It was pretty much like that.

On our flight home we flew out at 9:00 am and had an eight hour layover in Philadelphia (not my favorite airport, but at least they have cool rocking chairs to hang out in). I bought new books for my Kindle (I read 4 full books that week and was already on my 5th. P.S. - Have I mentioned how addicted I am to my Kindle these days? Love it. I never thought I would say that, but I get to read way more than I used to with it, and that's saying something, because I read a lot) then flew from Philly to Portland at 6 pm. We chased the sun across the country, so that when we arrived in Oregon at 9 pm, my watch said it was nearly midnight EST, but it was still bright and sunny outside. We got to see the setting sun outside the plane window and a gorgeous Mount Hood lit up with clouds and a clear sky. Beautiful.

Portland is just gorgeous from the air. When I first moved here, we landed on a crummy, cloudy, rainy day in March, and all I could see from the air was gray, gray, gray and industrial waste around the river. It was a disheartening first look at the city to which I had just moved across the country.
This weekend's glimpse, however, was of a lush and green valley of rolling hills and stunningly jagged mountaintops piercing the sky, the setting sun making everything glow like magic. It reminded me of what I had already discovered in the year I've been here: Portland is beautiful.

Here's an instagram recap of our week:

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