“Being crafty is not a hobby, it is a way of life” Unknown

Once again I am a bit behind on blogging about my Day Zero Project. I completed some Pinterest inspired crafts while I was in Indianapolis, which wraps up Complete 10 Pinterest Projects. Yes, I just used the past tense!! I am writing this update from good ol’ northwest Iowa as I left Indy exactly two weeks ago today. Hard to believe that it has been two weeks! Definitely missing some of my Indy peeps already. You know who you are 🙂

When I left Indy on June 30th, I spent a few days with one of my college roommates in Grand Mound, Iowa (shout out to Alyssa!) and helped her with some crafts for her wedding. Was a lot of fun and I can already tell her wedding is going to be b-e-a-u-tiful in October! From there I went to visit another former roommate (shout out to Molly!) in Iowa City. We did some shopping and I got the grand tour of her new house. Yay for being a homeowner!!

Then I spent a day kayaking with an old college buddy before heading to spend the fourth of July and surrounding days with my lovely grandma! My aunt and her two daughters from Minneapolis came down for the 4th as well so I got to spend some quality time with my youngest cousins. Never a dull moment with them around, so fun!

I made the rest of the trek to Northwest Iowa on the 6th, which was a super exciting day as my brother also returned stateside from his adventures from being an appropriate technology developer with the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic that day! To say my parents were excited to have us both return home,let alone on the same day, would be an understatement!

This last week has been filled with some fun projects around the farm (which I’ll be updating you on shortly, hopefully!) making up for lost time with my family, and trying to adjust to the fact that my time in Indy is done and that I wont be going back to my apartment there once my visit at home ends. Not quite sure it has hit me yet, but I’m sure it will on Wednesday though! That is my official move day!! I will be making the move to Minnesota and starting my new position at the College of Saint Benedict’s the following Monday!

Enough rambling though, here are the Pinterest inspired projects I worked on while still living in Indianapolis!

1. During the last few months of my time in Indy, my good friend Amy and I were on a streak of going to garage sales. Sometimes we got super stellar deals and sometimes we found nothing, either way we always had a lot of fun and always had experiences that made for great stories! These are corkboards that I bought at one of the garage sales we went to for only $0.75! I covered them with some scraps of fabric that I had laying around and they are going to make a great addition to my new office!

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2. Okay, so this isn’t Pinterest inspired, just a random Bath and Body Works box that I had from a Christmas present. I covered it in some cute fabric and walah I have a little keepsake box! 🙂

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3. This canvas idea actually came from Pinterest! Finally something that actually relates to what this blog post was suppose to be all about! haha!Spent a rainy afternoon punching out hearts. I punched a butt-ton (an actual amount!) out of scrap paper from my scrapbook and fixed them onto this canvas with raised foam stickies to give it some dimension. Turned out pretty good I think!

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4. This last project that was Pinterest inspired I entered into the first annual UIndy cook-off! They are corn-on-the-cob cupcakes and took FIRST PLACE in the Most Original category! They were super fun to make and turned out really well. They are a plain vanilla cupcake with buttercream frosting topped with jelly beans and a yellow laffy taffy to resemble an ear of corn with butter! So fun 🙂

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Mad props to you if you made it all the way to the end of this entry! Give yourself a pat on the back, you deserve it! 🙂 Even though I have completed the 10 projects to meet the requriements to check it off of my Day Zero project list (click the Day Zero tab above for a refresher of my complete list!) I will probably still continue to post updates on the crafts/projects I complete!

“Just pick a goal and stick to it―no big complicated secret.” -Richelle E. Goodrich

As you may know, or may have figured out by now, I love inspirational and motivational quotes. So much so that I keep a word document of quotes I run across so I can reference them or use them someday. Kinda weird, right? haha, well I finally started using some of these quotes when I started this blog as all of my blog entries are titled with a quote that some how ties into what I am writing about. Some topics are easier to choose quotes on than others and some quotes relate better to the topic than others. As I was looking through the quotes I have collected over the years and feel this fits for a journey I started a year ago!

On June 1, 2012, I took a pledge to not buy any new clothes for a full year – I made it!! I allowed myself only a few exceptions which were undergarments and bridesmaid dresses for the weddings of my near and dear friends Jerrad/Jacqui and Jake/Alyssa. I also did not count the Maurices gift card my grandma gave me for Christmas which I used to purchase a few dresses for work which were on clearance. My goal or reasoning for taking this pledge was to not spend money on clothes so that I could save it and ensure that I did not have to take out any loans for graduate school, and it worked! I saved a lot of money by not buying clothes I normally would have thought I ‘had’ to have or by mending/altering clothes I did have instead of just buying new when there was wear or tear.

Once I took the pledge to not spend money on buying new clothes for a full year, it was relatively easy for me. There were only a couple times in which I came really close to breaking my pledge, one of those times was as I was preparing for my job search and interviews as I usually would have bought something new for such an occasion. Clearly I was able to impress without a fancy new dress! The other times stemmed from the emails I received from different stores about sales they have going on. Once I sent all of those to spam the temptation was no longer there.

No pictures this time as there really isn’t any photo evidence other than some patched up jeans or hemmed/altered dresses (thanks Mom and Dad for your help with those!) However, now that it has been a year, who is ready to go shopping with me?!?!

“Graduation is not the end; it is the beginning”~Orrin Hatch

I know that my blog has not been very active lately, but I have a good reason for my absence! Well, I feel it is a pretty good reason 🙂 I have spent the last three months buckling down to complete my Master’s Degree!!!! I took three courses this past semester so that I would be completely finished on graduation day and not have to take any summer courses. I was a little nervous going into the semester as working full-time and taking three courses, of which one included my capstone project, was a huge time commitment. It took a great deal of effort, but I am happy to say that I joined the ranks of some 9% of Americans that possess a Master’s Degree. Whoot whoot!!

I am glad that my family was able to join me for the ceremonies. My parents drove through less than ideal road conditions on Friday to make it to my hooding ceremony. If someone would have told me that there would be icy roads and snowy conditions on May 4th, I would have never believed them! You have to love Iowa weather!! Haha, luckily they made it safely and were able to see me receive my hood! We also had a very nice dinner after the hooding ceremony on Friday and enjoyed a nice night at the comfort sweats hotel. Sadly, that is not a typo…I will let you all ask Jenna about how hot it was! (inside joke: she commented every five minutes for at least a half hour at like 4am about how hot it was and how uncomfortable she was!).

Saturday morning started out with a congratulatory phone call from my brother! Exciting as his phone calls from the Dominican Republic are sometimes few and far between. Lucky for him, I considered being in the Peace Corps a valid enough reason to miss both my undergraduate and my graduate school graduations! With his support from afar, and my parents and sister present, I crossed the stage once again to receive my Master of Science degree in Student Affairs and Higher Education. Although they mail out the actual diplomas, I did get a pretty sweet diploma cover when I walked across the stage!

So, what’s the next step?! Paying off the student loans that I accumulated during my undergraduate career! I managed to make it through grad school without taking out any additional loans, but my undergrad loans will no longer be in deferment. 😦 sad day! How do I plan to pay off these loans? Well, if you haven’t already heard I have accepted a position at the College of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph, Minnesota as a Resident Director. I start sometime mid July so will finish out my contract here in Indianapolis before moving north! I am super excited for my next endeavor and so grateful for all of the support you lovely people reading this continue giving me. I wouldn’t have made it this far without you!! Stay tuned for some more updates, hopefully coming soon!! 🙂

Be sure to check out some picture below from the weekend!

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“Eat diamonds for breakfast and shine all day!” Unknown

I spent the last two weeks in the glorious state of Iowa. It was a much-needed break from work and school. It was also the first time in twelve months that I made the trek all the way home. I had been back to Iowa for several weddings and to see friends, but never quite made it all the way back to good ol northwest Iowa. As I was siting in the Indianapolis airport waiting for my flight to depart at 6am, it dawned on me that I would have all this free time to work on my Day Zero Project. Of course, most of that free time that I thought I had was spent instead with family and friends doing holiday-esque type activities. However, I was able to work on it a little. I was also able to catch up on my blogging (as you may have noticed with my sudden increase in posts).

I crossed Make Someone Breakfast in Bed off my list over break. Turns out it wasn’t just someone who I made breakfast in bed for but…(drumroll please)… my dad! 🙂 It actually turned into breakfast on the couch as I did not get up early enough to be able to make it while he was still in bed. I’ll just say I had trouble adjusting to the time zone difference or that he just gets up way too early. Either way, at least it was still breakfast time when I awoke so I was able to make it for him. Below are some pictures of the scrumptious breakfast I made for my dad which included bacon, egg, and cheese mcmuffins, banana slices, and a glass of cranberry apple juice. Although I didn’t actually serve him diamonds for breakfast, he seemed to still enjoy it!

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“Commit yourself to lifelong learning. The most valuable asset you’ll ever have is your mind and what you put into it.” Brian Tracy

This past semester I took a Spanish class just for fun. I had taken four years of Spanish in high school, but didn’t take it at all during my undergraduate years. Partially because it wasn’t offered at my undergrad and partially because I didn’t make enough of an effort to take it through the college down the road. My interest in learning another language, specifically Spanish, was re-sparked over the summer when one of my really good friends and I went to visit my brother, Jeremy, in the Dominican Republic. (Shout out to Maria!!) Not being able to communicate very well with anyone and seeing him interact with everyone led me to talking to my supervisor about the possibility of enrolling in a Spanish course.

Since it had been 5 years since I had taken any Spanish, I originally signed-up for Spanish 101. Once my professor found out that I had taken Spanish in high school, though, she had me take a placement exam. I somehow tested out of Spanish 101 and landed a spot in Spanish 102. At first, I was really excited that I did well enough to be bumped up a level as I found the placement exam to be super hard. After the first day of Spanish 102, I was significantly less excited! We started on Chapter 6 and I didn’t remember as much from high school as I would have liked let alone what was covered in Chapters 1-5 in Spanish 101!!

Luckily, having class every day and with a little extra studying, what I once knew came back to me relatively quickly and I was able to keep up in class and not be too lost. I definitely learned a lot this past semester including a slew of new vocabulary and a couple of tenses. I even had the opportunity to take part in some outside of the classroom learning. In early December I volunteered at Santa’s Workshop, which was sponsored by a local church, and it gave low-income families an opportunity to pick out clothes and toys for their children for the holidays. They needed some volunteers to help translate for families that didn’t speak English. I was a little hesitant to sign-up at first as I was not confident in Spanish-speaking abilities. I was able to assist several families, though, which was a huge confidence booster. This experience also opened my eyes to ways that I can use the little Spanish knowledge that I do have to help others.

Although I wont be taking Spanish this next semester, due to taking an extra graduate level course, I do plan on continuing to study Spanish in the future! Since I didn’t have any pictures of my class or volunteer experience, I have included a few of my favorite pictures from my trip this past summer to the Dominican Republic as that is what led me to taking this Spanish class for fun!

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“Bad habits are like a comfortable bed, easy to get into, but hard to get out of.” Proverb quotes

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I would not say that I have a lot of bad habits, but one that I have been trying to kick for quite some time is biting my fingernails. One of the reasons it was so hard for me to quit is because I did it mindlessly when I got nervous or anxious about something or if I had extra time to be fidgety. The reason that had the biggest impact on me not succeeding in stopping before, though, is that it didn’t bother me enough to focus on quitting. Sure, it was something that I did that I wasn’t particularly fond of, but it wasn’t something I found worth devoting my time and energy into stopping. Furthermore, my love for athletics and for playing the piano made having short fingernails desirable as then I didn’t have to worry about accidentally injuring myself or an opponent and I didn’t have to listen to the click of my nails on the piano keys.

As I was creating my Day Zero Project it caused me to think about things that I had always wanted to do or to stop doing that I never quite got around to. Hence the reason stop biting my fingernails made the list. I originally thought that this was going to be a hard thing to cross off my list since I had always been a nail biter, but surprisingly, that was not the case. In fact, it all started because I was having a conversation with a friend about biting my fingernails and just decided that now is as good of time as ever to quit. Once I made the conscious decision to stop, it was actually really easy! There are still a few times when I catch myself in certain situations start to mindlessly pick at my nails or cuticles, but once I am conscious of it, I stop.

Since I have stopped, I have a new found appreciation for painting my nails! As a child, since my nails were so short, I never really got into what all the hype in painting your fingernails was all about. I understand it now. 🙂 I have also found that it is a great way to bond with staff members and residents! Below are some pictures. Shout out to Ayla and Lex for an awesome nail painting party.

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“It’s impossible to separate a great wine from a great experience” ~ Dorothy J. Gaiter

Visit a Winery I was invited over for dinner by some of my friends and as we were eating they mentioned that they were going to Oliver Winery on Saturday. Of course when they extended the invitation to me to join them, I enthusiastically accepted the offer. I had never been to a winery before which is why visiting a winery made it onto my Day Zero Project! So, last weekend a few of my friends and I went to Oliver Winery in Bloomington, Indiana. It was a quick hour-long drive to the Winery and when we arrived we were pleasantly surprised that they were celebrating their 40th anniversary! In addition to the regular wine tasting they had live music, food trucks, and tours for the celebration.

We started out with their wine tasting in which we were able to sample eight different wines. Not being a very experienced wine drinker, I wasn’t really sure what types I would like. Luckily for me, my friend Ali and the sweet lady working helped me out 🙂 Turns out I like semi-dry (Riesling, Creekbend Traminette, Creekbend Vignoles, Moscato) and semi-sweet (Creekbend Catawba, Blackberry) the best! They also had a very tasty dessert wine that I enjoyed, Creekbend Chambourcin. After the tasting we spent the rest of the day enjoying some wine and the beautiful weather! We also took a brief tour of the bottling process, fed the fishies, and listened to some of the live music while chatting about life.

It was an absolutely wonderful day! Great Wine, Great Friends, Great Weather, Great Experience! I expect that I will be returning again in the near future. Below are some photos from the day! 🙂

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“In order to succeed you must fail, so that you know what not to do the next time” ~Anthony J. D’Angelo

Well, as one of my former supervisors who is very knowledgeable and a person that I can always turn to, Jen, pointed out I started off with a pretty ambitious June. I set out to cross off not spending any money for a week, going a month without buying anything that wasn’t a necessity, eating a vegetarian diet for a month, and not eating fast food for two months. I successfully completed the first 3 out of the 4 listed tasks that I had intended to check off my Day Zero List during the month. You can read about those three in the posts https://hansenkk.wordpress.com/2012/07/07/vegetarian-a-person-who-eats-only-side-dishes-gerald-lieberman/ and https://hansenkk.wordpress.com/2012/07/07/a-penny-saved-is-a-penny-earned-benjamin-franklin/

I wanted to tackle not eating fast food for two months during the summer because I knew that the dining hall wasn’t going to be open and I wanted to make myself cook meals instead of just running and grabbing something quick. I started off the month really good, but there were a few too many times that I ate out during the weekends I was at class at places I tried to convince myself weren’t fast food. However, looking back I think they really were. So I am going to give it another go starting September 1, 2012! I have to wait until after RA training as we order pizza, jimmy johns, and such for training dinners and I just know that it isn’t practical for me to start now. I will have some road trips to Iowa during September and October for some amazing weddings and to see family, so I am going to not count Subway as being fast food when traveling so that I at least have an option when driving to and from the great state of Iowa and don’t have to add additional travel time to sit down at a nice restaurant.

So I may be enjoying some fast food during the next few weeks, especially during RA training, as I prepare for round #2 of not eating fast food for 2 months. I guess 3 out of 4 is pretty good though 🙂

“People call it trivia because they know nothing and they are embarrassed about it” ~Robbie Coltrane

This post is a blast from the past! For the last three weekends in June, I traveled to Terre Haute for two required oncampus courses for my masters program. I had one class all day Friday and a different class all day Saturday. Well the first week, I woke up super early on Friday morning to make the hour and a half drive to class that started at 8am. After week one though, I realized that heading to Terre Haute on Thursday night and just spending a little extra money for the additional night staying on campus was going to be worth it! The last two weeks, I carpooled with two of my classmates (shout out to Dana and Colin!). Both weeks we attended trivia night at a bar. We went to Sonka’s Irish Pub where we met up with one of Dana’s friends from high school and his regular trivia team and had dinner while participating in their trivia night.

Now, for those of you that know how great I am at trivia, you can about guess how much I contributed to the team (not much!) The first week though, I was able to tell the group the the Thunderbirds and the Pink Ladies could be found at Rydell High! Whoot whoot! Go Grease!! The second week I contributed that Charlie Brown’s friends wanted him to buy a big fancy aluminum tree AND that Lucy claimed that a person was not great until they had their picture on a bubblegum card (It was Christmas based trivia) Luckily the regular team and Colin were really good so my lack of contribution did not stop the team from winning!! They had won for several weeks in a row and each week they won gift certificates to the bar that they were saving up to use for a completely free fun evening out.

It was definitely a fun atmosphere and nice to spend some time with my classmates outside of class! 🙂 The food was also really good, they had the BEST homemade chips and french onion dip ever! yummy! If you ever find yourself in Terre Haute for anything, which I really hope you never have to, be sure to stop by Sonka’s! especially if it is a Thursday night!! It is sure to be a great time

Here is picture I found online of Sonka’s Irish Pub. Definitely the small town bar feeling!
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Vegetarian: A person who eats only side dishes. ~Gerald Lieberman

Eat Vegetarian For A Month June was a busy month for me with work, school, friends moving, and getting myself ready to move. With everything going on I even had a chance to work on crossing off a handful of things on my Day Zero list, including eating vegetarian for a month. This made my list as it has been something that I have always wanted to try. Growing up on a farm meat was pretty much a staple at every meal. However, after living with a vegetarian for a summer during college (Shout out to Ali, one of the best roommates ever! and one of the best summers ever!) I became really intrigued by vegetarians. When I started I debated whether I wanted to try Pescetarianism which would allow me to eat fish or fully commit to vegetarianism. I finally decided to “go big or go home” and went strictly vegetarian.

The first week was full of the excitement of doing something different and checking out what our schools dining hall had to offer during the summer. Pretty needless to say that there was not a lot of vegetarian options besides mixed vegetables and a salad bar. So that is what I had for lunch pretty much every day and then for dinner I tried some new recipes or old recipes with new twists, like tater tot casserole without the ground beef. In retrospect I should have taken photos of them! Week three was the hardest for me as I really wanted some fish or crab salad (<- this is for you Dana!). At this point I was really wishing I would have gone the Pescetarian route, but I stuck with my original commitment.

I definitely ate more vegetables during June than I have in a while which is a good habit for me to get back into as I have never been much of a fan of cooked vegetables. Unless of course there is ketchup on them. Ya, I know it sounds gross, but cooked vegetables are too! I did eat more cheese than I usually do though as cheese quesadillas, toasted cheese sandwiches, and cheese pizza bagels on English muffins were super easy to make! I also re-discovered Morning Star's Black Bean Burgers, YUM!

Although I do not plan to continue eating vegetarian, I had the opportunity to try some new dishes that I really like. I tried new things in the dining hall as well as from scratch and at a few restaurants that I probably would not have tried otherwise that I will have again. My favorite was bumble bee stew that I had a Cajun restaurant. I would have never in a million years gotten this before, but it was SO good!

Now that my month is over though, bring on the steak! 🙂

Again – no pictures – Sorry Mom!