Monthly Archives: January 2013

The Blessed DMV

I move to a new city. I research the grace period on when I need new license plates – and I find it’s 90 days. So I set my January goal “get that done.”

What I didn’t anticipate was the level of difficulty it could possibly be to get new license plates in the state of Colorado. Let me give you a break down of what you need (you know, partly in case you ever want to move here and partly because I just really need to vent this all out):

  1. A Colorado’s Drivers License (we will come back to this)
  2. A VIN inspection (you go to the one option in your county, they charge you $15, they run a report, you need that)
  3. Proof of insurance in Colorado
  4. A copy of your registration

So – that leads me to my second goal – get a Colorado License. Oh, well what do you need for one of those suckers?

  1. Your old license (makes sense)
  2. Proof of your current address (fine, I’ve got a bank statement)
  3. Your passport (what?!) or…
  4. Your birth certificate

No. Your social security card doesn’t count.

How’d I find this out? I went to the DMV (with a fellow coworker who was ALSO trying to get his license) and we both got rejected. Hard. After psyching myself up. Telling myself it wasn’t going to be so bad at the DMV. There would probably not be any lines (side note: there weren’t – so at least we got rejected quickly…), all of the workers would be friendly (they really weren’t ba) and that this would be a great way to show the world that I am officially living in this new state… And then BAM! Rejected.

Here’s part of the kicker – you HAVE to have your middle name on either your passport (which is optional) and/or there’s about 7 requirements that have to be met on your birth certificate.

Say what?

Here’s what I’m telling you folks – it’s easier to get a passport than it is to get a driver’s license in the state of Colorado.

In my mind that doesn’t make sense? But I’ll get over it. What I won’t get though, is a driver’s license and my plates by the end of January… only because I have to get my birth certificate from my previous home town, where it’s stored, because really, who ever needs their birth certificate.

Apparently anyone trying to get a license in Colorado.

But I don’t want to leave you with a sour taste in your mouth. So I’ll tell you this. I’m at the airport in Colorado Springs right now. My 7:05pm flight is the last one out of the airport (seriously, so cute) and there was no one in the ticket line and not a soul to be seen in security.

And there’s free wi-fi.

So don’t worry my friends – Colorado’s not all bad… parts of it are pretty darn wonderful. Maybe just not-so-much the DMV…

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Friends

I wanted to warn you in advance not to worry about me while you don’t hear from me in the next couple of days… But my BFF is in town. I have been so lucky and so fortunate to have so many wonderful visitors this month. Friends from college, friends from life, what a wonderful wonderful month full of new and old friends! But this weekend should be extra special – because the girl who traveled with me in the UHaul, the one that spent a free weekend unloading all of my furniture and making my apartment a home… that girl is in town. That’s right folks, Jillian Michaels is in the house! And the best part? She brought me a present:

Why yes, those are "Best" and "Friend" necklaces. Be jealous.

Why yes, those are “Best” and “Friend” necklaces. Be jealous.

We’ve got plans to explore the city, shop at the outlet mall and spend some quality time meeting my new friends.

It’s bound to be a great weekend.

But you’ll just have to wait and hear about it on Monday.

And yes, I will absolutely be wearing a ridiculous pink sparkle necklace with the work “friend” on it all weekend. I’m sure that’ll make every picture we take that much more ridiculous.

And awesome.

 

Pinterest Challenge – Chili and Cinnamon Rolls

This weekend I came to the harsh realization that having a meal of ‘chili and cinnamon rolls’ is not a normal thing. I was shocked. Everyone eats this as a meal at home. You order the pairing off of restaurant menus. When there is chili – you know that cinnamon rolls are going to be provided. It’s just what you do!

Well, apparently that’s just a midwest thing? My new friends thought I was crazy.

Update: I’m only slightly crazy.

I knew I needed to remedy this situation so I invited the crew over to try this amazing combination. I’m sure in your head you’re thinking “Bets – it’s not a challenge if you’ve made it before.” Well, I’d agree. Then share the very sad, very guilty secret that in my 27 years – I’ve never made a chili recipe before. Scratch that, that’s a blatant lie – I’ve made turkey chili before that was TERRIBLE and used cubed turkey meat. Nasty. But my other chili cook off attempts have been Hormel Chili straight out of the can and into the crock pot. It’s a shame. But it’s the truth.

Not this time. This time I opened up my handy dandy cookbook that I received as a Christmas gift and found an amazing recipe for Tex-Mex Chili. Great news – this cookbook is fairly basic and comes with helpful hints like “how to cut an onion” – thank you cookbook. It’s like you know me. That’s incredibly handy.

I forgot to mention – here’s what I learned is the best part about chili. You can run home for lunch, throw everything in a crock pot and then arrive home for dinner and TADA! You’ve got a meal. Done and sold!

Would you look at this. It's beautiful. Also beautiful, when you already have sour cream and green onions in your fridge from your last meal. Having a full fridge is amazing.

Would you look at this. It’s beautiful. Also beautiful, when you already have sour cream and green onions in your fridge from your last meal. Having a full fridge is amazing.

Tex-Mex Chili

This meal fed 9 people… took about 30 minutes of prep time and then sat in the crock pot for 5 hours.

  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef (I just used two pounds – what can I say – I like meaty chili!)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced (Update: mincing garlic makes you stink. Please just be aware)
  • 1 can (14-1/12 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup V8 juice
  • 1/4 cup brewed coffee
  • 2 envelopes chili seasoning
  • 1 can (16 ounces) refried beans
  • 1 can (15 ounces) Ranch Style beans (pinto beans in seasoned tomato sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice

In a large skillet (when it says large, it means large, because this is A LOT of stuff – you ::might:: need to make it in two batches, that was our plan), cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Drain. Stir in the tomatoes, water, juice, coffee and chili seasoning.

Transfer to a 4-qt. slow cooker. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours to allow flavors to blend.

And no good chili dinner is complete without a little help from…

Easiest dessert ever! Made from "scratch" - and - the perfect compliment to chili.

Easiest dessert ever! Made from “scratch” – and – the perfect complement to chili.

Cinnamon Rolls in a Snap

The Rolls:

  • 4 1/2 cups biscuit/baking mix
  • 1 1/3 cups milk (I actually bought real milk for this and not almond milk because I was worried about the consequences)

The Filling:

  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar (which I did not own and had to get at the store, shame, I know)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

The Icing:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl, combine biscuit mix and milk. Turn onto a floured surface, knead 8-10 times. Roll the dough into a 12 inch x 10 inch rectangle (seriously, do people actually measure this?). Spread with butter. Combine the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over butter.

Roll up from a long side, pinch seam to seal. Cut into 12 slices, place with cut side down on a large greased baking sheet.

Bake at 450 degrees from 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Meanwhile, combine the icing ingredients, spread over warm rolls. Serve warm.

The entire meal was a hit. A huge success. People loved the chili. People loved the cinnamon rolls. Which – to clarify – were a little less like rolls and more like biscuits. Just keep that in mind! But most importantly people enjoyed the combo. I mean – don’t get me wrong – there were many jokes about how strange ‘my kind’ was. But overall, it appears everyone was pleased!

The best news – I’m learning to love this cooking thing. It’s therapeutic. And there’s nothing quite like enjoying a meal with people who you can laugh with. Plus – having someone around while you do dishes – that’s really great! Not sure what I’ll be doing next week for our meal together – so I’m taking ideas! Go ahead and comment – or send me text/email!

The Knife Set

Let me set the scene for you here.

I’m in the kitchen with four friends. We’re making meatloaf. There’s about 100 vegetables that go into the meatloaf that need to be diced. I have zero cutting boards and about two (maybe three?) knives that can be used to cut something. Neither is strong enough to accidentally cut off a finger nail while chopping (don’t lie – you’ve totally done that).

I hand the two semi-decent knives to two girls (who happen to be sisters – which is awesome). With two rounded (almost bowl like) plates for them to chop on. Both are perfectionists and both are laughing in hysterics at the near impossible cutting conditions.

All prevailed – and although I may have razzed them at the time for their slowness – the meal came together perfectly (as we saw a few posts ago).

Fast forward to yesterday when I sent out the email about our next Pinterest Challenge Dinner evening.

Here was my response from one of the cutting friends:

Fact: I have a present for you at my house.

 Spoiler: It’s cutting boards. Also the knife set I’m letting you borrow til you get a better one for your birthday.

First – how could we not immediately love her? She’s sweet, she’s generous and she speaks in a near identical tone to mine. We were meant to be friends.

Second – She is so kind as to give me her ENTIRE knife set. She lives in a house with two other girls who both have what’s she’s referring to as “far better” knives. But seriously, her knives are the sharpest and most amazing knives I have ever used. These suckers WILL cut off a finger nail. How’s that for new best friend status? I’d say pretty good.

Now on my counter resides my fancy pants loaner knife set and my new spice rack. It would appear to a stranger that would walk into my house (no, I don’t allow strangers to walk into my house – but let’s all just imagine in this situation that I did) I might be the type of person that would actually use the kitchen. Which, my friends, is a first and I am so excited about.

I’m also excited because we’ve got a cooking night tonight.

Who would have ever imagined that I might be excited about cooking? Whoa life change.

So thank you to my lovely friend for such a sweet and thoughtful gift. I’m tempted to call her Knife Girl, because of this fabulous gift, but that will seem weird in future posts as I’m sure I will talk about her more and more. But really, the more I think about it, the more I think she seems like the perfect Knife Girl…

Yup. Knife Girl it is. Sorry dear, sometimes you just can’t shake the perfect nickname…

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Cat Cabinet – Before and After

Remember this old thing?

Good bones people. It's all about good bones.

Good bones people. It’s all about good bones.

Well looky look how it all turned out:

Try your best to ignore the terribly ugly linoleum and cheap carpet. Focus on those amazing knobs... and that beautiful color...

Try your best to ignore the ugly linoleum and cheap carpet. Focus on those amazing knobs… and that beautiful color…

The best news? It was WAY under the $90 I would have spent on Amazon for the already manufactured one. Here’s my breakdown:

  • New piece of furniture $20 (thank you ReStore)
  • Spray paint (with primer) $10
  • Knobs (I know, I had the wood ones, but absolutely couldn’t say no to these) $8

$38. And it’s beautiful. An absolute and complete win! Now all we need is a hole in the side and we’ve got ourselves the most beautiful and over-the-top cat litter box of all times.

And no worries friends – my apartment has FINALLY lost the smell of spray paint. Nothing like having your windows wide open when it’s 8 degrees outside. Lesson learned. Now who needs something else done? I’m just itching for a new project…

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Oh the things I’ve learned…

If this doesn't just make you smile...

If this doesn’t just make you smile…

Today on my agenda – ‘be handy’ – aka today was the day I was going to paint my own nightstand/future cat cabinet. In the process I also managed to:

  • Take down Christmas decorations at a sorority house
  • Explore and fall in love with a beautiful/clean/happening Goodwill in my area
  • Run errands, enjoy dinner and chuckle over some good episodes of The Nanny with my lovely friend and fellow lover of all things Beyoncé
  • Find new perfect knobs (on super sale), remove old knobs and hinges, sand like crazy and learn why spray painting inside is seriously frowned upon (seriously – don’t do it – terrible idea)… all for the most perfect and lovely and wonderful new furniture addition in the apartment

And here’s my preview of how incredible and amazing this puppy is going to look:

Would you just LOOK at those knobs!?!?

Would you just LOOK at those knobs!?!? And the ivory – oh the ivory!

 

Tomorrow – we will reassemble – and it’s going to be incredible. In fact, I might have a really hard time cutting a hole in the side. This beautiful piece of furniture for a cat? I am officially crazy…

Stay tuned…

Pinterest Challenge – Meatloaf & Potatoes

Here’s the thing about buying a 10 lb sack of potatoes. Turns out, it’s a whole lot of potatoes. I used maybe four on the Potato Pizza, which meant, I had a whole bag of potatoes left – and frugal Betsy isn’t about to let those puppies go to waste.

I’m going to warn you right now, this is an incredibly LONG blog post. So I’ll do a quick summary of things I learned tonight if you’re interested in just reading this – and then abandoning the page. I won’t blame you. No hard feelings. Here’s what I now know:

  • If a potato has a growth, it’s no big deal, you cut it off and then you eat it. It’s gross, but it’s true and apparently totally socially acceptable. 
  • Potatoes take FOREVER to cook.
  • Seriously, if you’re going to use a recipe with a whole lot of chopping – you should own a cutting board. And some suitable knives.
  • Having 7 people around to help chop/dice/measure/grind and whatever else you need makes the entire process go so much faster.
  • Actually, having 7 people around while doing anything is just more fun.

With my sack of potatoes, I started searching Pinterest for a creative way to use them. And, if I do say so myself, I think I settled on a pretty darn awesome way to fully use every part of the potato. Not only would we use the insides (how tradition) – but we were going to shake things up and use the skins too! Thanks to the amazing Pioneer Woman we had Potato Skins and then a lovely lady named Tracey got us to the Twice Baked Potato Casserole.

As much as I think a meal of potatoes might be perfectly reasonable, the rest of the world tells me I need to add a protein (overrated). Fine. So I added a tried and true Meatloaf Cupcake recipe. The original plan was to top them with mashed potatoes – call them mashed potato cupcakes and stick with the theme. But enough was enough. Two potato dishes was plenty. And these Meatloaf Muffins were delicious enough to stand on their own.

The overall plan was: Clean potatoes, throw potatoes in oven, make meatloaf, take potatoes out – cut & scoop out the inside, bake the skins, make the casserole and then finish the skins.

Amazing news: The plan worked. I might have started the potatoes a little earlier. Because they take an entire day to bake (not really, but they DO take an extremely large amount of time). But other than that, I actually felt like I had baking logistics down pat. That doesn’t just happen. Normally I’m the girl who can’t figure out to get eggs, bacon and toast all cooked and finished at the same time.

So I forgot to add the green onions and the sour cream. But I tell you what, cheese and bacon was plenty excellent!

So I forgot to add the green onions and the sour cream. But I tell you what, cheese and bacon was plenty excellent!

So start with the Potato Skins...

Ingredients

  • 8 whole Russet Potatoes (or 400 – whatever you have)
  • 4 Tablespoons Canola Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • Salt To Taste
  • 1-1/2 cup Grated Cheddar Cheese
  • 8 slices Thick Cut Peppered Bacon, Fried Until Almost Crisp And Chopped (or the cheap bacon, that worked too – and turns out – you can microwave bacon – 3 minutes, flip another two minutes and you’re good to go)
  • 2 whole Green Onions, Sliced
  • 1/2 cup Sour Cream

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Scrub potatoes clean and allow them to dry (dry huh? well, missed that line, that explains a few things…). With a paper towel (or just with your hands) rub the skin of the potatoes with 2 tablespoons canola oil so that they’re nice and moist.

Place potatoes on a baking sheet and bake until skin is crisp and potatoes are tender, about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove the pan and allow to cool until you can handle the potatoes.

Cut potatoes in half lengthwise. Scoop out the insides (move to another bowl for your other and get ready to mash!), leaving a little bit of potato in the skins. Melt the butter with 2 tablespoons canola oil, then brush both the outside and the inside of the potatoes. Sprinkle the inside lightly with salt. Place potato halves face-down and return to the oven for 5 to 8 minutes. Using tongs (fingers, fork, spatula), turn the potatoes over and continue to bake until the edges of the potatoes start to turn golden brown.

Remove from oven. Sprinkle the insides of the potato skins with cheddar, then sprinkle on the chopped bacon. Return to the oven long enough for the cheese to melt, about 3 to 4 minutes.

It's like mashed potatoes. But it's better and it's covered in cheese and bacon. There's no losing here.

It’s like mashed potatoes. But it’s better and it’s covered in cheese and bacon. There’s no losing here.

Twice Baked Potato Casserole

2 lb russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (or all of the insides from the other potatoes)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup milk (don’t use almond milk – just use extra butter, extra sour cream and you’re good to go!)
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (I actually had fresh garlic, so we used that and it was amazing)
dash cayenne pepper
4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
3 scallions, thinly sliced
4 slices bacon, cooked until crisp then crumbled

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray (I used a rectangular dish that’s about 11×7 inches).

Add the potatoes to a large saucepan and cover with cold water (don’t forget to salt the water) (um, or forget. that works fine too). Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Cook the potatoes until fork tender then drain. Return the potatoes to the same pot and add the butter, milk, sour cream, Greek yogurt, salt, garlic powder, and cayenne. Use a hand mixer to beat the potatoes just until all of the ingredients have been incorporated and they’re light and fluffy (do not overbeat) (or use your hands… and a masher). Season to taste. Stir in about 3/4 of the cheese, the scallions, and the crumbled bacon until evenly distributed.

Transfer the potato mixture to the prepared dish. Sprinkle the reserved cheese over the top. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the potatoes warmed through. Garnish with additional scallions and bacon before serving.

Yum.

Yum. And fair warning – these suckers are a wee bit spicy. But good spicy. You’ll probably like it. 

And last but not least… Meatloaf Muffins!

Meat mixture:

  • ½ medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • ½ green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 t. minced garlic
  • 2 t. crushed red pepper
  • 1 T. Italian seasonings
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 lb. 99% ground white turkey
  • 1 lb. 96% lean ground beef
  • 1 cup dry oats
  • 4 egg whites
  • ½ of a large can spaghetti sauce
  • 1 T. Balsamic vinegar

Awesome Sauce:

  • ½ of the spaghetti sauce from above
  • 3 T. Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 t. crushed red pepper (or more to taste)
  • ½ t. cayenne pepper
  • 1 T. Honey

1.     Turn the over to preheat at 375 degrees. Chop all the veggies (onion, celery, pepper, carrots) and put in large sauté pan with garlic, crushed red pepper, Italian seasonings and salt/pepper. Add ¼ cup water. Allow to boil at medium heat, stirring every several minutes until translucent, but not over cooked (takes about 5 minutes).

2.     In a large mixing bowl place meat, oats, egg whites, ½ of the can (1 cup) of spaghetti sauce and balsamic vinegar. Mix very lightly with your hands, but do not over-mix, meat could get tough. Add veggies and mix. Spray pan with non-stick Olive Oil spray, and separate evenly into muffin pans. Bake 17 minutes.

3.     While the loaf is in the oven, make the awesome sauce. Use the sauté pan from before: place all ingredients together and allow to boil, reduce heat to low to simmer; stirring occasionally until meat mixture is done. Pour evenly over meatloaf when it comes out of the oven.

I cropped out the bottle of Pam and dish soap from the bottom.

I cropped out the bottle of Pam and dish soap from the bottom. But the sour cream on the table stayed. Obviously.

It was great. All of it! The best part? The meatloaf muffins are great for freezing… and now I’ll be eating meatloaf for lunch and dinner the rest of the week! Win!

Okay, I lied, the best part might have actually been that all of these ladies came to cook, laugh, drink wine and share a meal with me. Seriously, how lucky am I?

Answer: totally lucky. And after a great meal, we all settled down and watched Pitch Perfect. Again. It may or may not have been the 4th time this week. But guess what, I still love it. How could you not? Singing, dancing, jokes all around. If you haven’t seen it, go watch it. Now. It’s excellent.

So if you’ve stuck through this terribly long post, I’d strongly encourage you to try out any and all of these tasty treats. Especially for a large group. Because it’s a whole lot of food! Plus, dining alone just isn’t as much fun!

Next week… I’m thinking Peanut Butter Chicken? Or Chili and Cinnamon Rolls. I know, I know, the anticipation is probably killing you. But, you’ll just have to practice some patience, you’ll know when I know…

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Real Life… I’m a Cat Lady

I had some friends in town this last weekend. It was delightful… but they made me realize something:

Having a cat litter box in your bedroom isn’t okay.

Of course, as good friends tend to be, they were right.

I’d been pulling the “I live in an apartment, where else do I put it excuse” – which – I still find mainly fair – but – I have a bathroom. And the litter box needs to go there. Plain and simple.

But here’s the thing, litter boxes aren’t pretty. I was sacrificing my bedroom corner (highly unseen) to allow my much more public bathroom to remain nice looking. But this could be no more, which is how the ‘Great Litter Box Solution Search of 2013’ started. I’d like to claim that I’m super inventive and thought of this idea all on my own… but really – I knew that surely there are other cat ladies out there that have DIY bones in their body and wanted to create some sort of nice looking surround for these unsightly boxes. And boy oh boy was I right. A few searches in Google later and I’d found something. Or about 2 million somethings. Apparently cat ladies have a lot of time to on their hands to browse the interwebs? Hmm… Interesting parallel… Anywho, Amazon had just about the purr-fect (I mean, come on, I couldn’t help it) option here – but it was $90. That’s ninety bones for something the cat uses as her toilet.

Not happening.

After consulting my DIY friend the southern gentleman from the dog park – we’ll just call him Mr. Southern Gentleman from here on out – he was absolutely sure that we could either 1) Build one or 2) Take a piece of furniture and convert it.

Excellent.

Also, he spoke of a glorious place here called the ReStore. Immediately a lunch outing was scheduled. Mr. Southern Gentleman, my other accomplice Water Boy* and I piled into the car and headed to the most amazing place. It was filled with reusable treasures… windows, glass, tile, carpet, wood… and these gems:

Well, if that doesn't look like the future amazing cat cabinet... I don't know what does. Espeically for ONLY $20!

Well, if that doesn’t look like the future amazing cat cabinet… I don’t know what does! Especially for ONLY twenty smackaroos (translation: $20)!

I just couldn't do the long dangle knobs on the current piece and these suckers were a whopping $.50 a piece.

I just couldn’t do the long dangle knobs on the current piece and these suckers were a whopping $.50 a piece.

Who else knew you could take a drawer, put some slats in it and call it a spice rack?! Genius boys. Genius.

Who knew you could take a drawer, put some slats in it and call it a spice rack?! Genius boys. Genius. Also, photo bomb provided by Water Boy. Thanks bro.

Okay, okay, so the spice rack was an accidental purchase. But it’s the best accidental $1 I’ve spent in a long long time. Plus, Jillian Michaels (my friend, not the actual person) will be SUPER proud when she visits next week, because now my spices will always face label out (organization win!).

And this is the story of how in the last week I’ve spent an excessive amount of time thinking about cat litter boxes… and why I think it’s fair that you can probably call me a cat lady and I shouldn’t be offended. Great news though, I officially have a new project on my hands. The real question – to paint it blue or white. Decisions decisions. Stay tuned friends. This is happening.

*In a sad sad tragedy, Water Boy became Water Boy before the blog was created. My new coworker was nice enough to agree to join me for some Christmas shopping errands (because who wants to go Christmas shopping alone?) and then we dined at Panera. Unbeknownst to him, I talk with my hands. And I’m a klutz. Poor guy didn’t know to move the GIANT water filled glass, full to the brim, from in front of me. He never saw it coming. Maybe five seconds after sitting down, I knock the entire glass of water down and all of the water goes rushing… right at him, his meal, and mainly his pants. The guy was soaked. And it was about 5 degrees outside. And his sandwich was soggy. And I couldn’t stop laughing. Because seriously Betsy, how are you going to make new friends when you’re just dumping water on them all of the time? Sigh. Good news, apparently our friendship didn’t suffer. And he still hangs out with me. But now he knows when I’m near to move any full glass from out of my reach… and his nickname will forever be Water Boy.

The REAL Jillian Michaels

I hope you can all tell CLEARLY that this is post workout...

I hope you can all tell CLEARLY that this is post workout…

I have the most amazing and incredible new friends. I say something like “Hey – I have this new Jillian Michael’s DVD workout thing… want to come over and try it with me?”

And they say yes.

And they show up.

And they sweat, pant, laugh and hurt with me.

My new friends of two months.

Basically, they are great.

Also great… this Jillian Michael’s DVD. Only ironic because yesterday I blogged about my friend Jillian Michael’s… but this the real Jillian Michael’s. Confusing. I know. I’m sorry.

At the suggestion of a tall wonderful drop dead smart blonde fit friend of mine – I bought this 30 Day Shred Video on my iTunes. It was $8.99 – which although might be slightly breaking the first goal of the month… sure beats a monthly gym membership and joining fee… Plus, it’s like three videos in one (Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3).

Basically – this is eight types of winning in one package.

  1. It’s a way to hang out with new friends.
  2. It’s a 20-30 minute commitment.
  3. You pick the time of day that works for you. Morning? Great! Evening? Perfect. It’s ready when you are.
  4. It’s on my iPad – I can be in my living room, my bedroom, a friend’s house, or travel with it.
  5. It’s basically 30 seconds of anything at one time. You hate it? Suck it up, you’ve got 18 seconds to go.
  6. Want to try it for free? Oh, YOU CAN because the first episode is on YouTube for free. Right here. Be ready to sweat.
  7. The abs of the ladies alone should inspire you.
  8. I HAVE SUCCEEDED IN GOAL NUMBER FOUR FOR JANUARY!

Last night was night one. You can ask me again tomorrow how sore I’m feeling… but I really really enjoyed it. It is like a mini boot camp. It’s EXACTLY what I was looking for. Oh the sweat! Oh the arm weights! Oh the abs! I’ve actually missed it and I’m so excited to get back into the swing of it.

Or maybe excited is a little too strong of a word? I’ll keep you posted…

Oh and if you’re in my new city – consider yourself invited over to Betsy’s Boot Camp… in her living room… with her 95 lb dog trying to help you with your ab workout (aka: licking your face and pawing at you)… There’s never a dull moment here, that’s for darn sure. But a free workout that’s fun? Well, that’s just something to smile about!

The Closet

There used to be a time in my life where a new gift card to Target would have been spent on a Will Smith CD, the SATC entire series DVD collection… or on clothing/accessories/makeup… Because yes, I DID buy all of those items with amazing gift cards gifts (best. purchases. ever!). I would have seen that gift card and jumped for joy over the endless possibilities on my want list. Especially considering that the incredible Neiman Marcus for Target line had just come out… Really, who doesn’t need a Diane von Furstenberg yoga mat? Or a nice Oscar de la Renta pet bowl?!

But this Christmas, I was more than just excited about the gift cards to Target. I was absolutely elated… because that meant I could FINALLY organize my bathroom closet!

Say what?!

Ladies and gentlemen, I was actually excited to buy storage containers. Yes, that might have thrown Old Betsy into some downward spiral of emotions that a clean closet was more important than a Tory Burch lunch box… but shockingly New Betsy doesn’t really care. New Betsy really wanted the storage containers. I blame my friend. This is all her fault.

When I moved into this apartment this friend, aka “Jillian Michael’s of moving,” was kind enough to climb in the UHaul and head across the country with me. She was like a whirlwind of unloading and organizing. To put it simply, she was amazing. When I wanted to throw something into the closet – she would calmly step in and suggest that I group like items together, or that maybe just maybe I’d want to actually fold the towels before shoving them in. So this is what we got, a combination of her futile effort and of my need to just take things out of the boxes.

Look! Folded towels! Like items together! Everyone wins!

Look! Folded towels! Like items together! Everyone wins!

Man oh man was I proud. Check that out. It’s clean. It’s organized and whatever my little ball of energy friend was spouting about was quite obviously crazy. But as I’ve been here and had extra time on my hands, I realized she was right. Having things organized means that you ::might:: actually see them and use them. Or, heaven forbid, when you needed a band-aid… you could FIND it – because you actually knew exactly where it was! Plus, that girl has the cleanest closets of anyone I’ve EVER seen… and let’s face it, when you see someone with a clean closet, you’re just impressed.

Armed with my gift cards, shelf measurements and a plan, I went to Target. Did part of me want to deviate from the plan and get that fabulous Lela Rose dress? Absolutely. But that got shot down as the realization hit that not only did I have zero places to wear that beautiful cocktail dress, but also because it just wasn’t practical. Did you read that correctly? Not practical. Oh man, New Betsy is officially a grown up.

After sizing up all potential baskets, shapes, colors and PRICES – I settled on black, wicker and right over $10 a basket. It took multiple Targets (really Target, only three of one style at a store?! Puh-lease.) – but I went home having used every dollar of my gift cards & Christmas cash – but not one cent more! #winning

I carefully laid out everything in my closet, sorted it all by function (hair, face, medical…) and then began to give each product a home… and this is what we ended up with:

Tears. The most beautiful closet of all times.

Tears. The most beautiful closet of all times.

Yes, you are encouraged to scroll up and then scroll back. Bam. Organized closet.

Am I bummed that the baskets on the ground don’t match? Sort of. But I already had those… and didn’t want to spend anything else on STORAGE BASKETS. That seemed a wee bit unnecessary. Plus, let’s just remind ourselves that this is all in a closet. In my bathroom. In my apartment that I’m in for another 4 months. Probably no need to have a panic attack about a couple of baskets that don’t match… probably…

You’d better believe that I immediately texted before and after pictures to everyone I know. Especially Miss Michael’s herself (my friend – not the real person – I’m not some crayzo!). And have I opened the closet to show everyone that’s set foot in my apartment since? You bet your bottom dollar! Do I still smile every time I open that door? Heck. Yes!

I’m just loving this organization thing. Knowing just where my nail polish is when I want to change color is just a glamorous feeling. Or having people stay over and being able to hand them a tub when they ask for your makeup… it’s fantastic. Highly recommend it.

Now go forth and organize!