Oh, Butternut Squash. How did we not fall in love until now? Now that the farmer’s market is a distant memory, I cling to my last bits of local produce: potatoes, shallots, onions, and of course, winter squash. The last day of the...
Welcome back to a second installment of the Organize It! series and also the second category in The Life-Changing Art of Tidying Up. It’s been a week since I organized my closet – and I have to say, I’m still really into it....
Since so much of my daily life revolves around cleaning, organizing, and planning I thought it was high time I let all of you into this (slightly intense) piece of my world. This post is the first in my Organize It! Series and a great way to...
Oh, Butternut Squash. How did we not fall in love until now? Now that the farmer’s market is a distant memory, I cling to my last bits of local produce: potatoes, shallots, onions, and of course, winter squash. The last day of the farmer’s market I stocked up as much as possible on things I knew would last in my pantry and of course the ever-strangely-shaped and slightly intimidating winter squash! After making an amazing butternut squash lasagna from Seriously Delish, I found myself wanting to put butternut squash on everything. Enter butternut squash pasta sauce. This recipe is a conglomeration of 4-5 recipes I found on the internet to give me an idea of how to approach it, and then just using the ingredients I deemed delicious.
This is a fairly loose recipe – I find myself tasting it over and over again until I deem it ready. I also heavily recommend the vegetable stock – I tried a chicken stock and I don’t feel like it added enough depth of flavor. I used Better than Better than Bouillon Vegetable Base – which has no MSG and is primarily made from vegetables. Even better? Make your own vegetable stock! I haven’t made my own yet, but it’s on my list. Currently I have bialy dough rising – priorities here people, priorities.
My other recommendations for this recipe:
I put this over shells, orichiette, and also gnocchi. Feel free to sub in any pasta you want. And always, always drop pieces of butternut squash for your dogs, because they will love you forever. And it’s actually good for them. (Until Hami starts wandering around the kitchen crying because he wants more butternut squash and it has all been sauced.)
I’ve often thought about changing my domain name. And Twitter name. And tumblr. And Instagram. Yikes. Okay, all of them. There are a zillion variations of Return to Sender I could use for any of them – so why not make the sensible switch? Well, I’m attached to tabayag. We’ve been together since I first got AOL on our Packard Bell computer and used to dial-up to go chat for hours in AOL Kids Chatrooms. We’ve been together since that voice saying, “You’ve Got Mail!” used to give me chills – IT COULD BE ONE OF MY ONLINE PENPALS.
This question has been posed to me many, many times in my life and usually elicits a slightly embarrassed giggle of delight from me. And everyone always pronounces it in various ways:
I can understand all the confusion – I pronounce it tab-uh-yag. Though when I slur it together quickly it definitely comes about tab-buh-yag. Enough on pronunciation – we’ve solved that mystery. Here comes the embarrassing part of exactly what tabayag is. I wish I could say it is something really profound or poetic. I wish it had some historical or familial ties…really I wish it had any story other than the one I am about to tell you. So here it goes.
When I was a kid there was a period of time where I had a bird as a pet. Let that sink in. (The first time my friend Joan heard this news I believe she screamed…because you know, bird people are weird.) He was a parakeet. And had a cool cage, was super colorful, and for a while I thought he was really neat…one could say the cat’s meow. But I had a hard time coming up with a name for said bird. And thus the genius of tabayag was born:
Turqouise And Blue And Yellow And Green
You see what I did there? I was oh so clever and took the first letters of all my little parakeet’s colors to create his ever-so-creative name. AND THEN FOR REASONS UNKNOWN I also made that my AOL screen name. And continued to do that for my entire life thus far. It’s never, ever taken. So I’m tabayag everywhere. As I was recounting this tale to someone recently I realized that I, Sarah, have been tabayag since I was 12 years old. I’ve been tabayag for more of my life than not. And after I uttered those words I realized, I don’t want to change my domain or my tumblr, Twitter, or Instagram. Maybe it’s weird, may it’s difficult (or impossible) to pronounce, and maybe it’s altogether completely forgettable to anyone trying to remember how to get to my blog and completely counterintuitive to every single thing I’ve read about “branding”- but it’s me. And if I can hold on to that silly, weird, bird owning 12-year-old girl, I will for as long as possible.
Welcome back to a second installment of the Organize It! series and also the second category in The Life-Changing Art of Tidying Up. It’s been a week since I organized my closet – and I have to say, I’m still really into it. Though I’m not as excited about the closet as I am about learning how to fold my shirts into perfect rectangles. I may have made a co-worker give me their sweater and then demonstrated how to fold it and make it stand on its own. And I’ve also forced A to watch me demonstrate and feign interest at least 3 times, while I exclaimed,
LOOK – IT JUST STANDS ON ITS OWN. THERE IS SO MUCH ROOM IN MY BUREAU. IT IS MAGIC.
But now that I have folded every item in my bureau into a rectangle (even yoga pants), I had to move on to the next category:
I am one of those people that hoards magazines. I subscribe to a few and then feel compelled to keep them. All of them. Even those that are a few years old. What if I need the recipes or really important cleaning tips in them? What if I need to know where to buy that $500 dog bed that the dogs will definitely need someday? I even moved my magazine collection from our apartment to OUR HOUSE. Until I started discarding after beginning Marie Kondo’s book, I had magazines stashed in the couch, in a magazine rack on the downstairs porch, in a magazine rack upstairs in my bedroom, and then a few secret issues in with my craft stuff in case I suddenly decided I was going to collage magazine quotes again like I was in college again. I also had piles of torn out or printed recipes stashed around the kitchen – in drawers, cabinets, even tucked into miscellaneous cookbooks. (And let’s be honest, these are mostly issues of Real Simple. WHO DOESN’T LOVE REAL SIMPLE?)
According to The KonMari Method, Kondo recommends that for papers,
“you dispose of anything that does not fall into one of three categories: currently in use, needed for a limited period of time, or must be kept indefinitely.”
All others? Discard. She has various methods for discarding books – but I have really culled my collection of books (surprisingly, considering I take home a new book a month that we publish at work), so I went straight to paper and for me, magazines are just paper. My first thought was, well how are these magazines bringing me joy when they’re just hidden away? I should just get rid of all of them; they didn’t fall into any of the paper categories. They weren’t in use…but they could be in use. And thus inspired my DIY project!
Since so much of my daily life revolves around cleaning, organizing, and planning I thought it was high time I let all of you into this (slightly intense) piece of my world. This post is the first in my Organize It! Series and a great way to kickstart the organization of your own space!
One of my co-workers has been telling me about this book his wife is reading to organize their house. He said it was all about purging and getting rid of things – this immediately piqued my interest. I LOVE a good clean n’ purge. When A & I moved from our apartment to our house-on-the-hill I donated a bunch of stuff to Goodwill – furniture we didn’t need, clothes, small appliances, a few small dogs. And once we’d been in our a house for a while I started a box in the basement that I put random things in we don’t need and then bring it to Goodwill once a month or so as it fills up – it’s a great way to get rid of things a little at at a time.
However, the aforementioned book does not recommend that slow-and-steady methodology – The Life-Changing Art of Tidying Up is all about tidying by discarding many, many things – and doing it only once in your life. Ever. And you do it all in 6 months. Sounds a bit outlandish, right? Tidying once ever? I was pretty skeptical, but I had to read the book. My house isn’t cluttered, but I love learning more about cleaning and organizing. I can’t help myself. I mean, a whole book about the art of tidying? How is this not a necessary reading for me?
When I began reading it, I knew I was not going to be disappointed. The first few chapters made me laugh. I read quotes such as,
“When you put your house in order, you put your affairs and past in order, too.”
“There is a saying that a messy room equals a messy mind.'”
to A, because he’s heard me say them verbatim over and over again as my justification for cleaning for organizing the basement at 10:00 pm with a can of seltzer in one hand a small dog in the corner trying to break into A’s tennis bags to get all the tennis balls. (HE CAN SMELL THEM ANYWHERE.)
The Konmari Method developed by the author of the book Marie Kondo, advocates for throwing away anything that doesn’t “spark joy.” Sounds amazing, right? Who wants stuff that doesn’t bring you joy? And she also has her clients begin tidying by category. The first category, which I am going to tackle in this post (and tackled in my own house):
After I did the major discard (disclaimer: I did not thank my items for service when I discarded them, but I did try to only keep joyful items of clothing, which translated into lots of horizontal stripes), and learning to fold my clothes, (tiny perfect rectangles!) it was on to hanging clothes. The proper method? Arrange them so they rise to the right. You start with the heaviest and longest items of clothing first moving onto the lighter and shorter as you go right. Acccording to Kondo:
“When you stand in front of a closet that has been reorganized so that the clothes rise to the right, you feel your heart beat faster and the cells in your body buzz with energy.”
I have a dressing room that’s off of our office, so that’s where my “closet” is. As you can see, it wasn’t terribly messy but it also wasn’t organized. I’m always haphazardly hanging things, trying to decide what I should hang, putting things into vague categories, and leaving hangers everywhere. (And I believe on the floor in the back you can see a TJ Maxx tag, no shame.)
I cannot tell a lie. I had not organized my closet before I began writing this post. So I was not really buying the quote above and I was fully prepared for some harsh criticism. However, while I don’t think that my body is quite buzzing with energy, I can say I feel quite satisfied after finishing my closet and that rise-to-the-right is pleasing to the eye. And it did give me more motivation to tackle other projects, which is exactly what Kondo says happens once you start organizing properly!
I’m slowly moving on to the other tidying categories in the book and sharing with you bits and pieces of the projects as I go!