Month: July 2016

Plastic Free July

I am really late to this, but it is Plastic Free July!

Join me and other bloggers on how you can avoid plastic this month (and every month after)!

Take A Seat: Restoring A Piece of IU History

While I was still in school at Indiana University, I discovered one of the most amazing places on campus. It was tucked away far from the classrooms and dorms. Not many people knew about it. It was only open at weird times and was located in a warehouse.

I am talking about the IU Surplus Store! It is like a garage sale of IU goodies! AKA Heaven.

“Provides services for the proper disposition of unneeded university property. By returning surplus items into circulation with sales to university departments and to the general public, Surplus Stores plays an important part in the sustainability efforts of Indiana University. Through sales and recycling programs, Surplus Stores is committed to limiting the university’s environmental foot print which is beneficial to not only the campus but the community as a whole.” –IU Surplus Store Facebook

I bought 2 library chairs for $5 a piece. I like to imagine the years of use these chairs provided to students “studying” in the library. K bought one at a different time, so now we have an odd number of 3. Probably should get a 4th the next time we are in Bloomington to even it out…


IU chair done 3

I love that one of my chairs still has its original “Property of Indiana University” sticker on the bottom.


A couple summers later, while going through antique stores in New Buffalo, Michigan, I happened to come across a chair that was also from the Indiana University Library and had been painted black.


The store was selling it for $120. Yikes! Obviously, my chairs did not look as good, but I intended to change that, and as usual, I got in a bit over my head.


IU Chair3.jpg

The point I started to realize this was a terrible idea


Even though I had two chairs that were not exactly the same, I figured I would just stain them the same color and go with the mix and match look.

Since my dad is a woodworker, I thought the process of stripping the chairs was going to be easy peasy. BOY WAS I WRONG!

Nothing came off no matter how hard we tried. It was just layers and layers of lacquer on those beaten up chairs. Long story short, I got very frustrated and the chairs sat in the garage for a number of months.

Since having 2 junky chairs still covered in peeling chemical stripper is not that appealing to my dad, he took my chairs to work to have the professionals deal with it. Thank goodness for them!

I have since moved and recently sold my old set of 6 chairs on craigslist (no need for them in this tiny apartment anyway), so it was finally time to pick up my IU chairs from the shop!

Look at these babies! They look fantastic! 

IU chairs done

IU chairs done 2

P.S. Thanks, Dad! Couldn’t have done it without you 😉

The Gift of An Experience

Father’s Day was a few weeks ago and so was K’s birthday. Both received the gift of an experience from me. My dad has always wanted to do an architectural boat tour on the Chicago River and K got a much-needed massage gift certificate.

Overall, I consider myself to be a pretty good gift giver. I listen throughout the year and make notes on my phone about things people would be interested in. Did you mention in a conversation you would love to learn how to scuba dive? Awesome! I will be taking note.

As I have gotten older, my wish lists have gotten shorter. I would rather receive an experience or activity rather than another sweater. I have even had to make actual requests to my mother to tone it down at Christmas. (sorry mom!)

I don’t need too much anymore, and right now I legitimately have nowhere to put it in our tiny apartment.

If you are having trouble thinking of good “gift of an experience,” here are a few I have either given or have received:

  • tickets to hockey games
  • tickets to baseball games
  • trapeze lessons
  • massages
  • segway tour
  • flight in a WWII plane
  • indoor skydiving
  • cooking lessons
  • money towards specific honeymoon activities
  • tickets to see Anthony Bourdain
  • knitting lessons
  • yoga passes



The Winter Classic in Washington, DC



Learning trapeze



Anthony Bourdain at the Auditorium Theater in Chicago

The point is, I do not need/want a tangible item for every occasion. Being able to do/see things I normally would not spend my money on is the real joy. The gift of an experience has allowed me to I swing on a trapeze, learn to cook pasta, and knit a million scarves!