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The End of the Road

Oh, friends.

This has been a long time coming, and it has taken a series of unfortunate events to get me to finally sit down and write this out.

You and Me are We is no longer the place I turn to when I need to write. It has slowly become less and less of a priority for me as nursing school has enveloped my life (and rightly so!). However, when I found out that all of my blog photos were deleted last Friday, I had to say 'enough is enough'. You and Me are We is no longer a place where people can come to get to know me - because the photos are all gone! My recipes and projects around the house are now just words on a screen. And really, what's a blog without pictures?!

And so, because of the lack of attention I can give YAMAW and the fact that two years worth of pictures have now been lost, my little broken heart has to realize that this is a sign to move on.

I'm not here to apologize for my lack of posting; I'm not here to apologize for the lack of interesting content the past 6 months; I'm not here to apologize for anything.

I am here to tell you that your friendship since the beginning has been amazing. In fact, I'm closer to friends I've made through blogging than I am with friends I made in school. Blogging really is a fantastic community and I'm lucky to be able to say that I was part of it - if only for a couple of years.

I'll still be around on Twitter and Instagram (@YouAndMeAreWe). I will slowly work on closing the Facebook page, and you will no longer be able to access You and Me are We's blog page after the end of this month. I'll be switching YAMAW to a private setting at that time so I still have access to my memories and thoughts that I've written out.

Final thoughts? You've all been wonderful, this experience has been wonderful - I have loved getting to know you - I am sad to shut the door on this part of my life, but it is necessary - there comes a season for everything, and the season for YAMAW is coming to an end.

I wish nothing but blessings and love for all of you,

Rainstorms and Love Notes

I'm over the moon excited to introduce you to Ashley from Rainstorms and Love Notes!

Ask Ashley about her blog and she'll tell you Rainstorms and Love Notes is a lifestyle blog where she shares new recipes, writes about life and love, and talks about her obsession with binge-watching TV shows and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

She had me at recipes and binge-watching TV shows. Seriously. 
Ashley's married to a pretty cool guy named TJ. If you wanna know how cool he is, just take a look at her blog design because he's the muscle behind it.

And then while you're hanging out over on her blog checkin' out her sweet set up, you'll want to check out some of her recipes because she's a total wiz in the kitchen. She's got everything from banana oatmeal chocolate chip muffins, to a refreshing homemade chicken noodle soup, to shrimp & spinach fettuccine.

She's also full of insight... for instance, she'll tell you why that cute maxi dress in your closet may not be as innocent as it looks.

If you've got pets - or kids! - you know they come with a t-o-n of toys that can be hard to keep under control. As I write this, I have a green squeaky penguin to my left and a colorful braided rope to my right. Don't get me wrong - I love having a dog, and I can't imagine life without Maggie, but there are definitely times I've wondered aloud, "where'd all of this stuff come from?!" Ashley has an easy DIY tutorial that helps organize the mess into something that's a lot prettier to look at. Can I get an 'amen'?!

Basically, Ashley's pretty awesome. She regularly posts pictures of food and her cats on Instagram. Plus, she hangs out on Twitter and Pinterest. Mark my word for it, you'll want to follow Rainstorms and Love Notes on Bloglovin', so get on that!!

Cheesy Pasta 'Lasagna' Bake

Nursing school keeps me busy. So busy that some nights I have 20 minutes to make dinner. This means I've had to get a little bit creative in the kitchen as of late.

Basically, if you're busy, short on time, looking for something with ample leftovers, or just plain love cheese, I've got tonight's dinner for you right here.

Here's looking at you, Cheesy Pasta 'Lasagna' Bake!

Here's what you'll need, in very specific measurements:
a pound of ground turkey (or chicken, or beef)
a box of pasta (we like whole grain rotini)
a jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
a pinch or two (or three) of garlic powder
a pinch or two (or three) of Italian seasoning
a handful (or two) of shredded mozzarella cheese
a light dusting of parmesan cheese

Start with browning your meat in a frying pan. At the same time prepare your pasta according to the directions on the box in a large pot (we use a soup pot). Cook that stuff until it's ready!

If you have a fattier meat, drain the excess fat. If not, just let it hang out in the pan for a minute.

Around this time, I like to turn my oven on to the broil setting so that it can get a couple minute head start before I melt the cheese.

Drain the pasta and toss it back in the pot. Add the meat and the can of spaghetti sauce. Stir like crazy!

Add the spices and seasonings and stir.

Add most of the mozzarella cheese and stir.

Transfer the whole shebang into a baking pan. You'll probably need a 9x13 pan - we usually do.

Top with a light sprinkling of the parmesan cheese and the rest of the mozzarella and put it in the oven for a few minutes - until the cheese gets bubbly and a little bit brown.

Take it out of the oven, dish up, and enjoy the melty goodness that is Cheesy Pasta 'Lasagna' Bake!

Valentine's Day

I love love. 
I love celebrating for no reason. I love making my husband feel loved.

Maybe that's why Valentine's Day is my favorite day of the year?

So, let's share the love! I've rounded up a few posts that you're going to want to check out, even if you aren't celebrating:

-- Pin this, write this stuff down, or just plain bookmark this because not only is it full of why-have-I-never-thought-of-that date ideas, they're all free or super cheap. And, let's be honest, who doesn't love free stuff?! Plus, they're easy to make into a gift for your honey - write each idea on a heart shaped piece of paper and stick all of the hearts in a jar. When you're looking for a date idea, pull one out!

-- Read this if you're looking for ways to improve communication with your sweetheart, or if you just want to reduce the amount of fights you have!

-- I saw these Nutella 'Ravioli' on Pinterest the other day. They may not be healthy, but they sure as heck look easy to make and even easier to eat!
-- Last Valentine's Day, Trevor and I had a little fun answering questions and comparing how we each responded. This year, it's your turn to steal the questions and have a fun get-to-know-you-better session over your romantic dinner {or Nutella 'Ravioli'!}.

What do you have planned for Valentine's Day? I've got a giant paper due for school so as soon as I finish that Trevor is whisking me away on a secret date! He may have a few tricks up his sleeve but little does he know, I have everything we need at home to continue our tradition of making a heart shaped pizza for dinner.

Happy Valentine's Day, love bugs!

A Hump Day Love List

While the title of this post may give off a creepster vibe, I promise you I'm just here to spread a little love. After all, it IS almost Valentine's Day, my most favorite day of the year!

1) This color, Woodlawn Blue, is a new contender in our kitchen-bathroom revamp. Imagine beautiful blue walls with white trim and dark wood cabinets. Pretty, right?

2) Hello to my new best friend! Gimme Brow was recommended to me a few weeks ago by an employee at Ulta. I LOVE IT! It's true that fresh brows can make a face look so much more put together.

3) I'm up to my eyeballs in student loan debt, but I've thoroughly enjoyed window-shopping the Kate Spade Surprise Sale. This wallet is perfect, don't you think?

4) Trevor and I were gifted a Roku for Christmas. Hands down, the coolest piece of technology we own! I love having Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Redbox, etc. at our fingertips! It may make us lazier, but date night is significantly more cuddlier when you don't have to get out from under a blanket to change DVDs.

5) This pretty shade is part of Essie's Resort collection, and you better believe it's on my wish list for the spring!

6) Doesn't that photo make your mouth water?!? It's not my recipe for a strawberry cream heart, but that doesn't mean it won't be on our table for a dessert come Valentine's Day! {You can find the recipe here!}

What have you been loving lately?

Twenty Four Hours

Trevor and I made a quick trip to Chicago this weekend that lasted all of twenty four hours. It was a whirlwind trip to celebrate a dear friend's birthday that we were able to fit in between endless hours of studying and a final exam that I have later today... but if you know me, and let's face it, I don't hide this fact, you know that I don't ever, ever turn down a chance to visit my favorite city!

Saturday was snowy which made for messy travel but picturesque scenes. We stopped at Millennium Park for ice skating and the birthday girl snapped this lovely shot. 

{Keep your eyes peeled: this photo is part of a project I'm working on to finish off an empty bedroom wall... coming to the blog soon!}

We stayed downtown, near Grant Park, at the Blackstone Renaissance... it was drool worthy. Marble floors, dark, heavy, thick wooden doors, views of the lake, and just look at that lush wallpaper on the bathroom walls.

After an "I ate so much food, I think you're going to have to roll me outta here" dinner, we hit up a comedy club and laughed the calories off. Or, at least that's what I'm telling myself.

A little bit of Starbucks, some of the fantastic strawberry orange juice that I had a few months ago, and a stroll through the park wrapped up our trip before we headed home in time to grab the pup and watch the big game.

After today's cumulative final, I have approximately five hours off of school and then another class starts. We've got eight months of this crazy schedule left before the real world swallows us whole but a weekend like the one we just had was just what the doctor nurse ordered.

How was your weekend? Who were you rooting for to win the Super Bowl?

Splash of Color on the Gallery Wall - super cheap DIY

I have dreams of a beautiful gallery wall in our upstairs office/guest room. The room itself has slanted ceilings which is a bit of a decorating dilemma to begin with - but then you add in where I want the room to go and those ceilings don't matter one bit! Part of my Home To Do List included finishing up the gallery wall, which is just what I attempted to do the other day.

It was one of the easiest projects I've done in this house and I love the color it brings to the area! With gray walls, and all white frames, it was just screaming for a splash of color!

I've been collecting the frames on the wall since before we moved. I visit a thrift store that's next to a local grocery store when I see that their frames are 50% off and I snatch up whatever I think would look good size and shape wise. Then I bring them home and spray paint them Krylon's Bright White in a satin finish (I find my spray paint at WalMart) so they all match. I've been tossing them up on the wall until I find inspiration to fill them - and recently I found just that.

It was simple. It took 30 minutes, tops. I used a couple frames I already had (one was marked $1.50, the other was $0.50 - so with the 50% sales I shop, I'm pretty sure I paid a whole dollar for these two frames), and two magazines that I was about to toss. I also gathered a sheet of white scrapbook paper, ModPodge, a paintbrush, a glue pen, scissors, and glass cleaner.

I started by cleaning the glass for the frames to get all the fingerprints off. Then I ripped into the magazines looking for any bright colors or neat patterns. When I found something I liked, I traced a raindrop shape and cut it out. I repeated that over and over until I had about 30 raindrops to choose from. From there, I just arranged them on the pre-cut white scrapbook paper that fit in the frame. It took a little bit to find an arrangement I liked, but eventually I was ready to start gluing.

You can choose to use ModPodge or a glue pen - I started with ModPodge but switched to the glue pen just because it was faster and less messy. Anyway, you'll want to glue/ModPodge your raindrops to the paper and let them dry.

Once dry, you can choose to put another coat of ModPodge on top, or just pop them in frames to hang on the wall!

Wham, bam, done!

Cost breakdown:
Frames - $1 from a local thrift store during a 50% sale (you could always hit up the Dollar Tree for two frames for $2)
Scrapbook paper - already had, just took out of my stash
ModPodge - already had, just took out of my stash
Magazines - already had, thank you Ladies Home Journal for the free subscription!
Glue pen - already had, from DIY our wedding invites years ago
Glass cleaner - already had

Total cost: $1 for me, but if you needed a couple other supplies (glue pen, scrapbook paper, frames) it could cost around $3-$7 for two completed pieces of art. What a steal!

And of course, you can do this same project with any shape. I was going to circles (and use a scrapbook punch, which would have been even easier and quicker) and then I wanted to do snowflakes and then I settled on raindrops. Mix it up and try a different shape, if you want! I bet a polka dotted version would be super cute!

The Never Ending Honey-Do List

As promised in my post from last week, I'm here to share the short version of my to-do list around the house. While our new home is structurally sound, it leaves a lot to be desired in updated features. When we moved in, we were surrounded by honey oak: floors, trim, doors, cabinets, even the walls were a honey color. We're slowly making progress a little bit at a time (read: what I can accomplish during a Saturday afternoon) but I still feel like I need a list that can hold me accountable to the updates I want to make and make me feel good when I cross things off. I'll be using this as my master list and I'll link you to any projects that I've finished!

I'd love to have all of this done in the next six months... and then work on saving our bones for residing the house (it's currently a magnificent MINT GREEN), eventually gutting the main bathroom, and buying new living room furniture. Six months might be a stretch, but I'm not one of those people who like to leave projects unfinished so hopefully if I can get a good start on some of these, we'll be good.

So, here goes nothin'!

Photo wall up the stairs
Put up curtain rods
Paint curtain rods
Cut curtains
Hem curtains
Fill gallery wall frames

Paint hall ceiling
Paint hallway walls
Refinish hardwood floors
Buy and install quarter round
Buy new light
Install new light
Hang art
Put up curtain rods
Paint curtain rods
Cut curtains
Hem curtains
Paint trim in bedroom
Refinish hardwood floors
Buy and install quarter round

Downstairs guest room:
Paint trim
Paint walls
Put up curtain rods
Paint curtain rods
Cut curtains
Hem curtains
Refinish hardwood floors
Buy and install quarter round
Stain kitchen cabinets
Board and batten wall
New countertops
Paint walls
Buy new light
Install new light
Living room:
Paint trim in living room
Patch living room ceiling
Paint living room walls
Put up curtain rods
Paint curtain rods
Cut curtains
Hem curtains
Refinish hardwood floors
Buy and install quarter round
Dining room:
New windows in dining room
Put up curtain rods
Paint curtain rods
Cut curtains
Hem curtains
Paint bathroom walls
Peel and stick tiles in bathroom (for short term use)
Stain bathroom mirror
Two floating shelves above toilet

Side entry:
Paint trim
Paint ceiling
Paint walls
Paint steps
Install new light

Am I a glutton asking for punishment by trying to do all of this in a small amount of time? Only time will tell!

Welcome to 2014

Hey there and happy new year! It's been a little over 2 months since I last checked in because nursing school is keeping me so busy. By the time I'm done with my 12 hours of studying for the day, the last thing I want to do is type out a blog post... plus, my life doesn't change much day-to-day. Boring!

I realize I haven't shared any photos of our new house so I'll make a point to do so in the future. However, I have a few pictures I can share today that show the intermediate steps of our home improvement projects so you'll get a little peek into the money-pit we call home!

Just recently, Trevor and I adopted a 4 year old pup from our local humane association - we named her Maggie. She's as sweet as pie and is the perfect dog for us. Talk about unexpected, though! We just went to put in a general application to be approved for future adoptions and saw her sweet face. We met her and had submitted an application to take her home before we left. The day after Christmas, they called and told her she was all ours! She's from Mississippi and is slowly adjusting to the -30 degree windchill days we have around this time of year but her favorite thing to do is to cuddle with us under a heating blanket. We are so blessed to have a happy, healthy pup like Maggie!

We've also been staying busy with fixing things around the house. Before we even bought the house, we knew that we'd need to work on some landscaping before winter hit because the soil around our house was sloping towards the foundation which was basically sending the water down the footings and making our sump pumps (yes, two!) work overtime. We had about 5 different basement people look at the house while we were in escrow to make sure it wasn't an expensive issue... and thank goodness it wasn't: all we had to do was hire a landscaping company to come take out our walkways, truck in two dump trucks full of soil, spread it out, and regrade everything so the water flows away from our house. After being stood up by a company earlier this fall, we found a local place that agreed to do the work within our budget if we would take out the walkways. So we rented a jackhammer (uh, yeah, check that off the bucket list!).

And then found out that 1) our neighbors are incredibly tolerant of jackhammering noise. Nobody complained, not once! and 2) idiots lived here some time before us and decided it would be really cool to layer concrete over concrete over concrete. This meant, there were areas of the jackhammer project that required us to get through over a foot of concrete - which we had to do in layers. It's funny to think about now but it was FAR from hilarious when it happened.

We've also done a lot of painting around here! We painted our bedroom less than a week after we moved in (because Trevor wasn't enjoying sleeping in a pink bedroom) and I've been slowly - SLOWLY - working on painting all of the trim in the house white since then. Here's a look at our bedroom with grey-blue walls and white trim...

...and the built-ins in the hallway.

During Christmas break, I had a chance to sit back and gather my thoughts about where I want this house to go, updates wise, and I made out a "short" list that I'll be sharing with you soon. It's the list of things I'd like to get done in the next six months, which makes me believe that I am crazy. You'll understand when you see just how long the list is!

School starts up again this Sunday, the 5th and our clinicals start on the 7th. I'm really excited to get back into the hospital and work with patients but I'm also incredibly nervous that I'll be partly responsible for the care of my patients in a capacity I've never had before. Butterflies in my tummy doesn't even begin to describe it!

At the same time, I'm also so excited to see my nursing school friends again! We've all only met in person once - during orientation last September - but we've been working so closely online through discussions, projects, readings, and exams that I feel so much closer to these 29 people than I do to some of my friends who are local! Some of my classmates are arriving on Saturday, some on Monday, and we have a couple of dinners already planned for us to just catch up on life. It's corny, but these people have kept me going through the content that I couldn't wrap my head around (hello, nephrons and acid/base balances!) so it's going to be great seeing them all in person again.

Christmas and New Years were pretty low-key around these parts, so I don't have much to share... however, I want to know how yours went! Did you get to spend time with family from far away? Did you get some great gifts? Did you fall asleep before midnight like we did?

I'm not apologizing for being so absent the past couple of months because I am working so hard at school getting to a point of reaching my dream, but I am letting you know that I've thought about this little blog and all of you, my readers, often during my break. I can't promise that you'll be seeing a lot more of me around here, but I can promise that if you follow me on Instagram @YouAndMeAreWe that you'll get more real-time updates and none of this two-month-catch-up stuff! I'm notorious for sharing pictures of house projects, school stuff, and sleeping dogs - come join me!


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