The Start of Something New

So, I’m just going to go ahead and get right to the point.

I quit my job.

Well, technically, I resigned, but you catch my drift. To fill you in: I was a Business Manager Assistant for a sales and marketing company. I specifically worked in the area of specialty cheese. I know more than anyone should ever know about cheese. Mmmmmmmm cheeeeeeeeese…

Anyway, where was I?… During the almost 4 years that I spent there, I matured, grew up, completed my Bachelor’s degree, started graduate school for my MBA (finishing in June!) and got married. So much has happened since I first stepped foot in that door and I would be lying if I said I’m not extremely sad. The people I worked with became my family and, though I know in my heart that I made the right decision, I still can’t help but feel like I left a piece of myself behind with them. But that’s life; every closed door is a new chance to find an open one.

The reactions that I’ve received from the people who know have been mixed. But I accept it because I made a break-from-tradition decision. Luckily, my nontraditional wedding prepared me for this. And the thoughts that I’m about to profess will probably bring more reactions and criticisms. Judge if you may, but I am wholeheartedly ready.

I feel like my entire life up to this point has led me to where I am right now. Tired of the 9 to 5 grind, I realized years ago that I am not meant to work in a “typical” job. I need freedom and control and passion. That’s why I went for my MBA; so that I could be ready and able to control my own career when the time came. Well, my fellow thrifties, the time is now!

I am so happy. I finally have time to breathe. I can’t begin to tell you how frustrating it is to have all of these ideas up in my head for different business ventures, blog posts and things to do to better myself and my family, but to have absolutely no time to make them happen. Well, I have time now and I love it! My husband and I recently decided to work on starting our own little business, handcrafting, repurposing and upcycling furniture. I’m so excited to have the chance (see also: time) to work on our first business venture as husband and wife!

You know I can’t in good faith not tell you to check out our website: Workbench Therapy :)

My posts have been few and far between in the past couple of months, as I prepared to leave my job and start a new chapter in my life. The truth is that the lure and appeal of something new was so exciting to me that I found it difficult impossible to share my thoughts and ideas with you guys, without gushing over my new-found freedom. And I simply did not want to make my decision “public” until I had actually left my job.

It’s been a rollercoaster couple of months, that’s for sure. As can be expected when making a big life change, I’ve dealt with every emotion, from happiness to anger to despair, and everything in between. But I’ve learned a lot about myself, I’ve faced some fears head-on and I’ve matured a lot. But most importantly, I put myself first. Sorry not sorry. If you know me, you know I’m really, really, really bad at that…

So as I conclude this rambling post, I just want to thank everyone for your support and encouragement. It means the world to me. And I’m happy to say that you’ll be reading a lot more from me going forward!

“We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams.
World-losers and world-forsakers,
Upon whom the pale moon gleams;
Yet we are the movers and shakers,
Of the world forever, it seems.”
―Arthur O’Shaughnessy

Tomorrow is a new day

Tomorrow is a new day

Have you ever made a break-from-tradition decision that scared you?

Easy Chicken Pot Pie

titleWith winter dragging on, although it’s technically spring (woot woot!), we all crave yummy comfort food from time to time. The other night when I was trying to come up with something semi-quick, easy and budget-friendly for dinner, I kept coming back to chicken pot pie. It just sounded so good! So I decided to improvise a little bit and stray from the traditional version using pie crust. Instead, I used flaky biscuits and, man, am I glad I did!

13245Ingredients:

Filling

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 small onion; chopped
  • 4 medium carrots; chopped
  • 3 large ribs of celery; chopped
  • 3/4 cup of frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 2/3 cup half and half cream
  • 2 cups chicken broth (I used low-sodium)
  • 3 cups cooked chicken; cubed (rotisserie chicken is a quick and delicious option too!)
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Crust

  • 1 can (16.3 oz) of refrigerated flaky biscuits (I used Pillsbury Grands®)
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 egg yolk; beaten

Directions:

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: about 50 minutes

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a skillet over medium-low heat, melt butter. Add onion, carrots and celery; cook until tender (about 12 minutes), stirring occasionally.
  3. Add in peas, flour and thyme. Cook, stirring constantly, until veggies are coated in flour and begin to fry (about 4 minutes).
  4. Stir in cream and chicken broth; cook until the sauce is thick and bubbling. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
  5. Add chicken and stir together.
  6. Transfer the chicken and vegetable sauce into a baking dish (mine is a round 2-qt). Place biscuits on top of the filling.
  7. In a small bowl, beat egg yolk and water; brush egg yolk mixture over biscuits.
  8. Bake until the biscuits are golden brown and the pie filling is bubbling (about 25-27 minutes). Let stand for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Bon Appetit!

{Giveaway} Win a Craftsy Cooking Class!

Hello, fellow thrifties! I hope you’re all having a lovely day.

I feel like a broken record lately, trying to justify and explain why I haven’t been able to post anything these past few weeks. School and my day job have been crazy, and preparing for a big life change on top of that isn’t making matters any easier (keep an eye out for a post on this big change coming next week). I’ll give you a hint: I’m not pregnant.

So anyway, I received an email from Craftsy last week, asking if I’d be interested in hosting a giveaway for one of their cooking classes here on Thriftily Domestic. Ummm… heck yeah, I thought, my readers would love that!

You guys, I love Craftsy.
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Their classes are amazing and so easy to follow. You can learn online at your own pace, through different video lessons and other instructional material. And, even better, once you take a class, your access never expires. So if you ever need to refer back to it or watch it all over again, you can. And with 361 classes currently in their catalog, like artisan bread making(!), the possibilities are endless.

So without further ado, let’s get to the good stuff: the Craftsy cooking class giveaway (up to a $59.99 value)!

To enter, click this link and follow the instructions: Enter to win a Craftsy cooking class!

It’s really as easy as that.

This giveaway ends on March 17, 2014. The winner, chosen by Craftsy, will receive an email with the link to redeem the online class. May the luck o’ the Irish be with you!

Have you ever taken a Craftsy class before?

This post may contain affiliate ads. That being said, I only promote and recommend products and services that I trust and would use myself.

DIY Fabric Flowers

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I have a ton of fabric leftover from my wedding that I’ve been wanting to use in some projects around the house. With a little downtime this weekend, I decided to put some of it to good use… so I made fabric flowers!

They were easy to make and involved no sewing (for all of you who avoid the dreaded Singer monster). Read on to see how you can make these beautiful flowers too!

Materials
• fabric for petals
• felt for flower bases
• embellishments for centers of flowers

Tools
• circular item for tracing
• marker
• scissors
• hot glue gun

Cut out the materials needed.

Take your circular item and trace its shape onto the fabric that you chose for the petals using a marker or pen. You will need 8 circles for each flower.

Next, cut smaller circles out of the felt (you could use any fabric, really); one for each flower. These smaller circles will become the bases for your flowers.

Once all of your circles are cut out, it’s time to shape the petal circles. Use your scissors to shape each petal circle into what looks like a flower. I prefer mine to have 5 “points”, but you could design yours however you wish.

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Put your flowers together.

Now that you have all of the shapes cut out, you can start to put your flowers together! For each petal, take the shaped circle and fold it in half. Then fold it in half one more time, so that it comes to a point at one end. The point is the part that you will be gluing to the felt flower base.

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Once you’ve folded your first petal, glue the pointed end and place it at the center of the felt base.

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Continue adding one petal at a time. Glue each new petal with the tip in the center of the felt base, so that it covers half of the petal before it. Once you secure the last petal, glue any loose pieces down so that all of the flower petals stay secure.

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Add an embellishment to the center of the flowers.

This step will really make your flowers pop! Using a glue gun, add an embellishment to the center of your flower. I used rhinestones, but anything will work.

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Now, go ahead and pat yourself on the back because you just made some kickass fabric flowers!

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Crockpot Raviolis

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I don’t know about you guys, but easy dinners make me as happy as a clam! Between working full-time, going to school in the evenings, writing and working out the details of a new business venture for my husband and I, dinner sometimes falls by the wayside. So on those nights when it’s cold out and you don’t have the time to make that 17-recipe chicken dinner, here’s a scrumptious recipe for easy crockpot raviolis that the whole family will love!

Ingredients:

-Package of frozen raviolis

-Jar of marinara sauce

-1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese

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Directions:

First, pour the frozen raviolis into the crockpot.

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Then pour a jar of your favorite marinara sauce over the raviolis.

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Stir to make sure that the sauce is evenly coating each cheese-filled piece of deliciousness.

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Now, here comes the tricky part: Put the lid on the crockpot, set it on high and forget it!

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Depending on your crockpot, cook for 2 to 2 ½ hours, or until raviolis are cooked throughout. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the raviolis and let melt for the last 20 minutes in the crockpot. And just like that, you have a lovely dinner with minimal effort involved!

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3 Tips to Help You Avoid Buying New Paint

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I will preface this post by admitting that I hate painting. It is not fun for me and I’ve learned to accept that I simply will never be a painter. Like, ever. But when the inevitable happens, and a room needs to be painted, I have no choice but to grin and bear it.

With our budget, redecorating and freshening up our home decor can be an extremely challenging process. I’ve learned to think outside the box to figure out ways to save, without cutting corners and lessening the quality of the finished product. So when it comes to paint, we all know how quickly the costs can add up. I’ve found 3 sweet ways to help you avoid buying new paint, which will save you quite a bit of money.

1) Tint your leftover paint.

I was stunned when I learned of this amazing resource! You can bring your leftover paint to your local hardware store and they will tint it to whatever new color you want for a very small charge. Awesome, right?

2) Buy used, mis-tinted or returned paint.

I kid you not. Most hardware stores and other paint specialty stores have a section or area where they have mis-tinted paint for resale. And it’s at a fraction of the cost! If you don’t see a section in your local store, just ask. More often than not they’ll have some available, as well as other returned or used paint. Take advantage of this! You never know what could be lurking in the depths of your treasure box, ummm, I mean local hardware store.

3) Don’t forget about recycling centers.

Most recycling centers receive paint from homeowners and businesses that need to get rid of their old paint, a lot of times unused. So much of this paint is still perfectly good and can be used… by you! Not convinced yet? Well, most of the time you can get this paint for free. Woohoo!

By following all of the above tips, you’ll have a solid strategy for budget-friendly painting to keep your wallet fat and your home beautiful!

Do you have any ways that you save money when it comes to painting your humble abode?

Louisiana Cajun Catfish

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Yummy recipe alert! My husband and I have been to New Orleans twice (and counting!) and can’t get enough of the food. Between the spices and the flavors, it’s just unparalleled. So when we’re in the middle of yet another New England winter, I long for a recipe that will bring me back to the hot, shady sidewalks of Royal Street, just steps from the good ol’ Mississippi River, where the music of the street bands fills the air. I hope you enjoy this one as much as I do!

Ingredients

recipe serves two

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 decently-sized catfish filets (about 1/2 to 3/4 pound)

1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning

fish fry to coat

Directions
Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat both sides of catfish with Cajun seasoning and enough fish fry to coat [we use New Orleans style]. Add filets to pan and cook until they starts to brown and are cooked through, about 4 or 5 minutes per side. Serve with any veggie and starch you like. We love ours with sweet corn and rice pilaf!

{Showcase} Work Table From Old Pallets

8a1So guys, I’m totally, spastically, amazingly excited to share this with you that it’s kind of bordering on the edge of obsessive! I am going to put this out there first: I had no hand in this. This was all the idea and vision of my super handy hubby – we make such a great team! I had been thinking for months how much I needed a “space”. I needed my own little area where I could let my dreams soar and my creativity blossom. I needed a work table. Living in a one-bedroom apartment, I take what space I can get; and that’s usually not much, or more true, none.

But that’s okay because my husband and I have learned to maximize our space so well. And when he told me out of the blue that he wanted to make me a work table (out of pallets nonetheless!), as I had never voiced my desire for one to him before, I jumped for joy. I thought, if this is what marriage is like then what took us so long?!

In all seriousness though, he just “gets” me. He knows what I want before I even say it.

Below are some pictures he took of the process. He used the extra plywood that we had leftover from our mantel repurposing project to make the base for the top of the table. Then he took the pallets that he brought home from work (in a warehouse, how lucky for us!) and laid the slats over the plywood, making sure to keep everything as close to the original look as possible.

I swear, he amazes me more everyday. The thought and detail that went into this project are just astounding, not to mention that he wanted to spend his 30th birthday finishing it for me. The legs of the table are pieces from the pallet! He kept it so original that it gives the table an old, rustic-y appeal that could never be replicated with fresh wood. He added a coat of stain and it was done.

collage1My favorite part is that you can see all of the old markings and imperfections. I fall in love all over again every time I look at it.

collage3We placed it under our pallet wall shelf in the living room and I added my vices (sewing machine, glue gun, materials, etc.) and all of a sudden my dream came true: I had my own “space”!

collage2Next, he’s going to build me a stool from pallets and a corkboard made from our collection of wine corks. His idea, not mine. Today is a good day.