Friends forging a course together through the unexpected

House Hunting Update April 1, 2015

Filed under: Karla — Uncharted @ 8:30 pm
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Sorry to report, no awesome beer adventures this weekend. Instead it was full of packing and cleaning. Here’s a little recap of where we are at with our house hunt. We’ve toured about half a dozen homes with no luck at finding our first home. However, I will say we’ve learned so much. From seeing what types of projects we’re willing to take on to understanding the different types of mortgages and finding out what we’re comfortable compromising.Plus we’ve have enjoyed a moments of “you’ve got to be kidding me” like the one below.

House Hunting

To keep me off the listing sites, Matt recommended that I start to pack. Back in March my goal was to do one box a week. Well, I hadn’t even gotten started until last week. So I did a little catch up and packed all of our fine china and other items from our china cabinets. Thankfully we saved a lot of the wrapping and stuffing we received from all of our wedding gifts. (A special thanks to my mom and dad for letting us borrow their basement to store it!)

Inspired by my packing, I thought I might as well start deep cleaning a few rooms in the house. My rationale was that maybe the cleaning wouldn’t be so bad when we do actually move. First on my list was the refrigerator. A little vinegar and some elbow grease, and the old beauty was shiny once again! Next stop was the bathroom. Armed with my trusty vinegar again, as well as some bleach, it was time to kick some grout butt. To help with the teeny-tiny cracks and crevices I used a toothbrush. Best idea ever!

We’ll see what I get done this weekend, although I think I’m going to take a break from “major” cleaning efforts and just focus on a few more boxes. And keep your fingers crossed, we have a few more houses to look at next week!


Cleaning Out June 30, 2013

Filed under: Karla — Uncharted @ 4:34 pm
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Our friends Tom and Kim asked us a few months back if we wanted to do a garage sale with them. We jumped at the opportunity. Anything we could get rid of in advance of our two household merger is a good thing! The less we have to move the better. And hey, if we make a few bucks it’s all worth it.

Last weekend we had the garage sale. Friday we started bright and early. Together we managed to sell about $50. We had to cut the day short due to an impending storm. Nonetheless, we sold a few things and felt pretty good about what we accomplished in a short time-span. The next day we had a late start due to the weather. Yet, we still made over $60 combined. In the end we netted a little over $80 total, not too shabby.

Our Garage Sale!

Our Garage Sale!

There are a few key take-aways from our garage sale that will prepare me for any future ones.

  1. Get a comfortable lawn chair (you’ll be sitting down a lot).

  2. Borrow a cute baby for live entertainment and salesmanship (Luckily Tom and Kim have a 13-month old).

  3. Enjoy random conversations with strangers. You might learn something new, or something you didn’t want to know at all!

  4. Be ready to haggle. Have a number in mind and don’t be afraid to start high to get your price.

  5. Donate. We took everything we didn’t want to a Goodwill and dropped everything off. It was such a relief to have everything gone!

  6. Wear sunscreen to avoid bad tan lines or even burn lines.

  7. Folks are going to come early. Even if it is raining.

  8. Utilize the internet! You can promote your garage sale on blogs, Craig’s List, and local online newspapers like the Patch.

I’ll keep our readers posted how the next garage sale goes. We might try one in September after the wedding or maybe just wait til next spring. We’ll see how adventurous we are! Oh, and I still have a few things for sale. Let me know if you’re interested in anything listed below.

Hand Painted Magazine Holder

Hand Painted Magazine Holder

Maple Side Table

Maple Side Table


Fall Cleaning November 14, 2012

Filed under: Karla — Uncharted @ 1:40 pm
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Our annual swap is coming up in less than three weeks. Which meant it was time to purge my dressers and closets. With Jill in town this weekend, I had the perfect person to help me. Jill is a no-nonsense, why do you still have that if you don’t wear it and no, you don’t need thirty of those. Whereas I’m more of a, but it’s comfy and has sentimental value and I’m sure I can find a time to wear it.

Saturday morning after breakfast we got to work. We laid out a game plan of getting rid of a percentage of all the items. For example, if I had twelve pairs of socks I would try to get rid of two to three pairs. Our first object to tackle was my small closet containing my long sleeve t-shirts. Jill counted out eleven and made me toss three into the donate pile. With that complete we moved on to the basketball shorts and pants drawer. Here I parted two pairs of pants and one pair of shorts. Feeling good we moved onto the larger dresser.

Luckily, I didn’t have a minimum of items to donate this round. It was a simple go through and take out anything that I didn’t like or wear any more. This is also the dresser where Jill picked up two shirts from Banana. I said it was her payment for helping me. Once done with the dressers it was time to buckle down.

My walk-in closet holds one of my pride collections, my t-shirts. Over time I’ve accumulated just a few. Between playing basketball, being in a sorority, working at a park district and now at a university, plus going to concerts and other sporting events, let’s just say I amassed a collection. And by a collection, I mean 68, not counting the t-shirts that are sleepwear. Jill came up with the magic number of 23 to toss. However I was able to find a small loophole. And that was to create a pile of items to take up to the Lake House. But she did give me a limit for that so I wasn’t completely off the hook.

Jill helping me sort out all of my t-shirts

In the end I was able to make my goal of getting rid of 23 shirts, plus 2 more! It was very hard but I’m glad I had Jill there to help me. Plus, it helped to keep in mind that when I move in the fall this is less that I have to pack up. In addition to the fact that it is less closet/drawer space Matt has to worry about finding.

Now I just have to clean out the coat/dress closet in the office…but I think I can take a break for awhile before tackling that project!


One Can of Paint at a Time February 23, 2011

Filed under: Karla — Uncharted @ 10:34 pm
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By no means am I a Van Gogh, Picasso, Dali or aspiring Ms. Curtis. That could be because my canvases usually consist of drywall, wood, or cinderblocks. And I need more than a flimsy paint brush (no offense to any artists, I simply lack refined skills). My tools are painters’ tape to stay in the lines, rollers, a variety of large brushes and a wet rag. I think Van Gogh would scoff at painter’s tape, but it’s my best friend.

I got to practice staying inside the lines working with one of the Uncharted authors’ favorite nonprofits, Global Hope. Kelly and I ventured out early Sunday morning, so early I treated to coffee at McDonalds as we got on our way to Tanner Elementary School on the south side of Chicago.

Driving down 94 and exiting off at 75th street going east, showed us the reality of what Tanner Elementary would be like – and fully woke us up. Litter scattered the streets.  Businesses were bordered up. Graffiti leapt off the sides of homes and stores. And the houses were dilapidated.

The one beacon of light, literally, in the area was the school. Tanner Elementary not only serves grades kindergarten through eighth, but also offers adult education programs. It is truly a community center endeavoring to advance and empower local residents through education.

What a better way to help a school than by improving the learning environment for its students? As one of the volunteers said, “Whatever we can do to ease the strains due to the environment they live in through a better educational experience is wonderful.”

Our task was to paint three hallways and one or two offices in two days. But, with a bunch of overachievers, we totally kicked butt and went above and beyond. We painted all the hallways, all the doorframes, some of the doors, the main office, and three private offices, scrubbed the floors and washed the walls.

The school sparkled. Light even on the gray raining day came from somewhere outside to gleam off the new bright yellow paint and bouncing off the shine of the tiled walls and immaculate floor. And the best part was this renovation would be a complete surprise to the students.

Through cleaning and painting Tanner Elementary, our actions tell those students and staff that they matter – showing that there are people in this world who will do what is in their power to support them, even if it is one can of paint at a time.

Harlo's ready to paint, are you?



Simple remedies January 5, 2011

Filed under: Karla — Uncharted @ 9:02 pm
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One of my favorite co-workers gave me a great Christmas present, a book called Smart Solutions. Inside are 250 simple remedies and quick fixes for everyday life. My co-worker said it’s perfect for the aspiring woman. So I tested a few of the remedies out during my holiday break.

My new favorite book

One example is to clean your washing machine. Using one cup of white vinegar, set your washer for a small load using hot water and let it rock and roll. To see if the remedy worked, I placed our shower liners that were in need of a massive cleaning into the washer. 30 minutes later, I was impressed and resolved to clean my washer at least once a year. Apparently, soap scum accumulates in washer hoses – who knew! The vinegar helps to dissolve this build up so the machine runs smoothly and clothes come out sparkling.

Tis the season for the second remedy, removing salt stains on my favorite shoes. I got my new friend, vinegar, from the cabinet once again. I applied about a quarter size amount of the liquid on a washcloth and began buffing out the salt line on my shoes. It turns out that the acetic acid breaks down salt crystals, getting rid of the pesky white residue making my shoes nice and clean once again!

All of my dress pants are on hangers and at times become crumpled right at the knee due to my poor hanging skills. That’s why I love this third remedy to fix annoying hanger bumps without sending them to the dry cleaners for re-pressing. First, sprinkle warm water on the troubled area, and then using a blow-dryer on high, direct the airflow at the fabric. The key is to make sure to constantly move the dryer so the bumpy spots get out and to make sure that the fabric does not become scorched. The heat loosens the warped fibers so the fabric settles back into its original shape and I’m ready to go.

I’m still reading about the other 247 remedies, but I’ll keep you posted if I find any other great ones!


Patience is a Virtue…and a Safety Feature December 7, 2010

Filed under: Kelly — Uncharted @ 6:24 pm
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Last year Karla and I got our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving.  By the time our New Year’s party came around the thing was so dry, I was scared to use the oven for fear the tree would burst into flames.  And that is with 2 rooms in between!  It was my fault.  I saw a Christmas tree lot a couple blocks away from our apartment and got so excited I dragged Karla over there and way overpaid for a tree on the spot.

This year has been drastically different.  I am being way more patient about the tree, and we are being more intentional about decorating.


1.        We cleaned the apartment all day

~After everything was spotless~

2.       I unpacked all of our Christmas decorations and laid them all out


1.        We decorated room by room.  The entryway has a blue/white theme, the dining room has religious pieces (angels and mangers), and the living room has a red/gold theme complete with a Santa-bear sleigh on the mantel!

There is still no tree.  I think the one from last year really taught me to wait it out a little bit.  Plus once we get one, we have to start using a squirt bottle on Harlo every time he gets near the thing.  Cats really do climb Christmas trees.  I saw it happen this weekend at a friends house.  Hey, at least I let him play with some ornaments before we put them up…


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