Secret Areas Around Your Home That Must Be Cleaned

Great tips! Definitely never thought about a lot of these. I think a lot of people (myself included) who are starting to have to become independent and take care of their own homes could use to be reminded that cleaning isn’t only vacuuming the floors and putting clothes away…

The Zen of Zada



Guest Blogger, Leslie Kramer

I’ve talked about some of the things around someone’s home that must be cleaned every so often to prevent anything from going wrong.

Most people neglect cleaning key areas, which could turn into a bigger problem

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3 Questions With Someone Way Better at Budgeting Than Me

For today’s post, we’re finally getting into the thing I hate most: budgeting my money. I’ve seriously been dreading this one for awhile. I like to live in a pretend world where money grows on trees, So, I decided to jump into this topic by talking with my roommate, Matt, who is really good at budgeting his money. That kid never runs out!


The smartest guy I know.

Q: How did you first learn how to budget your money?

A: My parents have always been financially smart, and they raised me not to live beyond my means. 

Q: What’s your personal strategy for managing money?

A: I make sure to check my bank account once a week, preferably two or three times. I budget myself within the amount that I know I have. For the most part, I only buy what I really need. As much as I’d like to go out every weekend, I’m not at a place right now where I can do that. So, I limit it to only what I can afford – usually a couple of times a month. When it comes to buying groceries, I look for things that will last me a long time – just the other day I made a Crock Pot recipe [Authors note: He’s learning from me!] that lasted me five days. I’m in college – I figure I don’t have to be glamorous. 

Q: What kind of advice do you have for people who are just starting to become financially independent?

A: First of all, know what kind of fees, hidden or not, that any banks you want to sign up for have; know their policies. Never forget to stay on top of how much money you have – you can spend all of it faster than you might think. Finally, use common sense. I may want that $60 bottle of Belvedere, but it’s just not gonna happen. 

Thanks Matt! I definitely need to listen to the one about not trying to live glamorously…oops.

ALSO: If you live in the Reno area, be sure to check out some of the events for the Financial Literary Series for students! They have some great events about budgeting coming up. Check out the schedule here.

Crock Pot Spinach & Basil Brown Rice Risotto

I know I just recently did a Crock Pot recipe, but I’m here today to tell you that Crock Pots aren’t just for soup, y’all. You can seriously make almost anything in them these days. There are tons of resources for Crock Pot recipes that go anywhere from beef and broccoli to tacos. Today, we’ll be making risotto!

I got this recipe, again, from the Better Homes & Gardens “Skinny Slow Cooker” magazine. I got this around a year ago, so I don’t know if it’s still available, but it’s got some great recipes in it!

“Spinach And Basil Brown Rice Risotto,” pg. 117. This is technically intended to be a side, but I ate it as a main dish.

You will need:

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 & 1/2 cups uncooked brown rice
  • 1 cup chopped red or green sweet pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 & 1/2 cups water
  • 2 cups packed fresh spinach, coarsely chopped (I only used one cup, two seemed like way too much, but to each their own!)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup snipped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts or slivered almonds, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Grated parmesan cheese (optional)
Remember, gather your ingredients first!

Remember, gather your ingredients first!

Start by coating your slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Then, add in your rice (uncooked!), sweet pepper, and salt. Pour the water over it and slap on the lid.

Doesn't it just look soo appetizing at this stage?

Doesn’t it just look soo appetizing at this stage?

Cook on low for 4 to 5 hours, or on high for 2 to 2 & 1/2 hours. Now, I think something might be wrong with my Crock Pot, because I had it on high, and it took 4 hours for the rice to become tender. So make sure to check before you take it out!

In the meantime, prepare the rest of your ingredients. I would wait to do this part until around 30 minutes before your cook time is up. All you really have to do here is chop your spinach, snip your basil, and grate the lemon peel. Use a cheese grater!

Then, once your rice and pepper mixture is finished cooking (when the rice is tender), throw in the spinach, basil, nuts, oil, lemon peel, and garlic. Cover again and cook until the spinach is wilted. Add some cheese if you like, and you’re done! This is probably the world’s easiest risotto recipe.

It tastes better than it looks, I promise.

It tastes better than it looks, I promise.

I have to admit that my rice came out pretty mushy, but the flavors were really good, so I’m sure someone with more cooking prowess could make this amazing. Happy crocking!

The Easiest Way To Clean Your Toilet

Today we’re getting into the nitty gritty of adulthood: cleaning the bathroom.

This is something I struggled with for most of my teenage years, until I went to college and suddenly couldn’t stand even a small speck of dirt on my shower. It probably had something to do with the fact that it was the first time in my life I didn’t have housekeepers to clean my bathroom for me. That probably makes me sound spoiled, but whatever, it’s the truth. In any case, I had to learn pretty fast how to clean up after myself, and also after my two dorm mates, because they sure didn’t clean anything.

Now, I’m a bathroom cleaning pro! I must admit that living in a party house makes it difficult, but I manage. Please ignore how gross my toilet looked beforehand, I live with three men, who as you probably guessed, also never clean. My bathroom at my mom’s house in Seattle looks like a hotel bathroom. Seriously.

Anyway, for today’s post, I give you: How to clean your toilet. This is a super easy method and takes only about 2 minutes of actual work. I decided to make this post into a Zeega, but unfortunately WordPress isn’t letting me embed it, so click the picture below to see the post!

Click above to see the Zeega!

Click above to see the Zeega!

Quick & Easy Apple Orchard Panini

Okay, okay, I know I said my next post would be about budgeting. But when I saw this recipe, I changed my mind. I was scouring my new favorite blog, Iowa Girl Eats (check it out!), when I saw this beauty. You had me at brie!

It also is SO easy to make and takes only a few minutes!

I can't even get over how good this is.

If this doesn’t look good to you I just don’t even know what to say.

The great thing about sandwiches is that you don’t have to be exact, so feel free to use as much or as little of each ingredient as you want. I just eyeballed it for what looked good.

You will need:

  • Italian bread
  • Green apples
  • Brie
  • Roasted deli turkey
  • Apple butter
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Start out by gathering all your ingredients, as usual.

I realize this is missing the bread and the olive oil. It's been a long week, okay?

I realize this is missing the bread and the olive oil. It’s been a long day.

Next, slice your brie and apples, and your bread if you need to.

I was super excited about this part just because I finally got to use my marble cheeseboard.

I was super excited about this part just because I finally got to use my marble cheeseboard.

Lay out two pieces of bread and brush the olive oil on ONE side of each. This is a college house, so we don’t have a kitchen brush, so I just drizzled a little bit and spread it around with a knife. Then flip ’em over and smear your apple butter on. I did it on both sides, but I imagine it would taste just as good on just one side. I think next time I make this I’m going to try it that way – it was a little rich for me this time (but still delicious, trust me).

It even looks delicious before you make it!

It even looks delicious before you make it!

In Kristin’s recipe, she used roasted deli turkey instead of the honey smoked kind I had. I think it would probably be better with the roasted turkey, but I already had a bunch of turkey that I needed to use, so here we are.

Next it’s time to put it all together!

This is when I discovered I am really bad at slicing apples.

This is when I discovered I am really bad at slicing apples.

Then pop your top slice of bread (olive oil side up) on top! Kristin used a panini maker, which is another amazing kitchen item I don’t have, so I just used a Foreman grill. Put the sandwich in your Foreman grill/panini maker/skillet until it’s “golden brown and crispy.” Use a spatula to take it out and let sit for a couple of minutes so you don’t burn your hand. I unfortunately learned this part the hard way, when a glob of hot apple butter went through a crack and burned my finger when I was trying to cut my sandwich in half. Oops.

So. Good.

Here's another angle.

Here’s another angle.

And there you have it! Told you it was easy, right? Thanks to Kristin for this awesome recipe!

Follow Me on Pinterest!

Hey everyone! Sorry that I’ve been not updating regularly, this past week has been insanely busy. I’m going to have an actual update sometime today or tomorrow, but for now if you want more Lessons in Adult Life check out my Pinterest page! It’s just in the early stages right now, but I’m working on building it as another resource for this blog. I’ll be linking to other people’s recipes, cleaning tips, and budgeting advice, while also keeping my own work on there as well. Happy pinning!

7 Easy Tips To Keep Your Room Clean & Organized

While I admittedly am in a learning process when it comes to cooking, cleaning is my specialty. I come from a family of neurotic neat freaks. I’m that girl who has one shirt on the floor and apologizes for the mess. My roommates think I’m nuts, but really they should thank me because I do all their dishes. It’s a hard life, but someone’s gotta do it.

Now, I wasn’t always this way. I definitely have to thank my parents for the clean gene, but last year around this time my room was so dirty you couldn’t go in it. Seriously. I would pretty much just spend all my time in the living room and only go to my room to sleep. Now, it’s a haven! Using these seven easy tips, I have managed to keep my room clean almost 100% of the time.

Step 1: Wash your sheets at least every 2 weeks.

Seriously. Do it. I know it seems like a lot of work, but it really is worth it. Not only will it feel and look better, but having clean sheets is better for your skin! (Plus your room will smell bad if you don’t wash them often enough. Trust me.)

It's probably not very adult of me to have a million stuffed animals on my bed, but that's not the point.

It’s probably not very adult of me to have a million stuffed animals on my bed, but that’s not the point.

Step 2: Same goes for vacuuming.

You really don’t want your room to smell, do you? Plus, if you vacuum regularly, you’ll have consistently less mess and won’t have to vacuum for as long. This is especially important if you have wood floors. Dust accumulates disgustingly fast, especially here in Reno. Bonus tip: If you have wood floors, get an area rug. This one was only $19.99 at Ikea!

Freshly vacuumed and ready to go.

Freshly vacuumed and ready to collect dust again.

Step 3: Under-bed storage is your friend.

If you have a bed that’s not super low to the ground, take advantage of under-the-bed storage. It’s a great way to save space, especially if you have a tiny room like I do. Measure how tall and wide your bed is, and find bins/baskets that fit accordingly. I would recommend only putting things in here that you don’t use very often, but still want to keep, such as Halloween costumes.

The great thing about a Heisenberg costume is that it also doubles as a shield for when you're cleaning up after your roommates.

The great thing about a Heisenberg (RIP) costume is that it also doubles as a shield for when you’re cleaning up after your roommates.

Step 4: Bins, bins, bins.

Storage bins are my favorite way to make people think that I’m actually organized. If you’re like me and don’t have a lot of storage space, bins are another way to help keep all of your crap in order. My boyfriend even gets a bin to hold all of his video games and books that he keeps at my house. Like I mentioned earlier, it’s best to only use bins for things you don’t use very often, but there’s exceptions of course. For example, I have a bin filled with pots and pans that I keep under my desk for easy, every day access, but clothes for Fall stay on the top shelf of my closet until it’s time to switch them out with Summer clothes. That’s a twice a year switch.

Step 5: Always put your clothes away immediately after they’re done being washed.

Just do it.

Step 6: Shoe racks & clothing separators. 

As you probably know, there’s a huge industry just based around organizing. Ever been to The Container Store? It’s a neat-freak’s dream. Take advantage of the tools that others have created for you. I love shoe racks because not only do they keep your shoes organized, but they also can actually add to the look of your room! I think this one looks pretty sleek:

This is only a very small fraction of the shoes that I own.

This is only a very small fraction of the shoes that I own.

If you’re like me, however, one measly shoe rack isn’t going to cut it. The one pictured above is actually stackable, so you could go that route, but if you’re cheap like I am, find other places around your room to store your shoes neatly. I like to keep my stragglers lined up underneath my dresser.

Clothing separators are also great. They’re the best way to keep your dresser drawers organized, and they make finding clothes for the day way easier.

Step 7: Be realistic.

There’s definitely lots of great ways to make space in your room. However, you still have to be realistic about how much space you actually have. There’s only so many bins you can fit in your closet! If you know you have a lot of extra stuff lying around, it’s time to start thinking about doing a mass cleaning. Be realistic about what you will and won’t keep. Haven’t worn it in 2 years? It’s time to get rid of it. It’s much easier to keep a clean, organized room if you only have what you need and what will fit. Don’t waste time trying to cram too much in there, it’ll only be a disaster in the end.

Not too shabby. Notice the bins?

Somehow, I’ve made my closet presentable! Notice the bins?

That’s all for today! Be sure to stay tuned, my next post tackles the subjects I most dread: Budgeting and shopping for groceries.