Pantry Organization

I think about 2 years into owning a home, I started to realize that EVERYTHING I want to do to our house MAY not be possible – at least not right away or without breaking the bank.  My end goal is still to turn our house into a home that I love spending time in and that reflects our lives.  However, I’ve also come to realize that some of our projects are going to be exactly what we want, and some, we will just have to make the best of our current situation.  And I’m actually okay with that.  It’s just realistic.  A perfect example of this would be our recent pantry organization project.  If I had unlimited time and money, I would probably have liked to tear out all of the wire shelving, put some new paint on the walls {another shade of pale gray, no doubt, that Matt would say looked identical to the original paint}, install new, wood shelves all the way to the ceiling, along with custom shelves in the back for our surplus food storage that we hardly ever use.  Instead, I decided to embrace the existing neutral paint color and white wire shelves for now, and just simply GET ORGANIZED.

Organization diminishes stress, and that’s exactly what I felt for the past 2 years every time I opened my pantry doors – stress {refer to “before” photos below}.  After doing a thorough purge of all food and small appliances that were no longer needed or wanted, I organized everything on the top shelf that I don’t reach for that often, but still wanted to keep.  I used a variety of these air-tight containers from Walmart, to store bulk food, and these baskets to keep food within quick reach.  A few lazy susans keep our cans and jars easily accessible, and these metal bins store things like trash bags, napkins, grilling tools, empty jars, and any overflow we have {extra food that is too much to fit in the canisters or baskets}.  We simply stacked our surplus food storage in the back since the back becomes inaccessible due to the slope of our stairs.  The result is a pantry that is much more organized and less cluttered, and it has really been helping me to use what we have and to know when we are out of things.  I don’t think we really needed a full pantry remodel - just some simple organization in this space made all the difference. 



Thanks for reading!


WJE Office Tour

Today I thought I'd share some photos I took of my office awhile back.  Usually I wouldn't be too excited to take photos of an office interior, but my office is such a cool building that I really enjoy going to each day.  My company is a structural engineering firm called WJE {Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates}, and they just designed and built our free-standing office in Austin a few years ago, right before I started with them. 

I would describe the design as modern and architectural and the atmosphere as open, light and airy with an open floor plan, high ceilings, a ton of windows, and a view right out back to the greenbelt.  I also love how well the design displays pieces of our company's history and things that are unique to our field of work.  For instance, we have a lot of raw materials such as stone, glass, wood, concrete used on our floors, walls and ceilings.  We also have a hallway that displays photos printed on metal panels of some of our most notable projects as well as some unique concrete cores and other material samples from over the years {we also have a full-scale materials lab in our Austin office where we examine concrete and other materials for problems - you can see part of it to the right in the second photo}.  My favorite piece has got to be the front desk countertop - a polished slab of concrete that was taken from one of our job sites. 

The above picture is our Austin office manager, Matt Carlton, repelling down the side of the Washington Monument during the assessment following the earthquake in 2011. 

Thanks for checking it out!



Elizabeth Street Cafe

Right next to one of our favorite food trailers on South First is an adorable little restaurant called Elizabeth Street Café.  I've admired the cute pink door and bright blue shutters whenever we pass by, so I naturally jumped at the opportunity to eat there when my friend Kendall suggested it the other day. 

Aside from the bright exterior, the majority of the restaurant is very light and airy with a lot of greenery.  I loved the simplicity of their décor, and I loved the large archways and tall windows - it made me feel like I was in a casual little restaurant somewhere in Europe for the afternoon.  And the best part of Elizabeth Street Café?  Their menu - a fusion of French and Vietnamese - complete with pho, fresh spring rolls, Vietnamese coffee, and a case full of French macaron cookies {my favorite}.  I loved everything that we tried, and I can't wait to take Matt back there sometime soon. 

I hope you all have a great weekend!