Our Summer To-Do List: Results! - The Surznick Common Room

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Our Summer To-Do List: Results!

It's here! The best season of the year is finally here! But before we kick off a round of fall themed posts for you guys, we need to wrap up that okay, but not nearly as awesome season called summer.

I'm just kidding. This summer was great. Not only did Nick and I get to go to San Francisco, but we also spent lots of time with friends and family, making delicious food, going to concerts, etc.

Perhaps you'll remember way back in June when we shared our Summer To-Do List with you. Well today we're here to say sayonara to summer and let you know what we did (or didn't) accomplish.

Sarah's list:
1. Write down recipes that I've made (and liked) on recipe cards and delete them from my Pinterest board.
Ehh... this is not really done. It's started, but not nearly complete. Turns out almost all of the recipes we make come from Pinterest and writing them all down is rather time-consuming. It's definitely something I'm going to work on as the weather continues to get colder and I'm all about staying snuggly and warm in our apartment. Hopefully I'll be caught up soon!

2. Go to an outdoor movie (or a bunch of them!)
My mom visited us at the end of June and we watched E.T. outside at Arsenal Park in Lawrenceville. I haven't seen E.T. since I was little, so this was a blast. Pittsburgh Citiparks shows outdoor movies every summer in various parks around the city. The schedule for each park is staggered, so pretty much any night of the week you can catch an outdoor flick! I'm a little bummed this is the only one we went to this year, but I can't wait for next year!

3. Try 5 new restaurants on our restaurant passport.
Yep! We actually ate at more than 5, but the first 5 were Mad Mex, Spak Brothers, 1947 Tavern, Buffalo Blues, and Lili Cafe. Spak Brothers and Lili Cafe... SO GOOD! We created this passport before we changed our diet, so selecting restaurants that would have vegan options for us was a bit of a challenge. Spak Brothers is now our go-to vegan pizza. They also have vegan seitan cheesesteaks, which are incredible (drooling just typing this). At Lili Cafe we had a delicious tofu scramble for Sunday brunch. We're definitely going to repeat eat at these places!

4. Buy our fruits and veggies from the farmer's market as often as possible.
On Fridays when we weren't going out of town, I went to the farmer's market outside the museum where I work. Not only does it have the fruits and veggies you can expect from a farmer's market, but the Carnegie Library also has a table selling used books (my dream!) And there's a bakery that sells the most delicious vegan pepperoni rolls and chocolate chip cookie bars. A+!

5. Repaint our dining room table and chairs.
Total success! You can read all about our table and chairs makeover here!

6. Successfully learn how to use the manual setting on our camera.
Unfortunately I don't really feel worthy of crossing this off... Too bad it's not on Nick's list because he has been the one studying the camera how-to! Luckily for me, he's also the one taking the most photos, so it all works out I guess. Still something I want to figure out eventually though!

7. Have friends over for a BBQ.
Sadly no, we didn't do this one either. It really feels like we were only home for a handful of weekends this summer and a BBQ just wasn't in the cards. Who knows, maybe instead of a BBQ we'll have an awesome Halloween party?!

8. Plan out our meals every week.
Okay, I'm going to like 3/4 cross this out. I was good about planning out meals when we were home on the weekend (when we usually do our grocery shopping). If we went out of town, the following week's meals were usually scrounged up from whatever we had in the house. But I will say that the whole reason I like planning out meals is because we're less likely to order food or eat junk when we have a meal planned. Since removing all non-vegan food from our house, I think that the meals we ate during non-planned out weeks were still on the healthy end of the spectrum.

9. Have a picnic at Bach, Beethoven, and Brunch.
Yep, we did this too! My best friend, Bethany, visited us for a weekend in early August and we went to the final concert of the summer! We actually didn't even catch a glimpse of the band because it was so packed, but we loved it! It was a gorgeous day, there were adorable dogs everywhere, we drank coffee, ate bagels, and just laid out and enjoyed the cool breeze. Can't wait to do this again next year.

10. Find/make/upcycle a coffee table for our dining room.
I wasn't sure if I should cross this out completely, but I did it anyway. We bought a coffee table from Craigslist for our dining room, but we have some makeover plans for it that we haven't completed yet. Don't worry, we'll be sharing it with you as soon as it's complete!

Nick's list:
1. See a movie at the drive-in.
I'm pretty sure this is something I've only done a grand total of about 3 times in my entire life. It's fun, I like it, and it's a great summer activity. I guess it just wasn't meant to be for the summer of 2014. I'm still looking for an opportunity to do it, though!

2. Run 30 miles/month.
I by no means consider myself a runner. I made this goal on June 21st, yet didn't run a single mile until.... September 8th. Ouch. I am crossing it off partially though because since that first run, I've already run over 38 miles just this month, so I know I have it in me! I'm relocating this goal to Fall, and I'm going to continue to feel healthy and happy chasing a consistent running schedule.

3. Organize my school materials into filing cabinets.
My school materials are indeed much much more organized than they ever have been! However, we are still lacking a filing cabinet here in our home. I'm half crossing this out until we get that sucker in here and I can fill it up.

4. Go to a free summer concert at Hartwood Acres.
We were able to go to a free summer concert outdoors at a park... but not at Hartwood Acres. We went to the WYEP Summer Music Festival with Sarah's mom on one of her visits out to Pittsburgh, and it was a beautiful way to spend an evening in some gorgeous weather.

5. Do more weekend schoolwork/planning outside.
It's hard to quantify if I've sucessfully done this or not. I did some work outside... and considering I usually do no work outside, I'd say that counts as "more!" Accomplished.

6. Make my own veggie burgers.
Accomplished! I made Homemade Black Bean Veggie Burgers a while back and they were pretty good. I'm already looking forward to a second attempt, because I have some ideas on how to improve on the recipe I tried. It's great to know we can make our own burgers in our home, since hamburgers are were one of my long time favorite foods.

7. Expand my vinyl collection.
Yep! This one is tricky. I love music, but the things I want to own on vinyl nowadays are either a.) really hard to find or b.) expensive! However, since it is our vinyl collection, and I bought Sarah 2 albums for her birthday, I'm considering it officially expanded.

8. Make music with friends.
Sadly, no. Working full time and doing a lot of traveling on the weekends doesn't exactly allow for a lot of this in my life. However, I'm going to try really hard to make it happen more often, as it is hands down one of my favorite things in this entire world to do.

9. Sample whiskey somewhere cool.
Somewhere cool... let's see... well, what's cooler than your own local craft distillery's barrel house and whiskey garden? Wigle Whiskey is absolutely incredible. They have 2 amazing locations: the distillery and their barrel house. Sampling a bunch of different whiskeys and drinking a fantastic Old Fashioned right from the source was the perfect way to cross this off the list!

10. Tour a new brewery.
I'm half crossing this off the list. Our plans to tour a couple breweries while on our trip in San Francisco fell through, but we currently have our tickets booked for a tour of East End Brewing Company here in Pittsburgh this Saturday with some friends visiting from out of town! I know summer is technically over, but I'm still super stoked (even if I am late on my list).

Anyone else have a productive summer and tackle those big to-do list items? Share with us in the comments!

Sarah & Nick



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