Operation Rearrange

by Jenn (eating bender) on November 10, 2010

**As always, my readers are amazing. THANK YOU for the Napa and San Francisco suggestions!**

I’ve learned a lot about myself lately.

After the wedding, I had this period of time where I felt…empty. It’s not like there was a lack of things to do – I still had plenty of exciting work projects to tackle and a honeymoon to begin planning. But something about not having this big, shiny wedding ahead of me anymore made me feel listless.

When I told my friend I was listless, she said,”Awesome! No more big to-do list!” This made me laugh out loud and definitely cheered me up. I love you, Sam. But I was referring to Merriam’s definition. A lack of energy and a melancholy attitude. In other words, I needed a new project.

For a few weeks, Bobby and I played around with the idea of moving into a larger place. We love where we are right now but the lack of a dining room table and the extra large couch taking over our living room was not ideal. “Moving would be a great new project,” I thought to myself.

Seriously? I hate moving! I must have been desperate. 😉

But eventually, it all clicked. One night I had a vision, one that would make our current apartment roomier in an instant. It would create room for a dining room table and even generate an “office” for me to work in (I have been working from my couch, which is not nearly as fun as you might think).

Last weekend, we kicked off Operation Rearrange. We moved the middle section of our three-piece couch (the part that turns the couch into its extra large “L” shape) into our bedroom and brought our desk out of the bedroom and into the open. Instantly, we had a view out of our apartment we had never seen before! And I had a small nook to call my very own office to the right of it all.

In the left photo above, you may notice a circular table in the top corner. That is where our new dining room table is going to be delivered in just a few weeks!

We also took to our old bookcase and gave it a refresher. I had gotten it from a very good friend after college and while it was great while it lasted, my overwhelming number of books had slowly led the shelving to bow and it was only a matter of time before it collapsed!

Fortunately, World Market is having a huge sale and we came home with this beauty.

I’m obsessed with it. We are very pleased with how everything turned out and think that this solution was exactly right for us right now. Plus the entire experience, from moving a 2-ton desk (I’m only exaggerating a little bit) to building a bookshelf, was a great team builder for us newlyweds. :)


So…now what? Only joking, of course! Though I was feeling listless, I quickly realized that I need to stop worrying about what the next big project is going to be and focus on the small, everyday joys that happen all around me. Like the fact that Bobby and I are thinking about our future and what kind of home is right for us as a couple. Or the fact that my mom is a genius and manages to find the most beautiful pieces of furniture at the lowest prices possible. Or that my mom is just simply a genius.

Another small joy? Planning a meal with friends. This past weekend, Bobby and I invited two of our closest friends – including Jill – to our apartment for a crock pot dinner!

I haven’t used this crock post since before I started the blog. That fact is just sad. I had forgotten how easy it is to throw a meal together in the morning, let it sit all day and cook to perfection by night.

I decided to make my own Asian-Mediterranean version of minestrone soup.

Yes, I realize that minestrone is Italian. But when it comes to soup, you make it with what you’ve got!

Asian-Mediterranean Chunky Minestrone Soup

Ingredients (makes approximately 8 servings):

  • 3 (14-ounce) cans low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans no salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans
  • 1 package frozen stir-fry vegetables (broccoli, onion, water chestnut, carrots, pea pods), thawed
  • 1 package frozen corn, thawed
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups medium seashell pasta
  • 2 diced chicken breasts, cooked (optional)
  • 3 teaspoons Weber White Wine Marinade & Herb seasoning
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)


1. Combine first 7 ingredients in the crock pot. Cover and cook on LOW for 5 1/2 hours.

2. Add slightly cooked (al dente) pasta to the pot. Cook on LOW for an additional 30 minutes.

3. While pasta and soup are simmering, cook chicken in a separate pan. Add seasoning.

4. Ladle soup into bowls. Add chicken and sprinkle with cheese, if desired.

If I’m allowed to give myself a small pat on the back…this turned out amazing! The soup itself was the perfect blend of tomato and broth, full of chunky veggies and chewy garbanzo beans. The option of throwing seasoned chicken and cheese on top brought the flavor out even more. I could taste every type of spice and nothing was downplayed. Try it, try it, try it!!!!! :)

With the soup, I also made a batch of mini corn muffins. I used this mix from Krusteaz.

And of course, a bottle of red was also served. Menage a Trois, our new favorite.

We had a wonderful time and great conversations about business, life and everything in between. When the soup filled our bellies and wine glasses had been emptied, we broke out the ultimate dessert: Butter Pecan ice cream with a chocolate hazelnut pirouette cookie!

I’d say our dinner party was a success, but I’m even more excited for when we can eat off of a table. 😉

It’s the small joys, right?

Small joys also include putting up your Christmas tree on November 7 while listening to holiday music and dancing around the apartment. Since we won’t be in town much these next two months, we decided to go festive a little earlier this year in order to enjoy it to the fullest.

I dare you to do the same. It will bring a smile to your face every time you look at it!

Are you someone who loves starting “new projects” like me? I hope I’m not alone!


1 VeggieGirl November 10, 2010 at 12:11 pm

I love new projects as long as they’re not school group projects 😉

2 Jenn (eating bender) November 16, 2010 at 11:11 pm

Haha, good point. :)

3 Jill Felska November 10, 2010 at 12:21 pm

I can say firsthand that Operation Rearrange was a SMASHING success! Your place looks fabulous, and I can’t wait to see your bookshelf!

Thanks again for having me over for dinner – it was absolutely delicious!

4 Jenn (eating bender) November 16, 2010 at 11:11 pm

Thanks, lady! I’m so glad you liked everything! :)

5 spabettie November 10, 2010 at 12:36 pm

okay!! you just gave me permission to get the trees out… (yep, I said TREES). our first place together was TINY, so I had a tabletop tree that my brother (has a car detailing garage) painted BRIGHT PINK for me.

Jason puts up with me…

now that we are in our house, instead of getting a large tree, I added to the small ones… we now have a silver, a purple and a teal to go with the pink. very festive, very Kristina. 😀

Jason is out of town and coming back home tonight… perhaps I’ll put them up before he gets home!!


6 Jenn (eating bender) November 16, 2010 at 11:12 pm

I think it’s AWESOME that you have trees…plural!

7 Megan (Braise The Roof) November 10, 2010 at 1:08 pm

I feel the same way about vacation- if I don’t have a trip (or at least a staycation) to look forward to, I get super antsy!

8 Jenn (eating bender) November 16, 2010 at 11:13 pm

I’m totally the same way – always looking forward to the next holiday or special date on the calendar!

9 Erica November 10, 2010 at 1:49 pm

Hehe- such a normal feeling. After my wedding was over I felt….a little lost with too much free time. The re-arrangement looks great. And crock pot meals are my favorite. Its such a great, no – mess, no -stress tool to use when friends are coming over.

10 Jenn (eating bender) November 16, 2010 at 11:13 pm

I’m really glad to hear that I’m not alone!! And I completely agree with you on crock pot meals. I’m sold!

11 Rose November 10, 2010 at 3:10 pm

Wow, the rearrange looks awesome! I don’t think it’s at all weird to feel listless either. I have been doing home remodeling projects since I graduated from grad school. Humm… :)

12 Jenn (eating bender) November 16, 2010 at 11:14 pm

Thank you, Rose! Glad to hear I’m not alone – and it’s always good to dive into projects. :)

13 cbrady3 November 10, 2010 at 4:41 pm

What a perfect solution! I love rearranging and redecorating. AND PUTTING UP CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS. TOTALLY JEALOUS…my family would kill me!

14 Jenn (eating bender) November 16, 2010 at 11:15 pm

Haha – let me talk to them, I’ll see what I can do. 😉 I hope you can get your decorations up soon!!!!

15 BroccoliHut November 10, 2010 at 7:23 pm

Isn’t World Market furniture the best?! My sister pretty much furnished her entire house with their stuff. So many pretty wood pieces.
Anyway, you are kind of my new favorite person for having already put up your Christmas tree. Even I haven’t done that yet!!

16 Jenn (eating bender) November 16, 2010 at 11:16 pm

I looove it! When we get a bigger place someday, I definitely plan on getting as much furniture as possible from there! I’m glad I made you smile with my early Christmas decor. :)

17 MarathonVal November 10, 2010 at 8:53 pm

And this, my friend, is why I told you that planning your honeymoon a month after the wedding was going to end up being a BRILLIANT move. I felt the same way after my wedding….I think everyone goes through those feelings of “what do I do next?”

Love the rearranging (what a great view of the city you have!) and you know I love the fact that you guys are also early birds when it comes to holiday decorating 😉

PS, when is your honeymoon exactly… I’m trying to pick a date to reschedule the potluck!

18 Jenn (eating bender) November 16, 2010 at 11:17 pm

You were soooo right! Whether honeymoon or Christmas decor…you’re a genius. :)

19 Marianne November 11, 2010 at 12:00 am

I cannot believe you put up your tree already! I have Christmas rules – no decorations, music, lights, celebrations until December 1st. And even that is Christmas overload.

20 Jenn (eating bender) November 16, 2010 at 11:18 pm

Haha, some of my friends have your same rules and they cringe every year!!

21 SkinnyRunner November 11, 2010 at 1:08 pm

i love crockpot cooking, so easy. i need to try this recipe today since my husbands sick and soup sounds good.

22 Jenn (eating bender) November 16, 2010 at 11:18 pm

Awesome! Let me know if you try it!

23 natalie (the sweets life) November 11, 2010 at 1:20 pm

i love rearranging! we do it every so often too and it’s always such a BOOST, for lack of a better word :)

24 Jenn (eating bender) November 16, 2010 at 11:20 pm

It is definitely a boost!!!

25 Brittany November 11, 2010 at 8:41 pm

The rearrange looks great and I’m sure you are going to love your office being out in the open.

I need mama bender to help me find a cheap dining room set – I’m having quite a tough time finding one. 😉

PS – I LOVE that your tree is already up! So festive!!

26 Jenn (eating bender) November 16, 2010 at 11:19 pm

Thanks, lady! I am loving it already! And let me know if you want me to ask Mama Bender about her awesome discount finding skillz. 😉

27 CaSaundra November 13, 2010 at 8:13 am

Love the sounds of having a little crock pot party–especially on cold fall days! And it’s never too early to put up the Christmas tree–yours turned out great!

28 Jenn (eating bender) November 16, 2010 at 11:19 pm

It was really fun! Thank you!

29 The Scene From Me November 13, 2010 at 8:09 pm

The soup looks refreshingly delicious! And to make it even better you put grated parmesan cheese on top, gotta love that stuff! Congratulations on your rearrangements! Looks fab!

30 Jenn (eating bender) November 16, 2010 at 11:20 pm

Thank you very much!

31 Melissa @ TryingToHeal November 14, 2010 at 10:32 am

the rearrangement looks great! I’m glad it’s going to make work much easier…although I know how we love lounging around in our pjs on the couch for work, eh? :)

32 Jenn (eating bender) November 16, 2010 at 11:21 pm

Thanks, lady! We do love PJs on the couch as much as possible…but now it can be PJs at the desk sometimes, too! :)

33 kate November 14, 2010 at 10:03 pm

this is so delayed but we had the clam strips at the wharf…or pier. either way we paid to take the open bus and it was great, san frans nice on foot too!

34 Jenn (eating bender) November 16, 2010 at 11:22 pm

Awesome – thanks for getting back to me!!

35 Foodie (Fab and Delicious Food) November 15, 2010 at 8:34 pm

Your place looks great! Rearranging furniture is always great for a change of pace!

Love the twist on the soup! Very creative!

The Christmas tree looks so pretty! Nice job!

36 Jenn (eating bender) November 16, 2010 at 11:21 pm

Thanks, Foodie!!

37 HangryPants November 16, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Just wanted to say every bride I know had post wedding blues. I think it’s natural – you go from spending so much time on something to it being gone in a day.

38 Jenn (eating bender) November 16, 2010 at 11:22 pm

Thanks, Heather! It’s really refreshing to hear that I’m not alone.

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