What I Learned: July 2017

Wondering what “What I Learned” is all about? Check out my first post for details!

Here’s what I learned in July:

The difference between flotsam and jetsam. I knew most of the others on this list but I always like a little refresher. Anything with “grammar” in the title is total clickbait for me 😉 Flotsam and jetsam are used together so often I never stopped to consider the different meanings. Now I know!

U-Turn arrows exist. Like…instead of a straight turn arrow, the arrow is in the shape of a U on the traffic light. I should’ve just taken a picture instead of trying to explain. Regardless, there are U-Turn lights here and for good reason! U-Turns are to Cville what roundabouts are to Carmel, IN.

How to close our bank accounts while living out of state. This was a fun grownup experience 🙂 #sarcasm. Turns out, Chase doesn’t have banks anywhere near Virginia. Sooo…we had to open a new bank account here, then transfer and close out our old account all long distance. It was a headache. It is done now. Not sure we could’ve done anything differently to make it easier so let’s just hope this is a lesson we don’t have to learn twice!

Nail-only ledgers are not safe for decksand other fun facts from my new job at a structural engineering firm. I find this stuff interesting, which is making it a lot easier for me to get the swing of things here.

How to cut a mango. Thanks to this recipe, I tried to cut a mango for the first time and it. was. so. hard. Even after looking up how to do it, it probably took me ~15-20 minutes. I think our mango was ripe enough and everything but still…felt like I was doing something wrong. Needless to say, I’m not convinced it was totally worth it. A learning experience indeed – I learned I will stick with with pre-cut mango from now on 🙂

What stacked rocks on a trail mean. My parents and I saw an impressive collection of small stacked rocks (known as “cairns”) on our hike at Crabtree Falls. From what I googled afterward, this is a marker of others who have gone before us as a mini-memorial. Apparently there’s some debate as to whether or not it’s a good thing, though.

How to get free admission to Monticello. If you’re a resident of Virginia and take people from out of state, you get in free. We used this to our advantage when I took my parents to Monticello during their visit!

New podcasts for the month: My Favorite Murder (*explicit language warning*), Running for Real, and Revisionist History

New recipes for the month: Chipotle-Honey Chicken with Mango-Avocado Salsa and Shrimp Caprese Pasta

What I Learned: June 2017

Wondering what “What I Learned” is all about? Check out my first post for details!

Here’s what I learned in June:

The numbered streets run north-south in Charlottesville. NOT east-west like Indy. Something that will take time to get used to but is very helpful to know for finding our way around! ALSO, pro tip – Rio Rd. is pronounced RYE-oh here, not REE-oh.

Couches take 8-10 weeks to be made/delivered. We moved to Charlottesville with 1 chair to our names after selling/donating the rest of our furniture. We figured we’d buy a new couch when we arrived as an anniversary gift to each other this year (we’ve used hand-me-down couches up until now). Surprise surprise…it takes ~2 months to make/deliver a new couch! We ended up buying one off the floor that we were more than happy with anyway. Lesson learned 🙂

Periods in polo matches are called chukkas. Also: there are a lot of breaks in polo matches…because polo was meant to be played in England where it doesn’t get up to 100 degrees in summertime–>overheated horses.

How to prep and clean a cast iron skillet. Nate found this article and we pretty much followed it to a T to get our cast iron skillets ready to use for one of our new recipes this month from Chrissy Teigen’s cookbook, Cravings.

What DOC stands for at a neapolitan pizza place. DOC stands for denominazione di origine controllata and guarantees the cheese is from a certain region in Italy. (Kind of like Champagne!)

New recipe(s) for the month: Easy Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole and Prosciutto Wrapped Stuffed Chicken Breasts from Cravings.

New podcasts for this month: This American Life and Modern Love.

What I Learned: May 2017

Wondering what “What I Learned” is all about? Check out my first post for details!

Here’s what I learned in May:

  1. Shipping “media mail” for USPS is super cheap. Nate sold some old textbooks and I took them to the post office to ship. He told me about how media mail (which textbooks qualify as) is subsidized by the government (did not confirm but sounds legit) and so we got them off our hands for a lot cheaper!
  2. How to make chicken parmesan casserole. Our new recipe for the month was simple (which was needed since it’s so busy here!) but delicious. It’s a great shortcut for traditional chicken parmesan because it’s relatively hands-off and can easily be frozen for future use. This made enough for leftovers too.
  3. What it feels like to have your flight surprisingly canceled. This was certainly a learning experience 😉 But I survived and it all ended up working out! The flight my sister and Jack and I were scheduled to go to Houston after my brother’s graduation in Nashvtille got canceled…and we found out when we got to the airport. It was definitely stressful but we figured it out, thanks to my dad too for having our back!
  4. Cedar hangers prevent moth damage to clothing. This was a tip from the Brooks Brothers’ consultant who fitted Nate for his suit that my parents got him for a graduation gift. Good to know and worth the investment!
  5. How to negotiate a job offer on the phone. Well this was certainly outside my comfort zone but I’m so glad I did it. I guess the big news is – I have a job waiting for me in Virginia now! But before I accepted, I called the company’s owner and successfully negotiated the terms in their initial offer. Going out of my comfort zone paid off…literally!
  6. You can request a black napkin at a restaurant instead of white. I saw this on a TV show where a woman requested a black napkin from the waiter so the white one wouldn’t leave any specks on her black dress. Apparently you can do that at restaurants with white cloth napkins and they keep black ones in the back. Who knew!
  7. New podcasts for this month: The Daily and TED Radio HourTED Radio Hour

What I Learned: April 2017

Wondering what “What I Learned” is all about? Check out my first post for details!

Here’s what I learned in April:

  1. How to list items for sale on Craigslist. Newsflash: it is super easy, I just never needed to do it before now. Now that we are moving/downsizing, I see a lot of Craigslisting in my future 🙂
  2. My maternal grandpa made sundials for my parents’ house. I think this is the COOLEST thing ever and I would give anything to be able to learn how to make one with him now.
  3. How to make salmon patties/cooked seafood for the first time. Our new recipe for the month was a delicious twist on crab cakes. This was a fun date-night-at-home dinner for us. Plus, I successfully cooked seafood for the first time! I’m always so intimidated by it, but this turned out great and was surprisingly easy.
  4. How to combine/transfer 401K accounts. This was one of those tasks that I dreaded but then ended up being easier than I expected! I needed to close out the 401K from my previous job (since I worked there for the first 2 months of 2016) and add it to my current job’s 401K. All it took was a phone call, a few forms, and bam! All said and done by the end of one day. Phew! I hope 65-year-old Rachel appreciates the efforts of 25-year-old Rachel 😉
  5. How the interstate numbering system works. Thanks to a coworker, I now know that when 3-digit interstate numbers begin with an even number, it connects to another interstate at both ends (like a loop or beltway). When 3-digit interstate numbers begin with an odd number, it is known as a “spur route” that connects to another interstate only at one end.
  6. New podcasts this month: S-Town (like everyone else), In the Dark, Success! How I Did It, and Hidden Brain

What I Learned: March 2017

Wondering what “What I Learned” is all about? Check out my first post for details!

Here’s what I learned in March:

  1. How to make Chinese pepper steak, thanks to the Sycamore Presbyterian Cookbook from our Grandma. This was our new recipe for the month and it was delicious! A fun and tasty date night at home 🙂 photo-mar-05-6-32-03-pm
  2. How to make Oreo cake ballsThey got rave reviews at the Match Day open house, so I highly recommend this super simple recipe!
  3. How the Match algorithm works. During dinner one night leading up to Match Day, Nate drew it out for me and it actually made sense! Very genius and reassuring to understand how it all works.
  4. How to play Blackjack. Nate showed me while we were at the Match Day Party and I won a few rounds! It’s a lot more fun when you don’t play (aka lose) with real money 🙂
  5. “Crossroads of America” refers to highways, not railroads. I always thought Indiana’s state motto referred to the numerous railroads criss-crossing the state, but turns out, it refers to highways. I’ve lived here my whole life but better late than never to figure that out!
  6. How to re-pot a Spider Plant. Granted, there’s not a lot that goes into re-potting plants, but this was my first time doing it without parental supervision. Success (so far). Our little plant, Zeke, got a new home just in time for spring.
    Photo Mar 25, 10 31 53 AM
    Photo Mar 25, 10 34 54 AM

    7. New podcasts this month: Fresh Air, The Minimalists (episode on Moving – super helpful and great timing!), Runner’s World

What did you learn this month?