Friday, December 28, 2012

there's a mouse in the basement!

well, the dc curse is upon our house. we have mice. georgetown is notorious for rats, and apparently glover park has mice.

we have a roommate in our basement, with a separate kitchen and laundry. we got an email several weeks ago that she had heard some "squeaking." no droppings, no chewed through food, no sighting. traps were set, but nothing. then she saw droppings and heard something behind the refrigerator. yikes!


we called the exterminator. per usual with house services, i searched on angie's list for a company that is highly rated and has coupons. i also prefer to go with a local company - you can usually bargain and build relationships with the staff (less turnover than a large chain like orkin). what a nice man! he explained the habits of the mice, which (naturally) i found fascinating and helpful. apparently, they can fit through a hole the size of a dime. *shudder* they run around when people aren't out and about - so night or while we're at work - and they run a similar route repeatedly. so he looked for droppings and "mapped" the route. there was a distinct circular route from the bathroom through a hole in the wall around the perimeter of the room (the basement is set up like a little studio apartment). he set up mostly snap traps (warning: people posted dead mouse photos in the user photos section of the amazon listing - ewww) all along the route. snap traps are more humane because they instantly kill the mouse, rather than letting them squirm and suffer in a glue trap. then he tried to plug any holes he found that were suspect.

he explained some important concepts for preventing and dealing with mice:
- they can't see very well, but their sense of smell is strong. use gloves when placing or moving traps so they can't smell your "human" smell. they will avoid the trap area if they smell you.
- don't change everything around along their normal track. for instance, if people see droppings in the cabinet under their sink, their first instinct is to clean everything out of the cabinet and leave a trap. the mouse will notice the drastic difference in the space and avoid the area (and your trap). try to place a trap in their route without disturbing it.
- use steel wool to block small holes. mice can eat through drywall, but not steel wool. he stuffed into gaps around pipes all over the basement bathroom.
- keep things clean and food in tightly sealed containers (like glass). luckily, he said our space was not to blame. it's normal for mice to seek warmth in the winter and having a vacant house next door is not helping; the direction they are all coming is the wall we share with the vacant house. problems will persist until that house also takes care of any issues (emails to the owner go unanswered).

unfortunately, we've found three dead mice in two weeks. i don't know if this is a lot or a little. the exterminator said we are not an "infestation" situation. we just don't want them to have babies! maybe it's just the joys of living in an old house with a basement in a city. and near a large field. my aunt works at a school built in a field in colorado and they have lots of field mice. she said the teachers use bounce fabric softener sheets in their drawers and cabinets because the mice hate it. so when i get home from holiday travel, you better believe i'm running to safeway to give it a try!

so thankful for a helpful exterminator that took the time to explain what he was doing and why so we can tackle this on our own. also thankful that he said the mice don't appear to be in the garage or on other floors. and the concrete, tile, and brick meet up without holes where the floors meet the walls so mice can't get in that way! it's the little victories... : )

update: phil came home from christmas vacation to find a dead mouse in our den. ugh. very upset right now.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

a (wo)man with a plan

remember how i didn't decorate for christmas for this year? well, i've spent the month planning for next year! my plan is to order everything on clearance this year in the after-christmas sales to be ready for december 2013. we're on a bus route - which is wayyy better than an ambulance route! learned that the hard way - so i see our house from the bus everyday. it makes me sad to not have decorations. it also makes me want to make sure it looks as good in the daylight as in the dark.

there weren't as many houses in our neighborhood decorated and lit as i thought there would be. but this one is my favorite. i don't know these people, but thank you for the holiday cheer!


so i'm on the hunt for white lights. obviously, i'm jealous of their awesome storm door / good-looking front door combination. (and their huge corner lot!) but perhaps we'll have a different door by the end of next year : ) anyway, i just love the evergreens, wreath, and garland. and white lights are always my favorite - sparkly but restrained. 

here's the front of our house: 


the plan for next year is wreaths on the windows and door, with icicle lights along the porch and a garland on the railing. so pretty : ) i'm not sure about the red bows with our red brick, but this is the look i'm going after:

source
i'm really hoping for boxwood wreaths. there's just something about the structure that i prefer. 

these are on sale at lowe's!
i'm not sure about the whole bow issue. not much of a bow person. maybe i'll just use ribbon to tie to a nail above each window. like here. wouldn't that be pretty?? 

as for the interior decorations, i'm not sure which direction to go yet. i'm really drawn to the colorful vintage ornaments, but i'll always love monochromatic schemes. i like a crazy tree, not super-curated, but full of ornaments from special occasions and special people. phil's mom and aunt give us ornaments every year and i'm excited to finally be able to put them up next year. i have ornaments from before we were married : ) i've also gotten ornaments from various travels: italy, amsterdam, belgium, bahrain, various US cities... so that will be eclectic. but what about our mantel? or the banister? or the dining room table? ummmmm... at least i have another year! and, of course, endless inspiration from pinterest. off to shop the online holiday sales!


Friday, December 7, 2012

cyber monday

i love to shop. LOVE. sometimes i enjoy the hunt more than the actual kill... i can look for hours. and hours. and hours. and my plan of attack for each room is to build a scheme around the rug. typically, you start with fabric, or an existing piece of furniture/art/etc (ps - watch sarah 101 to see how she builds her schemes - it's so interesting!). however, given our relatively large spaces and limited budget, i am starting with rugs. i'm also pretty slow at putting together patterns. i enjoy it, but it doesn't come naturally. at work, i don't typically deal in color - much less pattern. i deal in space : ) also, working at a big firm on commercial design projects REALLY skews your sense of appropriate budget! commercial furniture and fabric is very different world from residential. well, the residential world that i live in!

we have been scouring craigslist, onekingslane, gilt, rue la la, 1st dibs, crate & barrel, pottery barn (because i get a designer discount!), ebay... and have only bought two. the first was in the basement of an estate sale in cathedral heights. it is a bit ratty, but found a home in the dressing room/closet. the second is a persian-style rug phil found on craigslist. he bought it while i was out of town. the size is amazingly perfect, but it has a bit of pink. hehe. okay, more than a bit. i still like it! and i'm always impressed with phil's amazing hunting skills. seriously.

so anyway... cyber monday sales. amazing. gilt ran some crazy clearance on nuloom rugs and i found one!! it is 9x12 and reasonably priced, even with shipping. it came in 10 days. in a GIANT bag.



phil brought it inside, but had to go out for work. so i came home to a giant tootsie roll in the living room! hooray! i somehow got it upstairs by myself - thank goodness for the plastic bag : ) 



i vacuumed the bedroom and moved a bunch of furniture. 



love love love this pattern!!! the hardest part was lifting the bed alone. i probably should have waited for phil, but i wanted to surprise him with something finished : ) especially since i'm prone to leaving things partially complete for entirely inappropriate amounts of time. like the half-folded laundry in the guest room...


in the room! night-time iphone photos don't look that great... but i'm very happy. loving the scale of the pattern. and it will look amazing with grey walls, striped curtains and a dreamy painting. i have one panel of the restoration hardware curtains already - phil used to work for an industrial building owner that happened to own a building with a restoration hardware warehouse : ) awesome sales!! i should have bought every curtain i saw - silk drapes are expensive. hoping that some of the after-christmas sales are good so we can keep moving forward!


Saturday, December 1, 2012

obsessions

for those who know me, you know i go through phases. rather intense phases.
i decided i liked baked potatoes and ordered them at every restaurant for the next several years. every. single. time. except mexican restaurants. duh.
i air-dried my hair and then pulled it back into a low bun as a 17-year-old. i wore it that way almost every day for the next five and half years.
i bought a few bright sarongs at the san diego zoo one summer and wore them as skirts at least once a week for two years. with sweaters in the winter.
i decided i like ballet flats and wear them regardless of weather. seriously. my dad got SO mad at me when he came to visit me in denver at thanksgiving. it snowed and i had no traction.
i listen to the same albums on repeat until the cd skips.
i don't just read one book - i'll read the entire series in quick succession. followed by several more in the same genre (nerd alert).
i ate the same lunch from kindergarten to senior year, for goodness sake. creamy peanut butter, honey and sprinkles on wheat. try it, you'll love it : )

so in the spirit of my totally healthy and random phases, here are my (current) obsessions...

neon indian - polish girl and washed out - feel it all around. on repeat. all day.

nachos in the broiler. with chives from the garden

french braids

madewell

ARE study guides from jennypdx. because i'm cool like that.

dark and stormies - winter cousin of the moscow mule

homeland

rockstar diaries' eleanor

bailey's - the first errand when the wind starts is to the liquor store

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

tis the season

happy holidays!

i love christmas. decorating, shopping, wrapping, cooking, baking, traveling, entertaining... i love all of it. i'm tired by january, but it's worth it. and with this being the first christmas in a house (a real house!), i thought we'd go all out - have a party, go crazy decorating, home-made baked goods for all the neighbors, everything. but... every weekend is already full, so no party. plus, the house is not nearly where i want it to be before we invite half the world over again. and if no party, what's the point in decorating the house? we will spend the majority of the holiday with our families, and i typically ship gifts, so no presents under the tree. which means the tree isn't really worth it ($70 for two weeks?? anyone who has met my husband knows that is not happening). and two registration exams before december 20 means i shouldn't use decorating as another way to procrastinate...

being a practical adult is not very fun. so phil took me to the cute little garden store by our house to buy a wreath for the front door : ) i picked out a big, fresh boxwood beauty and we bought a wreath hanger, since i've never had a wreath before. we were having people over for the last regular season a&m game (whoop! go johnny football!) and thought it would be a nice way to start the holiday season. but, ummm, we had no idea what to do with it when we got home. does it go on the real front door or the storm door???? the wreath hanger didn't fit on the front door - it was too skinny. we tried to change its shape, but the door wouldn't close. not good in the winter. also, then you can't see it from the street. isn't that one of the main reasons you have a christmas wreath? i don't know, i'm new at this wreath thing. so we put it on the storm door. and it looked like this...


weird. and it slammed whenever the storm door closed. like "bump, bump" and just generally not right. sooooo i moved it inside. to the door between the dining room and den. and i like it. will it stay there? who knows! we will put up lights in the front this weekend and then i might move it back to the front door. 

PS - see my milk delivery box? : ) 
PPS - don't you love how much better the instagram photo looks? it makes everything better!



Sunday, November 11, 2012

autumn adventures

i realize i've been MIA lately...

i've taken two architect registration exams; structural systems and site planning and design. i still have five more. this is one of the most difficult things i've done recently. the studying takes so much time, and i walk out of the testing center feeling miserable. i honestly have no idea if i passed or failed. luckily, i passed both. but i'm sure that i will fail at least one of them. i'm planning on two more before the end of the year, and then take the rest by early spring.

phil and i went to new york city with two of our good friends, lauren and andy. it was a wonderful weekend - good food, good drinks and great company. we explored the highline, the park, brooklyn... i went several places i had never been before. then i went to chicago with my friends brooke and lauren (different lauren). the weather was awful - cold and rainy. but the city is beautiful!! this was my first time, and i loved it. what an amazing city! i also went to phoenix for a conference. it was so warm and wonderful.

in addition, we've hosted several a&m game-watching parties, went to a masquerade ball and halloween parties and survived a hurricane. we did spring a small roof leak and the city had to take down a tree in the front, but we are grateful for the first of many falls in this house. looking forward to another season of change, learning all we can about snow shoveling and winter pipe insulation : )

ps - all photos taken from my instagram account (my account is ekcd)




Friday, October 19, 2012

six months

well, here we are. april 20 to october 20. not moving quite as quickly on the house projects, but we're comfortable. and still super happy.

the location is still awesome. walking to bars, restaurants, shopping and the grocery store have us so spoiled. yes, not being metro-accessible is tough. but really only when we go to the airport. and that's what uber is for : ) i've joined car2go, which is amazing. it's a super cheap way to take a one-way trip. but mainly i commute via bus and then we share the car on the weekends. it works for now.

knock on wood - no major problem yet. we have small issues: a broken toilet flusher that's too close to the vanity to replace without removing the toilet, running out of hot water when all three of us shower in the mornings, the chilly upstairs (old houses don't have much or any insulation!), dirty carpet in the den (that just may be phil's tendency to spill when he drinks red wine)... but these are all minor in the scheme of things. ummm so maybe the chilly upstairs is a big deal. i'll let you know in february. as i type in homeless gloves.


progress that we've made is minimal. the guest room is painted, but still lacks new linens or headboard. the master has a new bed and linens (see above for the great hotel linens i found on rue la la!). and is the home to the refinished dresser - still lacking final knob choice. walls are still the blah tan - waiting to  paint until we strip the walls down to the plaster upstairs. the upstairs back room is...ummmmmm...a wreck. no more boxes, but that's the main positive in that negative. downstairs is okay: all except the front room. that room doesn't know what it wants to be yet. it is fun to see the continual evolution, though.


the garden is also in progress. it has been nice to see the random things that have popped up throughout the year. like these mums! i have a lot of work to do, but it is exciting. i want a lush cutting garden by spring... but, you know, there is life. we travel. we work. we have family and friends. and that is important. so we do those things. does it mean that the living room is still rug-less and furnished with the horrid red couch we got for free from phil's coworker in denver? yes. but it also means we've seen our family multiple times this year, gone to new york and chicago with friends, met our work deadlines and studied for professional registration exams (phil has to take another portion of the real estate exam and i am wading through my seven architect registration exams - rough stuff). so i think i'm okay with the fact that the brick in the den is still not grey. because i love our life : ) and i wouldn't trade these last six months for a finished house - not for anything.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

roman shades

finally, a project post!! my intention was to post these more often...oh, well. this is a project tackled while my mom and sister were here last month. and, honestly, they did a lot of the work. sorry to disappoint you! they are handy, talented ladies and i am so glad they came to visit!

anyway, i have been bugging poor phil to rearrange the back den. it's a former porch, now enclosed, with french doors to the back patio. phil has claimed it as 'his' room, since we rent out our basement, so it is the tv room. as i write this, he has two (!) televisions set up from watching the game last night. (which, by the way, was an awesome game!!! go aggies!) but his argument was always that there would be a horrible glare on the screen from the french doors with no window coverings. valid. i guess. but i still wanted to flip the furniture arrangement. so when momma and sarah came to town, covering that glass was the main project i wanted us to tackle.

i decided on roman shades because they're simple, easy to operate and can be installed on double doors. after painstaking measurements and too much math for a non-work day, we set off for the fabric store. i wanted white shades with grey trim and blackout lining. the lining is because those doors face south and need some solar blockage.


we found blackout lining that was a similar color to the white so we could leave it exposed to the outside. the doors face the alley, so i'm not really as concerned with consistency like the front window treatments. before starting anything, we washed and dried the fabrics, then gave them a quick ironing. we cut one panel of the lining in the full length and width we wanted (plus seam allowance and extra at the top for mounting!). for the front panel, we cut the two inch grey borders for sides and bottom, and the white main panel. we pinned together a full mock-up to hold against the door to check our measurements and see how it looked before assembling.


we sewed the front panel together first, the borders to the white. all the seams were pressed and the corners tacked. getting the mitre correct was very difficult and took a few tries.


then the assembled front panel was sewn to the lining, front faces together. we turned it inside out and checked it against the door again. and tried to fix the corners again.

then we decided how many folds would be on the open shade - this determines how many rows of rings you need. then we carefully measured to get the rows even, equal and level so the open shade would fold and hang correctly. the locations were marked and small clear plastic rings were sewn, three across, at each row. this part was done by hand.


then the entire curtain was stapled onto a 1x2 at the top, taking care to keep the curtain level and plumb. small eye hooks were screwed into the wood at the top of each column of plastic rings. string was fed through each ring from the bottom to the top. then the string was fed through the eye hooks. you decide which side of the shade you want your control, then feed the other strings across, through the adjacent eye hooks, to come out a single side.

we used those control tabs to attach the shades to the fiberglass doors. et voila!



however, we are going to have to screw them in for long-term viability. the more we tried to operate them, the more they fell. but if you don't plan to open/close them very often you could use the command strips in a rental to not leave holes...

oh, and just so everyone knows, when i write 'we' i mean mom and sarah :) my main contribution to this project was getting in the way and ironing.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

cosmo couture 2012

so remember when i said i was working on a dress for a charity fashion show? well, it was for cosmo couture, which is an incredibly fun event benefiting a wonderful cause. twenty-ish design firms all over dc are paired with sponsors and then challenged to create a runway look based on a theme. all ticket proceeds go to my sister's place, which provides services for victims of domestic violence.

this year the theme was red star, a painting in the corcoran museum's collection. we were paired with HBF and decided to use textiles and furniture elements to get the layered, textural feeling of the painting. our team used scraps from the cutting room floor and drapery fabric to create a full, layered skirt. the bodice was studded with hardware that is used to conceal hinges on the interior of casegoods. it was heavy! here is a photo from a fitting.



it took a team of about eight people ten days construct. we are not expert seamstresses! the day of the show, i was lucky enough to get my hair and makeup done by a professional.



her name is hannah and she works at pr at partners in reston - go try her!! in addition to being talented, she is super sweet. she teased my hair for HOURS. no seriously. this is all my hair!



and this is me in the finished dress...



and this is me walking the runway!!!! i didn't fall!!!!


Sunday, September 16, 2012

sneak peek

oh hi. it's me. i'm still around. just a little preoccupied...work, studying for a registration exam, losing power for the majority is a day, out-of-town wedding, sewing a dress for a charity fashion show...you know, the usual :) so until i can write a real post, here is a low quality shot of the dresser in its current state. don't judge (even though we all know that's what i would do).

Saturday, September 8, 2012

guests & projects

so my mom and sister just left. which makes me very sad. after the wedding in houston last weekend, they came out to see the house, visit, and work on projects at the house. my sister is pregnant, so we didn't do anything too crazy : ) i miss them already!

my mom is a landscape designer. which means she drew up plans for our gardens! i have big dreams of a bountiful kitchen garden and robust cutting garden, and she helped me figure out what to put where. our front yard will be a wonderful oasis of lush flowers that bloom throughout the year against an evergreen backdrop. and she recommended we add a bit of physical structure to help provide focus and framework to the cottage garden look i'm after. she also suggested a kitchen garden in the front! shhh - don't tell phil. he's not too sure about edibles in the front, but her plan will be beautiful, if i can execute it correctly : ) she confirmed our suspicions about the tree in the tiny "backyard," too... it's dying. we'll have to figure out if the city or utility company will help cover the cost of removing it. but then we'll have another parking space! she suggested a structure on the back patio to provide shade and privacy, and then a vertical garden for more edibles. and an evergreen rosemary as a green wall between us and the next-door neighbor. smart lady!

we cooked at the house for most of our meals. sarah is pregnant, which means restricted diet - and cravings. and my mom follows a FODMAP diet. which is very restrictive. no garlic and onions! that makes it difficult to eat at restaurants without special ordering like crazy. plus, i had dairy delivery on tuesday and farm share on wednesday, so we had plenty of options for cooking fresh, seasonal food.

my favorite meal was a roasted chicken. i ordered a whole roasting chicken from south mountain, so it was delivered to the house on tuesday. it was already cleaned (hooray!!), with a bag of innards in the cavity. i followed the recipe from my favorite martha book, with butter and rosemary under the skin.


we used some olive oil, salt and pepper, and roasted the livers in the same pan. we put potatoes and a couple of garlic cloves around it. my mom can't eat the garlic, but still likes the flavor, so we left it in big pieces so we could pick it out after. i also chopped chives all over it. it roasted at 450 for about an hour... 


and came out gorgeous and crispy! the potatoes weren't as crispy as i like them, but they still tasted good. we ate it with steamed green beans from the farm share, because that is something sarah craves. weird. but healthy! she is trying to eat as many different foods as possible to expose baby's palette to lots of healthy foods. the best part of roasting a chicken is having leftover roasted chicken : )


like for nachos at lunch the next day. mmmmmmmmm. we finished a few projects... cleaning up and organizing the back room into a study and work room, putting together the dining room, making blackout roman shades for the den's french doors, and putting the final coat of poly on the dresser. those posts are coming, but i'm up to my eyeballs studying for an architectural registration exam, so i'll have to write them on procrastination breaks. 

i have loved spending an entire week with my mom and sister : ) and next time i see them, i'll have a new nephew! 



Saturday, September 1, 2012

g.t.t.

if you took texas history in seventh grade, you probably get my reference. gone to texas. this weekend is my cousin's wedding in houston. and he's marrying a gorgeous indian girl and they are having a multi-day indian wedding :) it's so exciting! they are both so sweet and excited to be married. and i'm just happy to spend time with my family. and eat samosas. tonight we had henna done - mehndi - and it is beautiful! my nana even had a little on her hand. don't worry, she's not upset in this photo... one of priya's aunts is telling a funny story and nana is cracking up. not only is her family gorgeous, but they are extremely kind. looking forward to a fantastic weekend!! congrats, brent & priya!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

friday

i am on deadline. which means
1. i need to go on a cleanse, i have been eating so poorly. oh, did you know i'm a stress eater? it's pretty bad. stressful meeting? hot chocolate or m&ms. no sleep? popeye's chicken. angry? cheese and bread. and wine. and olives. and probably m&ms.
2. i miss my garden
3. i neglect most of my other obligations. the only reason i can keep up with this is because of the blogger app on my phone, which means i can write on the bus.
...and this is not a bad one! in fact, i don't think i'll be in the office all weekend. i've only had to cab (well, uber) home once so far. i'm getting soft in my old age.

the milkman always rings twice


in my quest for reasonably-priced, high-quality food, i lean toward local and small. i've watched food, inc. and i've read just about all of michael pollan's books. my interest (phil may call it my obsession) with healthy, fresh food started in high school, when i read a couple of books by dr. andrew weil. the first one i read was this one, eating well for optimum health. heavily influenced by my mom's health issues and my grandmother's reliance on medicine, i decided i do not want to take medicine unless absolutely necessary. bodies are intricate, complex systems and EVERYTHING is related. and i think food is one of the strongest tools you have to help you stay strong and healthy, not to mention help you age gracefully and maintain or improve your quality of life. one of my favorite podcasts, by the compassionate cook, says "if you don't have time to be sick, make time to be healthy." that really resonates with me!

so with all my amateur food and health research, i try to eat real, whole foods, produced responsibly without harmful chemicals. i am also a supporter of seed saving and try to not buy genetically modified foods, if i can. so all of that together leads me to buy our food from smaller, local farms - i can ask more questions and there tends to be a different type of transparency in the production. i also like being able to put faces with where my food originates... as strange as this may sound, i am more likely to use up all my produce from farm share than from the grocery store. i feel a responsibility to thoroughly enjoy the food when i think about all the work that has gone into its production. 



anyway... all that to say, we had our first milk delivery! haha. is it obvious yet that i am passionate about food? : ) i have been wanting to do the delivery service for a couple of years now, but couldn't in our rosslyn apartment.  we got a metal box for our porch and a driver who comes every tuesday. i make my order online by sunday night and it is charged to my credit card. they have one time or recurring orders (in case you forget to order!), which i love. this first order i just got a half gallon of skim milk and turkey bacon. the milk is good, cheaper than whole foods and tastes the same or better. we haven't eaten the bacon yet, although i was surprised: it came looking like canadian bacon. not what i expected. but it will make yummy breakfast sandwiches this weekend, all the same : ) next week, i'm ordering eggs and chicken, too. i'll keep you posted!


Monday, August 20, 2012

hooray!

two big things have happened: my first glover park tomato ripened. and we finally got a new trash can!! our trash can was missing a lid on moving day, so i borrowed the one from next door - no one lives there. but the caretakers didn't care for that and switched them back :( so i ordered a repair from the city and they finally brought a new one! who would have thought this would make me so happy? pathetic. but maybe it will solve the recent influx of crickets. my most hated enemy - seriously the bug i am most grossed out by, ever since i had one jump on my foot in the bathroom in kindergarten. what can i say, i can hold a grudge.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

good weekend

i love low-key weekends :) and this one was wonderful. i'm about to go into crunch time on deadlines, so hanging out with friends and working on personal projects is at the top of my list. friday dinner was venison backstrap, shot by a friend and then grilled and enjoyed among friends, with wine and veggies and great conversation.

saturday brought more work on the dresser, pool time, and an italian feast al fresco with girlfriends. the ultimate in relaxation :) sunday was more work on the dresser (almost done - just need hardware), and then a lazy rainy afternoon... movies, cooking, juicing, hanging out with my love :)

ready for the work to come this week... hopefully!

real talk

real talk. hehe. it's from here. you should listen, if you don't already. my work wife, elisa, and i listen to it and giggle all day. 

we have lived here for four months. we love this house. a lot. i am so happy all those other houses didn't go through. there was the ballston townhouse with french doors that opened up the entire living space onto the courtyard, the mount pleasant dream house that went for more than $50k over asking, the rhode island mansion multi-family that the inspector told us to run away from, a capitol hill rowhouse with no backyard but near a nice park, and the burleith gut-job with orange wallpaper inside the pantry but a garage. oh, and i had to run and vomit in the alley behind that one in the middle of signing the offer papers. bad omen? guess so. and that doesn't even count the seafoam green columbia heights house we almost offered on back in 2008. anyway, we are exactly where we are supposed to be.

there are so many things i love about this house. so many.
1. this. oh and the programmable thermostat for the radiant heat under the bathroom floors. i didn't even know that's a thing. but, yes, it is, and it is magnificent. look out, january, you can't get the best of me and my post-shower happiness!!
2. my garden. it may be small, but i feel my stress just lift off my shoulders within a few minutes of puttering after work. with a beer, of course. i mean, what self-respecting person doesn't hold a beer while watering their hydrangeas at 7.30 pm on a tuesday while the bus drives by? : ) 
3. our neighbors. well...i don't really know them that well. so maybe i won't love them in the long run. but what i do know of them is that they are sweet. and friendly. and helpful. 
4. we trust that the previous owner did the renovations correctly. i cannot tell you the peace of mind this gives us. and i love that the house is largely renovated.
5. the light. even though we are the middle rowhouse on our block, i don't need to turn on lights during sunny days, except when chopping in the kitchen.
6. the central air!!! i feel like a fancy lady with our a/c and lack of radiators. not to mention a programmable thermostat. this is not something i ever thought i would have on a house pro/con list. i remember visiting my uncle in st louis when i was probably 11 or so. i was shocked that so many people had window units! no one i knew in texas had that. then i didn't have a/c at all when i lived in denver. we had window units in rosslyn - ugly, noisy, dusty things. i never felt like we had clean air blowing in. so being able to put hepa filters on my own system? love it!

anyway, there are some less-than-perfect aspects to our place. in all fairness...
1. we have one bathroom. this bathroom is small. and upstairs. watching a movie downstairs? have to run up and turn on three lights so you don't trip. having a party? get ready for a line. and don't forget to check on the toilet every 5 people so you can fix the flusher that's always breaking. want to plug in your flat iron while you blow dry your hair? better unplug the toothbrush and hope that no one else needs the room. 
2. we are not on the metro. while i think this keeps our neighborhood relatively quiet and safe, it also means a 10 minute drive to work takes 45 minutes on the bus. or bus/metro, if outside of commuting hours. i am starting to spend a LOT of money on cabs (well, more accurately, uber - it's the best!). 
3. the neighborhood skews a little, ummm, fratty. the bus in the morning can feel like the college bus that went to sorority row. this affects our retail quite a bit. we went to town hall a few weeks ago and i felt about a million years old. and dowdy. maybe i am. maybe this is not a negative on the house. maybe i'm just old. i have been going to town hall since we moved here, when i was 22. i think i fit in more then. but it does mean that we get a lot of bars and restaurants that cater to the deep south croakies crowd. if you know what i mean. 
4. most of our friends do not live nearby. and see number 2. it makes it a bit of a trek to get back and forth to the hill. especially with the one car.

i'm sure that both lists will grow the longer we are here. but i am happy : ) hopefully the positives keep growing and the negatives shrink!


Friday, August 17, 2012

mirror, mirror


the green mirror i've had since i graduated from college. my mom's friend was getting rid of a hideous white and gold striped mirror, but it was giant and i was poor, so i took it. i painted it lime, because my first post-grad apartment was orange and green. it was a small first floor one-bedroom in a mansion near cheesman park in denver. with tall ceilings, two fireplaces, original built-ins, and no air conditioning. so i tried to adult-ify my college decorating (shabby chic and tiffany's blue) with a very 1970s palette. 

anyway, i love mirrors. LOVE. and the giant dresser that has become the endless weekend project came with one. however, i do not care for the traditional dresser with attached mirror look. it's like how i don't like matching furniture sets. so i am going to get rid of the legs and refinish it for my dressing room. and by dressing room, i mean the tiny 7' x 8' bedroom that we have turned into a closet/dressing room for me. i have so many ideas! right now, we have old ikea furniture and an estate sale rug in there.


but we also left the walls minty green. which looks awesome with the rug. and most of my clothes. ick. so we'll see what i can pull together from what we have.

...also, has anyone else seen gallery girls on bravo?? yikes. never have i seen so many girls be so proud of their aversion to hard work. i love bad tv, but this one may be too annoying even for me. and i'm more partial to bad tv like honey boo boo : ) 


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

experiments in gardening


i take no credit for this rose. i inherited it. but i love it. i never thought i was a rose person... until i have them like crazy! they're tiny little roses. swoon.


i'll take all the credit for this one. unfortunately. you can see the sad little yellow tomato. all by its lonesome : ( they're partly droopy because i need to water them. but i think they may also just not be doing well. i have a bit of work to do this fall/winter to get the tiny bed ready for next year!!


this experiment was more successful. i let part of my basil go to seed, which means i let it flower and then dry up. then i sprinkled the seeds into small pots full of potting soil. this is about a month later! prolific, beautiful basil starts. for free : ) and so healthy and yummy. nothing too crazy, just normal basil. and actually the original plant is from whole foods. just a cheap-o small start picked up on sale. that was over two years ago - i've nursed it through winters and started little off-shoots to have basil year-round. 



Monday, August 13, 2012

worth it?

do you see that look on phil's face?? that look says "i know i'm fundamentally frugal, but this is a lot of work... couldn't we just buy a finished dresser and have more time for fun!?"

so, yes, refinishing furniture is a lot of work. especially because we want to do it right. so between coats two and a half and three of the primer, we had a real discussion about the "value" of cheap craigslist furniture that takes 6+ hours of work... we'll see once this is done what the verdict is - it seems so romantic on young house love... let's just say we are very glad we didn't buy a total fixer-upper :)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

my happy place

this is my favorite spot in our house - the bathroom skylight. seriously. not having to turn on an ugly overhead light for my morning shower is amazing. i have always loved sunlight over artificial, but i never thought my daily bliss could come from a bathroom skylight! they are typical on our neighborhood (old-fashioned exhaust fan?), but ours was upgraded with the bath remodel to a non-operable, translucent glass that filters the light just so.

Friday, August 10, 2012

new rose


this is the new rose blooming in the front yard. photo taken on my iphone after work, no filter. it is that bright!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

doing the math


this is the farm share i got this week.  the farm share cost $450 for june through the end of october. that's just about $21 a week. let's do a comparison against giant, a grocery store near me. which is cheaper than whole foods, where we typically shop since it is two blocks from the house. i used peapod, the online delivery service. i chose organic where available. while the farm share is not strictly organic, i feel like it's a better comparison for quality.

- small, seeded watermelon $7.99
- pint blueberries $4.99
- bulb of fennel $2.49
- 5 pears $6.45 ($1.29 each)
- eggplant: 1 purple, 2 white, 1 orange turkish $7.96 ($1.99 each, but the grocery store only has purple)
- 4 large heirloom tomatoes $5.56 ($1.39 each)
- 1 green pepper $1.99
- mixed small tomatoes $3.49

that's a total of $40.92. ummm so the answer is yes, it's worth it. no question! not only do we get to try all kinds of new things (orange turkish eggplants??), but it's less expensive for a better quality product. and we're supporting a local farm family. obviously i am passionate about this - i think it may be the focus of too many posts!

our next adventure? milk delivery! we should get put on a route in the next couple of weeks : ) i will definitely let you know how it goes - i am very excited. i've been wanting to do this for over a year now.  

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

blueberry buckle

we have gotten a lot of blueberries in our farm share this year. tons and tons. i have eaten them in my yogurt, juiced, or frozen most of them, but we were still having a hard time finishing them before they started to go bad. so i pulled out one of my favorite cookbooks, the family baker, to inspire me. i'm not sure if it's in print now, but i have always had excellent success with the recipes and they are super easy to follow. each entry includes other ideas for variations, entertaining tips, substitutions, and a little history of where the recipe originated. so i decided on a blueberry buckle to take to a backyard barbecue we had on sunday afternoon : )


it's basically cake batter with blueberries on top. a sweet, slightly lemon-y cake batter and farm-fresh blueberries!


then you dab the rest of the batter on top. it doesn't matter if it's ugly, or uneven. i think it's kind of supposed to be like that. 




then a super yummy crumb topping goes all over the top (and maybe the counter...).  so it's kind of like a breakfast-y coffee cake. but we ate it with ice cream and it was a hit! 


not only did tony dress to match the blueberries, but he had seconds! the best part of cooking and baking is having people to enjoy it. 

...oh and having home-made baked goodies for breakfast monday morning was a plus, too : )