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 : )


Monday, August 6, 2012

working

we got a sander. true to form, phil researched and then comparison shopped for a couple of weeks. he decided we need a random orbital sander, since we plan to use it mainly for refinishing furniture. so we tested it this weekend on the craigslist dresser. i'll do a full post once we finish the piece (i had a bachelorette party saturday night, so we couldn't finish), but we were able to get the entire piece sanded and a couple drawers primed. we had to sand the edges by hand, and the tutorials we read recommended using a sponge sander. well those cost almost $10 (!!), so i rigged one out of a sponge from the garage and a 79 cent sheet of sandpaper :) hoping to finish the dresser this weekend! well, everything except the hardware... that is a big decision!

Friday, August 3, 2012

planning for fall


i started some fall seeds! spinach, kale, lettuce, swiss chard, thyme, and oregano.  most of the seeds are from my favorite seed catalog, but the lettuce is from my mom. when i went home over memorial day, she took some of the bolted lettuce from her garden and let it dry to save the seeds for me. i hope it sprouts! 


i bought some potting soil, because i don't use regular soil for seed-starting.  then i have these seed-starting plastic containers that i re-use over and over. i ordered them about four years ago, when we moved to maryland, and have used them at least once or twice a year since then. i just fill each pocket with the soil, then plant a few seeds, and mist with water. i start them inside - no light needed until they sprout. i just keep misting them. once they sprout, i thin them so a couple per section have a better chance of getting big and strong. once i have a leaf or two, i transplant into little 4" pots - i save them whenever i buy a plant. part of the quest for no waste in my household! 

i also transplanted some of the basil starts in my other pots.  if you have a basil plant, let a few stems go to flower. then let the flower dry up - that is your seed. drop into some dirt and keep it watered... a new basil plant will sprout before you know it. i have tripled the basil plants at my house in less than a year! so this round is for giving away : ) 


Thursday, August 2, 2012

updates


these are the assembled chairs.  they are reproductions of one of my favorite chairs and surprisingly good. one of the major differences is the overstock version is a thin plastic shell seat, rather than a thick molded polypropylene or fiberglass.  either way, they look great in the dining room! the clean white chairs with the wood table is exactly what i was hoping for : ) not a huge fan of reproductions, since as a designer i'm a proponent of supporting other designers, but i couldn't find any in our price range or on craigslist.  we need six chairs - at $300-$350 each, there is no way! we had to assemble them, which was fun. and by fun, i mean i got really frustrated assembling two while phil did the other four. i try really hard, but i'm not the most adept...


and this is the guest room. doesn't look so pink : )  the duvet i ordered looked way too feminine, so now i'm hunting for a charcoal striped set - like this but hopefully at a different price point. i also want to make a grey upholstered headboard. the room is too small for a full bed frame - we did fit a queen bed into a 9x11 room - so looks like it is a headboard-only solution for us. one of these days we will finish a room so i can post finished photography! 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

yellow rose of glover park


this was the rose bush in our front yard on closing day, mid-april.  lush & beautiful. the bush is not the healthiest and this was the only bloom we had... 


until this week.  my sweet mother-in-law helped me trim the bush back. a lot. the leaves were yellow and it was so spindly.  suddenly, this week, the bush erupted into bloom.  granted, they are not nearly as beautiful as the first one - it was our closing day symbolic bloom - but it is prolific.  i'll trim it back more later this year, to give it some shape, but until then i will enjoy each and every bloom : )