Thursday, March 29, 2012

Spring Cleaning

As Spring comes (and goes as its been in the 50's this week), I feel the need to lighten up the house a little. Come May, Bill and I will have lived here for a year so its probably about time to do some real-deal cleaning, not just the "put things away and maybe vacuum" kind of cleaning.

Looks nice out there! Let's get it nice in here! 

So I've started a short list of things I want to accomplish around the house in the vein of Spring Cleaning...

1. Scotch Guard couch. Its about time.
2. Replace living room rug or get it cleaned
3. Wash kitchen cabinets
4. Rehang cabinet fabric
5. Repaint doorway moldings (those things could use some fresh white!)
6. Finally make my above-bed art
7. Reorganize office
8. Plant an azalea somewhere!
9. Figure out a better way to store table linens (my obsession is taking over the kitchen!)
10. Try to get rid of the gook in the shower!
11. Possibly add roman shade to patio door
12. Possibly paint kitchen stools and brighter, happier color.

That's my list! I'm hoping to get started this weekend.

Do you have any Spring Cleaning to-do's?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Weekend Update

I realize the weekend was a few days ago but my weekend technically extended through Monday and Tuesday was the first day at my new job (woohoo!), so I have an excuse.

This weekend, Monday included, I went to visit my best friend, Leah, who lives down in Tennessee, right outside of Nashville. She is getting married in October (another woohoo!) and I'm a bridesmaid so we knew we needed to get together before the big day to do some wedding-day planning and catch up.

So that's exactly what we did! I flew in Saturday morning, she picked me up and we went directly to the mall to shop for bridesmaid's dresses. We didn't find any, but I did fit my best friend into a new bra and her correct size, showing that my year in crappy retail was good for something!

While driving from the mall, I came across this...

Which is not quite right, but close enough to warrant a picture! 

We then spent the rest of the weekend eating and shopping, shopping and eating, and then some more eating and some more shopping. Luckily, I didn't spend more than $4 on non-wedding related purchases. And after shopping at all the stores in two malls, we actually found something that would work from David's Bridal. Go figure. As all of her bridesmaids are scattered around the country (California, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Illinois!), we knew we would have to come up with something that everyone could purchase. David's Bridal ended up being the best choice. Picking from the Vera Wang "White" Collection, we will all be in the same Charcoal color but we can each pick our own dress.

Here's mine...


Minus the sash and bow, its totally reusable for other functions.

And did I tell you how much we ate?! We had a sushi feast first, then we gobbled down some delicious steaks and fish at a little restaurant called the Red Pony in downtown Franklin, we ate breakfast at her future reception hall, and then finished up with a ridiculous amount of Indian food. Mmmm....

(sorry for the shitty quality) 


Saturday night, we saw a show at Leah's workplace- The Franklin Theater. Its a renovated theater from the 30's that is absolutely gorgeous now. Its pretty low-key but the renovation was impeccable. 

Photo courtesy of Music City Blog 

We saw a bluegrass band (how perfect for my time in TN!) that was AMAZING. It was a five-member string band called The Travelin' McCourys (although they might usually be only four). They were soooo talented. Each member played a different stringed instrument - a mandolin, a fiddle, a guitar, a bass cello, and a banjo. And surprisingly they all sang..... well. Really well. When each one of them came up to the mic it was a surprise at how incredible they all were. 

Photo courtesy of 


On the home front, Bill was getting shit done, like he likes to do. He cleaned the house, worked on the AVP website, learned how to play a few songs, cleaned his car's throttle bodies and even learned to gap and change his own spark plugs! 

He also cleaned up the outside patio and planted me new flowers, which were a joy to come home to and a pleasant surprise! What a wonderful man I have. 

And that was it! That was my fun weekend and wonderful homecoming. 

Did you do anything fun this weekend?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Patty's Day... Subdued

Happy St. Patrick's Day... the day I like to stay indoors. People get a little crazy on this international drinking holiday and Bill and I prefer to stay as far away from bars and major roadways as possible. It just so happens that we are going to a wedding today instead so we'll be around drinkers for another reason.

Don't get me wrong, I love St. Patty's Day. Its a celebration of Ireland and I love Ireland. So here's my advice on ways to celebrate this Irish holiday without wearing a green jersey and taking on a beer bar-crawl.

Reading from left to right... 

1. Keep decorating simple. I love this hand-blown vase from Pine and Main for $32.

2. I love the idea of wearing green on St. Patty's Day, but most people go a little over-the-top. Try this woven blouse from Forever 21 for $20.

3. Watch The Quiet Man! Its a St. Patrick's Day classic with some pretty funny moments like, "Here's a stick to beat the lovely lady with." That probably shouldn't be funny to a former Gender Studies major, but you just have to see it.

4. Gifting on St. Patty's Day isn't really expected unless handing someone a beer counts. But I love the idea of giving a little green Spring like these potted daffodils. (Bill actually bought me a potted daffodil that is currently growing leaps and bounds!)

5. Its true the Irish like to drink. But green beer isn't the limits to celebrating with liquor. I love this
"The Brotherhood" cocktail made from Irish whiskey and citrus.

6. What holiday isn't about food? If you are going to drink till your face falls off, you might as well do it like the Irish pros do: with a belly full of liquor-soaking-up comfort food like this beef stew.

7. I realize floral blouses don't really help the gendered males out there so this bow-tie from Forage might do the trick. I know what you are thinking: "Bow ties?! Really? This is a snobby website". But I think on St. Patrick's Day you want to look as much like Michaeleen Oge Flynn as possible.

8. If you are like us and prefer stay away from the green-drenched, drunken masses today, then you'll enjoy the latest episode of 30 Rock .

9. While today its actually gorgeous out and without a cloud in the sky on the East Coast, I can't help but think of rain on St. Patty's Day. I'd love to stomp around in these on the holiday, and then come home, eat that Irish stew, and drink that cocktail while watching The Quiet Man.

Have any St. Patty's Day plans, beer or not?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Spring Has Sprung!

I'm sure wherever you are in the country you've noticed the amazing weather passing through. I've been trying to take advantage of it as much as possible by using our back deck again- seriously, in the Spring and Summer its like adding another room onto the house. 

Here's a few shots of what we've been up-to back there... 

(I cut out the designs from the Trader Joe's bags to see what kind of cards I could make!) 

And let's take a closer look at those hot-pink cuties...

The other day I noticed these popping up in our backyard. I didn't plant them but I had seen a few strewn bulbs when we first moved in but they seemed dead. Guess not! These little guys are going nuts! 

And, of course, its wonderful back there at night too. 

(I couldn't get the light right for this shot, so Bill was kind enough to pose for me until I could get it right. The kabobs had long been done grilling when this shot was taken!) 

Have you been up to anything fun in the warm weather?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Bill's Trip to San Francisco

I realize its been about forever and a year since I posted. Since Bill came back from his San Francisco conference I've been working on the City Paper Home and Garden Gift Guide which has forced me into driving all over greater Philadelphia for gift picks. Its been draining.

But I'm finally back to report on Bill's trip. (He wouldn't write it himself so this story is secondhand).


I drove him to the airport early Sunday morning when he got a call. It was an automated voice message that simply told him his flight was cancelled and... good luck. Off to a good start.

He was able to catch another flight only an hour later but it routed him through Phoenix with a three-hour layover, making him miss his only workshop during the conference.

When he got to Phoenix International this is what he found...

(That's a flat tire on an abandoned cart in the middle of the aisle, for those of you who are as unobservant as I was) 

That pretty much summed up his first day. A mess. 

Luckily, they had put him up in a pretty swank hotel. 

(View of lobby from upper floor) 

He made it just in time for social hour- a wine and tapas meet-and-greet. Sadly, this is what the tapas looked like.... 

Poop on a stick! 


Before signing off for the night I received these...

 His enchanting view from the hotel. 


While the majority of his time was spent doing this.... 

He was able to find time to rent a bicycle for $30. On two wheels, he decided to tour the waterfront and cross the Golden Gate a night. On the way, he found some interesting things... 

...and old time arcade with antique games... this one that Bill actually went up against. (The warning says this thing means business so start at fly weight, tough guy) 

And then he found this... 

A trampoline gym!!!! How fun is that!? I think I'm going to open one.

Of course, Bill went in and played for a while. 

Moving on, he came across the beautiful architecture of the Palace of Fine Arts located in the park on the San Fran side of the bridge. 

Finally, came the long trip over the bridge and back again. 

About twelve hours later, he was home safe! This was Bill's second trip to San Fran this year and our trip in  June will be number three! He should be able to recommend the best airport restaurants and know where all the terminal outlets are. :-) 


I swear the next post won't be a week from now. Bill and I are working on a fun project we'll show off a little later but I'm done with all of my faux-buyer adventures, leaving plenty of time for blogging for my beloved family and friends!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A few of my favorite things...

For the last few days Bill has been away in San Francisco for a tech conference. Its been a little boring here without him but the good news is he's been sending me lots of fun pictures for a fun Bill post when he gets back.

In the mean time, here's a few of my latest obsessions...


Somehow I missed this awesome international clothing store. I saw an ad for it with Kate Moss on YouTube and figured the clothes cost thousands of dollars.

Nope! That dress at the end, which I am drooling over, is like $60!!!!
Their stuff falls between H&M and J.Crew in style and pricing which is like they made a store just for me.

2. Pokey LaFarge

He's got a ridiculous stage name but I love his style, his sound, and his location- he's a Saint Louis boy!! In fact, I've noticed he's been kind of putting STL on the map with style and young tourism. Go Pokey and the South City Three!

3. Our tandem bike! 

Photo courtesy of Johnathon Ivy Photography 

I've been dreaming about our June vacation a lot lately. But mostly, I'm crazy excited about our first day there in Napa. Namely, I'm excited about the tandem bike we rented! How perfect does that sounds? Tandem bike in the summer driving through the vineyards of Napa?! Pinch me!

4. Mac & Cheese 

Photo courtesy of Evil Shenanigans 

I've been craving good old, creamy mac n' cheese lately. Of course, it brings together the two things I can't eat so its been a no-go since I changed my diet. However, I've recently been having a lot of success with gluten-free pasta and fake cheese so I think I might try my hand at combining the two this week. Maybe I'll even add a little gluten-free bread crumbs to the top and bake it! Mmmmmm.....

Friday, March 2, 2012

Growing Up...

... is hard to do. But for our generation, it was even harder to document. Nowadays, there are blogs, digital images and YouTube videos to keep up with kids. Bill and I, however, only have Kodak film images of our childhood and teenage years. While I didn't have much of Bill pre-adolescence, here's a compilation of photos from our younger years... 

And here we are, all grown up...