Life Without Internet

So many photos I want to share and so little Internet! I should have the blessed web when I get home tonight, but in the meantime, here is life via my iPhone.

The move was fairly smooth. Trying to maneuver a huge moving truck through Manhattan was the worst part.

After the closing, when they handed us the keys and the house was really, truly “ours” Scott and I raced back, pinching ourselves, the whole way.

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Scott carried me over the threshold (sweet man) and it went much better than the last time he carried me over a threshold on our wedding night. That one ended in a bruised, bleeding elbow. So we high-fived for threshold success and then stood in our empty rooms. After running through it a few times, it seemed fitting to break in our deck and have our first “cheers” in the house.

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It already felt like home, and for the first time ever, I didn’t want to leave New Jersey and go back to the city! Crazy. But once we pulled ourselves away and got back to our neighborhood, it started to hit us. We were giving up a lot by leaving the city. Like tons of great restaurants and bars right within walking distance. That is no small thing. So rather than finish packing, like good children, we went out with dear friends for dinner at our favorite restaurant, The Penrose, and then for drinks at this great Scottish bar, Caledonia. It was a perfect farewell to our beloved corner of the Upper East Side. And it was only fitting to do our last cheers in the city.

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And then it was moving day. We rented a uhaul, packed up our life with the help of two very committed friends (our life savers, Rick and Dana!). And sooner than I would have liked we were done. And my cozy, little home…the place I learned how to be a wife and spent my first two years of marriage (the best two years of my life yet)…was empty.

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But there were people waiting for us in Jersey. And a house. And the Uhaul was blocking traffic. And Prince was already making strange sounds of distress in his crate.

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So off we went to the next adventure.

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Snooooow

I LOVED getting over a foot of snow this past weekend.  Love love loved it!  And I loved that they named it Nemo.Snow 2

Scott and I met up with some friends after work on Friday and it was so cozy to watch the snow fall in the puddles of lamplight outside the windows while we were bundled up inside.Snow 1

We slipped and slid our way home in the winter wonderland.  I had my best ski bunny outfit on.  (It’s all a ruse though – I don’t ski on principle.)Snow 6

Our pretty little street!Snow 4

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And when we woke up, this is what we found in our back yard.IMG_4949

The grill cracked me up the most.  He looked like he had one of those Russian fur hats on.IMG_4951

Oh and I used the back yard as extra refrigeration.  Why not?IMG_4952

We probably should have explored our neighborhood or Central Park to see how pretty it was.  But I decided to put on ruffly pink leg warmers and catch up on my shows.Snow 5

And make delicious cheese tortellini soup.  It was my first time trying the recipe and it was delicious.  I may add Italian sausage or meatballs next time at Scott’s request.Cheese TortelliniHope that everyone else had a lovely weekend!

 

Order from Chaos

Hello Friends!  It’s been pretty quiet over here.  Life is chugging along as normal, so between that and traveling for work, I just haven’t had much to report!

However, I am quite happy to report that I finally found an entertainment/media center that fit our very strict size constraints AND fit both Scott’s and my aesthetic.   That is pretty hard to do.  AND I had a coupon.  We got it from World Market and I had received an email code for 25% off.  So I asked Scott if we could get it while he was in the shower (I tend to run purchases by him then – I find I usually get the answer I want.  It might be evil). I got the go ahead and I pounced.

First, let me show you the area before.  You see it there under the TV beyond the amazing Michael Jackson dance moves?

That’s a radiator cover acting as the media console.  It had a lovely neighbor as well – yes, a college style set of plastic drawers.  Shudder.

Here is another view.  In my excitement to get the new media center set up, I forgot to take a good photo of the “before.”

But here she is!

I don’t even care about the bad, late night lighting. She’s a beauty.

There’s still the mess of cords, but that can’t really be helped.  The space just feels SOOO much more put-together now.

And it gave me a chance to decorate and create this little fall vignette.  Yay.

Next thing to go – the Eiffel Tower lamp.  It will go into storage just in case I have a little girl and get a hankering to, say, spray paint it white and put a frilly pink lamp shade on it.  But it will do for us for now.  This media center is a HUGE victory.  Big.  HUGE.  It’s been on my list since Day 1, so I’ve waited a long 13 months for this bad boy.  Big sigh of contentment.

Just add it to the long list of things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving season!

Backyard Before and After

I’ve done before and afters on the blog before.

Like the apartment, for example.

And this pretty, little bookcase.

So I thought it would be fitting to do an official before and after of the backyard.  We’ve spent a lot of time out there this summer and expect to be out there this fall as much as possible.

Here is what we started with.  I took these pictures while we were looking for an apartment in New York.

I dubbed this apartment “The Secret Garden” because of all the greenery.  It felt like a little getaway.

Here is the view looking back at the apartment.

And here it is during move in.  It was a lifesaver to have this area to throw the boxes.

And here it is in a live-able state after Scott went to town on the ivy.  I think it looks so much bigger this way!

It’s not eligible for a magazine or anything, but we love it.

So do our friends.

It’s given us the chance to grill,

garden,

and do projects.

Basically,I feel so grateful and blessed to have it!

Our First Backyard Cookout!

Who’s excited about our backyard area and having a grill?  This girl (and her husband)!

Even though Scott and I have started using our outdoor space, there is just something about having friends over that makes it really feel like summer is right around the corner. So I was so excited to have our friends, Ricky and Dana, over for dinner last week.  Rick and Scott have been friends for, oh, ever and was a groomsman in our wedding party. His beautiful girlfriend, Dana, is one of my favorite New York City ladies AND our much-appreciated cat sitter!  (We can’t thank her enough).

Don’t they look like they came straight from a yacht?

Since we obviously needed to grill at least part of the meal, I turned to the adorable grill master himself, Bobby Flay.  And he did not disappoint.  We had his Korean Grilled Chicken with the Bibimbap rice on the side.  Scott masterfully grilled the chicken, zucchini and mushrooms.

I took care of the rest.

The finished (delicious) product!

Even better than the food was getting to spend time with friends.  In perfect weather, no less.

One four-legged member of our party didn’t have as much fun until we bent our “No Prince Outside” rule.  And then he chased bugs to his heart’s content.  He knows how to lay on the guilt.

I foresee many more evenings spent this way in our future.  Doesn’t it just look so cozy and inviting?

Building Forts

In the flurry of laundry a few weeks ago, one set of sheets didn’t get fully dry.  Rather than forking over more money to dry them in the shared laundry room downstairs, I just draped them over our kitchen chairs so I could *finally* go to sleep.

And then this happened.

“Wait. Mom. Where am I?”

“What IS this?”

“I’m tired.  Can I have some food?”

That’s my Prince.  I think he would have stayed there all night if  I hadn’t pulled him out.  I wasn’t actually sure if he was enjoying it as a fort or if he didn’t know how to get out…

More Frames, Please!

Remember my collage of photos above our dining table?  When we put them up, I had wanted to switch out the pictures and add to it over time.  Well, I still don’t want to remove or switch any of the photos, but I did add three new frames.

For reference, here is the collage before.  Oh and it looks much better due to lighting.  Try not to judge my late-night picture taking.

I wasn’t sure if I liked the additional frames at first.  I spent so much time figuring out the perfect arrangement for the original collage, it felt strange to tack the other ones on.  But I’ve gotten used to it over the past few days.  It helps that I love everything that was added.

And now for a close up of the newbies.

These are Scott and my place cards from our wedding.  I hear it caused some confusion for my in-laws when they were picking up their place cards 🙂

Lane Stadium at Virginia Tech.  Go Hokies!

And this print from Art Shark Designs – a shop on Etsy.

I actually received this little guy when I bought a gift for Scott’s sister (aka my sister-in-law, still getting used to saying that!) and her husband.  They had just moved into their first home together in Boston, so I bought them the Boston print.  All of these prints are in cities around the world and always depict a couple with red umbrellas in front of a well-known landmark.  They are the sweetest thing.  The artist is local to the Northern Virginia area, I believe.  So she included this little print for me in the shipment of my Boston print and I absolutely love it. So much of Scott and my time dating took place in the DC area.  Although to look at pictures you would think it was all in Newport.  So it’s nice to have this little memento.

So there you have it! Oh, and I got the frames on a ridiculous sale at my favorite store – Tar-jay.  Oh how I miss thee, Target.  I picked them up when I was home a few weeks ago for shower-palooza.

The Frames are Filled!

So I finally filled all of the frames in our photo frame collage! As a reminder, here is what we started with.  Sideways photos and empty frames = not cute.

And here is the finished/current product.

It has turned out to be a bit of a homage to the wedding.  But I’d like it to be an ever-changing display.  The last piece of the puzzle was the horizontal 8 x 10.  I thought I had ordered a photo for it, but it was missing from the order…or I didn’t order it in the first place.  Either way, we got the best surprise in the mail on New Year’s Eve morning.  A wedding present from one of Scott’s Godmother.  It is an original painting of The Green Light on Goat Island (where Scott and I got married)!  I held my breath while I tried it in the frame.  And when I popped out the glass, it fit like a glove!

I love that it isn’t a photo.  My goal was that there would be a mixture of art and personal photos.  I just have so many wedding photos that I love right now!

Here are a few close ups.

This one of me and my sister won a spot because we both are clearly happy and smiling but it isn’t posed.

I thought the close up of the bridesmaid bouquets added a fun pop of color and is a bit more “abstract,” yet still reminds me of my girls.

And, of course, one of me and Scott from the wedding.

It’s been fun seeing everyone’s reactions to the photos.  People all sort of lean in and look at all the details.  It’s been a great conversation starter.  I love it and can’t wait to see what fun new pictures and pieces of art will come along next.

Kitchen Table Redo

In the month leading up to the wedding, I undertook my first furniture redo and upgrade. I’ve been reading Do It Yourself and home redo blogs for awhile.  I was inspired by it and had secretly wanted to try my hand at it for awhile.

Scott and I were fortunate enough to inherit a solid wood table from his parents.  They were moving and wanted to get new furniture and offered up everything to their kids.  Scott and I were sorely lacking furniture as we both had lived with roommates who had all of the furniture needed.  So we gladly accepted the table and chairs!

Here she is in the “before” stage.  I’d already disassembled it before I remembered to take pictures.

Table Top – check out the dirt on that edge.

The Base

The Leaves

The Chairs – there seemed to be some blue paint and some serious scratches.

The first order of business was cleaning all of the pieces.  And I’m not talking about just soap and water – I’m talking about resorting to sandpaper and even steel wool on some pieces.  I don’t think that it is recommended to use steel wool on wood, for fear of scratching.  But on some of the tougher pieces the sandpaper got gunked up too quickly.  So I used the finest steel wool I could find and didn’t have any issues.  It definitely was only as a last resort for stubborn dirt and grease.

When I was done cleaning, the chairs really shone!  At that point, I thought about what it would look like to just stain the table.  But my original plan was to paint the table white, so I decided to continue with it.

I started with a coat of primer.

And then moved onto white semi-gloss paint.  I did two coats on the base and a few more than that on the leaves and the table top.  I think that the leaves would have been fine with just two coats, but I wanted to do the same amount as the table top, so that if we ever use them, there won’t be any difference.  I finished it off with two coats of polyurethane.

Here is the finished product.

As for the chairs…I decided to spray paint them a darker color for some contrast with the table.  I went for a metallic spray paint in oil rubbed bronze.  They are a mix between black and very dark brown with a metallic sheen in the right light.  They definitely do give the contrast I wanted, but they aren’t a dull, flat color.  I used a spray paint with a built in primer, so I just went right to it.  It took a full two coats of spray paint per chair, plus a few touch ups in some areas.  I finished up with a high gloss spray on sealant.  The chairs are now wipeable and shiny.  Perfect for looks as well as function!

Here is the put-together result.  The table did suffer a bit in the move, but I plan to fix those scratches when the weather is a bit warmer.

We were so glad we had room for the table and four chairs in the apartment.  They’ve worked really well, and it was great to not have to purchase a new table and chairs.  We probably wouldn’t have gotten the look and color combination that we wanted and would most likely have ended up with something that was smaller and of lesser quality.  I’ve had so much fun setting the table every night.  All of the table linens, place mats and plates look so nice on the white background.

I definitely made some rookie mistakes, which I won’t do again.  Such as using a paint brush to apply the primer on the table top.  I then used a foam roller to put on the paint, but the brush strokes from the primer showed through, no matter how many coats of paint I used.  I think it is only noticeable to me, and only from certain lighting angles.  However, I lived and learned and will do better next time!  Not sure when the next time will be, but I have high hopes redoing more furniture in the future.  And lucky me, I actually have outdoor space at our apartment, so it’s on the table – so to speak.  (My dad instilled a good use of puns in me.)  Now, I’ve got my eye on an old bookshelf my grandfather made.  Maybe it will get a treatment similar to this.  Who knows?

Cutting a Rug

We’re slowly making more progress on the living room area of the apartment.  The other day our new 5′ x 8′ area rug was delivered.  One of the benefits of not having a job right now is that I am home to accept all of the packages.  And there have been quite a few of them as we set up the apartment.    We are huge Overstock.com fans here.  The free shipping is key.

So since we have one large living area, we really want to try to divide the space into a “living room” and a “dining area.”  I spent quite a bit of time researching online and found this 100% wool rug (on Overstock) and Scott gave it his stamp of approval.  He generally lets me do most of the decorating, but wants to see and “approve” everything before we pull the trigger.

So here it is…I think it really warms up and fills the space nicely!  And I love the geometric pattern.

Here it is with the storage ottoman in place, which is how it usually looks.

Prince has given his full approval.  He can often find him in this Baloo-like position, happy as a clam.