Holiday Treats

Since I can remember, my favorite thing to do when opening Christmas gifts, is try to wear them or use them. As a little kid I would immediately put on a new sweater, ski goggles, Rollerblades, or even ski boots and wear them nonstop for the next day or week or more. I'm sure it was a little ridiculous, but still fun for me. And probably a little fun for the gift giver...

As a grownup, it's really no different. This year for Christmas, I got a super awesome pair of Hunter boots from my hubby....
and a fantastic gift from our family across the pond. This little garlic shredder works really well with mashed potatoes. You can't really see in the picture, but this is a handmade, ceramic dish that has all these little spikes in the middle of it. You rub a garlic clove across the plate and Voila! instant mashed/shredded garlic. I love kitchen gadgets! Especially cool ones invented by the Brits.



The bathroom has been gutted, re-plumbed, re-wired, re-framed, and re-configured. The sheetrock has been hung and the tile is now complete. And now, for the most exciting part.....
...We can officially shower and go to the bathroom in our new bathroom!

I really wanted to write that previous sentence in all caps, mostly because I'm beyond thrilled that I don't have to pee in a bucket in the basement anymore!

Tile Happy

I love this tile! It might seem weird that I would get excited by super plain white tile all over the bathroom. But did you see what we lived with before? It wasn't even real tile IT WAS PLASTIC!
I have to admit that while this project has taken longer than I expected (because obviously my expectations were wacked!), it's a lot of fun to watch the progress and see all the decisions, we took months to make, take effect.

Again, I love this tile!

*We got everything from Dal Tile. We picked a gray grout for the floors (because white is impossible to keep clean). We did pick white grout for the shower tile area, mostly because I think that area is easier to clean.


Bathroom - Part 1

These are all pictures taken while I was not home - which makes me really glad that I decided to go somewhere else during the demo process. It's not that I didn't want to help, I really did. But luckily we both know ourselves well enough to know that there's only one boss allowed in demo.

I know that I've stated this too many times, but that really was a DISGUSTING bathroom. I'm very glad to see it go.


An Anniversary

We are in the midst of the bathroom remodel this September 11th. It's an anniversary that feels very strange to me because of how different my life is from 10 years ago.

My Dad was passing through town this weekend and when he turned on the television, I was like a chicken after dark. I couldn't move. I just stood in front of the TV while MSNBC re-aired the live coverage of that day. I stood frozen for about 30 minutes, until I realized that I had never seen what NBC, or any network, aired that day.

It's weird to write about it - like I was affected. I wasn't in that way. I didn't lose anyone dear to me (though I knew lots of people who did). But I lived there. It was my city - and I loved it. I was working for a major cable news network during that time and I remember not having a normal life after 9/11. I also remember my family being incredibly concerned that I was 3000 miles away and they couldn't protect me. I remember missing my best friend's wedding (she got married on September 15th - on the other side of the country a few hours after they lifted the NY airports ground stop). I remember having anxiety attacks for the first time in my life.

There were a lot of bad things that happened around that time - but there were also some good things.

I saw a side of New Yorkers that I never thought I'd see, I made some of the most important decisions of my life, and I made my closest friends.

Today was a very unexpected reflection. I often think about that time in my life - but rarely all at once - and the thoughts never freeze me in my tracks. I talked to my dad about my life during that time, what I was thinking and feeling and my experience. I don't think he'd really ever heard my stories before. He's glad I'm home now - and I am too.

In the Midst of a Remodel

When I came home from my trip (aka escaping the bathroom remodel) I sort of thought that the project would be mostly done. I mean, I was gone for like six days.

*For those of you who have gone through an actual bathroom remodel (rip it all out down to studs, alter plumbing layout, and build form scratch), you can imagine how humored hubby was when I said, "There's no toilet yet?"
I'm not sure what I was thinking when I imagined that all of this work could be finished in a weeks time. Without question, I was elated to have the old dingy, smelly pink bathroom gone, but this is what I came home to. Writing this makes me feel like a brat - but we only had one bathroom, there was NO backup. I'm really not that high maintenance!

Fortunately, our saintly neighbors all offered to let us use their facilities when necessary - and one set of neighbors even magically timed a vacation during the second week of the remodel. I honestly don't know what I would have done without their shower (and other) at least once a day for a week. I mean, it really is easier for boys.


Bye-bye Bathroom

I can't believe I waited this long to post a goodbye bathroom story. Without delaying this any further, let me lay it all out for you.

It's the night before it all gets torn out and I'm sitting on the couch with my hubby (and the cat) watching bad TV. Meanwhile, there's a new bathtub sitting under a tarp in the driveway and a toilet, pedestal sink, and all sorts of other bathroom-type stuff down in the basement. Hubby's got stacks of plans, schedules and contracts all over the kitchen table and he's ready for demo.

There's going to be a lot going on pretty soon and that bathroom is small, so in the midst of hubby's planning and organizing I made an executive decision and opted to leave town during the majority of the demo and remodel. Yup, you read it here, I'm not participating. I'm leaving all the decisions up to my architect/contractor. I trust him because he's cute.

Don't get me wrong, I got the tile and toilet I wanted and I still get to pick the paint color - but he gets to do everything else. And I think he likes it better that way.

Right now this whole thing seems very anti-climatic. Like I'm going to leave a pink plastic tiled bathroom and come back nine days later to a shiny new bathroom. If I were only that lucky!
Fast-forward - the next morning I was all packed in the rental car. Six days away from home/remodel/demo. Yay for me!


Bathroom Countdown

The bathroom countdown has begun! It probably seems a little silly to get so excited about a cardboard box. But this really isn't just any cardboard box. It's a box that represents the start of the biggest project we've tackled so far. It's just a little medicine cabinet - but it's the beginning of the-only-bathroom-in-our-house-that's-about-to-get-remodeled project. Gulp!
And the cabinet inside looks really cool.


Happy Belated Birthday To Me

I'm not great at surprises (meaning it's hard to get them by me). So when I got a box in the mail a month after my birthday I was confused. Turns out my favorite hubby got all sneaky and surprised me with a new Le Creuset pan. Anyone who says cookware is not romantic has never cooked with these non-stick cast iron beauties.


Dog Days of Summer

Just a few pictures to show you how much fun the dog has been having at our house this summer. It's like summer camp in Seattle. He gets to go on long Wallingford walks, play and swim with Chloe and Leo next door, and run around with Shiloh from across the street (or let her run circles around him). He's even made an unlikely cuddle buddy.


Fathers Day

Twice this year we've convinced our parents to volunteer themselves to doing yardwork. Do I sound like a horrible person if I say they worked on Mother's Day and Father's Day? Somehow we convinced them that they should be doing yardwork instead of relaxing and letting us pamper them.

To be fair, I did ask my dad to bring his rototiller when he visited over the weekend, but I'm pretty sure that he volunteered to do the tilling. I think he wanted to make sure we knew how it worked.

For us, the purpose for the rototilling was really just an attempt to get rid of weeds. There's a back section of our yard that we just can't manage. I don't know how so many weeds propegate there - they just do. I don't know why I thought loosening and blending the dirt around the weeds would make them go away. Have I mentioned I'm new at this gardening thing?

It was sort of a wet and gloomy weekend, but we made the most of it by having a Father's Day picnic inside with my sister and her family, who had also come to visit. Dad managed to get a small section of the yard tilled in a couple of hours and we all had an opportunity to get a little muddy.
While Dad was tilling, hubby dug up the massive tree root left by the cherry tree we'd had cut down in the spring. Ella watched for a bit while we all worked in the rain, then decided she wanted to get in on the fun.

Our goal is to flatten out the back section of the yard, re-seed, and put in some nice border plants. At some point we'll have a chicken coop and a stone patio area with a fire pit. This all seems like such a slow process, but someday it will be a nice little oasis.



I'm not trying to get all motivational poster on anyone, but as I was trying to figure out how to get caught up on old blog posts, I realized there's a fine line between a being able to juggle a lot and total chaos. It's all about balance.

I'm currently trying to fight my way out of the land of chaos. I know people have methods of keeping everything in life nicely organized - but these days I can't figure out how to do it myself. I feel bad even complaining, but with new work projects, existing house projects, and an attempt at a social life, this once overly organized human has turned into a scatter-brained zombie. I don't remember where I've put something I moved 10 minutes ago.

I started this post in April (It's almost November). Sad, I know. My goal is to take 30 minutes each day, for 30 days to get completely caught up on my posts. Fingers crossed...



I love getting together with hubby's Minnesota friends. Whether it's a Tuesday night out in Minneapolis with grad school buddies or an impromptu visit with high school friends passing through Seattle - I'm constantly inspired by how creative and interesting the group always is.

Don't get me wrong, my friends are pretty rad, but the friends I've gained because I got lucky and met a charmingly handsome down-to-earth dude from Minnesota, it's like I hit the friend jackpot.

Some background. Last weekend, Sully, who lives in San Francisco was in town for a quick visit. Sully, Cramer (who lives in Seattle), Lindsay and hubby are all high school friends. Lindsay and her husband Bob live in Port Townsend. For living as close as we do, we don't see them as much as we should.

The night of the Super Moon, Sully, Cramer, hubby and I took the ferry over to Bainbridge Island and met Bob and Lindsay at the Harbor Public House. It was such a great night. Lindsay and Bob talked about their latest adventure in PT which includes going 'off the grid'. People say this, but these guys mean business. Their blogs chronicle their life and adventures, including renovating vintage travel trailers, making bagels, and living off the land. They make everything look fun and easy!

We spent the evening sharing stories, catching up, and laughing lots. It was a great night with good friends, but one of the best parts of the evening was at the end, as Bob and Lindsay loaded us in their car for a ride back to the Ferry landing, Bob handed us a bag of his famous bagels. They are SO good, I'm half tempted to move to Port Townsend just to have these once a week!


Garden: Year Two

It's year two of the garden and I don't feel any more experienced this year than last. I probably should have tended to my dirt a little better, added some amendments or compost, and stuff.

Seattle Tilth has a few yearly sales of veggie and edible plant starts. I have found that starts are SO much easier than trying to grow seeds (especially considering how little warmth and sunshine we actually get here in Seattle). I went to this year's early sale with my friend Whitney. I'm pretty sure we planted our lettuce and other starts at the same time, but Whitney's lettuce grew like GANGBUSTERS and mine looked like it was shrinking! I've learned my lesson - next year I'm using a cloche.

I don't mean to make it sound like the entire garden was a bust. A couple of things have grown really well. I planted garlic in October and kiwi vines last summer and they both are looking great. Apparently they like the cold Spring.

After this year's crop is done I'll really need to do some research on soil amendments and how to help things grow a little better next year. I picked up a great Tilth book that tells me what do to every week throughout the year. My dad told me to buy it and it's awesome! Speaking of Tilth, one of my favorite gardening websites, DigginFood, is by a Tilth volunteer and master gardener, Willie Galloway. I learned about Willi and her blog listening to KUOWs Greenday. There are several gardening experts on Greenday - but there's something about Willie that makes me feel like gardening is cool. Even though this year's garden didn't start out spectacular, I'm still going to keep trying. Growing your own food is pretty cool and I can't wait to get better at it!


Happy Anniversary, House

Last year when I posted a 'Happy Anniversary, House' entry, it was complete with all the things we had done in our first year. This year, I'm too tired to list. It feels like we've done more in year 2, but it could just be that we're both working lots and squeezing house stuff in where we can. I can promise you that we're not slowing down, we're just juggling more.

When we first started this project, I thought to myself, "I'm totally up for this challenge". In general I am, but there are days when I just want to come home to a pretty little home wrapped up in a bow with no gaping walls with visible insulation and wiring, no cob-webby basement, no ripped up yard, no plastic bathroom tile, no giant water sucking toilet, no missing quarter round and...(well, you get the picture). But then I realize how much I love this house in spite of how hard it seems on those days.

This might sound weird, but I feel like our home is so much more than a place where we eat and sleep. It's where we're building our life and where our friends and family come to eat, hang out, and occasionally sleep. It's where we had our first garden, our first Christmas tree, and our first basement flood. It's where we've fostered pets and where we'll eventually have our children and chickens!

We knew walking into this place that it would be a 'blood, sweat, and tears' sort of project - but you can never predict how much you'll get attached.

In spite of documenting the first two years of this remodel project, I feel like it's all a blur. I can barely remember how bad the walls looked when we first moved in or how grimy the kitchen and bathrooms were. Sometimes I still get a faint whiff of old house smell and I live with the constant reminder of what the bathroom looked like. (there are plans in the works - more to come on that). It could all feel like a blur because I started writing this post in May and it's almost August (and the last 3 months have been nuts). But I just took a look back at the calendar to see what we were doing to help celebrate the anniversary of living here - and I'm happy to report that we had friends over to celebrate a birthday - with a cake from the bakery down the street (wink, wink), I did a day's worth of yard weeding, and we planned a date night. Not bad for a weekend's work. I wish they were all that easy.


Garden Inspiration

I got so much inspiration at the Garden Show this year. Last year hubby and I tried to go after work and it felt rushed and overwhelming. So this year I went on Saturday afternoon and spent several hours wandering around by myself. I saw a lot of great stuff and got some good ideas for our yard and garden. I love the tool gardening shed and the great ideas for outdoor seating. Seattle never seems to get that hot, but I'm hoping this summer gives us an opportunity for some hot nights sipping iced beverages out on the patio.


Lipstick on a Pig

I don't like to admit defeat, but after a weekend trying to make the bathroom more appealing, I have officially given up. I thought if I spent some time painting the walls and cabinet in our Pepto pink bathroom, I could make it through another few months putting up with my least favorite space in our house. It's hard to appreciate how awesomely uncool this bathroom is until you've seen it up close. I know everyone says it's not as bad as I make it out to be. I can't pinpoint why I hate it so much. It's probably the pink plastic tiles that look like they were grouted with brown gum. And the mauve and rose sticky tile/linoleum that kind of covers the floor. And the very pale pink aged paint that covers the walls, ceiling, and door. I know, it could be worse. A lot worse. I'm happy that the shower is a fiberglass insert and not tile that's been neglected for 50 years. And I'm happy that the sink and toilet work. I've been pretty nostalgic for a lot of this house, wanting to make sure we don't tear out too many walls or ruin the integrity of the original plan. But I have NO nostalgia for this bathroom. It must have been remodeled in the 60's, a decade that I don't love, because there isn't anything in this room that I want to save. My weekend project was to sand and paint the large vanity cabinet glossy white and paint the ceiling and walls a light grey that might offset the pink tile and look nice(r). Sadly, when all my work was done, I didn't feel any better about the bathroom. So instead of spending time trying to cover up what's ugly, I'm going to focus my energy on looking for new tile, a pedestal sink, light fixtures, and a toilet that doesn't sound like it's taking half of Lake Union when flushed.


Belated Valentine

I bought two Adam Turman prints in February (I'm posting this in May) as a Valentine gift for hubby. I finally got around to framing the first of the prints this last weekend. I love Adam's art! The coolest part about buying his prints is that he and hubby grew up down the street from each other and went to school together near Minneapolis. Most of Adam's prints are of cool Minneapolis landmarks - but this is part of a travelling series and a very unique image of the Space Needle.