Saturday, December 8, 2012


Remember how I was agonizing over what to do with the entry?  Agonize no more.  Meet Oslo:

We spent months going to Crate & Barrel and petting this Oslo Bar Cabinet.  The dimensions were pretty much spot on for what we were looking for and the closed storage was perfect.  This thing was never going to go on sale, but there was finally a Black Friday / Cyber Monday deal, plus we scored some free shipping thanks to the lovely saleslady (and a little bit playing we are young and poor but have expensive taste).

Oslo finally arrived this morning and we eagerly stuffed it with things we need to grab on the way out the door - umbrellas, gloves, sunglasses, etc. - plus stuff that just needs to live somewhere like batteries and my sewing kit.

Remember how it used to look like this?

I sold that table last weekend.  Craigslist tip: always post quality photos.  Even though it never looked like this in real life, these are some of the staged photos I posted:

Wanna know a secret?  I bought that table off of Craigslist 2 years ago for $65, and it was delivered to me.  I sold it last weekend for $100.  I think I actually could have gotten more, but was just happy to have it out of the way because our new friend was coming in.

Look how pretty now!

I borrowed the framed print from the dining nook (there's something else in the works for art there) and the horse was gifted by my mom.  Thanks Mommy!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

a christmas time of year

I gave in.  We have a real tree this year.

I will admit it looks nicer than last year's, although the headache factor of getting it all set up was much higher (needles everywhere, sawing off sappy branches, automatic water-er leaking on the floor, etc.)

But we had a lot of fun with DIY ornaments!  Pulling inspiration from Sherry at YHL, we grabbed some plain glass ornaments from Michael's plus glitter, feathers, paint, and ribbon.  I also made some origami stars.  Check it out!

We also grabbed some furry friends from Crate & Barrel to join in the fun:

Monday, November 26, 2012

london {photodiary}

I've finally sorted through pictures from London!  This is some blend of a photodiary and a (too detailed) account of what we did - maybe it will be interesting to you, but mostly it's so I don't forget what we did.  I hadn't been to London since a family trip around 1999, so it was certainly a treat to explore once again.  Overall it was wonderful.  I got rained on some and wasn't quite prepared for the cold, but loved it nonetheless. 

//Sunday - Tuesday
As I mentioned a few weeks back, I had a few days of work to put in and then had 2 days to play on my own while Adam finished up work stuff.  So for both of us, these days were work during the day + dinner and wandering at night.  

A certain favorite was Byron Hamburgers, recommended by my brother and his wifey, who used to live in London.

Saturday, November 3, 2012


We made it to Paris!  It's officially vacation for both of us, rather than being in work mode for most of London.

Currently sitting in the hotel room enjoying our view of the Eiffel, with some Rhone wine, a baguette, and brie - so delicious and inexpensive!  Good thing we don't have cardiovascular health concerns (although the wine is good for that!)

Time to wander soon.  More to come!

Monday, October 29, 2012


Hello from London!  I ended up coming a few days early because of Hurricane Sandy.  American Airlines was kind enough to offer a complimentary flight change to get me out of Boston a few days early, so I left Saturday evening rather than Tuesday.  I only made the call Sat afternoon, so I ended up having to pack frantically, didn't exactly sleep on the plane, and then spent an agonizing morning trying to stay awake and do work in the lobby of the Grosvenor House (a JW Marriott!) until our room was ready.  Turns out the Patriots were here too - as in, staying at the hotel - for their game at Wembley Stadium.  We didn't see them, but ran into lots of Pats fans.  Kinda felt like we were still in Boston.  

I'm in the room doing work today, feeling mostly recovered.  I popped out quickly to grab a snack and some wine (for later), and checked out the views along Park Lane.  It's nice out today!  Hopefully weather will cooperate this week, although I think it plans to rain. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

four eyes

In addition to the sheers and curtain rings, some new glasses were waiting for me when we returned from Barcelona a few weeks back.  Since I already have two pairs which I wear regularly, I didn't feel the need to get too spendy with new glasses, but had an allowance through vision insurance.  Free money?  Yes please.

So I decided to go with Warby Parker since they have frames + anti-reflective lenses for a whopping $95, plus some sweet deal of free shipping, free returns, and home try-on.  I had done home try-on a few months back but didn't loove anything.  I also checked some out in person when they had a corner in Stel's (which has since closed).  Then they came out with their fall collection and I pulled the trigger on the Linwood in striped chestnut.

Friday, October 19, 2012

bathroom art {updates}

Yes, I'm still struggling to get those last things done to call the bathroom facelift "complete".  But we finally have pretty stuff in frames hanging on the wall:

We have had these for months.  Finally in early September I took action and made some trusty catalog templates to test out different configurations (like we did with the tv).

Monday, October 8, 2012

patatas bravas + skirt steak {barcelona inspiration}

One of our favorite things from our Barcelona trip (which I will write about soon!) was the food.  We had tapas at several places, and an item we tried and loved multiple times was bravas.  While we had them in many formats, they were generally some form of potatoes (fries, tots, roasted) with a thick & spicy tomato sauce and an amazing garlic aioli dipping sauce.  Another favorite was a simple skirt steak, topped with essentially the same tomato + garlic aioli combo.  

So of course we
had to try to recreate this deliciousness.  

I was surprised at how amazing this was, even on our first try.  It was a little labor intensive for just one meal (yes, we ate it all in one sitting) but it was so worth it.  In order, here's what we did:

Friday, October 5, 2012

mini house


Mini House, designed by Swedish architect Jonas Wagell
(image 1: Andy Liffner, image 2: Lars Petter Pettersen)

This is mini-sized prefabricated house so cool!  I'm especially loving the horizontal slats and the generously-sized porch.  While I don't think it's a realistic primary residence for the majority of people due to size (hey, we just have too. much. stuff.) and durability, it's a really cool concept for a vacation getaway or a guest house. 

Even though we can't get it in the U.S., I think this is a great inspiration piece for how small spaces can be utilized.  Too bad I don't have a back yard.  Or an amazing lake.  I wonder how much it costs.  And I wish they had photos of the interior..

full article and more photos here

Monday, October 1, 2012

life lessons from gordon dean

  1. Never lose your capacity for enthusiasm.
  2. Never lose your capacity for indignation.
  3. Never judge people. Don’t type them too quickly. But in a pinch, never first assume that a man is bad; first assume that he is good and that, at worst, he is in the gray area between bad and good.
  4. Never be impressed by wealth alone or thrown by poverty.
  5. If you can’t be generous when it’s hard to be, you won’t be when it’s easy.
  6. The greatest builder of confidence is the ability to do something - almost anything - well.
  7. When confidence comes, then strive for humility; you aren’t as good as all that.
  8. The way to become truly useful is to seek the best that other brains have to offer. Use them to supplement your own, and be prepared to give credit to them when they have helped.
  9. The greatest tragedies in the world and personal events stem from misunderstandings. So communicate!
originally read here

Friday, September 28, 2012

bedroom happenings

We're back from our Barcelona / Sitges trip!  But I haven't gone through all the photos yet so that post will have to wait.  While the trip was amazing, I was really excited to come home.  And even more excited because I had packages waiting for me!  Hello my new friends:

Oh yes, it's time to stop neglecting the bedroom.  I've done almost nothing with the bedroom since moving in.  Sure, I slapped some paint on the walls and threw furniture in there, but for the most part I haven't really thought about flow or utility or how to maximize storage in the small space.  But one thing I did do was hang curtains.  And this is how it's looked for 2 years:

Yes, there are 2 floor lamps just sitting there taking up space.  Please ignore.  I'm trying to figure out what to do with lighting in here.

Friday, September 14, 2012


Happy weekend everyone!  

Someone got me sunflowers & rigorously cleaned the apartment.
I'm going to Spain on Monday.
My jaw is un-broken!
Tivo (Glee!)

Celebrating with a martini and sushi date night.  


Wednesday, September 12, 2012


We've added a few pasta dishes into regular rotation.  Both are super easy, super fast, and typically leave leftovers.  Both are also generally soft and squishy, which is important if you are having problems chewing.  Yes, that's me right now.  Ugh. 

Here are the quasi-recipes.  And as always, the ingredients can be found at your local beloved Trader Joe's.

//Capellini with Smoked Salmon, Spinach & Capers
The idea here is to cook up some pasta and then let the heat of the pasta do the rest of the work!  

Thursday, September 6, 2012


Even though I've been struggling to get projects done, we have made some progress!  Let's see, shall we?  As I mentioned last time, I embarked on repainting all the trim in the apartment.  In doing something like this, it was the natural opportunity to swap out old hardware.  Here's a glimpse at what our old hinges looked like:

Aren't you a gem.

Well now we have these instead:

Much better, yes?  And check out the shiny fresh paint job!  (Okay I have to admit there's one door / hinge combo left to do, but I'll get there soon!)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

project a.d.d.

I've had a lot of trouble focusing on completing projects recently.  The hallway bath is hovering at about 90% complete, but those last unfinished items are really lingering (we did get a trash can though!).  Meanwhile I started repainting all the doors and trim in the apartment, but only finished 2 of the 4 doors (including install of new non-gross hinges!) so the paint can is just sitting in the hall.  

Then about 3 weeks ago I had some oral surgery done, which really had me pooped.  So most home time was dedicated to sleeping and and lounging with bags of ice on my face.  Perhaps that's why I haven't gotten much done, at least in a physical sense.  However, I've done lots of thinking and researching, and there are a few projects bouncing around in my head lately.  

1// the kitchen
This isn't a new topic, but we've made some progress!  

I finally got blueprints from the building, which show that there isn't any major plumbing, HVAC, or electrical reason why I can't cut into that wall.  Yay!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

a love affair with {soy} chorizo

Our obsession with finding new culinary favorites has been fueled by eavesdropping at the Trader Joe's checkout line.  About a month ago we heard someone raving about TJ's soy chorizo and how it's soooo amazing, even to non-vegetarians.

So naturally we scooped it up.  But then got a little stuck on what to do with it.  We didn't want to encroach too much on burrito night territory, so we decided to stay away from tortillas, rice, salsa, and guac.  With a little inspiration from the interwebs, we came up with these two concoctions:

Soy Chorizo with Quinoa | Soy Chorizo Mac & Cheese

I wrote "recipes" too!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

kitchen inspiration {exhaust hood + open shelving}

I can barely call the hallway bathroom facelift "done" and I'm already back into planning mode for the kitchen - I can't help it!  Being realistic, I think a full kitchen renovation is at least a year away but I figure it's helpful to document things I like along the way.  Since I've yet to cave in to Pinterest, I will continue to save my thoughts here.  

I started playing around with potential looks & layouts via Ikea's kitchen planner.  The general location of the major appliances and the sink will probably remain the same, but the storage space could be reconfigured and maximized, and I'd really like to install a proper exhaust hood over the range rather than a venting microwave.  Here's the mockup so far:
Note: There are cabinets to the right, just hidden from this view.  And it wouldn't let me put shelving to the right of the hood because the space is too small, but I'd want something more custom-sized anyway!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

a bathroom facelift {part 4}

The final part! Well, at least for now. The hallway bathroom certainly isn't done, but all the heavy lifting is over. After putting some new bathroom accessories in place, cleaning and repairing the shower tile, and installing a new glass shower door, we ended up here: 

While I'm calling this the final part, there are a few things we still want to complete:
  1. Hang artwork in the big blank space over the toilet
  2. Buy a soap pump (yes I looked at your votes!)
  3. Find a new trash can 
  4. Buy matching hand towels, bath towels, and a bath mat
  5. Stain and seal the floor grout 
  6. Frame the mirror (maybe)
  7. Buy a new robe hook for the back of the door (maybe)
  8. Replace the shower valve (maybe)
But for now it's "done".  Picking up where we left off last time, here's how we got there!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

bulgogi burgers!

Over the past few months, we have been searching for some new culinary creations which better accommodate the summer heat.  One of our new summertime favorites is somewhat of a Korean/American fusion dish, inspired by Vietnamese sandwiches.  I introduce to you: the Bulgogi Burger!  

For those unfamiliar, bulgogi is a traditional Korean dish simply described as marinated beef.  We typically eat it with rice, kimchee, and other Korean goodies.  But in its reinvented form, we have made it into an Asian fusion burger, complete with with cucumber, cilantro, and a fried egg.

Here is a vague recipe if you wish to try it yourself:

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

a bathroom facelift {part 3}

Part 3!  We install a vanity top, a faucet, and redo some plumbing!  I am the most proud of this part so far because I thought we might have to give up and call a plumber.. but we didn't.  And it looks awesome.  And nothing leaks (!!!)

Here's where we end up:

Now let's see how we got there, yea?

Incase you missed it and want to catch up, you can find Parts 1 and 2 of the hallway bathroom facelift here and here.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

i need your help...

The shower door is installed!!

Before I get to talking about that, I have a much more pressing issue.  We been searching for accessories to complete the hallway bathroom. One topic of much debate has been a soap pump (I know, big issue).  We prefer foaming soap, but most options for foaming soap dispensers are the cheaper single-use type or other really clunky / awkward looking ones. I finally came across these gems on Amazon:

Soo cute!  (And the video review cracks me up!)  Now the question is, black or white??  The black one looks like a little penguin which I love, but the white one is cleaner looking and would be a little more subtle against the white counter top.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

a bathroom facelift {part 2}

Guess what?  I'm finally done my weekly trips to Ann Arbor!  Made the flight from DTW to BOS for the last time (for a while, at least) on Friday afternoon.  I was so excited to return home and relax for the rest of the day, but was met with an even bigger surprise - Adam had arranged to work from home so he was there to meet me.  This worked out really well too, since we had a large freight shipment coming in that day... the new shower door!  I won't get to that yet in this post, but coming soon.  

6// Painting the vanity

We decided to keep the old vanity base, but to spruce it up with a fresh coat of paint, some caulking to fill in cracks / seams, and new cabinet handles.  Here's what we were dealing with before:

Thursday, June 28, 2012

room & board in boston

So I guess it's true!  If you live in Back Bay, you may have been wondering what's going to fill the spaces formerly occupied by the Other Side Cafe, Island Hopper, that mattress store(?), etc.  I had heard rumors of it being Room & Board, but that they had pulled out of the deal.  Looks like it's back on for 2013.

While I'll miss having some of those local dining spots nearby, especially Other Side, this could be fun from an inspiration and home improvement perspective! (West Elm is a bit of a walk right now.. possibly bad news for my wallet haha)

I wonder how they will do though.  And I kinda wish it were Target instead.  I'll remain hopeful for the space formerly occupied by Best Buy / Virgin.