Crusts and all

Morning Toast

This is not a recipe. This isn’t even that interesting, it’s just a shout-out to what has become my favorite breakfast these days.

At our house, weekend breakfasts are reserved for pancakes, waffles, or homemade biscuits. In other words, weekends are for hearty, complex menus that draw-out the breakfast process, whereas weekdays are all about simplicity. Granola, oatmeal, or my most favorite, toast. While buttermilk pancakes and made-from-scratch biscuits will always be worth the extra effort, I could never say that I like them more than my toast, especially when the bread is fresh from a local bakery and served with a poached egg or fresh jam spread over the top. Continue Reading →

The Stairwell – Before & After

Hallway Before 2

It’s been a while since I posted any updates on our home renovation, which is just silly, since we have had some major changes. Probably none are more noticeable than this stairwell, and the hallways connecting to it. See that wallpaper? That has been in this house my entire life. All 29 years of it. This wallpaper has been the defining aspect of my Grandmother’s house, which in essence, meant this house has never felt like mine as long as it’s been up. While it was time for it to go, our home will now be lacking its signature conversation piece, because EVERYONE had an opinion of it. Some loved it and positively begged us to keep it up, while others could could barely stand to look at it. I’ve learned that this is how a lot of decor works, which is why you should never worry about what other people think – someone will always hate it, so just worry about yourself.

Hallway Before

Hallway Before 3

The original goal was for us remove the carpet & wallpaper, then paint from floor to ceiling and refinish the hardwood floors hiding underneath – all by ourselves. This will now be known as the great marital experiment, “let’s really see how close we can get to killing each other before finally stepping over the edge.” Our first attempt at taking down the wallpaper (a whole two hours) marked the moment that I firmly declared that this DIY stuff was for the birds and I would be happier taking a second job at McDonald’s to pay for someone to do the work rather than continue myself. I later stated that I would also be happy to pay for someone to paint rather than have Chase continue it, because let’s just say, he is not my favorite person when he’s been painting all day. Continue Reading →

Embracing the imperfection

If there is anything I’m tired of hearing myself say, it’s “Sorry I haven’t called/texted/remembered your birthday/been a decent friend, I’ve just been really busy.” Which is unfortunate, since it has become my personal mantra the last few months. I find myself constantly looking forward to “next week” like a beacon of hope, as though all I need to do is get through to the next few days and then I’ll have time to get organized/make a meal plan/return phone calls/write blog posts/look like I have my shit together. I have been waiting on this magical “next week” is since last fall, and it has stood me up like a bad date.

This video may have come at the perfect time, and made me realize that instead of resisting the constant, unending flow of life, perhaps it’s time I started to embrace it. I may never be the person who keeps her kitchen spotlessly clean at all times, or has all her meals planned out weeks in advance with a corresponding grocery list, and I am almost certainly going to be late with a few more birthday gifts. But maybe it’s in the pursuit of this unattainable goals that I can find my best self, even if it is less than perfect. And that may be just fine after all.

I Am Not Hibernating

Conversation at home this morning:

Me: This shirt has gotten really tight.

Chase: You’re probably putting on some hibernation weight.

Me: It’s too early in the morning to be mean.

Chase: No really, we all put on some extra weight to get through the winter.

Me: Ummm…I think that you’re referring to bears.

Chase: Well, we’re not that far from bears.

Me: Actually, I think people are pretty fucking far from bears.

Chase: I’m like a bear.

Me: Oh really? Explain to me what you have in common with a bear.

Chase: We both have hairy chests.

Me: …I can’t tell if just won or lost this argument.

Look Who’s Coming to Judge Us

Living in a house that is constantly under some form of renovation has provided me an all new set of anxieties when company comes to visit. In a normal, fully furnished, painted and plastered home, the pre-company To Do List is fairly short:

1) Vacuum carpet
2) Put clean sheets on guest bed
3) Buy milk

When people come to visit your home that is being remodeled, there are a few additions to this list:

1) Go into rooms you haven’t looked at in 4 months and desperately try to air out the musty smell.
2) Decide if you’re going to organize that pile of junk sitting in the living room, or simply close the door and tell guests it’s only a linen closet.
3) Paint a room. Any room. Just do something that makes it look like you’ve been doing work and haven’t become entirely complacent.

There is also an unique phenomenon that happens with 100% of house guests that are visiting a home being remodeled: they feel it is their right, no, their duty, to tell you exactly what should be changed in every single room. Think about it, when was the last time you went to a friend’s house and proceeded to list off everything you would change about their furniture, flooring, decor, etc? At least, when was the last time you did this and weren’t immediately escorted off the property? Chase and I, on the other hand, live in a world where before a guest has even put both feet inside the threshold, they have begun listing off their likes and dislikes. AND – we simply accept this.

To be fair, many of our guests’ suggestions have been instrumental in some of our bigger renovating decisions, and most have lifted a hammer or paintbrush while staying with us, so I suppose that enduring some opinions for a few minutes is worth the free labor. But I do fantasize about one day reaching a point in our re-decorating that I can hang a friendly sign outside the door reminding anyone who steps through, “No unsolicited opinions necessary. Please and thank you.”

Don’t trust me with your plants

My friends got together and sent me this plant when my mother passed away. It is perhaps the most beautiful piece of foliage that has ever been given to me, and I am  consumed with fear of killing it. Because really, I should not be trusted with plants. My mother was an extraordinary green thumb, but that is not a trait she passed to me. The annoying habit of mouthing my words when I’m lost in thought? Yeah, I got that one, but plants wither at the mere sight of me.

When this first arrived, I thought it was absolutely lovely and then proceeded to not water it or put it in sunlight for about 2 weeks. Because grieving or not, I just don’t ever think about those kinds of things, until the leaves turn a frightening shade of yellow. So, I dumped water on the plant and set it on my deck hoping and praying it will be healed by the sun. At least this way if it dies, I can just blame it on Mother Nature instead. I mean, she can be kind of a bitch.

Bad decisions often lead to a rash

In addition to dealing with the aftermath of losing my mother and trying to catch up on work,  I spent the last couple of weeks fending off an itchy rash that managed to be more distracting than anything else combined. See, I got poison ivy while weeding my garden in shorts and a tank top, and while the excuse of, “I’m grieving,” has been getting me a lot of perks and out of a lot of social requirements, poisin ivy was the first thing to basically say, “f*ck you and your grief, I’m still gonna give you a rash.” Leave it to those oily green leaves to teach me that yes, you can be grieving, but you still need to act like a normal human being and make wise decisions. Poison ivy doesn’t give a shit about your personal problems, so put some damn pants on.

Side note – the other day I actually texted Chase that I wish someone would take away my period cramps and poison ivy rash. Now really, don’t you wish your girlfriend was hot like me?

Well, the little red demon bumps on my arms and legs have finally started to retreat, which means I can concentrate on other things in my life, like answering emails, mopping my floors or willfully ignoring all those thank-you cards that I should be writing. I desperately need to get back into my kitchen and work on new recipes, since I know that Chase is tired of eating grilled cheese and omelets 3 meals a day, and I’ve got some renovation updates to share here.

I’ll be back soon, thanks for reading. xoxo

We are not that couple

When we first moved into this house, our days were filled with constant discussion of all the changes we were envisioning. We walked through each room and commented on what colors we would paint, where we would replace carpet with hardwood, if they would become offices or bedrooms, etc. After a few months of living through the hard work and stress that such transformations take, those discussions have tapered off. I’ve realized that the only way we’re making it out of this intact is to focus on one project at a time. Now we don’t mention installing blinds unless the sun is actually in our eyes. Anything that isn’t an immediate concern is tuned out completely.

I had envisioned myself posting lots of cute tutorials on home improvement, documenting all the work that Chase and I were putting into the house and sharing our knowledge. You know, like this couple. I have learned that there are some people that can take on home improvement projects and make them seem easy, even fun. We are not that couple. The truth is that we daily feel like we’re just keeping our heads above water, and the thought of trying to take artful photos seems completely out of reach, as does writing an intelligent post on our thought process. After a week of stress and arguments, the last thing I want to do is re-live how many Youtube videos and conflicting opinions we consulted on how to stain our concrete floor before I finally just told Chase that I would do whatever he felt was best and tried to take my hands off it.

Remodeling has created a cyclical pattern in our relationship. We begin by looking ahead to the next project and excitedly talk about how great it will look. We are naively optimistic on the amount of work and money our vision will require. When it comes time to make choices we begin to bicker and try to force the final decision on each other since neither of us wants to be the one taking blame if something goes wrong, or if our money is wasted. It’s exhausting, not just physically but emotionally.

At some point…we hit a breakthrough. Whether it’s because things actually start to work out the way we hoped, or because we finally accept that it doesn’t matter whether or not that paint color is the exact shade we envisioned, there is always a moment of relief when we let out the breath we realize we’ve been holding the entire time. And we remember that together we’re building a home, our home, a forever place, and it really is going to be amazing.

Thanks for reading. xoxo

Someone else could say this better

If I was a more poetic writer I would make an artful comparison of the sharp knives next to the soft flowers. Maybe I would compare them to the difficulties we’ve faced in this move and the joys it has brought us. But I am not one of those writers. Instead, I’m going to tell you why this picture makes me happy:

1) My knives, which have been sitting on a towel on our counter with no place to go, are finally in their own little spot. Organization, people! This is what I live for.

2) I finally have been able to get my head above water long enough to do something trivial, like put those flowers into cute little bottles. I mean, they’re just going to die in a week and I’ll have to do this all over again, but adding that little task to my list is no longer enough to induce anxiety attacks. This is progress. And it only took five months.

What lies beneath (mostly carpet glue)

Well, we’ve moved on from the kitchen and are now focusing all of our energy here, which we’re hoping to make our entertainment room. When we moved in this room had a pale pink carpet with a tile entryway. We ripped both of them up and have been prepping the concrete floor underneath in hopes of staining it. I say, “we” but really mean, “only Chase,” who has spent the better part of the last three weeks chipping tile, grinding off carpet glue and patching holes in the floor. As a result, I have conceded that for the duration of football season he gets first pick of using the room. The Real Housewives and I will have to wait.

Chase and I have fallen into a rhythm for dealing with renovation issues as they come up. He hits a snag in our plan, tells me about it, and we proceed to yell at each other because we don’t know what we’re doing and oh my god can this just be over already?? Then we calm down, apologize, and like rational adults, Google the answer.