Thursday, May 31, 2007

Too Old for Forever?

I had a client dinner tonight at a local mall. Since I was able to expense the mileage to the mall, I figured I would run some errands while I was there. Yes, I'm just that cheap and gas is just that expensive lately. Plus, it's a environment thing. Why make two trips?

Anyway, I returned some stuff at Macy's and while there saw a darling little smocked top I just had to have. Unfortunately, it was $50 and I knew it would only be worn once or twice this summer. I don't think smocked embroidered tops would work too well at the office. I managed to get that top back on the hanger with just a few tears. Then through my sadness a veil lifted and I realized Forever 21 would have a similar top for half the price. Thank goodness for the retro trend going on right now! So off I went to teeny bopper land, where I got this shirt and found something remarkably like the other one. Here's the thing though, I'm way closer to Forever 31 than 21 and I don't know how appropriate it is for me to shop at this store (especially after a business meeting).

Also, I'm a little concerned that this is their marketing:

I'm not sure if you can read the text, but it talks about the heritage of the clothes being from 1981. Uh, I was 4 then and wearing cute little smocked tops...guess my tastes haven't matured that much.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

More Pictures

This is a view of the area above Prada's food bowl (and also one of her favorite windows). You can see we have started ripping out the tile. This was something I was really excited to do, but I have to see it wasn't as fun as I thought. We have a lot of tile to rip out still if anyone would like to get some aggression out.
Upside down grape cluster knob (just turn your head to see it). This is fitting that the picture is crooked, because the screws that came with the knob are a little too long. This makes the cluster wobble a little and sometimes it is upside down. These are so cute I just can't stand it.
And the plain knobs for the rest of the kitchen....they're nice too.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Monday, May 28, 2007

The end of DIY Diary

Day 3.8
Well, the kitchen is not so much finished, but I thought I would end the diary here. We at least have a really good idea of what the finished project will look like. Some cabinet doors are hung and I just put the hardware in them. It looks frickin awesome! I picked plain nickel (nickel, I think, kind of a dirty looking stainless steel color) coated knobs and kind of funky drawer pulls (not installed yet due to a very sleepy me painting the second coat of the drawers with trim color rather than cabinet color) and two fun grape cluster knobs for the hardware. The hinges we bought are modern minimalistic which is making for a fun juxtaposition with the green cabinets and red walls combination which is feeling retro.

Thanks for sticking with me through our weekend renovation project. I'm really not sure how those people on Trading Spaces did it! In the next several months, watch for new counter tops, tile back splash, floors and appliances. I'll post pictures soon!

DIY Diary

Day 3.5
The second coat worked! We both really like the red color. It really brightens up the kitchen and makes it seem exponentially homier. It seems way more us. We are now beginning to hang the cabinet doors with the new hinges. The first door took 45 minutes to get on, the second took 20 so I am hoping the system we developed works and the rest go up fairly quickly.

DIY Diary

Day 3
I'm about to don my painting clothes for the third (and hopefully last day) of painting. I'm still very worried about the evenness of the peony red on the plaster walls, but both Chris and my brother think it will even out. If it does even out, the finished product is going to look great. I'm really happy with how I think it is going to look. Just a little more work to get to that point.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

DIY Diary

Day 2.85
Otherwise known as two mojitos in and freak-out time. We like the color of the peony red, but it looks AWFUL on the walls. Our walls are plaster and have a circular texture pattern to them. The paint, being a bright hue isn't holding true against the surface and there are shadows everywhere. In one place there is a strange amoeba paint outline. My theory is that each time we accidentally go over one painted area it is making an unintentional second coat. We aren't the best painters, so in some spots we have about six coats all in the "first coat" or what should be the first coat. Chris thinks that the true "second coat" will take care of all the shadows and things will even out. I hope he's right because at this point it looks like we will be using the second can of primer we thought we could return to cover up the peony red.

DIY Diary

Day 2.5
The late start this morning has gotten us behind schedule. Plus today we're way more tired than yesterday and truthfully the fun of painting has worn off and now it is drudgery. We've completed the second coat on the cabinet infrastructure. Chris is now beginning the trim work of the walls. I'm painting the backsides of the cabinets. This is going more slowly than anticipated because I can't use the backyard due to rainy weather. Also, I'm being pretty careful with the cabinet doors since this is the main part of what we'll see everyday. I'm still really worried about the peony red color on the walls. My brother is coming over later tonight to offer his opinion on the color choices. At this point, I'm hoping it all looks really good because I don't want to spend another weekend painting. I just made mojitos as a pick-me-up. Yummy, but we can't have too many since painting is detail work.

DIY Diary

Day 2
We didn't wake up until 10:30 this morning. Painting is tiring. I went to Starbucks and just got back. We were planning on getting edging done this morning, but that isn't going to happen now. We are heading to my parent's for a wine brunch. It will be nice to take a break from our kitchen even if it is only for a little bit. Then we can come back this afternoon ready to tackle the rest of the project.

DIY Diary

Too late on Saturday

Chris is cleaning up now, but we have completed the second coat of the trim. Our house was built in 1920, it is really hard to get trim that has been painted numerous times since then to look really good. We did our best, and I think it turned out pretty well.

Prada has been very leery of this whole painting process. To begin with the moving everything out of kitchen seemed to remind her of moving locations. She doesn't like to move and has spent a week in a closet both times. After I reassured her we were staying place, she was bit better. However, she doesn't like the bright painting lights or the fumes. All day, we've been telling her it is okay. She didn't choose to believe us until late tonight when she finally came into the kitchen and jumped on a window sill...that had just been freshly painted. Not liking the feeling of the wet paint on her paws, she froze for a second so I had time to grab before. I tried to get most of the paint off her paws before she tracked it all over the house. Poor kitty, her house is in disarray, it smells and now she has green paws.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Day 1.95
Real progress has been made in the last couple of hours (plus dinner has been had). As an instant gratification type gal, I like painting much more when there is color involved. The white primer just wasn't cutting it for me. The fiddlehead green color is now up on the cabinet infrastructure. The cabinet doors are in the garage. Some of them have been painted but there is only so much drying space. The green is pretty intense. It is really pretty, but as always, looks way different than on the swatch. We have a lot of cabinets so the fiddlehead is rather prominent. It definitely lightens the kitchen up - it was really dark before. I'm still worried about the peony red. Chris won't let me do a wall of this (he wants to do a second coat of the trim first), so it is really difficult to get an idea of how this color will look when there is a lot of it. Too late to turn back now!
Day 1.80

Cabinets are drying in the backyard and trim just isn't my thing, so here is a quick note on the colors. My brother (whose condo is purple and teal) says not to be afraid of color in decorating. This time, we showing little fear. The peony red shade chosen for the walls is more of a poppy red. Sorry, Martha Stewart, but I think you missed the mark on naming this color. Last night at Lowe's I was beginning to get worried because the beautiful deep red shade on the swatch we had been looking at in our kitchen for the past couple of weeks suddenly looked a putrid orangey color. I just slapped some on the wall and it is a little more orange than expected, but we like it. Haven't yet seen it against the fiddlehead green of the cabinets yet. Don't be afraid of color, indeed.
Day 1.75
Now might be a good time to relay my past painting experiences. In high school, I painted my bedroom (very) bright yellow. My mom and I couldn't get close to the ceiling so we went and bought a cheery wallpaper border. It was 1991 and this was acceptable. A few years later I painted a bedroom in an apartment. I picked baby blue. It was pretty, but the paint job was terrible. For the duration of living there, overnight guests would inevitably asked if I painted it all by myself. Yep, I did and it took an hour and 20 minutes. The apartment after that I had learned my lesson. No more painting, but I was craving solution was to paint random squares and stripes across the living area of the place. The measuring wasn't so perfect so some of the squares were more oddly geometric rather than strictly square. I told people the stripes were meant to be organic and pushed a table in front of the more crooked sections. I loved this paint job, it was totally me and only took 30 minutes.

So this whole paint the kitchen, cabinets and trim has taken me by surprise. We've been working since yesterday after work and are not at all close to being finished. I'm still priming cabinet doors in the backyard while Chris has started on the trim. It's going to be a long night. There is talk (started by me) of hitting Vaquero's for dinner. I think we could both use a drink and some yummy Mexican food.

DIY Diary

Day 1.5
I'm sitting here covered in paint flecks, I have never been the world's most careful painter. It's a good thing we are painting first and going to be trashing the rest of the kitchen eventually. I don't have to be careful of floors, back splash, appliances or counter tops because they are going to go. I'm supposed to be charging the iPod, but instead thought I create a record of our progress.

Last night we cleaned the cabinets and removed the hardware. We also moved everything out of the kitchen. We went to Lowe's and spent $410 on paint, supplies and new hardware of the cabinets. The paint colors will be peony red, seedling green and one other shade of green I can't remember right now.

So far we have almost completed priming everything this morning...when I suggested we paint the kitchen and cabinets, I wasn't expecting quite as much work as it has turned out to be. The kitchen REALLY needed a good updating though since the everything is circa 1982 and I'm just not that into yellow and ugly wood.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Ugh, What?

I'm only blogging at the moment to waste some time because I have turned into a geek thanks to LOST. You see, right now, Lostpedia has a problem. Satellites must be blocked from a distress signal from a French lady. Actually, all the other geeks like me are probably flooding the page wanting to know WTF is going on. Seriously though, a flash forward to a sick, pathetic Jack and a Kate with her act together? Walt coming back (taking the form of Jacob)? Rescue right around the corner? Penny not sending the boat? And poor, poor Charlie.

I don't think I can wait 8 months for my questions to be least I'll be married by then.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Creepy Crawlies

We were only away from the yard for about 5 days, but in the spring that time is momentous. When I left, my herb garden was nice and orderly. The lettuce bed had two rows of well-established teen aged greens with another three rows of baby greens close behind. The vegetable beds where I had just planted fennel, peppers and cucumbers were free of weeds waiting for the seedlings to appear. What the hell happened!? I returned to some type of vine like weed that seems to be winning over the lettuce and herbs. It's a smart devilish weed who is wrapping itself in with the plants I want to keep, making removal very difficult. I got most of it out, but not all. The vegetable garden decided to also invite the weeds back in. This is a little more difficult, because I have never planted fennel before. I'm hoping fennel seedlings look like grass because I left a bunch of that there. The cucumber seedlings though are doing great. They have the benefit on being planted on a mound so I'm fairly certain it really will be a cucumber plant before too long. All of this weeding took place right before dusk so I am now swelling up with several mosquito bites on my legs. Please excuse the slapping sound you might be hearing. It's just me hitting myself repeatedly.

I also returned to suspicious holes in the lettuce. Last summer, Chris and I were really excited to see the some slugs hanging out on the garage door when we came home late one night. We quickly found out that we had a slug infestation and slugs aren't really all that cool. Tonight I set the first of the slug traps. It appears these little rascals have a thing for the Miller High Life. We've heard leaving cheap beer in solo cups will take care of the slug problem (they are drawn to the scent and then drown in it - not unlike frat boys I dated years ago.) Now if I could just find a beverage that will take care of the mosquitoes.

Random Acts of Ice Cream

One fun story about Las Vegas I meant to relay last night involves some of my favorite things: ice cream and random acts of kindness. I think this anecdote took me by such surprise because it happened in Vegas where innocence and good heartedness are hard to come by. As Chris and I were leaving the pool one early afternoon, I realized that the Bloody Mary I had had for breakfast a couple of hours earlier just wasn't cutting it anymore and I was HUNGRY. First I wanted ice cream, then I wanted a bagel (yes, neither are nutritious choices, but keep in mind breakfast had been vodka and tomato juice). The bagel line was too long, so we headed to the ice cream parlor. A nice-looking middle-aged man dressed in a green button down was standing outside of the ice cream parlor looking at his watch and telling people there was free ice cream inside. Nothing is free in Vegas, even the free stuff isn't so much free. I was suspicious, but I wanted ice cream. At the counter, I ordered a cone of black cherry ice cream. The woman in line behind me explained it was the guy-in-the-green-shirt's 40th birthday and he was paying for ice cream for whoever wanted it for 40 minutes. So to all the people in line: free. When I looked at the total at the register, it was up to $378. This 40 minutes of free ice cream was turning out to be a lot cheaper for the guy than a round in a bar would have been and it was making so many people so much happier than a shot ever could. On the way out of the store, we stopped to wish the guy a happy 40th birthday. He was really nice and I could tell he really enjoyed giving this small gift to everyone on his birthday. So happy birthday green-shirt-guy and thanks for the ice cream.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Viva Las Vegas

I'm back from my second Vegas trip in less than two months. As I might have mentioned before, I'm not a huge fan of the place. It's not as if I am morally objecting to it, I'm fine with the Sin City aspect, it's more the whole city is an illusion which I worry many of the visitors take for the real thing. No need to experience St. Peter's Square, I took a gondola ride at the Venetian, thanks. The culture of New York City? Nah, I rode the roller coaster on top of NY NY. Maybe I'm being too rough on it, but I came back with a nasty sore throat and a case of jet lag.

In spite of my general unhappiness about Vegas, I did have a really good time. One super-cool thing we did was rent a car and go hiking at Red Rock Canyon. This was really fun. I spent lots of the time at the pool at the Mirage. It is a nice pool (the only thing missing is the ocean). We saw Penn & Teller, who were okay. Chris was more into the act than I was. I think he liked the geeky aspect of learning the magic trick trade secrets. I attended an actual Las Vegas wedding, sadly without an Elvis doing the wedding. I won $60 on roulette and had a couple of good streaks playing video poker. And, yes, Mimi it was hot! During the day, it was about 103.

Look for pictures on my MySpace page later this week...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

If you're out on the road....

So I just spent the last hour crying as I watched the last Gilmore Girls. I don't think I watched this series from the beginning, I might have caught repeats on ABC Family or started watching when I was in grad school, but when I discovered it, I was hooked. I think the series ended wonderfully - the focus of the show was still the family relationship, especially the mother/daughter story (loved how the last scene of the finale was the same as the last scene of the pilot). If I could live in Stars Hollow, I would sign up in a minute. I feel like such a girl for crying and smiling at the same time, but it was a really sweet show and I'll miss it.

I once read an article about some type of uber-Christian teen convention. The organizers had all the kids write the different ways in which Satan tempts them on pieces of paper for some type of releasing. I found the whole activity disturbing, but one girl wrote Gilmore Girls on her slip. This really perplexed me. How could a show about your mom being your best friend be the work of Satan? I found the whole series to be about the different types of families and the value of each relationship in creating a whole, well rounded person. If anything, the Gilmore Girls personified family values in the modern age.

Ant Flowers

Peonies remind me of 8th grade graduation at St. Catherine's. This is the school I went to through the third grade and where my mom taught for years. When I was little, I thought peonies should be called ant flowers because there are always so many ants on the buds of the bushes.

Each June, the moms' of St. Catherine's would strip their peony bushes free of all blooms in order to decorate tables at the 8th grade graduation banquet. The smell and the fresh, innocent white color of these beautiful spring flowers somehow is really taking me back there this week. This flower, maybe because I associate it with graduation, seems so hopeful, happy and confident to me. All weekend as we were working in the yard, I was hoping these would bloom because we are leaving for Vegas tomorrow. I really wanted to see and smell the finished product, so I was really excited to come home tonight to see two buds had bloomed. I even trimmed these and put them in a vase because storms are expected tonight and I didn't want the petals to get ruined. I'll still miss most of the blooms, but I'm really glad I got to see the early birds. Bitter sweet, I guess.

Speaking of bitter sweet, the last Gilmore Girls is on right now. Not to worry, my DVR is taking care of it for me. This show got even a little sappy for me at times, but I did enjoy it...Loralei and Rory deserve of a couple of peonies of their own.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Was Fantastic

The opening night of Corteo on Friday (here in Columbus) was simply amazing. As I said before, I wasn't a huge fan of Verakai which was the last Cirque show I saw, but this one really impressed me. I felt it was lighter (even though it was a funeral procession) and moved more quickly. Added to the fun of the show, my tickets included the Tapis Rouge which is a VIP tent before, at intermission and at the end of the show. This tent is like no hospitality tent I have seen before, it is very swanky and the drinks keep pouring (until we were asked to leave at 12:30 because the tent had to close). After the show, the performers also come to the tent. I talked to two of them and it was very interesting - so much preparation goes into a show of this nature.

Thanks to the free drinks, I wasn't too helpful in the yard work we planned to do on Saturday. We got a lot done, though. The people here before us had planted some type of weedy-looking ground cover that had taken over the whole side of the house. We ripped all that out (okay, Chris ripped that all out and I took a nap) and then went to the garden store to pick out some other items to put in. We transplanted about 12 ferns and hosta plants and then put in a rose bush, baby's breath, Columbine and a pink Poppy. It looks so much better! Today we have to finish mulching and then we're set with that portion of the yard. I also want to get some veggie seeds in.

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 11, 2007


Tonight is the opening night of Corteo in Columbus- a Cirque Du Soleil show. We're going and I am very excited about not only the show, but the after party as well. If you click on the web site, you'll learn that Corteo means cortege in Italian. Cortege is a joyous procession. This show is the imagining of a clown's funeral. I'm really into this idea. I have to admit, the last Cirque show I saw made me quite bored by the second act. The story of the last one didn't grab me and although the acrobats, costumes and set were amazing, in the end, I'm a story girl who wants a plot I can follow.

I also really like the funeral part of this show. In my family, we are big believers in giving the funeral the deceased would want and this clown imagining his own processional really resonates me. Also, this week I went to a memorial service where, even in grief, there was a joyous procession which, in the end, is the only way to go.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

I Carried a Watermelon

Ala You on a Diet I try to walk at least 30 minutes each day and I swear off fat free salad dressing. When I walk, sometimes I wear my iPod, and sometimes I don't. Today was an iPod day. Part of the walk I like to take winds down into a ravine-like area. There are many old crumbling steps leading up to stately homes. On non-iPod days, I imagine how those steps used to be used when the houses were new in the early 1900s. This always seems to center around debutante girls running off to be flappers (I secretly want to be a flapper). On iPod days though, I don't do so much imagining, I more get lost in the music. Today, all those steps, the trees in full bloom, and the upbeat tempo of the music reminded me of something...

Could it be I was transported to my very own Kellerman's? As a pre-teen in the late '80's, clearly my favorite movie was Dirty Dancing. Suddenly I found myself doing some type of cha-cha down the street to Jack Johnson's Bubble Toes. This wouldn't be so bad, but because the iPod was on, unbeknownst to me was a Suburban full of a little league baseball team. As the SUV passed, they all were looking at the strange lady. But, hey, nobody puts baby in a corner.

Monday, May 7, 2007

The Productiveness Continues...

I guess work really does expand to the amount of time allotted. After the wedding on Saturday (which was very nice), I knew there would be some things I wanted to get done. First, since we were near Grand Lake St. Mary's (which is evidently Ohio's OTHER Great Lake) I wanted to check it out. Then, as with any trip I am on, I needed to pretend I was Rachel Ray on $40 A Day. I did this by finding a breakfast buffet served on what looked like train cars and then walked around a portion of the lake to work off the apparent lard the food was cooked in. (If I were Rachel, I would recommend skipping Casey Jone's Buffet). So much can be accomplished on a Sunday after a wedding when one isn't hungover.

After our little adventure in Celina, Chris and I headed back home up Route 33 (otherwise known as one of the most boring routes in Ohio). Back in Columbus, we stopped at the Anderson's for lunch stuff and got suckered into buying $50 worth of plants for the backyard. Actually, we had a good time planting and filling pots with beautiful new flowers. I'll try to get some pictures uploaded, because we are quite proud of our handiwork.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Saturday Mornings

Today we're heading to a wedding in New Knoxville, Ohio (I'm not sure where the heck it is, either), but there is so much fun stuff going on in Columbus that I wanted to do at least some of it. To begin with, Clintonville shops are having sidewalk sales and there is a store with a chair in the window I have been drooling over. Second, my brother was participating in an art event to benefit a good cause and I wanted to stop by to see the work. Plus, there were lots of other things going on: Gallery Hop in the Short North, Cinco D'Ohio at the North Market and various other things. Chris and I determined if we got up early enough we could at least walk around Clintonville and go visit Tony. When it came down to spending $100 for a decorative chair, I had to pass, but I did buy a bib for a friend (Sobo has the cutest baby stuff ever), an oil-cloth coin purse for Mom (so retro and fabulous), and earrings for me (to wear at the wedding tonight). Then we went to visit brother and the kids he was helping paint doors. There was a lot of really creative stuff going on down there which was wonderful to see. It's also nice to see how much brother's fellow teachers and students respect him.

Lesson learned here: getting up early on a Saturday allows you do some stuff you want to do while also doing the stuff you need to do. And you get earrings. Okay, my turn for the shower now.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

It's a Secret Life

So I don't think I'll be killing any honeybees this year. Months ago I had heard about (on NPR, of course) about the mystery of the disappearing honeybees. Evidently, the queens are dying off because the worker bees are never making it back to the hives (okay, so I kind of made that part up, but it seems plausible to me). Being a lifelong fan of Nancy Drew and honey on toast, I immediately began to think of installing a hive in the backyard so I could further the body of research forming on this mysterious plague of the honeybee. After I found out much a bee hobby would cost and remembering my slight allergy to stings, I decided this probably wasn't a good idea. Instead I will vow not to squish, squash or smack any honeybees this summer. I don't think I would have looked good in that crazy beekeeper hat, anyway.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007


I've been nesting since my senior year of college. Before this time, I didn't see the allure of matching dishes or high thread count sheets. Now, Crate & Barrel is a good friend of mine. Chris and I are having a good time decorating and updating our own little nest, which is why I was so excited this morning to see a little bird and her family who have taken up residence on our property as well. I'm afraid to say, I think she might be a teen aged mother because both the nest construction and the location leave something to be desired. I noticed her with a worm in her mouth and looked up and there on the corner of the garage, over the sensor light was the nest. Things are hanging off of it and it looks a little precarious, but still it totally made my morning.

We are having fun in the yard. I'm happy to report the lettuce made it through the frost snap and we've enjoyed a couple super-fresh salads and yummy sandwich toppers. We didn't see the house until June last year, so it's been fun to watch how Spring develops here. There are several bulbs which I didn't plant. The hostas came back with a flourish. I noticed little green sprouts coming up under the pine tree. I thought they were more hostas, but were pleased to find out a few days later were really Lily of the Valley - this has always been one of my favorite plants.

So all and all, in spite of a few surprises, all the nests around here seem to be doing fine.