Summer – A Brief Recap

22 Sep

Today marks the first day of fall.  And while I’ll miss the long days of summer, I’m ready for the cooler weather and other fall excitement.

Here are just a few of the fun things we did this summer.

We drank wine outside on the dock at the Pier 6 pavilion during Counting Crows, Backstreet Boys, Train, and a few others.

We went to Mackinac for the Fourth. And I only cried (happy tears) 3 times.

We stayed here at Grand Hotel

We worked on a house for the Extreme Makeover Home Edition show. (It airs this weekend. You should watch!)

We went to an engagement part in upstate NY - winetasting, wiffleball, bbq, lakehouse, and swimming.

We shopped for and gushed over gorgeous wedding dresses.

We attended the Best of Baltimore party.

We went to two beautiful weddings. And danced like maaaaniacs.

We ate dinner outside in Florida on our mini summer vacation.

Happy Fall Everyone!


Sick Day

1 Sep

Today is a sick day, so I give you this

which Kate Spade herself sent to me this morning.  

And that will be all. 

Oh PS.  Lindsay (Who is proudly the queen of all things Christmas…I swear the Mariah Carey holiday CD will be played at her wedding in May.) just informed me that there are 115 days until Christmas.  It’s not too early to start shopping.  Get to it.

Girls on the Run

30 Aug

And now a little break from the house tour to talk about something else near and dear…running!   I usually need to sign up for a race in order to get motivated to run, so I’m often training for something.  Right now I’m preparing for the Baltimore Running Festival on October 16th.


I’ve done the 5K and the Half so I’m excited to be doing the Relay this year.  The whole festival is a really fun event and a great day for the city.  The streets close down and everything is devoted to the race.  I’m running the last leg which means I get to cross the finish line.  Hooray.  The other members of the team are my friends Stef, Amy, and Maggie.

Stef and Amy were division one athletes in college and Maggie is a super accomplished marathon and triathlon gal.  We signed up as the Pink Ladies and we’re planning to wear all pink for the race.   October is also breast cancer awareness month, so it’s fitting.  GO TEAM PINK!!

Kitchen Aid

23 Aug

The thing about the term “foodie” is that lately I feel like it’s used to describe just about anyone who has ever eaten or seen food in their lifetime.  And that’s ok by me.  I’m constantly cooking things, thinking about cooking things, reading cookbooks, watching the food network, yelling at Padma for her monotone judging, and dreaming about meeting Paula Deen in person so she can say something like “Hey Y’all!  Come on into my kitchen and we’ll whip up a pure butter and bacon pie. Doesn’t that sound dell-ishes?!”  Yes, Paula.  It does.

Look out Oprah. I'm 'bout to crank this baby up.

Anyway, the kitchen is an important room for me.  Maybe that’s because I grew up sitting at the breakfast bar in my grandmother’s kitchen while she cooked for hours upon hours.  I credit her with introducing me to the importance of the classics – meatballs,  Saturday breakfasts, and homemade desserts.

Even though our kitchen is not done, it’s come a long, long way.  If you remember from this before photo – we started with yellow appliances, wood paneling, and some fruit filled Willy Wonka wallpaper.  Hey, I have nothing against yellow appliances and jazzy wallpaper. They certainly had their day but, it was time to say goodbye.

Kitchen Before

Originally I thought – white cabinets.  Then I was convinced that since we were keeping the white tiles on the floor in the kitchen it might be a bit much.   So we decided on the nutmeg color shaker extra tall cabinets.  I think they look just dandy.  They also brought in some shiny appliances and voila.  So fresh and so clean.  Next up for the kitchen will be:  installing the hardware, the countertops, and painting the walls.

We have full use of our kitchen now, which is great, so we continue to cook almost every night.  Once I learn how to take pictures of my dinner without it looking like I picked it up from a seedy buffet, I will post some photos and stories.  In the meantime, send me recipes.  I like things with no more than 4 ingredients and that I might cook while wearing a tutu.  Like this skinny girl.

Just don’t call me a foodie.

Let’s Start At The Very Beginning…

21 Aug

Actually, let’s not because unlike The Sound of Music, that would be boring for us all.  I’ll summarize the weeks leading up to move in:  moved out, sweated our faces off, moved into a friends 8ft x 8ft  basement room for 2 weeks, went on vacation for a week, came back, packed up, sweated our faces off, moved in, slept on an air mattress in the living room because the floors had just been stained upstairs, inhaled fumes for 16 hours, moved upstairs, and now here we are.

I spent the first week in our house like most people do in a new house – scouting places for a chalkboard wall and leaving the broiler on for hours.

Todd it smells like burning plastic in here.

It’s probably your hair iron.

My straightener?  No.  Crap it’s coming from the kitchen we have a gas leak and we’re going to die slowly from asphyxiation.

Then I went even more completely off the wall cah-razy and thought we needed furniture for every single room in the house RIGHT this second.  I spent hours on the internet looking at Ikea, Overstock, Pottery Barn (sigh), Crate & Barrel, Pier 1, your mom’s house, etc.  Meanwhile Todd is sitting on the couch (which we thankfully stole from his Dad during a recent move) calmly setting up the TV, putting together the bed and playing with drill bits and things.  We decided that prioritizing was in order lest I shut this whole operation down with my inability to chill out.

The bedrooms were good to go for now, so first up – the living room since that’s where we were probably spending the most time.  We had: the couch and TV.  No diggity, no doubt.  We needed: everything else.  I should really call these pictures the middles not the afters since there is still work to be done on the house and we haven’t bought a ton of furniture.

Living Room

All of the original hardwood floors were replaced on the first floor, which is why they look so shiny and pretty.  I wasn’t expecting them to replace the floors, but I guess they were in such bad shape that they had to.   (When I say “they”  I mean the homeowner and his crew.)  The walls and ceiling were painted and crown molding was installed.  They also put in new baseboards throughout this room – which flows right into the dining room.  Paint colors are Behr’s Honeysuckle White for the walls and ceiling and a standard clean bright white for the crown molding and baseboards.  Sidenote: choosing the right color of off-white for these walls was ridiculous.  I stared at paint swatches in Lowes with a look of terror.

The coffee table was a craigslist score and came with two matching end tables.  They are dated but in good shape and I plan on either staining them much much darker or painting them white – which Stef says will look like a 1990’s beachhouse.  Fear not, Stef.  Although…is that really such a bad idea?

This reminds me that Tori Spelling is better than Megan Fox any day

Back to the real footage…

The "Media Center" AKA TV and Playsation

The media center is actually a bookshelf from Ikea turned on it’s side.  I was skeptical at first but I really like the way it turned out.  The white boxes and magazine holders are also from Ikea.   Cute, cheap, functional.  Winner Winner.

The brick walls on one side were exposed and a couple coats of sealer covers them.  This protects the original brick and ensures our house won’t crumble.

Stained Glass Window on the Front of the House

This window is one of my most favorite things about the house.  I love this window and the matching one above the door.  The window above the door with our address in it is called  a transom and is one of the historic marks of a Baltimore rowhouse.  Love.  I know.  Nerd alert.  Also Todd installed some white faux wood blinds that we had to have custom cut (twice!) from Home Depot.  This is an odd sized window since it starts just above the floor and is extra wide.  It lets in a ton of light and allows me to peer at our neighbors.

That’s about it for the living room for now!  Come back later this weekend for some exciting kitchen talk.

Number One

18 Aug

First Post!  Get excited.

Our leases were up in June so we decided we should start looking for a place of our own. The search was centered around the neighborhoods of Canton and Fells Point in downtown Baltimore.  The requirements were: two bedrooms, one bathroom, some outdoor space, and some updated features.  Since a lot of rowhouses in Baltimore have been updated, we thought – no problem!  Exciting, right?  Well, it was, but then we realized everything we liked was out of our price range and we weren’t willing to shell out too much money for a rental and buying wasn’t really an option.  Todd had thrown around the idea of renting a house owned by a friend.  It was two bedrooms, one bath, had a huge outdoor space in the back and was located in the area we liked.  Sold.  The only problem – it was in the process of being completely rehabbed and wouldn’t be finished in time for our June 1 move in date.  We were able to work with our old leases and ultimately decided that moving into the “in the process of being rehabbed” house would be our best (and most fun) option.  We knew that it wouldn’t be completed but it would be at least “liveable” and we would get to help pick out some of the aesthetic features as the house was being completed.  That meant choosing counter tops, cabinetry, hardware, and paint colors.  Say what? I’m down with that.  We moved in mid-July.

Since then we have worked on a ton of projects and while it’s been stressful and I think I’ve turned into quite possibly the craziest version of myself, we’ve had fun. Here are some before pictures of the house – about a month before we moved in.

Front of the House


Guest Room

Master Bedroom


The "Backyard"

Here's one of us!

So there you have it!  All of the before pictures.  Except that last one.  That’s not a before picture – we plan on staying pretty much the same, just a little more…creative?

Stay tuned for the afters.  We’ll have a bunch.