Just Brew It 2 - Bottling

 First things first: Happy Birthday Dad!!

I talked about our adventure in brewing our own beer for Nate's 30th a few weeks back, and this weekend was our allotted time to come back and bottle our concoction. Armed with a smaller group (just 4 of us this time around), we came, we assembly-lined, we conquered.
Bottle sanitizer (even though they're new it's still required)
Loaded up and ready to get squeaky clean!
Picking out the cap color - 1 for each of our 2 brews.
Nate filling, Roger "quality control", Adam capping, yours truly boxing.
Go team!
I, of course, made friends with Winston, the giant shop dog.
Packed up and ready to enjoy!
 ...Thank goodness for a cold garage.

But it will be fun to share with friends and family in the coming months. And yep, Nate's already saving the bottles we purchased this time around for the next brew-your-own excursion. I guess that means it was a birthday hit!


Random Round Up: Colorful

A fever that wouldn't go away kept me laying kind of low this weekend, but managed to fit in a few low-key good times. I'll tell you about those later in the week, but for now, how 'bout some color:
Neon and Neutral - A work outfit from the week.*
Stripes and Dots - Another work combo.**
Backyard Color.... Already!
Bottled the beer we made! Details to come.
Waterfront Warrior

*Scarf: Forever21, Sweater: Old Navy, Cords: Kut From The Kloth/Nordstrom
**Top: Banana Republic, Pants: Forever21


Creative Block

...it happens.
I've been on a pretty long creative kick over the past year, probably ramped up into high gear by the constant wedding prep this time one year ago. And now that the ideas are ebbing a little, it's kind of frustrating and a little bit freeing all in one.

We're in the midst of a tumultuous period at work full of waiting and wondering that's destined to drag out a little longer, and combined with knowing a big home project is on the horizon (flooring for the downstairs!) I'm just feeling, well, the winter blahs.
So please forgive the lack of content this week - I'm taking a little mental break to look around, take some deep breaths, and just let inspiration come to me instead of me trying to track that elusive beast down.

Enjoy the rest of your week and weekends, my friends!


Random Round Up: Country Time

We headed to my hometown for some R&R and birthday fun this last weekend. Nothing like some truly fresh air and good food to get you prepped for another work week!
An amazing vintage book of photos from my Gram's collection of Chinese antiques.
Hoping the course I learned to play on is purchased and remains open!
Peanut butter chocolate goodness.
Pup Pals
Last sip of rootbeer in my bottle.


Just Brew It

How do you properly ring in your 30th year of life? By brewing your own beer, of course! We grabbed a gang of friends and reserved a kettle at a local brew-your-own place, and it was such a good time. Really. I don't even like beer and it was fun. Check out the process:

First the Birthday Boy got to choose a recipe from the archives. He landed on a Belgian White Bier, which brings in the flavors of orange and coriander (think Blue Moon if you're a brew-lover). And away we went!
Glucose. Not so appetizing, but necessary.
All kinds of dry flavor ingredients - Others were refrigerated or liquid, like the glucose above.
Measuring and then grinding the grains.
Our friend Adam with one of two drawn ingredient pitchers.
In go the coriander and orange in a separate mesh bag.
Dry ingredients added at specific times.
Once the kettle hit it's alotted time, the pros did something with all these...
...and then the whole shebang went in a keg to ferment. Yum..?
The whole process took 2 hours start to finish, and we go back to bottle and tote it home in two weeks time. There was a pleasant amount of time between each batch of ingredients being dropped into the kettle, allowing our group to chat, taste the brews on tap (including an amazing root beer for me!), and just generally enjoy eachother's company.

And even though I won't be partaking in the results, it was pretty fascinating to see all the ingredients in their various forms knowing what the end result would be. The place we went also offers wine and hard cider brewing, and we had so much fun the chances are good we'll be back! Highly recommend finding something similar in your own neck of the woods next time you want a new, fun experience for you and your pals.

Jump ahead to two weeks later and check out the bottling process here.


Metal Branch Makeover

Remember the faux-metal branch card hanger I made back in December? Well, it's had a little makeover to move from Christmas into more neutral (literally) territory.

After the holidays, it looked a little like this:
And now, thanks to simply swapping out the red velvet ribbon for some jute rope (and lopping off the Christmas greeting portion of a few photos while adding a few more), we've got this:
It looks a little sparse at the moment, but I'm excited to add notes and images as 2013 progresses. It will be so fun to have a kind of Year In Review come next Christmas when I take this year's collection down for the holiday greetings.


Random Round Up: Birthday Boy

We kept the party going all weekend for Nate's big 3-0, and more to come this week and weekend. You only turn 30 once, right? Right.

Thank goodness. We're tired.
Not a real birthday until there's Funfetti in the house.
Celebrating with Nate's fam.
Brew-Your-Own Beer excursion - Coaster tiled bathroom.
Time with extended fam for Nate's Grandma's 91st.
Cutest. Dog. Ever. How I love him.


Scratch and Dent

Do you like a bargain?
Silly question, I know. Who, after all, doesn't like a bargain. Well, I'm here with a little tip so you can track one down...

Much like the scratch and dent area of an appliance store, some clothing stores have a rack for altered or refinished garments. Now sure, this can mean hemmed-way-too-short pants or a sweater unraveling faster than Lindsey Lohan, but it can also mean a great piece of clothing with a hidden flaw or one that's easily fixable.
 I found the altered or refinished rack at my local Nordstrom Rack this weekend (it's not always there) and picked up a 100% cashmere cardigan for under $25 - 75% off the original price tag - because of a very fixable nick in the sleeve. Ten minutes with a needle and thread and it was good as new.

Keep your eyes peeled at outlet-type stores especially, and you may just walk away with a great piece and money in your pocket.


The Big Three-Oh

Happy Birthday to my hubs, best bud, and just generally wonderful guy: Nate!
It's the big 3-0 today, and I'm so excited to see what our thirties bring us together. We had a pretty fabulous 29, and it's only getting better.
Thanks for being the most supportive, dorkiest, funniest, young-Val-Kilmer-look-alike-y-est, all 'round best guy I know.
I'm so lucky to share this life with you. You're my favorite. 
Happy birthday, babe - Love you!


Random Round Up: Scores

Hope everyone had a fun Superbowl weekend! We kept it pretty low key this year: Just the two of us and a few house chores and touch-ups for our pre-game. Look out, we're crazy.
Pins in the mouth: Knocked out some alterations and repairs.
Tassels and leopard make for a happier work day.
Our bowl attire: Nate trying to jinx the 9'ers with a Hawks jersey (he says it worked)
Ancient wallet yielded new money: At least 9 years old. Score!
A new dog park opened near us - Tuck was lovin' it.


One Year Later

It's our anniversary!

It won't be a romantic one... although we are very much still in love... Have you guessed it?
It's been one whole year since we officially moved into our first home! Hard to believe. One year and one month ago yesterday (aka: December 31st, 2011) we were handed the keys, and after taking a month to paint, replace countertops, put in appliances, and generally work a second 40 hour/week job each, we were in on February 1st, 2012.

So much has developed and improved since that day, and although you've seen quite a bit of it by following this blog, I hope to post a more thorough then-and-now soon (ahem, when the house is clean). For now, here are two I found on my phone this morning:
Then: White on white on white in the entryway.
Now: Soft gray with pops of white and oranges.
Then: White wall with too many spackled holes to count in the family room.
Now: Soft yellow with a library table scattered with photos and art.
Thanks to everyone who's advised us, sweated with us, and generally kept us sane through this first year of home-ownership. Cheers to whatever comes next!