A Good Reminder

I just love this. Enjoy. (Get the whole story and a larger image here.)


Random Round Up: Danish Delight

Sometimes the stars just align and you find the kitchen item you've always wanted for 15% off, have a free shipping code and a gift card. Cue the singing angels.

That's how a Williams-Sonoma box ended up on my doorstep chock full of an electric ebelskiver pan and two kinds of mix. Never heard of ebelskiver? It's Danish, pretty much a round pancake with filling in the middle, and it's delightful. I grew up with them being made in a million-pound cast iron pan, so was excited to find an electric griddle-style option.
The Goods - Haven't tried the chocolate mix yet, can't wait.
The Results: Jam-filled on left, peanutbutter filled on right.
Other than that, pretty normal weekend happenings:
More froggy visitors.
Morning park romp with the pooch.
Geez he's cute.
Have a great week!


The Notebook

Nope, no Ryan Gosling/Rachel McAdams slow-motioning through a rainstorm here. Just a super-weird happening that completely unsettled our household this week.
The Notebook (on my striped pants)
Right before bed midweek, Nate went out to give the new grass (yay!) a drink and found a blue notebook placed carefully on a planter table next to the front door. It absolutely reeked of smoke and one side was covered in dust and dirt. No one had knocked, no doorbell, and we had come through that door mere hours before. Unsettling moment #1.

Bringing it inside, we noticed a name and date on the spine of the notebook, and opening it, an entire case file for an accident. Medical records, legal documents... Pretty much any and every piece of paper you would never want in the wrong hands. Unsettling moment #2.

My brain went immediately to A) stolen property has been left at our door, and/or B) the people who used to live here are somehow involved with this accident. Since we still get their mail all the time, I was hoping for the latter, but we know their names, and nothing seemed to be connected. Regardless, I called the police department (closed) and 9-1-1 to ask for police assistance (the operator couldn't hear me for who knows why, and she hung up on me without sending assistance - Unsettling moment #3?), and finally resorted to emailing the police department from their website. Luckily Investigator Joe (really.) wrote me back the next morning and offered two drop-off locations for us to bring the notebook.
The Drop-Off
We did that next day - no harm, no foul - and had a MUCH better night's sleep for it that evening. The scenario came to light of someone dropping the notebook near our house - in the road or on the adjacent path - and a good Samaritan making sure it got... somewhere..., and I'm going with that because honestly, it just makes my stomach unclench.

I want to note: Inspector Joe made it a point to tell me that my [attempted] call to 9-1-1 was the right decision. He said that the public is over-trained that 9-1-1 is for extreme emergency cases only, when really, he said, it's for any time you need face-to-face contact with an officer. Isn't that a great thing to know? Of course I will still be judicious, but I don't feel like someone needs to be in serious, life-endangering peril for me to make that call now. Thought you might like to know too!



Guys... I fell in love this last weekend. His name is Calvert, and I met him at Pottery Barn.
My mother-in-law and I found him on a random stop-in, and after a few pictures and a lo-o-ot of drooling, I made The Pitch to the other half. Cast iron! Working crank to change the height! Not under-$20-Ikea-quality! Luckily Nate was all in, and we were back in the store with a few saved up gift cards in tow that evening.
The only bummer: So many people love Calvert he's backordered and won't be our new kitchen table until October. But, as they say, true love waits eh? I'll live on photos and my copy of the purchase receipt until then.
...Yep, I took a video in the store. I was that crazy person.


Random Round Up: Simple Pleasures

Nate and I somehow both got nailed with summer colds this weekend, so it was a little more downtime than we'd even planned... But you won't hear any complaints from this girl about that!
Tomatoes are hitting their stride - I've already gobbled up four.
Hubs gets a wild hair - Adventures in baking! (results: delicious)
Pretty low tide jellyfish. 
Hilarious card from my best girl Em (censored for you, Mom).
Inaugural trip to the new world beer superstore - Nate's excited.
Hope Monday's easy on you, friends.


Weekend Bound

I am beyond excited about this weekend. It's been a long, busy, bumpy week, so cheers to some of this:
 A little of that:
 And a healthy dose of:
Happy Friday!


Future-Kitchen Glimpsin'

More trim painting! I know you were waiting for it. On the edge of your seat too, I'm sure.

Okay, it's a far from thrilling process, but the impact of such a little change is making me happier in the here and now, and super excited to see the process completed. So I guess we can call this the in-between, motivating-me-to-keep-going portion of the program? Sure.
This time the windowsill behind the kitchen sink and the trim above the pantry were overhauled. The sink sill may have looked okay (minus the ugly color), but get up close and personal and it was one big ol' mess.
I did the same sand-degloss-prime-paint system I used before, and presto change-o, smooth and clean. As for the trim underneath it - I'm foregoing painting that in the hopes that it will be extra motivating for us to get our backsplash on someday soon.
The pantry trim got the same treatment, plus a little bonus of a quick gold-to-silver spray paint makeover for the door knob. It's kind of a stop-gap: Not perfect and probably not durable enough for long-term use, but I don't want to buy a random knob prior to getting our kitchen cabinet hardware. Just happy it's not uber-brassy gold anymore (it was the only thing in the kitchen that was).
Like I said, these make me so excited to jump on the rest of the kitchen cabinet overhaul project - As tedious and annoying as it will be. A little glimpse of good things to come at the end of the tunnel!


Random Round Up: Four Funny Facts

Four little-known/asked-about things from around the house:

1) The Found Frog Statue. Even though my first thought was to thrift 'em, those tacky lil' froggies won me over. They've remained right where they were found - Just didn't have the heart to kick them out of their home. Perhaps a paint job someday so they look ceramic or stone, but yes, they're permanent fixtures now.
2) There's a broken light fixture in the hall. Remember all that baseboard work? Well when the floors were going in, all that miles-o-baseboard was stashed upstairs in a guest room, and one particularly long piece took out one of the hall lights. I have to admit, I wasn't sad to see it go. Unfortunately it's still hanging out near the low-end of the priority list to be replaced... Someday: Two cool fixtures in the upstairs hallway!
3) I hate the color we painted our master bedroom (Behr Premium Blue Fox). I was on board when I was slapping it on the walls, but now it reminds me of surgical scrubs. Yeah. Awesome. Even better? I have NO IDEA what color I want to repaint it ('nor the motivation TO repaint it).
4) You can hear sea lions barking nearly every morning from our backyard. The saltwater is just on the other side of the greenbelt our house backs up to, and since I take the dog out pre-6a.m. daily, I hear them in the quiet all the time.
So there you have it, four little quirks. Happy Monday!


Deck The Walls

Christmas in August? Kinda. Especially since the last time I mentioned this project was back in December...
Remember the rope-wrapped letters I made as Christmas gifts (tutorial here)? Well it was finally time to treat myself and take care of some blank wall space.
And another blast from the past: The metal horseshoe 'wreath' I bought aaaaages ago (literally a whole year) also finally found a home in the family room.
For the record: The wall color is not this weird in real life.
Love having these pieces in our most-used room so we can see and enjoy 'em often.
A little room context.

The art above the 'J' is by an insanely talented friend of mine, Caitlin Hansen. See more of her work here. 



It's kind of a strange thing to say we spread cut up tires all over our yard in order to improve it's appearance, but yep, that's exactly what we did.
Rubber mulch. Ever heard of it? I hadn't until randomly stumbling upon some yard makeover show (Yard Crashers, perhaps? Something like that.) where it was being used. Nate and I looked at each other with little lightbulbs hovering over our heads. Ding! Just the thing for some front yard rehab.
This will have something planted in it... Someday. Okay maybe next year.
Unlike regular wood mulch, rubber mulch is made of recycled tires and dyed brown (or red cedar, if you prefer). The brand we used, Vigoro, is color guaranteed for 12 years and has all the benefits of wood mulch (weed deterring, prettying up the place, etc), but with the added bonuses of being cushy to the knees when gardening, and, my fave, NOT having to replace it yearly as we would in this rainy climate with wood mulch.
This is my favorite view - The rocks stand out so much now.
The bags were under six bucks each, and we ended up using 15. We were able to cover every bed and the long edge in our front yard about an inch and a half deep, and quite a bit deeper in one area that becomes a mud pit in winter. Hoping that little issue will now be solved for this coming rainy season.
Neighbors' red cedar wood mulch up top, rubber mulch at base by rocks.
All in all, it feels like a steal of a deal. We didn't have to order wood mulch from a landscaping company, have it delivered, and then cart and spread it. Heck, we didn't even have to use gloves since splinters aren't an issue with rubber! If all the promises are true, our lil' house should be sittin' pretty for the next dozen years. Time and money well spent!
Next up - Fixing up that brown, moss-filled grass!

P.S. Yep, rubber mulch is perfectly safe for pets, as long as they're not interested in eating it. In fact, lots of people say their pets prefer it because it's nice on the paws! Just a little FYI if you're curious - I know I was prior to purchasing.


Random Round Up: Upgrades

It was a weekend full of small and not-so-small upgrades...
Fresh hydrangeas decking out the house.
No more hose wrangling! Watering is now 99% less of a chore.
A beautiful weekend for a deck happy hour.
We laid rubber mulch in every bed. So sore! So worth it. (more later)
New laundry basket in previously unused bathroom space.
Sometimes it's the small upgrades that just make life so much easier (and leave me wondering why the heck we didn't get on the stick sooner...!). Happy Monday y'all.


A Heavy Mantle No More

Once upon a time, there was a loudmouth, brassy fireplace that took over the whole family room. Remember this guy?
 A little high heat spray paint took down most of the gold, but I was still left with the built-in rim that spray paint just wasn't going to work for.
So I decided: I have de-glosser, primer, and paint from the windowsill project you saw last... Why not just make that gold trim part of the mantle? So after a little sand/de-gloss/prime/paint action on the gold, I landed here:
Then it was time to do a few minor touch ups - Like taking down some over-paint from the original contractor job on the mantle, and knocking out the last little bit of brassy gold on the fireplace's logo.
Nothing fancy - black Sharpie all the way!
 The next few hours (argh.) were spent following the same basic procedure on the mantle itself...
...But how totally worth it. Suddenly our pretty butter-colored walls look even more delicious, and the fireplace and mantle look fresh and somehow more architectural.
 It may not seem like a change until you see them side by side - Look how creamy and beige the original mantle color was compared to the new and improved!
I haven't yet painted the inside of the built-in shelves - Mulling over doing a fun color on the back wall to add a little pop... I'll keep you posted! But for now it's time to tackle, well, every other wooden surface in our home. I feel a couple more cans-o-paint comin' on.