4.30.2015

Let There Be Lights!

As you've long-known if you're a regular around these parts, upgrading the builder-standard-brass lighting in our house is an on-going project. One, because I'm picky, and two, because dude: Lights are expensive!

I've hit a couple of stellar sales recently, and that's added up to three new fixtures stacking up.
No, really: Stacking up.
We took a Saturday and tackled 'em all, including re-purposing one fixture already in place to another room. You know how I love to work with what I've got!

We'll start with that one, actually. Our dim and depressing (and brass, of course) master closet light has been on the fritz for months. When the last bulb keeled over, we went to replace it and, lo and behold, the protective tinfoil-like covering over the fixture's insulation had disintegrated. Nice. Being fools, we decided to put in new bulbs anyway and just leave the glass cover off in case it was too hot (you all remember what happened when we replaced standard bulbs with energy efficient ones). Well, it didn't work. And by didn't work, I mean listen to this video:
video
We stopped using the light entirely. Better to find clothes in the semi-dark than burn the house down, eh? Logic.

So since one of the new fixtures was destined for the family room, down came the quickly-purchased-when-moving-in fixture from that room, and in it went in the closet.
That left the family room ceiling open for a little makeover:
Next, upstairs to the two bedrooms. Since you now know about The Babe on his or her way, I can tell you that the current guest room will become the baby's room, and that leaves the husband's man room to be both man and guest space. That means we have some work to do in both rooms, so a little lighting upgrade seemed like a good first step. Two oil-rubbed-bronze finish fixtures were just the thing - Not too matchy, but nicely coordinated since you can see into both rooms from the hallway.
Man/Guest
Baby J's domain
Like what you see?
Master Closet: similar
Family Room: Home Depot
Baby Room: similar pendant version, or apparently make your own.
Man/Guest Room: similar, ours is from Home Depot but not available online.

I'm sure our neighbors think we're the new Amnityville Horror in the cul-de-sac since I keep standing in doorways flipping lights off and on... We have some ceiling paint touch-ups to do, but really, such an easy upgrade, and so happy it's done! Well, in those rooms anyway. There's always the halls... and the entryway... and the floor lamps... and.... Sorry hubs.

4.27.2015

Ta Da!

Pretty exciting times around here, and I'm now able to share...
Oh the projects that will be comin' your way...! I've already started a couple, can't wait to share.

4.24.2015

Pretty Little Ones

Title side note: Do you know Steve Martin is an amazing songwriter and banjo player? I love him.

I feel like I've talked about the backyard so. many. times. on this blog, but never really touched the front. It's just that the backyard is a jungle of, well, jungle, and the front yard is relatively tamed. But that doesn't mean it can't get a little colorful TLC from time to time.

With the front yard in mind, we headed to Home Depot and picked up a few perennials to spruce up some bare patches.
First up, tackling a suddenly very dead boxwood-esque hedge in the front planting bed. I suspect the cats in our neighborhood had something to do with this plant's demise, but [thankfully] I found no... evidence. Regardless, it was way past due for a serious weeding and some trimming of plants around it. In went the Dwarf Rhodie.
Next, a seriously sunny spot in the planting area right in front of the house. There's already an Andromeda in the row of mature landscaping, so I figured one more might balance things out. Plus, these get nice and bushy and are pretty hearty around these parts.
 And for color, a 'Tequila Sunrise' Avens on either side.
Last but not least, a large pot by the door I usually stick some annuals in. This year I went for more perennials, and one of my absolute favorite flowers at that: Anemones. These are shade-lovers, so tucked up on the sun-for-only-two-hours-in-the-morning front steps is a perfect spot.
Nate would still like to pop in some annuals around the cherry tree right that butts up against the sidewalk, but I'm wondering: Maybe some shade-loving year 'round green kind of options? Hostas maybe? I need to do some research. Or leave me a note in the comments if you have suggestions!

4.20.2015

Random Round Up: Glorious

Glorious. There's just no other word for a 70 degree weekend in the Pacific Northwest.
A front-yard-focused trip to Home Depot - Great success!
My new obsession: Fentiman's Rose and Victorian Lemonades.
I've hit a couple of great lighting sales, so our upgrades are slowly underway.
First attempt at homemade mango sticky rice: TOTAL winner!
Anemones - One of my faves and awesome for some summer in a shady spot.
Happy Monday - I'll show you more of my newly planted friends in the front yard later this week!

4.17.2015

Refusing to Dog

I'm a dog person by nature, and so I'm not usually one to go trolling the internet for cat videos. But this came across my screen this week and made me laugh so hard I just had to share.
His face just kills me. Haven't we all felt that way? Begrudgingly being carried along, doing something we don't really want to do? Happy Friday, one and all. Hope this kicks the weekend off on the right, giggling foot.

4.13.2015

Random Round Up: Pretty Perfect

Every once in a while I hit one of those glorious weekends where you come away feeling both rested and really accomplished. This was one of 'em - Lovely! Between errands and chores (and paying taxes, sigh) there were beach trips and naps to be had, and lots of puppy snuggles tucked in between.
Parting out our beautiful anniversary bouquet from my parents into pretty little bunches.
Because if you have to go to the mall, at least there are cinnamon-sugar pretzel bites.
So... I bought some yarn.
This project is going to take a while, but I'll share when it gets going!
Beach scene
Gorgeous morning for a seaside stroll.
Happy week ahead - Hope you get to put some check marks on your to-do list too!

4.09.2015

The Wizard of AZ

After our inaugural trip to Phoenix, Arizona last year with our friends Katy and Ben, we decided it simply had to become a yearly treat. This time around was no disappointment, full of sun, laughs, and new adventures - A few of which I'll show ya now!
 If you decide to take yourself to the Phoenix/Scottsdale area, definitely shoot for hitting a few of these spots. I already can't wait to go back (and that Washington rain is only enforcing that feeling)!

 
This place is like the Vegas of golf. Seemingly the most fun to go at night, you check in and pay for your bay, and after some length of wait (we waited an hour in the on-site restaurant, but they said on the weekend it can be up to four hours - you can book ahead online), a worker will come get you and guide you through the computerized choosing of games and score keeping. Each ball has a little microchip, so a simple wave of your club over a sensor and the system can track your ball amongst the hundreds zillions of others shooting out into the range towards the various lighted targets.
 
All the food from the restaurant is served to your lounge area if you wish, and each bay is stocked with comfy couches and heating lamps (yes, even the desert cools down at night). Not quite done with your fun? Even though you reserve your desired chunk of time upon check-in, a swipe of your card and you can add time as you go along.

 This place has a flavor for every frozen-dessert lover you could possibly come up with. The always friendly staff offers unlimited tasters, meaning you can try the bubble gum or the Guinness (yep, really), but still stick with a safe dish of dark chocolate in the end.
 True confessions: We were here 3 out of 4 nights. ...And we weren't an anomaly.

 There's not much to say here: It's incredible. Better than I ever imagined it could be. And as a kid who knew every childhood vacation came with a National Park, I've seen my fair share of America's beauty. Somehow nothing quite holds a candle to this one. Pictures can't do it justice, no matter how much of an editing master you are (and I'm not one at all).
 
It's about a 3 hour drive from Scottsdale, and there are plenty of stretch spots along the way. We stopped at the same rest stop coming and going, and it was a great mid-way point to hop out and get the blood flowing. Bring sunscreen and dress in layers - We were freezing driving over the higher elevations and when we arrived, but the day quickly turned bright and sunny. There are lots of places for food along the way, and even a small snack shop at the South Rim location in case you forget your water or PB&J.
See the brave squirrel?
Unreal.

 Pool Time
 
There's so much to do and see, it's pretty easy to completely miss the down-time that's so essential to a relaxing vacation. Make sure to pencil in some time to soak up the amenities of wherever you're staying. In between outings we had plenty of poolside time to read and nap and swim, and Katy and I even treated ourselves to a spa morning.What's vacation without some total self-indulgent lounging?!

I know this was a seriously image-heavy post, but it's so hard to capture The Canyon (yes. capitalized.) especially. You're going to have to just go yourself!

....No seriously. Book that ticket now. Thank me later.

4.06.2015

Random Round Up: Easter

As shown by my total radio silence last week, being sick really knocked me down for a while! But back and happy to say 100%, with room makeover plans and travel photos to share. But first, how about a few snaps from the weekend?
Can't get enough of our full-of-flowers backyard right now.
Clean comfort food has been the order of the day to try and get well again.
P.S. Do you make your own chicken soup? I was shocked at how simple it is.
Happy Easter from the country!
Gotta do it.
The Japanese Maples are leafing out again too - My fave!
Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend - I couldn't have asked for better!