Friday, December 11

link it up

It was a busy but successful week in San Francisco, but I'm happy to be home for a holiday-fun-filled weekend. I'm going to make D watch Love Actually on Sunday, and on Saturday we have a fancy fete for his company, a black tie gala at the Library of Congress. Expect pictures. Anything good on your dance card?

I took a break from my Kombucha brewing during my transition from Durham to DC, since the timing is so sensitive. Can't wait to get back to it after the holidays. This profile of the "king of kombucha," GT, is fascinating.

Me, wanting a cat. Perhaps also coming after the holidays?

Mrs. R- this is the article I mentioned when I visited: I've Never Thanked My Parents for Anything. A very interesting, nuanced cultural difference.

I loved this video about addiction. It's short, graphic, compelling, go watch it.

'Tis the season of giving. But: Is philanthropy bad for democracy?

Friday, December 4

link it up

This sweet pup reminds me of my friend's dog. Hi, A&J!
What are you up to this weekend? We have a friend's holiday party in our old college-town tomorrow, and a big date night tonight. We're trying Plume at the Jefferson Hotel, which has a fancy schmancy tasting menu. I'm feeling more holiday spirit-y, mainly because I've slightly decked the halls and am listening to non-stop holiday tunes. Have a great one!

How I will be making my poached eggs from now on. I HATE the wispy whites that get away!

Need a burner email to sign up for things? Try this.

I just finished listening to Aziz Ansari's audiobook, Modern Romance. Love him, and this article. Anyone here watching Master of None? I'm thinking of starting it soon.

Just learned about Lost Type, another free font resource. Gorgeous!

I made it to Trader Joe's just in time to get their Pumpkin ice cream, my favorite seasonal flavor. What a fascinating company, and story.

Wednesday, December 2

DIY (refinished dining set)

Here's the little reupholstery project I've been meaning to post for ages. D bought this table and chair set when he first moved to Durham for a steal- we think $40, but he can't quite remember.

I wish I had a photo of how damaged they were by the time we were leaving- the screws had come out of the bottom of the chairs, which holds the seat in place, and some piece of mail had basically melted, with highlighter orange, into the top of the table. Even once we scraped off the mail, the stain was still in the table top, and on blonde wood, it was very visible. Plus, check out the print of these seats:

I cringe just looking at it.

So, a quick re-fresh was in order if we were going to sell them before moving. For the table top, I sanded probably a 1/4 inch off the top. No joke. That orange highlighter stain had gotten DEEP. After sanding, I just wiped down and did a coat of polyurethane on top, no staining necessary. It got pretty badly scratched by movers, so I had to sand down and coat again, which was annoying but easy work.

Other than the seat, the rest of the chair was in great shape- sturdy, finish on the wood still good, etc. I tried to reupholster the chairs in this nice floral fabric I'd had forever, but I didn't quite have enough. I thought I could make it, but instead I got this:

So close, and yet so far. This is truly the EASIEST form of reupholstery: rip off the old fabric, pull new fabric tight, and staple in place. I didn't replace the seat cushions, which saves some time and money, since they were in ok shape. I had to pick another fabric that I don't like as much, but is more neutral in color. After reuholstering the seat portion, I drilled new holes to attach the seats to the chair frame. This way they'd be tight and sturdy, not drilled into already stripped holes that caused the nails to keep falling out.

I was able to sell them on our apartment building listserve, which is mainly other Duke grad students that need quick furniture for short-term living. We got $180 for them, which is a crazy good price...I think the guy was just tired of eating on the floor and didn't have the time to head to Target or Ikea. I'm bummed that all my photos are such crap quality, but you get the idea!

Friday, November 13

link it up

Friday at last. I have some very dear friends coming to town who are terrible at keeping in touch (like, the worst) and I can't WAIT to catch up for days. Our only set plans include eating and drinking and snuggling, just the way we like it. Hope you have a fun one ahead!

This is an incredible post- more the trip than the packing trips, but really all of it. Honeymoon goals?

Domino's MASSIVE gift guide, if you're thinking ahead.

Particularly for my sister, or anyone looking to get in the holiday spirit early...check this out. So great for when you're traveling!

In the same vein...Christmas tree alternatives for those with a small space. Good thing I bought one of these on super-sale last January.

I had some homemade almond butter sitting around that needed to get used, so I made cookie dough (using this recipe) and froze it (using this method). Who wants to come over for a snack?

Hoping to get a post together for next week about another quick reupholstery project I did before leaving Durham. In California all weekend, so we shall see.

Monday, November 2

goodbye to Durham

On Friday, I picked up a rental car at Raleigh Durham Airport, threw my air mattress and suitcase in the back seat, and drove away from Durham for the last time as a resident. Living in Durham, and particularly near Duke, was a huge blessing in my life. Ready for a hashtagBLESSED post?

Not to get wishy washy, because I don't, but the decision to head South with D turned out to be much better than we could have anticipated, both professionally and personally.

There is a community feel here that I haven't really experienced anywhere else. I'm confident it can be found in big cities just as easily as in small (growing!) towns, but we hadn't been lucky in that way yet. A high-rise in Northern Virginia and a brief stint on Capitol Hill didn't allow us to be regulars at any cocktail bars, to develop relationships with our favorite farmers (how bougie), and to feel like you're part of the fabric of social life.

I also think we made some lifestyle changes for the better. We did fall off cooking together, which probably won't be resumed what with our travel schedule, but we make other positive changes. I can't say we are hiking fanatics just yet, but I do think the proximity to some pretty incredible nature influenced us.

And of course, how do I quantify how valuable knowing Duke has been? I'm not sure who got the better deal, me getting this job or Dave getting his MBA at Fuqua, but for both of us we couldn't have made better, more strategic decisions to move our careers forward. Not to mention season tickets to Cameron two years in a row...

People make the place, of course, and I couldn't have shared Duke/Fuqua with better people. Making friends as adults after the friends-on-a-silver-platter experience of college isn't always easy, but the Fuqua partner community made it so. Bookclub wine nights, strolls around East Campus with tea (or something stronger), Bunco wine nights, dancing the night away at embarrassing bars and catching shows at DPAC, girls weekends in the mountains and beaches and couples getaways to Asheville, and the WEDDING of our dear friends...there are a lot of good memories leaving with me.

Ooh! And shout out to my loved ones that made it to Durham. Thank you all for experiencing Monuts with me (Vogelbut my first visit!, Rico pre-babes <3, Gin & Kyle and an impromptu engagement shoot, Cope ugh missed you, Nick to help us explore Raleigh, all of my amazing siblings, D's amazing sibling, my amazing cousin and almost-cousin ;-), DAD at cameron!! and a few other times to boot, Mr. & Mrs. Rokeach to watch with pride when D graduated, SO MUCH LOVE CAME).

And speaking of people, my person, you know.

Duke and Durham were a wonderful home for 2+ years, and while I have zero (and I mean zero) regrets or hesitation about my relocation, I do feel gratitude.

Good thing I need to be back a few times a month for in, this Thursday and Friday, and the one after that...if any of my 3 friends in Durham want to get together, lemme know.

Friday, October 30

link it up

It's Fri-yay!

We have a good friend from college getting married this weekend in Cape May, and I'm thrilled for them (and for me, since so many people we adore will be there). It's our last wedding of the season and my first weekend as a non-Durham resident. HELLO DC. Some thoughts on goodbye to Durham next week.

In case you'll be imbibing this weekend and want some literature to go along with your booze, here's the origin of some popular cocktail names.

I found this article to be heartbreaking, which I don' t think was the intent. I'm a realist in almost all ways, but doesn't your affection for loved ones supersede your initial affection? I'd leave that guy real quick....

Terry Gross is such an exceptional interviewer- I liked this interview of her for a change. Follow the Fresh Air podcast if you miss it on NPR!

To go along with my have kids/don't have kids article from last week, I present this.

Um this is incredible. I'm not a huge fan of her or her music...until she's doing incredible impressions.

Thursday, October 29

DC Digs [the mirror]

Now to show you our find. Isn't she a beaut?

Please ignore the rest of the mantle set up- we haven't decided how to style it yet.

I was skeptical about veering off from my rectangular preference, but after 4 months of looking at hundreds of mirrors, it was about time to pull the trigger. We had to drive almost to Baltimore to pick it up, but the seller brought the price down from $125 to $100 when he learned we were trekking it up to him, and took off another $20 in-person. Besides, we used the drive to jointly catch up with my sister (shout out bills!) and check out the fall foliage along 295, which was incredible.

I'm currently accepting (slash begging for) suggestions for how to hang it. We were all about the lean, but the decor on the bottom isn't in perfect shape (as you can see in the picture) and it's small enough that we would like to center it further up the wall. The brick behind is painted. We're renters, so we aren't super interested in drilling into the brick, but if it's easily patch-able (at least visually) I'd be game. Our Home Depot consultant recommended some heavy duty double sided tape, but we would need to use 60 inches to reach the weight requirement, which was definitely not going to work. Command strip hooks were also suggested, but again, most of those max out at 5lbs. Give me ideas please??

Here is something similar, albeit a bit more expensive and white. Then again, it won't have any dings or cracks. I for one think those add character, but others (ahem, D,) do not.

Wednesday, October 28

DC Digs [the hunt for a mirror]

We have been hunting for a mirror since July. Mostly on Craigslist, due to how expensive it would be to ship something so fragile off of Ebay, but I did take a look at a few retailers to see if anything would work.

First thing to decide was shape and size. We have 4ft by 4ft of space above our mantle, and I really wanted a mirror that would fill the space. Initially I wanted something huge, like dis:

But as we taped off the space we realized something this full would be very heavy visually. In such a small home, we needed to go a bit more delicate. We didn't want a round mirror, since we have a circular dining table right next to the fireplace (more on that later), and I was hoping to vary the shapes. Most of our furniture is clean-lined, tailored mid-century modern pieces, so I thought we could go a bit more ornate and feminine for this. We were willing to look at all finishes, with the understanding that I would gold leaf anything that wasn't already gilt.

Before I show you what we went for, let's see the eye candy I used as my inspiration.


Friday, October 16

link it up

CRAZY TIME for me at work. Two straight weeks in SF, with weddings capping off each weekend. I normally travel week on/week off, so back to back kicked my butt in terms of workload. Anyway, I recovered at home and will have D in town this weekend, then back to NorCal and DC for a week. Can't wait to feel the fall air in the district!

An ingenious trick for finding the best online prices.

I've never put yogurt in a slow cooker. Perhaps I need to this weekend.

“Perel’s ideas are … instantly familiar because they resonate deeply. It’s all rather terrifying in its intuitiveness and its pure rightness.” — The Observer (UK). Esther Perel's TED talks are here and here, and you should listen.

300 awesome free things.

Would love to see a Gap comeback. Really interesting article.

Opting out of motherhood. A thoughtful piece.

Thursday, October 15

DIY [reupholstered chair]

There are few things I like more than scooping up a piece of furniture or decor that has great bones, giving it a little love, and then selling it to a loving home and financing my next craigslist find or thrift store haul. Some day, this will be my full-time occupation...even if it's not until retirement.

I found this great old piece at our local Salvation Army for $10. It was super sturdy and heavy, but of course looks like an office chair with that fuzzy thick blue upholstery. I hate the blonde wood, too, but that ended up staying when I ran out of time (and ventilated space) to sand it down and re-stain.

I stripped that baby down to bare bones. The foam was in excellent condition- I swear, that blue office fabric is like a coat of armor, nothing is getting through it. I reupholstered in this pretty blue and cream linen, ordered it years ago from Jo-Ann Fabrics because I'm a hoarder.

I love how it came out- D even said we should keep it (although our new square footage convinced us not to). I sold it to a sweet couple for $180, and put all that money towards our new marble coffee table. The best home purchases are the ones financed by other home purchases that we have improved. It's like furniture-flipping.

The back is my favorite part. Cool bones, right? If this was a darker wood I'm not sure I would have let it go.

Friday, October 2

link it up

Friday again! Aren't we lucky. D and I are heading to our first of three weddings this month in Charlottesville, VA. I've never been to UVA, so we plan on checking out campus and the cute downtown area. Any other suggestions for us?

I'm sure we all remember the famous "Why Women Can't Have it All" article from the Atlantic in 2012. She did a follow up that I'm looking forward to reading this weekend.

Every year, Fortune releases their list of the Most Powerful Women in business. I enjoyed seeing these stats on where they all went to school. Sounds like the caliber of school isn't as important as continuing your education (only 9 went to ivy league schools, but almost 60% hold graduate degrees).

A new use for Yelp. Incredible.

Do you have feelings about these HBO shows? I am currently in the middle of the following shows: The Wire (love), Breaking Bad (good), House of Cards (getting worse), Game of Thrones (love), Downtown Abbey (so sweet), Revenge (don't bother it's terrible).

Price paid is different than price charged at colleges. Fun to look up your alma mater.

Wednesday, September 30

cheap eats [pumpkin pasta]

I'm lucky enough to be living with my good friends until my DC move-date of November 1st, and wanted to cook us all a nice fall meal this past Sunday. I'd seen the dish below on Pinterest, and knew it checked all my autumnal boxes: sausage, pumpkin cream sauce, apples, sauteed onions and garlic, cinnamon and nutmeg, what's not to love?

I see her recipe was altered slightly from a well-loved Rachel Ray dish, and I altered it even further based on my preferences. I doubled the onions and apples, used less cream and more pumpkin, and went for spicy sausage rather than sweet. This really is an affordable dish: $3 for a pound of sausage, and otherwise everything is a dollar or two. Here's a brief rundown of what I did:

1. brown 1lb spicy Italian sausage (I used this one), drain on paper towel
2. add 2 onions and 4 cloves of garlic to the leftover sausage fat to soften
3. add 2 chopped apples in with the veggies
4. add 1 cup of white wine, plus sage and a bay leaf, and cook for 2 minutes
5. add 1 can of pumpkin puree and enough chicken stock to thin out the sauce
6. return the sausage to the pan, add 1lb cooked pasta (I used shells), some cinnamon and nutmeg, and 1/3 cup of whipping cream. DEVOUR.

Mine wasn't photogenic at all, but it sure was tasty.

Tuesday, September 29

DC Digs [bath mat shopping]

I'm going to have quite a few posts to write detailing searches and purchases that have happened since we moved, but I'd rather jump right in with what's currently on our mind to start. And what's on my mind is rugs. Specifically, one for the kitchen and one for the bathroom. Keep in mind kitchen = living area too, so that makes it tough because it has to match the larger room. Since that's more difficult, let's focus on the bathroom first.

We have a pretty old bath mat that I believe is from the Target college line, but it's just a smidge too big and can't lie completely flat. For something so inexpensive, it seems dumb not to fix. I have a few things I'm considering:

Something wood-like, such as the lattice wooden mat from Crate and Barrel:
Something bold but neutral, like this black and white strip rug from Overstock:

Something bold and anything-but-neutral, like this orange Nate Berkus number:
I can see the appeal of all three, and might need to visit one and three in person. Any resources I'm not thinking of?

Friday, September 25

link it up

FRIDAY. It's my first weekend alone in Durham for weeks. Which does not excite me. If we are friends IRL text me.

Embarrassingly enough, this was like, my favorite part of blogging. Sharing the hilariously awesome or moving or delicious or attractive things other people are doing in the world. Here's to my first link it up!

There's a new bar in town. [SO ACCURATE AND FUNNY]

Speaking of bars, Eater has updated their DC heatmap for the best drinking establishments. If you're planning on visiting us this year (during cherry blossoms, perhaps?) take a look and pick your poison.

I'd like to apologize to my sister's employer. Ever since I sent her this, she has been deeply unproductive.

Love checking in on this tumblr...

...but it's nothing compared to THIS TUMBLR. I need someone to back me up on this. I read a couple (the captions are everything, of course) and after a few I'm laughing out loud. Super giggly. Can't stop. Am I alone? Why is this my exact sense of humor? I think my brain is broken.

Looks like this week was all about alcohol and jokes. You're welcome?

Wednesday, September 23

DC Digs [paint choices]

I read somewhere that there are bedrooms to fall asleep in, and bedrooms to wake up in. Isn't that great? I can picture a bedroom to wake up in, with bright white linens and windows thrown open and a lazy morning with coffee and a newspaper. But that's not me, or D. We are night people. Give me snug, give me intimate, give me a book lit by a soft glow with a glass of whiskey any day. Or any night, I should say.

D and I have always been drawn to deep paint colors and dark cozy rooms (check out our last bedroom here). We loved that deep teal, and actually had plenty of that paint left, but I'm moving away from blues and embracing my green side. I was drawn to this room, from Elle Interior Sweden. How good does a dark hunter green look with light wood? It also works well with persimmon and super pale blush and lavender, all colors I'm loving lately.

The bedroom is far from finished- in fact, we've hung nothing but a mirror and curtains- so I'm not going to share the final product, but here's the color along with our new bed.

Painting is always a project that should be tackled when you first move in, IF you have an idea of what you want. If you're the type that's indecisive, want to see how the light is at all times of day, need to get a feel for the place, then go ahead and wait, but it'll be a pain to have to move and protect everything once you've made a decision. Plus you can't do anything else until that foundation has been laid- no hanging shelves or art, for example.

The other room we knew we'd paint is the bathroom. Talk about builders grade boringness in there, as seen below. I'm hating that I even have to show these pictures. I had a gallon of dark gray paint by Martha Stewart that I got for $5 at Home Depot back when I thought it was a good idea to hoard gallons of paint with no use in mind (let's consider that pre-600 sq ft, shall we?)

Well, turns out that dark gray is pretty much is definitely black. No complaints here, I love that look, like this stunner from Schoolhouse Electric.

I gotta say I was a bit shocked when I first that is dark...but I'm very happy with it now. More to come on that room, including adding storage (if you noticed, there is NONE besides under the sink, which is mostly taken up by plumbing).