Monday, April 28, 2014

Picture This: Week 17, 2014.

Last year, I started a picture-a-day project with the new year. My intent was and is to try and appreciate every day, the good and the bad. I'm posting weekly recaps of the past seven days. It's a fun way to  recap the week, and keep me motivated for the next week. By throwing it up to the interwebs, it's a not so subtle reminder to myself that if I'm laying around all week and taking pictures of my feet poking out of a blanket as I watch Netflix for the millionth time, I'm going to bore everyone to sleep. Not that I care, guys. That being said, it's rarely ground-breaking, but I couldn't handle that anyway. It's a log of my life, and a gentle reminder to myself that life is a gift and I should take advantage every day. I don't want to get preachy. If you do this, I want to know so I can nose around. In the least creepy way possible. You can start anytime, too - a new year doesn't have to start on January 1. Steph created one mid-year. Veronica does this as well, but I'm losing faith in her ever updating her blog. Check out my past weeks through the "picture-a-day" topic link on the right. 


April 21, 2014

Running and hockey. #becaueseitsthecup #letsgopens #hashtag


April 22, 2014

I'm obsessed with this song right now. 


April 23, 2014

I didn't know how I'd feel about a thumb ring (so I made sure the size would work on another finger) but I love the subtly of it and have kept it on my thumb continuously. 


April 24, 2014

Hands down, the best part of wedding planning has been receiving RSVP response. 


April 25, 2014

Henry, the happy barrel.


April 26, 2014

My Michigan bridal shower was on Saturday and it was the cutest tea party, complete with scones. I'm so lucky to have such an incredible family. With the RSVPs and the shower, I'm excited for the wedding.


April 27, 2014

Zach and Dad worked all weekend on the garden. Due to the abundance of deer, we need to build a fortress, and they made great progress in doing so. We have a bit of wire to add, but it's looking like a garden! 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Read This: Volume XII.

I'm recapping some things I read this week that I found interesting, not to force you, because I can't, but because sharing is caring. This also holds me accountable and keeps me from zoning out on Pinterest every hour.


  • Why I Don't Wear Makeup. I'm lazy, and I don't hate what I see when I look in the mirror. I like everything about this article.
  • This made me cry. To be fair, most stories and videos about animals make me cry. It's about a man trying to save the lions from habitat destruction and the bond he's made with them.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Nailed it.

I'm diverting off home progress today to bring you a nail polish update. For the past couple years, I've been making a more concerted effort to understand what I'm slapping on myself or my environment. Allergies and hyper hives spurred it originally, but it made sense - you react to your environment, and to some extent, you can control it. So I've been trying to do what I can.

Mostly, this just means finding more environmentally-friendly cleaners and using a lot more vinegar. It's not life-changing, but my sister does call me a hippie sometimes. 

One such discovery was that most nail polish has a recipe to kill you. I can't offer much more than that as I learned it years ago and was fairly content with understanding that, and that there's an alternative - Zoya. Note - not paid or perked, just a big fan of their deals.  

That being said, I didn't convert immediately, mostly because I don't have that kind of money to just throw away my stock and replace, but also because some of my favorite colors weren't in the mix. I don't know if Zoya stepped up their color game in the last few years or if I was just oblivious and overwhelmed by all of their colors named after girls (probably the latter), but this past weekend was it. I fully converted. I'm all-Zoya, all the time. I should probably note I notice no difference in wearability/chipping/anything. They last just as long as any other quality polish I've tried (OPI, China Glaze, Essie).

This is decidedly more pro-Zoya than I wanted it to be, so I'm going to jump to the original purpose -  showing you two side-by-side comparisons of the last two non-Zoya nail polishes I was holding onto because the similarities impressed me. Nothing more. I will gain nothing if you buy these.


Zoya's looks a little pinker in this picture to me, but as I type this, my nails definitely look purple.


It's a pale purple, as it's supposed to mimic lilac, if you didn't pick up on that already. That's one of the worst things about Zoya though - in no way do I associate lilac with someone named Marley, and I have no idea how I found this shade, or any other one, really.


This mint is dead-on. The paint's still wet on my nails, and that's the only differentiating factor. Same color, just half with formaldehyde, half without.

I'm still impressed. Now if only that spring sale would launch.

PS - Here's the Zoya blog. Way back when, I signed up for some sort of email, and quarterly, they usually run a deal where you pay shipping and get three nail polishes. That normally means $12 for three, which is a steal in my book. I can't guarantee any of this because, again, they only know me as they girl that swindles these deals by signing up with every email address. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Picture This: Week 16, 2014.

Last year, I started a picture-a-day project with the new year. My intent was and is to try and appreciate every day, the good and the bad. I'm posting weekly recaps of the past seven days. It's a fun way to  recap the week, and keep me motivated for the next week. By throwing it up to the interwebs, it's a not so subtle reminder to myself that if I'm laying around all week and taking pictures of my feet poking out of a blanket as I watch Netflix for the millionth time, I'm going to bore everyone to sleep. Not that I care, guys. That being said, it's rarely ground-breaking, but I couldn't handle that anyway. It's a log of my life, and a gentle reminder to myself that life is a gift and I should take advantage every day. I don't want to get preachy. If you do this, I want to know so I can nose around. In the least creepy way possible. You can start anytime, too - a new year doesn't have to start on January 1. Steph created one mid-year. Veronica does this as well, but I'm losing faith in her ever updating her blog. Check out my past weeks through the "picture-a-day" topic link on the right. 

April 14, 2014

Invites were fully assembled, sealed, stamped, and sent this week. I detailed how I made them here (with a few tweaks necessary after we changed our venue in January). I'm so excited to start getting RSVPs back, and I might be the most boring person in the world.


April 15, 2014

Snow in the middle of April. My sentiments exactly.


April 16, 2014

My friend suggested this cleanse of cucumber, mint, and lemon. I did it for two days and nothing happened, but I like the switch-up of flavored water.


April 17, 2014

I love a chance to see baby Charlotte, as well as some of my closest friends.


April 18, 2014

Jen and I did herbal body wraps on Friday. We didn't lose many inches, but it was a weird relaxing activity.


April 19, 2014

Zach's cousin got married over the weekend, allowing us to have an opportunity to take notes before we shortly do the same. Props to his brother Ian for the silhouette shot.


April 20, 2014

I've never had Malley's chocolate and Zach corrected that for Easter. Nom nom nom.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Read This: Volume XI.

I'm recapping some things I read this week that I found interesting, not to force you, because I can't, but because sharing is caring. This also holds me accountable and keeps me from zoning out on Pinterest every hour.
  • 32 Things You Didn't Know About the Women of 'SNL' combines some of my favorite things: lists, factoids, and SNL. I love their responses to the 'are women funny' question and imagine them responding with such disdain and sarcasm as to why they are being asked that question anymore. 
  • Northern Europe hit by most bee deaths is something many people make fun of me for, but it's terrifying.  Bees are dying in mass quantities due to reasons we can't fully articulate, but including pesticides and radio waves, and if we don't start reacting, our food supply is in major trouble without these pollinators. 


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

House Tour: Spring 2014.

We're overdue for a house tour after a winter of updates. Ironically, I don't really detail any of those updates here. I did kinda learn how to make a video, albeit very quickly and very poorly. 

It's split into two files for one of three reasons: it's large; I talk a lot; I was trying to be slow and not nausea-inducing.

First, the outside (front) and downstairs:



Second, the outside (back) and upstairs:



Apart from me fumbling through a description of items, there are:
- guest appearances by both Henry and Copper (and they're both sleeping)
- a look at the pallet coffee table we made and never shared
- the whitewashed fireplace that we haven't shared
- basically the basement, which I don't think we've ever shown here
- a last look at the washer and dryer, which broke shortly after filming and are past recovery
- a generally wide range of voice inflection because that's what I do when I'm narrating my steps and I'm home alone.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Picture This: Week 15, 2014.

Last year, I started a picture-a-day project with the new year. My intent was and is to try and appreciate every day, the good and the bad. I'm posting weekly recaps of the past seven days. It's a fun way to  recap the week, and keep me motivated for the next week. By throwing it up to the interwebs, it's a not so subtle reminder to myself that if I'm laying around all week and taking pictures of my feet poking out of a blanket as I watch Netflix for the millionth time, I'm going to bore everyone to sleep. Not that I care, guys. That being said, it's rarely ground-breaking, but I couldn't handle that anyway. It's a log of my life, and a gentle reminder to myself that life is a gift and I should take advantage every day. I don't want to get preachy. If you do this, I want to know so I can nose around. In the least creepy way possible. You can start anytime, too - a new year doesn't have to start on January 1. Steph created one mid-year. Veronica does this as well, but I'm losing faith in her ever updating her blog. Check out my past weeks through the "picture-a-day" topic link on the right. 

April 7, 2014

I was back in DC at the beginning of the week. I forgot any of the four smart trips that Zach and I possess, so I was stuck buying a paper pass, like a noob. 


April 8, 2014

DC continues to awe and inspire.


April 9, 2014

The Washington finally shed its scaffolding and the cherry blossoms were in bloom!


April 10, 2014

Henry was happy to have me home on Thursday, if only to watch the cursor around the computer as I worked.


April 11, 2014

Zach was pumped to add a new genre to his cooking repertoire, and I was happy to eat guac.


April 12, 2014

This past weekend was gorgeous. We accomplished a good amount of work outside, even building a little firepit so we could safely break out the s'mores.


April 13, 2014

We installed a storm door on Sunday. I'm so proud of us, and Henry seems to feel the same, though the poor girl can't peer out into the sunlight with her baby blues. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Read This: Volume X.

I'm recapping some things I read this week that I found interesting, not to force you, because I can't, but because sharing is caring. This also holds me accountable and keeps me from zoning out on Pinterest every hour.


  • Heartbleed Hit List is not so much interesting as it is uber important. I'm changing my passwords to everything, because it seems like they're slowly uncovering what's been affected and I don't understand Internet bugs. Speaking of uber, the uber car service is coming to Cleveland! 
  • Vivian Maier was a nanny in the 1950s and secretly, a photographer. Her work is slowly being uncovered from storage lockers and the like, but the insight into daily life it fascinating, in the same way that I love open houses and when people don't shut their blinds and I'm walking through the neighborhood at night. Not creepy. 
  • Mindy Kaling Is Her Own Role Model... and Actually Ours, Too perfectly sums up the evolution I went through regarding her. Evolution is too strong a word for that. I loved the office, but Mindy Kaling's role was tough - it was annoying. There were funny lines, but not smart-funny. Desperate girl, funny. In The Mindy Project, I wasn't immediately into it, but as it's continued, I find myself liking it more and more, and it's because of Mindy Kaling as the title might suggest. 
  • Kate beating William and loving it while in New Zealand convinces me that we should be best friends. I want to be best friends. I also want her hair. I'm obsessed with coverage of this trip.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Bathroom Boosts.

There have been many home updates lately, but they've fallen into two categories: small, quick updates that don't seem particularly blog-worthy, and long, drawn-out projects over several weeks that one of us usually completes while the other is away, so amassing the pictures is difficult. As a result, there haven't been too many written home updates, and there's a lot in progress (as evidenced by the random paint swatches on the walls).  

I'm making a concerted effort to change that, starting with the bathroom. Because it's the smallest.  This post is super long - many apologies. 


We'll start with pictures taken just after we got the keys and were in the middle of moving. 


It was a blank slate with some nuances, namely the big window in the shower, trim that didn't fit, and an extra piece of quarter-round on the door frame.

First, some month-old updates. In October, we made some quick changes out of necessity.  We frosted the window, raised the shower curtain, and updated the air vent cover to start to bring this room out of the 1970s. We chose to raise the curtain close to the ceiling to help make the room look larger. It needs all the help it can get in its 5'x8' state, and it's nice not to duck into the shower (or smack your head every time you forget. So every time).  I'd be remiss not to mention that my mum repainted this room white somewhere in there, too. One small victory against dark, old trim.


Shortly after that, we took a page from Mum's DIY magazine of home improvements (no idea where she found it) and adapted the shower-hanging caddy that would careen down the nozzle in an attempt to kill you in your vulnerable state (I shrieked more than once) to one that would securely hang on the wall. This project was 100% free, thanks to knobs we found when we moved in (or several thousand of dollars, if you want to factor that knob into the mortgage).


There's eucalyptus hanging there because I read in some magazine that it has calming/health benefits when it's in a warm humid place, and they specifically named the shower. I had some on hand, so this isn't weird. As I write this though, it seems more weird because I've noticed no benefits of it. But that's probably because showers are calm and relaxing anyway. 

Back to the caddy. For this, I used a double-sided screw to screw a knob into the wall (specifically, into an anchor because I don't want things trying to kill me from behind in the shower). I then used a pair of pliers to straighten out the top loop of the caddy so the contraption would hang flush on the wall. Real easy peasy.

Then the room sat for a few months. Finally, I bought a gallon of Rockport Gray in semi-gloss and gave it two coats. Apart from just picking that color because we had already done our bedroom in that so we knew what it looked like, we thought it would be a good bridge between the tans we had to work with (shower tile and the hideous floor) and the gray accessories/color that we gravitate toward. 

This seems to be the only terrible picture I have of this stage. We also updated the lights with some oil-rubbed bronze fixtures and shaded glass from the mix-and-match lighting areas of Lowes. This is what the room looks like in the dark of night, and though it seems dark, it's an ample amount of light. You're going to have to trust me on that.  


A few weekends ago, my sister visited and it was the perfect time to introduce her to my Kreg Jig. I'm set on making her a fan as she's as much of a do-er as I am. We love projects. No. We love accomplishing projects. With her assistance, we built a simple frame for the mirror. Ignore the strip of painter's tape. 


Steph gets the credit for that beauty. She measured, cut, conditioned, and stained the frame in dark walnut. I skipped in at the end to introduce her to Kreg, which we used to make four pocket holes to join it all together.  We used Liquid Nails Mirror Adhesive to attach directly to the frame. The frame's really light, and after a little bit of setting time, it was holding strong. I was also confident because I used the same stuff for my sunburst mirror, and that's solid after several years and a couple moves. I still need to caulk the bottom of it again so that little dust and Zach's beard hairs won't get caught in the small gap and drive me insane. Thus the painter's tape - it's not fun to scrub caulking out of wood. 

The mirror framing makes one of the biggest differences in this room. The paint helped a lot, too, but it looks polished now. 


There are still a few accessories to move back in to the sink area, a towel rack to install (we're debating a double bar and hooks), and a toilet paper holder to update (it's silver to everyone else's oil-rubbed-bronze). 

But to bring us all up-to-speed:

Curtain Rod - $40, Lowes
Extra long white waffle shower curtain - $15, Target
Extra long shower liner - $15, Kohl's
Heater vent cover - $15, Lowes
Frosted window - $20, Lowes
Gallon of Olympic Icon semi-gloss paint in Rockport Gray -  $20, Lowes
Shower hanger - free, already had
Lights & shades - $60, Lowes
Lumber for mirror frame (two 1x4 planks) - $8, Lowes
Wood conditioner and stain - $0, already had (Lowes, $20)
Semi-gloss paint in Simply White - $0, already had (Lowes)
Bee towel holder - $10, Target
Dual-flush - $20, Home Depot

Total: $223

Not bad for making it feel a lot more like us, and starting from square one. 


Those pictures are all taken at the same time, so it shows how the color changes with the angle. To save you from scrolling all the way back to the top on this monster of a post, some comparisons from mostly the same angle. 


There aren't many angle options in this tiny room, but the mirror helps to get it all in two shots. 


With that, we're calling our first room 80% complete, as soon as I finish caulking the mirror. We'd like to paint the vanity, change out the floor, and maybe re-tile (it seems to have just been smacked on the drywall and we've already had some grout issues), but those are more commitment projects. It looks like a million dollars to us now, and we're glad it didn't cost that. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Picture This: Week 14, 2014.

Last year, I started a picture-a-day project with the new year. My intent was and is to try and appreciate every day, the good and the bad. I'm posting weekly recaps of the past seven days. It's a fun way to  recap the week, and keep me motivated for the next week. By throwing it up to the interwebs, it's a not so subtle reminder to myself that if I'm laying around all week and taking pictures of my feet poking out of a blanket as I watch Netflix for the millionth time, I'm going to bore everyone to sleep. Not that I care, guys. That being said, it's rarely ground-breaking, but I couldn't handle that anyway. It's a log of my life, and a gentle reminder to myself that life is a gift and I should take advantage every day. I don't want to get preachy. If you do this, I want to know so I can nose around. In the least creepy way possible. You can start anytime, too - a new year doesn't have to start on January 1. Steph created one mid-year. Veronica does this as well, but I'm losing faith in her ever updating her blog. Check out my past weeks through the "picture-a-day" topic link on the right. 

March 31, 2014

Pretty kitties soaking in the sun.

 
April 1, 2014

Zach brought home tulips from a work event and I loved filling the home with them. They bring so much life into a static gallery wall.


April 2, 2014

The wedding playlist needed a lot of attention, and consumed me this week.

 
April 3, 2014

Work has been getting worse and worse (thus the wine), but I'm thankful that being in Columbus gave me the chance to catch up with my old bosses.

 
April 4, 2014

Friday called for thunderstorms, which got me excited for summer. The high winds and dark clouds didn't amount to anything but this promising storm-chaser picture, though.

 
April 5, 2014

We successfully surprised and made Evan speechless at his party. I love this picture.

 
April 6, 2014

 DC! I'm so excited to catch up with friends this week.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Read This: Volume IX.

I'm recapping some things I read this week that I found interesting, not to force you, because I can't, but because sharing is caring. This also holds me accountable and keeps me from zoning out on Pinterest every hour.

Similar to last week, I have to throw credit to Veronica this week. She posted some articles in the comments that I'm sharing here because I want you to see them. Mmkay?

  • Teen to Government: Change your typeface, save millions. I'm so proud this kid is from Pittsburgh (even if they used a super-outdated backdrop of Pittsburgh), and I'm even more excited that there are young people with amazing ideas. Sometimes the world looks pretty dismal, but the smallest things can make the biggest difference. I've changed the font on all of my work reports. 
  • What Happiness Conceals is a good read on what we learn from happiness and from misery. I'm going to read this one again, because I feel like I missed things between the lines at first, and am looking for uninterrupted reading/coffee time. 
  • This is the Cleveland Happy video. It's been going around, cities making videos to Pharrell's Happy, and it's a good trend. I'm also going to start claiming it as my city. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Blinging my ear-ring.

I want to update you all on the bathroom progress, but I keep adding one more little thing to the list, believe that I can complete it timely and then update, but all of that's a lie. There's still painter's tape on the wall and I'm between coats of paint on the trim. Next week, maybe for real. I'll clean the tub and get pictures of the actual status, not a couple weeks behind, or future renderings on the walls. 

A bunch of months ago, when I was in the middle of still enjoying wedding planning, I saw a post on making fancy ear cuffs on Honestly WTF. Apart from their shininess drawing me in like a magpie, they seemed easy enough and would solve my accessorizing problem. I jumped on it. 

I followed the most of the suggested links, purchasing the good Swarovski crystals from here, the settings from that same place (otherwise, here), and the gold tubing from here. I bought earring posts and backs at a local craft shop and the E6000 adhesive on Amazon, along with this dumb piece of plastic that has since proven infinitely useful in the glittering of cards, embossing of paper, and even sorting crystal rhinestones.



First, all of the crystals had to be put into settings. It was an incredibly delicate task, fitting the stones just so in the center of the setting. 


I then used the flatnose pliers to carefully bend down the prongs. I worked around opposite corners. I smashed three crystals in the process and took this one out-of-focus picture.


Once all the crystals were set, it was earring time. I flattened the gold tube into a flat arch with the pliers (probably would've been easier with a hammer), and secured it to the earring post with the E600. I poked the post into cardboard to hold it upright. 


I gave that a full day to dry, but that was probably just because it was bedtime, followed by work time, and I didn't want to start earring-designing time and get all caught up in that. I'm really fun. 

SO WHEN THE FUN PICKED BACK UP it was all gluing here, scooting with a toothpick there, trying to make it dry, making props to support the dangling ones, pulling it back off and trying it again. It sounds like I'm complaining, but I liked it. I might be a jewelry maker.



When they were set and to the proper lengthy, I cut off the excess tubing with the wire cutters. I made three sets so my sisters could each have a matching pair, too. Well, matching in spirit. Each is inherently a little different.



They're versatile, too. I tried them up and down, and made my pair (bottom pictures) slightly bigger. Apologies for the nightmares that face may induce, and the horrible lighting. It was an apartment.

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