28 March 2011

10 best of boston

10.  this paint in my dad's bathroom

absolutely fearless.  i love it.  it isn't wallpaper, it isn't texture.  it's just a few different colors of paint expertly blended.  it's not animal print; there's less pattern and rhythm to it.  it's such a bold statement surrounded by clean, crisp white tile and minimal decorations.  the wood-framed mirror goes perfectly without trying to match.  i don't think i could pull this paint off but it makes me feel courageous in my upcoming painting endeavors.

9.  the burrata appetizer at strega.  almost as good as our local favorite that i picked up two orders of for thanksgiving appetizers.  perfectly shaped like a poached egg... only with delicious mozzarella inside.  there are no words.

8.   this super-chic, eco-friendly, 100% sustainable kitchen

my dad and v are looking to upgrade, so we had the pleasure of going apartment hunting with them on saturday.  we saw one unit in the macallen that was actually parts of three units built into one.  while i wasn't super crazy about the apartment in general i fell in love with the kitchen.  the wood is bamboo and everything is made of sustainable materials.  it's easy to navigate and has a great design.  the design and texture of the cabinetry really did me in... i could go for those types of cabinets when we redo ours someday!  

7.  seeing smiles like these on my boys faces :)

ok.  so maybe they aren't smiling right there, but watching the two of them hang out is beyond entertainment.  

6.  this view of boston.

5.  the 'gin somethin' at back bay social club.  worth the price (which is a bit hefty) and still worth it the morning after.  but nothing goes together like good gin, grapefruit and cucumber.  seriously.

4.  greasy chinese food at kowloon that is totally, totally, totally worth the crazy wait with all the even crazier suburban folk outside of boston.

3.  the two-malls-built-together prudential center and copley square plaza.  the best of both worlds: high end dior, tiffany, ferragamo, thomas pink in one mall and the gap, free people, and a zillion places to eat in the other mall.  combined with the fact that just outside is the best shopping ever -- newbury street?  brilliant.

2.  irish car bombs.   minus the whiskey.  wicked.

1.  my dad.

because he knows everything and there is simply no one cooler.  

26 March 2011

hey beantown!

greetings from boston!

it's about 10am here on the east coast... aj & philip are still sleeping (yes! philip sleeping past 10am!) while dad & v are at the gym.  if i had packed properly i would have brought some yoga attire, but i definitely did not.  and i don't think sweaters, overly long scarves and skinny jeans are good any flow.

so far, "they are all named sean, they are mean, and i hate it here."  kidding.  as usual, boston is awesome.  and as usual, it has philip saying, "let's move here."  we got in a little late on thursday, arriving just in time for a dinner at back bay social club.  the food was good, but really the best thing were the cocktails.  i enjoyed one (or two, or three...) of some gin drink with grapefruit and cucumbers.  grapefruit is my latest obsession, but more on that later.  yesterday we did some much needed sleeping-in, had a late lunch at legal at one of my favorite places in boston, and then i had to get my phone replaced again.  bummer.  no phone numbers until monday, but that could lead to an even more relaxing weekend!  last night we had a heavenly dinner at strega's newest location on the water.  i don't know what the best part of the evening was... the burrata appetizer, the endless wine, or the fact that we were in the company of some quite important people.  the rangers are in town to play the bruins (game @ 1pm ET - tune in!) and the rangers just happened to be carbing up just a few tables away from us.  dad, comfortable amongst celebs as usual, walked right up to tortorella, shook his hand and told him to get a win.  i, on the other hand, was just able to drool and giggle uncontrollably.  but what else can one do in the presence of greatness?

today i'm not sure what we are up to, but it may or may not include the hockey game and/or a trip to manchester's greatest restaurant.  whatever it is i'm sure it will be wonderful and may include a spot on my list...

speaking of the list -- here's my new idea.  i'm going to start a little something called 10 BEST (i dieci migliori) where i will post my 10 favorites of something in lists.  i'm coming up with my 10 favorite things form my boston trip this weekend and will post them after i get some pictures -- oh yes, there will be pictures.

time for me to go enjoy my day here in beantown... beantown, you got it aaaaaaaaalllll!

20 March 2011

the bathroom: update iv - we have tile!

hello all!  sorry for my absence this week, but it's been a crazy one.  we didn't anything at all with the bathroom (or the rest of the house for that matter) until just saturday.  friday night we had a much-needed dinner out with mom, vince and their foreign exchange student kanami.  mexican, anyone?  a few dos equis amber cured what ailed me after a long rough week.  it was home and straight to bed for me.  saturday morning was all about cleaning for me.  we hosted a little dinner party last night and the house was a disaster after a week of not cleaning and specks of cement board on all of the hardwood floors.

anyway, my girlfriend walker has just moved back to denver from san antonio, so we had her over with some friends to celebrate.  i did the cooking: orzo with roasted zucchini, eggplant, garlic and tomatoes; fresh baby green salads with chickpeas and roasted peppers; a meat-lover pizza with prosciutto, bacon and tomatoes; and a vegetarian pizza with eggplant, mushrooms, tomatoes and a drizzling of truffle oil.  it was delicious and pretty easy.  all my friends (and philip too) were pretty impressed that i didn't screw anything up.  i was pretty relieved, i must say.  here's a shot of my awesome new tablecloth, it goes perfectly with the bold blue curtains in the living room!

from my local world market, LOVE that store!

well while i was downstairs cooking, philip decided he would go ahead and start tiling!  everything he's read so far all says to start your tile in the middle of the space and go outwards, so that's exactly what he did.  we still haven't ordered the tile for our border yet, so right now it's just the brown glass tiles.  here's what he's got going on so far.

three tiles up so far
getting ready for the next tile with adhesive
wiping most of it off
tiles goes up!
lining it up by eye since we lost our spacers :)
making sure it's on there good! 
and there you go!

image a: subject with multiple
inclusions on legs after falling
down side of hill in italy

there is now double the amount of tile up.  he could have done more but i made him quit to get a hair cut before our company arrived.  plus i want to help tile too!  that's one of the things that i think i can handle, since the space up in the bathroom is limited and i tend to be a little, well, clumsy (see image a).  i think he was ready for a break anyway, so we quit just in time for walker and drew to come over a little early. after we had a round of drinks in the kitchen while i put the finishing touches on the pizza, sarah, caleb and layne all showed up.  we had so much food and booze that we didn't have the house to ourselves again til after 11.  but it was wonderful to catch up with everyone.  layne has been saying ever since we moved in that she would love to come over and help paint -- so we will be taking her up on that soon.  once we get the tile done in the bathroom and the whole shower space is up and running the next task is to paint the living and dining room, which means we will need lots of man- and woman-power (and lots of beer).  anyway, i guess we should finish with the one project first...

we were up in decent time this morning and philip went right back to the bathroom.  no tile today, just putting up the splashguard on the ceiling.  i don't think i've put up pictures of that yet, so here it is, your first look at our bathroom ceiling (and no, it isn't mirrored like the downstairs bathroom ceiling...)!  it must be your lucky day.

we went back and forth on which color but ultimately ended up with a lighter bronze.  it looks awesome with the brown glass tiles.  this is an easier project to put this up on the ceiling, since the ceiling is so small.  all we needed was to cut the panels and put them up with construction-grade adhesive.


measuring out where to cut so it's perfect
the finished product! 

ignore the light fixture, that's going to be new also.  we still have to get the light fixture as well as a faucet and shower head.  we have a few in mind, but nothing for sure yet.  we are going to go check those out now though, so it's time for me to wrap it up... one last thing though!  i did a bit of weeding this morning out in front and we have a few visitors coming by!

i totally forgot that we have tulips growing everywhere.  we weren't living in the house yet when they bloomed last year, but we did come by for an inspection in april and they were all over the yards.  tulips are my favorite flower and were the only flower i carried in my wedding bouquet.  and bonus: they are dutch :)  i think they are a good omen around the house and i am so happy to see they are back again this year.  and even better, now i know that spring will inevitably be here before we know it.

next weekend we won't have any progress to report, since we will be in BOSTON visiting dad, v and aj.  so excited for the trip!  it won't be a st. patty's day in southie, but that's ok.  we'll probably be going to philip's favorite place in the world too, so it should make a for a fun weekend.  we head out of town wednesday night so i'm not sure when i'll post next, but i will put up some pictures of boston next week!

happy sunday all, open a bottle of wine tonight!


13 March 2011

the bathroom: update iii

happy sunday all!  and for us, it has been quite an awesome weekend.  first up on friday night: drinks and dinner at our local pub up the block with layne where layne & philip had a hell of a time ganging up on me for being awful at math.  layne is a high school math teacher and philip is, well, philip.  just for fun, why don't you comment on this post if you know how to find the inverse of the following equation:

y = x + 1

exactly.  no one should be forced to look at letters in a math problem scribbled on a cocktail napkin while drinking a delicious mighty arrow.  and no i couldn't figure it out.  but a good time was had by all nonetheless, it had been ages since we had hung out with layne and the three of us have a pretty damn good time together.  i had to work saturday morning, but when i left for work it's worth noting that the bathroom still looked exactly like it did when i posted the last update.  new bathtub was still in the entry way.  but by the time i came home, the tub was actually upstairs.  philip was hard at work putting up the cement board we are using as the backing for the tile.  the old tile was connected to greenboard, but this stuff is supposed to be much better since it actually repels moisture rather than basically absorbing it and disintegrating.  so the cement backer is a huge improvement.  i decided i should do something productive as well and did a very thorough cleaning of the first floor (the 2nd floor is just a war zone at this point).  blasted belle & sebastian, scrubbed the kitchen, vacuumed until my vacuum actually overheated, swept, mopped, polished just about everything.  i even got out some springy decor: green linen tablecloth from crate & barrel, and some greens to put above the mirror on the mantel where our christmas wreath was.  i have this grate bowl for a centerpiece where i keep two white pillar candles and i filled the bottom with faux moss and leaves, making it look really woodsy.  i love it.  

my dining table centerpiece. understated.
new greenery above the mirror.
i'm really ready to do the downstairs.  that's our next project by the way; as soon as the bathtub and tile is done we will be painting the living room and dining room.  we put up three different paint samples before we left for LA president's day weekend but really didn't love any of the colors.  i added two more samples last weekend and now we can't decide between those two!  

it's between the one on the far right and the one above that!
anyway, i'm really ready to just take everything out of the living and dining room to paint, give it a good cleaning and re-do the rooms.  i'm ready to get some real decorations in there!  we still haven't hung photos or anything because we were waiting until we painted... and here we are, a year after we closed we will be painting.  but one project at a time :) 

all the while, philip was being much more productive, i must say.  i couldn't do much cleaning up stairs, because most of the floor looked like this:

yeah.  so all i really did was clean up our bedroom.  i finally took off our amazing flannel sheets we got as a housewarming present that have literally been on since november when we got them.  i'd wash them and put them right back on -- i think it's the only way we survived the winter upstairs before we got our electric blanket.  but all the while, philip was hard at work on the bathroom.  by the end of the night, we hardly had the energy for anything at all.  i ran out and got chipotle -- the thought of cooking made me cringe.  by we had earned a night off, after all.  we watched the first half hour of gladiator before deciding it was, in fact, bedtime.  9:30pm.  but here's a few shots of the finished (for the day) product:

in the middle - cement board half up.

mussolini, making sure everything was up to code.

reading the instructions while lounging in the lined bathtub.
not a bad start.  next weekend we will actually put the tile up!  i'm beyond thrilled with how it's going so far.  philip is just amazing.  we slept like babies, except for when my snoring woke philip up at 5am, who woke me up.  we got to fall back asleep listening to the sound of spring rain outside.  even out tulips are trying to come out already!  i can see their little green buds popping out of the desolate brown grass in a few places and i just can't wait for spring.  today we had a lovely brunch at our favorite spot with mom, vince, uncle rich & beth before taking a long walk around sloan's lake.  but it's time for me to try my hand at roasted peppers and homemade pizza -- we rented the new woody allen tonight!  enjoy the end of our weekend all, and i'll post again soon.

til next time! 

10 March 2011

the bathroom: update ii

we have purchased tile!  well, some tile at least.  we decided to buy 20 square feet of brown glass tile to put up and make sure we are into it before we do the whole bathroom.  please excuse the photo quality, since it was: 1 - taken with my iphone, 2 - the tile still has the wrapping on it, 3 - taken on the home depot showroom floor and 4 - the white stone tile us still on a huge demo board.

the white stone is amazing and i really have my heart set on that.  we didn't buy it yet since it has to be ordered and wasn't in stock but this is the design we are planning on now.  the brown glass tiles will be the majority of the shower and the white stone will just be an accent (it might not even be as wide as that stripe there).  philip really love the brown glass tile so that's a huge step for us to agree outright on something like this. usually our tastes tend to be a bit... opposite.  but it was a relatively pain-free trip to home depot (besides wearing the damn heels i hadn't been planning on wearing for 10+ hours and marching around in the depot AND lowes).  i mean, just look at us, we don't look like we would be opposites at all... 

well, more to come soon.  we also bought grout and some other supplies to get this project started on saturday! 

happy thursday -- for those of you who know me, you'll know i have to go because it's time for my thursday dance. :)


08 March 2011

the bathroom: update

well, the tub has arrived!  it spent all day yesterday on the front porch and last night it was promoted to entryway/den.  it is sitting as i type this in the biggest box ever.  my cat will have a field day with this box, and i can't wait for what's inside!  i'll have new pics up of the bathroom progress this weekend, but until then here is a picture of my cat, mussolini, enjoying boxes.  you think i'm kidding.

a box from the move from denver to boston

have a good week friends... it'll be the weekend before you know it!

06 March 2011

the bathroom disaster

for those of you who may not know, we are re-doing the bathroom this year.  usually every year we take a big trip abroad (2008: germany and turkey, 2009: paris, 2010: morocco and spain).  2011, however, will be a bit tamer.  we decided last year that rather than taking a big trip we would put that money into our upstairs bathroom, which desperately needs some updating.  here are a few shots of what the bathroom looked like in march last year, before we even closed.  keep in mind this is what we have been living with as our main bathroom until just last month!

no, that crap in the right corner wouldn't come off

bland tile. chipped, cracked and impossible to keep clean

taking up just enough space in the middle of the room. why??????

boring mirror and lights from home depot (mirror came free w/vanity purchase).
the weekend of my birthday, i was showering and i looked up at the bathroom ceiling.  what i saw made me want to vomit.  the previous owner, or whoever painted our bathroom stock-white, used cheap paint. i can tell this because when it gets wet, the latex base drips in the form of yellow streaks on the walls and build-up on the ceiling that literally looks like pee on the walls.  it's the worst.  i got out of the shower and told philip that we should start ripping it out.  and my ever-motivated husband went right into the bathroom with a hammer and started smashing :)

at the risk of giving my mother a heart attack i won't post any pictures of what the bathroom looked between that day and yesterday.  i will tell you that it wasn't pretty.  and for about two weeks it sat totally untouched because we were out of town, so that kind of put a kink in our plans.

here's a photo of the kind of look and feel i'm going for in the bathroom:

photo from domino, tile from emery & cie
really, in a perfect world, i would use tile like this (below) with that gorgeous mirror above and some really interesting lighting.

tile from home depot.com
but marriage is about compromise and those of you who know philip won't be surprised to hear he doesn't like this tile (or the cost).  so we are going a more neutral, man-friendly way.  so far we have tentatively picked brown glass tile with a white stone border. 

the look in our house is pretty original, i think.  it's pretty eclectic.  while i love italian and french designs, i've found that i'm most home around moroccan decor.  so i'm really hoping to put a bit of that middle eastern flavor into the bathroom with dark tile and differing and neutral glass tea lights around the room like these from elizabeth's embellishments (one of my new favorite stores!) in lafayette.

we haven't picked out a vanity, floor tiles, paint, light, etc... right now we are just focused on getting a bathtub up and running so we don't have to shower downstairs every day.  i want a bath tub... our old one was so yucky i never took a bath in it.  so now that we are getting close (tub is being delivered monday or tuesday!) i am literally dreaming of hot bubble baths with candles and a good book.

but for now... i guess i'll just have to live with this.  happy sunday everyone :)

02 March 2011

a bit about the yard

well, philip and i are sitting around at boston logan airport so i'll get started a bit on the yard.  here is what the house looked like the very first day we saw it.
february 2010
it was the first weekend in february and it didn't look too pretty.  luckily we are well versed in "it's what's on the inside that counts," so we were able to see past the grim exterior into the gorgeous interior.  i won't go into the interior now but anyway, here it is, our lovely home in highlands.  the pretty house to our right belongs to our awesome neighbors, e & b.

may 2010
june 2010
after months of paperwork and phone calls, we finally closed on the house in april.  it took a little while before we were able to start on the yard; for those of you familiar with colorado's weather you'll know we can get snow all the way until the middle of may.  so we were a bit patient.  but once may did come, this is what we saw underneath the snow in front.  the right side of the yard needed some serious TLC.  weeds in the grass, brown splotches, and only one nice green area where a dog had obviously relieved itself.  on the right side there wasn't grass, but we couldn't quite see what was there.  something would sprout up in the spring we were sure... but we would have to wait a little bit longer to see the overtaking of weeds we would need to remove.  up in the front against the porch were various dead bushes, a baby tree with roots growing down towards our foundation and a dead rosebush tied to a trellis on the other side of the steps.  absolutely lovely.  here is what was growing on the left side of the lawn.  as you can see in the june picture, the right side of the lawn looked better after much in april, but the left side had to go.  and this was just the front yard :)

here is the lovely, lovely backyard.  4th of july weekend we gathered some family and very kind friends to help us out and start the backyard project ourselves.  we dug up dead trees, knocked down multiple bee hives, whacked down weeds literally taller than myself and sprayed round up til our knees bled.  it was an insane amount of work in one day, and all we actually did was prep work for a landscaper to come in and lay sod.  here's a few more snapshots from that day.

backyard, july 4th 2010
nate, aj and philip hard at work
towards the end of the working day

my herbs, which died within a week or two
i am really pretty proud though.  and mostly it was due to the nagging of my wonderful girlfriends layne & walker.  i was complaining about our impossible time hiring a reliable landscape crew and the girls gave me the necessary motivation to just start the work ourselves.  and they were right.  we saved a ton of $$ on labor just by doing the hard part ourselves.  laying the sod and creating the flower bed were a little beyond our means -- but i still feel a sense of pride and accomplishment when i look out back, knowing i helped create this.

the finished product (for this summer anyway!)
pretty decent, right?  we don't have anything planted out back and haven't done anything with the patio (besides mass amounts of weeding).  i'm hoping to do more of that this summer.  i'd also love to have a little herb garden if possible, but i'm not sure if that will work out.  lots more to do - a homeowner's work is never done :)

here's a few shots of the front yard, after we had our landscaper replace the crazy weeds on the left side with grass.  i planted about six different species on the left of the walkway up to the house.  to be honest at this moment i don't remember if they were annuals (or is it perennials?) or not, but i think i might have to re-plant this spring.  the big bush in the middle of the left side grass is a daisy bush which was there when we moved in.  i love it; daisies make me happy.  we also loved the roses at the front of the house back to life and enjoyed the most fragrant white roses all throughout the summer and into the fall.  i'm certain it's my pop pop helping my garden with his soul.  

there's also a shot of philip mowing the lawn for the first time.  notice how lovely green it is -- a little bit of fertilizer goes a long way!  the lawnmower is a generous hand-me-down from our awesome neighbors i mentioned before, e & b.  they had a spare and probably noticed how insanely long our grass was while philip took his time researching lawnmowers on homedepot.com... 

i hope to have more pictures as we thaw out of this winter but nothing new to share yard-wise now.  next time i'll either add some photos of the fireplace (all new!) or share some photos from the holidays... a little belated, i know.

enjoy!  until next time...

buona notte,