2/28/14

0 Jerusalem: Shades of Green

As I told you, I took an absurd number of photos on our Middle Eastern journey. Everything was so visually stimulating. The colors. The light. The patterns. New and old at the same time. And I know it sounds ridiculous, but sometimes I found myself so captivated with the sights that I don't think I could hear anything. I know I couldn't speak. But at least I could see. And so I tried to capture a little bit of it all in photos. I'm not sure how successful I was, but I certainly had a great time trying. 

On this Friday morning, how about some shades of green?









2/25/14

0 Pomegranate Juice

We Americans tend to think of pomegranate juice as the dark, syrupy stuff that comes in in a figure-eight shaped bottle of POM. (Way to go, marketers.) 

In the Middle East, not so much.

That's because pomegranates--the real deal--are everywhere: in crates, in boxes, in baskets. (Which is to be expected, of course; after all they're one of the oldest known fruits and are native to Persia.)  


And pomegranate juice? It doesn't come in a bulbous POM bottle. Nope, it's the fresh-squeezed kind.



If you're lucky, you just might get to squeeze your own, which is pretty fun if my crazy face tells you anything.


Cheers, friends!


2/23/14

1 Kitchen Love

When we first saw our new house, I hated it. Like, the very first thing I said to Tod after walking out was, "I hate that house." 

So naturally we bought it (about three weeks later). 

The short story: I had a realization (translation: sleepless night) a few days after we first viewed it, and the only thing I can say is that I saw what the house could be--I saw its potential. Because beneath the gross parts (almost everything), it really did have potential; most importantly though, it had the one thing about which we were not willing to compromise: location. And as for the gross parts, I just figured that once we removed those (again, almost everything), we'd be left with a blank slate. A blank slate to make our own. 

Sold!

The kitchen we purchased was yellow and blue with sticky brown cabinets, crunchy linoleum floors, and archaic appliances. It came complete with some creature's droppings in the drawers, and it was definitely one of the reasons I hated the house so much. It. was. gross. 




See the washing machine? We moved that but kept the plumbing to add a pot-filler faucet behind the range!
Just in case you didn't believe me about the droppings.
A few weeks after we closed, it was demolition time. We knocked out the obstructive coat closet between the front door and the kitchen, as well as the tall, skinny, ridiculous pantry that stretched the length of the kitchen. We rid ourselves of the brown, sticky cabinets, and we opened up the totally wasted space above the upper cabinets. It looked a million times better already.




Getting rid of the totally obtrusive pantry certainly opened up the space.



The HVAC system (including the ductwork) was in terrible condition, and it made the most sense to bite the bullet and replace it all while we were already down to the studs. One plus-side to taking on this additional project: the popcorn ceilings came down, and it was easy to add canned lights and other fixtures.



We knew exactly what we wanted our new kitchen to look like (modern white cabinets, open shelving, lots of white tile, and some sort of stone countertop) so the planning stage was simple, and quite fun actually. 

The new sheetrock and the  backerboard for our planned wall o' tile went in quickly.



We chose our appliances and our floors with ease, and after one too many glasses of wine one night I splashed out on a super fancy farmhouse sink that weighs a million pounds. (wine + the internet + a home renovation = a dangerous situation)

I had the best time planning the kitchen layout (with input from Tod, of course). I measured. I drew. I measured again. I drew again. And in the end, I was pretty sure we could fit a full-sized dishwasher, a tall pantry cabinet, and even a trashcan drawer (so fun!). I spent one Friday afternoon at Home Depot with Sue the cabinet lady (hi Sue!), and a few weeks later (after those folks in Vermont did their thing), we were in business.



When we took the picture for our New Year's/change of address postcard, the hardwood floors were down and the new ceilings were up. 



Then it was time for the tile, the marble, and that lovely farmhouse sink . . . (which required some cabinet rigging, but we love it and are glad we could make it work).




After a whole lot of planning and more than a few sleepless nights (I'm sure there were some tears thrown in there, too), things were starting to come together. 



The appliances arrived right on time . . .




And it's official. We no longer hate this house or its kitchen. In fact, I'd even say that we love this house, and we definitely love its kitchen--our kitchen. It's perfectly us and much roomier than we ever could have imagined. 



**Since moving in, we've added the cabinet and drawer pulls and the open shelving along the tile, but those are stories to themselves so I'll share those details another time.

So . . . what do y'all think? 

2/22/14

0 A very good place

It's been such a long time since my last post that I've pretty much forgotten how to blog. And so much has happened since my last post that I don't know where to begin. 

Julie Andrews would tell me to start at the very beginning. 

Because it's a very good place to start.

She's right, of course, but sometimes the middle is a good place to start, too.

The Middle East, that is. 

At least I think it's a good place to start when you've just spent two weeks there.

But you have no idea what I'm talking about because I haven't blogged in so long.

Well, the short story version: Tod and I moved into our new digs the first week of January. (Yay!) 

Translation: we spent an entire day picking things up and putting them down and ended up with something that looked like this. Because nothing says welcome to your new house quite like that giant mess. 


Can you spot Heidi and Tod? At least we could pick up the season premiere of Downton with our antenna.


We did not have much time to unpack because a few days after we moved, we picked up and flew to the Middle East for two weeks. 

Not really the best timing, but definitely the best time.   

So of course I've got lots to show and tell about it all, but since I'm out of blogging shape, I'm going to start slowly. I took SO MANY pictures on our trip--an absurd amount really--and I've got lots of house-related before-and-afters, but for today I think I'll leave you with a picture of my mother-in-law kissing a camel. His name was Mike, and he could stand to see a dentist.




12/17/13

0 Thirteen Questions: Janice

Broiled grapefruit from Health magazine (one of my thirteen magazine recipes)
      
Preheat broiler to low and set a rack 4 to 6 inches from heat source.

Cut red or pink grapefruit in half and loosen segments from membranes and pith with a paring knife. Sprinkle each half with light brown sugar and ground cinnamon.
Place grapefruit cut sides up on a baking sheet. Broil until tops are slightly browned.
Spoon plain yogurt (I went with Greek) on the top and sprinkle with additional cinnamon.        
         


Delicious!

Okay, and now for our thirteenth question answerer. Thank you, Janice!
1. When someone asks you where you’re from, what do you say?
Charleston

2. How long did you live there (or do you still live there)?
Have been here 42 years.


3. Which book or books are you reading right now (or what’s the last book you read)?
John Grisham's newest book, Sycamore Row



4. What are your go-to comfort foods?any type of seafood -- cooked anyway


5. Who annoys you more: people who don’t use their blinkers or people who talk on the cell phone while checking out at the grocery store?  (If you don’t find either of those things annoying, first, you’re better than I am–although I’m sure I’ve been guilty of both at times–and second, what do you find annoying?) 

cell phone users in grocery stores -- or any store for that matter 


6. If you could travel in time, either forwards or backwards, and in place, what time and place would you visit?  
Summerton, South Carolina -- from ages 6 to 17 

7. Along those imaginary lines (although I’m sort of convinced that time travel is possible even though we don’t yet know how), if you could attend a dinner party with your family and friends and three totally random people–living or dead, famous or not–who would those three people be? 

Mariska Hargitay, Mama Lela, Martin Luther King, Jr. (plus mama, daddy, Danny, and George, so they could meet the adult Will)


8. And where would this imaginary dinner party be? 

6 Limehouse Street 


9. What are your favorite TV shows right now?

Law and Order, NCIS, Bold & the Beautiful 


10. How long has it been since you last looked at your cell phone?

When it rang an hour ago - time to pick up Mazie from the groomer. 


11. What advice, if any, would you give to your twenty-year-old self? 

Love everyone. 


12. If you previously set goals or made resolutions for 2013, what were they and did you accomplish them?
I did not make any resolutions. 



13. What goals or resolutions, if any, do you have for 2014?
Continue to count my blessings
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