Friday, July 30, 2010

happy happy joy joy

[etsy seller KikiLaRu via designsponge]

i'm so stoked that it's friday. this has been quite a long week.

this weekend, i hope to:
*practice my ukelele as much as possible (i'm working on leonard cohen's "hallelujah" currently)!
*sign up for a membership at emory university's gym (i need to do this badly)
*get our new bed delivered (pipe dream)
*stain our outdoor furniture
*enjoy lots of veggie burgers with wonderful friends
*play horseshoes

now if only this bedspread matched from urban outfitters our new bed:

i can not believe that july is coming to an end. august is going to be a jam-packed month and i'm really looking forward to it!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


besides just indicating that the work week is half way over, wednesdays have become sweeter since we signed up for a local community-supported agriculture (csa) program.

every wednesday we pick up our box from a local store and the box is always packed with wonderful fruits, vegetables, and eggs from local farms. sometimes they even throw in grains, honey, herbs, teas, cheeses, and more! it's always such a nice surprise and the food is unbelievable.

the csa we joined is farmers fresh and we love it. their ordering system and product offerings are great. when you join, you even get an amazing introductory package that includes a farmers fresh cookbook (helps give ideas for foods one typically gets through their csa), breads, pancake mix, nut mixes, etc. also every week they post the probable menu along with a weekly newsletter online.

below is the welcome package:

here's what we got today!

since we don't have a garden yet, this was the best option for us to still have fresh, local produce and also support local farmers. also, after reading "animal, vegetable, miracle" by barbara kingsolver a few months ago, the idea of having food when it's in-season has become something that i continually strive for. if you haven't read this book, i would suggest it to anyone who wants to know about local farming and sustainability.

p.s. sometimes we get blue eggs and it makes me so happy!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

deck staining 101

i should say that j and i are no where near being deck-staining experts. in fact, we are anything but; however, we took on the challenge of staining our deck this weekend and despite the heat advisories and a million bug bites we did it!

here's a look into the process.

before shots:

1. first we pressure-washed our deck. we figured pressure washing would make a difference but we never thought it would instantly look like a new deck! although we needed to use high pressure to get the years of dirt and grime off our deck, i wouldn't necessarily suggest using high pressure because it will require sanding the wood afterwards.

here's pictures of the deck during and after pressure washing:

total difference, huh?

2. then due to some splintering of the wood (due to the pressure washing), we had to go back and sand a lot of the railings. this was NOT fun. thankfully we had two hand sanders and that made the process a bit faster. i wanted to give up a few times, but i'm glad we didn't. you can see the difference sanding makes below*:


3. after we finished sanding, we had to make sure we had a rain-free weekend. considering we've had numerous summertime isolated shower surprises lately, we had to be very careful. we decided this past weekend was a best bet and made sure we had no plans. the next step was use behr's 2-in-1 wood cleaner and brightener. we scrubbed this on friday night and rinsed the deck fully of the cleaner. and then we were ready to stain once the deck was dry the next morning! i should say that the cleaner takes a great deal of rinsing to get fully out of the wood and it is important that it is completely rinsed!

here is a picture of our deck after being pressure-washed, sanded, and cleaned:

now it's time to stain!

4. we woke up early on saturday to start staining. we ended up using behr's premium semi-transparent stain in the oxford brown color. we intially bought 1 gallon to start (ended up buying 6 by the time the job was done!) we had two 3-inch brushes (flat edge and edger), a garden sprayer, and a roller with a long handle. we started with the railings first and then after 1-2 hours, we did the recommended second coat on the railings. the first coat took so long that as soon as we were done with the first coat, we immediately were able to start the second.

pictures of the railing being stained:

5. after mini-breaks here and there (with lots of gatorade and watermelon) to avoid heat exhaustion, we finally got to staining the floor**. the garden sprayer we got did NOT work so we ended up having to have j roll the surface while i went behind and blending everything in with a brush. it took a long time but at least we knew it'd help the stain penetrate the wood. we quickly realized we had made an error, we started off staining horizontally instead of vertically WITH the grain. you can see the errors slightly in the picture below. we changed our methods but definitely had to go back with a second coat and blend the overlapping again once it was all completed.
pictures after the first part of the deck floor was stained:

6. lastly, we woke up on sunday early again (no fun for weekends) to get back to work. after getting more stain from home depot, we got started immediately on the other side of the deck, stairs, and bottom of deck (including posts). we may have to do a third coat on the deck floor without the railing because it is slightly lighter, but here is the [currently] finished deck:

overall, it took us 12 hours on saturday (i'm not exaggerating) and 7 hours on sunday. yes, that is 19 hours total! we had a few mishaps and beginner issues, but in the end, it looks really great. the biggest lessons we learned was that when they say to not stain when it's over 90 degrees farenheit, you should probably listen. we had to go super fast at times to keep a wet edge in the stain and avoid brush strokes being visible. plus, you almost pass out when it's too hot. so don't tackle a huge project like this in the dead-middle of summer. also, having more than 2 people for a deck as big as ours would have been nice. we can both hardly walk today. good times!

*sorry for the cloudiness of the picture. this is what happens when it is humid as hell outside.
**it is important to note that you always want to stain from the top-down (railing to floor) to avoid dripping on already stained surfaces.

we still have to stain our mailbox, birdhouse stand, and our outdoor furniture, but there's no rush with those.

the rush behind the deck was because our 2 wonderful friends return from germany this week and the plan is a cookout chez nous on saturday so we wanted to ensure the deck was done and fully sealed before we had loads of people walking on it. i can't wait to have everyone over!

i know this isn't the best recap of the deck staining process; however, if you have any questions, please feel free to email me!

the next big projects include building a pergola on the open side of our deck (originally built by the old owners to be a screened-in porch), paint the whole house (this is definitely NOT going to be a summer project as initially planned), and put up hammock posts. i honestly can't wait to have more of an incentive to be outside in our own back yard. i get so happy just thinking about the end result!!!

what house projects do you currently have planned or in-progress? ♥

Monday, July 26, 2010


this print by mike klay makes me so happy. it reminds me of the fall. normally i'm a big fan of summer but this summer has been so ridiculously hot that i've decided i'm done with summer - ready for wind with no humidity and crackling leaves.

my issue with summer comes after a full weekend of being in the sun staining our deck. we stained for 12 hours (yes you read that right) on saturday and then 7 hours yesterday. we could barely keep our eyes open.

however, i am glad to report that we are done (with the exception of putting one last coat on one part of our deck). i will post pictures tomorrow of the full process!

happy monday - it came too soon this week.

Friday, July 23, 2010

rock n roll

[image via flickr]

i love this music map. it really has all the iconic bands from each music genre. although some of the connections between genres has me a bit puzzled, it's pretty damn accurate. seeing all of these great bands (there are some exceptions on this list - see limp bizkit) is helping set the friday playlist. whatever it takes to get through the day, right?

this weekend will be pretty uneventful outside of the deck staining. i can't wait to be able to cross this project off the to-do list. we still have to build the pergola and build slats under the deck but that'll come this fall.

here's the initial sneak peek at the very first step we did: pressure washing!

an incredible difference, huh? we had no idea that the wood would look so great after pressure washing (yes, we're first-time home buyers). i'll post a follow up with the full process.

now i just hope that the stain i picked out isn't too dark!

i hope you have a wonderful weekend filled with all things lovely.

p.s. this a picture from our seats at the game yesterday! we sat in the walter bank's suite area named after our usher who has worked for the braves for over 38 years! oh yeah - the braves won!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

gooo braves!

today is going to be very busy, but at least it's all fun things.

as a team outing for work, today we'll be going to the 1:05 Braves game against the Padres. i'm really excited (even considering it'll be roughly 98 degrees outside during the game)! to add to this excitement, turner field now sells veggie dogs too! ♥

after the game, i have to hurry home for my weekly ukelele lesson. i've really been practicing strumming and transitioning. i'm hoping today that i can learn a song to practice because i feel like that will really help motivate me and make me feel like i'm really making progress. considering i've never really played an instrument (playing the piano for a year at the age of 7 and playing a recorder in elementary doesn't really count, does it?), learning to play at the age of 26 really makes me feel like anything is possible. maybe not anything, but it's a start!

after the lesson, we're going over to our great friends' (victor and anna) house for dinner. eggplant lasagna! now i just hope we have enough time to make the bruschetta that i promise to bring!

although i'm looking forward to the day, i have to admit, i'm also looking forward to being done with this week. it's been great but super busy. sadly, the weekend won't offer any relief either because we have to stain our deck! we're on a crunch because our close friends come back from germany next week and we're hosting everyone at our house for a cookout.

good times. good friends. i guess i can get over all this running around. we'll sleep when we're dead!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

inner peace, outer beauty

this t-shirt from etsy seller secretlovers is j's favorite. not only is the print undeniably awesome, but the shirt is from american apparel so it feels great too.

think of how wonderful the world could be if everyone just loved one another and stopped shaving. no war. no destruction. just lovely, lovely beards. ♥

"everyone's a pacifist between wars. it's like being a vegetarian between meals" - colman mcCarthy

Monday, July 19, 2010

how do you keep a bird from flying?

if i were to post our current netflix queue on here, there would be one blazing similarity among the films - 99% of them are documentaries.

one of my all time favorite documentaries is deep water.

we recently watched it again and my fascination with this story of adventure, risk, isolation, and love has fully returned. there are current parts of this true story that get me at my very core every time. the original footage in this film is absolutely incredible.

i suppose this film hits me so hard because - well we're all dreamers and we all want the best for our loved ones. i can relate to the women of this film in that i love someone who i want to always protect but who i also want to be free to follow his path of choice (and not of necessity or convenience). the recent discovery of a love for sailing also compounds my feelings towards this story. if you've never seen it, please move it up to the top of your movie queue immediately...

you can thank me later.

plastic = bad

since plastic is so bad for the environment and our health, i try to avoid it like the plague. besides being bad for the future of the earth and the landfills, i am also convinced that it taints food and drinks - to the point where i can actually taste the plastic. like my husband, i'm sure you'll call me crazy, but i really can't help it.

my complete disdain for plastic has lead me to find alternatives for standard uses of plastic. for instance, for storing food and planning lunches, i always use my fishs eddy glass storage bowls (granted the lid is plastic but i remove them before microwaving and i only hand wash them as well). these bowls allow me to easily pack our lunches without having to use plastic tupperware and they make me so happy with their beautiful vintage designs. they are also perfect for gift-giving and portion control which is always nice!

another favorite anti-plastic product is my sigg water bottle. besides being completely BPA-free, they are also refillable so NO MORE plastic bottles being unnecessarily wasted. plus, with tons of styles, you can find colors and/or art that suits you perfectly. below is my current sigg bottle and it follows me everywhere.

the other obvious plastic indulgence is plastic grocery bags. although j and i have a lot of mismatched random reusable grocery bags (including a crocheted reusable bag made out of plastic grocery bags as recent gift from my best friend), there are some really durable, compact, and stylish options available from baggu.

who knew that being good for the environment and your body could look this good? ♥

Sunday, July 18, 2010

bed time!

i am so excited to share some big news!!!

j and i bought a new bed yesterday! ok - so maybe that's not big news for you, but i have been looking for a bed for 6 months+. seriously.

i'm generally not very picky (although my childhood nickname of "picky nikki" would seemingly state otherwise), but for some reason, picking out a bed was so difficult. the main issue being that i love the simple look of antique beds, but they all come in full size. also, most antique-looking beds typically come in ebony or ivory finishes. since we were trying to keep our current dark cherry dresser, it made the search a bit more tedious.

but today, we finally found the perfect bed! it has an antique feel and it's not too feminine or masculine. we can also finally use our box spring and put our current bed in the guest room.

here's what our bedroom looks like currently with the infamous ikea malm bed (this picture is a bit outdated actually):

and i'll post new pictures once we get our new grayson upholstered bed (from basset furniture) delivered! even better is that the bed was originally $1,499 but we got it on clearance for almost 1/3rd of the original cost!

sighs - man it feels good to be done bed hunting.

what about you? did you struggle as much when picking out your bed? what kind of bed is your favorite? upholstered? poster? panel? i'd love to know!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

atlanta occasions magazine

a few months ago, i was told that our wedding was going to be featured in the "atlanta occasions" magazine. i hadn't heard anything since then, but figured i'd find out eventually. well today, i thought i'd look through the new magazine online when low-and-behold! there was our wedding in the summer/ fall 2010 magazine on pages 108 and 109!

the layout looks great and it will definitely be cool to show our kids one day (far, far from now j - don't worry. haha).

you can click through the magazine below:

now we've got to make sure we get to a local barnes and noble to pick up some copies!

p.s. for the record, i wasn't contacted before this was published so there are some mistakes. for instance, j and i are vegetarian NOT vegan (sadly) and neither of us have an aunt betty.

Friday, July 16, 2010

yeah mon

as a last minute decision, j and i decided we needed to see the ocean - badly. we needed to be alone on the beach somewhere with books and cocktails.

however, due to the fear of tarballs in the gulf and pricey costs of charleston, we decided to go to montego bay, jamaica. we knew it sounded kind of crazy - to be planning a trip to the caribbean two weeks in advance, but we're grateful that we're able to do these kind of spontaneous trips for now (i.e., no kids and no pets).

we left for jamaica on my birthday and while we were waiting to board, j was called to the counter to check in which was weird considering we'd already checked in at the delta kiosk. when he was walking back towards me he had the most amazing grin on his face, because we had been UPGRADED to first class! it was such a nice surprise!

once we got to jamaica, we had a few trials and tribulations getting settled at the hotel but we got everything resolved and life was good. this definitely wasn't the nicest place we've stayed but considering the cheap prices and that we planned the trip last minute, we were pleasantly surprised. and for the record, jamaicans were completely drawn to j - i think beards make you an instant rastafarian. or maybe they loved him because he looks like jesus (he had many different people tell him that) - haha!

the rain came in quickly and it was only lunchtime so we decided to get couples massages until the rain blew over. the massages were incredible! it was completely worth every penny. after the massages, we hung out by the beach for a bit (although the sun never came back out) before going in to get ready for dinner. meals were ok at the grand palladium; however, for vegetarians, it can be awfully difficult to find food that we can eat.

the next morning we headed out for our canopy ziplining tour. we had the best time ziplining and our guides ryan and gussy were a blast.

after ziplining, the rain came and never stopped so we did a lot of reading (i finished the grapes of wrath for book club and j is reading ishmael).

the last day was by far our favorite! we walked over to the beach on the other side of the resort to do some water sports.

we initially kayaked but we were immediately drawn to the sailboats. they tried charging for "lessons" if you had never sailed, but one of the workers offered to teach us for free. it took him about 5 minutes to teach us and then we were off!

by the way, it's pretty ironic that we watched the movie castaway the night before, huh?

we could have stayed out on the ocean sailing forever. and ever.

we had been talking about taking sailing lessons and buying an old sail boat for a while before this trip, but now the spark has been lit and we can't wait to make it happen. we may even go look at a boat from craigslist this weekend!

we were only gone for 3 full days, but it was a great trip of new adventures! for our next beach trip, we'll avoid all-inclusives (we just don't drink and eat enough to make it worth it) and will sail the whole time, if possible!

i hope you have a great weekend. any fun plans? we're just hoping it doesn't rain so we can finish our deck - a post on that to follow!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...