Category Archives: home life

I’m waking up, I feel it in my bones*…

*Lyrics from Radioactive by Imagine Dragons from their album Night Visions. I’ll admit to not listening to the whole album yet. I’ll admit to finding this album by the ‘top album’ feature on iTunes. I’ll admit that this video is bizarre. This song is rather pop-like, and not my usual fare, but the lyrics, and the mood suited my own today, so I used it. Maybe the album will be a good one for spring runs, or spring cleaning, or spring lounging in the sun that is finally penetrating our atmosphere and shining down on us again. Let’s all have a listen on spotify, and report back.

Need I say more?

Spring. She took a long time to get here this year. Maybe she didn’t but it sort of felt like that these past few weeks. Probably because I’ve been living back in The Big House, and away from my normal routine with my husband. He’s never worked this much before (this is his busy season, so to speak, but this is ridiculous), and we’ve never had two homes to keep us apart. Jeff’s office is in the city (well, Brooklyn, but you get the idea) so he MUST be down there during the week. And I’ve got my own things are brewing back at home, working on a new project with Dave from Innovative for some amazing clients on an amazing house. I’ve needed to be nearby for time-sensitive decisions about plans, materials, budgets, etc., while Jeff has needed to be buried in his work for his own time-sensitive deadlines. So we’ve been experiencing the season apart from one another, and our own work has kept us from having any real quality time.

So, this spring, which is finally springing forth, is really a long time coming. read on…

Don’t worry baby, it goes right through me…*

*Lyrics from Judge Jury and Executioner on the album AMOK from Thom Yorke‘s new band Atoms For Peace. We all know how I feel about Thom Yorke by now (LOVE, in case you missed it), and this new collection of songs is stellar, as always. I’m not a groupie or an über fan, so I don’t know the inner workings of why this band was formed, or what’s happening with Radiohead… all I  know is that it’s good, and you should listen to it. And I apologize to Thom for using his lyrics to vaguely indicate that beans, cauliflower and curry cause digestive issues. The song is great, and the mis-use of his words? Ok, well, it’s funny, is what it is. So sue me. (Ok, don’t, but please, I mean no disrespect.) Moving on.

Chick peas, ceci, or garbanzo beans… whatever you call them, they’re adorable (and really swell in size from their dried state!).

And now, anther installment of Kitchen Monthly… On a day like today, here in the Northeast, we woke up (and went to bed, frankly) with a winter storm mucking up all of our springy energy. We are having to shovel (or, having your delightful neighbors do your walkway for you because they are soooo kind! thank you, lovies!), and deal with one more grey, miserable, drizzle-able day. So I thought, perfect! I’ll share that recipe today! It’s warm, cozy, and easy to make. Well, except for the beans, they take a while to soak/cook/etc., but you can used canned, so, you needn’t do that step today. read on…

Last night a DJ saved my life…*

*Lyrics from Last Night a DJ Saved My Life by Indeep. You may think you know this song, but after you hear my tale you’ll forever hear this song differently. Plus, broken heart sort of sounds like dirty floor, if you’re singing along. Go ahead, put it on, and start reading. You’ll thank me. ‘Cause away goes trouble down the drain.

The laundry room, nearly besmirched by refuse, lives to see another clean day.

Want to hear a story? Of course you do. Tuck in, kids.

So, we’ve been backsie-forthsie since our move from our pied-à-terre to our pied-à-deux. More like I’ve been back, and Jeff has been forth. Just after our move (the next day, to be precise) I got a call for some potential design work with my favorite crew, Innovative Construction Solutions. Naturally I hopped on a train to make it back for the meeting. (I’d do pretty much anything for those guys, and I think they’ve shown that the feeling is mutual.) I joined my sister (who is watching the house for us) at home for the balance of the week, awaiting Jeff’s arrival on the weekend (we were meant to celebrate my mom’s birthday as a family on Saturday).

Well, full house Saturday (this time that meant four adults staying here), and a few loads of laundry, and several showers later and our plumbing main backed up. On a Saturday night. During one of the most stressful weekends we’ve had in years. We noticed as I was cooking dinner (our family dinner was postponed for various reasons, least of which were that Jeff was and is working non-stop on a project that NEEDS his attention in full), and I ran to the basement to grab a seltzer from our beverage fridge. I found myself suddenly asking: Why were my feet wet? Why was the slop sink completely full? Why did this happen during the tricky part of cooking risotto and while Jeff was completely busy? What caused all of this tomfoolery?

read on…

I love you madly, you’ve really got a hold on me…*

*Lyrics from You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me as sung by Me’Shell N’degeOcello. I’ve been listening to a lot of jazz on Pandora lately and this soulful version just delighted me. If you dig her voice, perhaps you’ll like her latest offering, Pour une âme souveraine – A Dedication to Nina Simone.

Beauty shot: Bam. Tulips. In your face.

So, the change of season has begun. I know we just had a major blizzard in the Northeast just a few weeks ago, and more snow and cold weather are on the forecast, but the sun is shining longer every day, and I am starting to notice the change – the spring fever – amongst my fellow man. The other day, the temperature reached the low 50s here in NYC, so I was able to run outside. Delightful. On my way back from the run, meandering through throngs of sunshine- and warmth-starved Brooklynites, the streets were buzzing with street vendors selling their wares, with t-shirt and shorts clad hipsters, and flower markets bursting with post-Valentine’s Day overflow stock. Naturally, I was eager to get mine, to capture just a breath of spring, so I put in a request with the husband for a mass of cheerful flowers.

He brought me three bunches of yellow tulips. read on…

No more silence in me…*

*Lyrics from All Our Wonder by Memoryhouse off their album The Slideshow Effect. I stumbled upon these guys during another Spotify adventure and wound up really liking them. Give them a listen. What else have you go going on?

Up close and personal with my latest creation: banana oat muffins.

Back by popular demand, here’s another installment of Kitchen Monthly! Ok, maybe not popular demand. But, if my instagram feed is to be believed, you guys love to look at baked things, and probably want to know how you, too, can live my fabulous life. (If you can’t tell where the sarcasm is in that statement, well, perhaps you should just run along.)

It’s no secret that I love to bake. And, it’s no secret that I love my kitchen. At home, that is. The one at the rental pied-à-terre? Well, it’s functional. And by functional I mean that it takes me two hours to make soup. Ok, maybe it always takes me that long, but it feels like things take even longer. The stove/range is an apartment-sized 20″ and the counter space, while improved greatly by the addition of some IKEA cabinets and a length of countertop, is still limited. And there is no dishwasher. And we have a limited number of things like bowls, utensils, muffin trays, etc. At the house we pretty much have enough cookware, etc., to host a meal for a dozen comfortably. Here, we have enough for two, or three (and lately that’s been three as one of my sisters is staying with us in our tiny flat – for now.)

read on…

Everybody knows that crime pays, and everybody loves it…*

*Lyrics from Bear HandsCrime Pays song off their album Burning Bush Supper Club. Jeff’s been telling me about these guys for a while now, and this song, well, it seemed relevant to the current mood in the world. At least some pockets of the world. (And it’s a great album – every song of theirs that came up on Pandora I ‘liked.’)

The smell of freshly baking anything is pretty much a guaranteed mood elevator.

I’ve been thinking non-stop about the events in Newtown (who hasn’t?), and considered joining the conversation. And then I heavy-heartedly sighed. So then, I thought, ‘maybe I should just bake something instead?’ Right? Much better idea. For as many legitimate discussions are cropping up due to the madness (and the sadness), and as opinionated as I am about it all, I think I’ll leave it, just as I’ll leave the emptiness alone. Sometimes, talking about something (or sharing countless images, or names, or candlelight vigils, or articles, or opinions) makes it worse, even when intentions are good.

So, for the latest installment of Kitchen Monthly (which I should really re-rename Kitchen Wheneverly), Pumpkin Pecan White (and Brown) Chocolate Chip Muffins, anyone? read on…

I’ll be home for next year, darling, I’ll be home for next year…*

*Lyrics from Next Year by Two Door Cinema Club off their newest album Beacon. I’m pretty smitten with their up-tempo songs – great for running – and their overall modern, pop, alternative vibe. It’s so exciting when a band you found that you really liked releases a new album. It’s like a fresh start. I needed that.

Our house is a very lovely house. Our house is a very fine house.

Well, sadly, I’m here to announce: we didn’t sell our house. After four months on the market, we decided to let the listing expire, and take the winter off from trying to sell. The stress of having to keep the house in museum quality condition – and that means it’s virtually impossible to do any crafting or art of any kind, since those activities always make several days of clutter and debris – was getting to be too much. Plus, with Thanksgiving only a week away, and then Christmas right behind it, we’re going to want to be free to un-stage our house to make way for guests, gifts, feasts, and celebrations. Who can do that if you have to drop everything to get the house ready for a showing? Not I.

We’re hoping to re-list the house in the spring, when, possibly, the market improves, and the weather lifts. This cold snap brings the reality of shoveling, and muddy feet (thus mopping, mopping, mopping) that would surely lengthen our preparation time for house showings. But, you can always check out our house room by room by searching for (you guessed it) ‘house tour‘ in the archives, or view a briefer tour at our house tour tab. And there’s always our house’s very own website which will stay up for now (just sans MLS#). We’re (obviously) incredibly proud of all the hard work we put into the home, and are sincerely sad to leave it (which is why we’d rather just enjoy our time here during the winter). Hopefully, a lucky family will come along who simply MUST live here, and the house will end up in the care of a dedicated and loving family. Until then, this is our reality.

Not ideal, no, but what can one do? We’re going to try to make the best of it, and do things that normal people still do to their homes: hang art, decorate for the season, possibly spruce up a wall or two (I might, or might not, have a stenciling problem). So, I’ll have more things to show you, eventually. And I’ll get around to finalizing our pied-à-terre. So much was going on simultaneously that it’s been hard to complete anything, let alone photograph it.

Well, I hope you’re all well. Disappointment is hard to cope with (as some of you know from last Tuesday’s election results), but it is a part of life. I am choosing to see this minor setback as an opportunity – to create, to play, to linger, to reassess. What do you do to cope with a disappointment?


When I give my heart, it will be completely…*

*Lyrics from When I Fall In Love as sung by (gulp) Celine Dion. I know, I know! It’s sort of cheesy (ok, a LOT cheesy), but, well, I’m a romantic, and a sap. And I started out with a different song in mind, but something in the lyrics of this one spoke to the nature of the vows that were given (not taken). And the video is wretched, and has nothing at all to do with the loveliness that was this past weekend. But the Doris Day version seemed too sad… and not what I wanted. Oy, ok. Just, insert your own tune, but know that you cannot fall without giving yourself to the fall. You cannot receive the love, you must give it. That’s how it works. Ok, moving on. 

Right? It was WOW all day long. And, not to ruin it, but that seaweed/kelp pile on the beach didn't really smell that great. Jeff had to try not to gag. But it's pretty!

So, I have several blog posts written, just waiting for pictures. Which will be taken when things get a little more finished, or when I get back in the habit of photographing things as I go along. I’ve been a little rushed, and a little overwhelmed of late, what with having the house on the market, also trying to home-ify our pied-à-terre, all that bouncing back and forth, packing and unpacking, and then making a trip to lovely northern California for Jeff’s cousin’s wedding (more packing, and unpacking). We may not have shown you our wall paint selections for the flat yet, or have any news to report regarding the sale of our home, but we did manage to take pictures of our trip, and it was spectacularly lovely.

read on…

Lyrics from everyone…*

*It’s been quite some time since I’ve rounded up my blog post title inspirations into a mix. This time I thought I’d try using Spotify for my mix instead of 8tracks (as I have in the past). I’m always using Spotify to discover new artists, and I don’t really use 8tracks, so, well, it seemed more authentic to me.

“What I did on my summer vacation” or, rather, what I’ve been doing for the past 7 months or so.

Anyway, from January through parts of July, here are some of the tunes that have been settling in my brain, dancing around in my ears, and accompanying my clicking, typing fingertips. Feel free to listen in any order you like, though I put them in chronological order (at least in the order in which I used them). Throughout these past months music has been a constant companion: whether visiting relatives on the west coast, day (or couple-of-day) tripping to NYC, hanging out with my elder niece, painting, sewing, staining, cooking, baking, crafting, yard-working, running, or prepping the house for sale, I always have a selection of tunes nearby to get me through it.

Click through to the link below, or find each individual song as listed in the original blog post. I love music and am grateful and happy that we get to share it so easily now. Thanks, internet.

sohappyhome spring/summer ’12 for the Spotify mix

read on…

And we are far, far from home, but we’re so happy…*

*Lyrics from From Finner by Of Monsters And Men off their album My Head is an Animal. I just heard this right before our trip on spotify, and thought, ‘how have I not heard them before?’ I’m loving the album, and think a purchase is in order. Spotify, you are so good to me.

Before the beach completely filled up, and as people were setting up their gear, I snapped a few pictures that felt like another time.

Ok, so, sorry for the radio silence, but we went on vacation. I had this whole idea that we’d have soooo much time on our hands that I could sneak in a blog post or two. I even drafted a few ideas before we left. Then we left and I forgot all about everything. I forgot about social media, blogging, TV and movies, the house (and stress from having it on the market), and pretty much anything that had to do with our regular life. It was most excellent indeed.

read on…