Category Archives: home life

Petition for a life unknown…*

*Lyrics from Petition by Tennis from their album Young & Old. I found them, on (you guessed it!) spotify when looking for similar artists to Hospitality. However, be forewarned, there are two bands called Tennis. This one is NOT the hip-hop one, but rather the indie pop one that’s interesting and St. Vincent-esque. They also have an interesting story behind their music. Have a listen or a read and let me know what you think.

Brushstrokes, colors, movement, line weight - all these things were experiments, and things I don't normally get to play around with when doing household painting chores.

Between all the chores we’ve been tackling to get the house ready to be on the market – finishing out the exterior with a freshened up side porchreplaced stairs off the porch, fresh paint and stain on just about everything, new storm doors and lighting – we’ve had barely any time to do anything fun. Just for pleasure. And my body seems permanently crunched into a semi-bent position, complete with crooked hand just waiting to hold a paint brush. Despite needing to complete yet more chores that involved painting (chiefly, interior trim and door painting), I snuck in a few moments here and there to finally complete my very first painting. You know, with paint. Colors. And canvas. Just for fun. Just for me. (Well, ok, for us.)

For the past few weeks we’ve been trying to finish up every lingering project around here so that we can actually relax and enjoy our home (until we sell it, of course). It’s summer, after all, and we need to have some hammock time. And badminton tournaments. Which are really just exercises in several-minute-long volleys, no points awarded, just laughing, and trying not to twist our ankles. But we realized that we should also complete some of the things we’ve been tinkering on that were just for beauty’s sake, and not for some practical consideration.

read on…

It’s too late to change your mind, you let loss be your guide…*

*Lyrics from High Road by Broken Bells. I’ve always liked them. I should listen to them more. So should you.

Front door. Lawn renovated in 2008, including new walkway, irrigation system and all new plants.

Big, BIG news, y’all: we’re selling our house! I’ve added a new section to the site – a house tour section – that has gobs of photos, and descriptions about all the sections of the house, and should force each and every one of you to pull out your checkbooks and start making offers. We also created a second site with large format photos (even more than are on this site) with a link to the MLS listing, and tons of information about the features of the home.

So, check out the new section, the new site, or the MLS listing for photos and information. Enjoy! xoxo

Summer sangria*

*Instead of cupcake monthly, that my waistline wouldn’t let me actually keep up with, please enjoy this first official installment of Kitchen Monthly. Though I doubt it’ll be monthly. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see, won’t we?

To quote my niece: “Holy god, that looks good.”

One of my favorite things to drink in the summer is a fruity, chilled, and slightly sweet sangria. I first tried my hand as making sangria a few years ago after watching a bit too much Rachael Ray. From her I learned that you should usually have a citrus, a stone fruit (peach, plum, etc.), and a seed fruit (apple, pear, etc.). That combination has stayed with me, and I’ve been tinkering on versions ever since. The last one I made was by far my favorite one I’ve ever made, so I thought I should share my basic recipe.

Summer Sangria

1 btl dry rosé

1 lime, sliced into thin disks, then halved

15-20 cherries, pitted and halved

half packet raspberries (about 3 to 4 oz.), fresh (not frozen)

2 peaches, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup dark rum, whatever brand you prefer

1/4 cup brandy, best quality you can afford

1 can fruit-juice sweetened spritzer (I like Knudsen’s brand) in strawberry

Ice, as much as you like

read on…

And then, we can, do anything, we want…*

*Lyrics from something Anything We Want by Fiona Apple off her latest album. Only her fourth album in 16 years, I think it’s worth a listen. She’s an actual musical artist (unlike so many in the business of making and selling music), and you might like her work. Or you might not. I do. 

BEFORE: Recently, we took some exterior photos while the peonies were still in bloom. The side fence was then just raw, untreated wood left in its natural, weathered state.

Months ago, when we had our side porch and rear porch stairs redone it was too cold outside to finish coating the decking and new railings with exterior paint and stain. So we waited for the weather to warm up. Which it did. But then it rained. Like, a lot. For weeks and weeks, every time it would just about get dry enough to do something outside it would rain again. For enough days to warrant a dry-out period. So we waited. And waited some more.

read on…

Can I wait the hours, til they find me…*

*Lyrics from The Hours off the new Beach House album, Bloom. I find them to be both enchanting, depressing, and soothing, all at once. Have a listen to the album on spotify for a preview. Purchase if you like. I like. I purchase.

My favorite little photographer working on some spring shots of the house.

Let’s talk about social media. Facebook. Twitter. Pinterest. Instagram (of the famed 1 BILLION dollar acquisition by Facebook). Blogging. Right, blogging. Neglecting blogging. Feeling bad about it. Overcompensating by taking Instagram pictures of stupid and repetitive things, but in a pretty way, of course (who doesn’t want to see dozens of pictures of random flower arrangements?). Updating Facebook statuses more frequently for the blog than actually blogging. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.

Clearly, I’ve been busy. With family birthdays, including a darling tea party for my niece’s 9th birthday, a week long visit from my younger sister who’s poised to embark on a six-month stay in a foreign country, and all the requisite parties that we either attended or hosted, needless to say the blog fell off the to-do list fastest. But, I do have some projects so near completion that I’m sure to have a flurry of blog activity in no time. Some of these projects require dry and/or sunny outdoor conditions to complete. Hence the delay.

read on…

I was afraid, I’d eat your brains…*

*Lyrics from Conversation 16 by The National. Mostly because I feel like that’s how many times we’ve had conversations about plumbing inspections. Partly because any song that has lyrics about eating brains is cool in my book. A little bit because I dig his voice, and need something good to cling to right now.

Hire thee professionals with references, permits and licenses. Please. Do it for me.

Sigh. We just failed another plumbing inspection. All because we thought we could just switch out a sink and faucet and tub surround without going through the pesky process of hiring yet another plumbing crew. You see, we’ve had nothing but bad luck with our plumbing experiences. Every single thing we’ve paid to have installed has had to be redone, at least once. I’m not exaggerating, I’m not being hyperbolic – every. single. thing. Sighhhhhhh.

So, now, we’re stuck waiting for more plumbers, and paying to have things done thrice. And this time the original crew has to try to fix a rookie (read: idiot) mistake by a junior plumber (not from the original crew, and totally an idiot) who we mistakenly trusted (double rookie mistake, which in turn makes us idiots, too) to help us out and save us some time/money/hassle. Turns out that that one little shortcut has made the longest path through stress, turmoil and havoc. (Picture me clawing my own eyes out.)

So, please, I beg you. Learn from me. Do not hire friends of friends to ‘help you out’ – hire real plumbers who are accountable, who can be blamed officially by the city (and you) for any mistakes they make; pull the permits and suffer through the inevitable delays caused by waiting for interruptive inspections. Do not think that renovating will be easy – it is hard, never-ending, and hideously expensive (yet secretly totally rewarding). Redecorating, now there’s where the fun stuff happens. The rest, leave it to the pros, I’m serious.

At least our carpentry and electrical pros have been just that – experts, accountable, professional and dedicated to our satisfaction. I have to cling to that right now for fear that I might either explode or implode due to rage.

Wooo sahhh… wooo sahhh… xoxo

From the West side, to the East side…*

*Lyrics from Randy Newman’s I Love LA. Totally cheesy, totally appropriate, totally ’80s. Deal with it.

You know how, when you’re getting ready to go on vacation, you try to do everything you can to make your return home just as relaxing as you know your trip will be? You do all your laundry, make your bed, clean the house, do the dishes, mop the floors, clean the fridge, clean the bathrooms, deodorize the carpets, etc., etc. Yeah, well, we may think we can get it all done, but we never do, do we? (And, for the record, I got one bedroom clean, and the laundry washed, but not folded – that’s it.) One of the tasks I had set out to do before we left on a trip to the left coast to visit family and friends was to load my blog photos onto Jeff’s computer (since it was really a working trip for him – vacations are hard to plan when you  own your own business) so I could blog while we were away (huzzah for multi-tasking!). Forget the fact that I didn’t have time (or energy – we spent half the week adjusting to LA time) to spend hours pouring over pictures, editing images and thinking up quippy captions, and finding songs to accompany my riveting posts; in this case, I didn’t have the pictures either. I believe this is the time when you could stamp a huge ‘FAIL’ on my forehead.

read on…

Is this what I deserve, a mouthful of dirt?…*

*Lyrics from Say Something by Sucré off the album A Minor Bird. Horns, floaty voices, modern and nostalgic. You should always have a soundtrack to your own life. Or you can borrow mine. Either way, sing and dance your way through your life. You’ll be happier. I promise.

The vista from behind the tree looking toward the yard - we used to stand on this area of the yard to throw the ball, and just generally be with our girl.

Letting go of an idea is probably one of the hardest things to do. I learned that the hard way – the hard, embarrassing, crying in public for hours uncontrollably way – while I was in school taking an intensive 10-week Interior Design program at Suffolk University in Boston. I was living here, in Western Massachusetts, when I enrolled in the program. I was a married (still am, happily!), older student trying to embark on a (yet another) career change. Of course, mere days before I was to leave for mini-college-camp (I actually roomed with an undergrad, who, thankfully was mature, sweet and totally easy to share space with) my mom moved in with us due to some major health issues she was facing (she’s doing fine now, again, thankfully). So, in addition to the normal stress of the actual program, I had to live apart from my husband for 10 weeks (I came home on weekends), and live with (and care for) my mom who was (at that time) ailing, and recovering from some life-threatening health stuff. Needless to say, my emotions were running high, and I didn’t exactly come out of the experience unscathed.

read on…

Pretty in pink, isn’t she?…*

*Lyrics from Pretty In Pink by the Psychedelic Furs, used in the final scene of, you guessed it, Pretty In Pink. This song was a gimme, a total cop-out as far as finding interesting songs to quote. Easy, breezy, and retro for a post that makes me feel like I still wished I looked like Molly Ringwald, like River Phoenix is my dream boyfriend, and like all I ever wanted was a pair of Guess? Jeans with zippers at the ankles.

I'm not a red person, I'm a hot pink, magenta person, complete with inappropriate attraction to pinks of all shades just because they remind me of their mother color: quinacridone violet.

Recently, on facebook, I’ve been admitting an over abundance of pink purchases of late. I mean, the occasional lipstick or nail polish seems reasonable, but when every single thing you gravitated toward in a given week was some shade of pink, well, maybe you’re developing a problem. And when I say you, I mean me. Naturally.

read on…

This. right here. is my. pretty boy swag…*

*Lyrics from Pretty Boy Swag as sampled in the Girl Talk All Day album. I finally saw Girl Walk All Day, which if you haven’t seen it you must (it’s streaming online, in 12 chapters, and it’s amazing), and have been obsessed with the soundtrack ever since. It even inspired me to get back outside for my first real exercise in so many moons I daren’t count. And, ok, I might have danced a little while walk/running.

Despite your ill-fitting nature, your presence has been integral in my personal growth.

It’s hard to believe that two years ago in April we were signing the contract for our kitchen remodel, and were already in the midst of planning, shopping and preparing for an experience that would quite literally change our life. In the past two years babies have been born, conceived and born, and some are about to be born – of course that’s always true of any two years, but we actually know some of those babies this time. Our life has transformed since that fateful meeting (perhaps not as significantly as those new parents’ world), transformed most definitely for the better.

read on…