Monday, October 31, 2011

Fall Checklist: Apple Cider & Donuts

We have another thing to check off our fall checklist: 
MmmmmMmmmm!  Drink apple cider and eat donuts!  These donuts are from a local vegan donut shop, Mighty-O Donuts!  They taste ahhhhhmazeballs (channeling my inner Giuliana)

Confession: we ate the whole bag on the drive home from the grocery store...
Yikes, I still have time left to finish this list, but there are a couple items that may be too late to do this year!  Oh well!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Living Room Shuffle: Step One

Surprise!  Tim and I rearranged our living room!  We've been planning on this for awhile (we even moved all the furniture around for a couple weeks to test it out before making any big changes) and was finally able to make the switch officially a few days ago.  

Why did it take so long for the new configuration to get set?  Because we needed to move the TV- duh, the living room always revolves around watching TV, right?  I'll be back tomorrow with details on how to mount a TV on the wall.  But until then, let's talk about the new arrangement!
In the last two and a half years of living here, we've never been able to find a comfortable way to set up the furnature in the living room that allowed both enough movement and a comfortable area to watch TV.  That could be because our TV was mounted above our fireplace that resided in the middle of a long, skinny room.
(Here's a floor plan for those of you who don't know what the living room looks like):
Anyway, because of the location of the TV and the thinness of the room, it was very hard to find a comfortable seating arrangement.  The TV was mounted too high to comfortably watch it at the close proximity that we have been, and the room was too skinny for a bigger couch.  The layout also prevented us from even pushing the couch back as far as we could.  

Finally, as if everyone could read our minds, two different people suggested a new layout that was exactly the same one we had in our heads.  The only problem?  We'd have to move the TV, and it was really hard to put up in the first place!  OK, so I just hung out in the other room while my dad and Tim installed it, but it sounded like it was hard for them!

So after about two months of trying it out and really thinking over the new arrangement, we borrowed some tools from my dad and set to work this weekend.  Presto!
So, now the TV is living across from the back door.  It looks nice and snazy all by itself on this wall!  Don't look too closely at how the arrangement is now- we're still planning on moving that dining hutch away and are almost done saving up for a new couch!
Now, the new TV area looks very tiny, and that's because it is.  But, it's so incredibly homey and comfortable!  And, it makes the rest of the room seem so open and free.  I'll be showing more pictures of the rest of the room later, but since we're in the midst of refinishing a new table, it won't look the same in a month.  We're in love with the arrangement and can't wait until a few more furniture swaps makes it perfect!
Ignore those white dots on the wall, I'm in the middle of filling in some old holes- that's what she said
The new couch is going to be part chaise, part chair.  The chaise part will extend along the wall a little, and we'll find a skinny couch table of some sorts to extend along the nook in the wall/behind the chaise.  We've decided that the Karlstad couch is the best one for our needs after reading countless good reviews across the blogesphere.  We haven't actually gone to see it again in person since picking out the arrangement online, so we may not even end up with this one in the end, but this is our current love:
We'll be refinishing those legs in a much prettier way
It may be hard to picture that couch in the area I showed above, so here are a couple crude mock ups from Paint:
Wouldn't that be cool if all our furniture was teal?
On another note, today is Tim's birthday!!  I gave him part of his birthday weekend today:
A super awesome Harry Potter mug!  It changes from saying "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good" to "Mischief Managed" and if you don't understand why, we can no longer be friends!  Just kidding, but seriously, go read the books!
Happy Birthday Tim!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Environmentally Friendly Products in Our House

Tim and I try to make environmental sustainability a priority in our home- whether it comes to composting, using energy efficient light bulbs, or eating less meat.  

Because Tupperware containers are like socks in our home, they disappear constantly.  Soon enough after I reorganized my Tupperware cupboard, we were just left with a handful of containers and too many leftovers.  I've mentioned before how I'd like to eventually replace all our plastic with ceramic or glass items to cut down on any off-gassing toxins in our house.  Enter Pyrex!  We purchased a little kit of five containers and lids at Target and are in love with them!  The lids are nice and sturdy, they're a nice size, and we definitely will be buying more sometime soon!  This particular kit has four dishes that are a nice size for lunch, and then one larger container that's perfect for leftovers.

Another one of my favorite products comes from Whole Foods for $2.99.  I can't find a link or picture of it anywhere, but they carry these little plasticy tote bags that fold up really small and can be clipped on as a key chain- I throw mine in my purse and end up using it constantly!  They are really similar to EnviroSax, which are super cute and I would love to have as well!

When it comes to cleaning products, we're pretty loyal to a few brands.  Most of the supplies we use are from Mrs. Meyer's or 7th Generation- have you guys ever smelled the Basil scent from Mrs. Meyers?  Oh em gee- amazing!  The packaging of Mrs. Meyer's is oh so cute!  I've yet to use a product between these two brands that I didn't like.  Even the 7th generation toilet paper is suitable ;)!
I've also picked up a bottle of Dr Bronner's to use for cleaning, but still haven't really used it for anything.  I've used it as body wash once and it was nice, but Tim and I both still have plenty of body wash left before switching to this.  So, while it smells nice, I don't have much of a review to give it- except to say that it's very versatile and natural!
As for skin care, I swear by Ole Henriksen.  I switched to this about a year and a half ago after a suggestion from a friend, and my skin immediately cleared up.  I became a vegan at the same time, so I can't tell you which it was, but I don't use anything other skin care products anymore!

I've confessed my love to baking soda before, and I'm still singing the praises for it.  It's such a natural, cheap, and easy product, and we always keep it stashed in our house!
What are your tired and true brands/items/products?  I'm curious what everyone else uses as must haves!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Refinishing a Table: Step One

This weekend, Tim and I put the motions in step to refinish a new dining room table.  You may remember from this video that we recently purchased a table from Goodwill that we were planning on combining with other elements and making over into a new table.  Well, when I was telling my mom about our project, she mentioned that the extra table sitting in their dining room was actually up for grabs and that it also had a leaf in it, so it was actually smaller than I thought it was!
Here's the table in all it's glory- full size and pre-makeover
Well, that might have been nice to know before we spent all that effort getting the Goodwill table to our house.  But oh well, right?  Now we have a really high quality table to make over, and best of all?  It was free!

We were so excited about getting a new table that we immediately cleared our plans and started a very long process of refinishing the table in Tim's parent's garage- thank goodness they have a three car garage!

Step one came and went last weekend, when we transported the table from my parent's to Tim's (they live about 15 minutes apart!), and got set up to strip off the old varnish.
Tim and my dad took apart the pedestal base from the top for easier maneuvering.  It was very simple- just unscrew four screws and it came apart!

Then, we spread out the pieces in the garage to work.  You'll see the table top, slightly spread apart so we can access the middle, the leaf, and the base. 
Another thing to mention is that the table came with these lovely brass plates on each leg of the base:
Weeeeeelllllllll, those aren't quite our style, so with a little help, we were able to pry them right off.

Then it came time to start the stripper.  We picked up a bottle of  3M Safest Stripper Paint and Varnish Remover from Eco Haus.  This stuff had literally no fumes, unlike the disguising chemical strippers you'd normally use from Home Depot or Lowe's.  It's also nonflammable and non toxic, so you don't even need to wear gloves while using it!  You can use it indoors and it's biodegradable!  In case you couldn't tell, I was super excited to use it!

So, we just simply poured the thick, paste like stripper onto the table and started painting it on.
Make a nice, thick layer and then let it sit and work it's magic!

And here was when we hit our first and only problem so far.  When we bought the stripper, we also bought a seal from Eco Haus.  I read both the labels at the same time, and the instructions to wait two hours on the seal carried over in my head to the stripper instructions.  So, while we both expected to wait two hours to be able to scrap up the old varnish, we actually only had to wait about 30 minutes.  As you might expect, by the time we started scrapping the varnish two hours later, it had already started drying and was really hard to scrap up.
After awhile, we just had to give up and try again.  Not wanting it to dry out on us again, we decided to just re apply the stripper to the top of the table.  

Meanwhile, we decided to just poke at the base while waiting to re-tackle the top.  Surprisingly, the bottom was still ready to go!  We were able to scrape it right off with barely any effort (OK, well it was quite time consuming and tedious to try and scrape along the groves and carvings, but it came right off!)!

Can you see the different between the part I've scraped off and the old varnish finish?  Here's half of the top ready to be sanded and half of it still waiting to be scraped:
After the second coat was ready, the varnish came off immediately.  I was so relived, because I was worried that it was our eco-friendly stripper that wasn't strong enough!  Turns out, it just worked too well :)!
Now our table is all set to be sanded and stained during out next visit!  Unfortunately, the whole process is going to take several weeks as we find time to travel all the way to Kitsap County for each step.  I'm super excited to get going!

As for the direction we're heading in terms of color and style,  we're planning on a dark table with white chairs.  After we Craigslist our old table, we plan to put the money towards new, nicer white chairs.  I'll probably also paint our existing chairs a bright glossy white.

Inspiration?  See below!

All images from Pinterest.

Monday, October 24, 2011

101 in 1001 Days

I've signed up to participate in a blog swap hosted by Holly of Perfectly Imperfect where we're all assigned a partner and then we send our buddy something to help them with their list.  I'm been paired up with Meghan from Shine On, which is funny because we actually have known each other since junior high!  

My list is below; I'll update it during the next 1001 days as I start crossing stuff off my list! 

Date Started:10/19/2011
Ending Date: 07/26/2014
In Progress
  1. See a show on Broadway in NYC
  2. Go to ten new musicals
  3. Continue to see the Nutcracker every Christmas (1/3)
  4. See a new band in concert (Foster the People, Mumford & Sons 12/8/11)
  5. Travel to Thailand
  6. Travel to Greece or another international destination
  7. Take a road trip 
  8. Travel to Boston
  9. Travel to Chicago 
  10. Go camping at Mt Rainier
  11. Visit Cannon Beach, OR 
  12. Watch 26 movies I've never seen starting with each letter of the alphabet
    • The Change Up (4 stars, 12/15/11)
    • Drive (4 stars, 2/1/12)
    • Fair Game (5 stars, 10/22/2011)
    • Glee the Concert (1 star, 1/17/2012) 
    • The Hunger Games (4 stars, 3/30/2012)
    • Idiocracy  (4 stars, 12/29/2011)
    • Just Go With It (4 stars, 11/25/11)
    • My  Idiot Brother (4 stars 12/8/11) 
    • Never Let Me Go (4 stars, 11/13/2011) 
    • Phoebe in Wonderland (3.5 stars, 12/16/2011) 
    • Somewhere  (3.5 stars, 12/13/11)
    • The Switch (4 stars, 12/11/11) 
    • We Bought a Zoo (4 stars 12/25/11)
    • Young Adult (4 stars 3/2/11)
  13. Read 26 books I haven't read yet starting with each letter of the alphabet. Chosen solely for it's title. A, and The don't count
    • Bossypants (5 stars, 1/2/2012)
    • Catching Fire (5 stars, 11/29/2011) 
    • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (4 stars, 10/23/2011)
    • The Help (5 stars, 10/29/2011) 
    • Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (4.5 stars, 1/1/2011)
    • Little Bitty Lies (3 stars, 12/23/11) 
    • Mockingjay  (3.5 stars, 12/1/11)
    • Remember Me, Sophie Kinsella (4 stars, 12/11/11)
    • Stupid and Contagious (5 stars, 1/24/2012)
    • Teacher Man (4 stars, 3/30/2012)
  14. Read 10 new books
    1. The Hunger Games (5 Stars, 11/24/2011)
    2. Sisterhood Everlasting (4 Stars, 3/25/2012)
  15. Leave an inspirational note inside a book for someone to find
  16. Do 25 acts of kindness for my 25th birthday 
  17. Build a mantle for my fireplace
  18. Make a bubble chandelier 
  19. Install crown molding in my bedroom
  20. Make a custom jewelry holder 
  21. Refinish a piece of furniture (Step 1Step 2Step 3Final Reveal)
  22. Complete a half marathon
  23. Run the Jingle Bell Bash and St. Paddy's Day 5k races
  24. Participate in the Seattle To Portland Bicycle Classic 
  25. Start doing yoga
  26. Go on a picnic
  27. Get a massage every month for a year (4/12)
  28. Make a dessert for Christmas 
  29. Make a vegan apple pie from scratch for Tim's birthday
  30. Knit a blanket
  31. Adopt a hypoallergenic dog from a shelter
  32. Go back to college for another degree (registered 11/14/11!)
  33. Put six months worth of living expenses into a separate emergency savings account (2/6 months saved so far!)
  34. Pay off our car
  35. Do a cheesy photo shoot with Tim, complete with funny props
  36. Photograph a location in all 4 season of the year (must find a place where this exists in WA, maybe Leavenworth?)
  37. Write a letter to Tim to be opened on our 10 year anniversary and make him do the same
  38. Go on two more overnight trekking adventures
  39. Go skydiving again
  40. Learn Spanish
  41. Make a "People are Strange" photo essay
  42. Get a blog featured somewhere (here!)
  43. Take salsa dancing lessons
  44. Figure out what I want to do with my life
  45. Go rock climbing in Thailand
  46. See the Seattle Rock Orchestra
  47. See the Nirvana exhibit at EMP
  48. Go to a comedy show (03/08/12)
  49. Grow some vegetables 
  50. Install my wireless memory card
  51. Buy a new couch
  52. Find a good furniture layout in my living room 
  53. Host a game board night (11/11/11)
  54. Read another Shakespeare play
  55. Go on a trip with my friends 
  56. Go snowboarding (03/10/12)
  57. Go to ballet every week for a month
  58. Go to zumba every week for a month
  59. Try sugaring
  60. Redecorate someone's place
  61. Have a real Harry Potter marathon: all books and all movies! (Completed 1/18/2012)
  62. Have a spa day
  63. Go ice skating
  64. Go to the World Cup in Brazil
  65. Replace all the clothes I let the bunnies chew holes in
  66. Start learning some ASL
  67. Hand out toiletries, food, or clothing items to the homeless
  68. Take my grandma to pick out a new puppy 
  69. Host a wine tasting party
  70. Frame my bathroom mirror
  71. Make a giant mirror
  72. Get a friendship tattoo with Malena & Lindsey
  73. Officially register as an organ donor
  74. Be in someone's wedding (Hint, hint, universe!)
  75. Make a slide show to Dog Days are Over
  76. Make spaghetti sauce from scratch
  77. Make my grandma's banana bread (vegan style) 
  78. Learn to make grandma spaghetti (vegan style)
  79. Try 10 new vegan recipes
    1. Roasted Green Beans and Mushrooms
    2. Buffalo Tempeh Wings
    3. Zucchini Sticks
    4. Sweet Corn Quinoa Fried Rice
    5. Lentil Sloppy Joes 
    6. Mini Quiche
    7. Smores Bites
    8. Veggiewursts
    9. Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Oats
    10. Roasted Chickpea Tacos
  80. Watch the sunrise and sunset on both coasts
  81. Take a nice, relaxing, beach vacation and actually relax!
  82. Take a wine making, cooking class, or similar 
  83. Keep a birthday or Christmas surprise for Tim for once!
  84. Sleep under the stars during a meteor shower
  85. Pay for the person behind me at the drive through
  86. Write a short story
  87. Go paint balling
  88. Make my own drunk kitchen video ;)!
  89. Climb a real mountain
  90. Leave a 100% tip to someone who deserves it
  91. Take my parents out to dinner and pay
  92. Learn to use Photoshop
  93. Learn to change a tire
  94. Visit Alaska  
  95. Try out P90X
  96. Write my granny a letter once a month
  97. Make a cool Halloween costume (Dexter and Kill Victim, 10/31/2011)
  98. Compliment a stranger
  99. Babysit my baby cousin
  100. Donate $5 to charity for each task I don’t complete
  101. Celebrate 5 years of marriage on 7/11/2014


    Just stopping by for a quick post of hilarity...

    Last night, Tim managed to snap the most hilarious photo of me and our bunny Bailey.  He was mid yawn, but it looks like he's going to attack me face!!


    Thursday, October 20, 2011

    Fall Checklist: Oktoberfest & Fall Photography

    This weekend, Tim and I checked two more items off our Fall Checklist:
    We went to the last weekend of Oktoberfest in Leavenworth this year, eating some brats (or veggie-wursts!), enjoying the scenery, and checking out the shops!

     I also got to photograph some beautiful fall colors along the way:

    Here are some more pictures from the drive.  It was really hard to capture all the gorgeous-ness from the car, and I found that there were no turn outs on the best parts of the drive!  You can still see the awesome fall colors in the following photos:

    I hope I cant find more beautiful leaves to photograph before they're all gone!