Shine A Little Light

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Our backyard is a bit of a mess. We started out pretty good by fixing up our cover patio but then we decided to stain the concrete floor and things did not go as planned. Since then we've stayed away but now that summer is almost upon us we know we can't ignore much longer.

My sister gave us new outdoor light fixtures for Christmas. Jon and I really wanted them because the ones that we had previously were not only super ugly but ineffectual. One was one those motion sensors things that people install in front of garages except it was in our backyard facing the wrong way. The other one was a super sized version of the ones we installed. They didn't match and looked so beaten up.

Jon removed the old ones (making sure the power was off and wearing gloves of course) and installed the new ones. The ones are a lot smaller than the ones we had before but I think this size is better since the old ones dwarfed our walls. The entire process took about half an hour. A quick and easy update that actually goes a long way to making our backyard a little bit prettier. 

Sliding Out The Trash

Monday, March 24, 2014

I don't think I've ever been so excited about a trash can before.

When we moved in Jon and I had a hard time deciding where to put our kitchen trash can. Our kitchen is on the small side and there's not really a good place for it to go that wouldn't block one of the cabinets. The only place that seemed to make sense and looked the best was under our sink. However, the plumbing underneath prevented us from getting a normal sized trash can. So we've been dealing with a tiny one that hardly holds anything.

I've been slowly but surely reorganizing our kitchen and Jon had already removed a shelf from one of cabinets to accommodate our blender. I thought we could do the same thing to the cabinet next to the dishwasher and install a sliding trash can. We figured this would allow us to get a bigger trash can and save us trips to garage.

So we went off to Lowe's (with a Christmas gift card!) and picked out this one. 

The cool thing about this brand is that they have various sizes depending on the depth and width of your cabinet. This made it so easy for us to pick out the one we wanted without worrying that it wouldn't fit.

First Jon had to clear out the cabinet and remove the shelf in the middle. This part actually took longer than the installation. Kitchen cabinets are obviously built to hold a substantial amount of weight so it's attached to the base really well. Also the shelf itself was larger than the open so Jon had to cut into pieces before he could get it out of the cabinet.

Then he finally started installing the track.

Once Jon was done we could finally start using our bigger and better and trash can. We decided to keep the other small trash can for our recycling. Originally we wanted to get track that could hold two trash cans but our cabinet depth didn't allow us too. At least this one had a neat little compartment for the trash bags and a handle for us to be able to move it.

Jon's part was done but I still had to find new places for everything that used to be housed in that cabinet. AND deal with all the sawdust. But I love our new trash can... as much as a person could love a trash can.

A Little Wedding Wall Update

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The wall dedicated to our wedding is looking a less sparse. 

When Jon hung our guest book and shadow box I knew that we needed to add a little bit more to it eventually. It looked a little better once we added the frames to right of it. I had been looking for the right accessories for a while now because I didn't want to just hang anything on there. 

Over my holiday break I found the gold resin letters at Hobby Lobby. I actually had spotted them all over Pinterest first but had never be able to find them at the store. I found them while I was browsing the discounted Christmas stuff and since they were on sale I bought them. I also found the little "love" sign there (also on sale!). 

I also purchased a floor vase ($8!) from target. I've actually had it for months but it finally seemed like the right time to display it. I wish the curly white filler was a little bit more substantial looking but I like the overall effect. 

Our First Thanksgiving

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I was going to post this yesterday but I didn't think it was appropriate to talk turkey on St. Patrick's Day. 

In the last post about our new floors I mentioned that Jon and I hosted Thanksgiving at our house for the very first time. Looking back it was not a good idea to start such a huge project right before such a big holiday. NEVER. AGAIN. But you live and learn... and it was good because it definitely gave us a deadline. Had it not been for the fact that seven other people were coming for Thanksgiving dinner I'm sure Jon and I would have worked at a much slower pace.

I had no clue how much work it is to host a holiday. I knew that it meant my house had to be really clean and I would probably have a ton of dishes leftover but that was it. I was so naive. First Jon and I had to buy more plates so we could have complete set of twelve settings. We had six settings that we had received as a wedding gift. That obviously worked for Jon and I and to host our families informally but we knew it wouldn't fly for Thanksgiving. Luckily the place settings were on sale and the guy who helped us to set up our registry allowed us to use the registry completion discount even though it was a little past our anniversary (which he totally remembered by the way). While I was at Macy's I picked up gold placemats (also on super sale). I figured gold was color that could be used for any of the winter holidays and it looked nice with a tablecloth I had bought a while back for the occasion.

Then I had to buy water glasses. We have glasses that we use for everyday but I wanted fancier looking water goblets. (Yes, water goblets. I really wanted to host a fancy dinner.) I actually found some at the Dollar Tree of all places. I settled on those because the price was right, they had twelve in stock and I could always buy more if one broke. I also wanted plate chargers and cloth napkins but I couldn't find any I liked in time. Next time....

I had already worked on decorations so all that I really had to do was set the table. Our dining table seats six but we were expecting a total of eight guests (ten counting Jon and myself) so we set up a little card table at the end of our table and borrowed a couple of chairs from my mom. I also wanted to start a new Thanksgiving tradition to remember who was at Thanksgiving. I tweaked the thumbprint tree thing people do for wedding guest books and laid it out on the coffee table. Over the years we'll use different colors to add to it.

Another crafty touch was my chalkboard menu. My cousin had the frame and cardboard and I had the paint. I painted the frame white (while I was painting all the baseboards) and spray painted the cardboard with chalkboard paint. I already had the chalk pens so this was free and easy to do. Jon made a rosemary and sage turkey and a mustard and brown sugar glazed ham. It was so good we had NO leftovers. We ended up laying the food out next the menu so we could grab some from the kitchen or dining table.

I also created a little drink station on our console table. I laid out the glasses, water and wine so people could fill up without cramming into our tiny kitchen. My awesome coworker helped me make little drink tags so people wouldn't confuse their glasses.

We also got a fire pit (courtesy of my parents) for our patio. Since our living room is on the small side we wanted our guests to use the outdoor space. It worked out nicely (who doesn't love sipping wine with loved ones around a fire?) but I don't have any photos to share.

And of course, no holiday would be complete without the tiniest member of our family. Poseidon enjoyed being fed bits of turkey from my sister's plate and a little afternoon nap.

I would say that our first Thanksgiving was a success but I'm not ready to do it again anytime soon! Jon and I were just happy that we didn't totally screw up the turkey and the floors were done. We might feel up to hosting again next year. Maybe.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

All good things must come to end and so it was with our European Honeymoon. After departing from New York and traveling through Dublin, Munich and Salzburg we finally arrived at our last stop: Budapest!

We took the train from Salzburg and arrived in Budapest in the evening. The train station there sort of gave off a creepy vibe but once we got a cab we were pleasantly surprised with the city. When we decided to go to there we picked it because it quick and cheap to get there from Salzburg. And it was a less expensive city. Munich was especially pricy since it was Oktoberfest so we were looking for a place to stretch our Euros. Plus we heard it was a beautiful city. Sure enough this was right by our hotel...

They don't call it "Paris of the East for nothing!

Speaking of our hotel... Jon found us an amazing five star hotel on the Pest side of the city.

On our first day in the city we crossed the Chain Bridge and explored Castle Hill.

We went up to the Royal Palace which now the hosts the National Gallery. Sadly we didn't get to get since the museum was closed that day but we still had a good time.

Then we walked over to Matthais Church which was one of my favorite churches we saw on this trip.

Right outside of the church is The Fisherman's Bastion is a lookout terrace with seven turrets (one for each of the tribes that helped found the county).

Afterwards we made our way back over the bridge to check out the Parliament House but unfortunately the roads were under construction and we couldn't get close.

Then we headed over to check out St. Stephen's Basilica.

Obviously that was a looooooong day of sight seeing so we grabbed a late dinner (Jon had goulash and I had the paprika chicken) and called it a night.

The next day we slept in super late. The only thing we had planned for that day was to visit one of the many thermal baths in the city. We had been going pretty much non stop since we arrived in Europe so we felt like we deserved a day to lounge around and since Budapest is know for them we knew had to visit one. Our hotel recommended the Szechenyi Baths.

Dating back from 1881 the Szechenyi Baths is coed and has a lot of different pools indoors and outside. Jon and I got a private cabin so we could both change and store our stuff. It locked so we were confident that our stuff would be safe. We spent the day pool hopping, relaxing a private lounge and ate lunch at the cafe there. On our way out we booked a dinner cruise on the Danube.

We had just enough time to go back to our hotel, shower and get dressed. We walked over to the other side of the Danube and waited to board our boat. The dinner was a buffet and we really enjoyed seeing the city all lit up.

The next day was our last day in Budapest and we spent the morning at the Dohany Street Synagogue. The tour was was really informative and we learned the extent of the devastation the Nazis caused for the Jewish population. In the back courtyard there also a memorial to Raoul Wallenberg who a Swedish diplomat in Budapest during the Nazi occupation. He used Swedish passport to help the Jewish people leave the country.

We wished we had to more time so we could on the walking tour but unfortunately we had to head to the airpot to start our long trip back home. We had to fly from Budapest to Dublin so we could catch our flight back to New York (we bought round trip tickets from New York to Dublin). Then we flew to Paris where we boarded our flight back to New York. After a loooong layover we finally caught our flight back to LA. Once we landed it was just a matter of making the hour long drive home. We were really tired and sad to be home but were happy to finally be able to sleep in our own bed and be reunited with this little guy.