Archive for June, 2011

On Priorities

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Posted by Rebecca, June 20th, 2011

Lately, we’ve been having a bit of a issue with Darwin and the litter box. I mentioned when we tore up our carpet upstairs that he has a neurological disorder and sometimes has accidents, but lately we haven’t been able to re-train him. After trying everything under the sun for over a month, we thought that maybe he had a urinary tract infection and made an appointment to see the vet on Saturday. The vet informed us that our youngest baby has kidney disease at just 3 years old.

To describe my feelings as anything less than heartbroken would be a lie. Anyone who has been reading for a while knows that we’ve been to hell and back with our cats, Mac and Sunny, but I never expected something like this to happen again. It is likely a genetic disease he has had his entire life.

I can say, without a doubt, that this is the first weekend I did not think about the house one single bit. Not knowing how long my little guy has left in this world consumed my thoughts all weekend.

We received a little relief tonight when we learned that Darwin’s blood results were not as bad as the vet expected. I had prepared myself to hear the words “kidney failure”, but hopefully some special food, vitamins and possibly subcutaneous fluids will help him stay with us longer.

There is a lot that I could say, and a lot that I want to say, but I’m not sure I have the energy or the right words. A few months ago, I read this piece in the NY Times written by Anna Holmes that really hit home with me. She put into words what I have a hard time saying. It’s a must read for anyone with cats.

One of my favorite parts:

Unlike dogs, whose wagging tails, endearing clumsiness and panting smiles are evolutionarily manipulative and endlessly entertaining, interpreting the narratives of a cat’s inner life takes extraordinary concentration, which makes the relationship all the more poignant. Mindfulness, I like to say, is what separates true cat lovers from the unenlightened. Without it, a cat is just a sleeping, eating, potential killing machine. With it, a cat is the most amazing of mammalian creations: A balletic, apex predator; a perfect package of physical economy and exquisite Darwinian design. (When someone tells me she doesn’t like cats, I assume she isn’t trying hard enough.)

But the focus they require and their intrinsic self-sufficiency is also what makes watching them die especially devastating: there is a heightened awareness not unlike the way the children of alcoholics or depressed people are said to monitor every move of a sick parent; every cough, every patch of dirty, matted fur and loss of balance is a shared indignity; to have to carry your friend to his food bowl or watch him pause to catch a breath before settling down into the soft nest of blankets you’ve lovingly constructed feels like a heartbreak like no other.

Any maybe my favorite part:

It frightens me too — not just the fantasy but the present-day reality, a heaving that begins low in my abdomen and thunders slowly upward every time I catch a glimpse of a well-worn paw or brush the back of my hand over a soft underbelly. I feel it when I see them sleeping, their beautifully composed tight, little spirals of fur and ears and legs and tails; I feel it when I hear them moving, softly clacking up and down the apartment hallway or ker-thumping from the bed to the floor and back up again.

It feels crazy.

They’re just cats, after all.

That pit of your stomach, nauseating feel? It doesn’t go away.

Maybe I am crazy, but I am proud to call my cats members of my family. And this family is full of fighters.

Holy Inspiration

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Posted by Rebecca, June 16th, 2011

Have I mentioned before that I love Pinterest? Every single day something on there makes the little hamster in my head jump on his wheel and start running. I have never seen so many amazing things I would never think of on my own. I consider time spent on Pinterest as research and development time for the casa, which is even more important than time spent doing projects 🙂

I usually hop on Pinterest for a little bit after I finish my post for the night. Last night I spotted these fabrics and were instantly drawn to them…

(via, I always try to link to the original source, but the link in the pin isn’t working :()

When I look at them closely, I probably wouldn’t choose any of these fabrics on their own but the color scheme is glorious. It reminds me of Kerry’s new nursery and the pom mobile she just made

So I was thinking, since my living room is taupey with blue gray shades, maybe I can incorporate a little yellow?

Liiiike, maybe in those bookcases I wanted to add?

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I’d probably go with a softer yellow than in that image, but I was totally feeling this plan last night. Our living and dining rooms connect and our Target dining room chairs have a hint of gold in them. It would be a nice way to bring everything together!

And just for fun, here’s the view of the kitchen from the dining room I’ve never shown you. It’s from Thanksgiving time and was taken at night, which is why the curtains are drawn and I never posted it here.

So as much as I’d like to change it up, all of our rooms are fairly open. I definitely want to keep the living room classy, but I think I’d like to mix another color in. That is, until I discovered this picture also on Pinterest last night…

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It’s a subtle color scheme, but not at all boring. It’s not overly matchy or themey either. After attacking the original source, La Dolce Vita, I found this close up image of those shelves back there…

Hm bold blue accent bookcases? Perhaps 🙂 Regardless, I am now totally inspired to take my living/dining room combo up a notch!

Square and Shady

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Posted by Rebecca, June 15th, 2011

Yesterday I got a 10% off coupon code from Pottery Barn. It was just in time because we also just received our reward certificate for buying our patio furniture! Okay that also means we got our bill for that patio furniture, but let’s not focus on the negative okay? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, if you open a Pottery Barn credit card, you receive 10% of all of the money you spend back in a gift certificate. Highly recommended if you shop there a lot or are planning a large purchase like we did (Banana Republic, Gap & Old Navy have a similar system on the clothing front in between all 3 stores) We ripped open that envelope and pulled out that reward certificate!

We planned from the start to get a square market umbrella in the fresca color. We just decided to wait and get it for free rather than find a cheaper version elsewhere. I love the square shape as an unexpected alternative to the standard round. But, I did begin to think that with square furniture and a square fire pit, our backyard was turning a little too square. I always try to balance my shapes in rooms to make them a little more interesting, but then I remembered that our entire patio itself is curved. Sold on the square! 🙂

This next umbrella isn’t the right color, but I love the lanterns hanging from it. It’s a nice alternative to hanging lanterns in trees when they are too tall 🙂

Even after shipping, we had some money left in rewards and we decided to purchase the umbrella cover. I know that we could have gotten a cheaper one elsewhere, but we’ve made that choice once already. We bought a cover for our table and chairs from Target and it’s not working out so well for us. It only attaches to the table in 2 places, which are diagonal from each other, and air gets under it and it becomes uncovered. It has a bungee pull thingy to tighten the bottom, but it doesn’t pull. I cannot get that thing tight for the life of me. So in windy weather, the cover just blows to the side but stays attached to the legs. Sort of as if our table had been pantsed.

We were considering getting an additional piece of furniture with our rewards when Pottery Barn had an umbrella sale over Memorial Day weekend. They were 20% off and we figured we’d take advantage of the sale, despite the fact that we didn’t have our reward certificate yet. But we forgot about the sale and didn’t order it. It’s probably for the best, considering we’d have to pay something about of pocket for anything else we would have chosen. We love most of the Chesapeake collection, including this much needed storage.

Instead of spitting out 500 bucks for this thing, we headed to Target last weekend. Yes I know, I love Target. If I could camp out in a store ala that episode of “Saved by the Bell”, I’d sleep in a Target.

Okay I couldn’t resist, here’s a really awful clip from that episode…

YouTube Preview Image

Anyway, we picked up this plastic deck box from Target for $60.

See it down there? It fits under the stairs quite nicely. Sorry I don’t have more pictures because my camera died 🙁 It’s plastic and waterproof, so it keeps our wide striped pillows nice and dry when we’re not using them. We have some citronella candles in there too. We also wanted storage to have a place to put our furniture covers when we take them off for the day. So when the pillows and candles come out of the box, the covers go in! It works out nicely. It matches the color of our newly stained steps pretty well and it snapped together in a few minutes, like a giant lego.

Long story short, we got an umbrella and cover from Pottery Barn for free, opted for the cheaper storage option and I love “Saved by the Bell” and will now go watch more videos. I recommend you do the same 🙂

Hello Mid-June

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Posted by Rebecca, June 14th, 2011

Remember back when Mike and I had big landscaping dreams? Okay they weren’t big dreams, we just wanted to dig up some plants, add a little fresh mulch and some river rock edging, sort of like these pictures I pinned on Pinterest.

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We wanted to do all of this before it got brutally hot, especially since last year we were mulching into July. Pale ol’ me doesn’t do direct sunlight well and our front yard has loooads of it. I looked at the calendar this weekend and somehow it is MID-JUNE.

This wouldn’t be so bad if the temps were in the 80s or so, but for several days last week we were in the triple digits. We actually did bring our grass back to life in all of our problem areas and it was looking fabulous this spring.

Our daylilies finally bloomed.

And our hydrangeas were growing like weeds!


As we saw the forecast for last week, Mike’s response was “well it was nice having green grass for a while!” I thought he was being pessimistic, but nope…


My poor hydrangeas had a few droopy moments in between watering and I thought I’d lose their flowers to the heat like I did last summer. We thought about doing a sprinkler system last year when our grass got fried, but I honestly forgot about it this year until every neighbor around us had them installed. We already committed to the patio and we just decided we’d rather spend our money on other things. Which means we run outside and move our standard sprinklers several times a night, while our whole block probably chuckles. We sort of have to do this because our association will get on us if our grass starts looking too neglected. Granted, I’m pretty sure extreme heat is a good excuse but we can’t let it completely die without someone complaining. It’s good and bad all at the same time. It maintains the value and curb appeal of our neighborhood, but forces us to move our fiesty sprinklers. Last night Mike took a straight shot to the crotch and looked like he peed his pants. I wish I had a photo.

With summer quickly flying by and scorching us at the same time, we have decided not to do anymore landscaping in the front this year. We are already booked with weekend plans for the rest of June and a chunk of July. We’ve decided we want to enjoy life on the weekends and spend some time on our patio, catching up with friends and just doing some summery things. And for those weekends where it’s 100 degrees and we can’t breathe outside? We have plenty of indoor projects we’re looking forward to finishing and we just bought a pneumatic nail gun to do so 🙂

For now, we’re just planning on pulling these guys regularly and adding a tiny bit more mulch along the edges of the walkway where it’s always weedy (okay a good amount of the weeds are actually stray grass from when we seeded).


We have a couple of extra bags of mulch from last year and we can always pick up more just to maintain the front. But as for any major redesigning? I’d rather be making s’mores at this point in the summer 🙂

I made a lengthy to-do list early in the summer full of things to do around the house and the blog during my semi-hiatus from grad school (I’m still taking 2 online electives this summer). But I think I’m going to kick the list to the curb and just wing things this summer. I have to stop getting mad at myself for not accomplishing enough, when I’m pretty sure I run around like a busy looney 90% of the time. It’s just in my nature as a nerd. You know those kids in school who were mad if they got a 95 on a test? That’s me. As an adult. In fact I did that just two nights ago with a quiz. So in an attempt to stop being so hard on myself, I don’t think I’m going to look at that list this summer.

Okay for at least this week 😉

Cribs: Lil House Edition

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Posted by Rebecca, June 13th, 2011

Last night Mike and I watched the NBA Finals. I admit that I am not a basketball fan, I generally prefer baseball and the whole Lebron drama seemed to go on for.ev.er. I swear Mike was watching Lebron play months ago and I asked if it was the finals. He laughed and said not yet. I feel like this went on for weeks, where the whole world was waiting for the Miami Heat to lose and for Lebron’s karma to get back to him. Incase you don’t watch sports or didn’t catch any headlines today (okay I know my demographic isn’t the ESPN type), the Heat lost last night.

While watching the post-game press conference with Lebron James and Dwyane Wade, Mike and I wondered what type of place Lebron lived in.

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Of course, the internet did not disappoint. Lebron James bought a 9 million dollar, waterfront home in Miami at the end of 2010. It supposedly has 6 bedrooms and 8.5 bathrooms!

The entry… comparable to ours, right? No?? Oh.

The kitchen, complete with 2 islands. A tad dark for my taste.

My favorite area, I think, the breakfast nook. I want to do light walls with dark doors perhaps when we finish our basement. Plus I love the drum pendant 🙂

I also love the pendant lights over this bar area!

Apparently, King James sits on a square throne? I wonder if the other 8 toilets are like this?

Finally, an area I can relate to! The master bedroom is quite empty and boring like ours. But instead of an awesome balcony we have some… crinkled paper blinds.

I thought this was the master bath, but apparently it is not.

This is the master bath, of course it is the one with the views! (but I think I like the above tub more :))

And last but certainly not least on the inside is the laundry room. This would be excellent, though only Mike and I live in our house. We forgot to wash our towels this weekend and I dried myself with a hand towel this morning. True story. So I guess really, if I don’t use my one washer, having two won’t help much. But I can dream about all of that counter space…

Then there is of course, the backyard.

Complete with infinity pool overlooking a dock with parking for 2 yachts. TWO yachts.

While I was on a house drooling kick, I decided to scope out the homes of some of the other stars who played last night. After searching for Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki’s homes, I stumbled upon the home of Miami Heat player Chris Bosh. (I know, some if you have no clue who these people are, but that’s not important, the pictures are :))

Chris Bosh also bought a waterfront, Miami home at the end of 2010. However, his was 12.5 million smackeroos and boasts 7 bedrooms and 8 bathrooms. Take that Lebron!

The living room, complete with awesome windows.

The dining room, once again I love the dark wood against all of that white! (the view doesn’t hurt :))

The, once again, very white bedroom.

Glorious, spa-like bathroom. The all white works for me so much more in the bathroom!

When I sent Mike this second home, he thought it was much better than Lebron James’s home. To me, it comes across as a little sterile, but I’m not sure if that’s just the way it has been staged with the all white. Though I do agree that it has better views and possibly better bones that Lebron’s home.

What do you guys think about of the all white decor of Chris Bosh’s home? Just pretty to look at, pretty to live in, or good for neither?

Oh and is it too late to learn how to dribble? With my hands, that is. I could use a waterfront home and I’m thinking of switching professions…

All images of Lebron James’s home via Obeo, all images of Chris Bosh’s home via The Hoop Doctors.

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