All of the Books, All of the Books

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Posted by Michael, July 12th, 2011

Several weeks ago (who am I kidding, several months ago (we just didn’t tell you)), we began decorating our television media console furniture thing with books. The console has a very dark stain and consists of several rectangles — a library or bookshelf feel. It screamed PUT BOOKS ON ME! several times while we were watching (or obsessing over) Dexter.

But the thing is, I’m not really a book reader – and neither is Rebecca – so what could we possibly put on this thing? I’ve read two or three books, in full, maybe in the last decade.

And one of those might have just been an audio book, too.

I began searching Google and Amazon for queries such as ‘all time classic books’ and ‘must own books’ which gave me a great starting point. Most of the books presented I certainly recognized (probably because I saw the movie-adaptation) so I quickly added them to my shopping cart. They were DIRT cheap since I only added used books mainly from Goodwill stores across the country.

The first batch of books came and we started to organize and decorate with them. Sure they were great, but being we were not readers, they were only decorations and they didn’t hold much meaning for us. The smart thing would have been to pick up those books and start reading, right?

Nope.  Instead I opted to buy more books!

I started to look for used books that could at least potentially hold my interest: sports. And specifically, the New York Yankees. I quickly picked up several great and relatively new books, too: Selena Robert’s ‘A-Rod: The Many Lives of Alex Rodriguez’ aka ‘Arod: Steroids’, Buster Olney’s ‘The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty’ and ‘The Yankee Years’ by Joe Torre.

And so here is my little corner of books that I can actually speak about! Or at least bullshit about the contents of the book.  Hey, I’m just being honest.

The other day, Rebecca began moving some books on top of the mantle when we put the new mirror on the wall. Suddenly, our media console was lacking books. She then gave me the nod to order more books. And once again, I began searching like mad for used books. I filled my cart up with maybe 8 or 9 books when I thought back about my Yankee books. I once again was adding books to my cart only for decoration.

So I began searching for books on another topic that I’m very passionate about: lyrics and music. Being that I co-manage a great music community focused around lyrics (cheap plug), how great would it be to house some music or lyric related books? I quickly found some used (and cheap!) lyric books from artists such as Sting, Paul Simon and Bob Dylan. I also ordered some non-lyric music books, too – Jay-Z’s ‘Decoded’ and Kanye’s ‘Thank You and You’re Welcome’. They’re all on their way this week!

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Therapeutic

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Posted by Rebecca, July 11th, 2011

On Saturday, we took Darwin to a speciality vet for some extra tests on his kidneys. We found out today that he has cancer.

We were also told that he has already lost 75% of his kidney function and lost even more weight in the past 3 weeks. We thought he was getting better.

Though I know that strangers offer some of the most comforting words, I’m not ready to post about it. How could I ever express in words how much I love him? Or what it feels like when I think of losing him? I feel like I wouldn’t do him justice.

So what are a heart broken cat momma and dadda to do? Paint. In our pajamas (with gothic looking nail polish to suit my mood).

We’ve been itching to tackle the primed walls of our entryway and have had a can semi-gloss paint on hand for months. Tonight we decided to scrape our energy together and begin to complete this mess. We started with the chair rail install at the end of March.

We took a break halfway through to order some pizza AND we had it delivered. This is monumental because we’ve only done that once before- during a snowstorm. We didn’t want to have to dig out the driveway so we figured we’d order pizza, only to realize that we had to clear the walkway and porch for the guy to actually get us the pizza. So we ended up shoveling anyway and kicking ourselves for being dumb. This time it worked out as pizza deliveries should 🙂

We didn’t get to paint the upstairs hallway today, but we were able to paint the lower walls and chair rails downstairs and along the staircase in just an hour or two.

It’s so much brighter already! The paint color is Crumb Cookie by Olympic. It’s a slightly off-white with grayish undertones. We brought a piece of our trim that the builder painted to Lowe’s and had it color matched to Olympic’s no VOC paint. The Lowe’s employee was super helpful and tried a bunch of colors against the trim sample to make we had a good match. We brought home a sample just in case and checked it against our existing trim. Thankfully it matched. This all happened back in like, April when we bought the paint.

We decided to paint the walls before finishing up the picture frame portion of our molding because we figured it would be faster this way. Now once the rest of the trim is up, we can just caulk it and go over it with a brush and forgo the roller. Plus we obviously do projects in small segments, so at least we can deal with a plain white wall for a while if need be.

The painting was relaxing and much needed. It was such a small area that it didn’t feel like more of a chore than something fun. I’m very happy I peeled my watery face out of my pillow to join Mike and put a dent in this overdue project. It felt good to drop everything for a bit.

Darwin watched us for a little bit and gave us the paws up. Though he said he would have painted the walls orange…

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Celebrity Houses, Brother!

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Posted by Michael, July 7th, 2011

Some celebrity homes went up (or stayed up with a price reduction) for sale this week. I believe if we all pool our pennies together, we might – MIGHT – just be able to purchase one of these.

Right.

First up is a self proclaimed Colonial and French style home taking up just about 6,000 square feet and sits on more than six acres of land in Greenwich, Connecticut. Drool. It features a tennis court, a swimming pool and a gazebo. I’m in!

The house itself sports four bedrooms and get this – eight bathrooms. Eight!

We have 2.5 bathrooms now and I still find myself struggling to decide which one to use every day.

I’m not much a fan of the flooring nor carpeting going up these stairs, but the trim is outstanding.  I love that the bannister really pops against the white, too.

The house? It’s going for a cool $3.8 million bucks. It was last listed for $5.9 million in 2008. Pssh, I guess I need to get myself on Who Wants to be a Millionaire!

Dude.  This patio ceiling?  Awesome.  I can do without my grandmother’s outdoor furniture, though.

Oh look how creative I am. I mentioned a show the owner was once the host on! Yes, this house is owned by Regis Philbin – though he hasn’t lived in it for several years choosing to instead rent it out.

And now on to the next one!

Recognize the house?

Five years ago, this house was listed for $25 million. It never sold so it went off the market. Last summer, it was listed again but for $10.9 million. That’s more than half off! But once again, it never sold. And it’s listed once again for a reduced $9.2 million.

This bad boy is located just 35 minutes outside of Tampa and overlooks an Intracoastal Waterway and Clearwater Harbor. I’ll take it!

The home has five bedrooms and 11 bathrooms (whaaaat). It has a full gym and recreation room. The house has an awesome pool with several waterfalls (drool) and two docks on the water for my, err anyone’s boating needs.

Wood work and those beams are awesome.  But that thing over the fireplace?  Hmm.

Start eating your vitamins and saying your prayers and cheat on your wife to afford this house! Or Hollywood Hulk Hogan (this is his house, just in case you didn’t catch on yet) might just unleash his 24 inch pythons on you!

Speaking of bad boys, Diddy’s house is up for sale, too! This Alpine, New Jersey (Jersey! Holla!) home is 17,000 square feet with 7 bedrooms and 9 full bathrooms. At least Diddy has his bedroom to bathroom ratio relatively normal.

And some credits?  Sotheby’s, The Wall Street Journal, Aol Real Estate, and CelebrityDetective.com.

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Adios Christmas in July

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Posted by Rebecca, July 6th, 2011

Confession: Remember that coffee filter wreath I made back in December? Well as of today, it was still hanging above my mantel…

It wasn’t still there because I’m one of those lazy people who leave Christmas around for months, since all of the Christmas stuff was packed away the first week in January. We just didn’t have anything to hang above the fireplace and I figured why not keep it around! Plenty of people use their coffee filter wreaths year round and I thought it made a decent placeholder. But I was getting sick of looking at it’s awkward, disproportionate-ness.

This area remained naked because of our constant flip-flopping on what to put up there. First I planned to reuse a rectangular mirror from our condo, but when we held it up over the mantel, it didn’t look right. Too small, too square, just not right. At that point we considering adding a round mirror but we thought since we have a ceiling fan in the family room, maybe a mirror wasn’t the right choice. Even though we have a pretty ceiling fan (if one exists), we didn’t necessarily want to see it’s reflection.

By the way, that fan has never made it to this blog. We got it on eBay for less than $100 and all proceeds went to a children’s charity. Pretty cool right?

Anyway, at that point we decided to hang some pictures from our Hawaiian honeymoon over the mantel. We just never got around to choosing 4 to hang, then we decided to do an entire entryway gallery and thought we might be overkilling the photo arrangments in the house. Back to square one it was!

While searching for an entryway mirror, we stumbled upon a large, dark, round, chunky mirror at Lowe’s that I loved. Problem was that it was too big for the entryway. I was fortunate enough to find a smaller, yet similar mirror at Target for the entryway, but I decided I wanted the Lowe’s one too. For over the mantel 🙂

We picked it up a few weeks ago and never got around to hanging it. Tonight was extremely stormy and we decided to take advantage of the rainy evening.

When we opened the box, the mirror had a few little blemishes.

We could have marched back to Lowe’s and demanded a new one, but that would have required time and energy. Plus, those little marks were nothing a Sharpie couldn’t fix!

We took turns filling in and wiping excess marker while it was still wet. We’re all about gender equality 🙂

Meanwhile, Macky looked on and admired his mug in our new mirror.

This one is his bridal portrait, because it makes his neck look skinny…He needs a veil.

The command strip we used to hang the wreath peeled the drywall off the wall. I have honestly never removed one of those things without issues. I wanted to hang the new mirror on the low end and we were worried that the spot would show. Thankfully, we could cover it and still hang the mirror where I wanted it.

I love the way it worked out, now we just need to hang those curtains we bought 6 months ago

(the coloring in this picture is yellowy due to the setting sun and the recessed lights on in the room :()

I even purposely took a picture where you can see the fan’s reflection, which was only when I was sitting on the floor. Most of the time you see the kitchen cabinets.

Not a single imperfection can be seen 🙂

While I was futzing around with the mirror, I figured I’d put some accessories on the mantel. Sadly, I never really “styled” anything on our entertainment center or mantel. I’ve slowly been accumulating things and just sticking them wherever. The books, well, Mike was supposed to post about them a while ago, but we bought most of them for $1 off of Amazon. They’re used hardcover books with the jackets removed. These were totally Mike’s idea since he liked the way Crate & Barrel staged our entertainment center in the store and he wanted to create it himself. He’s a keeper. I moved some books and other things from the entertainment center to the mantel.

Note to self: Remove sticker from back of that book.

I thought I had a lot of accessories, but I apparently don’t since now my entertainment center is nakey. I asked Mike to order some more used books to replenish my stash. Maybe now I can get him to write that post on decorating with books? 🙂

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Mud, Sweat and Fears

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Posted by Rebecca, July 5th, 2011

This weekend consisted of a lot of cleaning up. The weeds out front were the first to go. Did you think I was kidding about the 4 foot weed?

Those stems sticking out of the top? Follow them with your eyes and see how tall they are. I was considering waiting until it bloomed and seeing how it looked, but instead I plucked it. It was very rewarding.

I also (finally) cleaned and organized my side of the closet. I seriously had things that were not unpacked from our move over a year ago. I donated 3 bags of clothes and got rid of a bag of clothes/crap. I still need to finish up a little, so I’ll share pictures of that later this week 🙂

Yesterday while I was cleaning myself, Mike told me to grab a a towel and come see something. I listened and went running down the hall like a looney. Funny thing was, Macky was so excited by the running that he started running up and down the hall. The interrupted shower was totally worth seeing 3 awkward baby deer running around our property.

That’s an iPhone picture taken through our window, but trust me, they were jump-out-of-the-shower adorable.

Today, I left work a little early to pick up our veggies at the local farm we belong to. It’s an organic CSA (that’s a wikipedia link) where we pick up our veggies every Tuesday. When I got in the car to head there, the temperature was 102. Ouch.

So being the genius that I am, I decide that after I grab my veggies from their respective bins I want to grab some of the pick your own flowers. We were allowed to pick 10 stems this week and I couldn’t help but want to put some in my Kate Spade rose bowl on the island. I figure after all of the cleaning and organizing, we could use a fresh little arrangment, right?

First problem, I couldn’t find the flowers. I walked over to the green beans (yuck not a fan) then all the way back to the herbs (already have 2 weeks worth of catnip). This sounds easy, but the farm is big and it was hot. My paleness felt like it was scorching since I was without a hat and sunblock. I walked back into the barn to glance at the hand drawn map to find the flowers. I think the map was backwards? I’m still very confused by that map.

I finally spotted a man in the distance and figured those must be the pick your own flowers! So I began to walk in his direction, but the farm was muddy. I slowed down and began to walk gingerly, in my flip flops and dress, only on the dry areas. But the dry areas weren’t so dry and within a minute, my one flip flop was inhaled by the mud.

I panicked for a minute but then gave it a good tug, which firmly planted my other flip flop in the mud. So now I’m standing in the middle of a field, in work clothes, sweaty and fearful that I am in some sort of South Jersey quicksand that my wannabe hippie self was unaware of. Because I am not a hippie. Which was pretty obvious at this point.

In an attempt to blend in, I left my iPhone in the car and have pictures/videos of this. Not that I would have taken any, considering I was terrified and completely unable to move. By some sort of miracle, I pulled and pulled my feet until I got one free. After that I was able to free the other one and move along. I am still amazed that I didn’t end up actually sitting in the mud like that time in 7th grade gym class…

I finally got to the flowers and they were so…. dead and droopy. There was no way in hell that I was leaving empty handed, so I cut my 10 stems. I wasn’t going to cut a full 10, but anything less would have been a kick in the face.

When I got home, I had to hose my feet. This is the pleasant view, after the mud had dried in the heat and I had wiped my feet in the grass during the walk back to my car.

Yes I know my legs are pale. Yes I go outdoors, I was sitting by the pool all day yesterday. And yes I have heard of sunless tanners, that natural glow above is courtesy of Jergens 🙂 (I am serious).

When I whipped out my rose bowl, I noticed that car ride home had…. further killed my flowers. But I stuck them in anyway…

The best flower I picked still isn’t the greatest looking thing.

I thought maybe those ones that haven’t bloomed yet would do something for me in the next few days?

I was so covered in mud and sweat that I had to shower the minute I walked in the door. So much for leaving work early and getting extra things done around here. I blame Kate Spade and her pretty crystal rose bowl.

The first cat to eat these flowers is going without treats for 1 week*!

*Unless it’s Darwin, he needs to put on weight and can have all of the cookies he wants….

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