October 31, 2011

Musical Chairs

Aside from working on several 'real' house projects this weekend, we did spend Saturday night playing a rousing game of musical furniture. I suppose I should explain why...

It all began with our tiny living room and over-sized furniture. We knew our Craigslist couch and chair were going to be a bit large for the space, but I don't think we really understood how large. The chair alone is practically one foot away from being a loveseat. Here is the only setup we could come up with:

Looks innocent enough, right? Well, the font door is directly to the right of the couch. As in, you walk into our front door and the back of the couch is right there. What ends up happening is the couch really blocks the room off and makes it look even smaller than it is.

Herein lies the dilemma - how to arrange the furniture in a way that allows the sofa and chair to blend in, while still allowing us to have a television in the room. You would think we were asking for world peace! The husband and I decided to clear the extraneous items (coffee table, lamp, record player) and move the big items around to get some ideas.

Option #1 (the original setup):

Pros: We're pretty used to this setup since we've been living with it for four years now. It also allows us to watch TV and watch the fire.
Cons: Blocks the flow of the room and creates a cramped entryway.

Option #2 (couch against the back wall):

Pros: The perfect place for the couch, but then where the hell does the TV go?
Cons: That chair was not working in that spot.

Option #3 (couch against the windows):

Pros: Prime fire-watching location and still allows you to watch TV.
Cons: The right angle formed by the couch/chair combo was awkward. It's hard to tell in the picture, but it just didn't work.

Option #4 (getting rid of the chair):

(Note: We used dining room chairs to hold the place of some potential smaller chairs for the living room)

Pros: This was actually a great setup, we just don't want to get rid of our chair and then have to buy two new chairs.
Cons: Couch is still in obstructive position and getting rid of the chair.

Option #5 (chair/TV switch):

Pros: None. Seriously, it was worse than the original!
Cons: The chair complete overtook the fireplace.

So where did we end up? Right back where we started.

At least now we know that if we are ever willing to relocate the side chair, we can definitely have some more options. I did come to the conclusion that sometimes things might not look the best, but they just work for your family or your lifestyle. This setup seems to do the job for us and we've grown to kinda like it.

Oh, and what's a game of musical chairs without music, right?

Check out the album I picked up this weekend. I am hoping we can play tonight while the trick-or-treaters come!


October 29, 2011

Our Wedding: The Details

Originally posted 10.10.11

It's hard to believe, but today is our one year wedding anniversary!! Talk about time flying. In the spirit of being married for a whole year, I thought I would share some pictures from our wedding.

As I'm sure most brides will tell you, planning a wedding sucks. I'm sure it doesn't suck if you're Martha Stewart or something, but for the regular gal it's time consuming, stressful and a bit overwhelming - at least it was for me. I'm overly practical (to a fault) so I knew I would never be that girl who wanted her wedding to be a big to-do. Initially I was hoping Brian and I could just run off to Mexico or something, but the parents weren't too thrilled with that idea. Finally we settled on a wedding in Maine, in a hotel built in 1883. In no way, shape or form do I think my wedding was 'blog-worthy', but I thought I would share a few details in case any future brides were looking for eye candy or just some ideas for their wedding...

First off, I have to tell you who took all the insanely amazing photographs. That would be Leigh Germy from Atlanta. Unfortunately, she doesn't shoot weddings anymore (only as a second shooter) but for god's sake if you can get her to take your picture, do it! I am waiting for these damn braces to come off and then I am gifting myself a little photoshoot with her!

This one is non-wedding-ish, but I couldn't resist sharing the chandelier in Mrs. McGrath's house. Drooling? Yeah, me too.

How cute are these door stoppers?

The rings:

I really don't like flowers very much, so I decided to carry a fan that my aunt sent me from Spain.

The purse is vintage 1950's (a gift from two very special women, Carmen and Ines):

I refused to spend money on elaborate bouquets that would be carried down the aisle for 3 seconds and then tossed aside, so I purchased a pile of wholesale hydrangeas and watched a lot of YouTube tutorials on how to wrap a bouquet. This was the end result:

The place where we got married!

Another way to save some money? Have your mom make your wedding cakes. Oh, it helps if your mom is a super amazing personal cook/caterer like mine! Let the mouth watering being:

For the table 'numbers' I wanted to do something a little different. It may sound silly, but I didn't want anyone to be offended because they weren't sitting at table number one or two (but trust me, people will still be offended about something you've done or failed to do). I chose to use the vintage postcard theme and picked different cities that represented where we were from, where we lived and places that we got engaged, married, etc. I put the postcards all together to create this seating chart. Let me just spare some advice here: make sure you buy and cut the foam board several days before your wedding. My brother and I were hacking it with a box cutter a mere hour before walking down the aisle!

My favorite wedding detail, the Wedding Tree (which is now framed in our dining room).

I created the menus using the marketing software I have at work and then printed them here.

Being Maine and all, there was definitely this on the menu:

One of my favorite parts - we did a quedmada (explanation here)

I'll wrap this post up with my favorite wedding quote from my favorite wedding blog (a must read):

"If you end up married without at least one person pissed off at you, you didn't have a wedding, you had a goddamn miracle"

October 28, 2011

It's Friday, It's Friday...

If you're not from Atlanta then you've probably never heard 'The Friday Song', but click on the link below and you can join in on the fun:

Brian used to wake up much earlier than I did and every Friday morning he would sing a few lines of the song to say goodbye. Now it's not really Friday without it! Ready for one more song? I was jamming out to this classic in the car today.

This is a big house-working weekend for us. We've decided to get our butts in gear and finish up some lingering projects around the house (molding, stairs, caulking, etc.) Hopefully on Monday I will have some updates!

Last, but not lease, I'll leave you with my favorite childhood photo of yours truly...

October 27, 2011

Before and After: The Fireplace

Introducing....the longest fireplace mantel in the world. Okay, maybe not, but it sure does feel like it. Aside from that title, it also holds the record for "Hardest to Decorate'.

The fireplace is the first thing that you see when you walk in our front door and it definitely grabs your attention. This is what we saw the day we toured the house:

Certainly not in its prettiest state, but the brick was gorgeous, the mantel was very well-made and we fell in love. See the little cubby-hole to the right? I had never seen that in any other fireplace! Unfortunately, after we bought the house and tried starting up a few fires, we realized it was a pain in the a--. Not only were we not excited about having to buy firewood, but the air circulation on the room was not conducive to actually having a successful fire. On top of all that, we live Atlanta - not exactly the Artic Circle. We decided to convert it into a gas fireplace. Of course I have no pictures of this process, but Brian did it all himself. It did require cutting a HUGE hole in the guest bedroom wall (to access the firebox), but other than that, it seemed fairly easy. We bought some very realistic fake logs - I know the gas logs from long ago can be very fake-looking, but I swear they have come a long way. Now whenever we want a fire, we just have to turn a key and use a lighter to get a spark! 

After the conversion, it was on to painting. This mantel was practically screaming 'paint me white'.

We weren't concerned with 'painting in the lines' since we knew the walls would soon be painted. Embarrassingly enough, it stayed this way forever.  

Finally we painted the living room walls and this was the final product:

So crisp and clean! The next issue was what to put over the mantel. The space was too narrow for a television, so we knew that some artwork was the way to go. I figured three classic frames would provide a nice backdrop for any seasonal decor that would actually go on the mantel. Target had the perfect dark wood frames with clean lines. Ah, but we're not done yet - next it was figuring out what was going in the frames! Immediately, I thought of my childhood friend, Ross. He is an architect and amateur photographer who takes amazing urbex photos. He graciously offered to send  me three pictures of our choosing. The ones we chose were not only cool, but they were all from abandoned Catskill resorts near my hometown. Please check out his Flickr page to see hundreds more. Here they are all framed:

In case you wanted some close-ups:

In hindsight, I would have hung the frames a little closer together (toward the middle) to leave some extra room on the ends for decor projects, but we do love how it came out. As for the cubby-hole? It's currently serving as record storage:

And no, I am not exactly thrilled with that setup. I am thinking one of these would look perfect in that space:

It's Pottery Barn (of course) and it's ridiculously overpriced, but I have my eye out for a cooper bin that could work. Need a visual of how it could come together?

Yeaaaa baby.

October 26, 2011


Remember back when I mentioned my idea to do a post on all the places I've lived? Well, here is installment numero dos. First, let me explain how I ended up below the Mason Dixon:

While living in my first apartment in Newburgh, I worked two jobs. During the day I was a legal assistant and at night I was a bartender on the waterfront. Needless to say, free-time was a foreign concept. The attorney at my day job (my boss) mentioned that I should work at the corporate office in Atlanta. At that time my position was only temporary, so moving to Atlanta would get me a permanent position, a raise and the hell outta Orange County. After a few business trips to the A, I decided to make the permanent move in December of 2006. I didn't know a single person (aside from a few random co-workers), but I am always down for an adventure. My friend and I packed up my two-door Saturn to the brim with everything I owed. Two days later we arrived at Barrington Court apartments and walked into 1190-C.

Before we talk about the inside of the place, let me just show you what I saw outside:

I had taken my first steps out of the car towards the apartment and there was this guy waiting for me. Of course you Southerners are all saying 'so what', but what you don't understand is that we don't have these in upstate NY. I swear, the only time I had ever seen a cockroach (that thing above is a Palmetto Bug - yes, there is a difference) was in the basement of the building my dad works in in NYC. 

Anyway, once we were done freaking out over insects, it was into the new place:

This picture sums up the entire apartment - it was a 500 square foot studio! The door you see was my walk-in closet...

The other side consisted of my kitchen and the door to the bathroom.

The funniest part? I had no bed. My parents had given me some money to buy a futon when I got down there, but Devon and I weren't able to get to the store for a few days. This was our makeshift bed:

Eventually I bought a futon, but it was the most uncomfortable thing I have ever slept on.

Thankfully our Plan B was an air mattress...and yes, that is my enormous pile of clothes...I have no comment.

As fate would have it, I met my husband just a week later and guess what? He had an extra queen mattress and it was the most comfortable bed I have ever slept on. It lives in our guest room now and if you came to visit, you could sleep on it too.

The two things I loved the most in this apartment were my closet and my itty-bitty balcony (is it still a balcony if it's on the ground floor?)

Although I only got to live here for about six months (Brian moved in together around that time), I did love that little apartment. Stay tuned for the last installment which is the apartment that Brian and I lived in together!