Thursday, January 03, 2013

happy new year.

Ryan and I rung in the new year glued to our TV for a mega-marathon of Downton Abbey. The new season starts on Sunday, and Ryan had some catching up to do. Truly, I can't think of a better way to ring in 2013 then chillaxing with my main squeeze and the girls.

And we found this far more thrilling than watching Ryan Seacrest. And Fergie.

We of course had food- and since it was all miniaturized (mini-hotdogs, mini-potato skins) it was very fancy- in true Downton style.

In anycase, I was trolling the web looking for a good Downton meme, and instead found this gem- Downton Abbey paper dolls by Vulture. I adore the accessories! Mr. Pamuk! Thomas' arm with the bullet in the hand! Ah, such fun.

So happy 2013 + happy Downton Abbey season 3!

Friday, November 30, 2012

santa stopped by.

To visit Elliot, since she's been a good girl.

(Except for when she ate our wedding album...)

But, I for one am happy it's "the most wonderful time of the year" again. As I do agree.

Monday, November 12, 2012

day 4 | m√ľnchen

So remember that rain I mentioned last post? Well it poked its little head out between nights 3 & 4, and enjoyed itself so much, it stuck around for the morning. But that was ok, because with Zugspitze out of the way, and the new way of flying by the seat of my pants- we made it work. This involved a U-Bahn trip, and touring the Residenz. With our best rain gear (really, I need a new jacket, I am aware it looks much like I put on a garbage bag) we trekked from the subway to the grand palace.

And we were greeted with this- a common theme for this trip- scaffolding!

But, luckily inside was all pretty. And it wasn't too crowded. Figuring we'd hang out in the Residenz for awhile while it rained, we opted to get the audio guides and strolled. The Residenz is the former royal palace of the Bavarian monarchs, and is really big, and had a lot of cool things to look at. I especially loved this fountain made of shells!

After our tour + wandering, we braved the elements and went walking around Munich a bit. The rain was more on its way out at this point.

The rest of our day wasn't really planned out, so since the weather had cleared a bit, we thought it would be fun to visit Andechs Monastery for some yummy monk beer. It was about a 30 minute drive, and with the just rained weather, the clouds looked really cool. We parked (never mind we tried to go the back way to the delivery area) and then went to the outside dinning area for some large beers & large pretzels.

After we were full-o-yummy treats, we wandered the grounds. All so pretty.

As we were walking, we saw a trail- so thought we'd head on that a ways. Turns out it was a straight shot to nowhere. We thought it'd loop around the grounds to the front, but instead took us way out past it. We ended up turning around. And snapping this photo.

I'm sure one of those signs says "Caution- don't go this way- it doesn't really go anywhere."

After our tour to nowhere, I stopped back at the store to pick up a beer cup for my dad, then we hit the road. Our day was still young, so we decided it would be a great time to stop at Nymphenburg Palace. This was one great thing of having a car. If we wanted to do something, it was so easy to get there, vs. finding trains and subways. Definitely a different way to see a city.

The Palace was the main summer residence for Bavarian royalty back in the hey day. And since we had already seen the Residenz earlier that morning, we opted to just walk the grounds. When you pull in your engulfed in a circle of amazing buildings and waterways.

We weren't sure how far we could go- but it turned out we could go just about everywhere outside. And man oh man was it beautiful. It made me want to watch Pride & Prejudice/Cinderella/Marie Antoinette.

And before we left, we found the cutest little baby swans, and their mom. They were trying to get on her back. A-dor-able.

After a long, fun day, we drove back to our hotel and then picked up some Doner Kebab. Probably hands-down our favorite food we had while in Germany!

Monday, October 01, 2012

chervon pumpkins.

Now that it is officially fall, I wanted to set our porch up with all the fixings. I put up the fun felt rosette wreath I made last year, and then had plans to put out pumpkins. I had been poking around on pintrest, and had found a few fun ideas for chevron pumpkins.

But the links kept taking me to the tumbler, or just end result pictures.

I figured I could figure it out, so I went to Home Depot to pick up a few pumpkins and some white spray paint, since I didn't have any, and came home and went to town.

And then I realized I had no clue what I was doing. So I opened up my inspiration pin and pulled out my green tape. I started by making 3 inch strips of the tape, and then just zig zagged them, ignoring the peaks. I decided it would be easier to cut the tape in the shape I want.

Once I had them in a layout I liked. I started to press them down and then took my scissors to cut off the tape so I had nice triangle points.

After all of the points were in tip top shape, I moved on to the second layer. This one was so much easier!  You just follow the same up and down shape, with about a tape's width between the first row and new row.

And again, I left it all willy-nilly. Don't commit until all the tape is on the row. And feel free to move one here and there.

And then, when you have what you like, go ahead and cut those peaks. Repeat until the pumpkin is wrapped. Mine were on the smaller side, so I only needed thee rows.

And from there you spray paint your desired color. I chose white. But I made an amateur mistake here- I opted for the $.89 spray paint. Because I am a cheap wad. Spring for the $1 more spray paint, it will work so much better!

But, I was happy with the little guys once I painted them.

And they look so cute on my porch. Welcome fall! Now only if it would cool down a bit!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

the pit is gone.

To the right of our front door, was this dirt pit:

We've affectionately referred to it as the "neighborhood litter box." I don't think further explanation is needed here.

So, it was time for us to finally do something to this space. We quickly ruled out any foliage as the area had no drainage, no sun light, and we kill all vegetation.

Ideally we wanted to have this area be a concrete slab- to match our steps and small entry porch. But after a free estimate from a local concrete company, we ruled that out too.

The next best thing to a huge concrete slab? Concrete colored pavers. Back when we were putting in our french drain, we were out in the garden area at Home Depot, and stumbled upon the concrete colored, brick shaped pavers. While not identical to our current concrete, we thought they would blend far better than any alternative, or other type of paver we had seen. So we catalogued the product for when we were ready to tackle the job.

And that time was the minute our house was painted. It looked so chic and clean (post to come soon), and we were itching to make this area match.

We followed these two Lowe's videos about the process, although of course adjusting to our specific situation. We hit up the hardware store on Friday a few weeks back and bought our supplies (tamper, paver base, sand) and purchased the pavers to pick up the next day.

Saturday morning Ryan hit the road for his bike training, and I started excavating. We needed about 6 inches deep cleared for the job. So I dug out the nasty dirt, and tried my darndest to make it level and even.

We then brought in about 2-3 inches of paver base. You have to wet the mixture, and tamp this too. We quickly realized making the whole area 100% level was going to be pretty hard at this point. So we decided the best route was to try and lay down the paver base and sand as best as we could, but then level it off in sections with the brick. That way we'd have something to base our work off of.

We first had to pick a pattern. As always, so many options.


We were leaning towards the Running Bond, or Basket Weave. After laying out a few rows as a sample, we decided on Running Bond. We thought it was a more classic look.

And so we went to town. Paver base, sand, brick, level. tamp. Our best friend for this project was our rubber mallet. And level. Oh, and that green sit/kneel garden stool I picked up on sale at Osh.

And let's not forget our borrowed tile saw. That sucker was able to cut through the brick. And Ryan looked oh-so-stylish wearing my kissy-lip dish gloves.

It took us about two days, and about 20 bags each of paver base and sand to complete. And it was hard. But once we were done, we were so happy with the results.

To top it off, we used Polymeric sand as our grout. This hardens and stays, vs normal sand which would blow away. It was kinda pricey, so we used some regular sand first, and then then special sand on top.

And then we were done- ain't she pretty?

Freshly wet here, so reads much more darker than it is.

Right now it is still empty. I've toyed with a bench, or chairs- but I don't think we'd ever use them, and I don't want it to look cluttered. So we shall see, if I find a good deal on either one, I might try it out. But for now, we just wander around on it from time-to-time, enjoying the cat-free outdoor space.

Lastly, I leave you with Elliot and Riley waiting for me while I was in the garage. Oh-so-stinking cute.

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