Friday, July 30, 2010

It's Platinum, It's got a fancy diamond...

... It's an ENGAGEMENT RING! And it's on MYYYY FINGER!!!!! :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

Zac proposed on Saturday the 24th in New York City on top of the Empire State Building. Cutesy huh!?

He's awesome. Like, a LOT awesome. I am so happy!

So how did he do it? You ask? Well.....

We were going to New York to video tape our day and submit it to this YouTube project called Life In A Day. So Zac, my sister and I took the MegaBus up there to spend the day. I would totally recommend using Megabus too. It cost about $44 bucks for each of us round trip from DC to NYC, and I think it was only that expensive because we waited till the last  minute to book our tickets.

The bus was full, but we left so frickin early in the morning, we mostly slept the whole way. It took about 4 hours to get there and was much better than us driving ourselves to a city we had never been to before.. We soooo would have gotten lost.

We were dropped off on a street somewhere, stopped in a Starbucks to go to the bathroom and get coffee and went on our merry way. We had absolutely no idea where we were going, but knew 5th street had lots of stuff, so we started walking that way. I kept seeing a huge building/tower thing and was like, "You guys wanna go up there?" but it never registered in my head what building it was.. We almost walked completely past it, until I looked up and saw the "Empire State Building" sign on the front. It's hard to notice when you're walking below it!
So we went in and paid retarded tourist trap amounts of money to go up to the main observatory. We were all snapping pictures and video taping the exquisite view.. at one point, Zac asked my sister to video tape and I got snappy because I didn't want them filming stupid stuff because I didn't want to submit a bunch of jumble to the contest (you aren't supposed to edit your footage). Silly me.

So while I was looking at buildings, Zac pulled out his digital camera and said "Hey look at this picture." I took the camera for him, and saw this:
"AWWWWWWWW!" I said. Then he pulled out the ring, and I was so excited I took it from him while saying "YES" and kissed him. And kissed him. And kissed him some more.

He didn't get down on 1 knee.. he didn't actually ask me to marry him because I didn't give him the chance.. but it was perfect in my mind.

And the planning begins...maybe.

View from the top:

And just for fun...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Jazzin up the entryway wall

I promised more photos! MORE MORE MORE. YAY!

On that note.. here's my shelf I mentioned in this post in all its glory. 

Wanna know the best part of building this shelf?? I drilled the holes for the knobs in it myself before Zac could do it for me. MUAHAHAHAHA!

He was kinda sad when he walked into the kitchen and saw the sawdust on the floor and half of the knobs already screwed in. How could I be so hateful to take his job away from him?! 

It happens. 

Stained, sanded and sealed. 
A word of advice to those of you planning on using polyurethane in a spray can- don't.  It gloops and dries funny and not smoothly. Or maybe I just didn't do it right. Who knows. I would have preferred to just use a little wipe on poly, but I bought the can so I figured I'd use it.

Close-up of color
Here it is hung on the wall with my new mirror I got at Ross for $15. Win. 

 I have bomb diggity photo skills with my non-digital SLR camera. Take that other bloggers with awesome pictures!

I also redid the candle holders.. They were brass. And OOOGLY. I hate brass with a passion. A little sanding, some primer and a couple coats of white paint and you have a pretty white candlestick! Then about 3 weeks later I got bored with the white and wiped some stain on them while I was staining this shelf. Now they are a greyish-whiteish-blackish color. Yea. That.

All in all, this project cost me about $31.50. This includes the mirror- $15 from Ross, wood- $4 from ACE, brackets- $1.50 from Goodwill, knobs- $10 total ($2.50 each with coupon at Home Depot. I kinda splurged on these!) and leftover stain from doing my table and the can of Poly I bought that I thought I was going to use on my table and never got around to. 

I found this shelf at Target  (below) before we built ours. It was perfect for the entry wall, but the price was not. If I remember correctly it was about $50-60. Pshaw!

Ok I'm tired... and Cake Boss is on TLC and Buddy and his sister Mary are fighting so I can't give this my full attention. 

Have I mentioned that I am obsessed with TLC and about 90% of its shows? No? 

Until next time!

Monday, June 28, 2010

I'm a slacker

Do you ever WANT to do something really bad, but at the same time not want to do it at all? (No no no. Not that. Pervs.) That's how I have felt about my blog.. I have been extremely lazy with uploading photos from my camera and sorting them... but I'll try to pick it back up.

TRY I said.

I've done a bunch of random little projects around the house and ignored all of the big major ones. Go figure. I have become obsessed with spray paint (black mostly) and started a collection of items to be used when making/refinishing stuff, but haven't actually done anything with any of it yet.

I did however, buy and re-do a mirror for Zac's bathroom, build (with Zac's help of course, because I get extremely frustrated when something isn't working the way I want it) a coat rack/shelf for the entry way, finish my dining room table, purchase chairs for the dining room table and buy fabric to recover them, and spray paint anything I didn't like the natural color of. :)

Tonight I promise to post pictures. LOTS of them.. Maybe I will save your eyes from photo hell and post some tonight and some tomorrow..

Depends on how lazy I am.

For now.. here's a sneak peak of the shelf we built. Because I posted pictures on Facebook instead of here.. because I love it more.

I bought 2 of these brackets from Goodwill for 75 cents each because I am awesome like that.
 Then we bought some wood at ACE Hardware for less than $5. Zac pre-drilled the holes for me because he doesn't trust me with power tools that damage things. Meanie.

Loki also brought us his bone to play with while we were measuring and being crafty. The wood was getting more attention than he was. He's rude like that.

Before I save and sign off, I will leave you with a photo that will threaten the mojo of all men forever...

Loki stole it all.   "Helloooooooooooooo Ladies"

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A table for Growed-Ups

When Zac was in college at his more adult house (the one after the shitty college house shared with immature, alcoholic roommates), he had this table in his dining room. That was actually set up as a dining room. Not a beer pong room, or a keg chair room, or anything ungrown-up like.

But they never used it. EVER. It sat there covered in a table cloth, with place settings mind you, for a couple of years until he moved back up to Northern Virginia.

It had been sitting in storage until we moved into OUR house. Yes. MINE. MY HOUSE. ALL MINE.

Sorry. I was maniacally laughing in my head while typing that.. I'm not crazy.

I think.

Anyway. This table was pretty sad looking.  It had HUGE UGLY white heat marks, and the poly finish was cracking to all hell.

*ignore my fatty self in non-flattering attire*

I decided that this table would be my first real DIY refinishing job. I have never done anything like this before... I had no idea what I was doing, but I pressed on. I had Zac buy me some stripper (not the naked dancing kind. sorry kids) from ACE and a scraper (that's the technical term right? I have no idea). He came home with a huge jug of this Citristrip stuff.

It smelled, well, wonderful! No stinky fumes and it painted onto the table quite nicely with my nice expensive paintbrush.

Let me just tell you, before you run out and buy this seemingly harmless bottle of orangey smelling goodness, this shit sucks ass. Pardon my french.

It dries super fast. Turns almost white then blends in with the table. Why, you ask? Because it is working it's secret sucky magic. It is out to get your furniture and destroy it. Whoever thought this stuff was a good idea was a moron. ACE should stop selling this crap. No wonder all the other bottles looked old as hell when I returned it.

After you let it set for the recommended too long amount of time, its time to scrape away. And by scrape, I mean SCRAPE WITH EVERYTHING YOU'VE GOT cause this crap is going to take ALLLLL day to get off. Not only is it almost impossible to scrape off completely, it only comes off in thin layers, so you are literally scraping till the wood bleeds. Can wood bleed? That would be awesome.

*I had to get Zac to help... I REALLLLLY wanted to just throw the table over the side of the deck at this point and call it quits*

Then, while you are scraping, so much thick, nasty gunk comes off, you have to go through about 4 rolls of paper towels just to keep wiping off your scraper. If you don't wipe you just spread it back all over the table. It's gross. It sticks to EVERYTHING, and does NOT come off of fabric. I tried.. or maybe I just suck. Who knows.
*After scraping for 3 hours, then one coat of KILLER Stripper and an hour of scraping*

What I do know, is this stuff is the devil and you better bet your pretty ass that I got all my money back and bought the harsh stinky stuff.

Dear smelly varnish stripper that ate through a pair of gloves and made my hands burn like shizz, I love thee. You worked miracles and I want to marry you.
*After coating and scraping 4 times*
*All sanded and beautiful as it is!*

It took me an entire weekend, from Friday afternoon to Sunday evening to completely strip down the table (at least 5 times I might add), sand it and stain it with an Ebony stain. It is GORGEOUS! And I am super proud of myself and my sunburn. Stupid sun.

*pats self on shoulder*
*pats self on shoulder some more*
*and more*
*ok one more time*

I'm done.

My mom said the table is white oak in the middle, the largest slab, and red oak around the trim and the legs. I know nothing about wood... so I am going to believe her. Either way, the wood is beautiful as it is... but I wanted a darker stain. I actually wanted to paint the table black, but in my mind the black stain would be similar. DUMB-O. It still looks fab, and I got a good arm workout from all the scraping.

I still need to put a coat of poly on it to protect it, but the weather hasn't been warm enough for me to justify  opening all the windows and spend all day doing it.

So let's recap:

 What do you think?!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

1 leak, 2 leak, 3 leak, floor!

With home ownership comes fixing things, frustration and empty bank accounts.

Who knew?! Apparently everyone but me. I guess I just thought money came out of my parent's butts and things fixed themselves, when I was growing up. WROOOONG!

[I WILL post pictures soon.. I have lots. I'm just being lazy]
The weekend of March 26th, we had lots of help fixing things around the house. Zac's oldest brother built us a pantry; our cabinet doors were hung; shelf liners were meticulously cut by myself and Zac's sister-in-law Jen and placed inside the cabinets for protection against the nastiness I could not seem to remove; plumbing issues were fixed, and fixed again; and our door frame to the laundry room was replaced because it was too small to allow us to bring in our washer and dryer— so it was cut out!

Now, I don't know what is wrong with this house, but practically EVERY valve attached to some water producing mechanism was seized or leaking.

1 leak.

I wanted to do some laundry. But I wasn't allowed. When I turned the water on at the main valves, it started pouring out all over the floor in the laundry room. Hand tighten the valves? Check.

Why did no one do this before?!

2 leak.

The kitchen sink and basement sink are dripping copious amounts of water all over the cabinet/floor. It's ok. I like putting my cleaning supplies under the sink and watching them topple over because the bottom of the cabinet is warped!


3 leak.

Oh HAI! My name is outside spigot. If you turn me on, I will only spit out an iiiity bitty bit o water…if you open up my valve a little more, I will dump water all over the place, causing your precious new flowers to unbury their roots and run down the hill! But I must warn you, if you turn me back off I am going to continue to leak for 2 days until you notice, adding another $50 or so to your next water bill. SOWWY!


Saturday morning, when we got to the house after packing everything we owned into 3 pick-up trucks (times 3 or 4 more trips), we noticed water pouring out of the siding on the back of the house.

"Gee. Where is all that ice coming from?" I noticed icicles hanging down while standing underneath our deck, so I went upstairs and commented on it, and low and behold- there is a huge sheet of ice on top of the deck, icicles on the kitchen window, and water pouring down through the siding of our house.

I can't wait to get our water bill!!

The tubing going from the wall to the toilet was not tightened enough, so the toilet upstairs was running ALL night, and dumping gallons of water all over the bathroom and outside the house. Now we have an ugly water stain on our ceiling in the kitchen close to the window, and slightly rippled siding.




On another note.. I stripped and refinished Zac's college table. Turns out it's a beautiful red oak. I still need to seal it, so I will be sharing soon!!! Don't give up hope on me yet!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What We DIDN'T Know Before Closing...and kinda wish we hadn't found out.

Is it time to sleep for 2 days yet?!

I am SO exhausted from all of this moving stuff! This past weekend was CRAAAAZY.

Let me tell you... home ownership has been a thorn in my side since the day we closed. Buying a foreclosure is not all puppies and lollipops. More like leaky everything and gross.

We closed on Saint Patty's day.. and spent the first weekend cleaning, priming cabinets, painting cabinets, spending money, attempting to fix the electrical nightmare that is the basement (aka MAN CAVE), spending money, and a little yard work.

One of Zac's brothers replaced a bunch of leaky/seized valves on everything water related. We spent $500 to have our HVAC unit cleaned and serviced- and boy was it nasty! The guy said it looked like it hadn't been cleaned in at least 5 years. The chemicals he used to clean it smelled like burning hair and poop. Later, the guy conned us into purchasing a programmable thermostat for $175 bucks, "wif diccoun," he said. Wanna know the funny part? We could have bought a BETTER one at Home Depot for no more than $50 and installed it ourselves. Oh well. Live and learn right?

During the week following closing, we cleaned more and moved a bunch of small stuff into the house. I angrily painted and painted and painted the kitchen cabinets until I finally gave up on the "layers makes it beautiful and smooth" idea and started globbing paint onto the roller and then on the cabinets. I still need to touch up the edges that show a bit... but I can do that when we are all settled in. I also slacked on the inside of the doors, and only painted one thin coat of paint. So don't look at the inside when you come over! :) Maybe I will finish that down the road later.

Zac and I installed the knobs and drawer pulls on the cabinets at the end of last week. We attempted to hang the new hinges, but we aren't talented enough to drill new holes without making giant ones, or hang things straight. I'll stick to hanging pictures and shelves.

Now, on to the reason for the title of this post...

When we first looked at the townhouse, we really liked the brand new carpet, fresh paint, new (although bottom of the line) appliances and decent space. But buyer beware! When it seems to be too good to be true, it usually is. With most foreclosures, the banks couldn't give two shits what the condition of the house is in.. they just want to sell it. This bank fixed our townhouse up all perty like. But why?!

Well, lemme tell ya. Rewind back to somewhere in the beginning of 2009, say- between February and April. The previous owners found out that they were being foreclosed on and were very angry campers. The husband, wife and their two younger children decided, against everyone else's better judgement, to just stop caring about the house, taking out trash, and cleaning.

The house piled up with trash and old food... maggots started growing in open trash bags, and giant flies staked their claim in the ole' townhouse.

Eventually the family packed up their stuff (what wasn't covered in filth) and left. The bank came in to take a look at the property so they could list it for sale and were taken aback by the utter stench and nastiness. Apparently one of our lucky next door neighbors with whom we share a curry soaked smelling wall with, was lucky enough to look at the house with one of the bankers. He had to step out, lest he vomit all over the place.

Then the bank decided that the house needed an overhaul. They ripped out the old carpeting, appliances and everything nasty and redid it all. I don't understand why they didn't just go in and fix all the shoddy electrical.. but that's ok. We like having a dark, creepy basement.

So there you go! Sometimes I wish the neighbor hadn't told us all of this, but now we know. *shudder*

Friday, March 19, 2010


Good news!



Today Zac and I started all the cleaning, LOTS of cleaning. I also began my kitchen updating project.

Cabinet doors/drawers have been removed, sanded and primed.

Tomorrow will be full of painting the doors and drawers and also priming/painting the cabinets themselves.

My back is killing me already.

I will be back with photos! :)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Find the right track...

I have failed to tell you that we did not close yet. Not on the 5th when we were orginally supposed to. Not on the 10th, the date they changed it to and ASSURED us we would be closing on. Now we are set to close this Wednesday, St. Patrick's Day.

I hope.

So why did we not close the other two times they promised? Well.. some people don't know how to do their jobs properly. The first time it was postponed was because the bank "did not know" they were supposed to pay some certain portions of our closing costs. The second time, was because some extrememly special person filed the deed to the property with the county courthouse instead of with the titleing company, so the titleing company had to wait for the courthouse to approve the deed. This process was estimated at 2-4 weeks. Luckily they got it done on the 2 week end, so we didn't have to wait until our lease was up and we were sleeping on the streets to close.

Now the fun starts. You know all the work I said we needed to do?? Instead of 3 weekends to work on it, we now have 1, leaving the last weekend of this month to move all of the larger furniture and tidy up the rental a bit so we can get our ridiculous deposits back. 

Sit tight. My lack of patience is kicking in and will make for some interesting posts....

On another note- I made a chalkboard out of an ugly photo I found at Goodwill a couple weeks ago. I forgot to take before pictures, and still need to spray paint another coat, but I will share the finished product with you soon!

Friday, March 5, 2010

2 Steps Back

We are not closing today! :( Boo! Hopefully Monday or Tuesday. The bank had us sign a form allowing them to postpone it until at least Wednesday but I am hoping it doesnt take that long!

I have some cute DIY projects coming up soon! My sister and I went bargain shopping last weekend and I picked up some empty picture frames and an antique mirror that needs some TLC.

Stay tuned!

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Last Stretch

ONE more week! One more week till closing. One more week until we take that next step into adulthood and (in my opinion) complete one of the top 3 things that one should consider official adulthood (including being married and having kids). All in time mom. All in time.

Next weekend Zac and I put on our -100 experience level remodeler/fixer-upper caps and tackle a bunch of projects before I deem the house livable enough.

I get to update these cabinets on little to no budget. Add some hardware and live with the hideous laminate counter tops that look like they belong on the floor instead of in a kitchen.

We have to think of a temporary solution to missing closet doors. From looking online, we are probably going to have to get doors custom made to fit the awkward closet spaces, and it is going to cost too much right now. Why they did not put the doors back on when they stopped renovating is beyond me.


Perhaps a tension rod and some cute curtains for now? I need a sewing machine.....

Monday, February 22, 2010

Tantalizing Trivets

I always read DIY blogs and hate how lucky everyone else is to have cool thrift stores and tons of Goodwill stores around them with awesome stuff. I haven't been so lucky in these parts O'Merryland. There are a couple of thrift stores around (Unique Thrift Store and Value Village) but they kinda suck.. and are, I think, a tad pricey.

*let me just say that the link to Value Village does the one by us justice like you would not believe. The one here is gross. I felt like I should have been wearing a mask to shop, and no one speaks English.*

Anywhoozzle. I DID find 2 trivets that I really liked for about $2.50 a pop. Both were silver and kinda dirty and greasy. I soaked them in bleach and gave them a nice good scrub with a Brillo pad. I did not take any before pictures, but here are the afters.

Candy Apple Red and Midnight Black. <3

 I think they look pretty good! All I did was spray paint them (about 3 coats each) of high gloss spray paint and let them dry for 2 days. I was worried about the hot pots and pans melting the spray paint though.. I considered going back to Home Depot and looking for a can of clear high heat spray paint to seal them with... but I put it off too long then just didn't care anymore. If it peels, I'll sand them and re-spray.

Sorry for the ugly pictures. The lighting in this house is in the most inconvenient places, and the flash always gives too much glare.

But alas, we are moving SOON! So I can put my own lighting in and be happy with it.

So here they are! A butterfly and a clock-thing. I think they're pretty cute. I needed some trivets so this was a nice cheap fix.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Harry Homeowner

The closing date is fast approaching. I'm starting to realize that we are actually buying a house. We are actually committing to this for the rest of our lives.. or until we sell. :) Does this mean I am officially a grown-up now?

I don't wanna be grown up.

The townhouse needs some work. It has good bones and brand new carpet.. as well as a fresh coat of a beigey builders grade paint on all the walls, which we will change eventually. The hardest part is done... I hope.

Here are a list of things we will be working on after closing and before our current lease is up on March 30th and probably dragging them into the next couple of months.

  • Refinish/Paint kitchen cabinets 
    • install new hardware
  • Buy refrigerator, washer and dryer (the washer and dryer in the house are filled with mold. EW!)
  • Install awesome Gothic wrought iron light fixture bought on Ebay in dining room
  • Replace/repair leaky valves:
    • in kitchen
    • in upstairs bathroom
    • on water heater
    • main water valve in basement
  • Install closet doors on all but two closets (or curtains temporarily?)
  • repair the only two closet doors we DO have
  • clean/replace shower liner in basement shower
  • remove hideous faux wood paneling in basement
  • drywall drop ceiling in basement-or find alternative solution (any ideas?)
  • build Zac's bar in basement- AKA "MAN CAVE"
  • find nice furniture on Craigslist/at Goodwill to refinish 
  • many other things..
Hopefully these won't drive us too nuts or take up too much time.. but I look forward to sharing everything with you!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Caprese Salad

I'd like to make a habit of posting some of my favorite recipes on here to share. I LOVE to cook so hopefully you enjoy these recipes as much as I do!!

Today I am sharing my Caprese Salad recipe. My dad was in the Army when we were growing up, and we had the pleasure of being stationed in Naples, Italy for 3 years. I miss going to a local café and ordering a -DELICIOUS- plate of buffalo mozzarella, ripe delicious tomoatoes and thinly sliced pancetta.

While I have not used pancetta here, you can easily find some in your grocery store deli counter or wherever specialty items are in the deli cases. This is my take on an Italian classic.

*3-4 Roma Tomatoes -or-2 vine-ripened tomatoes
*2-3 cloves of garlic (adjust to taste)
*1/2- 1lb fresh Mozzarella or non-seasoned mozzarella in juices
*3 fresh Basil leaves (extra for garnish)
*1 tsp fresh oregano
*1/4 tsp fresh rosemary
*1/4 tsp fresh thyme
(You can use Italian Seasoning if you don't have fresh herbs. I highly recommend at least using fresh basil)
*Extra virgin Olive Oil

Slice tomatoes as thinly or as thick as you would like. I prefer to cut them about 1/4 inch thick (depending on the tomato). Set tomatoes aside and cut Mozzarella into slices comparable to tomatoes. Alternate slices on a plate or serving platter as shown or however looks best to you! Gather fresh herbs, roll into a log, finely chop. Mince garlic. Combine herbs, garlic and about 1/2 cup EVOO in a small bowl and mix well. Pour olive oil mixture over tomatoes and mozzarella, garnish with fresh basil leaves… and allow to sit in fridge for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavor to develop.

Adjust herbs and garlic to your personal taste. My family loooves garlic, so I always add a little extra. :)

Enjoy Caprese Salad as is, or on top of a lightly toasted piece of Italian bread brushed with olive oil.

Work in Progress

I decided to start a new blog... I don't really know why. I have another one (you can visit it here if you want. Although it will not be updated anymore.), but lost interest in updating. I had many blogs to read daily... but always struggled to post things that I thought people would be entertained by.

I guess this is my way of sharing what I want to share now, with whomever wishes to venture into my life.. as boring as it may be.

Maybe the new house will give me plenty to blog about. Closing is March 5th. Zac and I are going out today to look at the roof. It had some dry stains when the inspector came, and we want to look at it now with all this snow to see if there are any wet ones.

More on the house and us later. For now, it is time to personalize the blog. :)