Thursday, September 30, 2010

Take Those Chinese Fortunes SERIOUSLY!!

Check out the message from the Chinese fortune cookie I got about 4 months ago. Ironically, I actually think I got it at Bangkok Kitchen in Maumee (although, do Thai places give Chinese fortune cookies? That doesn't seem right... shouldn't they give Thai fortune cookies?)

Nevertheless, we had literally just started house-hunting when I received it and now today we are closing on our wonderful "treehouse" in the lovely village of Whitehouse. We won't be moving in for a month or two because we are giving ourselves also the most wonderful custom kitchen ever (more on our wonderful cabinet company in another post). Photos to come... but I'll just wait until I have the keys in hand. Forgive me if I'm slightly skeptical of a fortune that comes inside a cookie!!! HOORAH!!! Life list item #102 shall be completed in a few hours!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Ahhh... the blessed purchase reviews. That's a throwback to my fabulous days working at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston when our offices were offsite in the Copley mall and myself and 5 other lovely ladies worked in one room together (with a handful of other lovely ladies just outside the door) and would oftentimes come back from our lunchbreaks with new goods to show off. Someone would come back with bags and we'd all yell "PURCHASE REVIEW!!". Loved it.

So here are two recent purchases... both that I am very proud of and cannot wait to showcase in my new home (which by the way, I close on tomorrow! Eek! Yay! Scary!).

The first item I found at an estate sale... not just any estate sale but the one of a sweet Edith Franklin... a famous and established Toledo pottery artist. I bought a handful of lovely pottery from the sale and some nice pastels so I can create my own "masterpieces" (notice I humbly put that word in quotations!). But my favorite purchase was this large oil painting. A complete abstract I have discovered that the artist John Black actually had a one-man show at the Toledo Museum of Art back in 1963... when this painting was made. Hmmm... I wonder if this piece was perhaps made for that show and once hang in the wall of a fancy art museum. Ironically as well, after some research I found that Ms. Franklin (who I had the pleasure of having a nice yet short conversation with that day) is actually a graduate from Boston's School of the Museum of Fine Arts! What a fun coincidence! Anyhow, I got a complete steal on the piece... I paid less than I probably would for a framed Pier 1, Pottery Barn or even IKEA piece. But I love it as if I paid 10x as much.

The other item I just purchased today at a WONDERFUL antique shop in Ann Arbor called Treasure Mart. I went there to visit a craigslist sale that featured a tan Barcelona chair... that was actually not in great condition and a weird greenish shade of tan so I passed. But luckily I hit up this gem of a store while I was in town.

First of all, let me add that Ann Arbor is a GORGEOUS town. I have never been there and the downtown area is all charming and tree-lined with amazing old homes. I'd love to go for a run there or sit in a local cafe and drink my cappuccino on a Sunday morning. But this store was RIDICULOUS! I loved it. Amazing everything -- furniture, lamps, art, books. And tons of it. Three different levels plus it was pouring in the garage, porch and driveway. Immediately I noticed things were all reasonably priced and in reasonably good shape but when I stumbled on a Duncan Phyfe mahogany dining room table for a mere $125, I lept on it before I even walked through the rest of the store. With that price, I couldn't risk losing it by 5 minutes! Upon claiming it and going to walk through the rest of the store to see if I wanted to buy anything else, I immediately noticed that it had an additional two leaves in a wonderfully custom-made crate underneath the table... which was a complete shock because already this table measured about 96" long! I later learned that it had 5 total leaves and expands from 48" to 108"! Talk about a dinner party! It will look even better when I pair it with some contemporary chairs and a shiny chrome light fixture of sorts. It was in impeccable shape as well... check out the images... but even more exciting for my $125 purchase, check out the similar listings for the exact same table (with less leaves) that have it listed at $1000!

Additionally, let me just add that the service at Treasure Mart was just amazing as well... two men shrink-wrapped and carefully loaded the "treasured" table into my pick-up truck with furniture pads (that they lent me under the condition that I return them in 2 or 3 weeks when I get a chance). They literally spent about 15 extra minutes just making sure I was all set and they were the nicest, friendliest guys to boot. I will DEFINITELY be coming back to this wonderful gem. Apparently the turnover there is pretty amazing which isn't a surprise given its great location and the amount of people there on a random Wednesday afternoon!

Listing 1,mahgany-drop-leaf,2269878.html

Listing 2*F%3F&GUID=4111aec512b0a06c1b770637ffded6dd&itemid=380234518982&ff4=263602_263622

That Crazy Panda

I want... no, I NEED to buy some of the Egyptian brand Panda cheese. I'm frightened to see any Panda's in my daily routine otherwise. (PS: If you lived where these commercials aired, this would be an excellent and FREAKY Halloween costume -- you'd have to play that music from a boombox to get the full effect).

For some reason they won't let me embed this youtube video but all the other ones are missing my favorite part at the end of the first grocery trip scene... view it here:

Monday, September 27, 2010

Designer Squared

Hopefully my graphic design skillz will translate to interior decorating skillz as well. I've had fun at least impersonating an interiorista and even if it doesn't look professional -- it certainly is getting me excited for the new pad. It may seem like I'm a bit anal-retentive here, but actually the MORE I seem to plan out kitchen renovations and furniture plans, the more flexibility I feel when I'm actually out buying the pieces that will go into the room because I'm so familiar with my final vision (hence also why these sketches are still in erasable pencil format in my sketch pad).

Check out my big plans for the living/dining areas of the new house. Sure, there's a lot of new fancypants furniture in there (including that silly Arhaus Reese chair that I'm just praying will be ours after we hit the Powerball), but its a long-term goal and with the drawings here as a guide, I know I won't just comfortable and end up stuck in a rut too easily. I think I may just frame the drawings and hang them so I can admire them from my bean-bags chairs until I get there.

HGTV Internationale

Yes... prepare yourself readers because if you haven't already figured out, you will be getting a LOT of home decorating posts in the upcoming months. Its better than me just going on and on about my wedding colors or other shenanigans associated with 08-06-2011. But the priority right now is pimping the house that I'll be closing on this Thursday out and making it as cozy and livable as the pictures in my bursting head. Now that that disclaimer is over...

I'm obviously given the situation, OBSESSED with HGTV. Except it seems that 90% of its programming is House Hunters. I find that show interesting but now that I've hunted and captured my wild game, I'd like some more details and how to make it look all DWR on an IKEA budget.

Even more so, for every one traditional House Hunters (which by the way, do often make me feel even MORE confident about our purchase and deal), they show like 4 House Hunter Internationals!!! Having just bought a house, I feel pride and excitement -- I really don't need to watch these folks that already own 6,000 sq ft homes shop for their Italian villa or Barbados beach house. Sheesh. Its a good thing we have such wonderful trees and landscaping at our new place... I can pretend that I'm vacationing in the mountains of Tennessee or Vermont or something until I find MY perfect French countryside cottage... in like 40 years.

Dear Arhaus,

I'm obsessed with your Reese chair (hey readers: its so much prettier than this photo in person... with a beautiful weathered look that is just delicious). Its like the most caramel-ly lovable version of the classic Barcelona chair that is just not my thing in its traditional black or white leather. I kind of need to have it. Even my fiancé is pretty infatuated with it.

However, even at your sale price of $1299, it is still more expensive than the ENTIRE sectional sofa I've picked out at West Elm. Yet, it doesn't seem like the look will go very well with the plastic folding chairs that I'll have to buy on marked-down-twice-fire-sale if I indeed spent that kind of money on ONE FREAKING CHAIR! For that price, I would like a nightly foot massage thrown in for a year.

Let me know if you could possibly arrange that and we'll talk. Otherwise, I'll just continue to stalk and dream of that damn stupid chair that I love so much.


Oh and PS: if I do break down and somehow decide to buy all of my other furniture at Big Lots so I can afford this chair, I really don't appreciate spending that kind of bank and waiting 10+ weeks to sit my butt on it. Just saying.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Life List #102: buy a house/condo/2-square-foot-of-land!

Ok -- this life list item is soooo close to being completed. Inspection went swimmingly except for that crazy radon test. But luckily the sellers were kind enough to get that taken care of (or it will be as of this Monday) so thankfully we don't have to deal with that or add that to our ever-increasing budget. Closing on the 29th or 30th. We cannot wait... we've even gone over once in the meantime to spray the bee's hive that we need to nix pre-move. Funny that we're doing all this maintenance already when it isn't quite legally ours!

The kitchen renovation continues... I met with the third kitchen cabinet folk today for cabinet pricing. Stopped at Lowe's to get a quote on this Black Walnut island countertop I'm slightly obsessed with. And we've officially bought all of our appliances except the stupid wine refrigerator. Such a pain trying to find an undercounter/built-in version with hopefully dual zones that is actually cheaper than our full refrigerator. WHO KNEW?! But I think we've saved so much money on the other items that a few extra hundred will be well worth it.

Anyhow, with the pre-planning I've done and sketches and research, we will most likely be ordering these cabinets the day after closing and hopefully installing a mere month later. Knock on wood... literally.

So, if any of you friends or blog-readers out there ever need a kitchen re-do, please consult me... I ask more questions than should even be legal, so I can tell you the upcharge for those roll-out pantry trays, or the paneling on the other side of the refrigerator, or those super nice soft-close doors and drawers. And I can also give you the tips on granite savings, where to shop for appliances in Toledo/on-line, differences between frameless and framed cabinets (not to mention overlay and inset) and the costs as well. I've even discovered that not only can you make a cool grand off of selling pre-existing cabinets on Craigslist... you can also sell them to a contractor who prefers to remove them carefully and correctly themselves (saving US a ton of extra work!). I'm a damn kitchen nerd. And thankfully for my lovely fiancé's sake, I'm adoring every second of it.

Check out my pre-planning sketches!!! Talk about ridiculously specific!!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Life List #13: Sorta???

This weekend's half marathon in Dayton, Ohio was... well, interesting. In all technicality, my race was finished in 1:16. So I (sorta) completed my goal of doing one is less than 2 hours. Of course, there's a hitch. Just around mile 5, I started getting one helluva headache. Weird. Around mile 6, I was slightly nauseous and a bit light headed (I'll tell ya what, if you're feeling dizzy, having hundreds of runners passing you is not so helpful). Just shy of mile 7, I turned a sharp corner and my body kinda kept turning. Until I was collapsed on my bootie and sitting on the grass sobbing. I knew I wouldn't finish and I had NEVER quit a race. I felt defeated and embarrassed. As the Air Force cadets and the medical team rushed to help me and take my vitals (an hour after sitting on a cot and my heart rate was still well into the hundreds), I kept insisting that I'm not a quitter. When I started getting the chills and I put on my New York City 2008 marathon t-shirt one cadet goes: "You've done a full marathon?! Don't worry about people thinking you're a quitter then. You're just having an off day." that made my feel better.

Also I kept insisting that I had to get transported to the finish line to meet up with my fiancee and my cousin. Many hours later, I finally did with the other lady in the tent that dropped out from knee problems... only to find my poor fiancee roaming the crowds looking completely freaked out more than two hours after I should have finished. He's never hugged me so tightly in my life and he insisted "Who cares about the race... I'm just so glad I have you again!" So although it was sad and I felt horrible that he worried so much... it was a beautiful moment in the end.

Off day it was. Although I'm not scratching that item from my to-do list obviously, it is still ironic to think that somehow I did actually complete that item. Not what I had in mind!

Columbus half marathon in October! I need redemption!!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Memmmmories.... like the corners of my minddddd

Hey bloggie. Sup?

Remember me? I bet I've lost all of my viewers. I've neglected them and you for so long, bloggie. I'm a horrible blogger. But I have a job. And a fiancé. And a house. For Pete's sake.

But after sending a good friend my "life list"... I'm inspired again to come back to you more regularly. I know you've heard this before so just support me and I'll do my best.

So as an FYI, I am now up to 33 items done on my list of 111 (78 items done). Done in the last few months:
65. get CPR certified
102. buy a house/condo/2-square-foot-of-land! (swoon... more details to come of my lovely "treehouse" in Whitehouse)

I'm also still chipping away at a few others, such as:
13. run a half-marathon in less than 2 hours (PR is 2:05:07) :: doubtful, but I do have a half-marathon tomorrow... maybe a miracle will happen (or I'll find a shortcut)
67. read the Bible :: I started reading it around Lent. Its slow-going with my busy schedule but at least I've started
75. watch all 100 of the AFI's 100 years, 10th anniv edition :: now at 66 out of 100 so far
78. develop a better/stricter budget and stick to for at least 3 months :: I'm at a month and a half of monitoring Ryan's and my bills and allocating them to line items. Granted with wedding planning and house renovations/decorations, it will be out of whack for a while. But the key is, I have a system and so far, its nice to track everything and just know.
111. go on a picnic complete with basket, blanket, wine, and a cute guy :: next warmish Fall day, maybe I'll take Ryan into our beautifully landscaped new backyard for a picnic and some champagne to toast our new purchase/new life! Oddly enough, his back up proposal was to have a picnic set up for us when we were out for a run... his actual proposal was perfect as is, but I can't help but swoon over how awesome he is and how well he does know me and what I love.

Cheers! Have a great weekend... post a hello to show me you're still here and encourage me to post more entries soon!