Friday, July 29, 2011

Happy Early Birthday to me!!

P gave me my early birthday present this week and it was GOOD. REALLY GOOD!! He did GREAT

I am so excited to show you my gift:
Pre-hung of course

Oh and he got me this!!!
Do you know what it is???

getting closer. . .

PIZZA from my favorite Chicago pizzeria- Lou Malnati's!

I was almost as excited about the pizzas as I was about the door (almost!)
Lou Malnati's pizza and a pretty wood front door - what more could I ask for

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

summer days

Can you believe it is already the end of July?? I can't this summer has just flown by! We've been trying to slow it down a little and relax more. So we've upped our beach intake. It is so fun to be so close to the beach.
Galveston is certainly not the prettiest or nicest beach, but it still fun to go down and hang out and enjoy the water and the slowed down pace of life. We went last weekend and stayed over the night just for fun. We got a great rate on Thursday afternoon for a Saturday night at the Tremont House and it was fabulous. It is not on the seawall but in the historic area called the Strand and we just loved it.
It is a beautiful historic property that's been really well updated. The rooms have soaring ceilings and beautiful hardwood floors. I even tried to take a picture of the room doors- they were beautiful black lacquered with antique brass kick plates and handles - they were perfect!


roof top bar
and the view from it! Watched the ship leave later that afternoon!


Great hotel, fun time wondering around the shops in the Strand and some sun at the beach listening to the waves crash = total relaxation! Hope you're summer has been just as relaxing!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Herbed Balsamic Chicken

I found this recipe through an old friend and it does NOT disappoint! Its so good I promise you'll love it! If you aren't big on blue cheese we've also used goat cheese (crumbled or sliced) and it is just as delicious.

Herbed Balsamic Chicken with Blue Cheese
  • 6 skinless boneless chicken breast halves (5 to 6 ounces each)
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons herbes de Provence
  • 1 3-to 4-ounce wedge blue cheese, cut into 6 slices
Place chicken in large resealable plastic bag. Mix vinegar, 3 tablespoons oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt, 1 teaspoon pepper and 1/2 teaspoon herbes de Provence in small bowl. Add to chicken; seal bag. Chill 2 hours, turning bag occasionally.
Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Brush grill rack generously with oil. Arrange chicken on grill. Sprinkle with 2 tsp herbes de Provence, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Grill chicken until cooked through, about 6 minutes per side. Transfer to plates; top each with slice of cheese.

I also like to boil down the leftover marinade on the stove top until reduced to a sauce and drizzle over the cheese making it even more wonderful!

picture and recipe from  Epicurious

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Happy 1st Anniversary

Today we have officially lived in our home for one year!!! I can't even believe it! We moved in a year ago today and it was our first night here although we had certainly taken advantage of the 5-6 days between when we took possession and when we moved in to fill, and spackle and paint and just CLEAN! In some ways it feels like just yesterday, but then I look at our ever growing list of projects we have done in the house and the the stuff we still want to do and I have to say we have come a LONG way.

First and foremost there was our bathroom renovation that was done between our inspection and when we closed due to a leaky shower pan (although it wasn't QUITE finished by then as things turned out). This was so stressful at the time because we were making decisions but we didn't live here and only had to pay for part of it (previous homeowners' insurance paid for most!) And, making decisions on the spot without always getting be in the space and really see how it would come together felt crazy. I literally figured out/ chose the pattern for all the field tile and accent tiles standing in the street outside our house at 8am because the previous homeowners wouldn't let us in the house even though we had scheduled everything! But anyways we went from this:

To this:
It's hard to tell in pictures because it is still a small space for sure but expanding the shower and adding glass instead of a solid wall has opened it up enormously

Then right after we moved in we painted. A LOT!
dining room


Then in early August we did the windows-replacing all but one window in the house and changing out the sliding glass door for a picture window and replacing an old rotting wood door into backyard with a new one
see sliding door


We also installed a microwave above the range, added recessed lighting in the living room, took down an old fan and added recessed lighting in the Wii room, removed an off-centered light in the dining room and installed a chandelier (see above NOW pics)- that is centered!
well not quite but you'll see the full change in another picture :)
In October we added some much needed Elfa systems in the garage above the washer and dryer and on the front wall for a little work station. No before picture- didn't think I'd need a picture of the garage!

We also added some more recessed lighting in the hall updated the hall bath light fixture and added an A/C vent in the hall bath

In November we got a new dishwasher which was VERY exciting since our previous one was really on it's last legs.

In December we gave ourselves an early Christmas present and took down the load bearing wall between our kitchen/ breakfast room and the Wii room (we also painted the whole area a few shades lighter) and WOW what a big difference it made! We also had to buy a new furnace, Merry Christmas to the house I guess. . .


Right after Christmas,amongst lots of sales, we also got our new Kitchen Aid stainless steel range which we are LOVING


And we painted the guest bedroom a deep navy on a whim one Saturday- so far we're still loving it :)
the big brown box! :(


Right after the new year we finally got a new sink, disposal and faucet (thanks mom and dad for the Christmas present) AND our granite counter tops! Oh and some super fun updated wiring so the high powered disposal would work!


In February, we Elfa'ed Patrick's closet so he had more than one measly rod in a small closet and we went ahead and painted it the color I know I want the master walls too (since they were already painted the same color as the bedroom walls)


In March, we replaced all the nasty light fixtures (well all but one- the fan in our bedroom still needs to be replaced!)
entry way

kitchen/ breakfast room



In April, we did a little landscaping in the front yard (And by little I mean a LOT, at least for us)

Its still growing in but its looking great so far!
Ha- forgot we put on new door hardware too!

In May we took a trip and decided to cool down a little on the major spending, but then in  June we got the pleasure of replacing a major portion of our A/C! So needless to say it's been a busy year for us! And I didn't include any of the decorative and furniture updates, etc!! And while there are still a few things left I want to do to the house I feel like the major stuff is really behind us which is a GREAT feeling.

Now I just have a few things on my list- they just happen to be kind of big ticket items so we'll take them slowly
1. front door- I desperately want a wood entry door, maybe like this one, but a shade darker
2. new patio/ patio furniture so we can enjoy our backyard as much as the house and the front yard
3. Replace and add more outdoor lighting
4. new interior doors/ door frames- sounds strange and unnecessary but the hollow core doors aren't great when we have guests and all the doors/ frames peel because the person that put the white trim paint on used latex paint but the paint layer underneath was oil based and no one sanded or primed or anything. So we have a big mess and they aren't in the best condition anyways.

And that would really only leave us with this behemoth left to complete
But I'm sure that's going to be a ways down the road and I'm okay with that!

Happy hump day/ 1 year house anniversary day to you all!
I'll celebrate for you!