Monday, October 28, 2013

Not Another Monday

Mondays are the worst. Monday mornings usually find me dragging and depressed and whining to W, who--ever the sweetest man on earth--whispers soothing words to me via texts. Ah, technology.

In an effort to lift my spirits, I usually try to focus on my favorite day of the week--the weekend--which always does just feel like one, gloriously long and refreshing day. We took this past weekend slow. We weren't fully up and functioning until about 11 each morning. I couldn't help but get a little annoyed at myself for wasting the precious hours between 9 and 11 with such nonsense as delicious lattes on the couch and weekend PBS programming (my favorite) and cuddly and soft kittens and brushing my teeth, and exclaimed both mornings, HOW IS IT ALREADY 11. EVERYTHING IS OVER. THE WEEKEND IS OVER. IT JUST MIGHT AS WELL BE MONDAY. UGH. UGH. UGH. THIS IS JUST AWFUL.

To which W replied, okaaaaay, do I take a right or a left here?

Oh, W, my steady and emotionally-stable rock. I would probably be institutionalized if it weren't for him--or partial to cocaine.

Despite my mid-morning freak-outs, we had a pretty fantastic weekend. In fact, we've had quite a few pretty good weekends. Here are snippets from the last couple of months that I am relishing in right now.

These clam shell cocktail plates make me so happy. I can't wait to use them at Thanksgiving, which I am hosting this year. Eeee!

Flea market haul. I've already gifted the blue and white pitchers to Cap. They didn't end up working in my living room and look awesome in her guest room. I was pretty shocked to find a piece of tobacco leaf pattern china for $5. It matches a set that I bought back in September when Margaret was visiting. I know, you've missed so much, but it is entirely my fault. The verdict is still out on the mid century modern (MCM) sugar and creamer set. W abhors them. I do think they are little shiny, but I kind of love them. The MCM ash tray was actually found by W and looks awesome on the bar cart--not sure of what it could be used for though. The pink glasses are just heavenly and make me yearn for Christmas. I have always hated the color red (until recently) and preferred hot pink for Christmas.

Margaret and I on our way to Lewisburg when she visited all the way from NYC on Labor Day Weekend. We stopped at Hawks Nest State Park for the views.

My new china (I sold my wedding china--grandmothers everywhere are shocked) that I scored at one of my favorite antique stores in Lewisburg. I got four 5 piece place settings plus two coffee mugs (not pictured) for less than $70. The china is Horchow tobacco leaf pattern. W and I are still pretty obsessed with it. (Yep, he loved it, too!) The two coffee mugs that came with it were also in a tobacco leaf pattern, but not Horchow. I'm unsure of the maker, but the platter that I found this weekend matches those perfectly. Unfortunately, there was a sticker on the bottom that said "for decorative use only," so it now lives on the mantel. I adore it.

That planter was a flea market find and what encouraged the blue and white theme of which the pitchers were a bust.


W and I went to a costume party at the local crossfit gym Saturday night after a delicious dinner of pizza and sangria with Cap, J and J's dad, Mr. Mike, who was visiting from Louisiana. W was a very handsome gladiator. I was a not-quite-black-haired Wednesday Addams. I (of course!) couldn't find black hair paint anywhere. I used eye shadow that I brushed in. W was not a fan of the brown locks.
Also, a Halloween party at a crossfit gym is so un-fun, considering the 20, 30 and 40 (!!!!!) + year old women in barely there costumes. And, who can blame them? Not me! They looked fantastic. I was definitely the most covered up. People thought I was a nun. I can't help but laugh about how juxtaposed my costume was from every other female at that party. I also will never eat again. Period.

The weekend ended as so many have before--family dinner with Cap and J and this beauty of a chicken. This is the most delicious chicken you will ever eat in your life. Promise.

Butterfly your chicken (remove the backbone and break the breastbone).
Rinse and pat dry.
Smother in Tony Cacheres Cajun Seasoning.
Grill on the cold side of a charcoal grill (no lighter fluid!), covered for 30 minutes, skin side up.
Don't touch it.
After 30 mins., rotate it 90 degrees.
Cover and don't touch it for another 30 mins.
Make sure the internal temp is 160 degrees.
Remove and rest for 15 mins.


Friday, October 25, 2013

Curtain Spiff-Up

First of all, you should know that I graduated from the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC (ie: the most historic place ever) with a degree in Historic Preservation. Now, you will understand why I have a very strict rule when it comes to choosing housing. I only choose old-- the older, the better.

Currently, we live in a circa-1910 monster Victorian of which we occupy 75% of the second floor. I adore our apartment except for a few glaring oversights (a proper dining room, which means that living room dinner parties are the norm; a second bathroom; a dishwasher; a garbage disposal). Just because I love historic buildings does not mean I want to live historically. I enjoy the finer things in life, such as motorized dish washing and more indoor plumbing.

You should also know that one feature of historic buildings that I love the most is original windows. This can be heartbreaking at times, since they are a rapidly disappearing feature. Enter: vinyl windows, the scum of the earth. Luckily, both of the historic buildings in which we have lived over the last four years have retained their original windows. Sure, they can be drafty, but there are so many, easy options out there to make them more energy efficient. In my opinion, you take out the windows, you take out the soul. Rant over.

Our circa-1897 building in Lewisburg, WV. Our apartment was the three window bays to the far right on the 2nd floor.

Our old living room. The windows were gorgeous.*
(The wall color is still a favorite, Valspar's Woodlawn Lace; the trim is semi-gloss white.)

I tell you all of this so you will understand my strange, unconventional (?) approach to how I dress these original windows. LESS is better. The first thing I have done in both of our apartments has been to immediately rip out blinds and curtains that remain. Our first apartment had awful vinyl blinds, which are not easy to clean and are not made for historic windows. They almost always never fit. Even if you get them cut to width, they are usually too short or way too long. And, let's just face it, they're ugly. Our current apartment had some pretty awful polyester track curtains a la 1973. I couldn't wait to rip those things down.

Our current building before the porchony got a makeover.
Lovely pepto pink polyester curtains, right? This is our bedroom.

Bri's Solution for Window Treatments for Historic Apartment Living

First thing's first: If you know that your situation is temporary, treat your window treatment solution as temporary. AKA, don't put too much time, effort or money into it, since these curtains will most likely not work in your next place and are therefore not worth a major investment. Finally, (most) historic windows are just beautiful and don't need too much dressing up. Embrace the old! Don't try to cover up trim and moldings. Try to do as little to the original fabric of the window as possible. Be unobtrusive, but still make sure that your needs are met. Choose appropriate textiles and hanging methods. And, just have fun!

Here's what I do.

1. Buy two sets of cheap curtain rods for each window. I got ours at Walmart or Lowes for around $4-$8 each, depending on the size I needed. The windows in the bedrooms were wider than the kitchen and living room, so I needed longer rods. I chose silver tone, because although they are cheap, I don't want them to look too cheap. You get it, right?

Cheap silver tone rods.
(The reason both sets of rods are bent and wonky is because we have a white cat that likes to dangle from the curtains when we won't let her out on the porchony. This is another reason to not invest in more expensive window treatments. Naughty creatures!)

2. Depending on the amount of privacy needed in each room, buy 1 to 2 sheer curtains for each window. Since we are on the second floor and have a good bit of tree coverage, I chose to buy only one sheer curtain panel for each window. I did the same for our kitchen. Since bedrooms are a more private area, I got two sheer curtain panels for each window. Walmart and Lowes have sheers for $4 a panel.

3. Buy one curtain panel for each window. I chose to buy curtain panels (preferably at Target when I find them on sale), but you could make them if they are cost effective. I am a sewing and craft dunce, so store bought saves me time and frustration. I chose simple white curtains for the living room, $9 a panel at Target (on sale). I chose printed curtains for both bedrooms. They were on sale, maybe $12 a panel, but I can't really remember. Again, one curtain panel per window is a savings. Sure, the windows would look better with two, but I have found with the sheer curtains closed (meaning spread across the window) and the panel pushed to one side, the window actually looks pretty well dressed.

4. Install, and you're done. My curtains are not perfect for my windows, since historic windows vary in size and shape and I bought stock curtains. Mine hang right below the window sill, but I find I'm not bothered by this. My curtains are 84 in. length. You could always hem them with hem tape or liquid stitches for the sewing challenged.

5. Or, you can jazz them up a bit like I did in the living room.

I picked up some white pom pom trim and a bottle of liquid stitches to add some charm and de-cheapen my cheap ass curtains.  I still haven't finished one of the panels as I bought all of the pom pom trim that Jo-Ann's had (a whopping two rolls!) and they still haven't restocked. :( Things like this make living in West Virginia not so fun. I feel like we are always three steps behind. Anyways, I bought two rolls of pom pom trim ($3.99 each), which was enough for 1 1/3 curtains, and a bottle of liquid stitches ($7). My total after coupons for the project was about $12. I will need one more roll of trim to complete my panel. So, about $15 total for my update. Applying the trim was super easy. I laid the curtain flat on the ground and put a few paper towels under the area I was applying. You do have to press on the trim and hold it for a bit, but once the glue starts to dry, its stuck. And because the glue is water soluble until it dries, its easy clean-up. I thought I would have to reinforce parts of the trim with a thread stitch, but so far, so good. It took me about 30 mins. to do 1 1/3 curtains. Not bad!

Last year, Cap and I picked up a bag of 6 curtain tie backs from the flea market for $1. She has two in her dining room. I decided to add two to the living room to further dress my windows. Since our curtain panels are usually open, pushed to one side, the addition of the tie backs really dresses things up and is functional. W kindly drilled the holes and just screwed them in. I think it took him 5 mins. after I picked the height. I am forever finding curtain tie backs at antique shops, so keep an eye out. They are a fun and unexpected accessory for a room.

(Note the black cat passed out on the radiator. You'd think it was cold or something!?)

*WINDOWS IN OUR FIRST APARTMENT: I ripped down the vinyl blinds. In the living room, I put up two sheer panels per window and one tea-stained curtain panel per window. In our bedroom, which also fronted the road like the living room, we used double-sided tape and attached sheets of white butcher paper with a dark gray curtain panel  in each window. The paper provided complete privacy and filtered the light in a very nice way. Since the view was the same from the living room and bedroom, we didn't mind not having a view from the bedroom.

*We have not painted in this apartment.

Do you have any easy and cheap window dressing tips?

Coming up:

I apologize for the poor quality photos--working on it!


Thursday, October 24, 2013

It's October

It is more than a little hard to believe that it is October. I mean, I am still referring to events that happened back in March like they were yesterday. Because, like, that totally just happened last month. YOU know, in March. Last month!

I have such mixed feelings about the speed at which time is passing. On the one hand, I am so incredibly excited for March 21st, I can barely stand it. I want it here NOW. But on the other, I love October and Fall and Thanksgiving. And, holy crap, October ends in 7 days. And now I'm just depressed.

But, back to March 21st.

THAT is the date that decides our future. THAT is the date when we find out where W has matched for residency. THAT is the date that our entire our apartment will be packed up and I will be hightailing it out of here for our future home. It might not end up being our forever home, but 5-6 years in one place will feel like forever after all of the hop, skip and jumping around we've been doing over the last five years. Because in the last five years, I have lived FIVE different places.

Let's recap:

May 2009 - I graduated from the College of Charleston.

June 2009 - I left my beloved Charleston, SC to move back home (Florence, SC) until our wedding.

July 2009 - Married W.

August 2009 - Moved into W's mom's basement in Columbia, SC. Lived there for two weeks before moving into the tiniest little place--still in Columbia, SC.

June 2010 - Moved to Lewisburg, WV so that W could attend medical school.

June 2012 - Moved to Charleston, WV so that W could continue his third and fourth years of medical school (they have a statewide campus for rotations).


So, that's Charleston, SC; Florence, SC; Columbia, SC; Lewisburg, WV; Charleston, WV. I like to think I have come full circle ending back up in a Charleston. I am kind of hoping that the universe notices this symmetry and balance that I have achieved in my life and cuts a girl some slack in our next great adventure.

The next 3 months will see W and I traveling all over the eastern half of the United States for his residency interviews. I am thrilled at the prospect of getting to see places in the US I may never have occasion to visit. But, you better believe, I will be in hardcore scope-out mode. Any one of those places could be our home in less than 6 months. Mind blown.

W has suddenly turned all superstitious and won't let me peep a word to the general public about his residency interviews, but I just can't help myself. Here they are in the vaguest terms ever.

He has one interview in the Midwest. My feelings are pretty bleh about the prospect of living in this particular Midwest city, because its not anything major or special, EXCEPT for the residency program. Its kind of insane that W got it. But, its freaking cold there. I'm so over snow.

He has one interview in New England. This one kind of makes me squeal every time I think about it!

He has one interview in the Northeast. This one also kind of makes me squeal in equal parts delight and fright.

He has one interview in Dixie. I actually wouldn't mind this one at all. It would be a new time zone!

He has several interviews in the mountains. I am indifferent to these. I would prefer coast, obviously!

He has a couple in SC, which thrill me to no end at the thought of being closer to family.

So there you have it. He is still getting emails daily. And, of course, not all of them are interviews. There have been rejections. At this point, the interview invitations far outweigh the rejects! Thank all that is holy for that.

Here is what you've missed (through no fault of your own--I am the delinquent blogger here):

Went apple picking with this nut and W's whole family.

Cap and I made a mistake, but we looked cute doing it!


Can you believe I am married to a 30 year old? Me either.

Coming up on this here blog:

I've been so incredibly bored lately. So, I've taken to over-designing the apartment. And since interior design is really one of my great joys in life, I have decided to start sharing more about it! Tomorrow's post will feature a $12 upgrade to my cheap ass curtains.

See you then!