Jun 30, 2009

Turf Wars

A couple weeks ago I was trolling my neighborhood with a big fancy camera in search of the right shot for an ad campaign* I am working on. I spent some time shooting by a park full of children right around the time everyone was returning home from work, so I got a lot strange looks from concerned parents. And I had to do this several times. Next time I won't do this in my neighborhood, they probably thought I was a pedophile.

I took this shot:

Notice anything different?Here's a close up:


I've been really interested in artificial grass but have never seen it in person. It looks darker than other grass (mostly because the grass is dried out and burned). And of course I took off my flip flops to touch it with my bare skin. It was not cold like grass is. But texture-wise felt very similar.

Why the fake stuff?
  1. grass always looks nice
  2. water conservation
  3. no mowing (therefore no gas/fumes)
  4. durability
I've been curious about the stuff because I'm interested in putting it on our back incline.

Mowing up there will be nearly impossible, the sprinkler system up there is never run because it mostly waters the fence, and we have several mature trees that drop leaves quite often. Therefore raking is made difficult. My current solution is to have nothing but dirt and weeds. But eventually I would like to have something nice looking while easy to maintain. The only downfall is the price. It's more than sod. And it's more than leaving it as is. But I was happy to finally see it in person.

What do y'all think about synthetic grass? Just leave it to soccer fields and football fields? The drought fairy should sprinkle it all around residential lawns? Love it but hate the costs?

(*The final ad)

Jun 26, 2009

Rock Solid

If you need granite counter tops, at least 50 square feet of it, go snag this deal at Home Depot!

I recently got to know another staff member at HD, Joe. What a nice guy, told me his life story, and told me to call him directly for service. Anyway, while speaking to him I saw a flyer for the promotion that we snagged for our counters (a couple months ago), is back again:

It's not the same 3 stone choices that were included in the previous promotion, but Sapphire Jolie remains one of them. You can see the savings in the right orange column. And you can open up a credit card and get $200 off, interest-free for 6 months. So it becomes a deal on top of a deal.

Disclaimer: I do not work for Home Depot, I just spend a lot of time there.

Are there any other deals out there you've encountered that are too good not to share?

Jun 25, 2009

Just Beachy

Here's Rylie's first time at the beach with us:

Here's Karma stalking a kid's ball:

Everyone got wet and sandy. Fun was had by all.

Jun 24, 2009

More Paint Reliever

After my door project, I had some leftover paint which became the outdoor coffee table project. From that project (surprise!) I had more leftover paint. I should really learn to gauge my paint usage better. So that became the planter project.

The previous owners left an old plastic planter that was cracked. Since I like to "save" things destined for the landfill, I attempted to bring this piece back to functionality. Sort of. I duct taped the thing, and painted the it with the leftover paint:

I wouldn't call this a permanent solution for the planter because I don't think one exists. It's plastic, it's old, it's cheap. But it was worth a shot and if I'm lucky, it'll hold a plant for a little while before totally collapsing and leaving soil everywhere. Will I regret I did this? Maybe. Does it look ghetto? Definitely. But strategically turned and placed against a wall, it passes for decent.

Jun 23, 2009

Paint Reliever

We had some leftover paint from our door project. Actually, I poured out too much into the paint tray, way too much.

Pouring it back into the paint can is a big no-no (especially since I was painting an exterior surface, I didn't want the debris tainting the clean paint). Tossing it would not be so environmentally responsible. And I know it wouldn't make it to the local monthly hazardous waste collection. And paint is not cheap (especially exterior paint).

So I painted an old table that the previous owners left on the back patio (it was a faded grass green before). It was forsaken, splintery, wobbly, water damaged, and destined for dismemberment and tossed into the weekly trash over the course of several weeks. But after some love, this baby is functional again and not looking too shabby either. Of course I failed to get the before shots, but here's the after:

I tightened the legs, sanded the heck out of it with the orbital sander, primed, and painted 2 coats. Now we've got something that matches the front door, spared this from the landfill, used up some leftover paint, and it's functional.

All for $0.00!

Jun 22, 2009

Empty Nest Syndrome

A few weekends ago, I mowed our lawn for the first time myself while the boyfriend was working on the kitchen (I love our electric lawn mower, so stay tuned on a future post on that).

While I was putting away the dog toys and picking up canine fecal matter, I came across a bird's nest that appeared to have fallen from the conifer trees. What's interesting is what it was made of: pine needles, shredded plastic, and other man-made materials.

Maybe I should keep it with the frozen hummingbird in my freezer?

Jun 19, 2009

Space Out

With drywall and cabinets up, and old cabinets and materials out (it took a while), we finally have room in the garage.

This is what our garage looked like in March. Remember when a dumpster was at the top this girl's wish list?

After one FULL day of cleaning, this is what our garage looks like now:

We can finally park the car in it 3 months later. Which means I can change the oil, wash, polish, and vacuum the car again. And it won't be 300 degrees when I get in it.

And look what our tidiness attracted from the wild:

Smart creature.

Jun 18, 2009

In Front of Closed Door

Here is the finished front door:

It is red.
It has a knocker.
It has a kick plate.
And with a knocker like that, we had to update our peephole (hehe).
It makes our home look more updated and cozy.
All for about $50.

Why paint instead of replacing it? Obvious reason: much cheaper. Also, it's original to the house, so it felt appropriate. It's also unique looking with the molding, which echoes the squares on the garage door. There are no windows which is better for security (which shouldn't really matter because we have sliding doors in the back). Which also means privacy. Some sanding, cleaning, priming, painting, painting, painting, painting, and modern hardware does wonders.

So there you have it, our red front door.

Jun 17, 2009

Cutting Loose

I am out of control. I cannot be trusted with a pair of scissors. Plants are no longer safe around me. Because I will prune the heck out of them:

Watch out Rylie, your butt fluff could use some snipping too.

Bad Hair Week

I very much desire to have less of a mullet.

So I took scissors to my hair again.

Jun 16, 2009

Bad Hair Days

Yesterday I went to an Armenian lady for help fixing my hair:

All she did was even out the sides. And laughed at me. As well as the man in the corner waiting for his hair dye to set. And to be fair, I had my hair up in a ponytail all day, so therefore my hair is doing unpredictable things in these photos.

But why do I have a grown out fe-mullet? UGH.

I had a coupon for a $10 cut and gave her an 80% tip. Accidentally. Whoops.

Good thing I don't do this often.

Jun 14, 2009

Bad Hair Day

My hair has grown very long. I decided it was time to do something about it and take matters into my own hands.

After a good 5 inches lopped off. I forgot how much longer hair is when wet and combed straight.

I'm not sure what went wrong in my plan, but the front half of my head turned out really short. And the back half looked the same. So I guess the 5 inches came off the front.

Short in front, long in back + crazy pills = fe-mullet?

Bad idea.

Any recommendations on how to fix my mop? Or should I just go somewhere and have pros deal with it?


Jun 13, 2009

Hail the Cabs

Why is this dude standing so proudly with that stick?

Because with it, we have cabinets. Level base cabinets. For level counter tops.

The centered range, flanked by corner cabinets with 2 tier lazy susans inside (more accurately ours are called Lazy Daisy).

Behold that beautiful sight.

Cabinetry hardware, filler strips, crown molding and toe kicks are all that's left (not including counters).

Jun 12, 2009

So Long...

Yesterday, the signage for Señor Carlos was taken down. Last night, I drank a Corona in honor of them and reflected upon the good time we had there (notice 'time' not 'times' because sadly we never made it there more than once).

Here is our only experience there (the 2nd to last night before closing):

The Eskridges

Tequila flight. This was the 'rough' one. It was mine. And good.

Salsa, pickled veggies, and tomatillo sauce
(Jesse special ordered 3 pints of the green stuff, and gave 1 to Stan.
We went through 1 pint in 2 days)

My Chile Verde
(recommended by our gracious waiter)

We closed the place down!

The restaurant is currently turning into a steak house, to be named The Rocking Steak House? Same staff, hopefully same margaritas. Most importantly, same location (down the street from us). I will provide an update and review once it reopens.

Thanks Cherie and Ryan for introducing us to the glory of this place that used to be Señor Carlos. *sniffle*

Jun 11, 2009

Not Born Yesterday

But perhaps on May 2nd at 3:19am? Who makes dishwashers at 3 in the morning?

Jun 10, 2009

Dog Eat Dog World

This weekend we ran a lot of errands and saw rabbit roadkill on our street (which is always a sad sight).

The second time we drove by, we saw 2 crows picking at it.

The third time we drove by, we saw a turkey vulture picking at it.

The fourth time however, we saw a squirrel nibbling on it (imagine that the chipmunk in the image below is a squirrel, and the rock is the bunny carcass)...

It was really disturbing.

Jun 9, 2009

Sink or Toss

We still have the old kitchen sink in the garage because I'm not sure what to do with it yet (I always think twice before sentencing anything to a landfill). Possible ideas for repurposing include:
  1. Outdoor bar
  2. Outdoor potting station
  3. Garage utility sink
Or maybe I just toss it.


Jun 8, 2009

Red Door Treatment

A couple weekends ago, we spiced up our front door. It was a boring, just-like-the-rest-of-the-street white:

After 1 coat of paint it was sort of pinkish:

Finally, after 4 coats, it is now a bright and charming red (Valspar's Romantic Attachment):

The significance of a red front door:
  • In early America, a red front door was used in the under ground railroad as a sign for the slaves traveling north that that house was a safe house.
  • In China, it's tradition to paint the front door red before the new year, to invite good luck and happiness.
  • In Catholocism, the red door on a chapel symbolized the blood of Christ, and other martyrs, to signify that the ground beyond the door was holy, and a sanctuary from physical and spiritual evils.
  • In Ireland, front doors are painted red to ward-off ghosts and evil spirits.
  • In Scotland when you paid off your mortgage you painted your door red.
Clearly none of these reasons were our motives. So why red?

Well there's plenty of red accents throughout our home with the brick columns, brick patio, fireplace, mailbox flag, fuzzy slippers, rubber spatula, Charles Shaw, border collie... so it was the obvious choice.

And I like it.

Purely aesthetic, no significant meaning - sometimes we're just plain shallow. So there.

But if you knock on our door, in need of a place to spend the night, we will happily oblige. But no guarantees this house is a safe house. We do keep dogs and booze here afterall.

Jun 4, 2009

That Sinking Feeling

Dear sink,
I can't wait to use you after months of oggling, touching, and pretend using. You're the reason we installed new drain pipes.
And faucet,
No need to worry, I haven't forgotten you. I know you've been left in your original packaging and have never been let out, but I will free you soon. And take good care of you. You are the reason behind the entire plumbing phase. We welded copper pipes for you. And picked out just the right undermount host for you.
And garbage disposer,
Wait till you meet your matches. You'll soon forget that old white porcelain we first shoved you in. And the fact that you've been forsaken in our dump we call a garage.

We hope you will all love each other as much as we love you each individually.

Jun 3, 2009

House of Hard Knocks

We installed a door knocker this past weekend (even though we have a door bell). I wasn't even sure if I wanted it since it's really just for aesthetics (pics to come). But it was listed as $12.97 and we scored it for $5.97 per Home Depot's pricing error.

We're finally getting our cumuppins from that place after giving them all our money. Suckers.

Jun 2, 2009

Stepping Up to the Plates

Do you remember being a kid, waiting for Christmas morning to arrive so you could open your gifts? Not being able to sleep the night before because you were so excited? And you were good all year for it, because you wanted that My Little Pony so badly? Or the Cabbage Patch doll? Or a Sony Walkman? Ok I am starting to date myself.

Anyway, I feel kinda like that. Because the granite counters are coming this weekend! This is exciting for many reasons, and because I love lists, here they are in list form:
  1. it's the last major thing to complete our kitchen remodel
  2. our new lighting will finally have something nice to reflect on
  3. we're not responsible for the installation of it
  4. ...therefore it will be done in a day
  5. it will add to our home's value
  6. we got an awesome deal on it
  7. some rich homes in Malibu have the same counters (I might have a celebrity kitchen counter twin?)
  8. it will mask crumbs better than white laminate
  9. it can't be stained by wine rings or curry spills
  10. it will have a rounded edge so won't poke my gut when I lean against it
  11. it will be the first time I see it larger than sample size
  12. it will be the first time I see it in a kitchen setting
  13. it will be the first time I see it in my kitchen setting
  14. after it's installed we will have several square feet of additional counter than the old kitchen
  15. no more 2x4's and raw drywall edges will be exposed
  16. I will finally have a kitchen sink (which will be undermounted so I can sweep crumbs into the sink without any interference)
  17. which means we can install the kitchen faucet (which is beautiful and does things our last faucet couldn't)
  18. which means we can install the garbage disposer
  19. which means that we can also hook up our new dishwasher!
  20. which means no more washing dishes by hand
  21. ...in the tub
  22. ...upstairs
You get the point. Sort of. Right? Well hunching over a tub to do dishes wrecks your back, exacerbates your excema, causes wet bathroom floors and wet person doing all this, and just takes a long time. And makes me angry.

Here is the evolution of dish washing in this household:

Past: Caloric who-knows-from-when model with broken off and rusted wire parts, circa 1989?

Present: 2009 TT analog model with 2 hands and opposable thumbs

Still present, but not for long: 2009 TT analog model malfunctioned and turned aggressive

...but got the dishes clean

Future: Whirlpool Gold Energy Star approved Built-In Dishwasher with Adaptive Wash Cycle
(in stainless steel and no exposed buttons, be careful not to drool on your computer)

Most importantly this means I can finally drink my two buck chuck out of real wine glasses rather than dixie cups. Life is about to get a lot better.

Jun 1, 2009

Crawls Under My Skin

This weekend we launched a surprise attack against an unwelcome occupant. And it was long overdue. That's right, we annihilated the creeping fig.

What's creeping fig? It's a fast-growing vine that attaches to surfaces with cat claws, going over and through anything that gets in its way for world domination. It's pure evil and no good can come of it*.

We live on a zero lot line, meaning that the houses live right on the edge of the property lines to maximize land area. So although the vine was growing up our neighbor's house, it was planted and growing from our property (with sinister intentions of taking over both the neighbor's house and our land). While others saw lush and high-maintenance greenery, I saw a future liability.

August 2008

April 2009

May 30th, 2009

A couple hours of hard work from 3 men, some power tools and a big truck (and a couple hundred dollars**) - meant my nightmares should be over. However the diabolic plant is not dead, and we were instructed not to plant anything in its place for a year.

I will be watching you fig, like a hawk. And I will win this battle, no matter what it takes.

* Denise, I dedicate this post to you. And I hope you don't value your sleep because you're about to sign up for some horrible nightmares. Consider yourself warned.

**Money may not be able to buy happiness but it can definitely rid some anxiety.