how to keep pollen off of a screened in porch, and other things

every spring in atlanta, when the pollen descends from the trees and into our lives, we are ostracized from our screened in porch during the time of year when it would be most enjoyable.  so this year, we took matters into our own hands and (desperately) tried to keep the effing pollen out of our porch.  behold!

pollenscreenedinporch

we bought a $10 roll of clear poly (not quite clear, as you can see) and stapled all the way around our porch to create a barrier against the pollen.  we also used masking tape to keep the seams sealed.  and you know what?  so far so good!  I think this keeps the pollen at bay! 

though, we do not exactly enjoy the porch while it is dressed up as one of dexter’s victims, and it is creepy as hell to sit at the table and eat dinner while surrounded by plastic.  but at least we won’t have to clean up the pollen before we can use the porch again.

pollenscreenedinporch2

and we look super classy, our neighbors are not skeeved out at all.

though after we had done this, we realized we could have just removed all of the cushion before the pollen came, and then rinsed the pollen away once it was done.  oh well.

some other things we’ve done around the house in the name of spring and general getting stuff done-ness:

i bought this mirror a few months ago at goodwill.  it was bright gold.  and hubs took one look at it and declared that it was “the penis mirror”.  and i showed it to my sisters, and they may have agreed with him.  but that didn’t keep me from painting it blue and hanging it in our upstairs hallway.

inappropriatemirror

[those are my painting clothes, I promise I don’t go out in public wearing soccer shorts.  also, full disclosure, I have never played soccer.]

the print is new and by an artist named elizabeth mayville.  I found it on etsy and I am obsessed.  the table is a homegoods find, and now that I look at it, I feel like it’s super off-white and needs to be painted…maybe next year.

and YES that is a futon in the next room don’t judge me!

one last major crazy thing I took care of on sunday night was painting our stairwell!  it is, mmmmm, 95% done?  but the last 5% is going to be the WORST.  uggggghhhhhhh.

paintedstairwell

i’m sorry the light is so bad but hubs turned off the lights downstairs right as i took this picture.

painting the stairwell finally connects the downstairs, which has been painted since before we moved in 2.5 years ago, and the upstairs hallway that I painted recently.  except, you know, now I have to figure out how to finish it without getting paint on the ceiling.  because I have NO IDEA what color paint goes on the ceiling in our house, so i have nothing to touch it up with.  god help us.

i will say that painting with an extender pole filled me with so much glee.  to be able to reach a point on the wall that was 3 times my height was strangely exhilirating.  okay so hubs may have done the VERY tippy top of the wall, but 90% of the 95% of the stairwell was done by yours truly.

throughout these home improvement endeavors, buster has continued to have no physical boundaries whatsoever.  he also needs a haircut so very badly.

bustergreenchair

finally, i cannot conclude this post without showing you the most amazing thing that happened at an irish pub this weekend.  my good friend (we will call her melamine) looked into her beer and saw someone winking back at her.

smilingbeer

most people see jesus in their food.  we get creepy smiley faces.  sounds about right.

green smoothie tips & tricks: learn from my mistakes

hubs and i ponied up a few weeks ago and bought the rolls royce of blenders, a vitamix.  it is INSANE.  we’ve made at least one smoothie per day in the month that we’ve had it, and i am loving it.

i’m also shocked that hubs loves it too.  this morning he had to leave for work early and asked me to make our daily smoothies before he left.  i resisted until hubs said “that’s fine, i guess i’ll just get some solid foods to eat for breakfast…” and then made a sad face.  so i made us some smoothies.

we learned pretty quickly what works and what doesn’t work in a smoothie, so today i am going to share my knowledge with you so you don’t have to make the same mistakes we’ve made.

greensmoothie

here’s how we load up our blender.  this makes 2 big smoothies.  probably 4 small ones but who wants a small smoothie for breakfast?  you’ll be starving by 9 a.m.

how to fill up your blender (in this order)

1. water
fill the pitcher with water until the water level is just above the blade.  you don’t need much.

2. veggies
2 large carrots, and either 2 celery stalks or 1/2 of a cucumber.  celery and cucumber have stronger tastes when in a smoothie.  use them wisely.

3. citrus
1 whole navel orange and 1 whole lime or lemon
[we like to cut the peel off of the orange with a knife to leave the healthy rind.  we peel the lime/lemon old-school style.]

4. frozen fruit
3 cups of any frozen fruit
[in my opinion, a variety of mango/pineapple/peaches/strawberries works the best.  frozen bananas work well too but the taste is strong.  if you add blueberries, your smoothie will turn brown.  it will be delicious but will also look disgusting.]

4. seeds
1 tablespoon flax seeds, 1 tablespoon chia seeds
[flax seeds prevent cancer, or something, and chia seeds help grab toxins in your gut and flush them out. awesome!]

5. green stuff
2 cups of spinach, kale, or both
[parsley is also good for the gut, you can add that in too.  spinach is the most neutral taste-wise.]

6. ice
2 cups of ice
[if you’re blending the night before, leave this out – it’ll just melt.  i like the crunchy texture that the ice gives the smoothie but hubs differs.  it’s up to you.]

now i am not saying this is a miracle breakfast, but for what it’s worth, my caffeine headaches have disappeared since we started drinking these on a daily basis.  HMMM…!!!

a few quick no-no’s that i have learned in my short time with these smoothies:

  • bell peppers: strong, spicy taste. don’t do it!
  • apples: the make the smoothie frothy which i…don’t appreciate.
  • bananas: if you add bananas, you won’t be able to taste any of the wonderful tropical frozen fruits. and i also don’t like the taste of bananas. oh snap!
  • sweetener (honey, stevia, etc.): i don’t think these smoothies need sweetener, it just competes with all of the natural sweetness of the fruits.  skip it.
  • dairy (yogurt, ice cream, etc.): you don’t need it.  these smoothies are, well, smooth without it.  and i’m also a little suspicious of dairy and its intentions in general, so…
  • dates: we’ve been adding 1 or 2 dates, but i’m not sure they’re necessary.  they are high in sugar content and i’m not sure you can actually taste them.  to be continued.

I can’t mention green eating and smoothies without also giving a shoutout to my favorite show (that will probably get cancelled soon) happy endings.  this clip is from my favorite episode of all time, in which alex and penny go on a cleanse.

and that is all of the wisdom i have for you on green smoothies.  so far so good!

Living Room Arrangement

When we were house hunting 2 years ago, hubs and I agreed that we didn’t see the need for a separate den and formal living room.  We are not terribly formal people (understatement of the century).  Most of the houses we looked at were built in the late 70’s to early 80’s, and almost all had a separate den and formal living space.  But our precious homeowners had already knocked down the wall between theirs, which basically made us see the opposite of dollar signs flashing in the air when we walked in the front door.

The only problem we’ve been having is how to fill up that space purposefully, functionally, and classilly…?  So here is how it looked for almost 2 years:

The red squares are two giant mid-century armchairs that we inherited from hubs’s parents.  They are neat in a been-around-the-block kind of way, but Buster’s hair clings to the fabric like Madonna clings to her youth, which can be so frustrating.  So up the stairs they rolled (seriously, I rolled them, by myself.  Have I ever told you how impatient I am?).

Here are the red chairs, sort of:

We decided a while back that we needed a desk in this space, because when we work from home, it’d be nice to have a space to work that doesn’t involve the couch or the stools in the kitchen that make your butt go numb after 45 minutes.  We came up with two configurations.

This one, which we ultimately decided was a little too wacky:

And this one, which is more boring but also lends itself to laziness, in that the TV can stay put:

So we ordered a desk (this one) and put it together, and rearranged the room, but the desk ultimately felt too small for the wall.  So hubs agreed to keep rearranging until it felt right, which had me all hot and bothered because usually I have to beg him to move furniture around.  Hubba hubba.

After shuffling things around for a bit, we decided that the desk was a better fit between the windows that face the front of the house, and that we can go one of two directions from there.  This one, which involves scouring the ends of Homegoods for 2 more armchairs (they are blue and green because we already own 1 blue and 1 green chair):

Or this one, which allows us to go shopping for a super fancy (looking) settee!  Which is really just a pretty and less bulky loveseat.

Decently priced settees are surprisingly difficult to find.  Brand new, they are in the range of $600 to $1200.  I even found a gently used and not hideous one on Craigslist for $425.  But then I did a quick google search on gray settee, and found this baby hiding at my favorite money-sucking everystore, Target:

It’s beautiful.  It’s not a behemoth.  And the greatest part of all is that it is cheap AND has great reviews.  AND it’s gray AND it has silver nailhead trim AND I am obsessed with it.  Original price is $299, but with the 5% off with my redCard and another 15% for a reason I cannot quite figure out and free shipping (the way to a girl’s heart), it comes to $259.

SOLD!

For now, we have the living room in this setup, which feels goofy, but hubs and I found ourselves parked across from each other in the armchairs for a good chunk of our evening, so maybe we are on to something.

God, I love rearranging furniture.  It makes me feel so alive.

And now that the windows are no longer blocked, Buster can assume his figurehead position as house watchdog.