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.

Advertisements

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.

Repentance for Pendants

For the past 2 years, I have been eyeing the pendant lights above our kitchen sink, lusting after the idea of taking them down and replacing them with something sleek, industrial, and that doesn’t remind me of the secret vine in Super Mario Brothers.

You know what I’m talking about.

I bought some cheap but stylish pendants from Home Depot a few weeks ago, and they arrived, and the finish was hideous, but nothing a little oil rubbed bronze spray paint couldn’t fix.  One of the pendants was missing an important piece, so I actually had to order a third one, but that’s okay, worse things have happened.

So tonight, as hubs sat on the couch working away because his company was not satisfied with the 12 hours he had already put in today, I decided to replace the light fixtures.

By myself.

I’m not dumb, I’ve done it before.  Seems simple enough.

I took down one vine light.  There were two but I got excited and took one down before I remember to take a picture.

It took about 20 seconds to take down both lights, so I was all, pfffft this is so easy I’ll be done in 20 minutes.

Except the previous owner of our house was the MacGruber of home improvement.  There is paint INSIDE the junction box.  THERE IS PAINT EVERYWHERE IN OUR HOUSE.  No hinge, knob or light fixture was left unblemished when the previous owner painted the house before putting it on the market.  Also, his name is Dick.  So it’s super fun to yell “Dammit, Dick!” whenever we find an issue.

I mean our house was built in 1977 and wasn’t wired for cable until we moved in in 2010.

I realized I would have to replace the existing hanging hardware, which was super fun to do with 35 year old screws that had been painted over (they’re probably newer than that, I’m just being dramatic).  This is when the sweating started, because I spent a lot of time directly underneath a recessed light.

Then I had to strip some wires.  Cue the preemptive feelings of badassness.

Then I summoned hubs and he was the brawn while I was the tiny-fingered wire assembler. All was going swell.

Ta da!

But wait, there’s more!  Look closer…

OH YES, the screws that came with the pendant are about 1/8″ too long.  Because OF COURSE.  Why would I think that a $15 light fixture, which I had to return one of in the first place, would come with the perfect parts?  Maybe because I live in the South and that would be the polite thing to do?

Why is it that every project I think will be a quick wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am of DIY splendor turns into a multiple day crapfest?  Is it just me or does everybody else have the same shitty luck?  Is Dick haunting us?  (He’s not dead, but according to our neighbors he does drive by our house “all the time”, so…eew)

On a more whimsical note, I used this super cute elephant bowl to hold my spare nuts and bolts while I worked.  He looked on smugly as I sweated under the glistening recessed CFLs.

And Buster watched skeptically from the couch in the living room.  Some support system I have.

Dammit, Dick.

To be continued…

Wall Stencil Woes

Guess what I did a couple of weeks ago?  Here’s a hint:

Still perplexed?  Let me back up a little more…

If you guessed that I painfully stenciled the massive blank wall in our master bedroom over the course of two separate Sunday afternoons, while simultaneously drinking and crying and freaking out, then you are a genius!  Here’s the widest shot that I have readily available:

I still have to finish the bottom edge, which can’t be seen when the bed is pushed back against the wall, so try not to judge me too harshly, mmmkay?

I bought the stencil from cuttingedgestencils.com and followed their video tutorial to a tee.  Rather than rehash the process for you, I’ll just give you a couple of little tips that I picked up along the way:

  • Spray adhesive is your friend.  Use it every time.  If you get lazy and think you can get away without using it, you can’t.  Just use it.  See photo #1 for evidence.
  • Frog tape is your double best friend.  Stenciling isn’t precise, especially once you get to the edges, and backup support is always a plus, especially if you were super lazy and just painted over the existing white walls without and paint to touch up later.
  • Patience patience patience.  Even if you think it’ll be quick, it won’t be.  It took me a long ass time to do this.  And I’m so sick of it that I kind of already want to get rid of it.
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself.  I can’t tell you how many times I said, “Why isn’t it sticking? Ohmygod it’s bleeding! The stencil is deformed! It’s not level! It looks horrible! Why do you hate me so much?! I give up!” and then peeled back the stencil and said, “oh…that actually looks fine.”  The stencil looks worse the closer you get to it, but from afar it looks pretty uniform.

I have a really difficult time coming up with big art for large blank walls, so this seemed like a good idea at the time.  I originally waffled between kelly green and royal blue, but indecisiveness won out and hubs is picked this teal color, Bon Voyage from Behr.  I love the color, but in hindsight, probably should’ve picked something lighter so the mistakes would be less obvious.

There are so many options when you’re re-doing a room from scratch that I constantly second guess every choice that I make.  I’ve texted hubs twice today alone to ask if he hates the bedroom wall.  He insists that he doesn’t.  I’m insecure about it, but also pretty lazy, so it’ll be there for at least the next 12 months.  I’m thinking of renaming my blog “Insecure but Lazy and Also Thirsty Annie.”  Thoughts?

Here’s a preview of my next bedroom project.  This one might kill me.

Stupid Easy Turkey Meatloaf Recipe

I hate cooking.  Hate it.  When I get home from work, the thought of spending another hour working on something makes me want to curl up into a ball and silently weep until I can’t feel feelings anymore.  I wish I was born with the cooking gene.  My grandma spends hours on single meals.  My mom is a culinary artiste.  But I refuse to spend longer making something than it takes to eat it.  That’s my threshold.

Enter this super easy and quick meatloaf recipe.  It took about 5 minutes to assemble, and then another 45 minutes in the oven {which I spent drinking a glass of Merlot and trying to talk to hubs while he tried to concentrate on reading the Wall Street Journal, which I don’t count as prep time since I wasn’t paying any attention to food}, and then it was complete.  Here’s the recipe if you’re so inclined.

Stupid Easy Meatloaf
makes: 1 loaf of meat

Ingredients:
1 to 1.5 lbs of ground turkey
1/2 cup of breadcrumbs
1/2 cup of oats
1/2 of a green pepper, chopped
1/2 of a large sweet onion, chopped (onion goggles optional)
1 egg
Some salt & pepper & any other spices that you so desire
Some ketchup

Directions:
Preheat over to 350°
Mix the turkey, breadcrumbs, oats, pepper, onion, salt & pepper, and egg until evenly blended but not puréed or anything
Press into a loaf pan, firmly but not smooshily
Cover the top with a medium-thick layer of ketchup
Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until the internal temperature is 161°

Ta da!

Here’s the nutrition information.  Not too shabby…

Ikea Lack Repurposed on the Cheap

I bought my trusty Ikea Lack coffee table almost 5 years ago for $20 when I moved out of state for the first time.  It has been through 4 moves and can hold my husband’s entire bodyweight when he gets drunk and stands on top of it.  It’s been a champ!  However, the cheap look and black-brown finish has run its course, so it was time to repurpose.

In what is probably the most lazy DIY project ever, all I did was unscrew the legs from the top, take off all of the remaining hardware, and spray that baby down with about 5 light coats of Krylon chalkboard spray paint.  Then, rather than put hanging hardware on the back of the board {why stop being lazy when it hurts so good?} I installed a wall shelf from Target, also circa 2007, for the chalkboard to rest on.  And then, even though my dad swore up and down that “they don’t even sell chalk anymore”, I picked up a box at Target and got to chalkin’.

While the placement isn’t ideal {right next to the door and in front of the main light switch}, it was the best spot to place it so it could be seen from the couch and easily accessed for future chalkin’ activity.

Fun fact: I’ve played the guitar since I was 10.  Hubs has been wanting to learn, so I drew him some chords so he could practice on the pretty little Fender he bought me a couple of years ago.

So there you have it.  The house is slowly evolving.  This used to be the crap room, and look at it now.  I’m so proud I could weep into my instant cheese grits.  I’m trying to be cheap without looking like I’m being cheap…is it working?