S-Andy: The Aftermath at Our House

A kind disclaimerThis post is in no way intended to mock this tragic storm which affected many neighbors, friends, and families along the east coast, but share progress inside our home that was made during our time spent off the roads. We were very lucky to have power throughout the storm. We have, however, been seeing pictures of Brigantine, where my parents have a shore house just one block from the ocean on the North End. They are shocking photos of the sea wall and transition to the fishing beaches where we often walk Gracie. A little rattling, but we’re hoping our neighbors and home are well despite. We are also moved by the effects of the storm in Cape May, a beach Andrew and I are fond of and have visited often since our engagement in 2008. Bless everyone.

A few things got upturned and relocated from the kitchen to the powder room walls yesterday afternoon… paint, tile, razorblades, and 2x4s were flying everywhere. Here are some shocking photos.. (Sorry they’re a wee bit blurry. It was windy, ok?!)

Before it got really windy..

Andrew trying to hold things together in the height of the storm..

The next morning.. Investigating the damages..

The mess left in Sandy’s path..

Whoa.. Tile. And paint.

We really shouldn’t leave windows open during a hurricane.

We’re expecting more high winds tonight and this weekend.. maybe the room will be finished!



Chapter One: Everygirl Organizes

I wasn’t kidding when I opened this book. From the moment I walked into Barnes and Noble and laid eyes on it, I meant business. I’m not even 3 sentences into this post and already, I have a side note: If you want to jump-start a life change, visit Barnes and Noble. I found about 4 amazing books about being a business owner and aspiring manager/leader but decided to take my eagerness to succeed one step at a time, starting in my home.

Last week, Maria was one of my favorite contestants on Dancing with the Stars and the girl on E News (or Entertainment Tonight or Access Hollywood…?). This week, she’s one of my closest girlfriends and my imaginary mentor. Judge all you want, but I maintain this is much healthier than talking about Jessica Simpson, Jen Aniston, or Teresa Giudice as thought they were my actual friends.

These are a few of my real girlfriends.. The one on the left is getting marrieeed this weekend!

Chapter One:

(I actually read the Introduction first which I almost NEVER do. But I made a rule that I must read this book in order if I want to get my life in order.)

Organize your home. Here’s the opening blurb:

So far, I’ve become incredibly talented at “putting things away RIGHT AWAY” and successfully tackled the following:

  • My closet –  I now know how many and how few clothes I have. I have a lot of “clothes” but very few “outfits” and even fewer “statement pieces” and still fewer basics. *List Time!*
  • The kitchen drawers – ok, so I cheated a little here because they are normally meticulously organized, but I did have a junk-ish drawer (where we keep our Saran wrap, foil, and baggies) which is now immaculate, functional, stocked, and simplified. Oh yes.
  • The Dining Room console table junk drawer from hell – Now I would consider opening this drawer in front of others to grab a pen.
  • My book shelves in the living room – paired down, refreshed, re-arranged. ZEN.
  • The drawer in our side table in the living room
  • My nightstand drawer
  • The DVD baskets
  • My brand new linen closet!

In progress:

  • Our mail bins and filing
  • Shredder purchase (for papers from before we were married, like .. why? that was so over 3 years ago!)
  • Steamer purchase (for clothing)
  • Finding the perfect shoe rack (Ikea, you failed me on this one!)
  • Finding matching, flocked hangers so my silky, drape-y shirts and dresses don’t slip off (Ikea, once again…thanks for nothing!)

What I still need to work on:

  • Under the bed – This is where we keep collapsible duffel bags, rogue socks, bobby pins, and our family of dust bunnies. I want it to be where we keep nothing at all.
  • My dresser – This is cleaned out monthly and is so orderly it has bins in the drawers, but I’m also focusing on re-stocking it.
  • The kitchen cabinets
  • Our 3rd floor closet – I paired it down last winter, but until I can name 75% of its contents, it’s clutter.
  • My office/studio
  • My sewing supplies/fabric
  • The pile o’ give away stuff by the front door – Scheduled for pick-up October 30th! Yay!
  • The medicine cabinet – this, like the kitchen gets outta hand!
  • The basement <faints>
  • The “attic” <re-faints>

I must say, accomplishing this has been amazing. I feel more energized, motivated, responsive, responsible, aware, and clean. Everything is becoming simplified (not that it was ridiculous). It was both odd and freeing to completely empty my junk drawer last month. I wanted to superglue it shut so I couldn’t stash things, but then I wouldn’t be able to open it and see nothing but air.

Kitchens in Blue

Blue is one of my favorite colors in the kitchen. While it’s well-suited for bedrooms and bathrooms for its calming, clean qualities, blue is lovely in the kitchen for these reasons and more. I spend/would like to spend a lot of time in my kitchen so I want it to feel functional, clean, and calm. In smaller kitchens, soft blues can open up the space and enhance natural light. The use of aqua/blue/sea-foam glass tile adds light and dimension. Studies show that blue suppresses or controls appetite rather than encouraging it like orange or red, resulting in fewer trips to the stove for seconds. This might seem odd, but light colors in the kitchen influence me to cook with more vegetables and less breads. Is it because string beans, peas, spinach, blueberries, lettuce, and kiwi are in the same cool-ish color family?

I also happen to prefer warm colors for my cookware: my red Kitchenaid Mixer, my yellow Le Creuset Dutch Oven, warm wood tone salad bowls, cutting boards, and my warm yellow-orange serving ware. These colors pop and compliment cool blue walls and cabinets.

Whatever your reason, cool hues in the kitchen are a definite do.

via Donna Elle Interior Design

via Steve Gambrel

via Camille Roskelly

via Better Homes & Gardens

via Better Homes & Gardens

via Better Homes & Gardens

via Living Etc. Magazine

A New Book! And updates!

Hooray! I got a new book last night. It’s Maria Menounos’ guide to being lovely and awesome and organized. Over the past 3 years, I’ve done some re-aligning in my life – some involuntary and unwelcome, but all rewarding and fulfilling. Lately, I’ve been feeling particularly inspired and motivated with my career, my health, and my house. I’ve found that when I focus on these three things, everything else seems easier to organize and handle. And I’m happy. And we’re happy, Andrew and me.

Since I’ve been slugglish here for the past few months, I’ll catch you up on what we’ve been accomplishing!

  • The biggest, most exciting news is that our powder/laundry/mudroom is coming together so well! After rebuilding the entire back wall of our house, reinforcing the floor joists/support, and installing plumbing+HVAC+electric from scratch, we’re finally insulated, dry-walled, and well-lighted!

  • I’m working *admittedly* slowly and steadily on the guest room. After sanding down the super-grit walls, scraping the most stubborn trim, and spackling those plaster walls, I have the first coat of paint up. Unfortunately, I have zero progress photos, but picture Sherwin Williams’ Sedate Grey (but the Olympic version, cross-referenced at Lowes) with soft white trim and warm wood floors. Then picture these colorful, white framed prints over the bed! No more spilling tonight! But the big reveal involves some $13 a piece lamps from Lowes and some adorable side tables from Homegoods! Eeeee! Can ya’ wait!?

The bottom right reads: It’s Time to Dream 🙂

  • Our kitties are being cute in the midst of this renovation hurricane…

  • And I’ve been collecting super stylish photos like this to share in my blog…

  • A note on the “health” improvements: I’m finally able to exercise again (after my rib fracture) and I’m loving it. Every mile. Every sore muscle. I’m challenging myself and feeling accomplished. The perfect, crisp, fresh-scented fall weather helps a little. I haven’t made it back to trail running with Andrew yet, but I do miss views like this during my workouts..

  • Oh, and I suppose cute garden photos like these are significant, too. I mean, those hostas are HUGE. That field mouse is, too!

I can’t wait to share more fun and designer updates!