Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Finished front porch!

The front porch is done! I finally finished up this little project this past weekend. Which left me wondering why the hell I put this one off for so long?! Easy, peasy I tell you. It's amazing what little tweaks can give you all sorts of new curb appeal!

So let's revist how things used to look before...dangerous, trashy & down right embarrassing...

And then new steps were installed...

And the ugly storm door removed...

A little filling, sanding & paint...and voila! A new front porch!

SO much better, right? I had the paint matched with a sample from our house (which is two different shades of gray for some strange reason) & used an enamel from Sherwin Williams made specifically for porches & stairs. Our stairs are of the composite/man made variety, but it can be used on wood as well. Which was good to know, since I decided to cut corners & use the same paint for the door surround. Probably a major no-no (it dripped & was difficult to work with at times), but I did it anyway. I just couldn't see buying totally new paint for such a small area. What can I say, I'm a professional painters worst nightmare!

And just to give you an idea that not all grays are created equal, check out the night & day difference in color!

True to form, we're not completely finished with tweaking the outside just yet! I have plans to change up the exisiting light fixture, mailboxes, house numbers, as well as paint the pillars white (to match the new porch railings). Whew! And then I think we'll sit tight for at least a year or so. The pink & green trim is SO not our style, but that will have to remain until we can bring the professionals out to change things up a bit. One of these days...

All in due time, all in due time...

Monday, August 29, 2011

And then there were none

So I'm really starting to think that this blog is beneficial...in a way that says, Dear Contractors: get your ass to our house & do the work you promised, you hear?!

Seriously, it was only days ago when I mentioned the fact that the tree trimers--who promised to come and do their work at the end of July--still hadn't shown up to our house. And here we were a month later wondering what the hell happened to them?! I won't go into the long & boring story of how many times we rescheduled an appointment for an estimate for god sakes. Or the number of times they promised to call me back to reschedule an estimate (and didn't). Or how late the owner finally showed up to give me one. Or the promise he made to come over "next week to do the work". Maybe that should have been a sign?!

Well, talk about a blogging miracle...the mere mention of them on the 'ol blog last week & they called the same day telling me that the crew was heading to our house! I wasn't home when they arrived or completed (sort of) the work, so my before & after pics are lame-o.

But here's what we were working with before...

You can't see the top of the tree, but trust me when I say it was a HUGE mess. See that electrical pole to the left of the tree? Yeah, the branches were all sorts of tangled up in the wires above (yikes!). The electric company trimmed the tree over a year ago & instead of taking the damn thing down (talk about a hazzard, it should have been gone a loooooong time ago), they left us with a huge mess in the backyard, all of which was our responsibility to clean up. Oooh, that was not a good day. You don't even know....

Anyway, I full expected to come home to find the guys still working, but nope! They had finished their work (well, mostly) and were gone. So here's what we were left with....

...a whole lotta sunlight (love!) and one big tree stump. But we're not completely done yet! The land in the back slopes into the neighbors behind us, so the plan is to fill & level the area. Basically, the tree guys are "landscaping" for us, minus the plants, as we plan to do that on our own. We want to plant something that's tall enough to block our view of the neighbors & their ugly shed (it's a rental property that's not kept up very well & we rarely see the people who live there anyway). Although, did you notice that from the time we got the estimate to when the tree was removed, the neighbors had their house painted? It's a start, but they have a long way to go over there....and we're not intersted in watching the process. Hence the need for tall shrubbery!

So that's where things stand right now. We're hoping the work is completed in the next couple of weeks ("hoping" being the key word here), and then we can begin planting. Afterall, fall is one of the best times to plant! And stay tuned, tomorrow I'll have updated front porch & door pics! I finished up things this weekend & we're so pleased how things turned out!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The happy birthday edition

Exactly one year ago today, I started this tiny little blog...

 By all accounts it's still tiny, and when it comes to blogging I'm no professional (I write what I like, when I have the time). But if I'm remotely entertaining myself, the husband and possibly 4 other readers, then I'm totally happy with that.

 The good news is that I'm still inspired to write & I still think this blogging stuff is good times. And if that's all I ever get out of this hobby...then you know what, I'm totally cool with that. Just think of all the good things that will come in year two...

More bat stories (well, actually, let's hope not)!
How the tree triming guy promised to come in July and still hasn't arrived (ooooh, now that's gonna be a good one)!
How those Halloween kiddos won't die on our porch steps this year (unless of course a fight breaks out over that last kit kat...in which case, that would be their problem, not mine)!
And how I'm really, really going to post finished pictures of the kitchen one of these days! True story.

Happy birthday City Dwellin'!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Nothing says welcome to our home like a new door...

Okay, so maybe the door isn't exactly new. But I vowed to make some changes this summer and changes I did make!

Remember what things looked like before?

Oh my god, awful & embarrassing...right?! I suppose when you don't use your front door and you don't welcome guests through it, you just kind of cast it aside and pretend that it doesn't look so bad. But it does.

So anyway, after the new front steps were installed, I decided the mangly (not a word, I know) storm door had to go. We had no plans to install a new one...which, come to think of it, is probably something important to have in Buffalo. But after surveying the neighborhood to see what others were doing, it was about half and half--some had storm doors, others did not. I prefer the look of the original door (sans storm door) anyway, so I don't know why I bothered with my informal neighborhood "survey" in the first place. My mind was already made up. Okay, enough with the rambling...let's get to it Katie!

First step was removing the door. I was on my own here, as the husband wanted no part of this process. After several stripped screws & try as I might...that damn door was NOT coming off. I was able to remove a screw here & there, but the door was not going anywhere. And that's no exaggeration...the thing was literally painted on & stuck to the molding. I swear, I think it was installed in 1909. So I gently begged asked the husband for help, tearing him away from Die Hard 45 (or however many Die Hard movies there are out there) and he very patiently removed the door for me. People, this was not an easy task! And I would know...I was watching!

So WHEW...the door was finally removed and I put it out to the curb (just in time for our Thursday morning garbage pick up), and I'm not totally positive...but I'm fairly certain it was gone by the time I left for work in the morning....and garbage pick up hadn't happened yet! The husband is super perplexed by this & wonders why anyone would want that stupid, ugly door. But hey, another person's trash is another's treasure! Even when it's a 100-year old storm door.

Okay, so much better, right? Bye, bye storm door! I don't miss you!

So then came the task of filling in all those holes. Which, for the most part was easy, minus a few larger areas that needed some help.

I'm no expert when it comes to this stuff, so I just did what I thought would work in this case (I learn as I go!), and that was to completely wood fill the larger gaps. I'm sure there is a better looking way to have taken care of these areas...but oh well. It's not perfect, but then again neither is our old house.

So that's where things stand as of today. I'll be back at it this weekend sanding & painting and ready to reveal the final results next week!


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Batman needs a new mailbox

For those of you who've been reading this blog as of late, you know we have a bat...ahem..."issue". And that the husband is really into bats, bat research, and educational bat videos. If it's bat related, he's educating himself. Which is why he has an MBA. He likes to learn. When it comes to bats, I can't say the same for myself...

At any rate, I give to you the latest photo of Batman...

Yes, that would be the husband standing outside of our house studying the flight pattern of bats. If you look close enough, you can see the worker's gloves and flashlight in hand. He means business!

I thought for sure he was joking, until the following night when my father-in-law showed up to the house & the two of them worked for 3.5 hours sealing up the attic with wire mesh and god knows what else. But before that, it's important to note that they each pulled up a patio chair, sat street side, swapped bat stories with the neighbors (true story) & watched the bats in action before they got to work. And my response to all of this? Better them than me.

So far, so good...no bats have made entry (that we're aware of), but that doesn't mean I'm sittin' pretty. Those jerks can squeeze themselves into just about anything, and our 102 year-old house is no exception. Which makes me wonder....what is it about our house that they like so much?!

In other non-bat related news, why are mailboxes so, so ugly? I came to this realization when visiting Home Depot and Lowes today, in search of better options to replace our current, very ugly mailboxes. Ugly replacing ugly? Clearly, I'm not getting anywhere here.

I've had my eye out for something similar to this, after spotting this mailbox during a garden walk this summer (the homeowner was nice enough to get the name of the manufacturer--Ecco--after I told him how much I loved his mailbox...god, I'm getting old).  Anyway, after a little research I decided that I'm not ready to shell out nearly $90 per box (we need 2 of them afterall). And secondly, when it comes right down to it, it's a mailbox for god's sake. A mailbox that's not even visable from the street. So yeah, it's back to the drawing board I go...

Anyway, I'm full of all sorts of things to talk about these days, so I'll be back tomorrow with an update with whats happening around the casa! Thank you, thank you cooler weather....we're actually getting things done around here!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Vacation recap

Does anyone else have days when they'd really like to chuck their computer out the window? Yeah, me too. I mean seriously, 35 hours to upload 4 pictures is not cool. Okay, maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but honestly. Girlfriend needs a new computer! For reals. Not to speak ill-will of the dead, but my damn computer died last night. DIED people! So much for actually getting to chuck it out the window...or maybe that's the whole point right now? Blogging is certainly going to become interesting from here on out, as I was relying heavily on that thing to store & upload my pics. Thank goodness everything is backed up or it would be bye, bye memories for me! Oh, and also, thank goodness for the ability to use my work computer. Being employed by family certainly has its benefits. Not that I'm blogging at work or anything....

Anyhoo! As I mentioned several days ago, we're back from a lovely 9 day vacation...from our problems. Ha! Just kidding. It was just our lovely annual vacation. But I'll give you bonus points if you can name that movie!

Our first stop was Indianapolis for the wedding of a dear college friend...

No, sorry, those are not blury aliens. It's actually the bride & groom. Apparently, god doesn't like me taking photos in church.

Here's a better photo of the happy couple...

Much better. Assuming, of course, you're looking at this with your binoculars or magnifying glass. Someone could use a photography course, no?

We got to spend an entire weekend catching up with my favorite girls...good times.

So after all the wedding fun was had, we flew to Philly, took TWO separate trains to get to Atlantic City, where upon arrival we were picked up by my parents for the 40 minute drive to our final destination, Cape May. We're talking planes, trains and automobiles here folks! Are you still with me? Or did you lose me somewhere in Pennsylvania?

We spent the rest of the week relaxing on the beach, eating a lot of seafood, kayaking & shopping. Come, take a trip down memory lane with me!

First and foremost, we did a lot of eating. A LOT. No trip to Cape May is complete with a trip to George's for some amazing greek food. Even Guy Fierri thinks so.

Or a mid-day beach break for Hot Dog Tommy's. We're snobby about our hot dogs in Buffalo, but Tommy's comes in at a pretty tasty second. I mean, just look at that girl staring at the husband...I bet she thinks he's theee Tommy.

We enjoyed drinks at the the Virginia Hotel, followed by dinner at the Ebbitt Room...yum. So good. Zagat rated. Gourmet. GO.

The Virginia Hotel is fab...beachy, modern decor...why yes please!

This is the last of the pictures I would take, as we were getting wisked into dinner by this point. Plus, I was on the verge of getting yelled at by the man at the front desk for taking photos...when in reality he was only pointing out other fabulous things to photograph. My bad. The dining room got a major makeover since we were last there a year ago, and I'm not sure I'm all that jazzed about the update (the beloved king louis chairs are gone). But unfortunately, I'm the only one who can be the judge of that since I was too busy scarfing my tuna tartare to even take a picture. And now I'm rambling and you don't care. But anyway, here's what things look like these days...very pretty, but definitely different (sorry, no before pic, but let's trust, shall we?)...


We did some miniature golfing too. I debated about even posting this picture, as we look like the Adam's Family & I have a sumo arm, but what's real is real around here people. Also real? The fact that the husband always wins mini golf, and I always lose.

I could have photographed the victorian houses all day...good sights in town for sure...

We ate a ton of seafood...all week. My stomach couldn't have been happier. Eating at home one night was no exception...

But most of the week you could find us at the beach...arriving first thing in the morning (which is why it's practically empty in these photos!) and staying until late in the day. Heaven, if you ask me!

And we capped off the trip with blue pig martinis at Congress Hall...

Overall, a fabulous vacation, but it's soooo good to be back home. Nothing beats the comfort of your own bed, right?

Now..time to get working on that computer situation. Afterall, writing this post took about as long as the length of our vacation....not normal.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

I'm back...

...to reality.

I had a wonderful 9 days celebrating with friends & relaxing with family. Now I'm busy getting myself back into a routine (cleaner eating & visits to the gym anyone?) and facing the reality of going to work in the morning. Fun times.

I'll be back tomorrow with a recap post!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I've got nothin'...

...but a big headache & a to-do list a mile long.

But I have some inspiration and it's in the form of this transformation...

The Before:

YIKES. Anyhoo, here's the after...

Amazing, right? The interior is quite impressive too...

I'm loving this accent wall in the master bedroom. Hmmm...the wheels in my head are already spinning with a possible (soon?) bedroom makeover. Baby steps Katie, baby steps...

And isn't this bird mobile in the nursery sooooo cute? I'm bookmarking this image for future nursery inspiration (with no baby in immediate sight...but it's good to be inspired, right?)...

You can find all of these photos (and more) over at 4 Men 1 Lady, as well as info on the builder & designer HERE. Pretty impressive, right?

And that, my friends, is all she wrote!

Blog Design by Get Polished