Wednesday, May 30, 2012

They're baaa-aack!

In honor of our first bat visitor of 2012, I thought I'd share the post of last year's adventures. Because frankly, I'm too tired and annoyed to even elaborate on last night's episode. Except to say that the husband has gotten really good at getting a bat out of our house.

Hmmm....perhaps he should moonlight in pest control?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Recap of a long weekend...

We relaxed. A lot.
There were no chores (except for some much needed laundry).
We bought peonies at the farmers market, even though they're growing in our garden (the world can't have too many peonies).
We tried our first non-alcoholic beer. It was awful. There's no fooling me.
We antiqued with a great girlfriend. Boy, did we antique.
We spent some time at the lake.
We grilled out & enjoyed time with family. 
We celebrated birthdays. 
We felt the baby kick for the first time (at least we think we did).
We sweat. A lot. 
We sat out on the porch. 

The end.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

People are fascinated by pocket windows

Really, they are. But I'll get to that in a moment....

We're still a bit giddy with excitment from Sunday's event! Sure, it was a lot of work. And yes, by Saturday (when we were knee deep in mulch, dusting, mopping, hiding random crap in closets, etc.) we were ready to throw in the towel. But in the end it was totally worth it.

What started out as an architechtural tour 14 years ago, has slowly morphed into a 'see what people are doing with their homes' tour. It's a nosey man's dream come true! I don't think I can count the number of times the husband asked "why are we doing this again?". But I can tell you my answer was always the same--because we love our house & are happy to show it off!

Throughout the day, we consistently received the same comments about our home--how open & airy it felt, how deceivingly large it was once you were inside, how great the wall colors were & how well they flowed (which was news to me since 1. I've personally grown tired of the colors, and 2. sometimes the mix of beiges, grays & bright greens--with all of our crazy accents--feels like the inside of a circus tent). We were asked the typical questions we'd been told to expect--where did we get something, how did we make/do this or that, and what renovations we put into the house. Sadly--in addition to all the fun stuff we've done to this place--we had to admit all the non-fun stuff like replacements of the roof, furnaces, electrical, etc...snooze-fest!

I think one of the greatest comments came from a woman who loved our house because it was 'stylish and liveable'. What a huge compliment! We're all about making our home look great, but we don't ever want people to think they can't put their feet up on the coffee table or toss some pillows on the floor to get comfy on the couch. That's totally how we do things around here! Taking second place for compliments was a kind lady who remarked that HGTV should come by to take some photos of our house. I don't know that we're HGTV worthy at this point, but it was certainly nice of her to say! Overall the compliments were grand and kind, and by the end of the day the husband and I were sweaty and beaming with pride (contrary to popular belief, an 85 degree day in the middle of May is not the best day for a home tour....just sayin').

But I suppose you're wondering the top three things we were asked about all day long! So without further ado...

The pocket window

It's kind of hard to tell from this craptastic picture, but see the window to the left? It's a pocket window/door. For those of you not familiar, it functions like a normal window, but opens into a pocket in the ceiling (and based on that outstanding description, I'm beginning to wonder if a video tutorial would have been the way to go here...). At the beginning of the tour the husband foolishly asked me if he should remove the blind so that people could see how the window functions. And in my best 'I'm the wife & I know best' attitude, I told him to keep it on because no one is going to ask about it. Well, who turned out to be the fool? Not 5 seconds after uttering those words, 3 men came running over asking the husband for a presentation (needless to say the blind stayed off for the remainder of the day). People are super fascinated with this thing. I can't say the same as I'm crawling & performing acrobatics to get out onto the porch. But I suppose it's one of those features you don't see in most houses. The husband and I could not get over how many times we were asked about this window. You never know what's going to be on people's radar!

My mom's quilts

And this one in particular! People also wanted to know about our fabric window treatments & endless pillow covers. Yep, all my mom! She was around for part of the day to answer questions (she needs a business card!). But this was hands down one of the more frequent things people asked about all day. I commission my mom & her sewing skills on a regular basis, but I never realized just how lucky we were to have someone to do this stuff for us when we ask! 

My jewelery boards


Not in a million years did I think people would be asking about these. Mostly because I've had them for so long, and I just look at them as functional (not fascinating) at this point. They're $12 cork boards that I picked up at HomeGoods years ago. I had every intention of painting the frames...and then, well, life got in the way and I've had more important things to do since then. I got tired of wearing the same jewelery day in & day out, and this was an entirely fool-proof way to ensure that I'm wearing most of my stuff on a regular basis. Funny story, but when our house was robbed, the cop who responded to our call remarked that nothing had been taken from my boards. Well,'re looking at around $50 worth of Forever 21 jewelry here! Theives are dumb, not stupid.

So there you have it! A little recap of this weekend's house tour. On the agenda this coming long weekend? Finally enjoying our tidy & organized home! 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Happy anniversary to us! Today we celebrate two years of marriage! So instead of house tour talk, I've decided to take a trip down memory lane. Join me, won't you? I'll be back tomorrow with a recap of Sunday's event. We're still flying high from all the lovely compliments!


Monday, May 21, 2012

The day after

We are exhausted. Really exhausted. But we learned this house tour was pretty awesome. And that people are nice & like to give compliments (and those with nothing nice to say kept their not so nice comments to themselves). And that the volunteers who put this event together are good, hardworking folks (it takes a village!). And the docents who worked shifts at our house are pretty awesome to take time out of their day to help us show off our home that we love so much.  

All in all, it was a success. All that hard work and doubting ourselves was totally worth it in the end. This neighborhood rocks (that was pretty evident yesterday). If you're finding City Dwellin' for the first time since visiting our house...welcome! And stick with me. I might have something interesting to say from time to time!

I'll be back tomorrow to share more stories from the tour, including the top 3 things most people asked us about. And you might be surprised....these weren't your run-of-the-mill "where'd you get that light fixture" questions!  

Friday, May 18, 2012

Seeing green

We've been super busy this week getting ready for Sunday's house tour. Who knew getting your house ready to show was so. much. work? I'm fairly certain this is the most clean & organized our place is ever going to be. Or at least until we sell it one day!

At any rate, I wanted to take a quick break to share an update to the entryway....a little change that's made this space complete! When this picture showed up on Janice's blog, I was super embarrassed. Sure, the focus was on the floors, but would you get a load of that cabinet?


It was my $35 faux painted, missing a back & has no shelves find. A beaut, right? This thing has been hanging out in our front entryway for the better half of 5 months and really needed a paint job. Unfortunately, I was too busy sleeping during my first trimester. And when I woke up I wasn't able to work with oil based paint. So I enlisted the help of my mom who painstakingly primed for me.

The original plan was to strip the paint....but that just sounded too exhausting and time consuming. So we went the oil based adhering primer & a whole lot of sanding route instead. It didn't produce the most professional of results (what do you want...this cabinet was a $35 dinged up mess), but I must say I'm super happy with the end results!

I styled and re-styled the top of this chest over & over, but nothing was clicking with me. I worked with what I had on hand, but ultimately it was these peonies from Michael's that did the trick. I'm not normally a fake flower person, but these I liked. I paired them with an old vase that we were using to collect wine corks. Voila--styling complete! 

The color is Lime Twist by Valspar--thanks to the green March issue of House Beautiful for that suggestion! But oh my god, this thing was a huge pain in the ass to paint. It required 1 coat of primer & 3 coats of paint. I think it speaks to the quality of the paint (I'm not a huge Valspar fan, unless it comes in the form of spray paint), and the fact that this chest is way more detailed than it looks! All the nooks, crannies, twists and turns...this baby has me longing for a quality spray painter. One of these days...

Anyway, there's no rest for the weary...I'm back to getting this house into shape! Hope to see some of you on Sunday!

Monday, May 14, 2012

A little weekend Instagram

We grilled out, admired (and worked in) the yard, and celebrated my first unofficial mother's day.

I'm really loving Instagram lately. I don't care if my (sometimes crappy) photos are out there for all to see. I'm simply loving all the special effects. Everyone looks a hell of a lot better with golden sunlight on their face, right? I have an absurd amount of camera apps on my phone right now, the husband can't believe it. Who would have thought my phone would be the official stand-in for my poor little neglected camera?!

Friday, May 11, 2012

You've got questions, we've got answers

Since announcing our big news, we've been asked a lot of questions. I love being able to share & talk about what's going on with us right now, it's pretty exciting. But I find that a lot of inquiring minds want to know the answers to the same questions. So what better way to address a few of them then on this here blog? I'll be stopping by every now & again with a pregnancy update, even though City Dwellin' still revolves around good 'ol house stuff. Since this whole thing is new to us, you might just hear me talk about it a bit more over the course of the next 5 months!

Will you find out what you're having?

Yep! The planner in me just has to know. I don't think I could go a full 9 months knowing that the ultrasound tech & our doctor were privy to this information, and not us. That sounds like a complete form of torture to me! We find out if baby K is a boy or a girl in a few short weeks. So start placing your bets! We are 150% convinced it's a boy. If they tell us it's a girl, I'll be completely shocked. And excited of course....especially after seeing 3 little ballerinas going into their dance class on my way home from work yesterday. Yep, I can totally see us with a little girl too!

How are you feeling?

Now that I'm in the second trimester, I'm feeling great! I had a lot of food aversions the first trimester, but nothing that left me feeling too sick. Just a nagging, nauseus feeling all day long that I thankfully ditched a few weeks ago (switching out the time of day I took my vitamins--now with dinner--totally helped matters too). The word seafood (let alone the thought!) totally put me over the edge. But I was successfully able to walk through the seafood section of Wegman's a week ago and not I'm convinced I'm past that now. And fried foods...ooooh yeah, that thought didn't sit well with me either. In short, I was (and still am) craving anything fresh--mostly fruit, berries, fresh salsa, etc. I can not wait for weekly trips to the farmer's market this summer! I keep a regular stash of granola bars & packets of Justin's almond butter in my purse at all times (for when the need to eat strikes). Oh, and I'm completely addicted to Wegman's cinnamon swirl loaf. Seriously folks, I can barely talk about it, it's soooo good. I don't even think you need to be pregnant to be addicted to this stuff...

Are you still exercising?

Absolutely! Exercise is a part of my daily routine, so pregnancy was no excuse to give it up (in fact, it was a good reason to continue it!). I'll admit that my workouts in the first trimester were few & far between. I'm an evening worker-outer & some days I had all I could do to drag myself home from work, let alone to the gym. The only workout that was consistent during this time was my weekly yoga class. Something kept me going each week regardless of how crappy I felt. But now that I'm in the second trimester I've picked up the pace a bit. I was given the go-ahead to continue with my regular pre-pregnancy workouts. Even running. But I'll be the first to tell you I haven't run once since finding out I was pregnant. Mostly because I just haven't felt like it. So needless to say there will be no half marathon, turkey trot or 5k's for me this year. I'm just not up to it. Most days you can find me on the elliptical or walking at least 2-3 miles. I take an intense body sculpt class once a week, which is slowly starting to become a bit too much for me. So for now I'm modifying what I do (lighter weights, no ab work, taking a break when I really need it, etc.). My days are slowly getting numbered in that class, so for now I'm continuing with it as long as I feel comfortable.

What books are you reading?

I'm using What to Expect When Your Expecting for reference, but that's about it. Too much info will only make me a nervous wreck! So basically, I'm educating myself (through the book & doctor's advice) enough to get by. I don't want to hear anyone's horrible birth or pregnancy stories, I don't have a birth plan (other than to just get the baby out!), and I don't want to know more than what I'm referencing already. So far we have been blessed with a healthy pregnancy, so that's all we can ask for at this point. Obviously, this is totally a personal decision, but I know (for me) that too much info will only make me nuts. Aside from What to Expect, I thought a little humor was in order for both the husband and myself...

Dude, You're Gonna Be a Dad!: How to Get (Both of You) Through the Next 9 Months

Oh my gosh, Jenny's book is as real as it's gonna get (she had the worst of the worst)! I totally enjoyed reading this book. It made me feel better about myself....and laugh in the process. And the husband is totally loving his book. He's already through the second trimester & taking a break until we hit the third. I don't think I could have gotten him to read anything else, but humor he can do.

So I think that about sums up what's going on with us right now! If you see me out and about and feel the need to ask me something, by all means. I don't bite! Unless we're in the final few weeks...that could be another story...


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Backyard progress

My mom and the husband have been diligently working on the backyard (with a little help from me now & again...there's something to be said for being pregnant!) Our yard has been a bit of a process for the last 3 years (we've come a long way since our days of cultivating a weed garden, much to the horror of our neighbors).

Last summer, we decided to part ways with the ugly tree that sat behind our garage. Talk about a mess...we definitely don't miss that thing anymore! Remember how things looked before? Let's take a walk down memory lane, just for kicks...

And then the tree left us. Best. Day. Ever.

And then nothing happened...for a long time. The tree/landscaper dudes never came back to complete their work until December. Yep, December (thank goodness for our mild winter). So things sorta looked like this for a solid 4 or 5 months.

After the soil was delivered and sculpted (is that a technical landscaping term??), things sat idle for awhile. And then a ton of weeds showed up. We have a HUGE crab grass problem that spreads from our lovely neighbors in the back. And try as we might, that stuff comes back each and every year. So with that tackled (until it comes back next year) & some misc. things planted, we had made some huge progress....

(points to anyone who can find the dog in this picture!)

The husband digging holes in prep for our trees to be delivered...

The trees are delivered (holy hell, these suckers are big!). And then the el prego would sit around and bark orders for the next 30 minutes...ha (it's funny, but only to me...the husband and my mom were not as amused)!

See? He doesn't look amused here...

We couldn't find the dog for much of the day. He was taking a nap in the garage (smart doggie).

Then I moved him out into the sun. I had to keep myself busy while heavy trees were being planted!

After everything was planted, I helped mulch. It's my favorite (I'm not sure why), and my way of actually helping that day. Things are looking much better, huh?

Our grass is shot to hell & we can't figure out how to get it back to normal (the crab grass really does a number to it each spring). I've been busy tossing around grass seed like it's my job, so we'll see if that works. Until then, ignore the patchy grass & admire the new landscaping, okay? The tall bushes were our way of somewhat disguising the neighbors ugly yard. They've made improvements to the house over the last year, but the ugly backyard and ridiculous shed don't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. The eventual goal is to put some pavers or a patio of some sort back here. We've got 4 big chairs back there now (shoot...never got a picture of that!), but I can tell you that we enjoyed this remodeled area all weekend!

And a view from the new landscaping, overlooking our garden (which is about 3 bags of mulch away from being finished!)...

The dog is enjoying his new surroundings too!

So now that the backyard is pretty much complete, we've shifted our focus back to the indoors. Since, yeah...we're t-minus 11 days from the home tour and I'm crapping my pants just thinking of all the things that need to be done before then! So you bet your behind I'll be posting progress pics over the course of the week (heck, at that rate you won't even need to go on the actual tour!). See you soon!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Are we ready for this?

So, I did something. I signed us up to be in our neighborhood association's tour of homes. Yep, add this to the 'crazy things I don't think are so crazy while I'm pregnant' list.

I'd always been a little curious as to how people got into the home tour. Last summer our neighbor encouraged me to do it, telling me the association was always looking for new homes to feature each year. I sort of forgot about it, until this past March, when the monthly newsletter went out with an attached application for the home tour. This was it! I was so in! I filled out the application, boasting how awesome our home was, added some historical references for kicks (information I'd been told in the past) and was ready to hit submit. And then it occured to me....I should probably tell the husband about this, right? That come May 20 hundreds to a thousand-some people would be trapsing through our home, and I was about to sign us up for this craziness. His response?

"Wait, what? This means I'll have to clean the man's den."

Ugh, as if that was my only problem!? At that point I considered him game. If cleaning one room in our home was his only issue, then he was totally on board (I've gotten really good at husband translation/speak these last 5 years). So off went my application, and I quickly received a response from the event chairperson that she'd be in touch with more details soon. And then I waited. A full month. Over the course of the month, I'd gone back and forth as to whether this was really a good idea afterall. I mean, there's so much we still need to do to this house. The kitchen floor still isn't replaced, the master bedroom makeover isn't complete, we're going on 5 years of no window treatments in the dining room, blah, blah, get the picture. The list could go on and on. And then it hit one will know if the bedroom isn't complete, that we're contemplating new kitchen floors, or that there are no blinds on the windows (they'll be too busy admiring all the natural light!). House projects just never end. That's just a fact. When you get to the bottom of your to-do list, you start back at the top, tweaking all over again.

I must say, I was mildly relieved to hear this was a sentiment all the fellow homeowners shared at our informational meeting this past week. In fact, one person on the tour is in the midst of a kitchen remodel! So I guess I'd say we're fairing well at this point. No one will ever suspect that our old black & white linoleum floor is in need of an update (well, at least we hope no one suspects)! It was a pretty cool thing to sit down with these folks...we all share of love for our big old homes, we're always working on one house project or another (or sometimes juggling several at once), and we all love our neighborhood. To sum things up, we're all house proud. And if our house isn't perfect, that's okay. We love our homes anyway. I'd say that's the best kind of person to be showing off their digs, wouldn't you say?

The husband and I (and several contractors) will be working like busy bees at our house these next 2 weeks. But if anyone is interested in more info on the home tour (and you're in the Buffalo or Ontario, Canada area to attend), I certainly won't be too busy to shoot you some info. You can e-mail me at or check out our association's website for more info. The list of homes won't be made public until the day of the event (to keep all you crazies from stalking our homes), so you'll have to wait in suspense for a couple of more weeks. Sorry. But it will be good. Promise!

Looking forward to seeing some of you on the 20th! Even if we're missing blinds in the dining room (just don't point that out to the other folks, okay?)...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The reason my blogging has been sporadic (at best)

I suppose there isn't much more to say, other than I've had a really good excuse as to why my blogging took a backseat for the better part of 3 months (and by excuses I'm referring to food aversions and general overall laziness). But now that Stella's got her groove back, I figured now seemed to be the best time to announce to the blog world (all 4 of you!) that the husband and I are expecting our first little one come October 29. The fact that I have an aversion to Halloween (something I'm sure will change by next year), means that this bambino is definitely going to arrive into this world in a full-on costume. We just know it.

I'm currently 14 weeks and have officially entered the second trimester. My pants are too tight & I've had my first pregnancy meltdown (of epic proportions) while shopping for 'bigger gal' clothes this past weekend. I can say that both ain't pretty. But with the second trimester brings more energy & the urge to nest and organize like nobody's business. I may be a little ahead of the game when it comes to that arena. And then again, maybe that's my type A personality coming out of first trimester hiding. Well, whatever is going on, I feel much better. Period. I actually have the desire to go thrifting again, and to take on home projects that are within my ability to tackle (it's really a bummer to tell a DIY--and do it all--gal that she can't lift more than 15's so not cool). 

City Dwellin' won't be turning into a baby blog, but I'm hoping to do some pregnancy posts here and there (especially when it comes time to tackle the nursery...I bet you can see the wheels spinning in my head as we speak!). My goal was to get a bit more personal, and well...there you have it. We're going on an exciting ride these next 6 months!   

Blog Design by Get Polished