Monday, January 30, 2012


A few weeks ago we had the opportunity to eat at Tomato Grill with RJ's parents. (Yep, we're spoiled). They had gnocchi on the menu which means I made my decision in about 30 seconds. They also had tirimisu on the dessert menu.. that night was full of <delicious> no-brainers.

Things like random Sunday night dinners with them, random afternoon brunches with my dad and Mary and random hang-outs with any of our siblings make living with Ohio winters tolerable.

But every time I have to drive in the snow and ice, a little piece (ok, a big piece) of me misses Georgia. 

Aside from the weather, Georgia does have a few other convincing arguments..

like these two..

I guess the only solution is a summer-home here in Ohio and a winter-home in Atlanta (and mobile jobs). 

That's realistic, right?


Doctored Ramen / Cat Magnets /  Afternoon pick-me-up / RJ's Specialty : Sauteed Veggie Pasta

Craze in the window / Drew & RJ Shoveling / Drew's delicious pastries / Craze


* I miss having Drew here
*I take too many food and cat pictures...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


  • A bird (must have been huge one, or as both Drew and the neighbor, Les, suggested, a Pterodactyl) used my car as a toilet. I'm mostly posting this for Linds, she appreciates things like this. 
  • The cats have been avoiding the outside due to the snow, so their new favorite hobby is watching water drip out of the faucet after someone takes a shower. (The life of a cat..)
  • Harvie and Craze are in a constant battle over who gets the most lap time.  Sometimes they agree to share.

Stevie update:

We finally solved the mystery of Stevie! We were sitting at the butcher block one morning and saw the stray cat that RJ thought may possibly be Stevie's mother (remember?). We watched carefully to see if she still had the two kittens with her - one white and one orange (maybe Stevie). Sure enough.. after a few minutes both kittens came out from hiding. So Stevie is not from that family.

Most importantly..

I was right. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

On the Rise

Some of you may know that the company I currently work for is for sale. RJ and I thought seriously about buying it for awhile.. but decided it wasn't for us. We love the idea of having our own venture and working for ourselves (oh the flexibility!), so it was tempting. Right now we want to focus more on our properties and keep trying to save money. Eventually we may buy another rental property (why not make it a collection?) or even an apartment building if it was a good investment. We'll see. 

Anyway.. I am going to work with KidzArt through the end of this school year and then shift my focus to my side job at project RISE (realizing individual strength through education). The program is a collaborative effort by Akron Public Schools, local shelters and the community to provide supplemental educational services to children experiencing homelessness. Whatever their situation may be and regardless of the parents' decisions and lifestyle, it isn't the child's fault and we try to bridge that gap. A lot of the parents I work with are wonderful and hard-working people who just need a little help and encouragement.

I get to work with the kids at the shelters, usually doing an educational art program and sometimes tutoring.  In the picture above, another staff member and I were helping a 6th grader build a 'mouse-trap' car for her Science class. That was.. interesting! We take the kids on field trips (the other picture up there is at the roller skating rink!) and on outings to plays, etc. The group picture is a group of us staff members at the Barberton Magical Theatre, where we take the kids to see plays specifically aimed at children. We get a lot of book donations, so those trips usually include a book giveaway as you can see in the picture. I've also been working around 10 hours per week in the office taking calls, writing press releases and assisting the director.

I love it and can't wait to focus more of my energies where my heart is!

Sunday, January 15, 2012


New scarf Katherine brought me from Spain  /  Fuzzy Slippers  /  Breakfast  /  RJ

Drew & Harvie  /  Lunch  /  Snowy day  /  Light reading

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Out of Towners

My grandparents were in town last weekend and it was great to see them, as always! It was perfect timing for them to come while Drew was home for a few days. Of course, we played Tripoly.. RJ was down the whole game and then won no-peaky TWICE to come back for the win! It was pretty impressive.

Harvie loved all the extra attention!

When Katherine was home I went to her house a few times to play with baby Barrett, her adorable nephew! Isn't he a cutie?

It was great to see her (and take her with us to Chicago!) while she was in town.. now she's back in Madrid working on her Master's in Spanish Literature (I know.. she's always been a smarty-pants). She'll be there for another year or two and I really want to work out the logistics (and funds) to visit her while she's there!

Drew is back home in Chicago thanks to the Megabus.. that really makes it convenient! Drew wants to take Tina, so we may drive her to Chicago sometime in the relatively near future. 

I wonder if we could put her on the Megabus?

Friday, January 6, 2012

New Paint for the Downstairs

So recently I decided that I wanted to re-paint the downstairs. The largest area in our house..that we already painted a few months ago. I agree, I must be crazy to want to do that again!

The thing is.. neither of us really liked how the blue turned out. I wanted it to have more of a gray tone, but now I'm thinking that if the whole downstairs was gray, it would feel dismal. At first, I wanted this place to feel totally different than our last place. Now I'm over that.. there was a reason we loved the style of the condo. It was us. The style we tried at first in this place (I wanted it to feel more cozy and not stuffy at all) just never felt like us. It was fine, don't get me wrong.. but we didn't love it. I think you should love the style of your home. Especially the main area we spend most of our time in!

A few weeks ago we finished the molding (that's not entirely true.. Shawn, dad's very handy friend, finished the molding for us. It was well worth it to have it done and have it done right.) We still have to finish painting the molding white which is why the tape is still up around the floor and around the ceiling. 

Here is the finished molding and the two tones of blue the downstairs was before:

You can also see the test areas of the beige tones we picked. I know.. beige is boring right? That's what I thought too. I think in some cases, walls should be boring. That way you can add color in your curtains, throw pillows, art, etc. This place is also going to be a rental property so really need to stick to neutrals. 

Painting in progress...

RJ is so good with that edging tool.. it makes it so much easier!

And I'm a pro with the roller.
<not really. I do ok..>

Here's how the beige turned out - we did a lighter color on top and a darker tone on the bottom. The new color scheme will be very similar to the condo (burgundy, chocolate brown, beige and maybe some small burnt orange accents). I miss our burgundy accent wall but we really need to think about what a future renter would want.

The only thing is that now I wish we would have gotten a dark brown couch instead of the dark khaki. Oh well! I can''t wait to get some of our old art-work up that fits this color scheme. I still love my frame collection that we used to have behind the couch, but I think that would be a good thing to put in my office instead of downstairs. I want to make my office more of a creative, sewing zone and frame some pretty, vintage fabrics. That will be the next project!

Here are some of the colorful curtains (from World Market) that I like:


More soon when we get some decorations up!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Years 2012 in Chicago

We had the best time celebrating the new year in Chicago! We ate great food, saw some great live music and did some shopping. My best friend from high school, Katherine, came with us and it made the trip even better. She's living in Spain right now so we don't get to see her very often so this was the perfect way to hang out for a few days. Her brother and his wife live in Chicago so it worked out perfectly for Katherine to stay with them for a few nights and get to hang out with them too. Her brother, Matt, recently opened up a really cool vintage shop in Chicago called 'Vintage Smith'. He carries mostly men's vintage and also vintage handbags and jewelry that we loved. It was so cool to see his store and talk to him about his business. We even got to see his store room in his house, which RJ said looked surprisingly similar to my 'little collection' in our basement (times 10!). There are more pictures of Matt's store here.

After seeing Matt's store and talking to him, RJ said: 'All that is so you. You could (and should) totally do that." He and I agreed we could see ourselves having a similar vintage clothing store in a few years that also sold vintage records, record players, instruments, etc. He said he would run the register while I went out and shopped for our new stock. Sounds like a good deal to me! Maybe someday and maybe somewhere without snow. (Every winter I say that).

Matt and his wife, Julie, were really great and only live about 10 minutes from Drew and the restaurant. The highlight of our trip for RJ was checking out Matt's music set up he shares with his neighbor in their basement. They disappeared for a few hours until we pulled them back into the real world. On Sunday night we went to Drew's restaurant (the Brown Trout) and had awesome food and wine. On Monday we left Chicago around 11 to head home.

The snow came in right when we were driving home - so getting from Cleveland to Hudson was a little tricky. Luckily the roads cleared up as we were heading further south into our area.

RJ's Chicago-Style pizza:

On New Year's Eve we tried an Ethiopian restaurant that was right around the corner from the Aragon, where we were seeing the concert. It was actually really good!

At the Aragon we saw a band called 'Cage the Elephant'. None of us knew them very well but we all enjoy live (and new) music. We got to see 3 opening bands too, so it was cool to see a few different styles. Much to our surprise, they were serving champagne!

In the picture below I was holding Katherine's drink - not drinking two champagnes at once. That would be a little excessive..

I don't know who this girl is behind us, but it looks like she was having a great time..

At midnight they dropped all those balloons.. it was really cool!

Happy 2012!