Wednesday, April 30, 2014


We've gotten to know some really great people in our neighborhood since we got Bear.  It's wonderful to have a network of dog-lovers because they understand what it's like to be obsessed with your pet.  Because, no lie, we're maybe a little bit obsessed with our fluffy fella.

One of the women I've met, Lenore Boulet, is a pet photographer and she's taken pictures of Bear a couple different times when we've been at the park at the same time.  She always captures his goofy personality perfectly.

I snuck into a few of the photos, too.  Please don't judge the claw hand.  Apparently I have no idea what to do with my hands...and at resting posture they form claws.  Sometimes the ugly truth is revealed through photography.  And now it's immortalized on the world wide web.

I'm not so sure if I have much of a future in being an accessory in pet photography, but gosh Bear is cute.  He's the real star of the show.

Friday, April 25, 2014

I should probably change the name of this blog

With the number of pictures I post of Bear, I should probably re-name this blog something that implies you'll be inundated with puppy pictures if you click through.  But for consistency's sake, and because the content of this blog is all over the place, I'm keeping it as is...but continuing to bathe you in Bear pictures.

I'm still terrible with Blake's camera, but I'm trying to make myself take it out more often.  No more empty promises of better quality photos! (Well, at least some of the time...I can't be expected for forego the ease of the iPhone all the time.)

I call this series: Bear rejoices with his stick.  I'm fairly certain that his inner monologue is something like the Swedish Chef's when he's running.  It's impossible not to smile when you see his triumphant grin.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


As I've mentioned before, I'm slowly hacking away at writing a book.  The main character is a 15-year old girl.  So, lately I've been trying to get in touch with my teenaged self by doing the following:

Wearing my retainer at night

Listening to high school throwback tunes like Relient K and Blink 182
Eating three Cadbury creme eggs for lunch in lieu of vegetables
Re-reading my journals from that era

It's been a painful process.  Apparently my teeth have moved during my "wear once-a year" retainer routine and practically stage a coup each night when I force it on.  The journal entries are deliciously (make that painfully) awkward.

Though I hate to admit it, I just can't seem to turn my back on Blink 182.  As hard as I try, those were my angst-y high school jams.  I'll never let go of those nasally, whiny, percussion-filled diatribes against the man.  Too many good memories.  Driving around in my 1980, mustard-yellow Volvo station wagon (appropriately named Colonel Mustard), manually rolling down the windows, and blasting punk music over the protests of my friends of the boy-band musical persuasion.

The journal entries have simultaneously been the most informative and most hilarious aspect of my retrospective. The writing reads the way nails on a chalkboard sound.  I'd always thought myself above the normal teenage drivel.  Guess I've been looking at the past through rose-colored glasses.

Here's a gem from a road trip with my family:

It was so funny. Meg and I sat in the front, but she thought my mom was also sitting up with us, so she scooted close to me, so I said "well, meg, if you really want to sit that close to me you can, but it really isn't necessary." We both started laughing, it was so funny."

Such beautiful descriptions! Such cascading prose! I was a regular Charles Dickens back then. Beginning and ending the story with "it was so funny." My younger self astounds my current self with the depth of her literary prowess.

Then later from the same road trip:

I got really car sick today. I had to throw up in a plastic bag. It was gross, and I felt bad cos I had to barf in front of everyone. Hopefully I didn't gross Meg out too much. Quite the embarrassment, huh?

Spoiler alert. Meg and I are still friends all these years later. Never let a little backseat barfing come between true friends.

And do you remember when photography wasn't digital?  Getting your prints in triple so you could give them to your friends?  It's probably for that reason that I can't find many pictures of my 15-year-old self on my current computer.  So this one is minus Meg, but plus Lindsey, Ashton and Rachel Cam.

These were the days when we thought we were cool for wearing our brothers' little league shirts to school and then playing baseball in the park after class.  Epitome of cool right there.

Monday, April 21, 2014


This post could just as easily be titled "A love letter to the self-timer."

It's fairly rare that I blow dry my hair and get fully "ready"for church, but I felt like Easter was a great opportunity to put on a new dress and pull out the blow dryer.  The cherry tree was in full bloom and the yard was looking spiffy after our marathon clean-up session on Saturday, so we pulled out the camera and took some family photos.

Thank goodness for Blake and his artistic prowess and technical know-how.  He can put a camera on top of our good ole Honda Accord and make us look halfway decent!

Our neighbors probably thought we were strange staring at our car with plastered-on smiles.  Oh well.  The cherry tree is one of our favorite things about our house, so we like to get as many pictures of it/with it as possible.  There's just nothing better than the springtime - when all the windows are open and the smell of cherry blossoms is wafting through the rooms.  I could live in perpetual spring for the rest of my life and never lose my appreciation for it.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

In Miniature

I've had great luck finding things on the side of the road lately.  So good, in fact, that maybe I should start gambling.  I just can't lose!

A couple weeks ago I found a sad looking set of children's table and chairs.  They were wobbly, covered with cobwebs, and scratched all over the place.  Not to mention they were a horrible color - who thought it was a good idea to stain furniture speckled orangey-brown?

I was out on a walk with Bear when I spotted them, so I quickly ran home, jumped in the car, and drove back over with Bear in the passenger seat.  (Blake was on a conference call and Bear was being especially naughty, so I wanted to keep him out of the house as much as possible.)  Did I mention I was also on the phone at the time?

So I'm the one gal who is seemingly talking to herself (headphone speakers) and loading things from a garbage pile into the back of my car.  The other folks out walking gave me the oddest looks.  It was worth it, though.

In addition to the table and chairs, I also got several large frames.  One was a professionally framed painting of a barn. The frame was ugly, but I liked the painting, so I just painted the frame another color.  I still need to take pictures of that, but hopefully I'll get around to it at some point.  I gave three other large frames to a friend because I didn't have a place for them and frames don't exactly sell well on Craigslist.

I started this project with the intention of selling the set.  I tightened up the chair legs and backs, sanded down the table, and vacuumed off all the spider webs.  I painted the chairs in a light mint green and the table in a stark white.  Three coats each.  They're both in high gloss for easy wipe-ability.

Alas, when I finished I realized I was too attached to sell them.  They turned out much better than I'd anticipated.  Sure, it'll probably be another 5 years before we have any kids who will be able to use them, but they're just so cute that I can't let go.  And if it turns out that mint green isn't as gender-neutral as I was hoping, well, I can just repaint.  Paint fixes everything.

Bear, the attention-hog, modeling the finished product.
Don't ask me why there is a flower pot full of lemons on the table.  I had it on hand and wanted to add some more color to the photo.  And this is why I will never be a set stylist.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Brady and the Bear

We were talking with some friends the other night about how funny it would be to have a blog written from the perspective of a dog about his humans.  I post so much about Bear, but what if he were posting about me and Blake?  The pictures would be hysterical.

"Here we have my human in his natural habitat - with a pizza sitting in front of the TV."

"Oh, look at those cute humans asleep with their mouths open. Lemme go put something in there."

"She's even cute when she's using the bathroom!"

I think I've found my next great idea.


Blake's brother and sister-in-law are out of town with their kids for Spring Break, so Brady gets to hang out with us for 10 days.  He and Bear have been having a grand ol' time together. They play hard and then crash.  It's a good system for keeping them busy and it makes my life pretty easy.

For the most part the spring weather has been great.  I've been leaving the back door open so they can come and go as they please.  I've also kept the sofa covered in a sheet so that I don't have to worry about dirt and leaves making their way onto it.  It looks fairly dumpy, but it saves me a lot of trouble. Dumpy is what comes with having two dogs in the house, I figure.

I don't know how people with two dogs keep their homes clean. Don't even get me started on the mud when it's raining.  Trying to dry off both of these hellions is quite the process...I've already gone through a stack of towels just today!

Thank goodness they tire each other out.  More sleep, less mud please.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Tidal Basin blossoms and the mysterious Wharf

I probably post the same pictures every year, but I can't help taking more each time I visit the cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin.  I went twice this year: one by myself on a morning jog, and once with Blake, Bear, Brady (Blake's brother's dog) and some of Blake's friends from work.  Both days had fantastic weather and a manageable amount of tourists, so it was enjoyable on all levels.

I made the mistake of wearing white pants when we went with the dogs. By the end of the morning they were looking not-so white.  Having dogs jump all over you and then eating lunch on a derelict cement retaining wall at The Wharf will do that to you.  Go figure.

Bear loved the people and wanted to watch the paddle boats go by.  We got stopped every few feet (per usual) by people asking what type of dog he was, if they could pet him, and (my favorite) if they could take pictures with him.  Yep. He was a hit with the young Japanese tourist crowd.  I wonder how many instagram accounts he's showing up on because of it.

We had a terrible, snowy winter this year, so I was worried that the blossoms might not come in force. But, luckily, I was wrong.  We hit it at the exact right time - the trees were practically weighted down under all the fluffy pink blooms.  It smelled like heaven...and gave me allergies enough to last through the weekend.

Because the Cherry Blossom Festival was going on, a lot of the cross-streets were closed and it was nearly impossible to drive across the Mall to the basin.  We had to get creative with our navigation and ended up parking along the SW waterfront on a street we'd never been down before.  As we were walking along, I recognized the wharf from several DC-based movies I've seen.  I'd never known where that location was until now.  I would compare it to a miniature version of Pike Place Market in Seattle.  Minus the trinket sellers and beautiful flower stalls.  But that stink of fresh seafood and open-air shrimp slinging?  Yep, that's reminiscent for sure.

For $15.95 we got two crab cake sandwiches, fries, hush puppies and a drink.  Not bad, right?  I can't believe we'd never heard of The Wharf before (maybe we're just that out of it...or not hip enough).  It'd be a great place to take out-of-towners who want an authentic eastern seafood meal.  We'll be back again for sure.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Barn Sale-ing

I solemnly swear that this is the last post about the Chartreuse & Co Barn Sale.  I can't help myself. It was that good.

I took a few pictures of things I fell in love with but either couldn't bring myself to spend the cash, or couldn't think of a place I could use it.  From left to right:

1.  The blue sky between the barns was gorgeous.  I also loved the old feed/water tubs.  I would love one to serve drinks in, but goodness, where would you store something so huge?

2.  The oil painting of the fields was framed so well.  I would have taken it home with me if it hadn't been $300.  Yikes.  Probably not a bad price for an original painting in that frame, but a little above my self-alloted sale spending.

3.  A bright blue windsor chair.  Can you tell I'm loving all things peacock blue these days?  Too bad I'm swimming in chairs at home.  But I wish I'd been able to bring it home with me.

4.  These equestrian candle hurricanes were great, but I couldn't really see them fitting into my home. If I'd been able to get them for a song, I would have tried my darndest to find a place for them, but they were on the pricey side, so there they stayed.

As for what I did come home with...other than the chair I posted about yesterday,  I snagged a couple other small things.  Blake's been wanting a terrarium for ages and we found the perfect one.  It's now residing on the trunk in our bedroom nook.  Right now it's housing the plastic plant it came with, but I need to make a run to Home Depot for some colorful succulents.  

I fell in love with this tile and carved wood tray.  Probably not something I needed, but I do so adore it.  I think it'll be pretty for corralling the salt, pepper and napkins on the table.  Blake served a mission for our church for a year in Portugal (and a year in Cape Verde) and the tile reminded me of Portuguese tile, which was the clincher.  So, even thought I didn't need it, I kinda needed it.  You know what I mean.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


This past weekend was beautiful.  We wanted to spend as much time outside as possible.  I convinced Blake to go to a barn sale with me up in Buckeystown, Maryland, called Chartreuse & Co.  Twice a year they have a huge market sale with six buildings and tons of outdoor booths.  It was glorious.  I'm adding the next sales to my calendar in indelible ink.

We found a couple of small things: a glass and silver terrarium and a tile and wood tray.  But, my favorite find of the day was a 40's style chrome chair for $26.00.  Blake spotted it right before we were about to leave and we convinced each other that we needed it for Blake's side table/desk.  It was exactly what I've been looking for.  I wanted something more modern-looking to contrast with the more woodsy-feel of the desk.

I'm not usually a fan of vinyl, and even considered recovering the seat in a navy blue velvet remnant that I've been hoarding in my fabric stash.  However, it's pretty rare to find a seat in as good a condition as this one, so I think I'm going to stick with it. It goes really well with the wood and the floors, but I'm still trying to figure out if it feels too honey-colored over in that corner of the room.  For now, it stays.  Maybe I need something colorful on the wall above the desk?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Peacock Blue

It's been too long since I've posted about a garbage project.

When we bought our house over four years ago, the previous owners left us a bunch of modular furniture.  The man had been a wood-worker, so I think most of it is handmade.  I've got one set in my closet, we've got a couple down in the basement as storage until I can figure out what to do with them, and then we had one up in the spare bedroom.

Two of the pieces were in fairly bad shape and I wasn't wanting to re-glue all of the drawers, so I gave them away.  I kept the small piece on the left, though, because it was in great shape and I loved the size.

I had a sample pot of peacock blue paint in my basement hoard and decided this was the perfect project for it.  And, of course, now that I've painted this one piece of furniture, I'm in love with the color and want to paint everything in my house.  (In case you're wondering the paint is Valspar and is called Perfect Storm).  It may have a little too much pizazz to find a place in every room, but maybe I'll surprise myself and work it in everywhere.  It's already found it's way down to the puppet theater (yeah, we have built-in puppet theater) and onto a couple picture frames.  I just can't stop!

...Back to the mini dresser.

The brass pulls are sash lifts from our local hardware store and were $3.00 (so much cheaper than other hardware options).  I'm loving the way the brushed brass looks against the blue.  Even Blake, who is not a fan of brass, likes them a lot.

One of these days I'll get my act together and take some real camera photos.  (I always say that, but still have yet to make any progress in that department).  But for now I'll just go about my way.  Ba da ba ba ba - I'm loving it.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Great Falls

A couple weeks ago my Dad was in town for meetings.  His meetings were supposed to last all weekend, but they finished a day and a half early.  We took advantage or his extra time and the great weather by heading out to Great Falls.

My Dad has been to DC so many times that it's hard to find something he hasn't done.  He'd never been to see the falls, so that was first on our list.  It was 67 degrees that day, which means that DC folks get the heck outdoors to enjoy it while it lasts.  The canal and the falls were packed with tourists and locals soaking up the sunshine.

Bear was his usual celebrity self and stopped to kiss and snuggle people every ten feet or so.  Such an attention-seeker than pup is!  We can't take him anywhere...

After our hike (read: walk) we drove through Georgetown and up to Surf Side for their delicious fish tacos and fresh guar.  We ate in the parking lot so that Bear could be with us.  It earned us some odd looks, but it was worth it to keep the little guy with us.