Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Let's Rewind: Minneapolis

Let's talk about our trip to Minneapolis.  While my husband was in meetings in Chicago, the girl and I flew to Minneapolis to hang out with my husband's brother's family.  We moved to San Diego from Minneapolis and have only been back a couple times to visit.  I have a love-hate with Minneapolis.  This time around I was head over heels in love with it and in many moments thought about just staying...for good.  It's easy to fall in love with the city in the summer.

One day my sister-in-law and I took the kids to South Minneapolis, near where my husband and I used to live.  We ate an early dinner at this adorable restaurant, Broders.  There are two Broders and they are right across the street from each other, one is like a deli/pasta takeout restaurant and then the other, which is where my SIL and I ate at was a sit down restaurant.  They had one menu if you ate inside and a separate menu if you ate outside, which I thought was funny.  You couldn't order off of both menus.  We chose to sit outside and all the food was prepared in an outdoor kitchen.  The chef above is picking marigolds from their garden to make a salad dressing.  Talk about fresh!  

Outside they only served small plates.  We ordered one of everything!

I couldn't get over how sweet my nephews were with my girl.

This is where all the food was prepared for the outside menu.

This was our home for seven days.  The houses in Minneapolis are so different from CA!  My sister-in-law is an amazing gardner.

It was very hot and humid while we were visiting.  We took the kids to a lake close by (there are many to choose from) one afternoon.

How cute is this door?  A door inside a door for little ones.  This was the entrance to the most charming children's book store I've ever been in.  Remember that bookstore that Meg Ryan owned in You've Got Mail?  It was like that.

There were animals everywhere.  Chickens freely roamed the bookstore.

There were cats, ferrets, mice, guinea pigs, birds.  My sister-in-law loved having my daughter around.  She doesn't get much girl time.

This is what many streets of South Minneapolis look like...

and this is what many houses look like.  This is a big one, but there are many houses similar to this in smaller scale.  We lived two blocks from here.  Many of the houses in this area were built in the 20's and 30's, which is probably my favorite era.  This particular house faces Lake Harriet, one of three lakes right in the city.

The lakes in the city have paved paths surrounding them.  They are flat and perfect for a nightly run or a bike ride.  On this particular night there was a free concert in the beautiful band shell.  Lake Harriet is in the background.

These two had so much fun together.  They did this ridiculous dance all the time.  I was sad to take this away from my girl when we had to come home. 

On our last night we had dinner in this charming little town called Stillwater.  It sits right on the St. Croix river.  Andersen windows is headquartered here actually, random trivia.  After dinner we walked over this really pretty draw bridge.  On one side you're in Minnesota on the other is Wisconsin.

I miss it already.  I want to go back in the fall.  They actually have a fall in Minneapolis.

I hope your week is going well so far!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Experimental Paint Job With Cece Caldwell's Paint

So here it is, my painted guest bathroom vanity.  The bathroom still needs improvement, but I like it better than before.  This was just an experiment to see how the paint would adhere to my cabinets.  I want to paint my kitchen cabinets but I have a little dilemma which led me to seek out a different kind of paint.

I played around quite a bit and ended up using two products.  I played with two different whites and chose Simply White, not the Vintage White I have pictured above.

This is the hideous bathroom before.  This bathroom rarely gets used.  It is attached directly to our guest bedroom upstairs.  Eventually I'd like to change out the tile throughout and change the vanity top, and the light fixture and faucet.  Haha, once you start it's hard to stop, but it's at the bottom of the list of home improvements I'd like to make.

Here is the dilemma.  This makes me so mad!  See how there are two different grains of wood here?  To the left of the little line is real wood, to the right is laminate.  What the heck?!  What kind of builder does that?  I've lived in many houses and never had this before.  Even if my cabinets in the past have been builder grade oak, at least the entire frame was made out of real wood.  It's like this throughout my house.  The doors are real wood, part of the frame is wood and part of the frame is laminate.  You can't just paint laminate with regular paint.  Frustrating! 

Let the painting begin.  If you read any information about this paint most people say to just slap it on.  It doesn't matter how you apply it, with a brush, with a roller.  It is very, very forgiving however, if you want a perfectly smooth paint job, this might not be for you.  Usually, I don't have the patience to paint.  I don't like painting.  This paint was so easy though, I let my five year old try it... until she got paint on her feet and stepped on the tile.  The only prepping is masking off what you don't want painted and then just slap it on!  Pefecto!

I was trying to avoid the look of the door to the left, but I wanted to see what the waxes were like, there are two, clear and an aging wax.  The door to the left has the aging wax, which might look great on a different base color paint.  It's just not the look I want.  Ideally, I'd have bright white cabinets without distressing but I don't think I can get that look with this paint in the application I'm using.  The door on the right has Simply White painted and then sanded a little bit, and then the Satin Finish on top, no wax.  If I want painted white cabinets this type of paint is pretty much my only option.  At least I have options, right?

When I was done taking pictures this was the scene in my guest bedroom.  My husband keeps his clothes in this closet because our closet system in our master bedroom came off the wall, another builder fail!  Literally one day we walked in our closet and all of his clothes were on the floor.  He's looking for his shoe.  She's talking his ear off, while sitting in a basket on the floor of the closet.

I need more practice painting before I tackle my kitchen.  I might paint this armoire and put it my closet where my husbands clothes used to go.  We've decided it's better that way anyway, me having my own closet ;) I want to play around with the different colors available too.  Have any of you played with painting laminate furniture/cabinets before?

On a completely different note, my girl goes back to school on Monday, first day of kindergarten at a new school.  I'm excited for her and at the same time wish we had more time this summer.  After taking a break from pretty much all activities, I'm thankful that she'll have future summers off.  I think the best preparation I could have given her for kindergarten was this break we've had, to take a break and slow down a bit before starting a new chapter.  We traveled a ton during her break but in the down days between trips we spent many days hanging at home, not doing anything too exciting, she's changed and feel like she's ready to move forward and open to new things.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Let's Rewind: Chicago

Hi friends!  I'm kind of getting my act together...I think.  My husband had to travel pretty much all of July and Little Miss S and I were lucky enough to tag along on one of his trips.  First stop, Chicago.

We were only there for three days and did very touristy stuff.  We went on a double decker bus tour, which was actually great to get an overview of the area since we didn't have much time there.

We stayed within walking distance of Navy Pier and took the girl on her first ferris wheel ride.  How appropriate since the ferris wheel on Navy Pier was the first ferris wheel ever!

We ate Chicago Style Pizza here, a recommendation from a friend.

It was good, but I think I'll stick to other types of pizza.  I'm kind of fond of cheese being on top of the sauce!  I had a pretty delicious salad that I liked more than the pizza, it was simple but it had shaved fennel and a lemon vinaigrette dressing that was delish.

My girl took this picture on the double decker bus tour.  I'm including it because I'm wearing two of my favorite purchases this summer and also it's one of few pictures where you can tell I'm smiling without showing you my mouth (I'm totally self conscious of my braces and can't wait to get the damn things off!).  First, this polka dot chambray shirt.  It is so comfortable and cute and can go a million different directions.  Since I live in San Diego where the climate is pretty constant, this piece can be worn year round.  The fabric drapes beautifully, like linen.  Second, my sunglasses.  I have a under $100 rule when it comes to glasses.  I'm really irresponsible with my sunglasses and after I dropped and ruined a pair of Chanel glasses within a week of owning them, I decided cheap is best for me.

Chicago is a beautiful city that is easily walked.

Ahhh, the medians of Michigan Avenue.  I couldn't get enough of them.  I could have a post dedicated just to them.

I miss the perennials that grow like crazy in the midwest.  Look at that potato vine spilling over the edge there.

When you buy a double decker bus ticket it's good for three days.  With that ticket you are also allowed to hop on trolleys that will take you into smaller neighborhoods as well.

We hoped on a trolley and headed to Lincoln Park and stopped off at the zoo.

Admission to the zoo was free.  Imagine that!  It was so lush.  The San Diego zoo is lush, but the LP Zoo was a different kind of lush.

They kept the lions inside, which was interesting.  While my girl was looking at the lions I couldn't stop looking at the curved herringbone ceiling.

They had an adorable farm section at the zoo too.  It was my favorite part.

Oink  Oink

I wish they would have allowed me to take pictures inside this gallery.  It was incredible.

On our last night we ate dinner 96 floors up, in the Hancock Building.  There was a wall of windows in the women's restroom.  This was the view.

I have a couple other posts teed up for you, one about experimenting with Cece Caldwell's paint and another about our trip to Minneapolis.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Do You Ever...

... fear the end of something good before it really even starts?  I'm having one of those moments right now.  I'm sad that before you know it my girl's summer vacation will be over and it will back to the daily grind.  We aren't grinding out anything right now.  The past few weeks have been schedule free, filled with late nights watching movies, sleeping in, lunches at two, dinner at eight, and I don't want it to end.  It's not realistic to live like this all the time, but we are both so much more relaxed.  We're in between trips, just spent ten days in Chicago and Minneapolis and about to leave for Mexico next week.  We are having such a nice time and I don't want her to go back to school.  That sounds awful, but I'm missing the days when my only commitments with her were optional.

Hope you're all enjoying your summer.  I hope to have posts up about Chicago, Minnie, and Mexico when I get back, but who knows!