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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

april date night: BYOB painting class

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i think everytime i plan a date night from now on, i will only think that no date will top our march date (hint: that's when hung proposed!)

...however, last night was pretty fun too.  trying to err on the cheaper side of things these days while we save up for a wedding and a kitchen remodel, i planned a night at the art studio NY for a painting class! i felt it was a little cliché when i signed us up.  it seems that everyone is doing the BYOB painting classes, but now i know why! they really are fun!  and we came home with two clearly amateur beautiful paintings to find a place in our home.

the class was 2 hours long and started at 7pm, the perfect time for me to get home from the burbs and take the train to the upper west side on 96th street.  the class started with a little basics of "mix red and blue and get purple, mix blue and yellow and get green, etc."  then our instructor, B, guided us through the layers of painting, starting with a base color to get rid of the white canvas, moving to a general outline of the big elements, and further into filling in the blanks, layering background colors and, and putting on the final highlights.  it was so fun to see everyone's interpretation of the model painting.  one girl painted in all black and red, hung's base was pink, and most of us started out with blue (although it ended up being mostly red, green and yellow).

the class was very laid back, the wine was flowing, i swear they had my pandora station playing in the background, and it was just so relaxing.  and at 2 for $50, it was a steal! in the end it cost us $70 because we had to purchase our canvases, but still... for $70 we got a lesson in painting, had a bottle of wine, and brought home two pieces of art!

i highly recommend signing up for a date night, a girls night, or even if you want to go alone and try it for yourself, you will surely have a great time :) 

there may be another wine-and-painting date night in the future... but we have to find a place in our tiny home to put the paintings from last night first! 

last thing, which one do you like best!?  of course it's always a competition when it comes to these sorts of things :P

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cheers.
jenn

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

it's hip to be square

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  1. hanging with friends at sapthagiri in india square in jersey city
  2. fancy not-easter dinner for 2 on easter.  friends who were supposed to join got sick and couldn't make it.  though we missed their company, we're not complaining about the leftovers ;)
  3. flowers for our dinner for 2 from p&k
  4. hung did a good job practicing for future kiddos.
  5. leftover biryani from sapthagiri on friday turned into biryani fried rice with eggs. 5-minute schmancy breakfast.
  6. the newest furniture purchase for the home.  sometimes you get lucky on craigslist.
  7. a good hair day with girl bangs.  i've tried everyday since to make them look that good and it just doesn't happen.
  8. craspedia billy balls from hung.  who cares if they are leftovers from the weekly flower arrangements at work, they look PERFECT at the apartment entrance :)
  9. someone got a special treat from the barber.
  10. you know you really love the city life when you have that many windows that can see into your apartment and you don't care.
  11. "cleaning out the freezer" (so I can fill it up again when milk sugar love opens)
  12. it won't look like a chair collection when we get our new sofa and get rid of lots of those chairs!
remember to follow @beyondthestoop on instagram :) :)

cheers.
jenn

Monday, April 21, 2014

playing detective in the laundry room

most of what i have shared so far about our new apartment completely neglected the fact that we have a washer and dryer.  for you suburbia readers, maybe this isn't such a shock as those of you fellow city-dwelling readers.  THIS IS A BIG DEAL FOR US.

once a week for nearly every week of the past 4.5 years of living here, i have taken my clothes up and down flights of stairs, paid up to $6.50/load for a washer, always 8-minutes-per-quarter for a dryer... and dealt with the "excitement" of sitting my sunday afternoons or my friday nights at the laundromat.  i've trekked through snow and rain, and could never let hot summer days and blistering cold winter evenings stop me from just doing the simple task of doing my laundry, only to have them come out smelling like hot metal (not matter what brand or scent of dryer sheet or detergent i use).  on average i spent around $15/week just to use the washers and dryers, which works out to be about $750/year.  guys, when they say the "cost of living" in NYC and surrounding areas is expensive, these are the ones that add up that are often forgotten. you say "why don't you just get an apartment with a washer and dryer then", and i say "that apartment is probably $300 more PER MONTH just for the 'laundry in unit'".

like i said, having a washer and dryer of our own is a really big deal, especially in a home that's 150+ years old.  with that said, it doesn't mean that i was excited about actually using the ones we have.  you see, when we moved in, the room with the washer and dryer was caked (and i mean CAKED) in lint.  the back wall is exposed brick, and it was almost solid lint.  it was stuck to the ceilings, in between the dryer and the wall, it covered the floor so much it peeled up like carpet, it covered the pipes in the room...  the dryer has a vent system on it that i had never seen before... one that vents INDOORS.  i didn't even know this was possible until i researched dryer systems and found out that it is indeed a real thing.  people vent regular dryers indoors with the help of a water reservoir that is supposed to collect the lint that passes through the lint screen that you empty with each load. 

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our first thoughts were "the guy who owned the place previously was just an idiot lazy and never refilled the water reservoir, and that's why lint was everywhere".  we wanted to go to the extreme measures of penetrating the roof and venting it properly, i.e. outdoors.   then we found out everyone else in the building has the same system.  nobody vents their dryer outdoors.  so, maybe it wasn't the system. 

i spent 2 hours on saturday morning vacuuming the walls, pipes, ceiling, floors, etc. getting as much lint off of all surfaces in that tiny tiny room.  while hung had to run into work, i decided to climb up on TOP of the dryer (which is on top of the washer), i dragged the vacuum up there with me (because the nozzle wouldn't reach unless i brought it up there with me... gosh i must have looked pathetic) and i looked down behind the dryer to see if i could reach any lint back there (the room is so small i can't reach behind the washer and dryer, the walls on each side are too close).  what i found was pretty unbelieveable.  the dryer vent hose was NOT EVEN CONNECTED!! the big flexible metal hose that connects to the dryer for venting was disconnected.  see the photo below...

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if you see the portion of the wall at the bottom of the photo, that's where i had taken a few swipes with the vacuum nozzle... the part of the wall in the upper-left corner of the photo was just a hint of how the rest of the room looked when i started!!  also, the hose isn't connected.

ok... calm down... these things happen.  but the sad thing is that the guy who lived there before didn't even notice it.  he just let lint get caked all over the room and didn't think a thing about it! who cares if the water reservoir was full of water, it couldn't catch any lint if it wasn't connected to the dryer!!

after a tiny rampage, i calmed down over some guacamole and an episode of gossip girl and realized the only thing i could do was move forward and look on the bright side.  the bright side is that the reason for the lint in the room wasn't the weird water reservoir system, it was "just" that the vent hose was disconnected.  i went back to work cleaning the room making it jenn-and-hung-friendly for washing clothes, and ended up completing 5 loads of laundry sunday morning and afternoon.

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the VERY FULL dirt container from the vacuum, and a room that at least looks squeaky clean...

after living in the place for a month, we can finally do laundry in our own home, on our own schedule, and for the minor extra cost on our electric bill... maybe with the money we're saving we could buy a "ventless" dryer and forget about the whole water reservoir thing (or... we could use that money towards a trip to southeast asia... after watching anthony bourdain's episode of parts unknown in burma last night on netflix, i'm longing to go back SO so bad... that part of the world is just so beautiful)

cheers.
jenn

Friday, April 18, 2014

what is it with jean jackets?

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they are awesome and awful at the same time.
if they button up the front, they droop at the shoulders.
if they fit the shoulders they can't button.

jean jackets are my FAVORITE "accessory" for spring and fall.  i say "accessory" because rarely am i wearing one for keeping me warm.  every single one i try on has something that's just not QUITE right about it, though.  after purchasing what i thought was the perfect one at the gap last year, i decided i needed one that fit better in the shoulders.

...and for this $30 steal at target, how could i say no?

the only odd thing is that now i'm wearing size 10 jeans with a size extra-small jean jacket.  either jean jackets really ARE made weird, or i'm just THAT unproportional....  shopping for boys is so much easier. it goes like this... "what size do you wear?" "medium" "ok"

on another note, guys, it's the weekend!!  i'd love to share that i'll be frolicking around my neighborhood absorbing the awesomeness of the cherry blossoms.... but winter decided to show his freezing face this week and pretty much destroyed the buds on the trees :(  i'll pretend the pillowy pink blossoms are filling all the trees by instagramming that one tree by key foods that bloomed a few blossoms before the storm instead.

have a hoppy easter weekend!
(too cheesy? sorry about that one)

cheers.
jenn

Thursday, April 17, 2014

blue sofa style inspiration

one day while perusing apartment therapy, i caught an image of a gorgeous blue velvet sofa.  i couldn't stop thinking about it.  how it was such a statement piece of furniture in a time where friends looking to find their "forever" furniture go for quality-made, brown/tan/white/grey/only-neutral/never-goes-out-of-style-but-not-ever-really-IN-style styles.  i had to have it. the blue sofa stayed in my mind.  while it was impossible to find that exact sofa, i knew in my head that when i bought my first house, i was getting a blue velvet sofa.... that was years ago, right after i bought my first "nice" piece of furniture, a brown sofa from CB2 (damn, just missed my chance).  in my defense, i knew that i was still renting, and i knew my style would change over time, and i knew i shouldn't couldn't spend MULTIPLE thousands on one piece of upholstered furniture when i had a car and student loans to pay off.

i have always had an eye for decorating a home.  whether i actually put my style to good use in my own home is another thing.  my sense of style, and finding inspiration in places outside my home (i.e. anthropologie, boutiques, restaurants) has leaked to hung.  before we started dating he only really cared that his home was clean, the kitchen was stocked with good tools and appliances, and the fridge had beer and the freezer had frozen pizza.  oh how times have changed ;)

we went into lou lou in annapolis one weekend while visiting friends in DC (maybe it was alexandria? i forget which one), and hung fell in love with this antique, rounded settee (something like this, but more curved and just as gawdy).  he wouldn't stop talking about it.  though he really does enjoy the look of the small, upholstered, velvet sofa with wood around the edges (why he was down for getting this blue chair for our apartment), i realized the thing he liked most was the look of a tufted sofa.  then i got him hooked on a chesterfield sofa, the most indulgent of all tufted looks...

put our desires together, and you have a blue velvet, chesterfield baby (i mean sofa).  google images is a wonderful thing, and led me to Cococo Home (or, The Comfortable Couch Company).  a blue velvet chesterfield that's a reasonable price, custom-made, AND made in the USA?  i was instantly sold.  now that i knew what i wanted, i just had to buy a house, and figure out how to style the REST of the room around it. 

now that we have the house, and made the most expensive furniture purchase of our lives, we have to figure out how to make it work in our space!  see some of our inspirations below:

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gosh i can't WAIT for it to arrive!! i asked for a status update from he manufacturer, and the most they could tell me was "it looks to be on schedule"... talk about suspense!!

cheers.
jenn