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)


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!!


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

sometimes the craigslist hunt is worth playing the waiting game

you know the story.
  1. you have an idea of what you want in your head.
  2. in your head you think "oh, i'll just find it on craigslist."
  3. you look on craigslist, it's no where to be found, or absurdly expensive.
  4. you wait, hoping to find that "gem" nobody knows is cool for a steal of a deal.
  5. you wait...
  6. you wait...
  7. you wait...
  8. you suck it up and buy the new, not-vintage, double-than-you-wanted-to-spend version at west elm and you're still unhappy.
luckily, that didn't happen to us this time!! we actually got lucky on craigslist.  the dude knew what he was doing though.  he knew the dresser was cool, and he painted the frame white, sort of like those west elm cats did with the drawers on their faux mid-century modern with less storage that they are selling for double the price.  i'd totally buy from him again. check him out at forgotten furniture (though lots of his stuff is also found on the north jersey craigslist page, which is where i found him)

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i'm positive i could have found this for half the price i paid (or much less even) in ohio, but the shipping would totally make up for the difference in price (there's a limit to how much can fit in the yaris.  shocking, i know) but hey, i'm THRILLED with what i got, happy it is solid wood, happy it was a decent-for-new-jersey price, and ultimately i bought it and had it trucked to the house for less than the list price. boom. being around all those asians for the last few years has given me some good negotiating skills ;)

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now that i have bright white walls and a bright white dresser, i'm on a mission to change out that OFF-white duvet!!! gosh it looks so BAD now!! my mom suggested trying to bleach it.  i guess it wouldn't hurt...

what do you guys think!?


p.s. instagram is becoming the leaker of all new changes to the apartment.  @beyondthestoop 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

embracing the tiny kitchen

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sure, yesterday morning i knocked my head on the corner of an open cabinet above my head, and sure we run into each other, and sure our sink practically only fits just a cereal bowl....

...but is it weird that i'm actually LOVING the tiny tiny kitchen?

here's why:
  1. it has the "kitchen triangle" - if you draw a line from the sink to the fridge to the stove to the sink it makes a triangle.  i never knew how much this really mattered until i had a kitchen that was actually laid out this way.  so many brownstone apartments get stuck with long and narrow kitchens, making the only practical layout one with EVERYTHING on one wall, and NOTHING on the opposite wall.
  2. i can get almost anything without moving my feet - ok maybe i'll take a step sideways or backwards, but still, i don't have to go across the room, into the pantry, on top of  stool just to get the sugar... it's 1 step and an arms reach away from where i do nearly all my prepping.
  3. i'm forced to purge - do i really need 4 pairing knives? do i really need that mango corer? (sorry mom) do i really need to have 4 bottle cap openers and 2 wine bottle openers? no, no, no, and no. it really does feel good to get rid of things we don't need, but kept because we had the space in the old kitchen. and when's the last time we used the deli slicer anyways?
maybe i'm still on the high that i finally OWN my home instead of rent, but we're learning more and more everyday that "more" space doesn't always mean "better" space.  finding more efficient ways of tetris-ing storing things is so fun!

check out a little (very little) kitchen tour below.

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how's that for a first shot at organizing the beast? let me know your thoughts!
(wait, can you call something that small a "beast"?)


Monday, April 14, 2014

we hosted our first dinner!

did monday come too fast for anyone else?  hung and i are finally starting to feel at home at our new place. as if we weren't homebodies anyways, we feel like we just want to stay home, in our house, together.  no matter if i spent the whole week home not going to work, i'd feel like i need "just one more day" to enjoy the new place. 

we had such a great weekend though, seeing friends every night, celebrating new apartments, seeing friends we hadn't seen in a while, and hosting our first dinner at the new place!  saturday we got a few drinks with friends at battello.  we went there once before for a "we finally got the house!" celebratory dinner, but our friends had never been.  inside the space seriously makes you want to pinch yourself to make sure it's not a dream that a place like this is walking distance from my house.  guys, it's BEAUTIFUL inside.  edison bulbs dimly light up the place just enough to make it cozy, and just enough to reflect on the walls of windows, blending into the already-breathtaking views of manhattan.

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for dinner on sunday, hung had 2 new recipes in mind, both from a food blog called Lady and Pups.  have you heard of it? he made the herb gnocchi, and she was right when she said "these gnocchi don't need anything else to taste good."  if it wasn't for hung telling me i was going to spoil my appetite for the actual dinner, i would have kept popping them in my mouth like popcorn after they were boiled.  if you want to have an awesome make-ahead meal, go make this stuff.  why not make a quadruple batch? it freezes well, and you basically go through the same amount of effort for 4 times the output.  she serves it with dark greens and ground pork, but they are good enough on their own.

the other recipe was her infinite kitchen sink hand pie, a hand pie with broccoli and cheese and garlicky goodness. and THIS recipe could be mixed up in so many ways.  we made it vegetarian and just omitted the meat. i took a spoonful of the filling before it was stuffed into the pie dough, and gosh it was so good.  for someone who turns away at the thought of making your own dough, this recipe is still for you.  just don't do it! don't even make the pie dough! put the filling on pasta instead.  or better yet, put it on spiralized zucchini. or spread it on toasted baguette slices. or smear it on a sammich with tomatoes and avocado. or serve it as a dip with crackers, pita bread, or veggies.

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they busted open... we should have closed them with egg-glue.

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lenny never lets us down with his SKILLS.  brownies topped with salted buttercream and chocolate.

and because the sun was shining and the windows were open all weekend (and we finally got internet installed on Saturday morning)... it was that much better.  now we just have to get our butts thinking about swim suits, and get back to kickboxing!! that is, if i make it there on time, now that the inbound pulaski skyway is closed :(

happy monday!