Showing posts with label weekend shenanigans. Show all posts
Showing posts with label weekend shenanigans. Show all posts

Monday, March 24, 2014

hard work is, well, hard work

i just realized that it's been a week since we made our big announcements, and i haven't shared any updates!! if you follow on instagram or twitter, you may have seen a few sneak peaks, but this space has been pretty silent, or at least i haven't shared any photos (that's the good stuff anyways!)

between last monday and now, we've finished painting the entire apartment and trim bright white.  no "off-white", no "eggshell", no "cream", no "ivory".  literally i wanted the brightest white possible.  i would have been fine with primer if it wasn't flat paint. 

speaking of flat paint, flat paint and white walls aren't friends. it would show practically every fingerprint.  silly me, not doing my homework, i thought the next glossy-ness up from flat was semi-gloss.  so when i sent the boys out to get a 5-gallon bucket of the brightest white they could find, i told them "get semi-gloss bright white". i totally forgot about satin, and now we have sort of shiny walls.  and because hung (and practically everyone we talked to) didn't want the trim to be the same glossy-ness, we had to go to high-gloss for the trim.  kids, it looks awesome, but the catch?   IT PEELS. and it sticks to everything.  including the blue painters tape that's supposed to be your friend.  so now we have to go back and touch up all the spots that peeled off a bit when we took off the blue painters tape.  we even took a box cutter to the trim and we still had problems.  do your homework people! we were suckers for that one. lesson learned.  but... at least it LOOKS awesome when you look at the big picture.... bright white walls are my thing. i've loved it for a while, but this article on apartment therapy solidified my design ideas.

we were also lucky enough to score some skylights in the living room, so painting bright white is only going to emphasize the awesome natural light in the apartment (sorry in advance to those who slumber party at our house, you may be woken up at 5am in the summer time)

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next up on our to-do-before-we-move-in list was refinish the floors.  it sounds simple enough. "sand it down, stain, and poly-coat."  friends, THIS is the hard work.  this is the back-breaking part reason people say "just pay someone to do it".  i realize now that, yes, they will obviously do a better job, because it's their job, but because it's HARD labor.  it's especially hard labor when you have to rent equipment from home depot, who takes ZERO care of their equipment. 

we initially picked up a drum sander and an edger. after 4 hours of taking off the first layer, we realized "maybe this isn't right".  we only had 2 (small) bedrooms to do.  we took off the sand paper loop and realized that although the drum sander had the capability to sand about 12" of flooring, it was only sanding about 2".  that's not all.  the edger is circular sander that spins, with capability of getting right up to the edge of the wall.  however, the "edge" part of the "edger" was so worn down that we had to dip the front end of it just to sand anything.  friends, that thing is NOT light, and you have to be in a awkward, bent-over position to do it anyways.  AND when you do that it puts divots into your floor (the exact reason every youtube video we watched told us NOT to do that)

furious that we spent all day using crappy equipment, we took it all back to home depot to exchange for different equipment or get our money back.  well, there was no way to get our money back, so we picked out the best of what was there and went back to work.  the hardest part of deciding whether or not to take it back to home depot was deciding whether or not we wanted to lug that stuff up and down the 2.5 flights of stairs again.  that stuff is HEAVY.  it's a good thing hung has muscles ;) 

however, the new drum sander worked wonders, but the new edger was the same.  the nice worker at home depot gave us 2 extra hours to our rental, and thought we might be able to get the kitchen and entryway too (we didn't plan on doing it originally, because we plan to gut the kitchen in a year or so, replacing the floors in the kitchen, entry, and living room while we're at it)

saturday night at about 12:00am hung started the stain.  although we may have finished sanding around 10:30pm, we had to prep the floors for staining, making sure there was no dust or dirt or grit on the floors.  we swept with a broom, took the shop-vac to every inch of the floors, and wiped them down with mineral spirits.

exhausted after the long day, hung graciously stained both bedrooms himself.  seriously, he's a trooper.  we're not REALLY on a deadline to get finished, but we sort of are.  we have friends coming to town this weekend (and we're SO SO excited to see them!!!) and we would "like" to be out of the current place by the end of the month so we don't have to pay another month of rent (and so our friend can move in as soon as possible!)

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2:00am we called it quits. we figured with the extra two hours on rent, we had time to do the entryway and kitchen the next morning.  we were right! with the better drum sander, we were able to knock it out in just an hour or so.  hung and i quickly stained those floors after returning the equipment to home depot, and were done working on the house by 1:00pm.  high five!

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(don't worry, that lighter rectangle part in the middle of the wood floor isn't a mistake, it's just the skylight shining down :P)

happy to have some free time for once, we fixed my car, got an oil change, went to the grocery store, SHOWERED, and relaxed before our friend invited us over for dinner.  he's a great cook and he's teaching another friend the basics of cooking.   luckily for us, they always make enough to share, and we often get invited to enjoy the final product (thanks guys! we definitely needed it last night!)

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enchiladas with salad and guac and chips. aka, a recipe for a happy jenn.  mexican food is my FAVORITE.  i don't care if it's most authentic mexican food, taco bell, or (my guilty favorite) chinese-mexican. i love it ALL.

successful weekend, but man am i exhausted.  at least the hard part is over...
(wait, we still have to move EVERYTHING in our apartment... sigh)

cheers to another week!
jenn

p.s. i promise to do a house tour soon.  it won't be the true beginning, but hey, at least you'll get to see the place before we funish it ;)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

babies

last weekend hung and i did a whirlwind tour around ohio, stopping to see friends and family along the way.  luckily for us, that meant we got to see babies! well, i'm not sure if it made hung as happy as me (who are we kidding, he's just as giddy when he sees a baby, no matter how much he likes to deny it) but even with the tooting and the crying and the soggy-cake-filled sneezes i couldn't get enough.

first stop was to see this lil guy (and his wonderful parents of course).  camden was a crank butt when we finally arrived at midnight, but by morning he was a happy little booger who let me feed him cake samples (then he proceeded to sneeze all over my shirt with a mouth full of chewed up cake, haha) you can't get mad at a face like that though! i suppose it "was" my fault for feeding a 11-month-old baby cake at 8:00am...
 
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monday we drove to columbus to see this lil one.  well, he's not exactly "little".  because clyde was born at 8 lb 11 oz just two weeks ago, his daddy (who obviously read those baby books) says he already looks like an infant! (i guess instead of a newborn? so much to learn when having a baby) he sure is a cutie, and has two of the best parents, and big brother gunner the pup.

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we're always spoiled with cuties when we travel, but no friends in the area have babies yet.  i think they need to get on that so i can start babysitting!! (or at least start inviting myself over to smother them :P)
 
cheers.
jenn
 
p.s. you may have already seen some of these on instagram @beyondthestoop ;)


Thursday, February 27, 2014

february date: a brooklyn adventure

my first attempt at topping all other monthly dates failed.  kung fu is an off-Broadway show in manhattan about the life of bruce lee.  perfect, right?  i like shows, hung likes bruce lee.  it was going to be perfect, and tickets were going to be just $70 TOTAL for the two of us.  i ordered them, it was going to be the best surprise ever.  but only 20 minutes after i ordered tickets online, i received an email saying my order has been canceled.  there was a glitch in the system and i would be refunded all of my money.  i tried a second time, and the only tickets available were in march, and they were $75 EACH.  more than double the original price! although if it was a special occasion i may have just bit the bullet, but i was just so angry at the fact that my order was canceled for ticket prices to just go up that i decided it just wasn't meant to be.

luckily though, hung claims that my plan B turned out to be the best date yet (jenn does the happy dance!)  we have had such great experiences at olive oil and vinegar tasting rooms, so i set my sights on finding one in the city.  luckily for us, there's one right in williamsburg! it's called o live, and it's pretty close to a lot of other fun places, so i decided to turn our date into an adventure!

before trekking to brooklyn, though, we stopped at a vintage furniture store in manhattan called furnish green.  i have had my eyes set on a credenza there, and i NEEDED to at least look at it in person.  let me tell you guys, this store has SO many cool things! and in such great condition!  sure, your average vintage store might have a handful of mid-century modern furniture in beat up condition for a price you might find on craigslist, but this place is carefully curated, and only keeps items in good condition.  the pieces might be a little bit more expensive, but i'm no expert at refinishing furniture (let alone stuff that may or may not have a veneer on it), and i'm not about to PAINT mid-century modern stuff either.  hung ultimately made the "adult" decision, and said we needed to pass on the credenza, we don't "need" it now anyways... maybe one day though ;)

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next stop, o live! i planned out our day such that we had to walk to the farthest place first, then work our way back to the train.  although we didn't purchase anything at furnish green, we were on a small "high" of furniture shopping (guys, it's SO fun!). so when we passed all those hipster vintage shops in williamsburg on our way to o live, we couldn't help by pop into some of them.  needless to say, we WILL be going back soon!  we tasted practically every balsamic vinegar at o live before settling on the cranberry pear white balsamic and the vermont maple dark balsamic.  we ran out of 2 balsamic vinegars at home recently, and before this purchase we only had, say, 3 or 4 kinds of balsamic vinegar at the house.  clearly we "needed" more options!

just a few blocks away was a vietnamese bar and restaurant called bia.  i was drawn to this place because my during FIRST time in new york city (looking for apartments, ironically), my friends took me to a place in manhattan (that's now closed) called bia garden.  just like it sounds, it was a TINY beer garden tucked away in the tiny "open space" behind a building somewhere in manhattan (I had no idea where I was at the time, NYC was so overwhelming!) bia had a great vibe, although when we first walked in, we were the only ones there, so i was a little concerned my day date plan was going to be disasterous.  we sat at the bar, we each ordered a guinness, and soon people started strolling in.  i decided on my favorite vermicelli noodles with grilled pork and spring rolls, while hung ordered a grilled pork banh mi sammich, both better than expected! my noodle dish had about half lettuce, half noodles, so it was more like a salad than most places (which serve a huge bowl of noodles with a sprinkle of veggies).  we ventured to the rooftop, which was closed for the winter, but looked like it would be so fun in the summertime! i'll have to remember this place come april or may :)

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(don't make too much fun of our mini photoshoot.  guys, it was 55 degrees and sunny in FEBRUARY!! it put us in a good mood :P)

next on the list was momofuku milkbar! the only time i had tried to go to a milkbar location was after dinner in manhattan, when milkbar is just PACKED.  although the intention was to get dessert, hung may have ordered the best thing on the menu: the volcano.  i'm not sure if it's on the menu all the time (it's not posted online), but this thing was a very chewy bun stuffed with pork, potatoes, carmelized onions, and fontina cheese. not exactly "dessert", but hey, that's how he rolls ;)  we also ordered the corn cookie and the 5 boro cookie, both worthy of ordering again (and again and again).

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last stop on the date was barcade! yes, we have barcade in jersey city too, but because we were so close and the brooklyn one is the original one, i felt the need to at least stop in for a beer.  it is practically the same thing as the one in jersey city (except ours is bigger with more arcade games!)  they have similar craft beers on tap, behind the bar is a big chalkboard wall with the menu and lots of neon beer signs, and no barstools match.  seriously barcade is the best bar to go to with a dive-bar feel with better-than-dive-bar beer (and, of course, all of your favorite childhood arcade games).

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around 3pm we looked up the location of the restaurant for dinner with friends, and found out that it was in williamsburg too! with a few hours to waste before dinner, we explored a grocery store (one of our favorite things to do! don't judge!), picked up grocery store sushi (i'm such a sucker for it), and made our way over to the restaurant.  with still an hour or so before dinner, we popped into surf bar.  this place smelled of nothing but fried calamari, it was crowded, and there was a beach on the floor.  yes, you read that right, sand on the floor, throughout the entire place! when i was lured in with the "hot spiked apple cider" sign out front, i was not expecting sand on the floor.  and, if we weren't heading to a pre-fixe, 3-course dinner soon after, my hands would have been ALL OVER that calamari.

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the rest of the evening was spent celebrating a birthday with out-of-towners, so date day ended at surf bar.  days like this are why i love new york city!!!! i wouldn't have changed a thing!

(except maybe grab more cookies from milkbar... damn they were good)

cheers!
jenn

Monday, February 24, 2014

not the usual monday blues

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just like the photo above, our life is a little bit messy, a little bit cluttered, a little bit crooked, a little bit overgrown.  it's also filled with light, stuffed with love, a little bit whimsical, and feels like a sign of good things to come.

after a sunny, warm february weekend out and about in brooklyn and an impromptu sunday evening with friends, we're all smiles today....

it's better than the usual monday blues, right?

happy monday friends!

cheers.
jenn

Monday, February 3, 2014

shenanigans

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my weekend started off with a feel-good 7-mile run, and it all went downhill from there
(or uphill, i guess i'll leave it to you to make an opinion)

hung and i had quite the social weekend, hosting people for dinner twice and going to a super bowl party in manhattan. saturday night though, was one for the books.  hung and i hosted a few friends to eat banh xeo.  if you're not familiar with vietnamese food, banh xeo is sort of like a crepe, sort of like an omelet...  but not really.  the crepe is made from tapioca flour, coconut milk, and scallions, and the filling includes chicken, shrimp, and bean sprouts.  it's a pretty simple dish, but it's so tasty.  you can order it at saigon café in downtown jersey city (see "saigon crepe"), but making it at home is pretty simple too (hint: keep reading later this week for a recipe!) 

so the night started with the intentions of getting stuffed on banh xeo, but then i had the bright idea to tell my friends i never had spam before.  next thing i know, mr p is poaching eggs, hannah is frying sliced spam, and lenny is prepping rolls from philippine bread house.  i will have to say, it by no means tastes "bad", it's just super salty.  i think it can have a great purpose cubed in fried rice or sweetened with honey or something to take the edge off of the saltiness.  it actually almost tastes like super salty turkey bacon, haha.  it's really just another cured meat that's been canned.  i'd totally eat it again!!

after a few more drinks at the keyhole and barcade, the boys insisted on getting fried chicken (literally an hour earlier they said they couldn't eat another bite of food).  we brought hollywood fried chicken back to the house, scarfed it down, and hit the hay. 

talk about gluttony!! at least i had a good workout on friday, right? (sigh)

yesterday we watched the super bowl on the big screen at rockwood music hall before heading to another friend's apartment near times square.  talk about ghost town!! for times square being such an even bigger tourist trap for the days leading up to the super bowl, it was a rather pleasant awkward scene for it to be so empty....

photos above:
  1. pit stop at torico thursday night after getting dinner (with unlimited free drinks!) at park and sixth.
  2. i'm loving all the murals going up in jersey city.  see the initiative here.
  3. spam sliders: spam, poached egg, pepperjack cheese, sweet roll.
  4. i heart my hung and my hannah banana making a heart (or, at least trying)
  5. selfie with my combover... an even shorter pixie would give a better one.  haircut happening soon!
  6. one of the many creeper eyes lining the walls of the chambers street/world trade center A/C/E train station. so creepy, dontcha think?
happy monday friends!
tell me about your weekend shenanigans!

cheers.
jenn