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I’m back!

Wow. Talk about a hiatus from blogging.

In the past few months, I’ve been trying to adapt to a lot of new changes… a new house that needs a lot of love, a new job, plus a fair bit of traveling. To say the least, I’m still still trying to find my groove and find some balance so that I can carve out a regular time each week to devote to some of the things I’ve cut out in the past few months— blogging, songwriting, to name a few.

The house is coming along… slowly but surely… we’ll get there. And, I promise to show before and after pictures. We’ve been taking care of some not-so-sexy tasks like replacing the electrical box and adding recessed lighting. Things that will make a big difference in how we live in the house, but aren’t so exciting for blogging before-and-after reveals.

Though I haven’t been working on my music as much as I’d like, I haven’t dropped it completely. I had a show on Aug. 4 at Mudhouse in Crozet and I’ll post a video that my Richmond neighbors, Colleen and Steve, made from the night. I am also going to be playing a fundraiser—Love for Animals Fall Festival—on Oct. 13. I hope no one calls me out that I don’t even have a pet!

Here’s the video. I hope to be back soon with some more regular posting about the house, music, and life.

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And now, a pictorial overview of what we’ve been up to.

Well, first we were up to this… Before we even moved our stuff in, Ryan and Brodie were already tearing the carpet up in our upstairs hallway.

Which led to this. Ahhhh…. much improved over the mint green shag that had been there.

And then we got into a little of this… that’s wallpaper being taken down, if you can’t tell.

And, of course, we couldn’t stop there. We had to do a little of this…

Thank god we got a new roof just in time for the wind storm…

But, we’re finally at the point where we can do a little of this…

It’s been one heck-of-a month, and we are immensely enjoying our new house—the good, the bad, and the ugly! I didn’t even get a picture of the trash pile that was in our driveway for a month and the industrial-sized dumpster that followed. Or, the deer munching and pooping in our backyard. Or, the spectacular fireworks from McIntire Park that we watch from lawn chairs in our front yard. Looking forward to sharing our updates along the way!

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In eight short days, Ryan and I will be leaving our beloved apartment. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very excited for the new house, but I will miss this apartment that we first shared as an engaged/ newly-married couple. I’ll miss walking 30 seconds to dinner at Mono Loco on Thursday nights. I’ll miss having other people in the house when Ryan is gone. I will miss having only a few rooms of items to keep track of (and clean!). I’ll miss living in the apartment that I stayed in the night before my wedding.

A few people recommended I take pictures of my apartment before we leave. As my mom said, “you think you’ll remember what it looks like but you won’t.” I already have some pictures of the apartment that I shared in this post. But, these pictures—which try to fit every corner of the room into one single frame—aren’t how I actually experience the rooms. I never stand in a corner taking in as much of the room as my peripheral vision will allow.

So, I decided to take some pictures from a few of my favorite places in the apartment. The view from those spots is how want to remember our apartment. And, I made sure not to tidy up too much because that wouldn’t be true to life either.
Our hallway

The view I see every time I round the corner to the hallway

The dining room from the corner loveseat

From our kitchen

Looking into the living room

Walking through the front door

Sitting on the couch—best spot in the house!

Watching TV waiting for Ryan to come home

We’ll miss you South Street apartment. Thanks for the good times.

PS- Don’t miss me and Willie DE tomorrow night @ 7:30 at Mudhouse in Crozet.

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Yep! I’m back to the old blog format. I’m sure I’ll change it again… it seems the grass is always greener when it comes to blog themes. But, it’s back to basics for now.
Look what I did today!

That’s because it was doing this outside today.

I know I should be disappointed, given my last post, but I will take a snow day any time, any day, any month. And, it give me a chance to finish this little project that I’d picked up supplies for yesterday at Target.

Every night before I go to bed, this is what I look at.

Not horrible, but just kind of abandoned and unfinished. I am already the type of person who goes to bed at night thinking of everything I didn’t get accomplished that day and everything I have to do tomorrow, so the last thing I need is a visual, albeit subconscious, reminder that I have left things unfinished at the end of the day. So, this corner of my bedroom/ mind had to change!

I pulled out these fabulous prints I bought last summer in Bethany Beach, DE by local artist and photographer, Jon Olsen, that I hadn’t found the right place for yet. I found two terrific frames at Target to emphasize the sparse nature of photographs.

On a whim, I picked up a trendy sunburst mirror to round things out. It has an oil-rubbed bronze finish (or ORB as YHL would say) which is a subtle compliment to the black frames and softens the grouping up a bit.


I’m so on a black/ white/ tan kick right now!

All the materials for this project (minus the cost of artwork) cost less than $60. One more reason to sleep easy tonight!

 

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Yesterday, it was rainy, dark and February. Today, is bright, sunny and March. Hallelujah! I decided I’d make everything in this hodge-podge-of-a-post fresh and sunny, too.

Ahhh, sunshine!

Yep, Ryan and I spent a long weekend in Siesta Key, Florida last week. We also went there last February with the Galls (you can read all about it here). And this year didn’t disappoint either. Heated pools, ice cream shops within walking distance, 75 degrees… I was a happy girl.

And while returning to Virginia did not exactly have the same level of excitement and anticipation as getting off the plane in Florida, I am constantly reminded by how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful and culturally rich area.

I decided to go for a walk on the Lawn this morning. This picture was taken around 9am. It amazes me that in the year 2012, with 20,000 students attending the University, you can still walk on the Lawn and be the only soul on it (okay, I saw a few people, but not many). It’s just downright magical. I’d like to think that even with all the construction and development, all the noise pollution, all the short-shorts and beer cans; on mornings like this, the light coming through the trees on the Lawn might look just like it did to Jefferson hundreds of years ago.

And, I have another reason to happy this morning (as if I needed another!). New art! Sitting at my favorite coffee shop, Cafe Cubano, early in February, I couldn’t help but notice Cory Gibson’s artwork. The abstract prints spoke to me, and (I could hardly believe it) the pieces were very  affordably priced. I snatched up one of them and asked if he had any other prints, not included in the installation, that I might see. And, of course, I snatched up one of those, too. Good things are better in pairs.

I’ve been playing with where I’ll put them. Maybe a mantel arrangement, like this, from one of my favorite Apartment Therapy home tours ever.

I’ll be back soon with some music updates (woohoo!). Until then, I hope everyone has a fantastic March.

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Remember this post about how I was going to make sure all my Christmas presents were USA-made this year? Let’s just say I started out strong and then, when I realized I only had 3 shopping days left, completely panicked and just started buying anything I could find that I thought the person would mildly like. That’s part of the fun, right?

Nevertheless, I thought I’d share some of my finds and my grand tally. Out of THIRTEEN gifts that Ryan and I purchased, EIGHT were Made in the USA and FOUR were purchased from locally-owned businesses. We also purchased FOUR additional gifts that were experiences or services, like tickets to a basketball game (for our dads) or getting Ryan’s car detailed for him. While these don’t exactly fit in with the “Made” in the USA theme, they certainly promote our local economy.

I purchased a good number of things from Etsy this year, like this adorable bracelet by junghwa that I picked out for my cousin Rachel. And while the artist isn’t local (she’s based out of Washington state), I love the idea that I’m supporting a small-business and hopefully giving someone the chance to make a living doing something she loves. And, how cute is the bracelet? I mean, c’mon!

That was easy, though. How about trying find something Made in the USA at Bed Bath & Beyond? My mom suggested I might get my dad some K-cups as a stocking stuffer because she was getting him a Keurig. And, she also recommended that Bed Bath and Beyond had a good selection of flavors. I approached the wall, literally wall, of options and started turning over boxes… Made in Canada, Made in China, etc.

Before long, though, I was able to find a few good options of K-cups that were Made in the USA, like Green Mountain Coffee’s Breakfast Blend. I have to say, I was most encouraged by this find. It gives me a little hope that shopping at big-box stores (that seem to value out-pricing their competitors more than anything else) and buying USA-made are not completely incompatible. Like I admitted in the first paragraph, I am definitely one of those people that, at times, panics and just throws anything into my cart, but if you take a little time on one trip to find a brand you like that’s Made in the USA, hopefully that can be the brand you blindly throw into your cart in your next shopping frenzy.

For the record, the only two gifts that I was able to buy both locally from a small-business and USA-made were a silver bracelet, that I bought and had engraved for our god-daughter Lacey, and a picture frame I had engraved for Ryan. Both were purchased from The Engraving Shop in Charlottesville.

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This past Saturday, Ryan and I hosted a small Christmas party for some close friends. Needless to say, I busted out my best Ina to get ready for the party. I think I had almost as much fun getting ready for the party as I did at the party. As if we had any doubt, I think it’s official; I’ve caught the Gerrard-women, crazy entertaining bug. Thought I’d share some fun “detail” pics of the party.

A day before the party, I pulled out all the serving platters that I thought I’d want to use (I tried to stick with white and green platters) and any decorations that I thought I could make look “Christmasy.” I didn’t buy any new decorations for the party— I either used fresh fruit and herbs to decorate, or used things I already had.

I found these adorable mini-pears—apparently called Seckel Pears— at Foods of Nations for only $2.39 per pound! I got 10! I thought they would go perfectly with my green and purple theme. I nestled them in little folds of fabric around the table. The fabric, incidentally, I used as curtains at one point in college— I told you, nothing new!

I labeled the dishes so people would know what they were eating. Why, yes, in fact, I am related to Terry Gerrard.

Prepped the bar.

And sent Ryan on his errands.

Put the finishing touches on the decor.

And the food… caprese skewers.

Brownie bites with pistachio whipped topping.

I wish I had a good picture of what the table looked like completely finished but, of course by that time, I was so excited about people getting to the party I completely forgot about taking pictures! Here’s the best picture I have from Ryan’s iphone.

Our menu:
Caprese Skewers
Zuchini and Pepperoni Bites
Chicken Meatballs with Ginger and Lemongrass
Potato Salmon Cakes with mustard creme fraiche
Spinach dip with chips
Brownie Bites with pistachio whipped topping
Hot Cider with Whiskey
Ethan & Allison’s Holiday Punch

I get so much pleasure out of having people in our house and (hopefully) making them feel comfortable and welcome. And, I find the process of prepping everything so creative and fun, I’m glad I was able to capture and share most of it. Hope this inspires your next party!

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