Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Wine

When we arrived in Florida on Wednesday night, our first stop was the grocery store. Because they sell wine in the grocery stores in Florida. And my mom can't celebrate Thanskgiving without green olives.

And I decided that it was a good idea to buy not one, not two, not three, but four! bottles of wine. Because they were buy one get one free. And I like wine.

And I thought to myself (and said out loud), "There is something very wrong here. What am I thinking?"

But I bought it anyway and can I just say that by 1:00pm on Thanksgiving we had to make a wine run? All four bottles weren't COMPLETELY gone by then, but they were well on their way.
And for not wanting to buy four bottles to begin with, check out what we killed the rest of the four days the Baxter women were together:

Just kidding. Sara actually bought all of those wine corks from a drunk monk in St. Augustine.

One of these stories is almost true. I'll just go ahead and let you decide for yourself.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Big Vanity Reveal

So as I said in my last blog, the girls did a-lotta cookin' on Saturday in preparation for the Milton-Style Thanksgiving dinner, the boys were workin' hard in the bathroom.

Let me start with my inspiration. I'm not ashamed to admit my *ahem*, LOVE, for Young House Love. These two kids never cease to get me excited about some new project, from our Love Photo Wall to repurposing old furniture to what I am about to share with you.

I was VERY inspired by two of their posts and combined them into one big huge idea for the vanity outside of our bathroom. Here are the two posts:

Attack of the 13-Foot Counter and Tackling the Bathroom: Chapter 7. My mouth watered.

Zach and I even checked out those exact nightstands-turned-vanities YHL used in their bathroom in New York City at a Crate and Barrel before determining that they were too short for us.

But we already had a perfect sized vanity that I already redid. But we wanted double sinks. And a double sink in the goofy-ass size of our vanity didn't exist. Enter Young House Love. And some convincing.

We built a counter top. Using the same guidelines YHL did.

I was in charge of sanding and staining. Zach was in charge of everything else. Before it was even built, without doing much of my own research whatsoever, I just went ahead and bought two of the sinks YHL talks about in their Tackling the Bathroom: Chapter 7. I seriously have no patience for things like that. I mean, they did the research and it looks great, why even bother to measure? Seriously.

Anyway, the sinks are Kraus and came from Amazon (free shipping with Amazon Prime, what! what!) and the faucets came from Overstock.

Then I repainted the walls in the vanity area with semi-gloss because it gets wet a lot. And therefore gross.

Then, this past weekend, two of my favorite men installed everything, to also include flooring to match what's in the bathroom.

And can I just say, this is my new favorite room in the house.

Way before, just in case you missed it:

Then after I spashed on a new coat of paint back in May:

And now... for your viewing pleasure...

Our new vanity area!

And another:

And another:


We love it so much we could cry. All we still need to do is add a stained piece of wood along the bottom of the vanity to cover up some yucky stuff and replace the light fixture. Because it is ugly.

But really, I love this. It is my new favorite thing in our house. And instead of blowing thousands getting a new vanity (and let's be honest, it wouldn't be as cool as this one anyway!) the whole budget is roughly as follows:
  • $50 per faucet ($100 total)
  • $100 per sink ($200 total)
  • $40 for the wood, stain, and sealer
  • $40 per mirror ($80 total)
  • $30 for the rug
  • $100 for the flooring
  • $10 for a new towel ring
  • $80 for all of the plumbing (of which we have a few things to take back! - BONUS!)
So there you have it. For about $600 (and, um, a few labor hours) we have this. Totally. Freaking. Worth. Every. Penny.

Any home improvement projects going on at your house? I think I have an addiction to them.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thanksgiving - Milton Style.

This weekend we celebrated Thanksgiving with Zach's mom and dad who were visiting from Pennsylvania.

I use the word "celebrate" loosely, because really all we did that was Thanksgiving-like was eat.

And boy did we eat.

Zach's mom and I slaved all day in the kitchen. We made: Turkey, Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Green Bean Casserole,Sugar Cookies, Pumpkin Pie, Rolls, Corn, Cranberry Sauce, and Olives. Okay, so there wasn't much "making" involved with the last four things.

But it wasn't easy. But neither was what the men were doing in the bedroom.

Okay, that sounded bad. But what I mean was how they were transforming the sink area of our bedroom.

Here's the waaaay before. Like when we moved in.Here's what it looked like on Friday.
But it gets waaay better. Hope your balls aren't too blue, because that share won't happen until we have some new mirrors hung. Previews are on my Facebook page, if you are my friend.

But anyway, back to the food.

Here are some photos:
We are canned goods kind of people.
Hi Cindy! Hi Turkey!
Rolls, Mashed Potatoes in the making, Sweet Potatoes ready to go.
Turkey and cookies!

We used the China we inherited from Zach's Grandma. Zach's mom told me that this was the first time they were probably ever used.
Here we all are - me in the sliding class door! And yes, Gretchen, I saved the wine you gave me for Thanksgiving! And boy was it delicious!

Big Winner

There is this thing they do in my hometown. An event, if you will. A bash. This is how I describe it:

You buy a ticket. Your ticket has two three digit numbers on it. You take your ticket to the local fire hall on a specific night. Every 10 minutes, they call a number. The prizes range from gift cards worth $100 all the way up to the grand prize of $2,000 cash. If it is one of your numbers, you win. If it is not, your name may be Doreen Walters. Just kidding, Doreen.

There are other ways to win. For example, they sell tips throughout the night or MAYBE, if you are REALLY lucky, you might win a door prize.

What is the door prize you might ask?

Well, you know what they say about pictures, and how they are worth 1,000 words and all.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Veteran's Day 2011

Instead of spending Veteran's Day roasting in my office, I spent my holiday reflecting and celebrating.

John and Lissa invited me to go to the Veteran's Day parade in Donora where I was humbled beyond words by the strength and poise shown by the men and women the parade celebratedThank you, Veterans, for all you have done and continue to do. We owe you everything.

I couldn't resist taking a photo of the Boy Scouts, you know, being a Girl Scout leader and all!

Oh, and did I mention that it was so super cold this Veteran's Day?
Lissa lent me gloves and I *STILL* had frozen fingers. But if these men and women could withstand war, heartache, and death, I could withstand 45 minutes in the cold to honor them.

How did you celebrate our Veterans this year?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

In small towns, you get much bigger bang for your buck.

I briefly mentioned that last weekend we enjoyed a delish dinner at Landini Brothers in Old Town. We each had one entree, unlimited bread, and one glass of wine. Our bill was $93.00.

This weekend, in Monongahela, we got $100 from the ATM and spent it as follows:
  1. A delish Italian dinner for two (and more than two drinks for me!) at Angelo's for $34.00
  2. Two pieces of furniture at a local thrift store: $20.00 for the TV console and $10.00 for an end table (I smell two new projects abrewin')
  3. I lent my mom $20.00 because the bank was closed in honor of Veteran's Day
  4. Coffee at the local coffee shop $5.00

And then! I even had $11.00 left to go towards a ticket to tonight's Holiday Bash where I am going to clean house and win $2,000.00. And my mom still owed me $20.00.

BAM. Another reason we need to move back to this area.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

On Best Friends.

Tonight was THE LAST time Lindsay and I were together while she is still a Virginia resident. That’s right, friends. For those of you who don’t know, my dearest friend is moving back to Michigan for good on Saturday.

I’ve been really emotional over this the past few weeks and I really don’t want to rehash that publicly, so I won’t. But I do have a few things I want to say about best friends in general, and that if you have only one of them you should consider yourself very, very lucky.

Everyone needs at least one single person who they can be COMPLETELY and UTTERLY and (often even) BRUTALLY honest with. All the time. No bullshit, no tiptoeing, no nothing. I’m not saying you can be cruel without consequence – not at all. It’s a little tough to explain, but if you have this person in your life, you know exactly what I’m talking about. You can show up in your pajamas. You don’t need to make up excuses if you don’t want to go to Happy Hour – you just say you don’t want to go. If you don’t agree with something she does – you tell her. This person knows the uncensored you. She understands you to the core. You are comfortable being vulnerable around her. She “gets” you. If that makes sense. YOU CAN PEE WITH THE DOOR OPEN. That's it. That's the test. I’m not saying you HAVE to pee with the door open, but if you can’t even fathom that, forget it.

So anyway, take it or leave it. But remember this: there are so few people in the world that meet this definition for me. But Lindsay is one of them. And she will continue to be one of them, even if we can’t meet for a weeknight dinner at Lost Dog, or cut down a Christmas tree together, or just hang out on Sundays and watch football. Even if four whole states separate us. Even if I only get to see her four times a year.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cupcake Party

I'm going to cut right to the chase. Saturday night we had 5 friends over (some old, some new!) for a cupcake and wine party. At 11:00 at night. After eating Italian food in Old Town and listening to some crazy stories for 3 hours.

But yes - we had a cupcake party. I bought cupcakes from Red Velvet in Arlington, and our friends brought some from Crumbs in DC and Caroline's in Baltimore. We had like 24 cupcakes.

I have photos to prove it.
I mean, it looks like a dream come true, doesn't it? Well, it pretty much was.

We ate cupcakes, we drank wine. We chatted, we laughed, we played games. Half of us were in our pajamas. We stayed up way late.

I had the best time. I wish time could have stood still between the hours of 11 and 1. But alas, even though it was Daylight Savings, we fell asleep around 2.

I wish all weekends could have been as awesome as this past one. In fact, I wish every day could be as full of memories as this past weekend was.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


So. Um. There really aren't words to describe the experience(s) my mom and I had on Friday night at the Joe Grushecky/Bruce Springsteen concert at Soldiers and Sailors in Pittsburgh.

Actually, there are PLENTY of words to describe the evening. Fun, Yuengling, hijack, cement, to name a few. But my mom swore me to secrecy so instead of throwing us both under the bus, I will share some of my favorite (blurry) photos. Which are actually kind of terrible, considering our seats. Did I mention the Yuengling?

I call this one "Three Sheets to the Wind":

Games, and why you probably shouldn't be on my team.

So we had some friends over last night and played this really fun game called "Celebrity." There were seven of us. Here's how it works. Bare with me because this game is VERY fun. You should play it the next time you have a get together.

Everyone playing writes down 4 words or phrases on little pieces of paper and then everyone puts the words (clues) into a bowl. Here are some examples of what you can write: teeth, aardvark, Justin Beiber's love child, inappropriate dinner conversation, Donald Trump's hairpiece ... Anything you want.

You break into two teams.

During round one, team one picks clues from the bowl and has one minute to describe as many of the clues as they can to their team only. After a minute is over, the clues are passed to team two and they have one minute to describe as many as they can. Each correctly guessed clue is worth 1 point. The round goes on and on until all of the clues are guessed. I should specify that only one person picks the clues and then the others on their team guess.

Then, for round two, all of the same clues put back into the bowl and used again. Only this time, you have to act out the clues instead of describing them. Same rules as round one.

For round three, you can only use ONE WORD to describe the clue.

During round three, my clue was Bruce Springsteen.

My one word? "Sexy."

Can you believe that no one got it? I mean come on now. I've had almost 24 hours to think about this. And I *STILL* cannot think of one better word.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Cat beds and the cats that sleep in them.

Nothing warms my heart more than opening my bedroom door and seeing Shawn in his little bed. Did I ever mention we have the best cats ever? Here’s how I know: (1) They *BOTH* use their scratching post and (2) they sleep in their beds. Have you ever met a cat that slept in his own bed?

Okay that’s a stretch. Because Pockets does no sleeping in her cat bed. Instead, Shawn not only sleeps in his cat bed, but he also sleeps in his sister’s cat bed. But the point is that SOMEONE uses the damn cat beds we bought them. Even though as I handed over the Discover card to pay $50 for both, all I could think was that the people who make cat beds were laughing at me. The lady at the checkout was laughing at me. Why don’t I just take $50 and rip it to shreds for the cats to use in their litter boxes? Cats don’t sleep in cat beds. It’s a big joke on everyone.

But the thing is - mine does. Only thing that would make that better? If he allowed his sister to sleep in her cat bed. But he doesn’t. He just rotates between cat beds and doesn’t allow her in. This is how I know they are brother and sister and not husband and wife. Or wait. Maybe it more so means that they are husband and wife? Because Shawn (husband/brother) takes over the bed. He bites his sister/wife if she tries to get in. If they looked anything alike, I would lean towards brother/sister. But they don’t look ANYTHING alike. And the more I think about it, they kind of act like they are married. I mean, Zach ALWAYS takes the covers. But at least he doesn’t bite me when I try to get into bed.

I’m getting off track.

Oh wait. There wasn't a track to begin with. Except that I love Shawn and Pockets Milton.