Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Starting the first floor living room

 We decided it was time to bite the bullet and scrape the painted over wall paper in the living room and start working on the first floor apartment every day, setting small goals for each week. Because our apartment is so small (about 800 sqft), it's not possible for us to clear a room and get it done in one shot. So we made the goal this week of scraping and repainting the wall behind the couch.

 Mike was in charge of the scraping and patching. He did a really great job!

We tried a steamer, but Mike wasn't happy with it, so back to home depot it went!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The basement apartment

 This is the kitchen of our basement apartment. I love the vintage stove, but unfortunately, decades in the basement has rusted it out. What I love even more? The tin ceiling! I would love to recover the tiles from down here and put them in one of the kitchens in the upper apartments.

 This is the bathroom. Look at that tiny sink! And the wall behind the toilet has been ripped down.

 Another view of the bathroom from the kitchen showing the vintage clawfoot tub. We would love to refinish this and bring it upstairs too.

 This is the view from the bathroom, through the missing wall.

 This photo looks from the kitchen forward to the front entry way.

This photo is looking from the front entry way back into the kitchen. The bathroom door is the one all the way on the right.

It looks REALLY rough now, but I can see beyond this to a great little garden level apartment perfect for a grad student. Dream big, right?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Take a look at our scary basement

 This is our basement, guys. Scary, right? Mike decided we needed to add some reinforcement beams, so we decided to take some photos while we were down there.

Through that doorway is a one bedroom apartment that hasn't been lived in or updated in decades. Our ultimate dream is to gut that apartment and build a new one bedroom that we can rent out, but it will be a while until that happens. It's an expensive dream!

Monday, January 21, 2013


Loving: Pinning home improvement stuff to Pinterest on my iPad. We are obsessed with getting the house into a condition a bit more appealing to renters.

Listening: Lana Del Rey. I'm late on this wagon, I know.

Reading: Blogs and emails. Still not enough free time to get to any real books.

Watching: I've been catching up on Hulu and Netflix: Portlandia, Grey's Anatomy, Gossip Girl, New Girl, Parks & Rec, The Office, Parenthood, Nashville. We still need to catch up with Dexter.

Thinking about: Money. Specifically, how much we will need to spend to fix things around the house.

 Stressing about: Money. See above. Repairing a house is expensive, y'all! Also, the fact that I haven't been making blog posts. It's the middle to end of January guys. I feel so un inspired. 

Looking forward to: I bought tickets for Mike & I to go see Animal Collective in Boston the week after his birthday, so I'm really looking forward to visiting one of my favorite towns again!

Making me happy: 
Planning for repairs and watching them actually start to be completed. Related: dreaming about the next place. We're hoping to fix up our current place, rent it out, and buy a second rental property. (See also: "Stressing About.")

Friday, January 11, 2013


 This is Bert. He was my cat when I lived in Brooklyn, but has lived with my brother & sister in law for about 7 years now.

 About 4 skeins into my narrow step afghan. Emmett approves.

 Emmett left me a gift.

Dexter is happy to be back in his bowl at work after a two week Christmas break!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Essentials for my vegan kitchen

One of my 2013 resolutions is to stick to a strictly vegan diet. I've known for a while about the health benefits, and now I am finally ready to make a full commitment to this. One of the comments I tend to get is about how vegans don't get enough protein in their diets, so I wanted to present a list of my vegan kitchen essentials.

1. Quinoa - high in protein, and a source of complete protein, quinoa is a staple of almost every dinner. I love mixing in beans, spices, and vegetables to keep a constantly switching variety.

2. Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk - I use this to make smoothies with frozen fruit, with chia seeds to make pudding, in my tea, pretty much anything that calls for a milk substitute. Couldn't live without it.

3. Agave Nectar - a sweetener made from the Agave plant. I use this for any recipe that calls for a sweetener, and I put a little in my tea to sweeten it up!

4. Red Beans - I used to LOVE Zatarains Red Beans and rice from the box, so these days I love adding red beans to my quinoa mixes.

5. Veggie Stock - I use this to make my quinoa instead of just boiling water. Adds a great kick of healthy flavor.

6. Earth Balance - Great plant based butter substitute. I don't use this often, but I will throw a little spoonful into my quinoa when I'm cooking it up to give a slight buttery taste.

7. Dates rolled in coconut - These are bite sizes desserts. If you've never had them, they are sweeter than you think, and I rarely want to eat more than one. I great light dessert or treat!

8. Chia seeds - Chia seeds are so, so good for you! I love making Chia seed pudding, a delicious way to work these into a vegan diet!

9. Cocoa powder - cocoa powder must always be on hand. It can be added to Chia seed pudding, or blended in with a frozen banana to make 'chocolate banana soft serve.'

10. Tofu - I usually add tofu in to my quinoa mixes, and I also make 'egg-less salad.'

11. Veganaise - I don't use this very often, but when I make 'egg-less salad' I throw a scoop in.

12. Seltzer - I was raised on Diet Coke - SO SO SO BAD FOR YOU. But I love fizzy drinks. It took a bit of getting used to, but now I love seltzer and drink it all of the time!

13. Hummus - I love dipping cut  fresh veggies into a great tub of hummus. A great snack when you're craving something salty.

14. Cucumber - a key ingredient in green juice, and one of my go-to veggies for hummus dipping!

15. Celery - a key ingredient in green juice, and one of my go-to veggies for hummus dipping!

16. Green bell peppers -  I love green bell peppers, but hate any other color bell peppers, weird right? I like to dip them in hummus, or chop them up and add them to my quinoa mixes.

17. Dried figs -  I love popping these as a quick snack or adding to a salad.

18. Pears - I prefer pears to apples, so I keep these on hand to snack on when I'm craving sweets.

19. Avocado - best. fruit. EVER. If I could LIVE off of avocados alone, I would.

20. Bananas - I don't eat bananas often, but I always keep some chopped up and frozen in my freezer in case I'm craving ice cream and need to make a little soft serve.

21. Chickpeas - great for salads and mixed into quinoa dishes.

22. Black Beans - great for salads and mixed into quinoa dishes.

23. Salsa - always one of my favorites. Sometimes I like to use salsa on my salad instead of dressing.

24. Lara bars - I always have a Lara bar in my bag in case I get really hungry and need a snack. My favorite flavor is Cookie Dough.

25. Kombucha - I just recently started drinking this in the past year. I used to be SO scared of it, but now that I've tried it, I love it.

Have you made a resolution to eat better? I'd love some great vegan recommendations, what are YOU eating?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Our New Years Eve

We had a low key New Years Eve this year, just went downtown to the Charles Lucas Confectionery and grabbed a couple of drinks with two of our friends.

A couple glasses of prosecco hit the spot. And was a great way to end the year and start on my goal for 2013: No alcohol until at least Mike's birthday at the end of February. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

That time we almost bought a vintage camper...

 It was so cute and cheap, we couldn't resist going to take a look at this '66 camper...

It was in great shape! Just needed a good cleaning and a few minor repairs. But. We decided to pass and spend our money fixing up the house. Sometimes being a responsible adult isn't so fun.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

How to: Crockpot French Toast

1 loaf of bread, diced
6 eggs
2 cups milk
½ tsp cinnamon

¼ cup butter, softened
½ firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
½ cup chopped pecans
Dash of nutmeg

Spray crockpot with non stick cooking spray and add milk, eggs, and cinnamon. I used almond milk and it was delicious.

Whisk together.

Chop 1 and 1/3 loaf of break into square pieces. I used Pepperidge Farm Cinnamon Bread.

Add break to egg mixture and let soak for at least 2 hours. I put this in the fridge and let it soak over night.

After fully soaked, mix together the dry topping ingredients, then add softened butter and sprinkle on top. Cook in crockpot on High for 2 hours, or low for 4 hours.

Top with your favorite maple syrup and enjoy!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Emmett's snow day

 This past weekend we had back to back snow storms, leaving us with about a foot of snow. We haven't seen this much snow at once in UPstate NY for a few years no, and Emmett is a snow lover. He was so excited!