Monday, March 26, 2012

canon's getting a break, iphone's getting a workout

I've fallen behind taking pictures lately. However, I have been so thrilled with all the blooming trees.


Manhattan. Kurt say these are awful street trees (remind me of the name again?) but for a brief period of time during our early spring, I've been enjoying them everywhere.

Whoops. I've been taking an extended study break. It's been so nice doing nothing for a while. Plus, I have to spend time at work to study for my next test and I don't want to spend any extra time there! Thankfully, Aubie is keeping my study binders safe and sound.

Jenn and I attended a Women in Architecture breakfast discussion at the CFA

What didn't get photographed:
◊ My first Union Square lunch of the year with Kurt and Christian. Dos Toros burritos in the park on a Friday is hard to beat.
◊ Happy hour drinks with Kurt at Stella's in the South Street Seaport. I'm a sucker for cobblestones.
◊ Dance party at the Bell House with Jenn, Christian, and Hillary.
◊ I bought some shoes I didn't need. DSW has a way of sucking you in like that.
◊ First cookout of the year at Kurt's apartment followed by a couple rousing games of Catch Phrase.
◊ Unlimited mimosa brunch at The Half Pint after a particularly comical/annoying ARE prep course.
◊ Yummy handcrafted Salmon Burgers made by yours truly.

Apparently I need to be more diligent about taking pictures!

In other news, I'm on the hunt for a rug for my apartment. My hardwood floors aren't too bad but something soft under my feet wouldn't be bad. Plus, it will be nice to define my living room/sleeping area. I love this one from Urban Outfitters. It's really inexpensive but I'm worried it will have too much going on. But I do love a good pattern :) Decisions, decisions!

Have a great week!

P.S. - In case you care, Ohio State is in the Final effing Four. I've met my basketball quota for the year my life, but I thought Kurt would want me to let you know :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

spring is here!

I can feel the city humming with the crazy energy of summer already. While I think its still a little premature to break out your white jeans and sandals, I love how people are visibly ready to rip off all their clothes and embrace the warmth :) Add in the sunshine and endless supply of fun events and I'm constantly reminded of how much I love this place. A little bit of studying here and there doesn't sound so bad anymore...especially if I can do it in the park pretty soon!

Jenn and I went to Barnes and Noble in Union Square to see the Pioneer Woman. She was there promoting her new cookbook

Remember when I saw her last year? Well, now I actually own her book and Jenn grabbed a bunch for friends, so we stuck around to get them personally signed.

That was no small feat with about 300 fans in the audience! After a cute little thirty minute presentation by Ree (which included a musical devotion to her basset hound) we waited around a couple hours to have our books signed. If you ever go to a book signing, be sure to sit in the front! Thanks for sticking with us, P-Dub!

I probably don't even need to mention our recent gorgeous weather again but it's been glorious. It sure makes my walk to work in the morning more enjoyable.

You know what else makes life more fun? When temporary coworkers bring their cute little dogs to the office! Basel here is a mini dachshund and wiggled around our office one day last week. While he was adorable and I find dachshunds one of the few small dogs I like, he was a little frail. I've decided I need a pup that can rough house a tad more :)

In other work news, we took a client to see a project that our office did years ago and had a particular stair detail we wanted to highlight. Of course we poked around the rest of the townhouse! I loved this kids room which was kind of space age-y. The light fixture was awesome and there was a real Saarinen table and tulip chairs (not the Ikea version I would be more than happy to own). Plus, those walls?! Incredible wallpaper! I was blown away. (I have a feeling it might be from Black Crow Studios but I can't be sure.) My only complaint? Who doesn't make their kids make the bed in the morning?! The house was pretty immaculate, so I guess they need to leave something for the maid to do...

And my final work comment: we took an entire masonry wall down at our Upper West Side townhouse! Gone! It was crumbling beforehand and had a lousy foundation, so our contractor and structural engineer decided that taking it down and rebuilding the foundation was the most cost effective route. We once thought all that steel shoring was a little overkill but now its seems teeny to hold up the other walls! All in the name of progress :)

Jenn and I attended a happy hour event at the Lillian August showroom hosted by Tilton Fenwick and the newly launched New York Cottages and Gardens magazine. Lots of prosecco. Lots of fun!

I was #1 in our March Madness for a brief second!! During my reign at the top, poor Kurt was down at the bottom. The tables have definitely turned by now, but I am going to bask in my period of greatness a little longer :)

Friday night, we observed the birthdays of Will and Pilar. Sadly, I only got some photos at the new Park Slope Beauty Bar (and their glitter walls!) at the end of the night. Before that, we hit Pacifico, Boat Bar, and Camp. Talk about marathon! Happy (late) birthdays, guys!

Other than my 5k a couple weeks ago, I took my inaugural outdoor run of the year this weekend. This photo of Prospect Park looks pretty bleak but it was actually fairly sunny and the park was crawling with kids, animals, and soccer games. Yay for spring!

I usually like the post my weekly recaps on Mondays but figured I would make an exception this week because I took my first Architecture Registration Exam today!!!! I had been studying for the Construction Documents portion for a while and decided enough was enough and finally scheduled the test. I think/hope it went pretty well. Hopefully I can let you know in a couple weeks (although I might be too embarrassed to share if I fail!). After my morning exam I took the day off work and enjoyed a nice leisurely Monday in Brooklyn. I treated myself to a nice sidewalk lunch (and brownie) at Tazza in Brooklyn Heights before heading home to do my taxes :) Let's hear it for refunds!

After all those employed people got off work, this guy took me out for a drink and pizza at Bar Tano.

Yum! Thanks, Kurt! Hopefully one down and six more to go!

This is pretty out of order but, speaking of pizza, a couple weeks ago Kurt was preparing intensely for his LARE exams (I'm not the only studious one around here!) and I offered to make him dinner so he didn't have to worry about food for a couple evenings. I tried my version of Mellow Mushroom's Kosmic Karma pizza and made a fun animated GIF about it! Ingredients: premade pizza crust, pizza sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, shredded mozzarella cheese, Roma tomatoes, pesto, feta cheese, and fresh spinach. Bake and voila! If you are interested in making an animated GIF (first of all center your photos better than mine...this one makes me dizzy...sorry!) I highly suggest the tutorial on Say Yes to Hoboken. She makes it so simple.

Have a great week!

Monday, March 12, 2012

boy scout bathroom: part i

Living in a rental can be a drag sometimes. Yes, you're not held down by a mortgage and can pretty much move whenever your heart desires, and when something breaks, it's the landlord's problem and not yours. But cheap rent often equals crappy interiors and you get zero return on any permanent improvements (if your landlord is even ok with it), so there is very little incentive to make changes to better your space. So I've been slowly making cosmetic tweaks to my own little studio with paint, furniture, art and accessories but decided it was time I set my sights on Kurt's apartment. 

His bathroom was the room I deemed most in need. It was pretty depressing. It reminded me of a prison. Everything was white-ish but nothing was even really white.

The brothers do a pretty good job keeping their apartment tidy (but don't get me started on their dish situation). They have a lot of stuff but the majority of it is painfully utilitarian. They don't own too many things just for the sake of being "pretty". So I decided I was going to deliver something pretty.....whether they really even wanted it or not.

Plus, the whole room needed some brushing up around the edges to fix the general grubbiness.

They had plenty of material for me to use as drop cloths. All beer boxes!

A major victory was painting the door back to white and covering all the hand prints and marks from constant use.

Color on the walls! Kurt and his brother are both Eagle Scouts, so after seeing this shower curtain, I landed on a boy scout theme. The wall color was supposed to be a very basic, true navy blue but ended up looking very green once I started applying it to the wall. Thankfully two coats later it looked much darker. It's called Regatta Bay from Olympic (sold at Lowe's). Without asking for anything in particular they gave me their No VOC paint. I was a little worried it wouldn't cover as well but ended up being really nice paint without being too expensive. And no fumes! Win, win!

I might have to be out of town if they every have to paint this back to white though. I can't even imagine how many coats that will take!

I had a lot of fun painting their medicine cabinet. It only took some trusty painters tape with a ruler and level to get the cross right. I also cleaned years of paint gunk off those handles.

Ta da! Here it is almost finished. I've got lots of paint touch ups to do and I'm not quite sold on everything arranged on the wall, but it is a vast improvement. Kurt's string art finally found a nice home. Other items of note: a hand towel (which was never a priority for the boys) and a toilet paper holder. In almost 3 years I have known the Martigs, they have been missing the spring loaded rod that holds your tp in the holder. C'mon guys! 99 cents!

Kurt and Erik both have a designated spot for their towels.

I found this bug print on Etsy from Curious Prints.

I made some DIY art for the walls. I found this website that had images from an old boy scout handbook. After a little photoshop, I printed several images to size at the office then decoupaged them on small canvases. I hot glued (some have already fallen down! I suggest using a stronger glue) string to the back and hung them by single nails. Cheap and easy!

I hate looking at their lotions and mouthwash, so I tried to conceal them with a knot diagram. Extra toilet paper rolls hang from a string contraption.

Kurt and Erik have this really cool, rustic metal box that they store their hair clippers in. I moved it off the floor and paired it will some cutesy details. I found the votive holder (now holding q-tips) at the thrift store in Green River, Utah. The matches are in a shot glass which I glued sandpaper to the bottom as a striking surface.

Be prepared! hangs over the door. I hope it inspires the Martigs after they've taken care of business :)

Remember my shower curtain inspiration? Well, my next step is a DIY version of that using abstracted versions of badges Kurt and Erik have actually earned. It has also been requested that I include more specifically Eagle Scout details, so that is in the works too. Phew! This first round took a lot out of me (I didn't go to bed until 3am!) so I plan on taking my time on Part II. Wish me luck!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

kony 2012


Get the word out there.


{thanks for the heads up, Lauren!}

Monday, March 5, 2012

decorating, running, and yummy food

I wish my life could exist of those things alone. 

Like I mentioned last week, while Kurt and his brother were out of town skiing, I was going to redecorate their bathroom. Well, I did it! After a week of running around like crazy gathering supplies and a very late night of painting, it pretty much came together. There are still a few touch ups to be done and a few additional elements, but I am pretty happy with the end result. And the boys approve! I hope to have a full rundown of the makeover this week. Stay tuned.

I ran my third annual Coogan's 5K on Sunday. 

It was very cold and very early. My headband got a "War Eagle!" though!

It's hard to take pictures while running but I wanted to show how the front runners are coming down the home stretch while us slow pokes are barely at a quarter mile. Granted, they started a little earlier but I feel like a 5K is a stroll through the park for them. They are crazy fast!

Eventually, the crowd was just us normal runners and we all commiserated on the hilly course together. I've decided my spring/summer running regimen is going to focus on hills because they always kick my butt.  

The race is so fun because every couple blocks there is a band and lots of fans cheering you on. It's no marathon but I love to see all the support.

Jenn and Majo at the finish line. We all made pretty good time!

Our tradition after running the 5K is to consume three times as many calories as we just burned at some of the amazing restaurants in Harlem. We particularly target chicken and waffles, so this year we hit up Melba's.

The last couple years we've gone to Amy Ruth's which is also delicious but Melba's is a bit swankier. We were lucky to slip in with the early church crowd and only had to wait a little while for a table. I hope we didn't stand out too much in our grubby running clothes. However, my Auburn headband got some more attention although this time by an Alabama grad! Even though she assailed my ears with her "Roll Tide" she was super sweet and just moved to the city. I tell you, the South is taking over NYC :)

Mmmmmm! A huge plate of fried chicken with three cute eggnog waffles. Heaven. Early morning + tough run + food coma = falling asleep on the train home and taking a generous nap in the afternoon. I wish every Sunday could be like this.

In other news, there have been a few new additions to the Gravytrain household:

Besides fixing up Kurt's apartment, I added this beauty to my bathroom. I am so ready for summer!

My iPhone got a little fancier. Society6 was offering free shipping and I couldn't resist.

Kurt brought me back Whiskey from his ski trip! It's from the Roughstock Distillery in Bozeman, Montana. Apparently I need to get an ice cube tray so I can offer this on the rocks to all my guests. I guess I should acquire a taste for whiskey too :) Thanks, Kurt!
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