Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter from the Always

What a beautiful Easter morning! Unfortunately Stew and I are spending the holiday apart this year because he has to work, but we did celebrate with my family yesterday in Olympia and had a great time.

We lounged around, did a bit of furniture shopping, spent some time having beers in the sun on the porch, colored Easter eggs, and had a delicious dinner of corned beef and cabbage. And of course consumed a disgusting amount of Easter candy.

We hope you have a lovely day celebrating Easter with your family! 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Friday night furniture freak out.

I was so, so excited on my way home from work Friday night. Finally, finally, the furniture that we custom ordered back at the beginning of February was being delivered! I rushed into the house, removed the camp chair from the middle of the room (our only piece of furniture thus far), swept the floors, and headed next door to have a beer with Stew and the neighbors on their front porch in the glorious sunshine while we waited for the delivery truck to arrive. It was going to be a fantastic start to the weekend.

The truck arrived a short while later with a cheerful beep beep, and my heart raced with excitement. Soon, we would be grown ups. Real adults with real furniture. Our empty, cold, echoing living room would soon become a place to live, love and laugh.

The sofa table and end table came in first, and I couldn't believe how well they went with the dark wood floors. Then came the love seat. It was right as I was thinking how gorgeous the fabric was looking next to the wall that I noticed something was wrong. Very wrong. What was that giant decorative foot doing on the front of my couch? Where were the sleek modern lines and the wood running across the bottom of the sofa?? And where did those ugly curved arms come from???

What was happening?!?!?

Every vein in my body began to run cold and a sinking feeling enveloped me like I had been doused with a bucket of ice water. A hard rock settled in the pit of my stomach as I prepared myself to tell Stew... these were not our couches.

A frantic call to the furniture store followed, while the three delivery guys stood, waiting awkwardly. To make a long story short, Sansaco ordered us the wrong sofas.

This, my friends, is the MARTIN sofa, the one we intended to order.

And this is the MARIN sofa, the one the furniture company erroneously ordered for us.

Of course we couldn't have been more crushed furious. Although they might seem somewhat similar, the style of the couches is totally different, and we absolutely did not want the Marin sofas. So back they went to the furniture store. And although they have fully admitted their mistake and were able to re-order our correct Martin sofas, we will now continue to be without furniture downstairs for another two months. Needless to say, there were tears.

We realize these are totally first world problems and I shouldn't be nearly this upset, but it was just such a letdown. The chair and ottoman actually did come out beautifully so we kept those, but it didn't really make up for the rest of the ruined order.

So you'll have to wait a few more weeks for a photo of the completed living room. Until then, I guess we'll still be in camp chairs. That's classy.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Birthday Breakfast: Juno

My office had another team birthday outing this week and we wanted to try someplace new, so we decided on Juno at the Arctic Club Hotel. Even though it was early on a Monday morning, this actually worked out great for me because the Pioneer Square bus tunnel exits literally right across the street from Juno, which meant for an easy breezy commute that morning. And afterward we were only a few short blocks from the office.

I don't venture much into Pioneer Square and I forget that there's lots of great stuff down here! I liked the atmosphere at Juno from the moment I walked in. The restaurant has a clean, contemporary feel while maintaining a casual edge; typical Seattle. The dining space has a centrally located bar and private dining space adjacent to the kitchen, which is separated by a gas fireplace.

Our group of nine had a nice quiet table in the back area behind the fireplace, and the service was prompt and courteous. The menu isn't super extensive, but I still had a hard time choosing because so many dishes looked super yummy.

I ended up going with the Northwest Omelet, which had dungeness crab, shrimp, tomato and white cheddar. I was so excited about it until I took my first bite and realized that sea food, eggs, and cheese really don't go well together. Don't get me wrong... the dish was well-prepared with fresh ingredients, I just don't think it was my cup of tea. I kept trying to eat another bite to see if it would grow on me, but eventually I gave up and enjoyed my hash browns and an English muffin instead.

I apologize for the over share, but I do feel like I need to admit that I spent the rest of the morning with an extremely upset stomach. But I really do think that combination of foods just did not sit well with me. No one else from our group got sick, not even one guy who ordered the exact same dish.

Surprisingly, not that many Yelpers have great things to say about Juno. But I liked it enough that the girls and I added it to our Breakfast Club rotation. I just won't be ordering the Northwest Omelet next time.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Furnishing the first floor.

The problem with needing to furnish an entire house from scratch is that we need everything. And when you don't even have some basic pieces to start from, the entire process can be pretty overwhelming. So, in an attempt to focus and actually get something done other than wandering aimlessly through stores, pointing and exclaiming, "I love that!" and spending hours on the internet making random Pinterest boards, we decided to work from the ground up, one room at a time.


The living / dining room is almost totally empty and needs the most work. Right now it echos and it seems super cold, and putting a camp chair in the middle of the room did not help matters much. Plus it makes us look like squatters. So we basically just avoid that room for now. But not for long! Luckily we placed our custom furniture order weeks ago, and our sofa, love seat, chair and ottoman will be delivered this Friday! We took a peek at them at the warehouse this week and they turned out absolutely gorgeous... we couldn't be more excited. In the meantime we've been searching for accent pieces for that room, and we did end up making a few decisions and purchases:

These three pieces are all going in the living room, and we'll probably end up buying a second end table.
We love the distressed wood and that the lighter color is different from all the dark brown that's already downstairs.

We also bought this dining room table, which we love because of the distressed wood finish.
But we didn't buy the matching chairs or any of the other tacky items surrounding it.
I would like to get some modern leather dining chairs like these to go with the table, but so far I haven't been
able to find them in a lighter, more tan color, which is what I want. So the chairs are still pending. 


I've decided that I want blue to be the main living room accent color... lots of different shades! We'd like to get a big, blue, comfy, shag area rug and we have our eyes on a whole bunch of different accent pieces... here are some of our favorites:

I absolutely LOVE this blue trunk. I love it so much I would have bought it immediately,
except I can't figure out exactly where I want it, so until the furniture is arranged I'm holding off... for now.

We both think this clock is awesome, but need to find the perfect place for it first.

I really like the industrial quality of this side table, and the different colored wood.
I thought it could potentially go next to the fireplace to hold the Comcast box and stuff
like that until we get built in bookcases, which is what I really want.

Stew and I both loved this clock piece, which could sit on top of sofa table we already purchased.
Can you tell we're really into clocks?

We are absolutely obsessed with having a bar cabinet downstairs, and this one would be just perfect...
If only it didn't cost way, way too much. Still trying to see if we can budget this one in...

And down the road: THE DEN.

We really, really want to get this room done so we can stop using one of the guest bedrooms as a temporary office. But first, I absolutely have to have built-in, floor-to-ceiling, custom bookcases. I've been dreaming about these my whole life. Ideally, they will have a ladder just like in Beauty and the Beast. However, I'm currently in the process of researching options and costs, and it turns out we'll probably have to give up our first born child in order to make this happen. So I'm weighing our options.

But in the meantime we did find this amazing old framed map that we absolutely love.

Anyway, if you have any suggestions on where/how to buy furniture, or the best way to quickly acquire 30 years of carpentry skills, please let us know!
Fabulous Friday Link Party

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Book Review: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

This time I'm featuring another office book club pick, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. It's been a while since I've read any non-fiction, and this book sounded like a really interesting subject, so I was looking forward to reading it.

The book is about a woman named Henrietta Lacks and the immortal cell line, known as HeLa, that came from her cervical cancer cells in 1951. Henrietta was a poor black woman who worked the same tobacco fields as her slave ancestors, but her cells (taken without her knowledge) became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first "immortal" human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today even though she has been dead for more than sixty years. HeLa cells were key in developing the polio vaccine and have helped uncover secrets of cancer, viruses, and the effects of the atom bomb. They have been bought and sold by the billions... yet Henrietta remains virtually unknown and buried in an unmarked grave, and her family members cannot afford health insurance.

It's hard to believe I hadn't heard about this before! What a fascinating tale, and Skloot weaves a fascinating story spanning decades and generations. The book is a journey of discovery through Henrietta's youngest daughter, Deborah, who never knew her mother. It deals with the ethical issues of race and class in medical research, but also explores the personal aspects of Henrietta Lacks herself... not just her immortal cells.

The story itself is extremely fascinating, but toward the middle of the book I found myself a little bogged down by too many "science" chapters in a row. For me it seemed a little repetitive. I really only cared about the basic science and wanted to get back to learning about Henrietta's personal story and her family today. But if you're into science and medicine I doubt you'll mind.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is kind of a heavier read, but I thought it was very interesting and thought provoking, and in the end I'm glad I stuck it out. Give it a whirl if it seems like your cup of tea.   

Monday, March 18, 2013

St. Paddy's Day 2013

A few months ago I decided to sign up for my very first 5K race, Seattle's annual St. Patrick's Day Dash. I downloaded a 5K Runner app to my phone and began a training program that would prepare me for the race (note: I am NOT a natural runner). About five weeks in, the training was going really well, but at about that time I had an accident that totally threw me off course. Boo.

I had thoughtfully signed Stewart up to run the race with me, and he was determined to still participate. How did we manage to accomplish this since I am still incapacitated? We borrowed a BOB stroller, of course!

This is what they call true love, I think.

My office team, ready to race.

It actually turned out to be a really pretty day... except COLD.

"We" finished at an amazing 33:55 and would have done even better if Stew hadn't had to bob and weave between people the whole time. He's fast, even pushing his wife in a stroller.

We had planned to celebrate in the beer garden after the race, but after a few freezing minutes in the incredibly long line we realized that Queen Anne hosted a plethora of bars right down the street. So we walked down to an old favorite, Pesos.

Irish Car Bombs at 10 a.m. -- of course!

We're really not romantic, candlelight dinner type of people, so running the race and spending time with some of our favorite friends was an absolutely perfect way to spend our anniversary.

May the luck of the Irish be with all of you!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Lucky in Love... Year One

We got married one year ago today and it was the best day of our lives... so far. The past year has been a whirlwind filled with so many amazing experiences and adventures. This is pretty cheesy, but I think we fall in love a little bit more every single day. For this post on our first anniversary, we wanted to share some of our favorite moments from our wedding day...

All photos by Jamie Jones Photography.

And this year on St. Patrick's Day we want to send all of you the luck and love we've been fortunate enough to experience ourselves.