Category Archives: Random

Mt Rainier House Updates

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With all that’s going on with the Baltimore House, I’ve yet to really talk about the Mt. Rainier house. The picture of Neptune (above) probably sums up how I feel about everything regarding the Mt. Rainier house. It’s been a very nutty few months and not the most pleasant of experiences. Not long after we moved in, we had a house warming party. It was very well attended (thanks everyone who came!) but unfortunately our plumbing wasn’t up for the task of handling 50ish people and we had a major sewage back-up. We are STILL dealing with the aftermath (the back-up was at the end of May).

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We now have floors (mostly) in the one room, but we no longer have carpet in the upstairs hallway, still don’t have a half-bath and there’s a distinct lack of drywall in the bathroom. So much for a “move-in ready house”, huh Steven?

Before the great plumbing explosion of 2013, we had done a lot of work to the house, specifically to get it prepped for the party, but also because that’s just who we are.

We painted the bottom cabinets of the kitchen (I need to redo them, better and once I do, I’ll provide a tutorial) and wallpapered with this magnificent grasspaper floral wallpaper I had gotten from Graham & Brown for super cheap. Most people are probably cringing at the yellowy/green, but it’s so bright and happy and just perfect for that room.

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We did a lot of landscaping. We planted a garden in the front, added some flower boxes and hung some lights. We also planted a ton of fruit trees and built a better a chicken coop that hides them better.

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We hung art all throughout the house. Painted the hallway and dining room. And! We added this AMAZEBALLS mural from Anthropologie to the master:

photo (1) (Forgive the bed, I actually know how to make one).

The master bedroom is looking a little little kiddish what with the bright florals everywhere and the light colors, so I’ll eventually be changing that a bit, but our bedside tables and the like are in Baltimore right now, so it’s kind of moot at this point.

And that’s where the house was when we were doing things like this:

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But of course not too long after the plumbing fiasco, we had to evict our renters and spend the next month working during the day and renovating during the night.

I think it’s safe to say that not only were we annoyed by this, but so were our animals.

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Neptune stared at me like this for 10 minutes after three days in a row of being gone from 8am-midnight. I wish I was joking.

Things have also gotten decidedly wild around the Mt. Rainier house.

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Very wild.

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A little too wild.

We’ve already mowed the lawn and tonight I plan on weeding the front garden. So now, we only need to get the rest of the floor installed, redo the hall bath and install the upstairs floor.

Yay.

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City Hipstering

(Ok so this isn’t D.C., obviously, but I’m itching to travel again and the San Juan skyline is way prettier than the D.C. skyline. Plus this post is sort of about cities. Sort of.)

We’ve lived in the city (not just the same city) for about 7 years now. We grew up in a rural community, and pretty much the minute I turned 18, I hightailed it for the city life (or as city as Amherst, MA gets). I got to do the whole bike ride to class thing during college, but I was too poor, taking too many classes and working too much to really enjoy and take advantage of real, bonafide city living .

I truly didn’t appreciate what I had until I started commuting hard core and no longer had the energy to be a tourist in my own city, or ever have enough day light to actually enjoy where I lived during the times I was home. For the last year, especially, just getting too and from work was a 4 hour adventure of suck.

Now that that chapter of our lives is hopefully over, and I now live 5 miles from work, I’m rediscovering the joys of living in a city, and it’s reaffirming why I moved to one in the first place. I can bike to work, walk to the grocery store (an organic, vegan-food filled co-op), restaurants, etc. Being that we’re in D.C. you can’t throw a stick without hitting a museum, and the art scene is off the chain.

In a word, it’s amazeballs.

I’m into the second week of biking into work, and I’m not going to lie, it’s been hard. I haven’t ridden a bike in years and suddenly I’m biking 11/12 miles a day. I also haven’t ever used a fixed-wheel bike before, with no gears, so it’s definitely a challenge. What makes it so awesome though is that I now have a built in fitness regime, and being able to do anything outdoors for 2 hours a day during the warm months is a gift. PLUS, I have the world’s coolest bike, so that kind of helps.

Which is the point of this rambling post about city living: my new bike.

It is the Fiance by Sole . Fab had a great deal on them (which might still be going on) and how can you resist hot pink rims? Plus it helped that for the same cost of the Sole bike for me and a hybrid bike for Steven plus all of the accessories, we could have bought one Public Bike.

I can’t get over how pretty this bike is. From the matte black frame, to the hot pink rims, to the baby blue accents, it’s just so posh. I mean, when you’re sweating your ass off, it’s really important to look posh.

As far as the actually important things go, the seat is awful. Just fucking terrible. I’m probably not used to road bike seats, and I get that, but I’ve already had to replace the seat and I’m still recouping from the first ride (the seat in the picture is the one it came with). I don’t really get why anyone would want to ride on a piece of plastic and leather, with no padding, but that’s just me. I replaced it with a super plush seat from REI. The bike is also a bit high. I have the seat lowered to the lowest possible point, and I’m still on my tippey toes when I stop. For the record I’m essentially 5’3 and I bought the smallest size bike they carry. I don’t know if again, it’s a “I’m not used to road bikes” issue, but if I was an inch shorter, I would have considered returning it.

The handle bar is also tiny. It took some getting used to at first but I kind of like it. It’s probably half the size of a normal handle bar and it’s size makes it so that your body naturally falls into the shape required to bike up hills, which I much appreciate as I know virtually nothing about cycling except for the whole pedaling concept, and I have a giant hill I have to ride up to get to work everyday. Plus you’re also in the right shape to get a good amount of speed going.

As far as assembly goes, it was pretty easy. They advertise that it comes assembled 85% and given that I really know nothing about cycling that almost turned me off, but I decided to go for it anyways, thinking that worst case I’d take it down to the bike shop and have them do it. But there was no need. It fit together pretty easily, and outside of the first ride where we made adjustments as we went, it’s still holding together (woohoo!).

All-in-all, I’m really happy with it. I like how it looks and (now) how it feels, and while I wouldn’t mind some gears for the aforementioned hill, it’s a great bike. Especially for the price. However, if you’re looking at getting one, I would definitely replace the seat, unless you’re used to that kind of ride.

Love those pink rims.

I wasn’t compensated for this review and in all likelihood, Sole will never know I wrote it. So you know, blah blah all thoughts are mine. However, I wish I was and if Sole would like to give me a free bike or accessories, I would not complain. 

A note about “being vegan”

I’m molting! I’m molting! Oh what a world!

I mentioned in a previous post that we have a mini-flock of chickens. We indeed have nine chickens (Bacon, Banjo, Archimedes, Biscuit, Waffles, Daedalus, Cowbell, Grits and Bingley), and they have a pretty sweet coop set-up in our garage (with plenty of light) and a small garden they can run around in when we’re home to supervise. We put together this flock because of my avid interests in gardening and just a general interest in chickens, and we treat them like the beloved pets they are. All of them are female, and as hens do, they lay eggs. We eat those eggs.

As some of you may be wondering “but how can you eat eggs and claim you’re a vegan”, and it is in fact a question I get all the time. In short, they’re the only eggs I eat, the chickens are well cared for and treated as pets, not as egg factories, none of the chickens are harmed in collecting the eggs, and it would be wasteful NOT to eat them (we also give quite a few away a week because we just have too many on a normal basis). I understand if I’ve lost some of you here, but the goal of being a vegan is to limit your harm and impact (in so much is possible) on animals, and eating our chickens eggs and only our chickens eggs, does not harm anyone or anything. I’m happy with being labeled a vegetarian, I just happen to use vegan because it’s much, much easier than explaining all of my dietary restrictions than just explaining why I eat my chicken’s eggs.

All that to say, some of my recipes will feature eggs, if only so I have an excuse to eat them (we have approximately 2 dozen eggs currently, so any little bit helps). I felt it was better to clear the air before I posted one of those than cause confusion.

The end.

The Basics

My childhood was pretty normal. While my parents are certainly bizarre, they managed to raise two basically well-adjusted daughters. They imparted on me tid-bits of random knowledge and kn0w-how, as well as a passion for many things, one of which is cooking.

My dad worked while I was growing up, and though my mom stayed home with us, he insisted on cooking. For 18 years, almost every single night my dad would come home, make dinner and at exactly 7pm (not 7:05, not 6:58, exactly at 7 – we’re not sure where this zeal for punctuality came from and it’s been the focus of many a joke) we would eat dinner as a family. My dad, like me, has many different interests, but one thing that he loved doing was cooking.

Some of my favorite memories of him are sitting behind the kitchen island and watching him cook. We would talk about our days, and my dad would teach us random things. It’s where I talked out my college plans, my wedding plans and just anything that I felt we needed to discuss. But it was also from behind the island.  At no point were my sister or I actually allowed to help him cook, and if we came around the kitchen island he’d yell something like “You’re crossing the line of death!”. He liked to cook everything himself (though we were occasionally allowed to chop things), but enjoyed company in the kitchen. Somehow though, both my sister and I learned how to cook, and if my husband is to be believed, we cook quite well. My dad claims that he learned the same way from his mom and if my husband and I ever decide to have spawn, our kids will learn the same way.

That’s all to say, that my passion for cooking has led me to decide to write a bit about cooking. The unorthodox way that I learned how to cook means I can eyeball ingredients (I rarely ever use measurements), mentally deconstruct meals and cook without recipes, and I’m always substituting things because I’m too lazy to make a grocery list and grocery shop before committing to make something. So sometimes my recipes will reflect that. This makes me great at experimenting and impressing my husband, but not so great at recording what I make. I’m hoping to change that and this blog is part of it.

I’m also a vegan. I’m allergic to the protein in dairy (much to the chagrin of my cheese loving family) and I’m a pretty big animal lover. To the point where we have our own mini-flock of chickens, two dogs and two cats. But as a borderline foodie vegan, I know that you can have great food, no matter it’s origin (whether it’s a new take on Grandma’s potpie or a vegan curry and Roti), without sacrificing ethics, health or taste.

So thusly, I’ve decided in addition to design, and whatever else, 32oh7 will feature (vegan) recipes that I’ve developed or ripped-off but modified enough I can call it my own.

Happy eating!

-Brittany

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