Monday, June 16, 2014

Happy 1st Birthday to Our House

Happy 1st Birthday to Our House

We officially closed on our house on June 11, 2013. Our first year in our home has gone by quickly with no major damage. We did have one small bleach cleaner incident on our dark wood floors, but we fully recovered. What better way to celebrate your home’s first birthday than with a cookie cake? New life lesson learned: cast iron skillets rust and ruin in the dishwasher. 

The first couple of months after moving in we bought so many things for our home. Lately, I feel like I have neglected our house and haven’t bought anything new. So in the last week, we’ve redone Chad’s middle school desk and a dining room chair from my great-aunt’s, purchased a new door hanger, and a new sign for the kitchen.
Our new sign hanging in our kitchen

and now for a close up

I’ve never recovered a dining room chair, but my mom has done all of hers and said it is super easy. My great-aunt’s chair was at least 50 years old so we replaced the fabric and the actual seat cushion. We used Amy Howard’s chalk paint to paint the desk and chair an off white color. I am pleased with our results! My paint speed isn’t the best. I painted the chair in the same time Chad painted the entire desk.

and the AFTER

While we were at my great-aunt’s picking up a dining room chair, we also grabbed an old rocking chair. We will only be polishing the chair. We have no way of knowing how old the chair is, but if my great-aunt was alive today she would be 101. The chair could have belonged to her mom and easily be over 100 years old. It is now in the guest bedroom where our desk used to be and our desk is now in our master bedroom. 

Moving furniture around and buying or redoing old pieces is exciting to me and I can’t wait to see what changes will be made in the next year.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Boston Strong

Anniversary Trip to Boston

We survived our first year of marriage!! PAPER is the suggestion for the 1st Anniversary Gift. What a wonderful excuse to buy plane tickets and take a trip. Tickets definitely count as paper, right? We got plane tickets to Boston, Red Sox / Yankees Baseball Tickets, Fenway Park Tour Tickets, Blue Man Group Tickets, and Hop on Hop off Trolley Tickets. I think we succeeded in the paper gift department. Just know that if you buy your tickets to any events ahead of time then you should double check to make sure your spouse packed the tickets. :)

WEDNESDAY, Day 1 – If you think Chicago is the only ‘Windy City’ then you are definitely wrong. Our first and second days in Boston, the wind was up to 29 MPH and that makes for a very cold April day when you are from Alabama (the great state of heat and humidity). We flew in and took the T (the Subway in Boston) from the airport to the Prudential Center stop and then walked two short blocks to our Hotel (The Hilton – Back Bay). Back Bay is such a neat area and we enjoyed being so close to Newbury Street, Fenway Park, and some really great restaurants. After checking in and changing, our first stop was the Boston Marathon Finish Line. Since we arrived two days after the 2014 Marathon, the finish line was still partially painted on the pavement. So many stores had windows displaying their support for the marathon.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Night one, we headed to the Theatre District and had dinner at the Intermission Tavern before going to see the Blue Man Group. We passed through Boston Commons and the Public Gardens on our way and we were able to see the swan boats. After the Blue Man Group Show, we stopped at Cheers before heading back to the hotel. No one knew our name, but Cheers is definitely a must see for Boston. We were having problems understanding some of the Boston accents on our first day, but I assume they
were having issues with our accents too considering a worker at Dunkin Donuts asked us if we spoke English. I knew our Southern accents were heavy, but wow.

THURSDAY, Day 2 – We woke up early on Thursday and bought two day passes for the Old Town Trolley Hop on Hop off Bus. This is a great way to get transportation and find out more about the city. NOTE: The trolley does stop running around 6 PM so you do have to make other travel plans at night. We stopped at the first trolley stop and purchased tickets for a guided tour of Fenway Park. The tour lasts approximately an hour and the tickets are only $16 per person (well worth it). 

After the Fenway Tour we jumped back on the trolley to head for lunch at Legal Harborside. The Legal Seafood Restaurants are everywhere in Boston and Legal Harborside is part of that chain. The Legal Harborside Restaurant is right on the water and the views are amazing. NOTE: The rooftop sushi bar opens after 4 PM and is not open at lunch. When in Boston, you have to try a lobster roll. Even though we aren’t lobster fans and definitely aren’t mayo people, we ordered one. 

 After lunch we headed back to the Fenway Park area for the pre-game atmosphere. The Bleacher Bar is located just on the other side of Fenway Park’s Outfield. Before the game the outfield mats are removed and you can see the players on the field warming up. Cameras are prohibited inside the bar and the mats go up once the game starts. We had tickets in right field for the Red Sox vs. Yankees game, but unfortunately the Red Sox lost. We are Braves fans, but wanted the Red Sox to win while we were in Boston. We were so layered up for the weather that I could barely move! I had on three jackets and Chad’s vest, seriously.

FRIDAY, Day 3 – The sun was out and it was not nearly as windy on Friday! We spent the entire day doing everything we possibly could outside. We took the trolley to Cambridge and made our first stop at MIT. From there we began our walk to Harvard. We were originally told this was just a mile walk, just so you know it is not a mile walk and I highly recommend taking the T. Luckily, I only had on two layers that day. After taking a coffee and breakfast break, we finally made it to Harvard! The campus is breathtaking and full of history. We headed back to Boston on the T and stopped at Faneuil Hall / Quincy Market. I couldn’t believe the cheap prices of the fresh produce. There are tons of places to eat in that area so go with an appetite. 
We had lunch at the Union Oyster House, the oldest restaurant in the United States. I had salmon and Chad had an oyster po’boy. Both were delicious, but I would highly recommend their oyster po’boy. After lunch we walked the Freedom Trail and saw Paul Revere’s House. Side note: his house sneaks up on you; we completely passed it...TWICE. Late Friday afternoon we took the T to the Sam Adams Brewery for the last brewery tour that day. Several of the restaurants in Boston have their own unique Sam Adams Brew on tap. The brewery tour lasted around an hour and we were able to taste the Sam Adams Black and Gold. This beer is only sold at the Bruins games. Chad loved the brewery! 

Friday night was our last night. We were able to see all of Boston when we went up to the 52nd
floor of the Prudential Center to the Top of the Hub Restaurant for a drink before heading to dinner on Newbury Street. Newbury Street is known for its high end shops and restaurants. Stephanie’s Restaurant on Newbury was the perfect spot for dinner on our last night in Boston.

SATURDAY, Day 4 – We woke up to rain on Saturday so that meant we got to go SHOPPING! We spent a few hours shopping before having lunch at Haru Sushi and heading back to the airport. We have scratched another city off of our list. San Diego is still my favorite U.S. city, but nothing beats New York at Christmas.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Merry Christmas 2013

I have not posted in a really long time but I really wanted to post pictures from our first Christmas as The Graves Family. We had a great time decorating our house for our first Married, Merry Christmas!

I was able to talk Chad into a fake Christmas tree. I know that seems terrible, but when it came time to take “Gloria” (our tree) down we were very happy with our decision on a fake tree. Yes, I named our tree. I tend to name almost everything. Gloria wore burlap ribbon and silver, white, and gold ornaments.

Two of my favorite new ornaments for our tree were two newlywed ornaments we received. One was from Chad’s Aunt Sharon with penguins. The other was a clear glass ball with shreds from our Wedding Program. 

Since we live in a planned community/neighborhood, everyone has one tree and they all look identical. We all put white lights on our trees. This was extremely neat for me because I grew up in a neighborhood that had a white light tree in each front yard. Chad put the lights in our tree on one of the coldest days in December. I learned not to walk outside and say, “You missed a spot”.

We used some of our leftover wedding credit to buy two pre-lit trees for either side of our front door and used some of my mom and dad’s old wreaths on our windows. SIDE NOTE: suction cup wreath hangs work and the sticky tape ones DO NOT (especially in the humid state of Alabama).

I still LOVE our stone fireplace. We asked for two old Coca-Cola boxes from Chad’s mom when she moved and filled those with firewood and Christmas lights. We put two silver angels on the mantel and added an old window with a wreath (thank you Pinterest).  

Another idea I pinned on Pinterest and used was the idea to hang our Christmas Cards on our kitchen cabinets. I used the same burlap ribbon from the tree and the old window. We are keeping or cards up through the end of January. I wanted to appreciate them a little bit longer.  

We used one of our wedding pictures for our Christmas Card.

We enjoyed decorating our house and can’t wait to put our decorations back up in 10 ½ months!