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Sprung!

03/21/2011

Happy First Day of Spring! I’ve always been a summer girl—bring on the heat!—but spring in Nashville is breath-taking. (Especially if you have allergies, harharhar…) I love all the flowering trees. Here’s the view out my front door in the morning:

And some various signs of spring from around our yard:

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Phone Photo Friday

03/18/2011

My husband is pretty awesome!


Back to School

03/17/2011

Last winter wrote about how using an over-the-shoulder tote bag for my laptop was hurting my back. I used my old high school LL Bean backpack for a while until I forgot about the back pains and then stitched to a messenger bag again. When the back pain returned, I decided it would be worth the investment to get a nice, adult, laptop-friendly backpack for carting my macbook pro to and from work. After reading about the super-smart backpack that zips onto a carry on suitcase on Design Mom’s blog, I decided to check out FUL’s offerings. I ordered this gray Concrete Jungle:

I was thrilled about the padded laptop compartment and all the zipper pockets. When the bag arrived, however, I immediately realized it was too chunky and masculine for my taste. Bummer. I decided to give it a test drive anyway but was disappointed to discover that my laptop was too big for the sleeve. Double bummer. I also had some reservations about committing to a gray bag since I often wear brown. I sent the backpack back and started a new search.

Enter backpack number 2: The Victorinox Curb from Buy.com. This pack also boasted a padded laptop compartment (big enough this time) and various other zipper pockets. The simplistic design in rust colored canvas seemed to be just delicate enough for my style and would work with a brown coat or a black coat. I’ve been using it for about a week now and I’m very pleased. It’s light and comfortable with thick padded straps. It has more pockets than I know what to do with. And, I know it sounds corny but it somehow makes my laptop feel lighter.

A new backpack makes me feel like it’s time to start back to school shopping. Perhaps I should splurge on some new shoes, too?


Master Bedroom Redecorate: Sneak Peak

03/16/2011

A little over a month ago I mentioned a master bedroom redesign we’re planning. Well we’ve made a little progress.

1. We got this amazing 3-in-1 down comforter from IKEA. Seriously, I don’t know why I’ve been sleeping without a down comforter all my life. It’s like heaven: fluffy and airy like a cloud but so warm and snuggly. This smart design has two layers. A thin one for warmer seasons and thicker one for cool weather. The two layers snap together to make one extra warm blanket for cold weather.

2. The new comforter necessitated a duvet cover. While I was at IKEA I found a light gray (almost white but just enough color to not look dirty all the time) cover with a nice texture. I’m dreaming of a clean, white room but I don’t want it to feel unfinished or clinical. Light gray was a nice compromise. This is not the first time Jason and I have made significant purchases from IKEA together by me texting him photos and asking for his opinion. I love technology. (Thanks for giving me the benefit of the doubt, Jase!)

3. And of course, a new duvet cover and comforter beg for the company of new sheets. My only insistance for new sheets was that they had to have a pattern of some kind. Our last several sets have been solid color and the pillow cases and sheets always get discolored in the areas where they’re in frequent contact with hair product and skin oils. And a high thread count is always nice. I suggested orange and white striped sheets (though I couldn’t actually find them anywhere.) Jason wanted dark gray sheets. We ended up finding a set at Target with a gray tasteful retro-modern pattern. Another perfect compromise.

4. Our bed is white. Except that it’s kind of off white. Guess what – next to a clean, crisp light gray off white just looks like dirty white. So now we have our beautiful new bedding on a dirty white bed. Hmm… not sure how to solve that one without getting a new bed. Which is not out of the question…just out of the budget right now. Also, the walls need painted. Next time we’re at the hardware store I’m going to grab a bunch of paint swatches. I’m still leaning towards white or light gray (with orange accents) but with the dirty white bed still in the picture, I’m not really sure what to do! A soft, light taupe white maybe?

5. (Number 4 wasn’t really any progress. Just rambling about what needs to be done. What are these bullet points supposed to be anyway?) We did get one more thing for the bedroom so far: A piece of metal wall art. (Blue cardboard packaging behind it.) I’m pretty excited about it although I’m not sure yet how and where it’s going to work with my furniture arrangement ideas. Goal of furniture arrangement: get rid of shelf behind the bed, add nightstands and an area rug. Is that too much to ask from my small asymmetrical master bedroom?

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Before


Swedes Abroad

03/15/2011

This weekend we had the pleasure of hosting my distant cousin Marcus and his girlfriend Petra from Sweden. They’re in the middle of a 7 week vacation around North America: NYC, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Toronto, Nashville, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Los Angeles, Hawaii, Cuba, Miami and then back to Sweden. Quite a busy adventure!

My parents picked them up from the airport on Friday afternoon and took them to Centennial Park to see the Parthenon. After that they went to the Nashville Farmers Market for lunch and back to my parents house to rest for a bit. Jason and I met them for dinner at Allium, a delicious new neighborhood favorite with a great view of downtown. After dinner Jason and I took Marcus and Petra downtown Nashville to see the crazy neon signs from the bars, hear music of all different styles pouring out of every other doorway, get bombarded by the crowded streets and eventually end up at Big Bang Dueling Piano Bar. The music was pretty good and a variety of pop music from Elton John to Jason Mraz to Ben Folds. It was good until it got crude. We didn’t stay long as the Swedes were tired and a bit overwhelmed.

Saturday morning my parents brought Marcus and Petra over to our house for a quick tour and some pictures.

After a Starbucks stop we went to the Ryman Auditorium for a tour which was quite interesting. The auditorium was originally built to house revival services before becoming the home of the Grand Ole Opry. Eventually the Opry moved to another venue and the auditorium was renovated by the Gaylord Entertainment and now is the venue of everyone from One Republic (who played there on Sunday night) to Kelly Clarkson to Jonny Lang to Vince Gill. Jason and I saw Dave Brubeck perform there 6 or 7 years ago.

From there we went to Hatch Show Print, Nashville’s historic letterpress shop where all the great country music concert posters were printed back in the day and where most of Nashville’s biggest concerts still have their posters printed today. As a graphic designer this is always one of my favorite stops.

We had to stop in one of the many boot stores downtown. Marcus wanted to try some on just for a picture. Meanwhile, mom and I kept seeing some that we actually liked. I’ve never owned a pair of cowboy boots but I think if I spent enough time in here I could be convinced. This particular store, Boot Country, is Buy 1 Pair, Get 2 Free. Of course, all the ones I really liked were in the $275-399 range. Fun to look anyway.

After lunch at Piranha (which took forever but was good), we walked out over the pedestrian bridge to get a good look at downtown.

We walked along the path of the Music City Walk of Fame on our way to the Country Music Hall of Fame. The hall included lots of facts, outfits and instruments of lots of country musicians that none of us really cared about. Turned out it wasn’t really worth the $20/person admission for us. We all agreed we enjoyed the Ryman more. Serious country fans might disagree.

After that it was back to my parents house for naps and rest before my dad’s birthday dinner and my mama’s yummy homemade cheesecake for dessert. We had planned to go to dinner at Pucketts Grocery where a country band was performing but we were all too pooped. We ended up just visiting for the rest of the evening. It was a fun weekend and I’m so glad Marcus and Petra made a stop in Nashville on their busy vacation. Did I mention we had perfect weather? Sunny and highs in the upper 60s both days. Jason will most likely be going back to Sweden again this summer and I’m hoping we can find a way for me to go along and tack on a few extra days in Stockholm to visit Marcus and Petra again, and hopefully Marcus’ brothers and parents too.


Modern Wood Fence – Step 2: Planning

03/14/2011

We decided to put a fence just around our patio and garden rather than the whole backyard. Partly to save money and partly because we primarily use the patio and as I mentioned, we like the feel of a defined outdoor living space. We’ll be using 4×4 treated pine posts, a little less than 8 ft apart, and untreated pine 1″x3″x8′ horizontal planks. Half way between the 4×4 posts, we’ll add 2×4 vertical boards to keep the horizontal planks from bowing and warping. Then, the whole fence will be stained with deck sealer (all the same color). We’ll have two gates: one from the driveway and one into the yard from the stepping stone path. Here are some illustrations I did of our fence design:

We’ll probably come back at the end and put 1″x4″s over the nailed sides of the 4″x4″ posts.

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Step 1: Inspiration


Phone Photo Friday

03/11/2011