Archive Monthly Archives: May 2013

A Belated Celebration

May I have your attention please? Let’s everyone raise a glass! Cheers to passing all inspections and to new insulation! Hear hear! A mighty achievement! Well done old sport!

OK, too much Gatsby lately! (Which was fabulous by the way)

But back to the belated celebration. There has been much progress in the last few days and in the coming weeks… there. will. be. walls! Actual, tangible walls! Can you believe it? It’s so exciting!

The day of insulation was a looming deadline that my Dad and Jared would chat about timidly every night. They had pushed it back once or twice but last Friday came with a vengeance.

Ten men covered head to toe in white suits shuffled into our new home at 6:30 in the morning and shot Icynene into our studs’ every orifice. We went with Icynene closed cell spray foam insulation which not only insulates but creates a sturdy seal for the lifetime of the structure. It’s kind of the Cadillac of insulation.

Jared reported that the truck parked in our driveway powering this whole operation was obnoxiously loud and we did go around and apologize to our new neighbors for the early wake up call.

When the Icynene team left in the afternoon, Dad and Jared ceased all work at the house to let the foam settle and harden and let any fumes dissipate. I couldn’t wait for a peek though. As soon as I left work I headed straight to the house. I hadn’t been there alone yet. I turned the key and for the first time saw what looked like less of a construction site and more like my new home.

Yeah, I cried. Just a little. It was just so different. I always had the vision. When I close my eyes at night, I see my gorgeous white kitchen and our lovely bright bedroom. But it was just so different to go from the dark cavernous studs to bright whip creamy “walls.” I could just see it all so clearly and yeah, I cried. I am really very lucky and so so happy to have this home with the love of my life and to know that my whole family helped us make it a reality so that we can raise our own family there. It’s just lovely.

So here are some more progress shots of our lovely whip creamy home. The same view day one, after demo, and today.

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View in Dining Room looking into Living Room

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View in Kitchen looking at sink & basement door

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View in Kitchen looking at Front Door

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My Garden Reveal

There has been way too much build up to this post and I’m afraid my garden will not live up to the hype and anticipation! Oh who am I kidding, you already forgot I was planting a garden in the front yard, didn’t you?! Well it’s true. I wanted to remove this useless patch of grass in front of our house…

8732549909_2e0752b696_bAnd turn it into a lush and wild utopia. And it will be! It so will be in time. But for now, it’s an adorable newborn garden patch.

IMG_0928IMG_0931 IMG_0933I would highly recommend joining Home Depot’s Garden Club. With my coupon we came out with 4 bags of garden soil, 2 bags of black mulch, and 6 perennials for under $50. Not to shabby!

But it wasn’t until we visited Northeast Nursery that we found the Honeysuckle Bush that I wanted more than anything! Here it is in all it’s tiny glory. But in time, it will use that lattice to reach towards the sky and perfume the neighborhood with a sweet hello every morning.


The “lavender” isn’t exactly lavender but it’s a close second. It’s a form of Salvia that grows tall and wide like I wanted. Not much of a scent but as formally mentioned, that’s the honeysuckle’s department.


Shasta Daisies will bloom all white and chipper this summer. To quote Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail, “don’t you think daisies are the friendliest flower?”


Some alternating dark and light grasses make up a front border and along with some strategically placed rocks, that’s it for our little garden.

IMG_0934 IMG_0929It should fill in over time and I am still looking for the perfect rusty old antique to put in among the plants but for now, I’m pretty pleased with the little patch. Oh and did you notice no more window boxes? They were rotted out completely and had to go. The minimalist in me says we don’t need them but who knows if I’ll add new boxes or even a collection of potted annuals now that I’ve caught the gardening bug.

A big thank you to my parents and to Jared for hacking up all the grass (the things a man will do not to mow a lawn!) but special thanks to Mum for all her advice and coming with me to find the best plant picks – even bugging the Northeast Nursery staff to find out why the honeysuckle didn’t smell yet – it was most definitely a team effort!




My Big Blue Swedish Friend

IKEA! IKEA is my big blue Swedish friend and unfortunately, I hadn’t seen my friend in quite some time. A visit was long overdue so I headed over there faster than you can say lingonberries for some quality shopping time!

IMG_0958There was some business to take care of first- I returned the under the cabinet lights we bought because IKEA’s lights were not able to be hard wired and I picked up two previously out of stock cabinet side panels for our kitchen. But after all that ‘take a number’ and wait, wait, wait mumbo jumbo, I was off wandering through my very own hipster Disney World.

I bought a lot of kitchen organizational products like pot lid holders and drawer dividers and all that. Plus the most perfect round mirror for our half bath and a navy blanket for our guest room because you know me and navy! (read here and here) But I also just meandered through the magical Swedish wonderland and dreamed about these patio tiles covering the floor of our sun porch…


And oh the things I could do to our walk in closet…

IMG_0954And at the end of it all, I got myself a Combo #2 at the IKEA Market which is a beverage and the most delicious slice of cheese pizza at the lovely price of $2.50. I’m pretty sure I’ll get mobster death threats for this but I’m saying it anyways- IKEA pizza is better than anything you can get in the North End. There. done. Bring on the mean tweets! Haters gonna hate but I sure do love me some IKEA pizza!

So that’s my tale of Julie and her Big Blue Swedish Friend. Och de levde lyckliga efter! (And they lived happily ever after!)

Mad About Navy Blue

Between the obvious nautical association and it’s bold rich hue, Navy Blue has always been one of my favorite colors. I love the way it pops with white and cozies up to browns. I wear it, I decorate with it, and I swear it is just one of those colors that is so classic it will never go out of style.

Here are some of my favorite Navy Blue design pics…

All the rich wood tones look gorgeous with this Navy wall though I think the choice of just one dark wall is a good one. The white ceiling and other white walls keep the room bright and fresh.

b068526af1e32fc0f99493c3f40e8502Continuing the Navy walls up onto the curved ceiling is so bold and dramatic but I think you can get away with drama in a dining room. The framed tall white wainscoting compliments the dark tones nicely.


You know I’m obsessed with a Navy Blue powder room. Holla!


One of my favorite blogs, Young House Love describes their built-ins as “tall, dark, and handsome!” Their white books and ceramics pop in front of Navy walls.


And finally, not a home decor choice but I wanted to prove my love for Navy with a glimpse from our wedding. Check out these lovely ladies…


Memorial Day

“Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War. By the 20th century Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died while in the military service… By the early 20th century, Memorial Day was an occasion for more general expressions of memory, as people visited the graves of their deceased relatives in church cemeteries, whether they had served in the military or not.” (Source: Wikipedia)

However you are spending Memorial Day, I hope you are having a good day.


The Garden of Envy

I thought my final post before the long weekend should be some garden inspiration photos. I can’t promise the after photos of our front garden patch will be as fantastic as these but if it comes close, I’ll be happy.

All photos are from the Boston, Massachusetts area and available for your viewing pleasure on

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Plant Picks

Let’s get down to it. Here’s our little piece of earth.

8732549909_2e0752b696_bAnd here’s what I want it to be.

Marshall Garden

It’s an east facing garden and we’re obviously trying to plant in the spring. The patch gets morning sun and is protected from ocean winds. There are few pests to worry about in Winthrop although Wicked Local and the National Garden Association address the local pests including stinkbugs, snails, and slugs. They recommend keeping weeds at bay and picking them off plants in the mornings when they’re slowest. Shallow containers of beer hidden in the garden take care of these pests too.

As far as picking plants, we’re classified as a “partial-shade” garden which will be listed on any tag of a plant you would find at a nursery or home improvement store. I want a variety of greens with some white and yellow flowers. Varying heights is also important to me since the garden is so flat and rectangular. I’m also a big fan of art in the garden. Not a tacky gazing ball or anything but perhaps an antique that can get rusty or patina-ed and even more beautiful as it becomes a part of the environment.


Plant Pick #1: Honeysuckle

I’ve always loved the smell of this fragrant plant. It was wild along many highways in Virginia. Though it will prosper in an east-facing garden, it requires some sort of hard surface to attach to. Placing it in the far corner against the house and the front steps should keep it thriving. The flowers come in white, orange and yellow and I’d be happy with any of those.


Plant Pick #2: Dwarf Japanese Barberry or “Golden Nugget”

The Golden Nugget is a slow grower shrub that looks fantastic next to a darker plant. It tolerates partial shade and poor soils as long as drainage is good.


Plant Pick #3: Black Beauty Coral Bells

These glossy, ruffled dark purple plants make the #2 Golden Nuggets pop! These grow in tight mounds and grow less than 2 feet tall. They require moderate watering and full or partial sun.


Plant Pick #4: Lavender

Lavender is grown all over the world. This plant will endure subzero winters, but dislikes humid heat. The most important factor about Lavender is drainage. Soggy areas should definitely be avoided. 


Plant Pick #5: Shasta Daisy

Daisies have always been one of my all time favorite flowers! Bushy and upright plants, Shasta Daisies grow 1-3 feet in height. Easy to grow in full sun or partial shade they are attractive plants for borders and to cut for arrangements. The Shasta daisy comes into bloom in June and July and will continue giving bloom through August if faded flowers are removed.

What do you think of my picks? 


How Does Your Garden Grow?

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells, and cockle shells,
And pretty maids all in a row.

Oh Mary, if only it was that easy! But in actuality it takes a lot more than silver bells and cockle shells… whatever the heck those are. Before starting a garden, there is much to take into consideration. Placement, sunlight, animals, wind, time of year, etcetera, etcetera.

I’ve only ever had edible gardens. Mostly herbs but some veggies. And all indoors. I’ll speak for any other apartmentites when I say that apartment living with no outdoor space breeds gardening creativity. Whether you line up small pots on a window sill or fire escape or give science a try with an Aerogarden, gardening indoors has it’s own challenges. But today we’re talking about my front garden patch at our new house.

Picture2Remember this ridiculous patch of grass in the front? Well it’s getting a makeover. Our new neighbors have the most beautiful houses and gardens. We can’t avoid our curb appeal makeover any longer.

If you recall, I already spoke about a curb appeal game plan here. We have all the materials to tackle this project over the long weekend. All that’s left to purchase are the flowers and shrubs for the garden.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post for actual plant recommendations. As for today, I just wanted to wish my Mum a Happy Birthday! I know she’s excited to get planting so we’ll have a fun long weekend in the dirt!

Pomp and Circumstance

Last weekend my brother-in-law Josh graduated from the University of New Hampshire. Jared and I drove up on Friday and met up with the whole fam. We all had dinner at Warren’s Lobster House in Kittery, Maine, which happens to be my grandfather’s favorite restaurant so I was very happy to be there on such a beautiful Friday night.

The next day was jam packed! We attended a breakfast in honor of the graduates from the Russian department. My brother-in-law happens to be a language wiz and has focused his attention on Russian, even studying in Ufa over the summer.

After breakfast we all agreed to take advantage of the beautiful day and having the family all together by skipping commencement (sorry UNH!) and spending the day roaming the streets of Portsmouth and sharing in great food, drinks, and conversation!

Here are some photos from our lovely weekend.

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The Look for Less – Bedroom

It’s been a while since I did one of these. Things are really coming together at the house especially upstairs. Once the electrician finishes the new outlets and the plasterer takes care of our crumbling ceilings, we’ll be able to patch and paint walls which means we are so close to having an actual bedroom!

We’ll use pieces we already own for the most part. I like to keep the bedroom simple. Calm colors, minimal decor, and absolutely no TV! I may feel differently at some point but right now I think it completely sucks the romance out of the bedroom and I’d much rather compromise and watch a show with Jared than be in separate rooms watching separate TVs. I think he agrees given how often he will sit with me (while playing on his tablet or computer) while I watch the Real Housewives of Orange County.

But back to the bedroom. Our bed was built by my Dad and it’s beautiful. Built to look like this Pottery Barn Stratton Bed with storage on the bottom.

BedI have a large IKEA dresser that I plan to make over (stay tuned for that post!) and that’s really it for furniture. Drapes and a full length mirror are essential to buy still. Here’s my options in today’s Look for Less – Bedroom.


1. Restoration Hardware | 2. Pottery Barn | 3. Homegoods

Look for Less

1. Restoration Hardware | 2. World Market | 3. Homegoods

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