Sunday, June 30, 2013

Self Portrait: June

June has been one hell of a month. I spent more than half the month planning my self portrait in my new house and could come up with nothing to say or write about. I suppose maybe it's all too fresh right now. On Tuesday I attended the annual Downtown 100 meeting, where among many things, the Member of the Year is announced. Much to my surprise, it was me! So instead of forcing some words about buying a new house, I will let Melissa Taylor (my good friend and DT100 Membership Chair) do the talking.

"Each year, the Steering Committee accepts nominations for Member of the Year and votes on the most deserving candidate. This award is given to the Downtown 100 member who demonstrates leadership within the organization. Not only are they an asset to their committee, they make a positive impact on the DT100 as a whole.

This year’s Member of the Year has done just that. They have taken a personal interest in the Downtown 100 and involved themselves in every aspect. As a member of the events committee, they are an active participant in meetings and helped to coordinate and host unique events, such as the Game Night. They are also a common presence at both social and leadership functions. When out in the community, they are an advocate for the DT100 and Downtown Norfolk, always promoting ongoing projects and events. They have given hours to various volunteer projects, including the Foodbank, the Plot, and Better block. As a participant in Better block, this member coordinated DT100 volunteers to help with set-up, while successfully setting up their own pop-up business. As if all of that wasn’t enough, this year’s Member of the Year has literally changed the face of the DT100 with a new logo and color scheme. We have them to thank for the updated look on our shirts, signage, Facebook page and every other means of communication.  
I am pleased to present the 2013 Member of the Year Award to Ashley Grove."

I couldn't be more honored and excited as ever to be apart of the organization and a resident of Norfolk.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

#18: Historic Cemetery Tours

I'm not sure how I got on the Norfolk City Cemetery email list, but I get emails once a month about cleanups, gardening days and historical tours. By now you know my love of for a good cemetery so I had to check out the "historical tour." Deb and my friend Susie tagged along for what turned out to be a great event. More than 50 people showed up for the twilight tour of Elmwood Cemetery that started just after 7 p.m. If you're unfamiliar with Elmwood, it's on Princess Anne Road, between Monticello and Church Street. It's the newer of two adjacent cemeteries (Cedar Grove & Elmwood), yet dates back to 1824.

The walk was led by two women, one an employee of the city cemetery and the other a volunteer. It was interesting to learn that very cemetery is really the only existing evidence of the Victorian Era in Norfolk. Although, cemeteries during that era weren't viewed as creepy and eerie like in modern times. The people then viewed their loved ones as "resting" or "sleeping," rather than dead in the ground. Very elaborate headstones, sculptures and tombs were made so that when the family visited they would be surrounded by beautiful things. Makes sense, right?

It's unfortunate that a lot of funding has been dropped for the city cemeteries. The sheriff's office has to come and mow the grounds. They can't afford to pay someone to keep watch (or install a security system) of the property after hours, so various ornamental pieces have been stolen. Talk about bad karma, right?

It was too bad that rain cut our tour a little short, because I was actually learning a ton! I might have to catch it next month, as it occurs the last Friday of every month from 7 to 8:30 p.m. There is a suggested donation of $5, but they provide free water and bug spray, haha.

  I'm participating in my third 92 Days of Summer challenge. Read about the project here.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Momentarily Obsessed With...

1)  quotes in pretty fonts.  Why? Because it's super easy artwork on a super small budget. Also because I love quotes and typography.

2) maps made into shapes.  Not into couple-y thing at the bottom, but it'd be a nice way to use that stack of old maps I have piling up in a box somewhere. And the loads of frames piling up in a different box somewhere...

3) mix and match summer outfits. It's super trendy to mix and match patterns right now. I wasn't really into it, until I saw this ensemble. Sign me up, I'm officially into it.

4) mix and match planters. Working toward this idea for our backyard. So far, I'm at three.

5) opal and diamonds. I am just enamored with this! There is a five-year anniversary coming up very soon...wink, wink!

#77: Celebrate a Birthday

Can you believe this little guy is 1 already? So much has happened in the last 12 months and we got to celebrate it at a party in the park. Kelly Jo managed to get the whole family together (my sister was even in attendance) for a picnic in Poquoson. Despite the warm temperatures we enjoyed loads of good food, adorable cupcakes and some great quality time. Not to mention, the park is really nice and has a pool! We may have to check that out next time we're visiting.

We bought Thomas a bird feeder and bird seed. I know you're giving me that puzzled look. But I was told that Thomas loves watching birds, and how can I not feed into that habit? Plus, I've decided we're going to be that Aunt and Uncle who give the weird gifts. We did, afterall, give him an Elf outfit at Christmas time.

Number 77 is off the list! I'm participating in my third 92 Days of Summer challenge. Read about the project here.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

#22 Fruit Salsa

Typically, I'm not a fruit salsa kind-of girl. I like my salsa with lots of kick and full of tomatoes. But, you should give everything an honest chance, right? I scoured lots of fruit salsa recipes and came across this one with kiwi in it. Seemed simple enough, so I gave it a run. I think it would be tasty on a swordfish or tuna steak. On chips? Not so much. The kiwi salsa has potential, but I've decided 100% for sure now, fruit salsa just ain't my thing!

What you need
4 kiwis
2 tbsp onion, chopped
3 tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp jalapeno

What you do
1. Scope out the kiwi with a spoon over a bowl so you can reserve any liquid. Chop the fruit into mini, bite-sized pieces.
2. Add in the onion, cilantro and jalapeno. Give it a good stir and let chill in the fridge for a few hours before serving.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Food Trucks and a Freebie

Last month, the Food Truck ordinance passed in Norfolk, allowing the city to finally (and legally) have the motorized food vendors around town. This was a gigantic leap for the city and small truck owners who have been pushing for years for this to happen. To celebrate the fun changes in Norfolk, the city held its first-ever Food Truck Rodeo next to the MacArthur Station Tide stop last week. Four Trucks were in attendance, including the always delicious Hubcap Grill.

To follow the rodeo, we hit up the annual Etsy Craft Party at Kitsch. Free stickers, snacks, decorate your own bamboo silverware - we live life on the edge.

#81: Food Trucks and #16: Freebie - Etsy Craft Party, are off the list!

Side note on the Food Trucks 
Norfolk Live had a great article about all the new Food Trucks, where to find them and where to follow them - check it out here.

I'm participating in my third 92 Days of Summer challenge. Read about the project here.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

#69 Pimento Cheese

I'm not really sure why this is on the list other than I had some at our friend's Casey and Greg's last summer and it was so yummy that I've been thinking about making it for a year! Turns out it was also a learning experience for me. I thought a pimento was just a red bell pepper, but turns out it's actually a sweet cherry pepper. You'll often see the cherry peppers in the olive bar and they are usually 1-2" in diameter, however, they can grow up to 4" wide. They are sweeter than the bell pepper and some varieties can be spicy. One last thing, the word "pimento" is Portuguese for "bell pepper."

On with the recipe!

8 oz. cream cheese (light or fat free is fine)
3 tbsp mayo
1 handful of shredded cheddar cheese
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3-4 slices of jalapeno, chopped
6 oz. jar pimentos, drained, patted dry and chopped

Throw everything in your mixer for a few minutes. Serve with crackers, veggies, or on a sandwich.

Number 62 is off the list! I'm participating in my third 92 Days of Summer challenge. Read about the project here.

#9 Estate Sales

I have become an Estate Sale junkie. Since Better Block and my hunt for all things vintage craft related I still scour Craigslist and PilotOnline for weekend sales. I patiently await my Monday morning emails informing me of the upcoming weekend's sale and half the time I don't even end up going! Mike and I checked out one in Norfolk recently because of the "yard tools" listed. The house had a garage full of tools, which we didn't need, but we were able to pick up two shovels and small small gardening tools for less than $6.

The house was completely full of other nice finds - especially since everything was half off that day. Not to mention the sweet tiled patio above? I'm just pondering the places we could do that at our new place. Probably need to make several dozen cookies for our downstairs neighbor before bringing this one up :)

Stay tuned for more photos from sales throughout the Summer...

I'm participating in my third 92 Days of Summer challenge. Read about the project here.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

#62 Make Bread

Pepperoni bread was one of those recipes my didn't make a ton, but when she did, it was eaten quickly. A few years back she made a vegetarian version for me and my sister and again, it was eaten quickly. Since my sister arrived last night I decided to make some for our week together. I totally winged the recipe and have decided it should have been made with bread dough (my mom uses the frozen kind) instead of the pizza dough. Still delicious, none-the-less!

What you need:
1 package pizza dough (Trader Joe's)
1 package vegetarian pepperoni (note: I couldn't get these at our Trader Joe's, ended up finding them at the Farm Fresh)
4-5 slices of mozzarella cheese
salt, pepper, basil, oregano, crushed red pepper
olive oil

What you do:
1. Oil your pan so the bread doesn't stick. Roll out the dough so it's about 1/4" thick. Sprinkle with seasonings.
2. Place a layer of pepperoni and a layer of cheese. I tore apart the slices so there was so overlapping between the 'ronis and cheese.
3. Sprinkle with a little more of the seasonings and a little oil. Roll like a jellyroll and pinch the ends shut.
4. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. You can eat it hot right out of the oven, but I like to wait until the cheese sets in, about 20 minutes or so. Cut in 1/2" slices and serve.

Number 62 is off the list! I'm participating in my third 92 Days of Summer challenge. Read about the project here.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Color Therapy

This month's color therapy is more about the color and style of picture frames, rather than just one particular color. I've done Round 1 of photo editing all my travel photos from the years and I'm at 44. Somehow I need to get that down to a solid 15. Or less if I introduce mirrors and decor in the mix. These are the walls I'm totally digging so far.

Nice and calm. The black and white is a little too plain for me, but it looks nice with all black and white photos.

I hate when pictures touch, but this looks amazing. Although, everything looks amazing on a brick wall. Not sure I'd do all mirrors, but throwing in one or two is definitely happening.

Nice photo wall for the craft room where pictures could constantly change - or even the kitchen with different recipes.

Great looking stairwell, which we have...

Like the idea of using art in the corner. That way we wouldn't have to clog it up with more furniture :)

Mike would probably hate this. And I have to admit, it's a little eclectic for even my tastes, but it does look adorable here.


This is one Mike would absolutely love. It's a fantastic way to display all those panoramic photos he's always picking out!

The mix of wood, black, warehouse, and country is great in this.
Can you just move it to Norfolk for me?

Monday, June 17, 2013

#29: Craft Show

I loved this little lady (I'm guessing) her son. They looked through every quiet book on my table during my latest craft show, The Town Fair at Town Center. Her son would almost quiz her on how many sides a pentagon has or what animals they were looking at. There were a couple that stumped him so I had to jump in with the answer (it was a waffle in the breakfast book, of course!). The woman thanked me for allowing her to take a look and told me my work was beautiful. To me, the craft show was 100% worth it.

Number 29 is off the list! I'm participating in my third 92 Days of Summer challenge. Read about the project here.

Monday Musebles

Absolutely love this sign, the back read "John Ward 1971: Authentic Sign Abandoned by Gypsies on Wilson Blvd. in Arlington, VA." Could have been mine for a mere $300!

Our dining room table and bedroom set was delivered on Friday. Of course, we can't just have a smooth process, so only half of the bed was delivered. They tried again on Sunday to bring the missing footboard and brought the wrong we wait some more. In the meantime, I made our first family dinner on a real table Friday night.

window pane

Saturday morning I woke up bright and early and went garage saling to find a dehumidifier for only $10! I thought for sure it wouldn't work, but it's in the basement collecting water as we speak! I hit up Country Boys on Granby Street, which is a place I love and am terrified of at the same time.
It's a salvage yard/antique store full of treasures...if you can get to them. I found a set of black weathered shutters I'm pretty fond of ($35 for the pair) and a antique window pane ($85 for one), which I'm particularly interested in.

English stained glass

1920s wardrobe

I finally stopped in this place called Boobala's Importers on Granby. I've driven by it a million times and never actually stopped in. If you're looking for the mecca of stained glass, this is the place to go! Beautiful stuff, lots of it, but prices start at $125 for an 11"x14" piece. The rest of the store is filled with goreous antiques. I found a wardrobe there from the 1920s, all dark hardwood, asking $300. It would need shelves and I'm not leaning toward anymore dark furniture in the house, so I passed on it.

Howeletts Trading Post opened up just two weeks ago (on Granby Street as well). I found a great china cabinet there, glass and shelves still in tact ($275). It would definitely need a deep cleaning, a polish and probably the shelves painted.

At the end of the day I came home with just the dehumidifier and quite a few new go-to places for antiques and thrifty goodness.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

#60 Smash the Cake

When Kelly asked me to do Thomas' one-year pictures I was both excited and a little nervous. Photographing babies is not an easy tasking. You can just say "move your hand," "chin down," "fix your shirt because it's doing a weird thing." Babies do their own thing when they want and how they want. However, I realized through this shoot, that's what makes it so flippin' cute!

It's hard to think this little man is turning one. And that Kelly and Randy's maternity shoot was almost a year and a half ago. I've learned so much about babies, family and what joy a little tot can bring into your life and am so grateful to have captured these precious moments for Kelly, Randy and Thomas (even though we it's moooostly for Kelly ;).

Kelly did an amazing job in her stylist role, haha. The outfit, the ballons, down to the blues in the cake, everything looked perfect. We also gained this sweet wooden high chair, which resembles the one I had as a child (and my mom still has in her garage attic), for only $20 on Craigslist!

Happy Birthday Thomas! Can't wait to see what this year brings - and what photo shoots we can make you do before you realize what's going, haha.

Number 60 is off the list! I'm participating in my third 92 Days of Summer challenge. Read about the project here.