32 Things Before I’m 32: Item #1, Reupholster Some Furniture (part two)

Welcome to the second part of my adventures in reupholstering furniture! Part one of this task featured the recovering on my trunk, using fabric I found while actually shopping for fabric for this project: covering the dining chairs. This project was not hard, per se, but it took longer than I had anticipated and left me quite exhausted.

We got our table and chairs from my mother, who bought them off someone on Craigslist, I think. They were about $100 for the table and 6 chairs; a steal, even if some of the chairs were beat up. Two of the chairs had practically no cushioning left, and another two were a little worn down, but two chairs looked like they had never been sat in. The fabric that was on the chairs wasn’t bad, but we felt we needed something with a little more pop.

The Before
The Before

You can see how that cushion on the left needs a little TLC. Unfortunately I didn’t get to give it as much as it needed because I didn’t have the right materials. But that’s ok, it still looks pretty good.

Purdy.
Purdy.

I got this fabric at Joann’s Fabric last weekend, when Becky Neal was visiting. I originally wanted the colors to be red and off white (so it wasn’t too loud), but this fabric spoke to me. It’s technically outdoor upholstery fabric, so it won’t fade or wear down easily, plus it’s easy to clean. It wasn’t cheap though, I bought 3 yards at $21/yard (and I have very little left over). When I told Jason the total last weekend, his eyes got really big.

Pickwick decided to help.
Pickwick decided to help.
See, very helpful.
See, very helpful.

I started with one of the best looking chairs, deciding to carefully remove the cover so I could use it as a pattern for the rest of the chairs. I began by unscrewing the seat from the rest of the chair. Unfortunately I wasn’t really paying attention to how the chair was built, and accidentally took a leg off instead. I spent the next 20 minutes trying to get those pesky screws back in place.

Can you see how easy this comes off? Apparently I did not.
Can you see how easy this comes off? Apparently I did not.

Once I got the seat removed (four screws, seriously Cervone, what’s your issue?) I painstakingly removed the million and one staples from the underside of the seat, preserving the white fabric and the cover to the best of my ability.

Staples!
Staples!
So many staples.
So many staples.
Seriously, who needs this many staples?
Seriously, who needs this many staples?

After removing the cover, I then yanked all the broken and loose staples out of the chair, to make sure they didn’t get in the way. This took me nearly an hour, but it was (probably) worth it.

Tada!
Tada!

The cover kept its shape pretty well – I laid it on the new fabric and drew a basic outline. Since the original fabric had a little stretch and the new fabric didn’t, I cute the new fabric slightly large and more square. I figured I could trim it down once I attached it.

This is gonna be good.
This is gonna be good.

Then I just stapled, stapled, and stapled some more. The first chair was the easiest, because once I finished it, I needed to make the rest look as similar as possible. Harder than you think.

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Not so bad, Cervone.

After it was done, I reattached it to the chair.

Classy.
Classy.
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The new and the original. Fantastic upgrade, if I do say so myself.

Then I did that for three more chairs (on one chair I just ripped the fabric to shreads, it was great). My hands were really hurting. There were a few mishaps: there was a thin layer on padding on all the chairs that I didn’t expect, and on the two pretty ok seats the padding had started to disintegrate. I was able to salvage it, mostly, but I wish I had been able to replace it.

The thin foam, falling apart.
The thin foam, falling apart.

I needed to replace the cushions for two of the chairs, so I completely removed the cushion from one of the chairs and traced the wooden seat on some foam to get the shape right. However, without that thin layer of padding the cushions won’t hold their shape correctly and there are hard edges where the wooden seat isn’t covered.

Fooooooooam.
Fooooooooam.
Can you see how crappy this seat is?
Can you see how crappy this seat is?

I ended up putting the rest of the project on hold (since we only use 4 chairs at a time) until I get the thin foam, and will finish it next weekend (probably).

Finished or not, the upgrade is really fantastic, and I’m glad I took the six hours to do it. While not the cheapest upgrade either, it was still less expensive than buying six new dining chairs. I sent a picture to Michelle, and now she wants me to recover her dining chairs. I probably will, for the price of dinner and maybe some wine, because I really had a lot of fun.

The (mostly) finished product.
The (mostly) finished product.

Until next time!

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32 Things Before I’m 32: Item #1, (Finally) Reupholster Some Furniture (part one)

Initially I planned to hold off starting my “32 Things Before I’m 32” tasks until I turned 31, but I’m terribly impatient, and my BFF Becky pointed out that there was really no reason for me to wait.

So, for my first task I decided to finally reupholster my antique trunk, a gift from my mother. I’ve had the trunk since I was in high school, and my mother had last recovered it for me back in 2005, when I was getting my first off campus apartment. She covered it in brown vinyl that looked like leather, so I could use it as a coffee table. I left it that way even though I didn’t love it, mostly because I am lazy.

The trunk.
The trunk.

However, yesterday while shopping for fabric to cover the dining chairs (that will be part two of this task) I came across this fantastic Parisian themed home decor fabric (ON SALE!) and couldn’t not get some. I bought a yard, with no idea as to what I would do with it. But then, while getting ready to head back out to see The Bloggess (another entry for another day?) it occurred to both me and Becky that this fabric was PERFECT for recovering the trunk!

Don't you love it?
Don’t you love it?

I was excited to get it done, so after Becky headed back home this morning I made my way back to Joann Fabrics and bought trim and some foam (to create a cushion, which it didn’t have before) and settled down for a little fun.

You can see the damage that Pickwick has done.
You can see the damage that Pickwick has done.

First, I ironed the fabric and got it as crease-free as I possible could.

Bye-bye creases!
Bye-bye creases!

Then I took the old vinyl and trim off the trunk.

Not so pretty without a cover.
Not so pretty without a cover.
You can see here all the little nails that held on the trim. I forgot to buy nails to put on the new trim, so dug every single one of these out to reuse them.
You can see here all the little nails that held on the trim. I forgot to buy nails to put on the new trim, so dug every single one of these out to reuse them.

Once I got the old cover off, I measured and cut the foam to size (I apparently didn’t bother to photograph this) and figured out how I wanted the fabric to lay.

I like it!
I like it!

Once I got it exactly where I wanted it, I (carefully) stapled it in place.

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Most people fold the fabric under and staple underneath, but I didn’t want to damage the decorative wood on the underside, plus it wood look weird.

Once I got the fabric stapled down perfectly (or mostly), I cut off the excess and attached new trim with the same teeny tiny nails that held down the old trim.

This was harder than you'd expect - the nails were tiny and some went right through the trim.
This was harder than you’d expect – the nails were tiny and some went right through the trim.

But then, I was done! And the finished product was beautiful.

The trim is complete!
The trim is complete!
The finished product.
The finished product.
One more, for good measure.
One more, for good measure.

I think it turned out pretty great! The whole project took me about 2 1/2 hours total, not including a break to eat chocolate and having to hide while Jason got the ironing stuff out of the closet hiding my birthday present.

This kind of reupholstery is easier than you’d think, and a great project for anyone wanting to make a major decorative change in their decor without buying new furniture.

Next week I plan to recover (and re-cushion) 6 dining chairs: stay tuned for part two!

Doing Stuff: the Crafty Edition

We’ve been very busy over the past three months: while living with my mother in law I was commuting nearly four hours a day and then spending most weekends at the house, getting it ready for our move in; once we moved into the house on May 1, we started committing every waking moment to getting unpacked or buying furniture or just trying to figure out how many things we can grill because we don’t currently have a working stove. Let me tell you, you never realize how much you use a stove until you don’t have one.

We’ve done other things, like attend some friends’ wedding (it was gorgeous and wonderful); we hosted a bunch of friends, families, and colleagues for Memorial Day (/house-warming); and we started doing little projects like replacing lights or, in my case, refinishing ugly furniture.

It’s too expensive to purchase all new furniture, although we have spent a pretty penny doing it anyway. We were looking for a coffee table for the living room, as our previous one was giant, ugly, and had been destroyed (by me) right before we moved. We were struggling to find anything that might fit into the space without covering up the funky carpet but also without overwhelming the room. It’s a narrow space, only about six feet between the couch and fireplace, so we couldn’t do anything massive. After lots of discussions, we decided we wanted to get a plush ottoman that would be good for multiple reasons. Once we settled on our idea, we were then tasked with trying to find something in a good price range. Sadly, everything that we liked was just a little more expensive than we could justify paying right now. Enter: my mother.

In January, during the first weekend we had the house, my mother had picked a dirty, stained ottoman off the sidewalk in front of a house down the street from our own. It seemed to be in perfect condition, save a teeny tiny tear and black stains (that looked sort of like ink). She threw it into the back of her truck with the intention of re-upholstering it and sneaking it into our house. Of course, she never got around to doing so and when she heard that we were looking for an ottoman, she trekked it over to our house on a visit. It fit perfectly. Except for the stains, of course.

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I have very limited experience with upholstery, having only recovered the seats and backs of some easy to take apart and put back together chairs Jason brought to the old apartment. I considered just taking it to a professional, since we’re eventually taking our armchair to one, but I couldn’t bring myself to spend the money on this very free item. Mom casually mentioned painting it, and after some researching, I discovered a crazy number of tutorials on painting fabric furniture.

I finally settled on using a post titled “IKEA Hack” that seemed to fit my fancy.

It’s pretty simple, and you can follow her tutorial, if you want to do this, which will be a little more involved than mine. I started out by purchasing a quart of latex paint from Home Depot – what’s nice about buying latex interior paint is that you have a world of colors to choose from. Originally I planned to go for a green, but on a whim grabbed a pink sample that ended up being almost a perfect color match. I then purchased two 6 oz bottles of Martha Stewart’s Fabric Paint Medium and some Martha Stewart All Surface Paint in Gold, both from Michael’s. I used a regular brush (Purdy) for the majority of painting, and a small paintbrush for the trim.

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I mixed two parts latex paint with one part medium: or as close to my forgetting to figure out a way to measure as possible. I didn’t choose a large enough mixing dish, so it got a little messy. (that drink cup did NOTHING!)

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Once mixed, I sprayed the top of the ottoman down with warm water – not until it was soaked, but just damp. This is supposed to help the paint adhere better. I cannot honestly tell you that it helped on top, but it sure did on the sides.

I gave the entire thing two coats, which took about 90 minutes – the color match was so dead on in places that I couldn’t tell what I had gone over. Also, even though the cushion on my ottoman was attached, it did lift up to expose about 6 inches underside; I chose to not paint too much of that since it’ll never be seen.

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After I put two coats on the ottoman, I had planned to paint large faded gold polka dots all over the piece, but changed my mind. Instead, I just painted the piping trim around the top cushion. That took me forever (about an hour for the entire thing) and i only did one coat. I decided to leave it with a slightly worn and aged look.

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The paint on top wasn’t drying evenly, so after it fully dried I painted a third layer there. That was a mistake, because I couldnt’ get close to the trim for fear of messing it up. Luckily, that dried better than expected.

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It still isn’t perfect: the stains on the ottoman seemed to have created a barrier of some sort, so the texture is different. If you look really close you can see the difference.

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But really, it’s not too noticeable. Plus, I have a wooden tray on top and that looks pretty darn good. Overall, it was a good project and I am very much looking forward to my next one.

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My next project might involve the sander, which is pretty exciting. Until next time!

Emily: On Writing

Yesterday at lunch, my friend Allie challenged me to write her a character description and send it to her by next week. I am longing to get myself really back into writing, but I find that instead of sitting down and focusing, I allow myself to binge watch Netflix and Hulu. Not the healthiest habit.

I have been struggling with finding a direction for several years: I don’t know if I want to focus on fiction or try my hand at non-fiction/personal essays. I read my friend Jenna’s blog and long for her frankness and raw talent, and I talk to Allie about her novel and find that I am jealous of her ability to write more than a few paragraphs. I honestly wonder if I am really a writer, or just someone who used to be a writer and now have lofty, whispers of a dream left. Then I think about phrase like “whispers of a dream” and think, hey that’s not half bad, maybe I am a writer.

Sometimes I want to write about my past, about my high school and college boyfriends (I wanted to use the word lover here, but it felt insincere – it’s not a word I normally use to describe any aspect of my life) and about how I was feeling and what inappropriate or ridiculous things I was doing at the time. But I also want my husband to read and want to read my writing, and I don’t think he would be comfortable with these essays.

Hm, this seems like the perfect opportunity to write about myself and my past life in fictional form… Maybe I am on to something.

But I am impatient. I want to be at the middle of the story before I even begin; I want my characters to be perfectly developed without me having to try. That’s not how it works and I know that. Another reason I fear I may not really be a writer. And maybe I’m not. Maybe I’m just a really good reader.

I am going to take Allie’s challenge, and if I like what I write, I will post it here as well. Maybe. Maybe I will keep my character to me and Allie only, until it’s ready to go out on its own into the world. I don’t really know, but I hope this challenge brings me back into something that I was once incredibly passionate about, back to something that many people expected to me pursue as a career. Back to what used to be part of who I was.

’twas a good year!

HAPPY NEW YEAR’S EVE!

I have been a very bad blogger as of late, but I can’t end this year without saying a few words about this incredible year.

This year was one of the best I’ve had in my life (even if the rest of world had a pretty lousy one). This year, I:

  • GOT MARRIED!!!!
  • went to Mexico!
  • hiked, hiked, and hiked some more
  • DID A LOT OF STUFF
  • turned THIRTY!
  • learned to love martinis!
  • traveled to England (post to come)!
  • (bought a house! sort of. more to come, shhhh)

I am excited for 2015 because:

  • I get to celebrate the marriages of TWO couples (Yay, Justin and Sabrina! Yay, Jacy and Nick!)
  • We’re moving!!! (more to come, shhhhh)
  • I am going to drink ALL the gin. (while learning to make martinis, of course)
  • I am going to hike even MORE.
  • I am going to run 2 5Ks. At least that is what I just decided. This exact minute.
  • We’ll probably get to go on some sort of awesome vacation. Maybe.

My hope is that 2015 brings me good things in addition to my above goals – I want to write more, I want to lose that weight I’ve been promising to lose, I want to finally learn to sew, and learn to knit. I want to bake bread and throw elaborate dinner parties. I want to read as many books as I can (but I am forgoing the Goodreads challenge, sort of). I want to learn to run a 10 minute mile. I want to remember to send cards for every birthday and return phone calls and visit the people I love!

I am not one to make resolutions; every year I try, and every year I fail. So instead, I am just giving my self some hoped goals (mixed in with the things I know are going to happen) and we’ll see where I land.

Have a safe and fun night tonight, fellow celebratory people! I hope you get to ring in the new year with the people you love.

See you next year!

A Farewell to Summer

September 1st has arrived and with it, instead of fall weather (my favorite), comes 85 degree days and humidity thick enough that even my hair frizzes.

Still, is there a better way to say goodbye to “summer” than to sit in my little apartment with my cat and husband, drinking coffee spiked with the last of our pumpkin creme liqueur? No. Wait, maybe I will make some pumpkin spice toast. Yes, that’s a thing.

Jason and I said goodbye to summer by taking our (my) biggest hike yet: the Franconia Ridge. The hike was an 8.9-mile loop, unofficially split into three parts. The first part was the hardest: called the Falling Waters trail, it’s a 3-mile trail that took us up up up up to the summit of Mt. Lincoln, the second highest of the 3 peaks on the ridge. The second part was a 1.7-mile trail that trekked across the ridge, from the tip of Mt. Lincoln, across Little Haystack, ending at the top of Mt. Lafayette, one of the highest peaks and the second most prominent mountains in New Hampshire. The third part is really almost two parts: the first being a short 1-mile downhill trail (the Greenleaf Trail) from the top of Lafayette to the Greenleaf Hut, a decent sized resting place for Appalachian Trail hikers (or all hikers) that houses actual bathrooms, a handful of bunk rooms, a kitchen, and a dining area, as well as gorgeous views of the ridge. The second and final section of the third part is a 3.2-mile downhill trail (The Old Bridle Path) that ends at the parking lot where we started. You can actually follow the entire trail the opposite direction, but this way is considered the smarter way, as the bridle path is the easier of the two paths and therefore best to save for the end, when you’re tired.

A view of the ridge from the way down.
A view of the ridge from the way down.

I was incredibly excited about this hike – I knew it would prove to be more difficult than anything we had done yet, but I also knew it would give me some of the best and most satisfying views, ever. So I started out with a positive attitude. The weather was perfect: warm enough that we could wear short sleeves, but cool enough that we weren’t overheating. I got to use both my new day pack and wear my new hiking pants. I was ready to go.

Of course, my body didn’t fully agree with me. I was struggling to find the energy after the first mile, which is strange, because usually it takes me a mile to warm up. Still, I pushed on through, taking slightly longer than we anticipated. On the way up, we met several other hikers (it was incredibly crowded) including a very friendly German man and his companion (he was so nice that when I saw him a few miles after we first crossed paths, he checked in to see if I was doing ok); a dog named Asher and his two owners (we reconnected with Archer & Co many times); Jim, a slightly overweight middle-aged man who was struggling his way to the top where his (very young and fit) female friend was waiting; a group of 3 legitimate hippies, one who was hiking sans-shoes; and this horribly annoying group of hikers that would either rudely push past anyone that was going slower than them, or walk practically on top of them while talking loudly, but never once asking to pass by. We didn’t care for that last group.

After about two and a half hours of hiking, Jason and I made it to the top of Mt. Lincoln (which is 5089′ elevation). This is where we met a dog named Zeb, and his owner. I was probably a quarter mile from the peak, I could see the peak, and yet my legs were screaming at me to stop so I paused briefly on a rock. Zeb immediately came over to comfort me, and nudged me upwards. I made it. Before I could even take in the breath taking view, Jim’s hiking companion called out to us, asking if we had seen Jim. We told her he was not far behind, and she told us how proud she was of him for doing this. Then we looked around and settled down on a rock to enjoy some lunch while enjoying the views. At one point, Asher came bounding over and generously licked all the sweat from Jason’s face. Whatta great dog.

One of the amazing views from Mt. Lincoln.
One of the amazing views from Mt. Lincoln.

What a difference the summit is from the trailhead weather wise. When we started, it was all short sleeves and we were still sweating as we hiked. Once we were up top, the winds were strong enough to knock us over if we let them, and were cold to boot, so we bundled ourselves up on our long sleeves and headed out onto the ridge trail. (Unfortunately, I failed to put on sunscreen and now have a weird sunburn around my neck. Ah well.)

The ridge trail is relatively easy, with only a few steep inclines. I actually enjoyed the parts where I had to use my hands to pull myself up. It was during this part of the hike that we met up with Archer again – he hiked with us for a bit with his humans not far behind. His presence made me long for a dog of my own, as I’m pretty sure Pickwick is not the hiking type.

The views from Little Haystack (4780′) were also lovely, but we didn’t stay long, as we were hankering to get to the top of Lafayette.

Part of the ridge, going towards Lincoln, I think.
Part of the ridge, going towards Mt. Lincoln, I think.

Off we went! I was tired. I was sweaty and cold. I was strangely not hungry. Well, for food. I was hungry for the peak.

Mt. Layfette from the halfway point from Little  Haystack.
Mt. Lafayette from the halfway point from Little Haystack.

Finally, we made it to the top of Lafayette (5249′)! My legs didn’t want to stop moving but OH were they tired. We settled down for a snack and to take in the incredible views. I was speechless. For once in my life.

I DID IT!
I DID IT!
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The glorious view!

Well, I was pretty much done for by this point. Sadly, we still had another 4 miles to go before we reached the bottom. At least it was downhill. The 1-mile hike to the hut was actually really nice – we passed a lot of people who were on their way up, and it was nice to give them encouragement! I had to hold back from singing “The hiiiiiiiills are ALIIIIIIIIIIVE with the sound of muuuuuuuuuussssiiiiic!” at the top of my lungs. I was feeling good again. We made it to the hut in record time. After a quick rest, we set back out. (This was when we noticed that my GPS was a good mile off, which was really weird. Oh well. ONWARD!)

Now, earlier I mentioned the horribly annoying group of hikers – this was where we met up with them again. Going downhill at such a sharp decline is really difficult. You have to have patience and know hiking etiquette when it comes to passing, both passing those going the opposite direction of you and those going the same way. This group, which at this point was just 3 of the annoying people, the others being VERY slow, obviously knew nothing of hiking etiquette. Earlier, on the Falling Waters trail, I had been quite a bit behind Jason, when these 3 people came running up from behind me and nearly knocked me over passing by. We met up with them several times since, sometimes as they waited for their very slow companions and other times as the entire group tried to pass up by (without a single thank you). So here we were, on a very narrow and relatively steep decline, with a nice family in front of us, and these jerks come rushing up behind Jason. I’m already doing my best not to step on the mother in front of me, and the “leader” of the annoying group is practically stepping on Jason’s heels. Well, they weren’t getting by us! We kept our pace and blocked their way as they tried to pass us by on the slightly wider sections of the trail. You could tell they were annoyed with us, but we refused to budge until we heard an “excuse me.” We never did. They eventually took a break to wait for the rest of their group and never seemed to catch up with us again.

Aside from the annoying group, the rest of the hike was relatively uneventful. I twisted my ankle (I’m fine) and Jason might have pulled something (it’s still aching) but we were pretty much no worse for the wear. We finished the hike at 6 hours, 21 minutes, and 21 seconds (thanks Runkeeper!). As we stumbled out of the woods into the sunlight, we turned back to look at the peak one more time. We couldn’t see it.

We poured ourselves into the car, sticky and dirty and ready to be home. The 2 and a half hour drive ahead of us was daunting, but we were anxious to get in the shower. So eager were we to get home that even though we were hungry, we decided to forgo a visit to the Tilton Diner, a diner we had passed a few times and were eager to try. Frozen coffee drinks would have to suffice. When we made it home we took long hot showers, ordered pizza, and indulged in a movie and some dark & stormys.

Needless to say, my legs were dead the next day. We left the house only for brunch and a booze run, then settled into a long day of Ugly Betty reruns and marathon mimosas (Jason drank beer and read).

So here we are now, the last day of what we refer to as “summer” (although it actually will last for another 22 days), ready for the leaves to change, the wardrobes to change over, and for pumpkin everything to take over our lives. The fall is my favorite time of year, and will be filled with me doing stuff, so don’t be nervous that I won’t be around. This fall I will go to San Francisco for the first time, travel a ton for work, go on many hikes, pick apples, celebrate my book club’s 5th anniversary, overindulge in pumpkin flavored foods, and turn THIRTY. This fall is full of promise, and I for one can’t wait to live it.

A (not-so) quick recap of where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing…

It has been weeks since I have updated this thing, but I have an excuse! I have been very busy doing stuff! Or watching re-runs of Greek on Netflix, whatever. I’ll see if I can do a short recap of what I’ve been up to…

July 25-27: Jason headed to the Cape for a Guy’s Weekend and I shopped too much. I hit up this amazing sidewalk sale at a local boutique, as well as the local bookstore and I got a lot of cute things for next to nothing. I also went to the movies on Sunday morning, to see Begin Again. It was lovely and musical and I was surprised that Keira Knightley could sing. I immediately went home and downloaded the soundtrack.

August 1: I got my hair cut, and decided to go the faux hawk route. It was a daring decision but one I do not regret, even though my mother and sister both hate it and aren’t shy about saying it over and over again. I’m still adjusting to it, but I feel sort of bad ass. It is changing my personal style a little, but maybe that’s also because I am almost 30 and it’s time to change it up. After my hair cut, Jason and I headed to the Planetarium at the Museum of Science. We had been hoping to go for years now, so were both really excited to go! The show was both educational and amusing. I highly recommend checking it out. Afterwards, we had an early dinner and then decided to catch a showing of Magic in the Moonlight, the new Woody Allen movie. It was delightful and cute.

August 2-3: Jason and I attended a HUGE surprise party in NY to celebrate my childhood best friend, Jessica, turning 30. It was really nice to catch up with her and her family, drink really good beer, and indulge in the biggest smoked pig I have ever seen. It was awesome. We headed back to Boston the next morning and met up with Michelle and Maurice for fried clams and ice cream at Wollaston Beach. It was a little too cold to be on the water, but damn fried clams are delicious.

August 6: We finally made it to the MFA! We had been trying to go for over a month and wanted to get there before the end of August, when the Magna Carta display is over. We started out buy having dinner at one of the mid-range restaurants… it left us wanting more. The food was decent, but the service was pretty poor and the waiter never once refilled my water or asked if I wanted more wine. And they forgot to give us bread! However, we weren’t there for the food, but the art. We enjoyed the Magna Carta exhibit – it was really neat to see such a substantial piece of history in the flesh. It was hard to get close though, as this young teenage boy was literally leaning his head against the glass, trying to read it. The exhibit also included furniture and art work from the same time period. After the Magna Carta we explored some earlier American work, then checked out an exhibit on WWI propaganda posters from all over the work. Very cool, and my second favorite of the night. We, of course, visited the Impressionists and the rest of the Americas but then I started to get tired, so we decided to leave. After a fruitful visit to the gift shop, we stumbled across the work of Jamie Wyeth, who I am a little obsessed with now. Sadly, we came across the exhibit just as the museum was closing, so we had to leave. I hope to go back!

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Self portrait of the artist

August 8: Jason and I treated ourselves to a fancy viewing of Guardians of the Galaxy. We went to the Superlux, which has assigned seats, full meals, alcohol, and waiters. The food was surprisingly great, and the cocktails were divine. The only downfall of having a waiter during a film is that they walk in front of you, or interrupt during climactic scenes. The movie was fantastic though – we are still talking about how much we liked it weeks later. It brought together all the best elements that superhero movies try to invoke: amusement, romance, action, adventure, and a little sorrow. Go see it.

August 9: Recently my friend Monica and her husband bought a house, so they decided to throw a little housewarming. It was a nice day full of really good food (Monica is an incredible chef) and cocktails. After the house warming party, Mich and my friend Marissa came back to my apartment to kill time before Marissa’s birthday party. We drank this awful rum sparkler drink I had purchased on a whim (note to reader: do not buy the Malibu Rum Sparklers that come in a champagne bottle. GROSS.) The three of us and Jason piled onto the T, slightly tipsy and ready to party. Marissa’s party was at Sacco’s & Flatbreads, this awesome duck pin bowling alley with an awesome pizza restaurant inside. The food was SO GOOD (ratatouille pizza!) and the beer was flowing. Turns out that I’m not that bad at duck pin bowling, once I stop trying so hard.

August 10: Jason, his mother Renie, and I got up early and headed to Mt. Moosilauke in NH for our biggest hike yet. The mountain is 4802′ elevation. It was a lot harder than I was prepared for (considering I had been out later drinking and eating pizza), but we handled it like champs. The views from the top were just incredible. We somehow managed to do 7 miles in a little over 5 hours. Jason made sure to point out all the bird noises. We met a lot of dogs, including one good boy that pretty much wanted to come home with us. We rounded out the day with ice cream – and it doesn’t get much better than that.

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This is the tallest I will ever be.

August 13-17: Jason and I were supposed to join my family at our summer house, Cubs Cove, in Speculator, NY. Alas, Pickwick decided that the previous weekend was the ideal time to get sick. After a lot of vet consultations, it was determined that she was suffering from E. coli and a yeast infection in her ears. With a medicine routine involving both twice daily pills and twice daily ear drops, we couldn’t very well ask a friend to watch over her. Jason insisted that I go onto Speculator without him, and I went begrudgingly. The few days I was up there were beautiful, although not terribly eventful. One day, maybe soon, I will write about the house and it’s history. The basics: it’s a large un-insulated cabin on a lake built around 1903, that sleeps nearly 2 dozen people comfortably and has a big moose head over the fireplace (his name is Ernest). My mom’s family bought it in 1968 or so, and we’ve spent every summer up there. Our visit this year was a bit chilly (the temperature rarely made it above 65 degrees), but it was still a blast. I went (polar bear) swimming every morning, baked cookies and biscuits, made chicken wing dip and ice cream, and indulged in lots of gin and tonics and NYS wine. We went to a HUGE craft fair to benefit the thrift shop my grandmother helps operate, where I bought some jewelry, smoked cheese curds, and multiple gifts for my mom. On Saturday Mom and I adventured over to the new antique shop – it was full over gorgeous but overpriced furniture and piles of vintage glassware. I was in thrifters heaven, but due to a lack of house refrained from buying an antique writing desk. We did leave with a lace table cloth, a Derringer gun pendant, weird fold up glasses, and some other strange things – all for $8. It was a steal. The rest of my time there was filled with ice cream, board games, drinking, and a roaring fire in the fireplace. Needless to say, I didn’t really want to go home.

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Obligatory picture from the front porch.

August 21: Jason and I went to the movies AGAIN and saw the film CalvaryCalvary is about an Irish priest (Brendan Gleeson) trying to get his life together while he prepares for his (promised) murder by a mystery man. The movie is dark and emotional, and some parts were laugh out loud funny. The performances were absolutely fantastic ( Chris O’Dowd and Dylan Moran in serious roles are something else) and the scenery, OH the scenery. It made me miss being in Ireland so much. This might have been the best movie I saw all summer.

August 23: On top of still dealing with E. coli, Pick has now developed a kitty-cold. She is sneezing her face off every few minutes. It was so bad at one point that she kept both of us awake most of the night. More medicine!

August 24: Hey, that’s today! Jason and I found a book at Brookline Booksmith (shop local) yesterday, featuring 60 hikes in the Greater Boston Area. We wanted to get out and about today without doing anything far away or really hard (we’re saving that for next week!) so we decided to try out a 5.2 mile loop at the Middlesex Fells. The hike was considered moderate – it made a nice long loop around three reservoirs crossing through Winchester, Stoneham, and Medford. There isn’t much to say about it except that it took us a little under the predicted 3 hours, and we would highly recommend it for anyone looking for a good cross country hike. The trail was relatively quiet, although it intersects with a lot of other, more active trails, and is also used in parts by mountain bikers. There is a dog park at the beginning of the trail, next to a picnic area, and there were a lot of dogs, so it must be the place to go. After our hike, we popped over to REI, where I finally invested in my own day pack and good hiking pants. Autumn hikes here we come!

Looking east, towards the southern tip of the southern reservoir.
Looking east, towards the southern tip of the southern reservoir.

And that leaves us here, with me writing this entry and you reading it. Jason is seconds away from starting his NFL Fantasy draft (his other one sadly missed because we messed up the dates) and I am about to go make us some dark and stormy’s and settle into another episode of Greek. Keep an eye out for another entry soon; I am working on expanding beyond “doing stuff,” especially as the summer wanes and our activities become few and far between. 

Next week’s activities: Paint Nite with Mich, Sarah D, and Kelley! Hiking LaFayette in NH (10 miles roundtrip)! Possible cookout at Renie’s house!