basement bathroom: done!

Last weekend Keith went to Erie and I went to Home Depot. Twice.

He had invited me along but I decided I would stay home and hang out with Daisy and get a bit done around the house. My plan, initially, was to finish up the trim in the hallway/entryway since after that I can start on the dining room! But at the last minute, I decided I would be a good wife and paint Keith’s bathroom instead. Plus I’d get that instant gratification of starting and finishing one room instead of just repainting stupid white trim.

Keith’s bathroom is in the basement and was previously a pale yellow-beige color. It was pretty ugly. Couple with no natural light, it just looked grimey. It was on my list to paint eventually, but since literally no one uses it but Keith…it wasn’t very high on the list. I thought about asking Keith what color he wanted it, but I didn’t want to ruin the surpise of painting it, so I just went with white.

Since it’s a bathroom, and a tiny one at that, I went to Home Depot on Saturday and grabbed a quart of Behr Ultra in Snow Fall (that’s the white I’ve used throughout the house and I didn’t feel like picking another one).

I was JUST barely able to finish one coat with the entire quart. I felt like such an idiot since 1 quart is $15 and 1 gallon is ~$30, but in my defense, the wall is covered in some sort of burlap that has been painted over and all those little divots really sucked up the paint and I did not expect that. Also the room is very oddly shaped, there is a little nook for the toilet and another for the tub and the i-beam in the ceiling…had the bathroom been a regular box, I think I would have been okay. But I wasn’t. So I went back to Home Depot and bought a gallon.

I wasn’t able to get to the second coat until Sunday morning. I started painting at 10am and Keith was due back at noon, so it was a race against the clock but I did manage to finish!

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Before: This was before we bought thehouse, that seat cover/painting/flowers were not ours. You also can’t see the dark green carpet that was in there before I ruined it (when our pipes broke).

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After: So! much! better!

I was really lazy and used the same satin paint for the walls/ceiling/trim. Who cares. I haven’t had a chance to paint the door yet. Maybe I’ll go out on a limb and paint it a fun color. But Keith’s shower curtain is brown and green and I hate both of those colors, so who knows.

I really wish I had painted the room when everything was all torn out during our plumbing fiasco, it would have made paining around all those stupid corners so much easier. The bathtub is old and stained and should be replaced eventually (hence no picture) so this bathroom’s probably got another makeover in it’s future…that’s why I didn’t think too long about the color.

And! I wish the stupid contractors who finished the bathroom after our plumbing disaster had NOT used silicone caulk between the sink and wall. I get why they did but it is not paintable so there is a stupid halo of yellow-beige paint around it so I’ll need to remove it, paint and then recaulk, but I was not ready to do that.

I also removed a towel rack that was on the other side of the sink and so placed that if you hung a towel there it would have gone IN the sink and so it was of no use to Keith, but it pulled up the stupid burlap making it sort of ripped/bubbled, not even sure how to remedy that. I could cut it out and then patch it, but it will be a smooth patch on a textured wall.

WHO DECIDED BURLAP-ED WALLS LOOKED GOOD?

friday favorites: flats

Bringing back an old school topic since I’ve got lots of new favorites that I want to share!

First off: new favorite shoes.

I have a terrible issue with shoes, it seems that my feet hate them. My feet are slightly wide so even though I should wear a 7.5, I often have to size up to an 8 if they run narrow. I also have a very high arch and most shoes are not made with that in mind and so they will fit, but become incredibly uncomfortable to walk in.

When I got hired at Starbucks, eons ago, I was dirt poor. I had to go out the day before and buy black shoes. I can’t remember where I got them but I got something akin to black keds. They were very cheap and they KILLED my feet. They had absolutely no arch support even after adding some supportive insoles, standing all day was murder on my feet/legs/back. It got so bad that I would stuff wadded up paper towels into my shoes at the beginnning of each shift. But I couldn’t afford anything more expensive/supportive and that job didn’t last too long anyways so I just dealt with it.

With my current job, 3-5 days a week I wear sneakers to work. (Related: sneakers or tennis shoes? I remember hearing once that one is the east coast term and the other the west coast term but I use them both interchangably.) I’ve been on the hunt for some non-descript flats to replace them with but keep coming up empty.

Enter: Tieks. I’ve read again and again that these are the most comfortable flats on the planet. They are also the most EXPENSIVE flats on the planet. But…my feet hate cheap shoes so I’ve been thinking about it a lot and thought maybe I could just order some, try them out around the house and at the first sign of discomfort, I would return them. But that’s still a hell of a lot of money for a pair of shoes, even if I loved them. So while hemming and hawing, I was reading some reviews from bloggers (who probably got theirs for free) and it seemed like I was going to have to bite the bullet, until I saw a comment from someone saying that their Vince Camuto Ellen flats were 1/3 of the price of the Tieks and way more comfortable. Hmmm.

So I did a little research on them and kept seeing very very positive reviews. I had planned on going to Nordstrom to try some on…but then I had an even better idea* and checked eBay**. I found a pair of *very* lightly worn flats in a size 8…for $20. Sold. I have spent more on Target shoes.

 

source : hsn.com

So I bought them. They came a few weeks ago and I wore them to work. They were great! They have some elastic around the front so they hug your foot, but no elastic on the back so they don’t dig into your heel. They are real leather so they form to your foot and bonus: mine were someone else’s so they were already broken in! They don’t have much arch support but I sit a lot at work, so I found it didn’t bother me at all. I was so ready to write a glowing review about how my life was changed! And ready to buy more pairs, I would even pay full price!

And then I went to Oakland for lunch and walked ~15 blocks and got horrible blisters on my pinky toes/heels. So bad that I was tempted to walk barefoot through Oakland back to my car. Sigh.

But I wasn’t ready to give up yet…so I waited a few days for the blisters to heal and wore them again and they were fine. The third time I wore them, I even walked 4-5 lengths of the mall after working all day and not one blister. So I guess they weren’t as broken in as I had assumed, but they seem to be fine now! I even went and bought a black pair, also from eBay. I spent $35 on those ones…so $55 for two pairs of shoes that retail $80 each. Not too bad!

They aren’t the fanciest looking shoe, but they are good enough for my needs and they may have just become my holy grail of flat. Comfortable, non-descript and mostly affordable. FINALLY.

 

*Nordstrom is the worst***. I’ve gotten a few dresses/accesories from there but always ordered online. I went in once to exchange something and by the way salespeople actively ignored me, I thought I had died and become a ghost. I guess my American Eagle jeans and Target shirt don’t scream that I’m made of money, so they figure there is no sale to be made.
**eBay is sometimes my favorite. I like to find something I like in a real store and then search for it on eBay. A lot of times you can find very lightly worn stuff for super duper cheap. You’ve got to be okay with that though…and as a veteran thrift store shopper, I am more than okay with that if it saves me some dough.

***With the exception of their bra department. I bought a strapless bra there before I bought my wedding dress because I didn’t want to end up with some crappy David’s bridal bra and the saleslady couldn’t have been nicer.

#mcwed video!

So what perfect timing! I posted my final photo-recap yesterday and my friend/videographer Jason sent me the link to the feature cut of our wedding video. It is 26 minutes long, so I don’t expect everyone to watch but it is so well done. It really captures the whole mood of the day, especially my fierce RBF in the beginning when I was so nervous about running over time.

I am SO GLAD I asked Jason do this video and even happier that he accepted. I KNEW he would do something incredible. While the photos are amazing and beautiful and incredible…it’s so wonderful to have a video to remember all that little stuff in between the camera snaps.

Once again, Jason is amazing and let me reiterate that this is his FIRST wedding video. He did such an amazing job on this, just imagine the next one! Or the one after! If you are getting married anytime in the near future in the PA/MD/DC area I strongly urge you to contact/hire Jason.

Keith + Katrina (feature cut) from Jason Martin on Vimeo.

#mcwed part 8

One final post with party photos. As always, all photos by hot metal studio. I’m kind of glad it took me so long to do these because looking back at these makes me so happy. It was such a wonderful day. So filled with love. And laughs. And tears. The good kind.

Wedding - ReceptionThis is my favorite picture of my brother ever, haha. He is such a weirdo.
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I was having a lot of fun, okay? Haha, but so was everyone else by their faces.

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I was a bit more into that smooch than Keith.

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Wedding - ReceptionWe bought a few bottles of champagne and this one was leftover at the end of the night. Very classy.

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My friend Jason did the video, but at one point my stepdad told me to grab his camera because Jason had the best moves of anyone on the dance floor and someone needed to capture it. So, video-bride to the rescue!

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Former roomies and our honorary roomies.

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Wedding - ReceptionThis picture right here doesn’t quite do it justice, but this was pretty much the most perfect moment. I was outside, looking back to the barn and light is streaming out and music is streaming out and Keith was at my side while most of my nearest and dearest family and friends were inside and it was a beautiful moment that I will always remember.

#mcwed part 7

More photos!

(All photos by hot metal studio, they are incredible, aren’t they?)

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This picture really makes me wish I had gone with a tea length dress. Damn!

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While the girls were getting ready, the guys got some photos taken around our house. This is our yard. It looks so freaking epic, haha.
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#mcwed part 6

Soooo you are probably sick of reading about and looking at my wedding, but since it took me nearly 3 years from engagement to wedding, I’m going to milk out another post or four.

After Keith and I did a first look, but before the ceremony, we did our photos. I didn’t want to take time after the ceremony for pictures, although we did get some family photos then, but only about 10 minutes worth and then everyone was free to mingle and snack/drink.

Our photographers also requested to steal us for a few minutes during the reception for some “golden hour” photos, so those are scattered through as well. These are just some of my favorites, photo heavy…be warned.

*Okay I have way to many favorites, I’ll split it into two posts. As before, all photos by hot metal studio.

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restaurant review: hibachi j sushi grill

Keith and I go out to eat pretty often. Once a week or so. That’s probably not “often” in relation to some, but we never went out to eat growing up*, so once a week is often to me!

We were on a streak of getting sushi on Saturdays but haven’t gone in a while, so last Friday Keith suggested we try a new(er) place near us – Hibachi J Sushi Grill.

We have lived in Gibsonia for ~4 years now and this place has been at least 3 different things…all Chinese/Japanese. I’m not sure if they keep changing owners or if they are just trying different things, but this latest iteration opened a few months back. I was actually sitting in a parking lot taping up a box for UPS when a lady tucked a flyer under my windshield wiper. We’re not huge into buffets and already have a go-to sushi place, so it never piqued my interest until Keith brought it up.

When we walked in, there was a sign stating that they no longer served sushi. Okaaay, hibachi it is.

Now it’s not your normal hibachi set-up with grills in the middle…it’s the suburban strip-mall hibachi where they just make it and bring it out to you and you have to trust that they made the onion volcano and the flying shrimp for their own amusement.

What sets this place apart from others is it’s all you can eat. All you can eat appetizers and hibachi, I think it was $8.50 for lunch and $10.50 for dinner.

When you are seated, you are presented with a small paper menu. It lists the appetizers (crab rangoon, fried oysters, gyoza, salad, miso soup, clear soup, spring rolls) as well as the starch options for the hibachi (white rice, brown rice, fried rice, hibachi noodles, udon noodles).

The cool part about the appetizers were that you could order as few or as many as you wanted and our waitress kept reminding us if we decided we wanted more, we just had to ask. Which was pretty great. I LOVE crab rangoon, but Keith hates it, so I can never order it because I can’t eat 6 pieces of it. Here I can order 2 for myself and go to town. We also got fried oysters, which I don’t care for…but since it’s included in the cost, Keith can have as many as he wants.

For your hibachi, you pick your rice/noodle and circle it on your paper. Then you head up to what used to be a buffet. There are all your meat options. They had chicken, shrimp, scallops (I think), calamari, (fake) crab, maybe some sort of beef/steak I can’t remember.

You grab a bowl and fill her up. Then you head over to the veggies, fill up on whatever you want (they had quite a selection, much more than the standard onion/zucchini/mushroom of most hibachi places). Then you add a sauce in a little ramekin (again, great selection from spicy to plain). Then you hand your bowl off, go sit down and less than 5 minutes later they bring you your plate!

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And again, this is all you can eat, so you can go up as many times as you want. Keith and I only ate one plate, but Keith is very excited to go back once he is gaining weight again because he knows he could do some real damage. For 10 bucks!

When we were there it was only us and another table, but the food was great, service was great, it was a super fast and super cheap meal! I get why they ditched the sushi…if business is slow, it wouldn’t be cost effective..but like I said, we’ve got a sushi joint, it’s nice to have a hibachi joint.

And I can forgo the theatrics if it means I get my meal in 5 minutes as opposed to 25.

A+ Hibachi J. I will be back.

Hibachi J Sushi Grill on Urbanspoon

*Minus the occasional trip to Hoss’s with my grandparents.

#mcwed part 5

After we ate, we did our rounds talking to everyone and then it was time for cake! I didn’t even think about how awkwardly the cake table was placed, that’s where they had it on the layout…but it was kind of off in the back corner.

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Cake cutting is serious business.

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I fed Keith a small piece of cake and he tried to feed me this giant bite, hence my face. And his face. Just look at that mischievous grin.

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The cake was awesome, by the way. Lemony and delicious and I wish I had a piece right now.

 

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After that, it was time to dance. Keith and I danced to Adele – One and Only which is also the soundtrack to our wedding video trailer.

 

Keith actually picked the song. What a sweetie. I had picked something else, but he said it was too depressing. Haha.

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Then Keith and his mom danced to Pearl Jam – Future Days


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Then my stepdad and I danced to Bellstop – Serenity

It took me a really long time to decide on a song…but then I had a stroke of genius to use a Bellstop song. Bellstop is composed of my cousin, Runar and his partner. Runar is my cousin on my dad’s side and lives in Iceland.  I thought it was a wonderful and subtle way to give a nod to my dad. There were lots of tears during this dance for sure.

 

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I had requested a photo of the entire wedding…so after our dances…they shut off the music to get everyone out on the floor for a photo.
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Love it. Most of my nearest and dearest. And then our DJ seamlessly went into “We are Family” and the partying began.

 

..to be continued…

All photos by Jonathan and Tiffany Cooper of hot metal studio.

 

life stuff

school work + snack. #vscocam

Sooo…life.

I am nearing the tail end of my 6 week summer course – GIS, GPS and Computer Methods and while I am iffy on the class, I seriously love this 6 week format. We have class twice a week and it is supposed to be for 3 hours, but my professor somehow never got that memo, so we’ve been getting out after 2 hours. It’s 6:00-9:15 but the latest I have ever stayed was 8:45 last week. He even cancelled our last class because he realized he didn’t need to go over one lecture. So I basically have two more classes and then I’m done. Awesome. That also means I have less than a week to finish this final project…but whatever.

My partner and I are doing some mapping of Pittsburgh bridges. It’s kind of neat, but nowhere near as cool as my project idea. I wanted to map out the Ludacris song “Area Codes.” It would be brilliant. We could map the area codes in relation to the places he has gone on tour in the time since the song came out and it would be hilarious. I ran the idea by my partner and just got a blank look in return. Turns out she had never heard the song. Never! What!

So we came up with something else and then the next week she told me she had gone home and downloaded the song, haha.

 

My friend Chelsey had a good point in that she (my partner) probably wasn’t alive when the song came out. Too true.

I was taking this GIS course in hopes that maybe I would love it and I could go for the GIS certificate. I hear it’s a pretty in-demand field right now and sounded pretty cool. But the class is….kind of a bore. I think I blame the prof more than anything. We spend an hour being lectured to and then he just sets us loose to do something in the program. Which he never showed us how to do….so we sit there and fumble around until he guides us through in like 5 minutes and I feel like I have learned nothing, because I haven’t. Also he goes entirely too fast so he has to repeat every step 4 times when he could just SLOW DOWN and solve that problem.

So I think I might not want to go through with the certificate. I also couldn’t finish it in the time I want to have left at Pitt…and it would involve an internship which does not jive well with having a full-time job, so….blah.

But! That frees up the classes I have left to take. After this summer class ends, I need 3 more classes. One of them has to be an Anthropology class, but it is not offered at a time I can take in the fall, so I have to hope that it will be offered in the spring when I can. If not, my advisor is going to have to actually advise me for once and figure that out. That frees up two fall classes for me. I was going to take Cultural Resource Management but that feels like a waste if I’m not trying to go in that direction. Again, not enough time left at Pitt.

So I think I’m just going to take two blow-off classes, if I can find them. Ideally, they will both be online which will solve my issue of missing 2.5 weeks of class when we go to Hawaii. Right now I’m on a waiting list for Russian Fairy Tales and some Intro to Sociology class….but if I can find something that sounds like more fun, that could change.

Pitt Alums…easiest/best class you took? I probably won’t be able to fit it into my schedule, but maybe! Any suggestions are welcome!

#mcwed part 4

When we last left off, the ceremony had ended! We were married! Everyone was crying! Hooray!

Since our ceremony and reception were in the same place, there was no travel time (duh) and I decided to have a cocktail hour before the reception officially started. We had taken all of our posed pictures earlier in the day, but this also gave us some time for some family photos.

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So we did that while the rest of the guests went inside and were treated to some drinks and snacks including mini Primanti’s style sandwiches and mini pierogi. Yes.

 

 

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That was my favorite part about the entire menu. I didn’t care what else people ate, they had to have those apps! But my one complaint…they were supposed to be on little round bread….not quartered big bread. But I’m sure no one else knew or cared.
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Haha, one of my favorites. Forget the rings artfully placed in the flowers, throw mine on a sandwich.

Around 5, we headed back outside to have a more formal entrance.

The bridal party walked into Regina Spektor – Us

And Bradley went ahead and stole the show.

 

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He was freaking out a bit, so when my SIL came out to comfort him, I told her to just go ahead and walk in with him and Giana, he calmed down instantly and went all mini-politician on us. Hahah, I love this so much.

We threw open the big barn doors for this…perk of getting married in a barn!

Then Keith and I walked in to Kelly Clarkson – Tie it up


Not a huge country fan, but a huge Kelly fan.
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We joined up with the bridal party and it wasn’t planned for them all to stand up there…I think I might have told them to sit down, but I’m so glad they did. Such a wonderful moment standing up there with them.

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Then we all sat down and Keith’s best man Dave gave a speech and my man of honor gave a speech. Dave’s speech was very sweet. I’ve seen him give 2 best man speeches so far and he somehow is able to do it all off the cuff. I did tear up a bit.

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He started off by showing off the socks I had purchased for all the groomsmen haha, I love those socks.

Then Ryan came up and gave a speech…and I was terrified. Although not as terrified as he was! As evidenced by this photo taken while Dave was giving his speech. To anyone else, it may look like boredom, but I knew the true terror running through those veins.

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And then he surprised me completely by not giving a crass, obnoxious speech that embarrassed me, he wrote a poem that was hilarious and heartwarming and full of inside jokes…this was my reaction to one of them:

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Then it was time to eat. Everyone always says you don’t eat at your own wedding and I swore I wasn’t going to let that happen. I paid for it, I was going to eat, dammit! And then I ate like 3 bites. Haha, so no, you probably won’t eat at your wedding. We had time! I just wasn’t hungry.

…to be continued…

As before, all photos by Jonathan and Tiffany Cooper of hot metal studio.

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