Friday, November 15, 2013

Tupperware meets Jewelry Parties!

When our parents were raising us it was tupperware parties and the start of Mary Kay makeup.  This idea of women coming together to just be women and shopping for things that make us beautiful, its a brilliant idea.  A friend of mine from Richmond encouraged me the other week to join Stella & Dot as a stylist.  A few years ago I would have never seen myself as a stylist or stylish for that matter.  But now that I have put down some roots, I have been yearning to meet more women and immerse myself in Rhode Island and all that New England has to offer.  I am longing for more girlfriends, more creative outlets and another way to make a name for myself here. So, I did it, I joined Stella & Dot this week as a stylist and could not be more excited! 

Just yesterday afternoon I heard the UPS man pull up and drop two big boxes on our front porch. If he tried to ring the doorbell or knock on the door he was out of luck: Andrew disconnected our door bell and our front door is currently in the basement being stripped, sanded and primed. Anywho, I knew when the boxes arrived, it was my Stella & Dot start up package and jewelry! I had no idea what I was getting into - as I opened the brown box all these little color boxes appeared with encouraging sayings and I immediately knew I was hooked.  It felt like Christmas after each box was unwrapped and tossed aside. How gorgeous are all these pieces that I get to wear around and encourage people to buy?!?! So FUN!  We all need a little more of that in our lives…FUN and things that make us feel GOOD inside and out.

I'm excited to throw some parties, get a little out of my comfort zone, meet some empowering women and improve my wardrobe. Things are about to get stylish around here!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Cheers to 40 Years!

This weekend we celebrated Andrew's 40th birthday with a big bash on Saturday night, followed by a mildly drunken run over the Pell Bridge the following morning.  Not my finest hour in planning both events back to back, but I couldn't have imagined the weekend any differently.

When my parents throw parties my mom is planning for weeks on end and is always stressed.  In fact my sister and I not so secretly make fun of her ability to agonize over every detail.  Until this weekend I had never quite understood the immense scale of work that goes into throwing a big party.  I think I spent 3 months planning for this weekend and it was over in 6 hours.  I wouldn't say its a let down, but man does your body all of a sudden feel the weight that has been lifted off.  I am still recovering after a 2 hour nap yesterday and 11 1/2 hours of sleep last night. Whew.

I went with a beer theme, because Andrew LOVES beer. Probably more than most people, and not just any beer, but yes, the King of Beers. Budweiser. I know, I cannot believe that Bud Heavy is his favorite. You'd think after 40 years Andrew would have acquired a better taste palette.  So, I decided to embrace his love of the King of Beers and greasy, unhealthy food and center his party around it. I have to thank my addiction to Pinterest for the inspiration of the party.  I scoured the internet for weeks coming up with the perfect favors, table decorations, signs and food. I borrowed decor and dishes from dear friends and scored the perfect Budweiser jacket from my friend Maaike.  I filled an embarrassingly large shopping cart at Trader Joes 2 days prior and stocked up on beer and beer pong essentials. I ordered a special Budweiser cake 4 weeks in advance at the Newport Sweet Shoppe. In other words, I spent a lot of time trying to make this party as perfect as my mind could handle. And I had a great time in the process.

cheers to 40 years birthday decor

a cold one for the old one

40th birthday beer party theme

40th birthday pint glasses with stickers

birthday party food

Budweiser cake for Andrew's 40th birthday party

Our friends came from all over - Maine, Connecticut, Newport and New York.  It really made me realize what special people we have in our lives.  Sunday morning I felt incredibly blessed. I have only lived in Rhode Island for a year (and that's kind of a stretch having been gone in the summer) in such a short amount of time friendships have blossomed and I can say that these people make me feel at home.
This quote sits on my desk, and I cannot find it to be more true at the moment…

"Funny thing about joy, is that you only really find it when you are too busy HAVING fun to go looking for it." 

40th beer birthday party with Budweiser jacket

Sunday morning we woke up at 4:30am after a 3 1/2 hour nap to drive into Newport and participate in the Pell Bridge Run. I had bought tickets for our 2 year anniversary this July and Andrew had been dreading only one thing: waking up early.  In fact he said he would train for waking up early, not the running.  In other words, he thinks "the early bird gets the worm" is bullshit.

So off we went to Newport with Andrew still intoxicated for a 4 mile run.  His "smart ass" was in rare form.  It was an experience I will never forget.  I have been fascinated with the Pell Bridge ever since I moved to Newport and find that bridge one of the prettiest in the world.  I even used it for a photography project last winter.  In other words, the idea of running over it as the sun rose made me ecstatic. And it was truly incredible. They close off 3/4 of the bridge for an hour so that 4,000 runners can run from Jamestown to Newport for a 4 mile race to the finish at the Newport Yachting Center at 6:30am.  I had slightly trained for the run and by that I mean I had run a few miles for a few days in the past 2 weeks.  Andrew on the other hand had only talked about running…and waking up early. So Andrew's goal was to not throw up. And I am proud to say he did not throw up and actually had a good time in the process. It was a beautiful morning at 55 degrees and overcast - we could not have asked for a better experience!

 And so, with the weekend and party over, I feel almost empty and without a goal. I am having that moment of "what now?" But then I am reminded that it's back to the grind.  It's back to house projects and businesses and my favorite holidays.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Stripping Ain't Easy

Stripping, banging and screwing - the big activities of the week.  Necessary tools for the job: black gloves, scraper and strippers.

And no, you dirty minds, its not what you think. Even though I am desperate for money these days, I have not resorted to stripping. Yet. Well at least not the kind of stripping that involves sleezy men and one dollar bills. It's called paint stripping.

In the frantic furry of getting the house ready for Andrew's 40th birthday bash this weekend, I decided that the front door HAD to be stripped and repainted THIS WEEK.  My ADD has kicked into overdrive as I bounce from one project to the next, never fully completing any of them and watching as Andrew slowly tries to find the best way to say "No...please focus".

But I did win on the front door and man has it been a doozy. There were not 3, not 4, but 5 layers of paint on that beast - red, blue, white, cream and green. I think they covered the entire rainbow. Just on the front side alone we have spent about 10 hours stripping the paint layer by layer until we hit bare wood. We MIGHT get to prime the door before guests arrive at 4pm on Saturday, but most likely they will be greeted by a wood door speckled with stubborn paint remnants.

Once they walk in the back room though, people will be in a whole new house.  To Andrew and I, the back room has taken on an incredible transformation.  Andrew and I sat at my desk just the other night flipping through photos from 6 months ago when we moved in and started tearing apart the wallpaper and fake wooden beams on our first night in the house.  To someone who doesn't know the background, the room now looks like it should and is probably unimpressive. But behind the walls and on the surface, there was a LOT of time, money and effort that went into redesigning and bringing the back room and exterior out of the 60s!  It will certainly be our winter retreat.


Built and painted all the interior trim for the back living room

Finished painting the exterior of the back room

Installed new lights on the back deck and porch

Built cubby spaces and a bench for Andrew's chop saw in the shop

Picked "Tinsmith" as the color for the back and front door and put up all the decking for the back deck.

 And I managed to escape the house a time or two for some great sunset shots just down the street from us! Just another great week at 82 Middle Ave. 

Annnnd, next week's project: a leaky bathroom. Perfect. 
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