Thursday, May 5, 2016

Succulent Garden

Bonnie and I went to Maymont's Herbs Galore & More this weekend with her MIL. I'm not sure what I was expecting but it was like a large farmers' market except instead of vegetables, the booths were full of plants, herbs, homemade soaps, lavender goodies, and a few crafties!

I came home with some herbs (dill, basil, and chives), a purple heliotrope, some lavender spray to spray in the bedroom before I go to bed (helps me fall asleep - staying asleep is a problem, though), and some succulents to make a succulent garden!

There was a booth that was selling the most beautiful succulent arrangements - they were a little pricey for something I'd probably kill in a month, so I decided to pick up 4 miniature succulents and make my own succulent garden like one I saw on Garden Answer.
Bonnie's photo

She had some in teacups, but that's not really my style, so I went to Target (shocker) to find a large bowl for my arrangement. I was hoping for something Anthro-ish but instead I picked up an oil-rubbed bronze guy so he can be moved between rooms as I see fit.

Since this isn't a proper pot for plants and has no way for water to drain, I put some marbles (from Dollar Tree) in the bottom of the bowl, then added some potting soil:

Then I added my 4 succulents and tried to brush off all the dirt from them. My paint brush was wet, so I created a bit of a mud situation ;)

I haven't decided where it will live long-term, so for now it is in a place of honor beside the television. I also repotted my herbs and heliotrope, making a big ol' mess in the process:

Lessons learned for next year:
  • Get there early! Maymont's small, main parking area filled up quickly and most of the streets of the surrounding neighborhood were full by 830!
  • Bring a wagon! I only brought in a grocery tote, but was scared that my plants were being smooshed (they were!) whenever I added something new to the bag. I have this wagon for beach trips and other events, so we're for sure taking this next year, along with some market boxes to keep everything organized.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Home Maintenance and Repair Binder

I've been trying to decrease the amount of paper we save at home since most of our bills and other records can be accessed online whenever we want to see them. I don't keep any monthly bills or statements, but our filing cabinet was still full of stuff. Part of the problem is that we have both kept all our tax documents since forever. I know the experts say to keep 7 years, but I haven't pulled the trigger to shred them yet. I'll do it. But not today.

Another source of clutter in the filing cabinet was years of manuals and receipts from large (read:expensive) purchases we've made for the house, along with repair and maintenance documents. I wanted to keep these so when we sell the house we will know how old all the appliances are, but they weren't in any order and were just taking up space. So I whipped out my label maker and made a plan!

I bought a 3 inch 3-ring binder along with some folder tabs and clear sheet protectors.I made 2 sections - one for purchase and another for repairs/maintenance and started organizing.

It took a couple of hours to sort through everything, match receipts to manuals, and then organize everything into categories and sort by date. I know, #nerd. Some of the categories appear in both sections, like appliances, furniture, outdoor, and electronics, but the repairs/maintenance section also has HVAC (we had a problem unit for several years so we have many, many repair slips) and pest control to store the annual/quarterly inspection slips for termites/ants.

Now, if our dryer is acting up and I want to know the model number or warranty information, I know exactly where to go and find that info:

I purged enough papers so that everything fits in this binder, which neatly fits on our bookshelf rather than taking up half a drawer in the filing cabinet! WIN.
yes, that's a mace windu light saber

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Favorite Feelings!

I've seen this concept going around youtube lately, so I'm shamelessly stealing it to share my favorite feelings!

If you know me, you know I'm not good with expressing my feelings about mushy, emotional stuff, so these are more feelings that just help improve my mood or my day. We're not getting deep here. So here goes:

  • TMI - but taking my bra off at the end of a long day (or, let's be honest, even after a brief trip to Target) is THE BEST!  Free + comfortable = 2 thumbs up!
  • We live in RVA and all our friends live an hour away, so we don't get to see each other every weekend or even every other weekend. It takes planning and coordination - there is no texting 'Hey wanna meet at Applebee's?' going on. BTW - I know Applebee's is ew, but the chicken fajita rollup is amazing. Anyway, even though we don't see each other as often as I'd like, showing up to one of their houses and picking up where we left off the last time without any awkward silence feels pretty good. And, just saying, there really is 0 silence. We're all obnoxious and rarely do any of us finish a sentence uninterrupted. It's GREAT.
  • Speaking of silence, do you ever take 5 minutes of time to just sit - in the car between errands, in the house while you're cleaning or reading, in the shed or garden - and just be alone with your thoughts? Sure, there's white noise, but there is nobody talking, no TV blaring, no phone distracting you, and you can just sit, be calm, and recharge. Then you're ready to face the rest of the day. I do this a lot.
  • Coming over the ridge of the hill at MM125 on 95N and seeing the chain mecca that is the Massaponax exit. It means I'm home. I'm comfortable. I'm safe. It also means I'm probably about to see my friends or family.
  • Finishing a big task at work and sending it off for approval. I know there will be edits and feedback, but for now, I did my best and I am finished.
  • Related, having an AHA moment - when I figure something out that's been bothering me, whether it's how to handle a personal situation, how to fix or organize something that's not working, or solving a problem at work. Sigh.
  • Having someone who knows your subtle, snarky faces and laughs without you having to even say anything. That's a BFF.
  • The first real day of spring when I can open the windows and air out the house from being cooped up all winter. It makes me dream of my little garden (by little I mean like 3 veggies or less or else I'll kill them all) and all the fun activities we can do outside in the coming months!
  • Football weather. This one I can't explain - it's just a feeling when I walk outside and can smell the leaves and there's a chill in the air but not enough to wear a coat. Yes.
  • Getting off the plane at a vacation destination. It means the logistics of the day are over, the planning was successful, I have arrived, and I can finally relax and start the vacation.
  • This:

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

I Miss St. Augustine

When my parents lived in northern Florida, we went to visit them for a week each year, and one of the places we always visited no matter what else was on the agenda was St. Augustine. It touts itself as America's oldest city (settled in 1565) and has charm for days!

Here's how my ideal day there would go:

First stop in the morning is St. Augustine Lighthouse:

Full disclosure: I'm afraid of heights a little. I'm also afraid of being at any height on stairs where I can see below me. So if you have similar fears, be like me and hang out on the lightkeeper's porch while your spouse and/or parents climb the lighthouse. There's also a nice museum in the basement (where it's always cool even on a hot Florida day) to keep you busy while they're up in the lighthouse.

Now we're going across the inlet and parking the car in the new central parking garage (way easier than finding a little hidden parking lot within the historic district, AND when you go back to your car it won't be a thousand degrees inside! #yourewelcome). Walk over to the Castillo de San Marcos, built to protect the Spanish settlement from pirates and the English army. You'll find barracks with some bunks and hay mattresses on display, weapon storage, and a prison (the creepiest part of the tour - there's a segregated room that I think was used for solitary confinement but you have to crawl through a tunnel to get in there. NOPE.)

The nice men in uniform put on a cannon demonstration every day to show off their artillery:

Once you've seen the fort, walk through the Old City Gates and take a stroll down St. George St. for some window shopping on the way to lunch.

Stop into Columbia Restaurant - it's right on St. George St. and yes it's a chain (I know, the horror), but the food is delicious and you'll feel like you stepped back in time and landed in a Cuban courtyard. I always get the Havana Club with a side of plantain chips and a cup of Cuban black bean soup. It will refresh you from your morning adventure and fuel you for the afternoon.

After lunch we continue down St. George St. for more shopping, stopping whenever we want for ice cream or water or whatever because it's probably 105 degrees by now. You'll find some junk shops just like in any high tourist area, but you'll also find some gems like the pottery shop that sells hand painted planters and dishes, the oldest school house, and just some damn fine scenery. It's several blocks of shopping, but in my opinion the best part is the 2 blocks closest to the city gates. Look how charming!

After all that shopping you're probably hungry again, so I'd recommend either Scarlet O'Hara's or the Bull & Crown for dinner. These have a much more casual atmosphere than lunch so have a beer or two with your dinner. You'll need to be a little loose for the next stop...

...which is a ghost tour! They have several ghost tour options but we prefer the trolley because you can cover more ground in the same amount of time. You get on and off at some of the more haunted spots and they have actors at each site to up the creep factor. I can't find our pictures but I know we stopped at the Old City jail, an apothecary, and a graveyard. There was another spot (can't remember which site it was) where we were gathered this room and a guy walked around telling a scary story and if you laughed he'd get up in your face and basically scare the crap out of you. I did not laugh. Along the way, the tour guide told stories about the city's rumored hauntings and we yelled 'BE DOOMED!' at anyone we passed who laughed or scoffed at tourists on a ghost tour. It was fun!

So that's my perfect day in St. Augustine. There are of course more sites to see, like the Fountain of Youth, the Alligator Farm, Fort Matanzas, Flagler College, San Sebastian Winery, but how long is this day?