Friday, January 29, 2010

Chalet du Francais Appreciation Day: Kitchen

My favorite long lost faux twin sister recently bought her dream home. This home is CRAZY amazing. Every week she does a Home Appreciation Post, and post the details that makes her house her dream home. I love it, look forward to reading it each week, and decided to steal her idea since I'm having a hard time figuring out a way to steal her entire house.

Here is my kitchen, it is very 1950's Retro, and I love it. Mr. Man's first instinct was to redo it, but I held up my hand and said, "Stop. I like it and I'd rather have a pool." The counters are yellow tile with chrome, and they are in great shape. It's all original stuff in this house. These people built this house and bought high end stuff and kept it forever.

This stove is crazy old and has more bells and whistles than I know what to do with. Unfortunately, it's leaving our home, since it just isn't conduscive to my very mediocre cooking. It took me 28 minutes to boil a pot of water for hot chocolate. Maybe they had more patience in 1953.
The stove is Frigidaire "made only General Motors", ah yes, the good old days of GM. I love all the cool knobs, and I try to talk myself into keeping this stove, until I turn it on. The former owners were meticulously clean people and super organized. We were presented with a box of instruction manuals for everything in the house. The dishwasher, was bought in 1986, making it 24 years old. They paid $332 for it, not a small price at the time. It is nosier than a rocket launch when you turn it on. Mr. Man hit the deck when he first heard it, and proclaimed that it will be taking a hike with the stove. This faucet is one of my favorite things in the kitchen.
Actually, I lied... my favorite is this window. Between those branches is a killer view of the city.My friend Laura sent me this vintage tea towel and it looks perfectly at home in my kitchen. I like to pretend I'm Donna Reed, throw this dishtowel on my shoulder and peek in the oven, and say, "Oh dear, is the roast done yet? Ward's almost home."
When I signed the escrow papers, my first thought was, "I need a breadbox, a vintage one." I settled for this knock off vintage one, and I love it, so do the kids. Mr. Man was a little hurt I didn't choose to pull out his "High School Wood Shop" Breadbox... but he got over it. After all, who doesn't love a yellow breadbox?
Now go photograph your home and show me your pics!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Birthday List - Report Card

Last year, I made a list on my birthday of things to accomplish in the upcoming year. Time to report on my progress.
1. Take my kids hiking. Done! Thank you new house! 2. Take Mr. Boy on an Airplane ride. Done!
3. MOVE... or should I just amend that to say.... have Mr. Man home every night...if that means moving, great, I'm game. Done!
4. Find pillows for the living room. Done, irony is now I don't have a living room to put them in.
5. Paint the family room "Vanilla" Done, thanks to Rafael the painter!
6. Watch the entire Planet Earth series Attempted it with kids, not cool, too much "real nature" for my super animal loving kids. Super awesome series!
7. Be on a gameshow Doh! Fail, didn't even attempt this, but I will for sure this year.
8. Get a bike and teach Nathan to love his. Got myself a bike... but moved to the top of a steep hill, not really teaching the kids bike skills here.
9. Run more often Done, thanks to Mr. Kenny's Bootcamp! You should see my crazy push up skills.
10. Go an entire day without saying, "This is not a trash can, clean up the mess please." Um.. I think I went at least one day! I swear this will be on my tombstone.
11. Go away with Mr. Man for a weekend. Done! 12. Get a pedicure. (I've never had one... manicure yes..pedicure no.) Done!
13. Maintain my eyebrows and haircut. (Yep admitting to the world, these are not my natural brows, imagine some 7 times thicker and larger) Almost.. kinda.. sorta. Spent most of the year growing out my brow disaster from May. These pencil thin eyebrows were lovely, but not practical on someone who was born with bushes for eyebrows. Haircut.. check! 14. Take Mr. Man up on his promise to help me pick out a pair of Manolo's Doh, why did I not do this? Especially when these are just calling out to me.
15. Get Mr. Boy reading and loving it. Reading yes, loving it... yes.. as long as it's not outloud.
16. Help AK learn all her letters and colors. Doh! Colors... but letters not so much.
17. Write a thank you note to the kid's birth parents. Done!
18. Take the kids on an honest to goodness vacation. Done! Hooray for a trip back to my hometown. 19. Get my iPod all hooked up with sweet playlist and get the kids iPod set up in their room. Done!
20. Host an awesome girls night at my house. Not so much a girl's night, but I had some awesome Playdates, where the moms got to relax while we threw snacks at the kids.
21. Learn to bake bread Not even close.
22. Attend my friend Laura's spin class, and not die during class so as not to embarass her. Oops, not yet but I will this year for sure!
23. Have playdates for my kids at least twice a month. Took half the year, but I got it together.
24. Figure out Lego Star Wars for the Wii -Done! Hooray!
25. Surprise Mr. Man with a fun themed dinner dates like I used to do. (I had a toga night, even the dogs wore togas!) - Done, with the kids involved too. Very enjoyable. The kids favorite was Luau night.
26. Write gratitude notes to the good people in my life, and send notes to two of my high school teachers. Did some notes.. but not to my high school teachers.
27. Buy Mr. Man a fabulous outfit, and while I'm at it.. one for me. I did buy Mr. Man a good casual outfit, I think I covered this one pretty well for myself.
28. Get family portraits taken - Done, although I was hoping for something a bit more artsy, not the classic studio shot.
29. Plant a Clementine Tree - ooo I cheated... bought a house with one!
30. Dress up for Halloween - Fail! What a shame, such an easy one too.
31. Learn Photoshop - Fail, I need to take a class. Although I did enjoy watching these.
32. Actually embrace and enjoy my birthday! Attempting this!

Monday, January 25, 2010

These lights give me a headache...

We vowed that with our next house we would make greener choices. We are not eco-crazy, but we want to make good choices, less chemicals, less toxic, more efficient. Mr. Man was chomping at the bit to replace the light fixtures and install flourescent energy efficient bulbs. Our last house had them and they were lovely and energy efficient. They let off a nice warm glow. These new ones... are harsh... white and makes you look grey and ill. I LOATHE them! I think I bought the wrong brand. They remind me of one of my favorite monologues from the movie Joe vs. the Volcano.

Joe: I should say something. This life... "life," what a joke. This situation, this room. You look terrible, Mr. Waturi. You look like a bag of junk* stuffed in a cheap suit. Not that anybody could look good under these zombie lights. I can feel them sucking the juice out of my eyeballs, suck suck suck suck. 300 bucks a week. That's the news. For three hundred bucks a week, I've lived in this sink...

And Frank! The coffee! It stinks! It tastes like arsenic. These lights give me a headache, if they don’t give you a headache, you must be dead. So let's arrange the funeral.

When Mr. Man turns these hideous lights on, I stand under them and say, "I can feel them sucking the juice out of my eyeballs.. suck suck suck." Mr. Man thinks I'm a nut...
*edited for my mother

PS Do yourself a favor, go rent Joe vs. the Volcano. Funny, quirky movie.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Rain Rain...

Rain Rain Go Away We've splashed
And danced
Snuggled up with good books and movies.... It's been lovely, but our boots are soaked through, everything is damp or muddy and our bones are cold.Bring back the sun!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Chalet du Francais: How we met.

Back in September a house popped up in my email. It was in a great neighborhood, but it was scary. And I mean scary... as in.. this was the nicest room in the house. But I saw potential.... like this chandelier. The house was trashed, we called it the "Trash House" and for two weeks we talked to contractors, architects to figure out how to take it from Trash to Treasure. It would be pricey, but we felt it was a house worth saving. In the end, the house would be EXACTLY what we want. In the end, we lost the house in a bidding war. I'm not going to lie.... I cried. The "trash house" lit a fire under us to start looking at houses. I felt a lot like Goldilocks when I started to look. This one was too small, this one was too pricey, this one was awkward.... I almost gave up. I just wanted a big yard in the big city. Then one morning, I saw a tiny house with a big yard pop up on my realtor's report, it peaked my interest. I was headed up to LA for a birthday dinner anyway, so I decided to look at it, but I was not very optimistic. I walked around the house and called Mr. Man and said, "This is it." The "trash house" had made us fall in love with the idea of a house that we could customize and add on to. This new house had great bones... and while teeny, it was clean and the location could NOT be beat. This house is an oasis in the big city, and it feels way more like a "country house" than a house in the big city. . It had a ton of potential, room to add on and Mr. Man took a leap of faith and signed the offer before seeing the house.We got word that we were one of 21 offers submitted on this house. My heart sank, and I figured it was hopeless, while Mr. Man remained optimistic. He had finally seen the house and could picture our family in it. A week later, we learned our counter offer was accepted. I couldn't believe it. I literally jumped out of my chair and screamed. This house has been such a surprise, mostly good. The rooms are bigger than I remember, the kitchen is charming, and the hills... oh I could do 100 posts about our daily hikes...

For now... we've named the house Chalet du Francais. "The mountain house" while not architecturally a true chalet... close enough... oui?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

What the world needs now...

More hugs from four year olds regardless of your species... (An older pic, I just found this while cleaning up some photos.)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Mountain Man

(pics of the kids playing with their ginormous shadows during a late night trip to Home Depot) Overheard while having dinner at a new friends house... (which I wore my shirt inside out the entire time, way to make a first impression!)

New Friend: Mr. Boy, we have a jungle gym in the backyard if you want to go outside and try it out.

Mr. Boy: No thank you. We had a jungle gym at our old house, but my parents decided to get us a house with mountains to play on instead. Now that I'm a mountain man, I don't really play on Jungle Gyms anymore... so.. no thanks.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

I love LA

Moving sucks. No way around that. We hired movers as the ultimate gift to our spines but we still had to pack. This was what the truck looked like at the end of the day... (fyi, if you are looking for great movers these are the people to hire.)Mr. Man took the kids and dogs and went on ahead. I followed the truck up to our new house by myself and bid my OC residency farewell. Farewell Maison du la Francaise! Oh how I loved you. On the drive up, I thought about how much I'd miss my friends. I felt like I just hit my groove... I had replenished my dwindling list of friends, since all my friends kept moving away. I had a great group of friends I could call on to help out with the kids if I was in a bind. I'm going to miss that the most... And I couldn't help but wonder if I would find new friends in LA who would pitch in when I needed it. Then there is the new big mortgage... my business... and by the time I hit LA I was a wreck.

As I turned up the hill, leading the truck to our new home,I was greeted by the sight of my children, nieces, nephews, and cousins all sitting on the ridge behind my house. They were all cheering and waving me home. I walked into the kitchen to be greeted by Mr. Man, who wrapped his arms around me and whispered, "Welcome Home, I can't wait for the next 100 years." All that anxiety started to slip away. Then the house was full of people. new neighbors who all pitched in to help unload and setup. The house was loud, full of laughter, and the kids ran by me with giant smiles beaming from dirty faces. They were thrilled with the backyard and the "mountains behind our house".

I spent 10 minutes in this house on the night I looked at it. I never saw it in daylight, the only other time I was here it was raining buckets and I couldn't quite get a glimpse of the backyard. It is a very pleasant surprise. Behind our house is nothing but hills, this picture is just steps from the back gate of our property. It's crazy amazing, and each day I have to pinch myself and say, "This is real." I had no idea that such an oasis existed in Los Angeles.
We have hiked each and every day since we moved in. The kids and dogs love it, and I had no idea this would be better than a jungle gym. Then there are the deer, this shot is from the living room window. This is a pic taken from my back door. Each day we keep a count of the number of deer we've seen. Fifteen deer passed by our living room window on Day 2. Sandy is terrified of them, Skoopi wants to chase them. Here the kids sit on the ledge that is just up the hill from our house. The view from this house is amazing. I wash my dishes at night with a view of the city's twinkling lights. The sunsets are gorgeous (thank you smog!). And the very best part is Mr. Man is home each and every night for bedtime. I think we are going to like here.... A LOT!