Painted Ceiling Fans

 Posted by on March 17, 2014
Mar 172014

We decided early on that we wanted to upgrade the ceiling fans in this house. In fact, switching out a heavy, old, grime-encrusted fan was one of the very first things we did when we moved in. We ended up finding a much more visually appealing light fixture for a steal, and decided to see what life without a ceiling fan was like. I happen to think that all but the most expensive, custom-order fans are gross looking, so in my book anything that wasn’t a fan was an upgrade – just look at the before and afters:

Living Room Before 2


New Lamp

After a hot and humid Baltimore summer, though, I quickly reneged on my anti-fan views. We ended up running our air conditioner much more than I would have liked, and then on top of that we resorted to a few strategically placed table-top fans at night or when we were working in one particular room. And since white plastic fans are not a good look, I figured I should just cave and accept that even the ugliest of ceiling fans are way more effective and unobtrusive.

Still, I wanted to try SOMETHING to make whatever ceiling fans we installed more aesthetically pleasing. And what do you imagine that something might be? Why, spray painting, of course – what else?

I Googled a little and after finding that several folks have done this successfully already, I was sold. So I picked up the most basic fan that Home Depot sells (for about $30), a few cans of clean metal primer and paint, and got to work. It was as easy as priming and painting each piece (I didn’t assemble anything first, since I figured I’d get the most coverage that way), waiting for everything to dry (I actually waited about a week, since I wanted everything to be 100% set so I wouldn’t scratch anything when I installed it), and then following the manufacturer’s instructions for installation. Then, voila:

Painted Ceiling Fan

Spray Painted Ceiling Fan

Lyndhurst Duchess Blue and Beige Ceiling Fan

It’s still a ceiling fan, of course, but I do think it beats the generic, plain white version – or even worse, a wood-and-brass model circa 1982. So for $40, I’m calling this one a win! Now we just have to choose colors for the other two fans we plan on putting in each bedroom upstairs. We went with a more neutral color downstairs, but for the other rooms I’m thinking something a little bolder is in order. Any suggestions?

Happy Monday, everyone!

The Most Wonderful Time of The Year…

 Posted by on February 18, 2014
Feb 182014

Yes, it’s that time of year again – tax time. As of February 15, you should have all the documents you need to file your federal tax returns – oh JOY!

Ok, taxes suck. Especially if you’re like many of us, and make sure to adjust your federal and state withholding properly to ensure you DON’T get a huge refund. Wait – what?? Yes, that’s right – it’t actually BETTER to not get a tax refund every year, because that refund is actually YOUR OWN DAMN MONEY – letting the government hold onto it for the year is like giving out an interest-free loan to Uncle Sam. But that’s some financial drivel for another post…

Now, we just want to share with you a fantastic program that applies if you ARE getting a tax refund – huge or otherwise. has teamed up with Turbo Tax to offer a 10% bonus on federal tax refunds that are paid as amazon gift cards. Yes, you read that right – 10%!!

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For more details click the image below, or the graphic in our left sidebar:

Happy taxing, everyone!!

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The Right Shade of Gray

 Posted by on January 7, 2014
Jan 072014

In between decorating and celebrating the holidays, I decided to take the jump and paint our bedroom. You might remember that we were torn between a few different shades of dark-ish gray – and we’re very thankful for your thoughts and opinions. In the end,  I went with my gut – which just happened to coincide with the general consensus: Behr’s Gray Area.

So in between end-of-semester grading, a website blowup, and general holiday madness, I picked up a gallon of paint (on sale, at least!) and got to work. It took a few days, but here’s what I ended up with:

Dark Gray Walls with Light Blue Accent Behr Gray Area

Sidenote: when I say “I”, I really mean it – painting is on Chris’ “Top 5″ list – the list of top chores/activities he HATES doing. The only problem with this is that his top 5 actually includes painting, cleaning the bathroom, putting away folded clothes, dusting…and then about thirty more things that rotate depending on what task needs to actually get done at the moment.



I should say, though, that his new year’s resolution was to be more helpful around the house…and so far he’s been amazing. As of day 7, at least…

But anyway, it only took me a few days of intermittent painting to get two coats of Premium Plus (the kind with built-in primer) in eggshell up on the walls. So it wasn’t too bad, even all by my lonesome.

This was my first experience with Home Depot’s brand, Behr, since Lowe’s is a bit easier to get to near us and we’ve always used their Valspar Signature brand.  But I have to say, compared to Valspar’s built-in primer version, the Behr Premium Plus Ultra covers like a boss – I was expecting to need a few more coats for such a dramatic light-to-dark transition, but I actually could have probably gotten away with just one and a few spot touch-ups – but I’d bought a gallon so I figured I’d use it all. The only downside is that the Behr is definitely more noxious (it’s labelled low-VOC like the Valspar, but stinks way more!) – but frankly, I can deal with a little stank if it means less work for me!

I love how the dark gray turned out in the whole room – I definitely feel good about the choice – and somehow the darker color makes the room feel bigger, contrary to popular advice. I think it might have to do with the fact that the ceiling is a different color (we went with two shades lighter on the same color swatch, in a flat finish), which seems to really emphasize the high ceilings in here. I’m also happy with my decision to paint the trim the same color as the walls, in a semi-gloss:

Behr Gray Area Walls and Trim

In the midst of painting I went on an epic Target shopping trip. There’s a brand new and HUGE store that recently opened in Baltimore, and for some reason a few weeks after their grand opening (which was stocked with lots of Autumn merchandise), pretty much the entire home goods section of the store went on clearance – presumably to prep for the holidays. Obviously I was all over that, and picked up about ten wall frames, a new bedspread, and even some lamps/shades – all for less than $80 or so. My favorite find was the organic cotton bedspread – I love the light blue against the dark walls, and in my head the fact that it’s organic makes up for all the brain cells I lost painting…

I’m still in the process of hanging the frames and tricking out a new Ikea dresser, but progress is progress, right?

So what do you guys think? Did I make the right decision? Did you jump on the crazy train and do any big projects over the holidays??

Happy New Year!

 Posted by on January 7, 2014
Jan 072014

You might have noticed that we got a VERY disappointing  Christmas gift: some major website issues. Merry Christmas to us!!

Yep, after a WordPress update gone amok, we were left with a totally messed up site and problems with like a thousand php files. I tried my best to fix them myself – and eventually just decided that exporting all our posts and switching to a new web host (with a fresh WP install) was the easiest, cheapest solution. We’re still slowly updating most of the media files on the site, but everything else is still intact. So hopefully you all can bear with us as we make some final fixes.

In the meantime, since we were 100% out of commission for the last two weeks of December – which is prime Holiday-decor-blogging season – here are a few photos of our happily (if only partially) decorated house…

Even though the house is in shambles – there are holes in the floor, half-painted walls, etc. – I still wanted to get into the holiday spirit. So a super-skinny pencil tree (scored on Black Friday for $40) went up in our front window, and some ribbon-tied faux wreaths got hung (using this method) on all the front windows:

Pencil Christmas Tree


Christmas Wreaths

Inside, the fireplace mantle got a simple feather wreath and some holiday-themed nick-knacks:

Christmas Mantle

We hung our stockings on the stair rails (after wrapping the rails with some lighted faux garland) – hanging them from the mantle would just block the heat from the fireplace, and I have some early memories of stockings being hung from my grandparents’ stair rails, so this seemed like the ideal spot. I added some painted wood letters inspired by this lovely lady’s mantel, instead of embroidering/painting the stockings themselves – I like the option of changing my mind about labeling them:


Stockings 2

And we finished up the decor with some simple Christmas tree stuff on our living room console table (the green one is just a glittery cardboard thing, while the white ones are oversized candles):

Trees 2


The whole shebang cost us less than $25, since I’d purchased everything but the stockings over the past few years at after-holiday mega-clearance sales – it’s a great strategy if you know you’ll be moving into a new place down the line, since most decor is discounted at up to 90% off! And the stockings themselves were a pretty good bargain, at 30% off at Target…no, it’s not 90%, but I figured with the money I’d saved on everything else we could afford to splurge.

Besides stressing over our complete website failure – which surprisingly lasted only a day or so (after that, we pretty much went with the M.O. “fuck it, it’s Christmas – we’ll worry about this later”), we spent the holidays enjoying time with family and friends here in Baltimore and up north in Massachusetts, where Chris is from and most of our friends from college still live. It was the perfect way for us to enjoy the season, and we’re glad we were able to spend it with everyone we love the most!

How was your holiday season? We hope it was joyful and as stress-free as possible!

Happy Thanksgiving!

 Posted by on November 28, 2013
Nov 282013

We’re thankful for lots of things, and you guys are just a few of them. Hope you’re all happily stuffing your faces and counting your blessings!

The Best Worst Day of My Life

 Posted by on November 20, 2013
Nov 202013

I had a hard time and a good debate with friends about this particular day. I couldn’t decide if it was the worst, best day of my life, or the best, worst day of my life. I chose the latter, but I’m not sure it really makes any difference. So what am I talking about exactly? Well, naturally, I am talking about October 12th. Yes, October the 12th was the best, worst day of my life. Why? I ran a marathon. All 26.2 miles of it. I want to tell you the story (which might help to explain why I haven’t been the author of many posts around here lately). Gather round, gather round.

It should first be noted that this was the first time, and will also be the last time in which I ever take part in such a silly endeavor. It all started when my dear friend Kimmi, a colleague of mine, convinced me that it was a good idea. We had been training together with no particular purpose in mind for some time, when she dreamed up this idea that a marathon would be a good idea. We texted back and forth and I somewhat relented and agreed to go along with it. We googled some training plans and given that there were only nine weeks left until it was going to go down, we altered a 12 week plan by skipping the first 3 weeks.

This training began excellently, as it was during the summer and we had all the free time in the world to tackle the challenges laid out in front of us. The world was our oyster, or something like that. We ticked off the days, talked about upcoming workouts and generally just prepped for this. We both clearly had no idea what we were doing, but with a track background I felt at least I had some idea of what I was talking about. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.

Let’s fast forward to race day. The Baltimore Running Festival. It was slated to be this massive day of marathon, half-marathon, 5K, and relay. The whole city was essentially shut down. Katie and her parents had secured a spot at our favorite restaurant , which was right on the course. Free mimosas. A sign cheering us on. Enough said. I was ready to go.

Before the Marathon


(Prior to)

So the horn went off and we headed out on our way. We had to make the decision early on about which group we wanted to run with and initially, we chose pacers that were planning to run 3 hours and 55 minutes. Our goal was 4 hours, so it made sense. After feeling it out, we decided we actually felt better than that and moved up with the 3:45 group (read: we made a really dumb decision). As a social experience, the marathon is awesome–you get to talk to lots of people, see cool signs and hear lots of people cheering for you at random, just because you are insane. We weaved through the streets of downtown, ticking off the miles. 20 to go. 15 to go. Halfway there.

We met Katie and her family at mile 16, which is where they were many mimosas deep and were cheering and taking pictures, much like this one:

Peace Sign

(Sweet orange shoes, bro)

I hate to be cliche here, but this was the beginning of the end for both of us, as the streets went from what we call in algebra flat, to what we called in algebra steep. As we climbed up, our mental state was going down. Right around mile 21, we decided it was time to sever ties. Kimmi thought that going faster would just end the pain–I thought that going slower would allow me to finish.

The last 5 miles were an absolute blur of exhaustion, dehydration, a guy in a tiger suit, some gummy bears, my boss running a quarter of a mile with me taking selfies and the finish line.

Running With Simon

I didn’t get whatever “bug” people say you get when you cross the finish line that makes you want to do a million more marathons. Instead, I got a medal, a heat blanket, 5 bottles of water, and a seat on the ground next to the other exhausted people. Twins.

I’ll never do it again. Ever. Maybe the half. Maybe a 5k. Maybe I’ll just stick to walking. In the end though, crossing off such a major accomplishment from a bucket list will do!

After the Marathon