Monthly Archives: November 2011

Lining Up the Ducks with Google Docs

Does this ever happen to you?  It’s a lovely day, and you stand up from your desk and walk through your house to grab a cup of tea.  And out of the blue, you start to notice these little things that need to be done – paint touchups in the hall, that chair you’ve been “meaning to” recover for a year now, that frame that needs a new photo . . . and all of a sudden you’re surrounded by a million overdue tasks.

It definitely happens to me, and when it does, I find myself feeling frustrated by the place that is supposed to be my cozy home.

That’s not a good feeling to have, so I thought it was high time I did something to get our ducks in a row.  The only problem? I can never keep track of everything we need to buy or do, so often some lower priority items are purchased / less important taks are done, before we do the more important ones.

The solution?  Enter my favorite online tool, the always-useful spreadsheet:

It’s a little tough to read because it’s so small, but when I put the chart together I wasn’t really designing it to be legible when posted as an image on the blog. :)

I’ve basically got four charts listing the fun and the not-so-fun tasks.  I’m thinking that in order to do a fun task (such as buying a dining table) I need to check off a not-so-fun free task or two.

To Buy & Make:  This lists everything we’d like to build or buy, the expected cost (if known) and a number to help prioritize.  The prioritization is super important, since everything on this list costs money.

Free Projects:  Also known as “those pesky tasks we keep putting off.”  These jobs won’t cost a thing, either because they’re free or we already have the supplies on hand, but they’re maybe not the most glamorous or fun – hence the procrastination.

Craiglist – Items to Sell:  I think the name speaks for itself, but the thing I’d like to point out is that every item we sell means more money is on hand to put towards the items “To Buy.”

Guest Room Tasks:  This list was an afterthought, put there just so I can keep track of the order in which I need to do the projects for the guest room makeover.  I suppose I need to create a similar list for the TV room makeover, because that’s still in progress as well.

The chart is stored in our private Google Docs folder, where Ryan and I can both see it and add to it. But I’ll also print a version to keep on our fridge, as a reminder and a literal checklist.

How do you keep track of all the tasks you want to and need to do around the house? 



Thanksgiving Recap & Impromptu Unofficial Link Party

As I briefly mentioned on Monday, Ryan and I attended three Thanksgiving dinners this past week.

I spaced out for most of the long weekend, and forgot to get photos of almost everything.  However, I did snap some photos of my favorite art back home, which I’ll share later this week.

On Thursday my parents and I journeyed to Philadelphia, where we gather at my brother’s home each year.  His in-laws also come – and they’re a fantastic Polish family, so they bring all sorts of awesome dishes that my family never used to eat on Thanksgiving. It’s awesome.

Thursday evening Ryan and I drove to New Jersey to do Thanksgiving with his family.  It was also awesome.  I talked sewing and quilting with his mom for a while, and after seeing her amazing quilts ( like the one below) I was inspired to come home and start my own.

Then, my mother hosted a large Thanksgiving, which we like to call Thanksgiving Part 2, on Saturday.  All the family friends that I grew up knowing come – it’s our version of extended family.  This year, like last year, Ryan’s family also came. Continue reading

Guest Room, Part 2: Real-time progress

Having eaten my way through not one, but three, Thanksgiving meals over the weekend, I desperately needed to do a little physical labor on Sunday.  What better project to start on the beautiful 72-degree day (!?!)  than the refinishing of the antique twin beds that are destined for our guest room?

When I realized how gorgeous the weather was on Sunday – I’m talking shorts and a t-shirt, people – I grabbed the first bed frame and headed outside. Setting it down on a tarp (to protect me and the frame from the damp ground), and strapping on a 3M particulate respirator mask, I proceeded to sand down the old, totally crusty varnish. Continue reading

If it looks good even on a stormy day . . .

How many times have you chosen a hotel or bed and breakfast based on the photos and descriptions found online, only to arrive and be disappointed that the venue does not live up to expectations?  That’s definitely happened to us a time or two, so it’s no wonder I was skeptical when Ryan and I set out to visit Herrington on the Bay, our potential wedding venue, on a recent stormy Saturday.

Eco Tropical Wedding Herrington on the Bay Maryland

In the online photos, the self-proclaimed “Eco-Lifestyle” wedding venue appeared to provide the same lush, tropical vegetation and ambiance as a tropical destination would – but Ryan and I had to see it for ourselves.

After a great and thorough consultation session with Michael, the event designer, he took us out in the rain to see the Polynesian  Bridal Lawn and the Paradise Ballroom, the spaces where our ceremony and reception would each take place.  Well, our skepticisms were quickly laid to rest when we saw the Polynesian lawn, because even in the horrible storm, it still exuded a good bit of tropical ambiance.  And that’s without the tropical spring flowers blooming!

Between our awesome consultation and the tropical perfection of the setting, Ryan and I left having pretty much decided that this was THE place.  Kind of like women tend to find THE dress.  We’d wanted to do a tropical destination wedding, but some important people were unable to travel for that – so with Herrington as our venue we’ll be able to bring the tropics to our guests!  And if it looked good even on a stormy day, that was definitely a good sign.

Here’s a peek as we saw it that rainy day.

This waterfall is where guests will make their entrance:

And the Polynesian Bridal Lawn, where we will hold the ceremony:

Just a few steps away from the ceremony lawn is the reception tent, and this grassy area between the tent and the bay will be set up for the cocktail hour, with tables and living room style lounge furniture:

The tent, aka Paradise Ballroom, is huge.  Now the combo of raspberry cotton and mint green damask stripe linens is definitely not my cup of tea, but all colors and textures aside, this space is going to look fab on our wedding day.  One small detail that really stood out to me is the inclusion of string lights and tulle draping across the ceiling of the tent.  In all the photos I’ve seen, that really makes the tent look just that much more magical.

On our wedding day (fingers crossed) the weather will be better and thus the sides of the tent will be open.


And the adjacent hotel, the Herrington Harbour Inn, is absolutely adorable. It’s hard to believe that this was a ramshackle old drive-up motel when the current owners purchased and renovated it in the 1970’s.  (Bonus points to them for not bulldozing it and starting fresh!)

Last Sunday, as Ryan flew to California for yet another business trip,  I returned to Herrington so that my parents could meet with Michael, ask their questions, and also be shown around.  They loved it just as much as we did, if not more.  Perhaps that’s because the head pastry chef popped into our meeting to deposit a tray of absolutely amazing breakfast treats as well as chocolate-dipped raspberry cheesecake lollipops. Um, file those under “awesome.” With a side of “messy, but worth it.”

All of the baked goods are made on premises from scratch each day.  As we left the office to take my parents to see the bridal lawn, the chef gave us some freshly baked french bread – and oh my gosh, it was probably the best bread I’ve ever had.

As for all the wedding details that i was worried about – the venue has been super flexible and we’ll be able to take care of a majority of my weird little preferences.  They’ve agreed to purchase and serve coffee from Cafe Amouri, and we’re going to work on a tropical wedding that is mostly local.  Also, we’ll be able to serve some non-alcoholic specialty drinks for the designated drivers which was a “must” on my list.  Finally, a “day of coordinator” will be assigned to us for our event – and as Michael put it, they’re the professional worriers who will ensure our event goes off without a hitch.

But I’ll discuss those items in more detail as the big day approaches.  For now we’re thrilled with how many of the big decisions we’ve already nailed down.  We’re definitely on track for an awesome June 2011 wedding!

Did you miss some of our earlier wedding planning posts?  You can find them all here, under The Proposed Abode.