Thursday, December 29, 2011

Raze the Roof

Last weekend we got a new roof after we sprung a leak the week before.  

To refresh your memory, this is what our old roof looked like--the original roof!

Here are some pictures of the new roof (excuse the finger in the shot, its not mine it's the roofer's :)

They had to completely strip the old tin roof and replace it with new (modern) material

These pictures were taken when the roof was nearly done.  After these shots were taken, the roof was painted.

Anyway, I'll let the pics from my roofer's website do the talking since I'm not expert:

Here's hoping that our new roof will last us another 100 years!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

With 2012 right around the corner, I've started thinking about some New Year's Resolutions. I know that resolutions are often broken, but I figured I should have something at least to strive for in the new year.  Here are the things topping out my list:

  1. Lose weight.  30 pounds to be exact.  Yes, yes...I know the whole weight thing goes without saying for new year's resolutions, but I'm serious this time. I really need to start giving a damn (excuse my language :).  For some reason I'm in some type of "I don't care mode" that I haven't figured out how to disarm.  Hopefully, training for the DC Rock and Roll 1/2 Marathon in March will be the kick in the butt that I need to get started.
  2. Wear high heels once a week.  That sounds like a weird resolution but I have a whole closet of heels that I don't wear (see above "I don't care mode" for the rationale).  I drive to work (as opposed to riding the metro) and my job doesn't require me to be on my feet.  I have an awesome collection of heels that I don't wear out of sheer laziness, so I figured it would be a good time to blow the dust off of them and show them off!
  3. Style my hair once a week.  If you know me, you know that I've worn my hair long for as long as I can remember and I really don't do anything to it.  Bor-ring.  I spend so much money highlighting, coloring, and cutting it, the least I can do is make it look its best.  My styling tools (hair curler, rollers, and flat iron) will probably have to come out of hiding as well.
  4. Learn how to braid.  Not simple braids but, you know, the more complicated ones (e.g.: french, fishtail, inverted, etc.).  Kind of related to resolution #3, but a bit more specific.  I honestly have no excuse since there are so my instructional videos on YouTube that can show you how, like this one:

What about you? Have you started thinking about your New Years resolutions yet? Do you make a resolution (or two) or since most resolutions are broken do you forgo the idea?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

When it Rains, It Pours...

Apparently in my closet :(

Let me start from the beginnning. 

Unbeknownst to us, last Tuesday night/Wednesday morning the DC area was about to experience some very heavy rain fall.  We are no strangers to the weird weather.  From Snowmaggedon two years ago to the hurricane winds of this past summer, DC weather runs that gamut and our house has been able to handle it all...until now.

While Justin and I were sleeping I woke up at 5:00am when I heard a noise.

plip, plip, plip

I smacked Justin to to wake him up (I swear between him and Louie, they can both sleep through anything!). He turned on the light and we looked around. It wasn't Louie, but it was coming from the room.  I walked toward my closet and sure enough there was water dripping from the ceiling, which was obviously coming from the roof. Arrrggghh!  This was something I defnitely didn't feel like dealing with especially at 5:00am.  After finding the leak, we moved all my clothes into the next room, put wastebaskets and towels in my closet, and hoped for the best--after all, we had to go to work. 

This a view of the leak in the closet looking up

While I was at work I imagined the entire ceiling caving in on our bedroom, but luckily the rain didn't seem to get any harder as the leak was contained in that area.

Over the weekend we got a roofer to check out the damage.  When he arrived he didn't even bother to look at the leak.  He brought out his super tall ladder and went straight to the roof.

When he came down I asked him what was wrong with our roof.  He basically said that it was the original roof and the entire thing needed to be replaced. Wow, since our house was built in 1910 I'm surprised that the roof has lasted that long!

This didn't really come to a surprise to Justin and I because when we did our home inspection, the inspector said that our roof was "at the end of its useful life"  and that it would have to be replaced soon, or given the current situation--now.

Here's a picture of our roof taken from our home estimate last year:

The roofer then gave us an estimate, which all things considered was cheaper than we thought.  We were expecting a new roof to cost somewhere in the $10K range, but let me just tell you that the number that he gave is definitely no drop in the bucket!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Water Damage Repaired?

Remember a few months ago I told you guys about the leak in our bedroom room (from our air conditioner) that dripped all the way down to the living room?  Well, it looked like this:

After a few months of tolerating it (yes, we let it go for months, don't judge!), Justin was able to patch the water damage to make it good as new.  Sorry, I don't have any "action" shots of Justin repairing the wall, but just imagine him spackling, then priming, and then yelling about how the paint wasn't adhering to the newly spackled areas.  Despite his frustrations he was able to fix it. Yay! Sorry these aren't the best pictures.

But it looks like nothing ever happened right?

Justin even fixed the paint chipped areas behind the recliner.  I don't have any before pictures of the damage, but apparently when you would rock on the recliner it would chip away at the wall behind it. Whoopsy.

You would think that this would be the end of our "leakage" problems, but it's not.  Just when we thought we were in the clear, another problem had to rear its ugly head...more on that later...

Monday, December 12, 2011

UK Basketball Can be Hazerdous to Your Health (and Home!)

Not much has to be said, but the following statement speaks for itself:

Kentucky:  72  Indiana:  73 

I'll the pictures speak for themselves...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Top-Shelf or (Hand) Rail? Our Homeowner's Insurance Saga

Last month we received a letter from our homeowners insurance company stating that they wouldn't renew our policy because our home wasn't up to code on certain things.  We were shocked to hear that since we had just moved in earlier this year.  What could possibly be wrong?  For one, our back stairs leading into the house didn't have a handrail.  It's only about four steps; however, since it was over 30 inches high, and more than three steps, it requires a handrail.  Because our policy was up at the end of the month, we needed to make sure this got done ASAP.  Justin (with me and Louie's moral support) went on to tackle the making of the handrail.  With some supplies and helpful instructions from our local hardware store, Frager's, Justin was up and running...

Here's Justin sawing the the 2x4's...He basically needed three 2x4's to be sawed to the right length.  Two would be the supporting posts and one would be the actual handrail.

Here's Louie doing his job, making sure the extension cord doesn't get tangled...

Here's Justin drilling holes into specific places in the 2x4's.  He drilled these holes so he could place long screws and bolts into the holds to secure the wood in place.


Here is an up-close shot of the screws and bolts.

And these are the places he put the screws and bolts in.  He also put them where the 2x4s meet the stairs to make sure that it was secure.

Here's the before (with my Redskins hoodie on the doorknob): 

And here's the after:


Here's Justin demonstrating its functionality.  Yay!

I know it's not much to look at, but honestly it's not like we really needed something to hang on to when going up those stairs (being two able-bodied and relatively "young" people).  We basically did it so we could keep our homeowners insurance, so now we are compliant!  We'll get around to painting it or staining it eventually.

Since Justin built the handrail, our homeowner's insurance has been reinstated; however, they also said that we needed to get rid of the bricks in our backyard, which were leftover from our kitchen renovation.  (You can see the bricks in question below.)  We'll probably try using them in our treebox or maybe as a small fence for our front yard, but that's for another day...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My First Foray Into Fall Bulbs

Did I ever tell you guys that I lack a green thumb?  Yup, I'm a plant killer (not intentionally, of course).  Last winter I grew a beautiful potted amaryllis and it grew super tall.  Unfortunately, it died because I forgot to keep watering it.  A couple of months ago I won a potted plant at a raffle and it died because I forgot to water it before Justin and I went out of town for the weekend.  With my plant track record you could imaging Justin's surprise when I asked him to pick up our free bulbs.

Crocuses and Daffodils
I heard about the bulb giveaway from one of the Capitol Hill blogs that I read.  It announced that the Capitol Hill Garden Club would be giving out free flower bulbs for planting in the Fall for bloom in the Spring.  The only catch is that you have to plant them in public areas (e.g.: tree boxes) or places that can be seen from the street (e.g.: your front lawn) and you have to live within the Capitol Hill boundaries (e.g.: Ward 6). 

Note:  Louie on the porch overseeing my work
Since I had never planted bulbs before (I saw my parents do it once a long time ago) or anything else for that matter, I thought this would be a cost-effective (meaning: free) way to improve my black green thumb while helping beautify Capitol Hill!. 

Me trying to put some elbow grease into it

Last weekend, after purchasing a bulb planter, I was on my way planing nearly fifty bulbs in front of our bushes.  There wasn't an exact method behind the way I planted them.  I guess I kind of made a zig-zag pattern with the daffodils and then put little bunches (about three per hole) of crocuses in between.  The best part is that daffodils and crocuses are said to come back every year!

After planting all those bulbs, my wrist was really sore (maybe I was doing it wrong?), but I can't wait to see what comes up at Springtime!

To find out more about the bulb giveaway for next year click here.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Octopus Art

What do you call it when you have more than one Briones? Brioni! hehehe...get it? This post is about a piece of artwork that features an octopus in many design blogs such as this one:

Splendid Minta
And more famously in Giuliana and Bill Rancic's dining room as seen here:

I love how the triptych (three pieces forming one work of art) covers a large amount of space.  It's called Lord Bodner's Octopus Study, and I thought it would be the perfect piece to go above our sectional.  A reproduction of this print can cost anywhere between $2000-$4000!  That doesn't including the framing and mat which would also drive up the price.  Since Justin would kill me if I spent that much on anything, I decided to search the internet for some cheaper options so that I could get the same look for less.

I saw similar octopus prints on poster websites but the colors weren't quite what I was looking for.  Eventually, I came across the design blog Splendid Minta, who offered a great do-it-youself tutorial on how to duplicate this triptych.  

Basically, she took free octopus clip art and used a design imaging tool, such as Picnik to design her own color combinations.  I stuck with the blue and white color combination and used the octopus clip art to design the image below.

Close enough, right? Luckily, this image is high resolution because I was able to blow it up to huge proportions (about four feet tall per panel!) and took it to the local Kinko's to get it printed.  Note:  If you plan on making this image a triptych, have the framer cut the print into three equal panels.  I unfortunately had the print shop cut it for me and the three panels weren't even.  :(

Next, I took it to Michael's to get framed.  They were having a 60% off sale on custom framing, but it was still a little more than I was expecting to pay.  However, once I thought about it--the custom sizing, custom mat, and the fact that I could put something different in the future (maybe some interesting wallpaper) I figure that it was worth the investment (or at least that's what I had to convince myself ;).

A few weeks later, I was able to pick up the finished product and it was ready to hang.  Too bad we weren't quite ready to hang it because we were off on our measurements a few times.  

Let's just say that that the future owners of this home will have to patch up several holes in the living room walls. Whoopsy.  

So here's Justin...

Beneath the finished product

Excuse the crappy cell phone photo.  I was trying to get a shot with the least amount of glare, but you get the idea.  I am so happy with the finished product and even happier that I didn't have to spend thousands of dollars for it!

* * *

Folks, I have had several request for the original image I used to make this triptych. Unfortunately, due to blogger size restrictions I will not be able to post that image in this post, nor will I be able to email you the image due to email attachment limitations. The link to the Splenda Minta website (which is what I used) I believe has the best instructions on how to do this yourself. Happy DIYing!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Now on Capitol Hill Calamity?

Okay, okay...I promise not to write another blog post about our House Hunters episode, but I just wanted to post this as an fyi...

Some of our friends and family STILL haven't seen our episode yet. Can you believe it? Some don't have cable (the horror!) and others have simply missed all the times it has aired (It has seriously been on twice a month since it first aired in August). recently posted our episode on their website, under their videos section.  Our show is titled, "Capitol Hill Calamity," which kind of reminds of me Looney Tunes for some reason.

Now you can share the ups and downs, the joys and pains, etc. of our home search from any computer, anytime!  Or at least until they get sick of us and take our video down ;)

Anyway, I have posted it below for your viewing pleasure :)

Courtesy of HGTV

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fall Leaf Collection

Although I love the fact that our street is lined with beautiful maple trees, the arrival of Fall brings the laborious and continuous raking of autumn leaves.  To assist with the huge accumulation of leaves, the District schedules periodic leaf pick-up dates.

Below is our front yard covered in leaves:

Our yard isn't that big, but boy does it pile up with the leaves!  Here is some leaf-raking progress...


Afterwards we usually put the leaves in recyclable bags and put them in our tree box.  Piling the leaves in the treebox will suffice for pick up, but we're always worried that since we do not have a fence, the leaves may blow back into our yard :/ Better safe than sorry.

Here comes the city trucks to pick up the leaves...

And now our sidewalks are leaf-free until the next leaf pick up date.

How does your neighborhood collect leaves?  Do you put them in the large paper bags, too?  Or maybe you use a lawnmower or leaf blower to keep your leaves in check?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Race Review: Nike Women's Half Marathon 2011

The big race has come and gone so here's my review of the 2011 Nike Women's Half Marathon. 

We arrived early Friday morning (due to a flight that was delayed four hours due to weather!) and headed to the expo a few hours later. Luckily, our hotel was located really close to the expo in Union Square (which also happened to be the starting line of the race) so it wasn't that difficult to get there.

The expo was unlike most expos I have been to in the past. Typically, you check in and you get your number, finishers shirt, and swag bag. Here, you got your number and your swag bag, but you didn't get your finishers shirt. It was a bummer that you didn't get to see what the shirt looked like, but according to the check-in staff you would receive it upon crossing the finish line.

Another difference about this expo was that the focus was more on the race's sponsors, as opposed to getting the last minute items for your racing needs. We got to sample all different types of Gatorade products, Pom Lite juices, and various Safeway snacks. We also got to see the latest and greatest in Nike products; like the $350 reflective jacket seen on me and my sisters below. However, my sister wanted a hydration belt and my friend M., from LA, who was also running the race needed a knee brace. There was a tiny kiosk outside of the tent that sold overpriced energy gels and such, but we eneded up going to Niketown and the Sports Basement.

Now, for the review of the actual race!

The pre-race hysteria, lol
The start time for the race was a bright and early 7AM. I usually prefer earlier start times because it doesn't get so hot as the race progresses. As soon as we got to the start area it was chaos. There was a backup of people around the port-o-potties and the bag drop-off area. I typically try to go to the bathroom before and not have anything to drop off for this exact reason, however, my sister and M. both needed to drop of their bags and it was a madhouse trying to get the bags to the bus that would be dropping it off at the finish line. We found out after standing in the mob of people for about 15 minutes that we could have avoided the crowd by taking the side streets. Oh well, you live you learn.

Pre-race group shot!
Once we were in our corral we heard several female empowerment songs blasting (namely, Beyonce's "Who Run the World (Girls)") and then off we went. I'm not to clear on the geography of the race route but we started through downtown and then we headed toward Fisherman's Wharf then headed toward Presidio seeing all the sights along the way. It was funny because the night before Justin's cousins took us on this route in their car so it was nice to see all the sights we had seen the night before during the day. The not so funny part was that we were running, not driving. Lol, just kidding...but really, miles 7-10 were killer. All uphill. Now I did a bit of hill training before this race (Does the hill interval button on the treadmill count?), however, nothing could prepare me for the San Francisco hills. I don't even think hills like that exist in the DC metro area...maybe out in the boonies somewhere....

Here's the course map and the elevation guide:

Despite all the hills that I wasn't quite ready for, it was an enjoyable race. There were a lot of water and Gatorade stations along the way. Music blasting and a lot crowd encouragement (especially from Team in Training who sponsored this face). There were energy chew stations, a Neutrogena sunblock station, and of course the Ghiardelli Chocolate Mile (which I think came at mile 12?). I couldn't eat the chocolate right at that moment but I tucked it in my hydration belt for later.

The post-race party was pretty cool. Upon crossing the finish line you got handed a Tiffany's finisher's necklace (the whole reason why I ran this race ;) and a finishers shirt (a bright yellow tech shirt, perfect for night running). There were a lot of free goodies such as bananas, bagels, Gatorade recovery drink, and my favorite--chocolate milk!

Judy with cute fireman and Tiffany's box! 
One drawback I should point out is that the race starts and finishes in different places so getting back to your hotel is kind of tricky. Find a friend or hail a cab because with all the post-race traffic it'll take a while to get home!

To sum it up, I had a great time in San Francisco running the Nike Women's Half Marathon. I would definitely do it again, but I would maybe do more hill training next time!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Free Louie!

Our dog Louie is about six months old now and I must say that he is a fatty. Typically male french bulldogs top out at about 25 lbs maximum (females are much smaller). Louie is only six months old and he's already 21 lbs. We aren't over feeding him (we only feed him two cups of kibble a day), nor do we let him graze throughout the day (he finishes his food promptly). We don't give him many treats, I just think he's big for his age. Husky, big boned call it what you will, LOL.

Anyway, he is outgrowing the crate we first got him and our dog walkers started to notice. "Why don't you take him out of the crate during the day?" they would write in their dogwalker log. (I was getting this vision of our dog walkers wearing "Free Louie" t-shirts, in the same vein as the Jersey Shore "Free Snooki" shirts.) Not wanting to be bad "pet parents" we decided to think it over.  Hmmm...he was getting a little squished in the crate and he seems pretty well-behaved, so why don't we give it a shot?  As a test, my sister and I went out for a run.  We let Louie out of his crate and closed the door to the living room. A little over an hour later we returned and found him sitting there happily. No accidents or damage to be seen.

After that successful test run, Justin and I decided to leave him out of crate for a day...and boy do we regret it.

Yes, that is our coffee table and yes, he has gnawed each corner down beyond recognition. He also chewed the wooden handle to the La-Z-Boy. No wooden object was safe from his wrath.

In conclusion the "Free Louie" saga is over and he is staying in the crate. No "ifs," "ands," or "buts." We're just going to buy him a bigger crate so disasters like this don't happen again.