The adventure blog has sort of been on hiatus this past week, mostly because I’ve been in the process of moving into a new apartment in New Haven.
I also don’t have internet yet, so Michal and I have been at the mercy of neighborhood cafes with free WiFi.
Thank you Cafe Romeo.
I’m pretty excited about my new place, especially since after having lived in both Boston and New York City, it’s an odd feeling to suddenly have so much space (and so much money left over after paying rent!). It will also be nice to officially have my name on a lease with Michal, because living out of a duffel bag was beginning to get old.
Our friends Jesse and Paul will also be living with us, so I’m thrilled that the place will most likely always have people in it. Places always feel more like home when there are voices in the background.
Michal and I are tackling the apartment room by room, so on the agenda for our first weekend in the new place was the bedroom…and this meant the REAL agenda was PAINTING.
White walls sort of horrify me. I’m not sure why, but I’m beginning to think it’s genetic, because in my parents home there is not a single white wall to be found.
Luckily Michal was all for painting the bedroom whatever color I wanted, and since I already had the color picked out (Gentle Tide by Glidden), it was just a matter of dropping by Home Depot to pick it up.
If you’ve painted before, I don’t need to tell you it’s hard work. It took us three days to finish painting and touching up two rooms (we painted Michal’s office too). Because of the fumes we set up the bed in the living room, and lived there for the first few nights.
There was lots of take-out and beer consumed this weekend.
Once we finally finished painting we began moving in furniture.
If Michal looks tired in the above photo, it’s because we were both up at 6am, and in my sleepy state I was a bit indecisive, so I made him help me arrange the furniture in our room about 5 different ways until I finally decided on the set-up I liked.
Once we set the bedroom up the way we wanted, we ran to IKEA to buy some shelving. The shelving was SO cheap and made the room look much more finished.
The bedroom isn’t quite complete, but here are some before and after photos (before photos were taken when we first looked at the apartment).
Don’t colored walls make rooms look so much more inviting?
Because the windows in the front of the room are so beautiful, I didn’t want to distract from that with a clunky headboard. I toyed around with a few ideas, but finally decided on installing a simple IKEA shelf directly behind the bed. For the brackets we used the plastic white ones that only cost one dollar at IKEA. From far away you can’t tell they aren’t wood. In total, our “headboard” cost us 7 dollars. It was definitely the cheapest solution to keeping the area between the windows simple/clean, while still giving us a place to store a book, water, or cell phone at night.
We also bought two large shelves from IKEA (7 dollars each). Since this wall is more of a focal point, we splurged and bought the nicer brackets (5 dollars each). So in total, we transformed this wall for 34 dollars.
We were lucky that no major furniture or bedding had to be bought. My only real splurge were the bamboo shades (Bed Beth & Beyond) which were $40 each, and totally worth every penny, because when the sun hits them they glow this beautiful honey color.
There are still a few spaces in the room that need to be worked on such as:
This house plant needs a buddy (preferably in the form of a mirror)
Not a great view from the bed.
I already have some creative and cheap ideas though, so maybe I’ll update you with photos once I complete the projects.
Someday in the future (way in the future) I’d like to purchase something like this, this, or this, but for now I’m just going to dream about that day, and until then I will focus on decorating my new IKEA shelves with fun knickknacks from my local Marshalls, Homegoods, and TJ Max….which did I mention are all less than 10 minutes away from my new place?
I guess some dreams do come true.
July 19, 2010 No Comments
After breakfast on Sunday, I felt exhausted, so I crawled back into bed and didn’t wake up again until around 1:30 in the afternoon.
I don’t know if it was my allergies, or the fact that I was just a bit behind on sleep, but even after sleeping in, I still felt extremely groggy and a bit in a funk. Even though I was in no mood to get out of bed, I forced myself to at least take a nice long walk outside (which often is the best cure for a stale mood).
First stop along the walk was Cafe Romeo for lunch, because my stomach was already grumbling like crazy. I guess my banana bread oatmeal for breakfast wasn’t decadent enough?
Cafe Romeo is a fairly new eatery in East Rock, and although the competition for Italian food is fierce in this area, they’ve sort of carved out their own little niche by pairing good sandwiches with good aesthetic design.
With their open-air store front and large outdoor seating area, the ambiance is definitely a step above the competition, but their service still hasn’t quite reached the level of professionalism that I guess comes with time. I don’t think this has deterred anyone from going though, because the place was packed!
I ended up ordering something I’ve enjoyed at Cafe Romeo before—their tuna salad sandwich.
I had my tuna salad on their whole wheat bread, but in the past I’ve had it on their pumpernickel rye bread, and that’s definitely my favorite.
I also got to sample their foccacia bread, which Michal had an Eggplant Panini on.
Grilled balsamic marinated eggplant, roasted red peppers, and baby spinach, with a kalamata olive tapenade.
This sandwich melts in your mouth
I also ordered some freshly brewed ice tea, which tasted amazing, and really helped perk me up for the remainder of my Sunday walk.
After Cafe Romeo, I came across a store near the New Haven green that I’ve never noticed before (which is odd since I’ve walked past it at least a dozen times now).
Ten Thousand Villages is fair trade non-profit organization whose mission is to, “provide vital, fair income to Third World people by marketing their handicrafts and telling their stories in North America. Ten Thousand Villages works with artisans who would otherwise be unemployed or underemployed. This income helps pay for food, education, health care and housing.” (Source: Ten Thousand Villages website).
Walking through the store felt like someone had stocked the shelves based on my personal taste in jewelry and home decor.
…And because it was for such a good cause, I had to buy a few things, right?
I immediately grabbed a bar of extra dark chocolate, because it’s really hard for me to find authentic chocolate at the local grocery store, and once you acquire a taste for real chocolate, everything else just tastes processed and fake.
My next purchase was the most beautiful card ever, but I can’t show it here, because it’s for mother’s day, and my mother sort of stalks me through this blog, so I don’t want to ruin it for her (sorry mom–you’ll have to wait until Sunday).
My last (and favorite) purchase was a necklace and pair of earrings made from recycled brass.
I’m a bit obsessed with the craftsmanship and beauty of this necklace (this photo doesn’t do it justice), and the coolest part is that they can provide you with a print-out with background information on any item in the store…
My particular necklace came from the non-profit, Jacaranada Workshop, in Kenya, which provides employment, training, and other assistance to artisans with mental or physical abilities.
The sad thing is that I never really realized the impact one can have by simply choosing to buy their jewelry or home decor from developing countries.
I’m definitely going to make more of an effort from here on out to buy jewelry and other decorative items from non-profits such as Ten Thousand Villages, rather than Anthropologie other stores.
On my walk home I passed this advertisement:
I thought the tag-line would be a great motto for this blog, even though my motto for today was sort of “get out more, spend a little!”
Although there was nothing particularly adventurous about this Sunday, by the end of my long walk I felt so much more energized (and happier) than when I had begun, so I stand strong in my belief that it’s always better to just force yourself to get outside if you’re in a funk.
I know it’s hard sometimes, but a long walk in the sunshine can cure even the most stubborn of mental states.
May 4, 2010 1 Comment
On Sunday was New Haven’s annual Cherry Blossom Festival. Although there were no cherry blossoms (I guess they hadn’t bloomed yet?), every church-going woman over the age of 60 was there to dazzle you with cherry-themed knickknacks.
Everyone at the festival was so nice that it was hard not to make a donation or buy a little trinket at every table. At one point I almost adopted a bow-legged dog, but Michal stepped in, and suggested we take a “break” from the animal shelter booth until I stopped crying in front of all the happy kids with balloons.
So we took a breather and listened to some great steel drum music….
And smelled some amazing smells…
And then we each bought a cookie…
With camera in hand, I was able to document the four stages of cookie rapture:
4) SHARING (some people just repeat stages 2 and 3)
Since my cookie was a gift, I remained in the euphoric phase of anticipation for the rest of the festival.
After staring at so many anthropomorphic baked goods, I was feeling a lot more emotionally stable, so it was back to The Friends of the New Haven Animal Shelter booth.
What an incredible organization. They basically direct all of their efforts to three fundamental areas: increasing adoptions/decreasing euthanasia, reducing pet overpopulation, and enhancing the quality of life for animals by providing medical care beyond the shelter’s ability and by socializing with the animals.
Michal and I were really impressed with their compassionate views on animal care in shelters, and after reading through a few of their brochures, I definitely want to attend their next volunteer group meeting to see how I can help out this summer.
Above is a photo of Piglet. She’s thought to be a cross between a pit bull and a chihuahua, and she has some pretty serious knee issues. The good news is that the organization just finished saving up the funds to get her the costly surgery she needs to have full mobility again, and after her surgery she’ll be fostered, and then put up for adoption. I spent some time interacting with her, and she was extremely loving, and really lit up around people.
If you know of any loving families who might be looking to adopt a dog, please pass along this information, or have them visit the website.
Definitely expect some animal-themed volunteer adventures in the upcoming months.
April 19, 2010 No Comments
There are simply not enough hours in the day to keep up with this blog, so this is me playing catch up on what I did yesterday…
Sunday I woke up exhausted and sore, but the sun was shining so brightly outside that I just couldn’t sit still, so I ate a big stack of french toast, popped some Advil, and it was back out the door.
I thought about going on a run, but the Manchester 5k seriously kicked my butt, so all my hamstrings could handle was a leisurely hike to the top of East Rock Park.
During the hike, it was nice to see signs of spring…
The only thing that wasn’t nice was having to walk through the section of the trail where I had a horrible running fall last year. It happened last April when I was doing a brisk trail run, and at the top of this hill my foot nicked a rock and I flew down it head first….
As you can see, there are no soft landings, and in just a single fall I ripped open the side of my hand, left shoulder, and left knee. Luckily I was with Michal, and he carried me to the main road, and a really amazing woman whose name I don’t know saw me and pulled over because she had a first aid kit in her car. She not only gave me her first aid kit, but she waited with me (and consoled me) while Michal ran back to his apartment to get his car. If you’re wondering why she didn’t give me a ride, it was because I was covered in blood and she had two very young kids in the car. I kept begging her to give me her name and address so I could send her something, but she refused, and insisted that I would of done the same thing for her. I still wish I knew her name though. What a nice lady.
Once we passed through the bad place, it was about a 20 minute hike to the top.
The view from the top is so pretty, and below you’ll see the same statue from the first picture, only this time it’s a bit closer.
We decided to take the Big Step Trail back down the mountain, which is a lot of fun. The trail is exactly how it sounds–massive steps carved into the side of the mountain.
Oh yeah, and did I mention you can experience all of this for free?
Nature is cool like that.
March 22, 2010 No Comments