Kansas City First Fridays, a September Review

It’s been quite some time since I’ve updated the blog; much of my time has been spent preparing for the KC+ Connect group exhibition at the Hilliard Gallery, in which Cory Hinesley and I went a little over the top with installation. Check out Jenny’s concise review of September Frist Friday and see a peek of one of my images!


Photo credit: David Cedillo http://davidcedillo.com/index.php/2012/01/last-friday-first-friday/ Photo credit: David Cedillo

As much as I hate to admit it, when a friend told me he was exhibiting his artwork at a gallery this past Friday, I was not looking forward to going. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely wanted to support him and his artwork, but for me, attending First Fridays has completely lost its luster. I’m not a fan of clueless crowds or mediocrity and I’m sad to say, during my last few experiences with First Fridays, those were my only two take-aways.

Hopeful that the unseasonably cool, soggy weather would keep the masses at bay but unwilling to give up my sweet parking spot near Lydia’s just in case,  I trudged down 18th Street toward Grinders for a beer. It was only 5:30 p.m. but already the place was packed. Tasty beer, loud crowd, moving on.

Confident that my friend’s artwork would not perpetuate my gloomy outlook toward…

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New house color reveal!

For those of you who know us personally, this post has been a long time comin’. For those of you who don’t, SURPRISE! We got our house painted!

Before I get going any further, I’ll just leave this photo here as a friendly reminder of what our house looked like when we bought it.

DSC_0047There was nothing WRONG with the paint color, per se. Well, actually, the flippers did a pretty shitty job of painting the porches and trim… AND they painted the roof (a real “wtf?” moment for us when we discovered that!) But part of our deal was that the seller had to put a new roof on the house at closing. When the roofers asked us if we wanted the same shingles, we said yes, assuming they would be black (since, you know, the roof LOOKED black…which turned out to be paint…) But, they weren’t.


I like to think of this roof color change as moving our house’s style from the goth look to more grunge. More Daria Morgendorfer than Morticia Addams. While I dig both of those styles in clothing, it wasn’t really working on the house. I felt like our house just looked so drab, blending in to the background (it was kind of painted camo colors, after all). And the dark trim that I had been totally okay with when I thought it was black now looked a lot more like muddy brown.

But getting a house painted is either expensive or time consuming, depending on the route you decide to take, Initially we were all, we-just-bought-a-house-and-aren’t-going-to-spend-any-money. Then we were all, oh-crap,-our-bathtub-leaks-and-we-have-no-kitchen-ceiling,-better-spend-money-on-that. And THEN we were all…





Fortunately, that disaster was covered by our insurance (after the deductible, of course). Still, it kind of sucked to have a hole in the side of our house in the middle of winter. Oh yeah, and without power to the house, we had no heat! Fun stuff. Let’s get a close up on that hole (please excuse the fact that these are out of focus; it was the middle of the night and we were cranky).

P2360047That black thing is the pipe that goes to our toilet, for reference. The “good” news was, our kitchen ceiling was already open, so we could stuff some cardboard up there to block the draft!

Anyway, we got it patched up pretty quickly, thanks to State Farm.



Our claims adjuster was awesome and easy to work with, and since we had a higher deductible, she gave us as much as she could so we were getting our money’s worth, including painting not just the patched area, but both the entire back and north sides of the house “that way the paint matches…” (including the shed!)

So, here we were, with two sides of the house being painted…that same boring blah color. I mean, really, people. Look at that picture up there. BORING. And icky. So we made a decision.

We decided to get the entire house painted.

Of course, like I said before, house painting isn’t cheap. But the contractor who was already doing the repairs cut us a deal, and we actually managed to cover the entire project with our tax return! Fortunately our indecisiveness and inability to agree on house colors gave us the time we needed for that check to come in…

I have, for much of my life, attempted to come to “agreements” and “understandings” in my relationships. I don’t like when anybody “wins”… I’d rather just have my partner understand that I’m “right” 😉 Well, on the subject of house colors, we just could not agree. We were literally on the opposite ends of the spectrum. I used the drawing of the house I made for this blog and the Behr website to try out our color ideas and, ahem, show Jon just how great my color ideas are. After much bickering and about 50 different paint swatches, he finally said, “Okay. You win. We’ll go with your colors.”

It was a little difficult for me to accept winning without him necessarily agreeing with my choice, but I knew, deep in my heart, that my paint color design was perfect. I mean, look at it!

House colors

It should be noted that, on screen, Night Shade looks kind of green. It’s not. On the color fan we had, it was situated in the blue family. It looked like a very dark, almost charcoal blue (picture it, I know you can). So I figured it would probably look more blue than green, which is what we wanted, but would be safer than going with a more blue-looking color. I was okay with the possibility of it looking green, gray, or even black (I was too scared to actually go for a black house… what if I just made it look even MORE Addams family?… but I wasn’t opposed to the idea). A search on the interwebs showed me that Night Shade tends to look pretty blue, which would compliment the color scheme we have going on the first floor of the house. So we went with it, and the painting began.

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The first thing they did after taping off all the windows was spray on the trim. Oh my gosh, you guys, I can’t even tell you how DIFFERENT our house looks with light trim! It was an instant transformation.

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I was freakin’ thrilled. Jon (who had originally wanted a darker trim) started to realize my brilliance… The cream trim makes the house stand out so much, brightens it, and I think actually makes the house look bigger.

When they started adding the body color, (pardon my French) hot damn.

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The color turned out pretty much exactly like I had hoped.

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We chose a satin finish, which was supposedly the less shinier option, and I’m glad we did, because dang does that afternoon sun SHINE off our house! Initially it was a little scary, but now I actually quite like it. OH—by the way—that siding we thought was asbestos and needed to be gotten rid of? Not asbestos! It’s actually cement. And the texture is really pretty awesome—something we barely noticed with the drab green of the past.

Now the painting is all said and done, so here are the Official New Exterior Photos!


TA-DA! Isn’t it gorgeous? Seriously. Scroll up to the photo of the house when we bought it. Now look back at this photo. AMAZING, RIGHT?!


It’s hard to see the Cinnamon Cherry porch ceiling and soffets in these photos, but in person it’s much more impressive. They add a nice pop of brightness to break up the blue.


We didn’t like the house-numbers-on-a-plaque thing we had going on before, and for a moment I was afraid we would have to buy new house numbers. Afraid because those things are kind of expensive. I know, I know… they’re not THAT expensive… but we were already shelling out thousands of dollars to have the house painted, and I was feeling a bit stingy. Fortunately, the perfectly lovely numbers attached to the ugly plaque we had were only hot-glued on! Thanks, shitty flippers! So we were able to pop them right off. Jon used liquid nails to attach them to the post, which may not have been the best option as it was a bit messy, but… from here it looks great!


There is still more to be done. We decided to hold off on painting the fence since we couldn’t decide on a color and we’re not sure if we’re keeping the fence or not (the broken bit did get repaired so the pooch could be contained). We also plan to paint the door and screen door red, and haven’t decided whether it will be the same red as the porch ceiling and soffets or if it will be a brighter red. So for now, I’ll leave you with this lovely little photo of our porch, my new favorite place. Fun fact: all of this furniture was free.

Stay tuned for photos of the back of the house and backyard… that area is a bit of a mess at the moment, but we have grand plans for the future!

Demeter Smiles



It’s been five months since my last post. How can I explain my absence? The truth is, life just got too hard. (Warning–I’m about to get personal up in here. Trigger warning for those of you who have experienced pregnancy loss.)

About a week after the exterior update, we got some great news: I was pregnant! Though it was a joyous occasion, I didn’t want to share it here because it was so early. But what could I write about when the one thing taking all of my attention was a secret? Then the holidays came and went, and we lost the baby. Just a few days after we heard its heartbeat, the little heart stopped. I didn’t know for a few more weeks. The pain of this loss is something I don’t know how to put in to words; winter consumed me.

Though the start of 2014 was tough for me (probably shouldn’t have made my new year’s resolution “to give birth to a healthy baby”) things are looking decidedly better now. Spring has come. I’ve been making a conscious effort to live a positive life, taking time for myself and doing the things I care about. My mental and physical health have been my focus and through that I have found everything else falls in to place.


This season is all about rebirth and renewal. As I am feeling the sun shine on me after what feels like ages, I’m going to resume blogging. It will probably be slow to start, but I’m ready to begin sharing again.

House Tour: Exterior Update


We have yet to do anything to the exterior of the house, with the exception of a little fall decorating. Oh, yeah, and just a simple little thing called NEW ROOF. I mentioned before that part of our deal with the seller was having a new roof put on. This was supposed to happen as soon as we closed (the seller put the money in escrow and it was written in to our contract) but there were a few issues that pushed it back several weeks. In the end, we got a brand new roof, which lets us sleep much easier at night.

Since we’re not huge fans of the sage green, in the future we plan on painting (the current colors make me think of a house version of Daria Morgendorffer). That project may be put off for quite some time, though, since we eventually want to remove the asbestos siding rather than just painting over it, and that will be a HUGE project (plus, who knows what horrors would be waiting for us underneath).

As for the yard, Jonathan hates mowing (and for once I am glad to use my back injury as an excuse not to attempt it) so we plan to do some landscaping to eliminate as much of the lawn as possible.

Speaking of yards, have you seen our backyard?

DSC_0043I don’t mean to brag, but it is quite large for Midtown Kansas City. It is also surprisingly covered in leaves right now. I say surprisingly because there are no trees on our property. Hmmm…

Though you can’t quite see it, Jonathan has done a lot of work clearing out the brush behind the back fence. That area is technically the city’s property since the power lines run through there, but it’s our responsibility to tidy it up.

Eventually we want to build planter boxes for growing vegetables. Jonathan also has plans to build a sort of greenhouse-slash-studio in the back. I’m just happy we have so much space!

Anyone out there have experience removing asbestos siding? How about grass alternatives? Tell us below!

Fall reflections, and a reader poll


Fall is my favorite of the seasons, yet I feel like it’s the most fleeting. Halloween comes before you know it, and then the holiday season begins, a whirlwind of engagements and expenditures and suddenly it’s January and you really should start going back to the gym. Two and a half weeks have passed since my last post, and what has been happening? When it’s dark before the workday ends, it’s hard to keep up with your passions.


Or, at least, it’s hard to remember to document them.

In my opinion, good content requires good documentation. Sure, I took a nice picture of my jack-o’-lantern the day after Halloween, but wouldn’t it be more useful to know how I carved it? Getting in the habit of photographing everything can be difficult to remember, and what with the dwindling daylight hours, I think this blogging is going to require a little more planning. A bit of a schedule.

So here’s where I need help from you, dear reader. If I’m going to plan out my content, I need to be sure it’s interesting to you! I would greatly appreciate your input in the polls below.

Feel free to comment further below, and thank you so much for your input!

First Floor Tour Conclusion: Entry, Hall, and Half Bath


You’ve already seen the entry in the first floor preview post, but today you get to see just a bit more.


This is the view from the kitchen. The first door on the right goes to the half bath (the other door goes to the basement).


We didn’t have to do much to the half bath, besides the laborious task of installing a towel rack. I am weirdly in love with this bathroom. The floors are perfect to me. I really feel that the sink, mirror, and light fixtures match each other and the house so well. They are sleek and modern but don’t seem out of place in an old house. I much prefer the sink downstairs to the one upstairs (see the empty house tour for that bathroom).

First Floor Tour: the Living Room


As I mentioned in the dining room post, it’s kind of impossible to show one room without the other since they are interconnected, so here you get to see the other side of the dining room, too.


The main furniture feature in the living room is probably also the most used piece of furniture in the house: the sofa. It’s another side-of-the-road find, and it sure was a good one! It’s very long (I can lay out straight on it and there’s still room for someone to sit at my feet) and just the kind of simple modern style I like. Though I love the color (and it influenced our decorating choices greatly) we plan on reupholstering it at some point. The poor thing has probably had the same upholstery its entire life, and judging by the style, it could be up to fifty years old. The foam cushions also need to be replaced, but in the meantime, it is a highly functional and still attractive couch.


Oh, and we also lucked out in the fact that it doesn’t have any weird smells or stains!

In case you were wondering, there are three lamps in the photo above and yes, that pig on the left is one of them. We have quite the collection of lamps.


Another of my favorite lamps is this black and gold horse lamp. I found it on the side of the road, too. Yes. I find amazing things on the side of the road.


Sadly, the fireplace is not functional. That didn’t stop us from putting real wood in it, though.

And this concludes the south side of the first floor.

Homemade Veggie Stock

I cook a lot, and I plan on sharing many of the things I cook here. I thought I should start out by sharing one thing that is a constant staple in much of my cooking: veggie stock.

Since we eat mostly plants, we often have a lot of “extras” leftover. Stems, shells, skins, etc. This stuff is not totally useless! You can use it to make stock.


Any veggie trimmings I have, I put in a bag in the freezer. When that bag gets full, I make stock.

DSC_0135For this batch of stock, I also added some pulp leftover from juicing.

DSC_0136It is very easy to make. Just cover your veggie trimmings with water, then bring to a boil.

DSC_0137This batch had some beet stems in it, so the water turned purple right away.


Add spices to your taste. This time I added salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning. There were some garlic and ginger trimmings in there, too, so that will influence the flavor.


Once the water comes to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover for 40 minutes or more, depending on how much you have to work with and how flavorful you want your stock to be.

DSC_0149Then strain the stock.


You may have to squeeze some of the juices from the veggies. If you have a compost pile, you can add what’s leftover when you’re done.

DSC_0155I keep my stock in jars in the fridge until I am ready to use it.

It’s that easy! Never buy veggie stock again.

First Floor Tour: the Dining Room

DSC_0143Ladies and gentlemen, not only am I (finally) continuing the first floor tour, but this one actually includes a sneak peak of the living room as shown above! Since the dining and living rooms are open to each other, it’s really impossible to show one without the other.

As you can see above, the only alteration that has been made to the actual house is painting one wall navy blue (the other side is also painted, which you will see in the living room post.)

DSC_0144As for the furniture, this dining room needed a larger table than the one we already had. My parents kindly gave us this black table, which can be made smaller by removing two leaves from the middle and dropping the sides down, should we so choose.

DSC_0145The hoop back chairs also came from my mother. I painted them a bright blue to to bring some color in to the room. (Alsoturns out you can see some of that navy in this photo, too! Check it out.)


That chair in the corner (affectionately named “the dog’s chair” since she is the only one who sits in it) is a side-of-the-road find.

The piano came from Jon’s mother. Sadly I have not been playing it as much as I should, but I am still very happy that we have it in the house!

DSC_0147I decided to try decorating with books for the top of the piano. I chose the books specifically for their colors. They are also pretty good books. That amazing wooden bowl was a wedding gift, and the hand once belonged to a Sak’s Fifth Avenue mannequin (before they closed in the mid-2000s.)

That’s our dining room! Like I said, you will be able to see the other end when I show photos of the living room.

Do you have a piano? How often do you play it? How about side-of-the-road furniture?

Trader Joe’s vs. Door to Door Organics: Which costs more?


When I shared my first “What’s in the box?” post on Facebook, a friend noted that the total cost of $34.41 seemed high and wondered if that included extra for a delivery fee. Though I already knew the price was higher than if it were regular (non organic) produce, I decided to find out exactly how much more or less the box costs compared to organic produce from the grocery store.

Besides a small local health food store, Trader Joe’s is the only grocery store in the area that provides organic options for much of their produce. I thought they would be a good comparison since they have locations in many cities.

So here’s how it went down: I went in to Trader Joe’s armed with a list of produce and my camera phone. I then proceeded to walk around the store like a weirdo, taking photos of produce and crossing things off a list.

Unfortunately, my ancient phone sucks, and I don’t have photos of everything. However, I did manage to get the prices of every item from the first box:

4 organic Bosc pears: $3.16
4 organic Gala apples: $3.16
1lb carrots: $3.99*
1 Delicata squash: $0.99*
1lb mixed potatoes: $2.49*
4 organic Russet potatoes: $3.99
0.5lb green beans: $2.69+*
4 organic garlic cloves: $2.00
5 organic Roma tomatos: $3.49
1 green onion bunch: $1.29*
1 bag organic Lacinato kale: $2.29+

+ Trader Joe’s did not have yellow beans or organic green kale bunches. Instead I found regular green beans and a bag of pre-chopped Lacinato kale.
* Trader Joe’s also did not have organic versions of everything. According to the USDA, organic produce costs 10-30% more than regular produce. I added 20% to each of the non organic items, except the green beans to which I added 30% (since yellow beans are apparently more rare.) The adjusted prices of those items are below:

1lb carrots: $4.79
1 Delicata squash: $1.19
1lb mixed potatoes: $3.00
0.5lb green beans: $3.50
1 green onion bunch: $1.55

After adjusting those prices, I also needed to add the sales tax. I looked at my actual Trader Joe’s receipt (I did buy things) and saw that there is a 5% tax and a 2% tax.

So who won?

The total cost of the Trader Joe’s produce, with taxes and adjustment for organics, was $34.37. Without adjusting for organics, it would have been $31.61. Pretty close, but TJ’s is coming in at slightly less! Right?

But wait… there’s more. Driving to and from Trader Joe’s from our home burns about 1 galon of gas in my Outback (not to mention at least 40 minutes spent in the car total!) Gas prices here are currently $3.01/galon, adding $3.01 to the cost of the Trader Joe’s produce. That means…

Door to Door Organics wins!

That doesn’t mean we don’t still shop at Trader Joe’s for other things. It’s conveniently located in the same mall as Target, so the drive out there isn’t so bad so long as we need enough stuff. This time around, I bought Greek yogurt, whole wheat pasta, some Two Buck Chuck merlot, and cookies. Happy Saturday.