Friday, June 29, 2012

Backyard Project: Before and After

Our backyard was one of the best projects I have worked on in a while. Scott took care of most of the manual labor, while I was in charge of the decor. Even though we divided some of the work, it was rare that either one of us missed out on an errand for the backyard. 
Here are some pictures of how we tried to make our small yard into a garden, a dining area and an outdoor living room. 

We wanted to get rid of the bamboo so we had more space
We love bamboo, but since the yard is pretty small it had to go!
With the bamboo gone we now had a 15X7 foot space to stretch out in and get creative 
In this space we wanted a fountain, a garden, a sitting area, and a fireplace
The best things are the ones you get to share with others, right? 
 Scott built me a potting bench for gardening (and most importantly, decorating)
We decided to paint it light blue
Since we were short on space, we decided to install our own vertical garden
A vertical garden is an eco-friendly way to have a garden in a small space (I figured you'd be wondering). Water is recirculated through the tubes by a pump. The plant's roots sit in net pots, soil free, and absorb water and added nutrients. 

Vertical garden assembled!
What we're trying to grow: Chives, parsley, strawberries, zucchini squash, cilantro, cucumbers, lettuce, basil
I wanted to have some art out in the yard to make it feel like an outdoor living room
Scott put together a swinging bench, something I've wanted since...since forever 
The finished product
The theme we were going for is sort of whimsical-sea farer. Our indoor space is a little more grownup (besides all of my stuffed animals), but with the backyard we had fun with the "theme". I wanted the feeling of the outdoors to go with the style of the indoor space (beachy), but still be a tad different.
The view from the swinging bench
Scott cut out this anchor with his saw and I painted it// The anchor up on the wall next to the finished potting bench
My parents gave us this outdoor table after they got a new one. Score! We eat most meals here this time of year. Who says you can't put up pictures outside? All these frames are some the consignment store and the pictures are from the internet. They're going to stay outside after all, so wasn't looking for anything too expensive (I don't think I ever really am though). I will probably take them in during the winter, though. 
tabletop close-ups (lots of homemade and consignment stuff)
I love it back there so much; I look forward to the changes in the sunlight so I can see it differently. I never really used to give the backyard much attention until we started making it ours; shaping it to fit our needs and decorating it in a way that reflects our personalities.

On the first night it was finally finished, we sat rocking on the new bench, watching smoke billow out of the chiminea. As I looked back at our living room, I thought about how it seemed as if this house was meant for us, kind of like it was waiting to be ours, kind of like we were once waiting for each other. And I know this is really ridiculous (and maybe so is the last thing I said), but the house seemed to be smiling back at me as I was thinking all this.

Being out in the backyard makes me feel more in touch with the character of our home and neighborhood. Before, when we spent more time inside, I didn't really get a full understanding of the place we called home. It feels so good to embrace our little space on this earth and have it feel as though it is embracing us back in its own way. 

What do you think? Do you have a house project(s) in your life? I'd love to hear about them. 

Welp, I'm off to Catalina for the weekend to celebrate my dad's birthday. Follow me on instagram if you'd like to come along (hopefully I have service...or hopefully I don't...)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Lately: Thoughts and Pictures

It feels like summer
The air and water have been warmer
We went on a boat ride in the Channel Islands harbor with Scott's Uncle Jack and Aunt Amy
Aunt Amy made us a delicious dinner: stuffed tomatoes, watermelon arugula salad with balsamic dressing, vegetarian lasagna. Yum! We felt so spoiled.
We played softball on Scott's parent's co-ed team
I surfed without my full wetsuit and without a leash.
 We had brunch with my mom and dad// ??

Random Thoughts
  • We should have registered for sporks.
  • Why aren't there any cool movies about the gold rush? Money and high drama. Come on, it's got to be better than the Kardashians.
  • I like to think of my memory like a superpower. Like how Iceman can generate freezing temperatures to make ice and Edward Cullen can read minds. I can remember all the details of who I am so I can be my best self.
    •  ((I've always wanted to have a superpower, so I have basically decided to believe something ordinary I have is one. Scott is skeptical.))
Had any random thoughts lately? 

Don't forget you get 10% off Shabby Apple clothing by using the code: themermaidchronicles10off Have you seen their new Lighthouse collection? It's so cute!

Monday, June 25, 2012

How to Make a Starfish Headband

if you look closely you can see the rubber bands, but barely
This seriously couldn't be easier to do and I'm really excited to share it with you!

What You'll Need
1 starfish
1 elastic headband similar in color to your hair
2 braiding bands similar in color to the starfish 
(I honestly used the kind for my braces...not used ones though...gross)
1. Cut the headband in the spot where it has been glued together
2. Slide two braiding bands onto the headband
3. Tie or glue the headband back together (I just double knotted mine in the back)
4. Affix the starfish to the headband by placing the rubber bands onto two of the starfish's arms

Done and done! Pretty simple, right?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Surf Trick: On the Face Slash

The on the face slash is a great turn for summertime's smaller waves because you don't need a lot of speed to pull it off. Look at how small this wave is, for example. 
Many of the waves at my homebreak are slow on the outside and then speed up as they move closer to shore. I like to do this turn on the slower section because it's fun and doesn't burn the speed I need for the bigger turn I plan to do next on the inside section. Finally, the higher you do this turn on the wave, the more spray you will throw! 

Step one:
Gain a little speed by pumping down the line and then do a small bottom turn up the face of the wave. As you are bottom turning, get your wings out because you are going to need them to bring this turn around. Aim towards the top of the wave and look at the section you'd like to turn on.
*I actually hate this shot, but as you can see, you can do a weak bottom turn and still pull this off.
Step two:
As you get to the top of the wave, plant your back foot and slightly turn your arms and upper body towards the beach, but not too hard. If you turn your whole upper body you will be doing more of a cutback and that will really burn your speed. What you're looking for is a quick fun slash before you set up for a bigger turn. 
 Step three:
Crouch down and push your back foot towards your tail. Staying low is the key to success if you are doing this turn on small wave with a slow section. It is also very important to stay centered over your board so you don't loose your balance.
 Step four: 
Let your fins readjust and find their line again before you move onto the next section.
I hope this helps you have more fun out there!
If you don't plan on surfing, then I hope you found this interesting :)
I learned so much of what I know from Taj Burrow's Book of Hot Surfing. It's a great surf book to own.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Valley Visit

     This story began last Thursday with me completely stressing out about not being ready to be out of town, us leaving the house in a hurry and then hitting a repulsive amount of traffic as we headed through Los Angeles around 5 p.m. But don't worry, it gets much better. 
     We spent time in the house Scott grew up in before we went to a Donavon Frankenreiter concert that night.
     Scott and I went on a trip with Donavon in 2008 and he still remembered us! Much of our excitement about this could have to do with the fact that he's a celebrity surfer and musician, but I like to think most of it is because we think he's a really good man-the honest kind that values family, is grateful for what life has given him and makes people who look up to him feel important. The show was awesome and with great company, great seats, and our favorite songs playing live, the stresses of the day quickly became part of the past. 
     On Friday morning we visited Scott's paternal Grandmother, Jean, for the first time in her new house. She has been through a lot over the past few years, so it was really nice to see her settled. We drank lemonade and ate cookies while she told us stories about growing up and raising a family. It was one of the first times I really got to spend time with her, but I became so relaxed in her presence that halfway through our visit I found myself tinkering with a music box, smelling her candles, and walking around barefoot, curious and comfortable, just as I had been when I was a child in my own grandmother's house. 
     I love spending time with grandparents, listening to them tell stories about their childhood when gas cost 18 cents and asking us things like "is your friend still going steady with that girl?"
     Late Friday afternoon we went to Grandma and Papa's house (technically Scott's grandparents, but I consider them mine too) for Papa's birthday. 
     Their house is filled with so many happy memories that even the air seems to embrace you.
     We sat in the living room on Friday evening. I watched Papa's face as he opened gifts. It was lit by a lamp I want to call vintage, even though it's just a lamp they've always had. He seemed so fulfilled.
      Grandma and Papa's living room is a warm room that appears to be untouched by time. Many items seem like they've sat in that house since 1968 when they moved into it with their four children. They came from Massachusetts originally, moved from Winchester to Jacksonville, Florida and then landed in the San Fernando Valley in the late 60's when Scott's mom Carolyn was nine, her three sibling's ages not far off. But the rest of the decorations are precious gifts that Grandma Debby would never part with, not while she's alive at least. 
     She mentions from time to time that she's going to "will" certain things to us when she's gone. She has a necklace she wears with a letter "D" on it. She tells me every time I see her "This 'D' is going to be yours someday" and a little of me wants to cry every time I think about owning that necklace. She says this to assure herself that her cherished keepsakes will stay in grateful hands who know the value of memories and the past, I think. 
     I relate to this a lot. I save not only birthday cards and sweet letters, but ticket stubs from noteworthy movies like The Hunger Games, every journal I've had since second grade and my favorite Halloween costume from college when I was a Corona beer bottle with my friends (it's actually just a painted dress). I still have parts of the outfits Scott and I wore the night we met; a teal sweater from mine and brown corduroy pants from Scott's that have a hole in the knee. They are away in labeled boxes in our garage. I say this so you won't picture us up to our ears in collected clutter. Some people probably think I'm crazy for hanging on to this stuff, but Grandma Debby wouldn't. I hope I will have someone as enthusiastic about having some of the things I treasure someday too.

p.s. sorry if I'm behind on emails! We were visiting grandparents, who, you know, didn't have the internet :)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Switchfoot Bro Am

Dear everyone,
I have many things to tell you. Not because my life is ever so interesting, but because we've been busy and with that comes pictures, stories, an argument. Yes, we argue. Not very often, but it happens. I'm sure you figured as much. It's not always surfing and beach days, but speaking of these things, here are some more pictures of exactly that.
Rob Machado, yes siree! I totally fanned out on him at the Switchfoot Bro Am, a surf event and concert. My locket necklace is by Marolsha, if you were wondering, and I'm kind of obsessed. 
Surf jousting. It's a thing, a very hilarious thing. 
He does, he does. The black one in the picture was only $5 and we could refill it all day. Plus, the proceeds went to the Hurley clean water foundation

Craig and I at the Daphne's tent. That restaurant is all kinds of awesome! I mean it.
Welcome summer! We love you! Marine layer, bugger off. 
     The argument? Because somehow I imagine that's still what you are most interested in, well, what I will tell you is that I somehow find our arguments to be hilarious (mostly me, I think I'm a hilarious arguer. I'm not so sure Scott agrees). Not when they're happening, but once they have passed. For instance, I told Scott to clean up the house (and it was really more like "clean up this house!") since we found out we were having company drop by just as we had arrived home from visiting family up north and this Switchfoot event, and I still had to run out to pick up my dad's day gift. When I got back from my errand, he informed me that because I told him to clean the house, instead of asking, he wanted to do the opposite and sit around the house and do exactly nothing (luckily for both of us, he didn't). I cracked up, because you know what? I would have felt the same way if the situation were reversed. We're a feisty pair, I suppose. I will tell you some more about the rest of our weekend later. For now...

~If you're near Daphne's today, drop on in and load up on their deliciously healthy lunch options because 10% of your purchase will go to Stand Up for Kids! See? I told you they were awesome.

~Happy father's day! I'm gonna surf with my dad and hopefully do a huge off-the-lip in front of my grandpa and grandma, who are coming over to my parent's house. I love how grandparents are impressed by the little things. What are your plans?

~ The Shabby Apple giveaway winner will be announced Wednesday! There's still time to enter if you haven't!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Lately: Thoughts and Pictures

some of the summer sand still has yet to return to the beach
I made my family take my picture in a beach dress. My mom thinks this headband is weird, but I love wearing it.
We had vegan bagel dogs. I was so excited I took a bite of the jalapeƱo bagel bun while it was still on the grill
Scott and I have been surfing together more since he's off from teaching for the summer
The weather has been a tad gray
BBQ Tofu and Kale Salad
Scott really enjoyed it all, he always does

Some Thoughts

  • Being a big sister is one of the best things that has happened to me.
  • I hope God thinks I'm funny.
  • I didn't give the 90s enough credit, they were more than alright.
  • Scott really likes dairy products
  • I can't believe I haven't listened to The Black Keys more.
  • I should really stop letting so many spiders inhabit this house.

Happy Wednesday!