Geometric, Colorful, And Totally Fab

May 23, 2012   //  Posted in: Decor   //  By: Emily   //  Leave a comment

I only meant to dip my toe into the waters, but the tide sucked me right in. Fortunately, I’ve managed to steer clear of the Joss & Main, Bloomspot, RueLaLa, and One Kings Lane species, which means my bank account is still looking a-ok.

I couldn’t resist cashing in some of my earned credits on a print by Design Milk’s own Jaime Derringer when her collection went live a few weeks ago, and just last week the piece arrived in the mail in all its glory.

Mountain print by Jaime Derringer,

Inspired by one of her flights over the rockies, I can resonate with how impacting a sight that is. The bursts of color and fresh geometric pattern make it a perfect new piece for my own home. And if you missed her sale, I’ll bet you can make your own version of it, but you didn’t hear that idea from me. Get all fancy with your markers, scan, and print it centered on a 8.5×11 sheet of heavy stock. It’s a pretty thing.

Mountain print by Jaime Derringer,

If you haven’t yet explored, here’s my referral link.* Have fun, spend a little.

*Links to this post include my personal referral link to If you sign up for an account, you’re helping me to reach a new tier and get pretty little treasures for my home. And after you sign up, spread your own referral link around to your friends and you can earn too.

Hedging It Out

May 22, 2012   //  Posted in: Curb Appeal, DIY, Gardening, Other Pads, Supporting Sponsors   //  By: Emily   //  3 responses

Another big thanks owed to Black & Decker for making this possible. I’m under no obligation to write about the 36V cordless hedge trimmer I received for free after attending a blogger event, but I’m doing it anyways, because just like the tiller I wrote about on Friday, this too is badass.

Or maybe the real thanks are owed to our neighbors, a nice family who legitimately has more important things to be concerned about than curb appeal. See, we don’t have hedges on our property. And yes, hedge trimmers could be useful for any number of backyard projects, like shaping my mini-Mountain Laurel plants and maybe for playing swords, but we wanted to give them a real workout. True story: Word on the street is that my neighbor’s row of hedges was once maintained to be just shorter than the chain link fence on their property. And up until late last week, the hedges stood tall, stretching nearly 11-feet high in some places. An eyesore. A Desperate Landscapes in the making. A yard maintenance afterthought for years, and years, and years.

Do you see where this is going? If not, this video should do the trick. It’s not even a minute-and-a-half long, and you can turn down the sound without losing effect, so enjoy it at the office if you so wish.

Pete’s G12 camera was stationed in the sunroom window for 90 minutes, which was the full length of time it took us to do the entire hedge trimming project. That also included us cleaning up the back side of the hedges on the family’s property, and string trimming along the base and curb, but the damn camera inexplicably stopped recording after just 23-minutes and I was having too much fun hauling armloads of branches to come back inside to check in on it like I should have. It was starting to rain outside only 15-minutes in and we just wanted to go-go-go. Good news is for the last 45-minutes of the job, my jeans had stretched out so much from bending and moving that I was pulling them up every 2 seconds. I thought it might have looked awk on camera, so maybe things worked out for the best. Overshare?

The good news is, these trimmers were awesome. If you couldn’t tell in the video, they cut like butter, and that’s so exaggeration, it was easy-breezy. Pete’s was working a little harder than mine, so while we started with two fully-charged 36V batteries, we swapped about 40-minutes into the job so that he could finish the project without having to miss a beat.

Using a 6′ ladder gave Pete enough height to cut 3-4 feet clean off the top while I cleaned up the lower parts with grandiose swishing motions to give it a good front. The whole project was a great feel-good workout, even if Pete did lose his balance and tumble in once. That didn’t feel so good. But there were no injuries, just scratches, and it only happened once, so, oh well.

Oops, we lost Pete.

The end results? So fresh and so clean-clean.

We’re still waiting on the city to pick up the pile of branches that stands as tall as my shoulders, but they’ll take care of it and we don’t have to dispose of it anywhere specific ourselves.

Finished hedges, freshly scaled back.

Update: Look who showed up this morning to eat branches for breakfast. Chomp-chomp. Best arcade game turned real-life job ever?

The City of Rochester does have a remarkably fine disposal system.

The main focus for this first go-around was to see just how low we could cut the shrubs without them becoming totally stickly (that’s stick-ly, not sickly, since the leaves are really only growing on the outermost sun-reaching branches what remains underneath are naked twigs).

Yes, there are some more barron spots, mostly in the out of control section that I was hacking at most aggressively, but we expect that the leaves will fill right in during the summer and by fall we might even be able to take it down another few feet.

Finished hedges, freshly scaled back.

One observation that Pete made was that since the hedges had been unattended for so long, the branches towards the top on the inside were mature and thick. The trimmer ate through branches that were 3/4″ in diameter with no problem, but the thicker ones might require a different when the time comes.

Second observation: the neighbors have a big beautiful posted light that would illuminate their driveway and sidewalk if it were exposed. We’re still about 3-feet away from getting it back into view. Who knew!

And then we took some photos just for fun.

Finished hedges, power duo.

I believe this was Pete’s DIY MCA tribute? All he’s missing is the fish-eye lens effect.

Pete, gettin' all Beastie with the hedger.

With all this said, it was a pleasure to be able to make someone else’s property look nicer. We’re so happy they let us tackle it instead of letting it go completely, or having a company charge big bucks to get the job done. Plus, now we know that the tools are great.

Anyone else spending time raging on the neighborhood landscaping?

Taking A Breather, Eating Cake

May 21, 2012   //  Posted in: Casual Celebrations   //  By: Emily   //  5 responses

I’ve spent the last few days quietly celebrating my rebirth and happy dancing all over the place.

Not re-birth-birthday-related, I mean, more like life-related. It’s my one year anniversary from leaving my job to do this whole thing full-time, to explore what it is I want to be doing next, to soak up the summer rays, and stay in bed late on snowy mornings.

True to form, I even made a cake inspired by this one I adored by The Cilantropist.

So pretty. So girly. And are those little star sprinkles? Yum-may.

And then I proceeded to sloppily eat half of it myself in a full-fists-into-devil’s-food-mess. No big deal.

Little celebration with a side of Devil's Food cake.

It (my new life, not the cake) has been sustainable. And I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.

I’m off to walk the dog on the beach and work on a cool new Anthropologie-inspired DIY project that you’ll be seeing soon enough before I get down to answering my emails and making the morning coffee (we switched to decaf, BTW, being jitter-free and level-headed is just more icing on the live-a-good-life cake).

So, with that said, go follow your wildest dreams today. I’m not trying to be all hokey and inspirational, just do what it takes to be a happier person.