Friday, May 30, 2014

Nautical Fun

After such a long, hard winter, we arrived home to find spring has nearly turned into summer around here.  It has been hot and sunny, and I'm loving every minute of it.  By the end of the winter, I was so tired of every single sweater that I own, I was nearly ready to throw them all away and move to Florida (you think I'm kidding).  But thankfully warmer weather arrived just in time to revive us, and now I'm in full-on summer mode.

I think that's why I'm loving this season's hint of nautical that I'm seeing everywhere.  Stripes, navy with gold buttons, crisp white and bright red-- the whole thing is a happy reminder of sandy beaches and boat rides.  Obviously this is one of those trends that works better mixed with less thematic pieces-- you don't want to look like you're dressed as Popeye for a costume party:)  But subtle nods to the maritime look can be fun and fresh-- and finally summery.

Nautical rope shell

These socks are so fresh and cute, I don't even care if they're men's.

And this door knocker!! I would buy a beach house JUST to buy this gorgeous piece of gold awesomeness.



Thursday, May 29, 2014

Vacation in NYC con NINOS

Our long weekend truly turned out to be relaxing and restful. The minos and I enjoyed our very empty city.  Thank God for the Hamptons, because on long weekends the City becomes our playground. Friends have asked me to share my favorite child friendly activities here in NYC. 

Turns out we have the most fun and relaxing time at the MET. We pack a few snacks, our notebooks, and pencils then head up town. If you are visiting, I would say grab a sketch book and pencils when your heading to the MET your experience will be much more enjoyable. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Flea Market Finds & Happy Homecoming

After nearly a month of being out of town, we are finally HOME!!!  The trip was wonderful, with so many happy reunions with old friends, reminiscing while strolling through our old neighborhoods and revisiting our favorite restaurants.  But the four weeks we spent in Europe were full of emotional roller coaster riding, too, since we were so nervous about Jady's oral exams and thesis defense at the theological faculty at Humboldt.  After all of this work-- years of reading and studying and then writing and editing his thesis-- the whole PhD comes down to passing these comps at the end... so hey, no pressure:)  We had the best time celebrating together after he passed, and now we're just getting used to the weight and wondering having been lifted.  It's over, and now he's Dr. Koch!

I know I've been posting a lot about this whole doctoral degree adventure, which has juuuuuust about nothing to do with what Mel & I normally share on the blog:)  Since Jady's degree is what brought us to Germany and enabled us to live in Europe for as long as we did, and because I'm so proud of him and this major accomplishment he has just finished, it's such a huge part of our lives that I felt like I had to share it with you all.  And also, it makes sense of how little I've been able to post lately!

We did a pretty good job of not loading up our suitcases *too* much by buying things on our trip, but I was thrilled to get to take a trip back to a flea market we used to visit in Berlin on Sunday afternoons.  The Mauerpark, situated in a narrow field where the Berlin wall used to stand, is a crazy combination of antiques, crafts, cold war memorabilia and straight up junk.  The whole thing feels a little seedy, but it's worth pushing your way through the eclectic crowds for the chance of discovering some great finds.  This time I went back with a purpose-- to find the Moroccan guy with a stand full of pretty, colorful bowls trimmed in silver.  I bought one of these bowls years ago when we lived in Berlin and always meant to go back for more.  

The one I have is kind of a medium sized serving bowl in one of my favorite pale turquoise shades of blue.  

Thankfully, our guy was still there, right where he used to be!  I knew I couldn't manage to schlepp home a suitcase full of enormous pottery, so I focused on the tiniest bowls and tried not to look at the fun serving pieces.

In the end I was proud that I restrained myself and thrilled to bring home a few little dishes in a variety of blues.  The two sizes would be perfect for putting out nuts, sauces or dips-- but I'm also tempted to steal one or two of them to hold earrings on my dresser...



Friday, May 23, 2014

If the shoe fits……

Two weeks ago, I shared with you all my favorite sandals for the summer. Well, they have all arrived and I can tell you each pick is a winner. Let me share with you which shoes scored the highest in my book and where you can pick them up. 

salt waters & lottas

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Roof Top Gardening: Gramercy Park

Last weekend we had a beautiful Saturday here in the city. The kids and our neighbors decided to take advantage of the good weather and began replanting our roof top garden. With a little elbow grease we are well on our way to a healthy roof garden. 

 A few months ago Liza's mother was in town, and she came to see our roof top.  She shared some wonderful wisdom and suggested we plant herbs and lettuce. I know Liza's mother has a real green thumb, and we took her advice. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Taming the Mane & Good Hair

Hello Tuesday! 
We are glad to finally see good weather and it feels like summer is finally on its way. Last week I mentioned I am in full summer prep, and I ordered the family's sandals. This week I wanted to share some summer hair-do tips for those of us who naturally have "big" hair.

 I wish I could find some pics from my childhood to share. When I was growing up the only product I had was Johnson & Johnson, and when it comes to wild hair, they just did not make the mark.
 I say if you have big hair, product choice is essential. 

For years I used flat irons, cheap defrizz products, and curling irons to bring a little calm to my head storm, that is until I stumbled across my go-to products……

Friday, May 16, 2014

European Adventure

I have missed having steady access to the internet and being able to post on Mel & Liza since we left home!!  A huge thanks to Mel for holding down the fort alone while I’m gone:)


I don’t have much in the way of home renovation projects to offer at the moment, but I’d love to give you all a little update all the same.  These past few weeks being out of town have been a roller coaster of emotions for both of us.  Even leading up to this European adventure I didn’t know how to feel…The oral exams and defense for Jady’s thesis have been looming on the horizon, hanging over him for a long time now, so it felt strange that the time actually arrived for us to return “home” to Berlin.  Two days after we landed, he went back to the theology building at Humboldt University, faced the panel of scary German professors, discussed Greek and German passages and all kinds of theological concepts— and PASSED.  He passed!!  I always felt confident that he would, but it’s easier on my end being a cheerleader than it is being the one who has to do it.  And he did it!!! All of those years of hard work and anxiety were affirmed, and we’ve been relieved, thrilled and so proud ever since:)  

Celebrating at the Hofbräuhaus... with pretzels and beers the size of our heads:)

After the first installment of the PhD trip, we were joined by a group of 20ish members from church for a group tour through Germany and Austria.  How fun is that?  We climbed onto the tour bus every morning to see new sights and cities, baroque palaces, countless churches, and gorgeous countryside, working our way from Berlin down to Vienna— our other European home.  Our final night— last night— was spent joining our new friends and parishioners from KY with our old church friends from Christ Church Anglican in Vienna for a special service and dinner… A joyful, happy time, but a bittersweet one, too, as we said goodbye to some dear friends.  


All in all, we’re so thankful for this crazy trip with all of its fun and beauty and closure.  For now, it’s back to Berlin for the final, absolutely last piece of the PhD puzzle— and then we’re home.



Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Planning a Party: Mockingbird

As you all know, I set the tables for Mockingbird with a few very talented friends, who illustrated for a few weeks straight. I know the work paid off, because the setting for supper was very personal, fun, and focused on the conference content. Thankfully, our dear friend Melody captured the entire event. Please contact me if your looking for a fantastic photographer in the city. She is so much fun to work with and beyond talented!


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Summer Sandal

Hello Sunshine!!! 
If you're from the Northeast or have friends in the area, I am sure you have heard more then your fair share of weather grumblings. Thankfully, I am here to tell you today, we have FINALLY turned a corner. Los Smiths are tucking away the winter wardrobe and I have ordered the family sandals for the summer.   
You want in on our summer footwear and who has the best deals?
via pinterest


Monday, May 12, 2014

Just a touch of GREEN

You don't have to be a green thumb to bring the garden into your casa. Now that the weather in New York finally feels like SPRING, I have been adding green and my favorite peonie varieties throughout the house. A touch of green and pink makes any home feel luxurious!!!

Bring the color home!


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Taco Box NYC

The Rev. and I love to wonder the city for lunch on Mondays(our Saturday). Since we are both originally from AZ we can't help but search for the perfecto taco in the city. We certainly have found a few favorites, so when we stumbled across Taco Box in the Bowery we need we had to stop. 

5 Buck Craigslist Print

Lindsay’s apartment is looking SO cute these days, but she still wants a few more prints or paintings on her walls, so I have been keeping an eye out for her whenever I happen to be browsing through second hand places.  We already have several gold mirrors (my favorite!) and the large series of bright NYC prints in her apartment, so I was hoping to find something a bit different in keeping with the eclectic feel of her decorating style.

Last week I did a quick online browse through our local Craigslist offerings and came across this print.  It's definitely nothing fancy, and I knew I would ditch the mauve colored matting immediately, but the gold frame is in good shape, and I love the colors and the scene in the painting.  And for $5 I figured it was worth a drive out there to check it out.

So it turns out that the guy selling this had a whole stack of them, since they used to hang in a motel somewhere.  That's right, I bought motel art.  And I'm not too proud to admit it:)  Actually I ended up buying two of these things, since I figured for that price I could always find a place for one in our house, too.

The first step in my motel-art makeover was to remove the reddish mats from each print to see what I was dealing with.  That color was just not going to work in my house or in Lindsay's apartment, so I couldn't wait to get rid of it.  I carefully pried back the staples holding the backing in place and gently started to remove the first mat.

Unfortunately, the mauve mats were glued onto the smaller white mats underneath that I had been hoping to salvage and reuse.  When I pulled off the red mats, the white ones were basically shredded, so exposing them was a no-go.  

I took one of my ragged prints to Michael's, which offers while-you-wait mat cutting, as long as they have the mat you want in stock.  I picked out a basic off-white version, had two of them cut for me and reassembled them at home.  

Before we left to go out of town, I managed to find a minute to hang my new print in our hall bathroom upstairs (priorities!).  Whenever I'm hanging anything in drywall that needs a hanger more substantial than those little nail-hook things, I always use my favorite self drilling drywall anchors.  After trying just about every version of anchor out there, I'm a total convert to this kind.  Unlike the anchors that come for free with shelves, towel racks or pictures, these self drilling guys won't smash, get stuck, or pull through the drywall.  And they're so easy to use-- just make a small hole where you want to insert the anchor, either with a drill or a nail, and then screw the anchor into the wall.  

I'm happy with my new print, which is looking refreshed with its new ivory frame-- and hopefully less motel-like:)



Monday, May 5, 2014

Cinco De Mayo: Authentic Enchilada Sauce

Happy Cinco De Mayo!! 
Today I want to share my home-made enchilada sauce. It is so easy to make, and your guests will be begging for your recipe!  

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