Friday, February 20, 2015

This Week on Marlborough 2.20

^ Shot on Newbury Street, which is arguably the most bustling, crowded street in Boston. Here it kind of looks like an apocalypse. 
^ Marlborough street at sunset

After a fun few days at Sugarloaf last weekend on the Wayfair ski trip, we returned home on Sunday to an even snowier Boston. So most of this week was spent similarly to last week - digging, shoveling, trekking, and generally just trying to resume life in the city as normal even when buried under a thick blanket of snow. Some days the snow catches the sunset just perfectly (like the photo above) and it's kind of pretty. And some days you see someone climbing over a snow bank in a suit just to get into their office in the morning and it's kind of funny. But for the most part the snow has gotten to a point where it's neither pretty nor funny, and actually just a giant road block to doing much of anything. It's also a huge hazard, as josh and I experienced first-hand when hundreds of pounds of ice fell from a neighboring building onto our car yesterday, nearly crushing it. Josh posted a photo if you want to take a peek, but really it just showed us the incredible damage that these weather conditions can cause, and also to be so careful (especially on the warmer days when things start melting) to always look up, and never walk too close to buildings with icicles.  We are just thankful it was our car and not our heads! In Boston's current battle against the snow, thus far I can safely say we are losing.

But being stuck inside does have some advantages. We were finally able to build a coffee table (I posted about that yesterday if you want to read) and we also recently bought a sewing machine, so have been enjoying trying our hands at that. The inability to drive anywhere, lack of open restaurants. and nonexistent food delivery also forces you to get pretty creative with the food you have in the house, so we've been able to try a few new recipes too. Trying to get creative here! If you are in MA, how have you been surviving the storms?
And here are some fun links I came across this week...

  • 25 pictures that perfectly capture how insane the snow is in New England
  • No plans this weekend? It looks like Boston has enough snow for a slope fest
  • The cutest baby shower ever. 
  • A badass sea lion
  • Beyonce and Ed Sheerhan - could there be a better duo?
  • LOL.
  • 25 pretty ways to add copper to your home. 
  • A 5 year old that is WAY better at history than me. 
  • A rustic Mallorcan home I'd like to vacation in...forever. 

Have a wonderful (and safe!) weekend. xx

Thursday, February 19, 2015

DIY Midcentury Coffee Table

Since moving in together, josh and I admittedly have never owned a real coffee table. Our living room is fairly narrow and it was hard to find one slender enough to fit comfortably, so we've been using a storage ottoman as a coffee table for over a year now (you can see it in action in this post.) The ottoman has actually been great - it's the perfect size and also stores two upholstered stools inside for extra seating, so we've been very happily living with it. That is, until we got a new living room rug. All of a sudden that black ottoman with a patterned top no longer seemed to work in the space, and I knew we needed a real, adult coffee table. But finding the right size still proved to be tricky, so instead of spending hours searching and measuring, we decided to take the easy route (in this case) and make one. With all of the wedding meetings and planning, josh and I haven't had time to do a project together in a while, so it was a lot of fun putting it together and adding another custom piece to our home. Here's how to get the look!

What you need:
- 4 angle top plates
- 4 16" wood taper legs
- 1 wood panel (our's was a 18" x 48" pine board)
- Interior wood stain (ours was a dark walnut color)
- Polyurethane
- Foam brushes
- Electric drill
- Measuring tape
- Wood cutter (optional)
Total cost: ~$50

And here's how to make it:

Step 1: Sizing
Start be deciding how long you want your coffee table to be. We could have kept our top piece of wood as is, but thought it might be a bit too long, so josh made a line and then cut about 8 inches off, making the top of our coffee table 18 inches by 40 inches.
Step 2: Stain
Next, your ready to stain all of your pieces! I used a small foam brush to stain the legs and then a larger one to stain the front and back of the table top. One coat was plenty to give us the color we wanted, but feel free to add additional coats if you want it to be darker. This part would ideally be done outside, but since it's below freezing in Boston and our back patio is currently just a giant snow storage unit, our bathroom became our workshop. If you do this project inside, make sure you are in a room with ventilation (and the fan on HIGH) to avoid getting light-headed from the fumes. :)
Step 3: Polyurethane
Once your stain has dried (at least 2 hours), give the legs and top a generous 2 coats of polyurethane to seal the wood. Use a matte or satin if you want the finish to be more textured and a glossy if you want it to be more shiny. I used a matte for this project but think I may go over it again with a glossy to give it a little shine and help it resist water better.
Step 4: Add legs
Once everything has dried, add the legs! I personally love the mid-century modern look of angled, tapered legs, so decided to use the angled part of the top plate, but you can also use the level side if you want your legs to be straight up and down. Just use a measuring tape to situate the plates the same distance from the sides in each corner (we did 3 inches from the ends and 2 inches from the sides) and then screw them in using an electric screwdriver. Then, just screw your legs right into the top plate and flip over.
And voila! An easy-to-make coffee table that has a small footprint and a modern look, all for just under $50. Oh, the things that make me happy in my twenties. My 18-year-old self would never believe that I would get this excited over furniture. But there's just something about the addition of the coffee table that really makes the space feel like home, vs. an apartment where we just use whatever mismatched furniture we have. We ate our first dinner on it last night and felt pretty grown up. Plus, I love how it looks with our new rug! What do you think?

Friday, February 13, 2015

This week on Marlborough 2.13

^ (Clockwise: Mac is struggling finding places to pee these days/ a snowy Marlborough street/ a perfect Vday treat/ snowbanks taller than me!)

OMG guys! I can't believe this is my first Friday post in...almost a month. Between a week out of the office at ALT Summit, followed by an extended trip to Florida due to cancelled/delayed flights, followed by several snow days, I haven't had a chance to even catch my breath. But for the first time in the last few weeks, I can safely say it is NOT snowing, but we are supposed to get yet another blizzard this weekend, so the sunny skies will be short-lived. Snow is one of my favorite things about living in New England, but come on, this is getting a little ridiculous.

But anyway, happy Friday, and President's Day weekend, and Valentine's Day! I wrote a little bit about my thoughts on Vday last year (as well as some cute DIY gift ideas), and I find myself feeling the same way right now. Mostly, this year I was just excited that the holiday gave me an excuse to go out to a nice dinner out in the city with my fiance, where we talked about the crazy fact that this is the last year we won't be married to our Valentines. We have a big year ahead of us, and I'm thankful that Valentine's Day, even in all of it's over-commercialized glory, gave us the excuse to take a night and reflect on that. We went out this Wednesday night so that we could celebrate before the crowds and actually get a reservation. And if you are wondering, we trudged over snowbanks to the North End for dinner at Trattoria il Panino (which was incredible) followed by Cannolis at Mike's Pastry. It was the best food (and company) a girl could ask for.

And here are some fun links from around the web this week!

  • If you haven't seen this already, get ready for cuteness overload. Kitten meets ducklings
  • A rental 9,000 feet in the air! 
  • Tesla has an insane mode.
  • Tacos that make my mouth water. Must.try.recipe.soon.
  • A high school teacher leads the best "Uptown Funk" dance party!
  • This Italian B&B tugs at my distressed wood-loving heartstrings. 
  • I love this date night jenga idea!
  • Red velvet pancakes for Valentine's Day. 
  • The 25 "most pinned" wedding dresses of 2014. 

Have a great weekend, stay warm!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Wedding Party Apparel Part 1: The Quest for a Bridesmaids Dress

So I've already told my bridesmaids this, but I think that I've been more indecisive about the bridesmaids dress decision than I have with any other life decision...ever. I started out thinking I wanted one thing and one color and then after finding my own dress (which was incredibly easy compared to this!), ended up going in a very different direction. What I did know all along was that I wanted one bridesmaids dress that can be worn multiple different ways based on each girls' style and body. And through my rigorous, time-intensive, borderline crazy search, I found that the dress options out there that fit this description essentially fall into three categories:

1. The Convertible Wrap Dress
This is the type of dress that I 100% through I would go with when I started the search. I was in love with the casual look of the dresses and the endless ways you could wear them. However, when we started ordering samples (which my patient mom ordered a lot of), we ran into some issues. For example, dresses from Two Birds were the perfect fabric and length, but were very limited in terms of colors and very pricey.  The wrap dress from Dessy had a few more options when it came to color, but I was less impressed with the fabric quality and fit. And then Sugar Bits had tons of colors, great fabric, and an amazing price point, but the dresses were short in length and they had no customer service and terrible reviews, so I worried about having 10 girls order from them. And the overarching problem with this type of dress is that you can't wear a normal bra with almost any of the styles, which is problematic in itself. So alas, we ultimately took this type of dress off the table.
*Vendors who make this type of dress: Two Birds, Sugar Bits, Dessy, Etsy

2. The Convertible Panel Gown
These dresses are also convertible, but in a different way. Instead of wrapping the straps in various configurations, you actually pull two panels of the dress up to act as straps, that can then be tied or twisted in lots of different styles. I tried on a lot of these types of dresses as well, but none of the colors or fabrics were exactly what I was looking for. I actually thought the tulle convertible dress by Jenny Yoo was gorgeous, but thought it might be a bit too heavy and poufy for a summer wedding.
*Vendors who make this type of dress: BHLDN (Jenny Yoo), Nordstrom (Jenny Yoo), Wtoo by Watters, Allure

3. The Same Dress, Different Styles
This is where my list of "cons" was the smallest! Several vendors make the same dress with various necklines, which allows all the girls to pick a fit they really like. I ultimately fell in love with Amsale's version of the dress, which offers lots of different style options and comes in the most beautiful silk/chiffon fabric, which I could immediately envision blowing in the ocean breeze on our wedding day. I'm having so much fun seeing which style each bridesmaid picks!
*Vendors who make this type of dress: Amsale, Weddington Way, Dessy, Wtoo

So if you are getting married in the near future and are vetting similar dresses, don't worry, I've done all the work for you! :) Now josh and I are moving on to tackle the groomsmen's attire, we we are hoping (praying) will be a much more seamless search.  I'll be back to post part 2 of this post once we've looked around at suit options.

Getting sick of wedding updates? If so, don't worry, we've got some fun DIY projects on the calendar - so stay tuned! If not, click here to see all of our wedding posts so far. xx