December 1, 2011

We're Back... to Square One

Hi readers!  It's been a while since you've heard from us due to the insanity that is life at our home(s), but we're trying to focus on moving forward, and what better way to do so than to get back to blogging?!  It's so cathartic to blog -- sharing makes the tough things seem less scary and the positive occurrences seem even more great!

The past month has been really hard due to what can only be described as the worst painting experience ever in history.  Unfortunately, it seems our uphill battle continues: the potential buyers interested in our beloved 1 bedroom condo have terminated their purchase contract due to their inability to obtain a mortgage.  We had a feeling this was coming, since the process has dragged on for months, but now it's official.  We have re-listed the unit for sale and will be re-listing for rent as well.  This is definitely not the outcome we were hoping for, but we're pushing on and hoping that another buyer comes out of the wood work asap!  Wish us luck!

Due to the chaos that ensued throughout November, we had to postpone our move, but we're finally getting back on track and will hopefully be moving later this month.  Now that we're in December, I'm wishing for a change of pace.  Hopefully we can lose our bad luck like the trees are losing leaves.  I know I must be on the "nice" list so hopefully Santa will help grant some of my home-related Christmas wishes this year.

Oh, it's so good to be back...

October 26, 2011

Basic Window Coverings

We want to get some nice drapes for the balcony doors in each room to customize the rooms a bit, but just for privacy to hold us over until we get those, I ordered some sheer curtain panels for the master bedroom, living/dining area and guest bedroom.
Originally $28 per panel, I nabbed them on sale at for $12.99 each PLUS an extra 20% off!  Talk about a deal... the amount I saved actually surpassed the amount I spent.  Let's hope they're as pretty as they were a bargain!  ;)

October 21, 2011

Some Good Deals!

Hi readers, I have 2 great money-saving deals to share with you!

The first item is a coupon code worth 40% off any 1 regular-priced item from Land's End + free shipping on your order, but you have to act fast because the code expires tonight 10/21/2011 at midnight CST!  The great thing about ordering from the Land's End online catalog is that you can return the items to any Sears store without having to pay return shipping.  Those of you who know me know how much I love me some free-shipping-free-returns-online-shopping-deals!  In fact, I may or may not have already purchased a new pair of winter boots for myself using this code.  ;)

The second is a 15 piece cookware set + triple bonus PLUS $30 rebate from JC Penney for less than $34!

The set is originally $149.99, but is currently on sale for $74.99 (50% off).  Code BESTOCT drops the price an extra 15% to $63.74 and the website is offering a $30 AmEx gift card for purchasing this item, making the final cost only $33.74!  77% off?!?!?!  Now that's what I call a deal!  The jcpenney website reviews give this set an overall rating of 4 out of 5 stars.  Not bad!

Happy shopping!

October 19, 2011

Master Bath Light Fixtures? Check!

Look out "To Do List", here we (finally) come!  We finally found wall sconces for our new master bathroom that we both liked enough to order!  Woo to the hoo!

Thomas Lighting SL7581 Homestead Bathroom Light

Well that only took a few months and a little time dozens of hours spent searching online!  Although the plumbing fixtures in the bathroom are currently polished bronze, we'd like to eventually change them out for chrome-colored fixtures, which is why we decided to order a chrome-colored wall sconce.  Here are some other options that didn't make the cut:

Efficient Lighting EL-303 Wall Sconce

Matte Black 54-4858 Single Bulb Wall Sconce

Maxim Lighting 11807ICBK Wall Sconce

Z-Lite 139-1S Windsor Wall Sconce

October 15, 2011

The many uses of... Baking Soda!

Baking Soda is a standard household item that serves many purposes.  You can use it to deodorize your refrigerator, freshen carpets, clean stainless steel, loosen grease from pans, remove marks from walls, exfoliate your skin, stop sneakers from smelling, and more!  All that for under $1?  That's what I call a bargain!  Affordable and chemical-free to boot.  Download your own handy guide here!

Baking Soda

October 10, 2011

Beer and Honey Chili

I just came across this recipe on and it sounds so yummy I wanted to share it!

Beer and Honey Chili
by stephania stanley

What you need:
1 ½ lbs ground turkey meat
1 ½ bottles of beer (ambers are great)
¼ cup honey
2 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes
2 6 oz cans of tomato paste
1 16 oz black beans, rinsed and drained
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbs chili powder
1 ½ tsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne
1 Tbsp olive oil
Grated Parmesan (optional)

What to do:
In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add onions and sauté for three minutes.  Add garlic and sauté for an additional three minutes.  Next add the turkey meat.  Mix often to ensure meat is cooked thoroughly and sauté for about ten minutes or until meat is cooked through.  Carefully pour fat out of pot (making sure to leave onions, garlic, and turkey in the pot).  Return pot to heat.  Add one bottle of beer, honey, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne to turkey mixture.  Stir to mix and let it simmer for about 30 minutes.  Now it’s time to add the remaining beer, but add to taste.  Simmer for an additional 30 minutes and then add black beans.  Stir to mix and simmer for a final 30 minutes.  Serve in big bowls and garnish with grated Parmesan.  Serves 8-10.

October 9, 2011

New Floors!!!

As Nicole already reported, we decided to refinish our hardwood floors before moving into the new apartment. We were pretty nervous about the whole process since one contractor we met with for an estimate said he didn't like refinishing the type of floors we have because "they never come out good". Gulp. Needless to say, we didn't choose that company, but that we were pretty nervous after meeting with Mr. Doom-and-Gloom that the finished product wouldn't meet our expectations regardless of which contractor we hired. Worse yet, we were worried that we'd have to replace all of the floors entirely if the sanding caused more trouble than it cured. Well, I'm happy to report that wasn't the case...

Our new floors are done thanks to KBD floors, and they look great! KBD sanded and then refinished all of our floors, so all of the dings, nicks, stains, scratches and faded coloring are gone.

Here are just a few glimpses of the before & after views...

Before (Floors damages from old water leakage)
After (Looks brand new!)


Before (Paint or something sticky on floors)
After (No more paint or sticky!)


Before (Kitchen)
After (Kitchen)

Check out more before, during and after pictures here! Hooray - we can FINALLY cross an item off of our to-do list!

October 1, 2011

Want to buy an island?

Well then tomorrow is your lucky day!  Rat Island on Long Island Sound is being auctioned off tomorrow, October 2nd.  Check out the official auction site here.

According to UrbanDaddy:
Size of Rat Island: 2.5 acres
Size of a football field: 1.31 acres
Degrees of unobstructed city views: 360
Percentage of island that remains above water during high tide: 0
Assessed value of the island: $426,000
Average price of a studio apartment in SoHo: $900,000
Original year of purchase: 1654
Number of previous occupants who used it as a yellow fever quarantine hospital: 1 (Allegedly.)
Years it’s been since rats inhabited the island: 50
Neighboring islands: 1
Neighboring islands used as a burial ground for the unclaimed dead: 1
New countries created since 1990: 34
New outer boroughs created since 1990: 0
Off-site parking spaces that come with the island: 1
Distance to the nearest pizza joint: 2/3 mile
Number of boats in their delivery fleet: 0

September 30, 2011


Our floors in the new unit are being sanded as we speak!!!  The crew showed up this morning and expect to be working through the weekend to complete the job.  They tested a small area in the hall closet and, although the cherry wood will be refinished slightly lighter than it currently is, Hubby saw the sample patch area and said it will look better than the currently scratched, damaged, and otherwise banged-up floors.  We hope it will turn out well!  Wish us luck!!!

September 26, 2011

Zip'n Steam Giveaway!

The right@home website is giving away a package of Ziploc® Zip'n Steam® Microwave Cooking Bags to the first 3,000 people to respond to their offer!  Click here for your chance to enter!

*Terms & Conditions:  First 3,000 people to respond will receive a Healthy-for-Fall Gift Pack. For your chance to receive a gift pack, simply complete all required information on the offer form by September 30, 2011, 11:59:59 p.m. Central Time (CT). Offer available to U.S. residents only. Gift packs available until September 30, 2011, or while supplies last. Only 3,000 gift pages available. Limit: one (1) gift pack per household/address. S.C. Johnson is not liable for any typographical errors in the offer or any illegible, lost, late, damaged, separated, misdirected, incomplete, stolen or non-delivered email or redemption requests. Gift packs will be mailed by November 15, 2011. SC Johnson reserves the right to substitute a giveaway of equal or higher value if current giveaway becomes unavailable. If you have received a gift pack from Right@Home™ in the last 180 days, you are not eligible for this month's offer.

September 24, 2011

Dine at Chili's and support St Jude!

Dine at Chili's on Monday, September 26th and support St. Jude!  Chili's is apparently donating all its net profits from 9/26 to St. Jude, one of my favorite charities.  For more details, click here.  Happy eating!

September 22, 2011

75% off Patio Furniture at Lowe's!

If you're in the market for patio furniture, you should check out!  Their patio furniture is currently 75% off -- wow!

This iron and wood bench is originally $128 on sale for $32!

This black porch glider was originally $155 and is now marked down to $47!  (They also have it in white too for $38.75!)

And this little red set was originally $98 marked down to $24.50!

Now those are some good end-of-summer deals!  Happy shopping!

September 18, 2011

Our New Apt!

Well, it's official.  We bought a new condo and we even have the keys!  Wanna see photos???  We thought you would!  Drum roll please...

Ta-da!!!  We have some painting and fixtures we'd like to replace, so we're not ready to move in yet, but that's it -- our new home!  Leave a comment to let us know what you think!

September 16, 2011


And the saga continues!  Although we signed all closing papers yesterday afternoon, we're missing one key (pun intended) item before we can move into our new home.  The key to the front door!!!

Believe it or not, we have not received the keys to the apartment or the storage closet.  At yesterday's final walk-through, the seller said he'd leave the keys with the doorman.  After we signed the closing papers yesterday afternoon though we came home to find that the doorman did not have the keys to the unit.  Even after all the ink has dried on the contracts, this guy is still causing us stress!  This has definitely got to be one of the most annoying real estate purchases in history.

September 15, 2011

We Closed...Barely

So we got up this morning to do the walk through and Nicole was not feeling well. And by not feeling well I mean one step away from the black plague. Yes, wifey was very ill: fever, vomiting, the chills, you name it! But the show must go on so I did the walk through alone while she rested on the couch (and texted me a few times: "do you want me to come?" "i think I can walk" "can you get me some morphine?"). The walk through was fairly uneventful...seller was supposed to caulk some small cracks in the ceiling of the second bedroom, but "wasn't sure what you meant" so he didn't do it. I literally dragged wifey to the closing at 3:30...she was barely hanging on but managed to sign all of the papers and then go home and collapse on the couch for 14 hours. Suffice it to say, we closed and have a new apartment. Now we just need some medicine for my better half.

September 14, 2011

The Closing

Tomorrow is our final walk through on the new apartment and the closing. The walk through is scheduled for 9 AM and the closing is at 3:30. Wish us luck!

September 13, 2011

Final Inspection

Our final walk through on the new apartment was scheduled for this evening, but we just heard from our realtor that the seller has not yet completed all the repairs needed, so we're rescheduling for Thursday morning.  This is slightly frustrating because we're supposed to close on Thursday afternoon so if there is anything still unfinished by Thursday morning there isn't much time to correct it.  This whole process has been anything but easy, so I'm not that surprised.  Guess we just have to take it in stride and hope for the best!

August 6, 2011

Stuffed Cabbage with Dried Cranberries & Pecans

There is a recipe for Stuffed Cabbage with Dried Cranberries & Pecans on "No Eating Out In New York" that I just had to share because the dish looks really DELICIOUS!

Stuffed Cabbage with Dried Cranberries & Pecans
(makes about 4 servings)
1 head green cabbage
1 lb ground beef
about 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 small carrot (or parsnip), finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
about 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce (preferably your own homemade, or substitute with a can of whole plum tomatoes, crushed up by hand)
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

Heat the oil in a skillet and cook the onion, carrot and celery over medium heat for 6-8 minutes, or until translucent. Add the garlic in the last couple minutes of cooking, and season with a pinch of salt and pepper as you stir.

Bring a stockpot of water to boil, enough to fully submerge the head of cabbage. Slice the stem from the cabbage and remove the dirty outer leaves. Blanch the whole head in the water for 1 minute; remove with tongs. Carefully peel the leaves from the head without tearing them too much. If you reach a point where this becomes difficult since the leaves are not blanched, blanch the head in water again. Set aside the good, full, and only slightly torn leaves from the ones that are all shredded up and useless. Finely shred the useless leaves and arrange them in an even layer at the bottom of a square casserole tray.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the breadcrumbs with the beaten egg and milk. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and let sit 5 minutes. Add the sauteed vegetables and the ground beef. Season well with salt and pepper and stir by hand until evenly distributed.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place a lump of about 1/4 cup of meat filling mixture at the base of one (“good”) cabbage leaf. Fold in the sides (as you would a burrito) and roll it up. Repeat with the remaining leaves and arrange in the casserole dish. Pour tomato sauce over cabbage rolls. Bake uncovered for 40-50 minutes. Let sit, covered, for at least 30 minutes or until juices have settled, and serve.

August 4, 2011

New Apt Inspection

Jim Leedham from Indago Inspections performed the home inspection on the new apartment today.  The inspection lasted a little over 2 hours because he was very thorough.  He checked all of the electric sockets, light switches, HVAC units and vents, faucets, smoke detectors, ceilings and walls, doors, balconies, etc.  There were a bunch of items that need to be included in the report and addressed by the seller before we can move forward, but overall there didn't seem to be anything irreparable (fingers crossed!).

While at the home inspection, we also FINALLY heard that the appraisal came back (and looked good), so our mortgage application is in progress.  We've been waiting for word on the appraisal since last Monday, so we've been stressing about it a bunch, and are relieved to finally have an answer.

This whole real estate purchase process is quite stressful!

July 19, 2011


This whole attorney review process is taking forever, and is sooooo frustrating.  We're not the only ones who feel this way either -- here's a great quote from our attorney:  "Very painful so far."  Fun times!

June 25, 2011

Listing Our Love Nest

Well, it's official.... we've listed our love nest on the MLS!  Our realtor took some photos, wrote up a description, and now our humble abode is for sale.  It's funny receiving a property alert via email that links to your own home, which is what just happened to us.  :)

With a spacious, open layout, high end finishes, cherry hard wood floors, sunset views, and a quick NYC commute, you can have it all at this 14th floor, 1 bedroom home. Featuring a 24 hour concierge and available on-site parking and health club, the building offers it all. Large windows throughout the home flood it with light & offer expansive western views. The kitchen provides recessed lighting, granite counters, and SS appliances, including a dishwasher & built in microwave.

June 16, 2011

We've got mail

We returned home from dinner tonight to some mail, including a letter from one of our condo neighbors.  Stupidly, I cast it aside as junk mail.

Luckily, the hubby showed a bit more attention to detail because it was a letter from... drum roll please... the owner of a condo in our building that we've been wanting to buy since August 2010!!!  He is selling it privately, and advertising only through mail to his neighbors and other contacts, so if I'd thrown out the letter we might have never known that the apartment was for sale!  Definitely not one of my finest moments.

We just emailed our realtor with a red alert and are excited about this possibility!  The reason our bid to buy this unit fell through last summer is because it was priced too high; but he's lowered his asking price to a figure we consider reasonable, so it might actually work out this time around!!!  Could this be the end of our loooooooooooooooooooong search for a new apartment?  We're hoping it's a good omen that we got this letter in the mail!

February 15, 2011

Banana Bread

Here's a recipe for banana bread that I got from a co-worker.  I haven't tried it so I can't vouch for its tastyness, but wanted to share anyway!

2 cups very ripe mashed bananas (about 4 bananas)
1/3 cup of non-fat vanilla yogurt
1/2 a stick of butter at room temp (4 tablespoons)
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda

- Preheat the oven to 350 and grease one loaf pan or 4 mini-loaf pans. 
- Cream butter and sugar in a bowl for a minute with a hand mixer at medium speed until combined. Add eggs one by one and continue mixing. Add yogurt, vanilla, and bananas and keep mixing. 
Add salt, baking powder and flour and mix until just combined. 

Optional: Add 1 cup of blueberries, chocolate chips or nuts. 

- Bake full loaf at 1 hour, mini loafs at about 50 minutes until knife comes out clean. Also works in muffin tins just reduce bake time.