Monday, September 27, 2010

Butterscotch Chocolate Martinis

I hosted a few old — and a few newer — girlfriends for a grown-up slumber party a few weekends ago.

We played games, told stories, enjoyed a tasty dinner out (Iberian Pig in Downtown Decatur) and stayed up 'til the wee morning hours giggling and chatting.

I also tried out a new drink recipe. Ever since I tried Pinnacle's smooth and affordably priced whip cream flavored vodka ($12 for a 750 ml), I knew it would be a great addition to a decadent martini.

Girls' Night Butterscotch Chocolate Martini
  • 1 ounce Pinnacle Whip Cream vodka
  • 1 ounce butterscotch schnapps
  • 2 ounces milk (I used 2%)
  • teaspoon chocolate syrup (or to taste — I used light Hershey chocolate syrup)
  • (Combine in a martini shaker with ice; pour through strainer into chilled martini glasses)
Another thing I liked about this recipe is that it doesn't break the bank. For about $30, you probably have 20 martinis' worth of makings.

Yes, I am perfectly aware those are margarita glasses... I couldn't find the martini glass box in the basement.

Long live girls' nights!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Giveaway on my other blog

I'm doing a giveaway on my other blog for a $80 gift certificate to (retailer that offers all kinds of things ranging from furniture and decor to shoes and kitchen gadgets).

Check out all the details here.

Neighborhoody Excitement

We had a little excitement around "Mallory Manor" on Friday.

I drove up to our house after work and thought to myself, "weird, I don't remember Dan doing any yard work — specifically pulling up any bushes — in the last few days."

Then it donned on me... "that's not yard work refuse..."

Someone totally plowed over our wrought iron mailbox, the shrubbery next to it — and our official City of Decatur road sign (our only claim to fame for having some Decatur property). That Decatur road sign was about 8 feet from our mailbox, so the person must have been ALL up in our yard. Yikes. Good thing no one was parked in front of the house right there; the rogue car would have nailed it.

In addition to her Carolina front license late, the woman who accidentally ran over our mailbox left a note saying she wanted to pay for the damage. We called her, and it sounded like she was having a tough day (trying to bring a friend to Cerebral Palsy rehabilitation when she had the wreck), so we told her not to worry about paying us back. (Not to mention our mailbox arrangement really needed a forced makeover anyway).

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Traditional Ranch Extreme Bath Makeover

Okay, extreme may be a massive exaggeration — but we did just make over our hallway bathroom in our little 1949 Decatur brick ranch.

We reglazed our yellow tile to white, took down the wall paper and painted the walls light grey, installed a new slate floor — and put in a new light sconce, fan/light, vanity, sink faucets, shower turns, etc., etc.

Both our styles are rather traditional (but not stuffy traditional) so we went with what we would picture in a 1940s bathroom but not quite so retro. I hear the word "transitional" thrown around to describe casual, traditional with a hint of modern — maybe that's us.

This has been probably the biggest transformation in our little casa. Over the past two months, we spent about $3,000 on updating this bathroom (in our minds, less than if we had gutted it and re-tiled it).


Yikes! We had the toothbrush holder and soap holder tiles taken down when we had the tile reglazed from yellow to white.

Vanity cabinet and medicine cabinet are from Lowe's. They weren't part of a set but felt right together. I believe the vanity was $250 or $300 — and medicine cabinet/mirror was about $120. Chrome faucet is Moen and was $92. The new vanity cabinet is shorter and narrower than the old one, which is good since the bathroom is small. We had wanted a faucet with the same turn-style knobs we have in the shower — no luck. One negative to keeping the original tile is that the mirror has to be really high to be above the tile. Folks 5 feet and under probably can't see their reflection.

Because I couldn't be there when he worked, I left our painter Miguel sticky notes with what I would like done ("e.g., sand, skim and paint").

Wallpaper was a shiny dark yellow and cream damask. I doubt it was original to the house but it was probably here for at least 30 years.

Can't remember the exact color of the paint, but we chose another Martha's Stewart color from Home Depot (a light blue-ish grey) but had it matched at Sherwin Williams because we really trust their paint. Light sconce is from Lowe's (maybe $15 for the chrome hardware and $10 for the globe).




New shower fixtures are Price Pfister via Including the "rough in" (or behind the scenes parts), I think these were about $250.

I was SO over this white hexagon bathroom tile. I mean, it's neat and retro, but it looked dirty and dingy all the time (even right after cleaning).

Replaced the floor with dark grey slate tile (12 x 12 inch). The actual color is darker than what the photo shows. I LOVE the tile. Dan's still not sure that navy is the right rug color choice — but we're working through it.

Lastly, two custom-framed watercolors we picked up in Italy on our honeymoon. (In case you you don't remember, I lost our camera so we have no photos). Got these framed at Hobby for about $110 total including frame, matte and glass.

We used Porcelain Innovations to reglaze our tile and install the new floor. We are really happy with the most important part: the tile reglazing. However, there were some little things that lead me to say I wouldn't recommend Porcelain Innovations. The owner was tough to get in touch with sometimes and they had excuses for some things that didn't get done the way we wanted them. For example, the work was done while we were out of town, and we were excited to come back to a finished job. Porcelain Innovations neglected to tell us they messed up our towel racks (took off the plastic coating and tried to paint them) and accidentally ripped our new, professional paint off the walls because of taping off the tile for reglazing. Granted, it may have been that the paint wasn't dry enough just yet — but they could have sent us a quick e-mail while we were gone to say, "hey, wanted to let you know that..." And they were the ones who recommended we have the painting done BEFORE they come to do the tile. They also said they would install the threshold but decided not to. I don't know... I just left the whole thing with a kind of bad taste in my mouth related to customer service, communication and having to convince them to come back and fix things. Anyway, they did come back to fix most of the things we weren't happy with so we still are overall satisfied. Including the old floor being demo-ed and the slate being installed, the tile work was $1,800. It does look good.

Sorry for the rambling.

Angel Painting (Miguel!) did our painting. We spent about $300 with him in the bathroom — but well worth it. The walls were raw plaster and needed to be smoothed with mud and sanded down to be even. He also patched holes where the medicine cabinet and light fixtures once were. I should also mention that Miguel came back out to re-do where the paint was messed up without excuses or requesting additional money.

Corey with High Priority Plumbing has done our plumbing work (installing new fixtures). High Priority is so easy to work with because their office folks are very communicative — and the prices are reasonable and and the work is quality. Angela at the office responds quickly to e-mail communications, and they're always able to give quick turnaround time appointments. Corey (the technician we use) is friendly and courteous. He calls on his way over to let us know he'll be arriving soon — and he calls following his appointments to tell us how they went. My favorite thing is that he sent me a text message photo of our new faucet before he left our house. Love it!

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Dear Steve and Cath —

Thank you for treating us to one of our best vacations in a long time.

  • Did a little of the "tourist" thing
  • Ate (and ate like kings — the food you make at your house is better than any restaurant... and the cheese, oh god, the cheese!)
  • Drank (wine and micro-brew tastings were fun outings)
  • Pacific coast kayaked... complete with dolphins that swam up around us
  • Had our first acupuncture experiences
  • Rummaged (successfully) for thrift store treasures
  • Lusted over (and later enjoyed) beautiful produce at the Saturday farmer's market
  • Admired and bought unique pieces at the Sunday "art walk"
  • Took amazing walks on that amazing Pacific coast beach, complete with gorgeous cliffs to one side and surfers to the other
  • Enjoyed the cliffside hot tub
  • Talked and laughed about life, memories, those loved and lost, favorite fonts (?), books, movies and more
  • Got to know each other better (I married into a fab family)
Steve, I definitely can understand how you met Cath and immediately followed her over to the West Coast — what a lady.

Such an amazing trip — and I feel like — a good taste of California. Santa Barbara is beautiful and you have such a wonderful life there. Thank you for having us into your home and entertaining us for four days straight. Somehow you managed to keep the days busy but relaxing and carefree, and I'm already planning our next trip out. :)

Katy and Dan

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


In my mind, one benefit to having dinner guests is that they give you a reason to spruce up around the house — and put small scale renovation projects in high gear...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I Usually Don't Give Money to the Homeless

Sorry for my absence. Out of town work training + 'lil vacay to California = extreme lack of posting.

But I had to give it to this guy!

(Click for full-size images)

Part installation, part arcade game — these three pieces encouraged us to chunk out some coin.