Archive for February, 2012
Psst- Today’s our leaving-Portland travel day (sad face) so we’ll probably be spotty and slow on comments/etc after 1pm EST. We’re sorry for the interruption, but so happy to have gotten the chance to explore Portland. We owe you guys a big post about all the stuff we did/bought/ate! We purchased some local art, crashed an amaaaaazing house, ate bacon on a donut, and John scored not one but two new t-shirts (neither of which are soda related, but both of which are food-related).
Lately I’ve been asked a bunch of times about how I organize/store our non-food coupons (since the grocery store ones are just stuck into one of those clear envelopes and stashed in my purse on store runs – more on that here). You know, like the ones from Michael’s, JoAnn, Old Navy and Bed Bath & Beyond and restaurants all the other not-grocery-store related places? And every time I was asked I sort of admitted that I didn’t have the best system but that I tried to slip them into the compartment on the passenger side door of our car so at least they were with us all the time (since we only have one car and are rarely at a store without the car since nothing is really that walkable from our house). The real issue was that I would forget what was in there (things would expire all the time, and it was sort of one giant mess o’ papers) and the other annoying thing was that I was always having to run back out to the car while in places like Bed Bath & Beyond and Michael’s (because I always forgot to grab the coupon before going in). The kicker? Sometimes I would run all the way back out with Beansie in tow, only to find that my coupon was expired already. Boo.
So I needed a system. And then while trolling the notebook section of Target, one found me.
It was this cute thing that I thought was a notebook and then I opened it and a light bulb went off. And it might be my best organizational coup in the last five years. Yes, it’s kinda life-changing if you’re an organizational wannabe like me (I never have my ish together, but I have dreams of conquering that one day…).
First of all it’s slim and light. Like a small notebook without all the pages (it just has a thin notepad on one side and an accordion fold-out pocket system on the other side). So I thought to myself: “self- you could put all your non-grocery coupons into the accordion side and use the pad to write down exactly what’s in there, crossing off things as they expire (so you can see all the valid coupons that you have at a glance) – and you can keep it in your purse since that’s always with you and then you won’t have to run to the car.” Yesssss. And then I high fived myself in the notebook aisle and Clara thought we were clapping so she clapped along.
So I bought it and I did all the things I told myself I would do in my head (labeled the tabs on each accordion section and used the notebook to write down what I have) and I’ve used this method for about a month (gotta trouble-shoot things before exclaiming to the internet at large that they’re life-changing) and I’m telling you it’s the bee’s knees. I can even circle things that are about to expire to remind myself to use them or lose them.
I think it was like $6 or something, and I’m still on the first sheet of paper on the pad (I had visions of running out of paper since coupons rotate in and out, but it’s amazing how one JoAnn coupon expires or gets used just as I slip a new one in there so it hasn’t been too bad with the whole crossing out thing. Of course when the page gets all crazy and scratched out over time I’ll just tear it off and start over on page two, but it seems like this pad could easily last me a year or two and then I could just replace it without replacing the whole shebang – so that’s nice. Oh and it’s recycled paper and made by a company called Greenroom if that helps anyone track it down at Tar-jay.
As for what I labeled each section, what made sense for me was: craft, food, clothes, Bed Bath & Beyond, and misc (just because I usually have a fair amount of coupons in each of those categories). And for food I don’t mean grocery coupons, I mean restaurant coupons like printed out Groupons and little fliers that I get in those Valpack mailers for places like a nearby Mexican restaurant or a local BBQ joint. As for my grocery store coupons, you can read more on those here, but they slip into a clear envelope that stays at home unless we’re going grocery shopping (we don’t usually do that at the spur of the moment like dropping in on other stores or eating out, so I just shove that envelope in my purse when we know we’re headed to Kroger).
So that’s my system to answer all of you inquisitive-coupon-loving folks out there. I hope it’s helpful to anyone else who is wrestling with non-grocery-store coupons that tend to pile up everywhere. It’s amazing how having a place for something (and not shoving them all into the side door of the car) can make them a lot easier to actually use. I think I’m better at remembering that I have them, so I’m even saving money on top of feeling like the Queen Of Organization (not in all categories, haha, but in non-grocery-coupons I’ve got it down… for now). Oh and I figured other folks out there might have other methods or tricks that they have changed their organization strategy – so spill it. I need to know how else to up my organizational ante. Seriously, help a scatterbrained momma out.
The boldest color we’ve ever used on any wall is Martha Stewart’s Plumage (which we slathered all over our guest room walls). Long story short: we’ve loved it ever since. So when Jackie sent us her dining room makeover boasting lots of Plumage, of course we were all over it. Here’s her letter:
“When we moved into this house, the dining room started with just a table and the bamboo armoire. We didn’t even have dining chairs.
Over the last six months I prioritized finishing this room in time for the holidays. It is filled with DIY projects including art silhouettes, board and batten walls, mercury glass vases, jute wrapped monogram, and my favorite: the DIY linear crystal chandelier.
It took me two tries to get the right color too, but your story gave me confidence for the second round of dying.
I have blogged about all the DIY dining room projects on my blog, aptly named Teal & Lime (I promise I do like other colors too). Thank you for your continued inspiration and over-sharing. I’ve really enjoyed watching you transform your new home.” – Jackie
Since it’s no mystery why we fell for the teal and lime color scheme, we just have one question: what time is dinner? Thanks for sharing Jackie! Aren’t those silhouettes mixed with the curvy wood mirror fun? Can you believe they DIYed the board and batten walls and even made those slipcovers from tablecloths? Such an inspiring room! Let’s play the what’s-your-favorite-part game. Mine is the dapper dog silhouette and Sherry’s is the curvy wood mirror (closely followed by that homemade linear crystal chandelier).
Wow, so yesterday was a fun little whirlwind. We spent pretty much the whole day romping around the Portland Home & Garden Show (minus a break to scarf down some much-recommended Voodoo Donuts – and yes we tried maple bacon – mmmm). The Expo Center here is stuffed with gorgeous gardens, cool green living ideas, and tons of friendly Portlanders. Or Portlandians? Portlandites? Whatever they’re called, the people here are crazy nice. We’ll give you an actual Portland shopping/stuff we did/house-crashing trip roundup once it’s actually complete (today’s our Explore-The-City day) but for now we’d at least tell you about our time at the show yesterday.
It kicked off early with some interviews with the local TV stations at 7:30 am. Despite having been up since 4 (we were still on East Coast time), it was a miracle that we managed to be coherent.
You can actually watch this whole segment below. We’re just proud we didn’t blurt out anything ridiculous and weird on live TV. We saved that for our presentation in the afternoon. More on that in a minute.
Our home base at the show was the Smart Home, a mini-house within the convention center that their crew constructed in about 48 hours (!) that showcases lots of sustainable and green design. Within the solar paneled roof and energy efficient windows & walls, there was also a pretty sweet house full of cool stuff that we wanted to take home. Like this universally designed kitchen (crafted by local cabinet makers) which was anchored by this stellar table (also handmade by local artisans).
Speaking of tables, the living space had another cool one – it’s sort of a quatrefoil made from wood cross-sections. If it would’ve fit on the plane’s carry on bin, we might’ve attempted to sneak that baby off in our backpack.
We also drooled over these pillows that were adorned with polished cork-like wood disks and colorful thread (they were surprisingly comfortable, actually).
We also really loved this display wall, which was made completely from locally reclaimed wood. It totally inspires me to save all of our scrap wood in the basement until we can use it for something this cool.
This Smart Home was just the beginning of the awesome stuff that was constructed in the midst of an otherwise ordinary convention space. One thing that immediately caught our eye was all of the landscaping and greenery. Partially because we’re on the verge of having the spring landscaping bug and partially because, well, it was pretty.
Can our backyard please look like this? Wouldn’t you swear this shot was taken outside? Nope, it’s in the middle of the convention center where they have mood lighting, gorgeous landscaping, and even brick walls and wood pergolas that were build by local vendors and artisans. We loved the big bulb string lights in the shot below, and also really liked that all the chairs at the table were casually mismatched.
Nestled amongst the landscaping displays was this crazy cool prefab home from Ideabox. Our pics totally don’t do it justice, but Sherry and I were about to move in, right there in the middle of the Expo Center.
Of course it didn’t hurt that the whole thing was furnished by Ikea (so a certain light fixture – also in the bedroom! – was already making it feel like home)
The kitchen was punctuated with a few bright green cabinets which added just enough color and fun without feeling like too much (everyone who slipped through with us was going crazy over it).
We were on our own for most of the day (i.e. Clara was exploring the city with my parents, who traveled with us to PDX) but she did join us at the show for a little while. She too was quite captivated by all the sights. Here she is playing landscaper.
And resting on a bed from the Smart Home.
And crowning me as DIY Daddy of the Day.
And taking a faux shower.
Oddly enough, this is not the only Petersik-in-a-shower-at-the-Portland-Home-and-Garden-Show picture of the day. In fact, there are two more.
Sherry update: I’m not prego! Since a few folks have guessed my trench was hiding something: it isn’t. Portland is just cold and rainy. Haha. And apparently my coat isn’t as flattering as I thought.
Yes people, we have no shame. Speaking of which – the weirdness and semi-coherent rambling continued into the afternoon when our blogging seminar started. The organizers of the event invited a few dozen local bloggers so that we could share some of our thoughts on “taking your blog to the next level.” It looked something like this (and yes, that’s a picture of a teenage Sherry’s airbrushed jeans with winking eyes on the buns and me on the toilet). No shame I tell you.
Remember when I said that we blurted out a few ridiculous things? Well, that was all Sherry. Somehow during a little mention of not blogging about things just because they’re “trendy” or “in” – the examples that Sherry pulled out of thin air were “you know, don’t start a blog about being green just because you think it’s a trend if it’s not really something you love and are passionate about – or you know, just because something like being… lactose intolerant might be popular, don’t just start a blog about that.”
Then there was a nice long pause while we laughed about the idea that lactose intolerance was randomly referenced as a hot topic. Other strange suggestions that worked their way in there were “insert Ninja Turtle references” and at some point Sherry said “a pile of crap” while not meaning to refer to dung (she said it in regards to the piles of stuff that we have hoarded in our playroom). But amidst all the weirdness, I think we actually gave some real advice that was helpful. And at the end of the hour we got to meet everyone and chat a little. Once again we learned that Portlandanians are nice folk.
In addition to being mighty friendly, this city is mighty green too – and, if I may get all Jack Nicholson on you for a moment, it kinda makes me want to be a
better greener man. Like that this guy for instance. He’s Jim of Northwest Cedar Specialties and he rescues scrap wood by dumpster diving at construction sites, home remodels, or wherever (like in the picture he’s holding below) with the construction-folks’ blessing, since a ton of stuff actually gets thrown away. Then he constructs cedar planters from the scrap wood. And how can you not like a guy whose flyer says his reclaimed materials come with “a lot of respect and loving care.”
I was also really into (like kinda too much so) these living walls from Seventh Wonder Gardens. Makes me wish we had a huge sun-filled atrium somewhere in our house that I could blanket with these guys. There’s also a cool time lapse of one of them growing in on their website.
As much as I was charmed by a wall of plants, Sherry was all over this chicken coop. Until we remembered that Richmond isn’t quite as progressive as places like Portland and owning chickens isn’t allowed in our county (unless we have about 4 times as much land as we do). Boo. Maybe someday…
We got a break for dinner (and to upload some pictures from the day) before we had a fun little meet and greet in the evening. I promised Sherry I’d include this photo of me looking exceptionally nerdy. Who walks around a convention with a giant backpack, open laptop, and a giant camera around their neck? Yep, this sexy blogger does.
That’s pretty much the last picture we snapped of the day (great way to conclude, right?) because all of the pics that we took at the meet and greet were taken by the show’s official photographer (they’ll be posted on their Facebook page sometime today) or by the lovely people that we got to both meet AND greet. Fortunately some are popping up on Twitter, like this one from Katy at The Non-Consumer Advocate who helped “Keep Portland Weird” (apparently that’s a popular bumper sticker around here) by asking us to pose next to a bed instead of in the courtyard where we were meeting and greeting. Since weird is practically our middle name, well, this happened:
Seriously though, this was probably the most fun part of the day because we got to chat with some of you guys – and even put some faces to commenter names that we’ve seen time and time again. We were very flattered that any of you cared enough to come see us. It made us even more excited to tour with our book in the fall, which means that we’ll get to see you guys in some other cities too… and maybe even come back to Portland (it’s all up to our publishers where we go, but we’ll keep you posted!). It’s fun here. And actually not as rainy as we expected.
Has anyone hit up a home and garden show lately? Or been to one in the past that they especially enjoyed? If you’re here in the Portland area you can still catch this show through Sunday. And anyone in the mood for another home and garden show can take a look back at what we spotted at our local Richmond show waaay back in 2008.