What’s the Deal with Project Palermo?

Here’s the deal: we’re house hunting! Those of you who follow me on Instagram likely already know this.

booksMore apt: Remodel the House You Don’t Yet Own to Get the Home You Can’t Afford

We plan to buy a single family home in Chicago. In fact, we’re actively trying to buy a single family home in Chicago. While there is always room for improvement in an apartment, I decided to put the brakes on projects done in our rental – it’s money that is better spent on a down payment. That’s why the blog has been laying fallow.

I miss writing this blog, though, so here’s the plan: I’ve got a lot of posts in mind and I swear on a stack of bibles [This Old House magazines], that I’ll stick with it.  I hope they’re helpful for people who may be in a similar boat, or at least somewhat interesting for people who aren’t but just want to follow along. If nothing else, they’ll be really affirming for people who don’t live in a major metropolitan area – you lucky fools with your $250,000 move-in-ready houses, sub-$4,000 property taxes, and non-systemic corruption.

This is what $389k will get you in some of the neighborhoods we’re considering: 1,200 squirrel feet.

chase

I hereby vow to post:

  • What we’ve seen so far, and what we learned from each.
  • Then you’ll be brought up to date and, moving forward, I’ll post houses we see in real-time. If it’s a house we plan to make an offer on, however, I’ll keep that in my pocket because it’s unwise to publicize a good find.
  • Money. It may be gauche, but I’m going to be pretty transparent about this after we do finally close on a house. When we first started this process, savings, mortgages, down payments, etc. were this huge unknown. I’ll share what we saved, how much we put down, and how that will shake out with monthly payments. I’m not an expert (nowhere close) but I’m hoping our experience will at least provide some anecdotal information that may be helpful for others.

washtenaw-barThis is the one that got away. Details to come!

In the meantime, I’ve been neglecting the backend of this blog – I’ve got outdated plug-ins and widgets and server backups to see to. So, if it gets weird on the front end or I clog up your Feedly pages: sorry, sorry.

Talk to you soon!

Drunk in Love with Beyonce: 5 Drinking Game Rules

This past Friday my friends joined me (indulged me, really) in watching all 17 of the music videos from Beyoncé’s recently-released visual album. I couldn’t find any drinking game rules online so I DIYed them. Not the usual fodder for this blog, I know, but I wanted to codify them here.  So, without further ado, here are Five Rules for a Beyoncé Music Video Drinking Gamé.

Beyonce Video Drinking Game

1. Drink for each song title.

Each music video includes the song title within the first 30 seconds or so. Some are simple title cards but others are more clever or discreet. Raise your glass each time you see one to celebrate the gift that Beyoncé has bestowed upon you.

Beyonce Music Video Titles

2. Drink when Beyoncé wears jean shorts.

She wears ‘em a lot. Most of them look rather uncomfortable. When you see jorts: drink. When you see a jort thong: chug.

Beyonce Jean Shorts

3. Drink when Jay-Z makes an appearance, in person or in voice.

This doesn’t actually happen very often – if anything, this album is about Beyoncé moving beyond Jay-Z – but he pops up occasionally to blurt “crown!”, to rap about his foyer Warhol, and to rhyme “breasteses” with “breakfast.” He also does a hilarious drunken shimmy that will remind you of your friend Nordy. Drink for Jay-Z!

Beyonce JayZ

4. Drink when Ed McMahon makes an appearance, in person or in voice.

And then pour one out: RIP, Ed.

Beyonce Ed McMahon

5. Drink when Beyoncé wears something atop her lovely head (wigs excluded).

Yoncé loves headgear even more than she loves jean shorts. She borrowed a crown from the Queen of Hearts, a beaded headdress from Le Crazy Horse, a veil from the Virgin Mary, and a balaclava from Pussy Riot.  Drink whenever you see something new on Beyoncé’s head – except for wigs.  The goal is drunkenness, not death by alcohol poisoning.

Beyonce Head Gear

Extra credit:

If five isn’t enough for you, here are a few other ideas:

  • Drink whenever food is mentioned (peaches, Skittles, half-naked dinners, etc.)
  • If you’ve got love for the Lone Star state, drink when B references Houston.
  • Drink whenever a foreign language is spoken (including a French Big Lebowski sample?!)

That’s it – have fun!

Beyonce Bottoms Up

 

Bottles in Boots, Y’all

Unintended two-months-plus hiatus!  Sorry about that. Let’s ease back into blogging with a very quick post:

Bottles in boots, y’all.

(In my head, that’s said like James Franco in Spring Breakers, or Tami “Rayna James” Taylor.)

Combine two of your favorite things by dropping empty wine bottles into your tall boots: the circumference keeps their shape and the weight keeps them upright.

BootBottle

Buy a variety of wine in pairs – different girths work better for different shafts.  (Lord knows  those keywords aren’t going to help my “Very poor” child safety rating on Web of Trust – which, BTW, WTF?).

In conclusion: Cocobon is my favorite Trader Joe’s wine.  Tastes good, inexpensive, nice label and, most importantly, a not-embarrassing name – here’s looking at you, Ménage à Trois (and eat it, Web of Trust).

Plants in the Bathroom

I wanted to do three quick follow-up posts related to our bathroom makeover: plants, shower curtain, and hardware.  Let’s start with the bathroom plants.

ZZ Plant in Bathroom
We have a ZZ on the tank tray – ZZ plants always appear on the lists of hardy, low-light plants. I already have cuttings started, so when this one gets too big for the space I’ll swap in a smaller/younger ZZ and move it elsewhere (though my “elsewhere” options are running low, I admit).

For the hanging shower plants, I have a pothos and a fern.  Pothos is the comic sans of the potted plant world – it’s overused in office settings and people love to hate it – but I don’t mind it. It’s indestructible, it grows quickly and it’s a cheap, easy way to add a lot of green to any spot in your home.

Hanging Plants in Shower
As for the fern, Home Depot’s plant vendor has started labeling some of their plants like so:

Plant Tag
So helpful! So scientific! Genus: Houseplant. Species: Foliage. While leads to me Googling things like “broad leaf fern rippled edges” to learn that this guy is a birds-nest fern.

Birds Nest Fern

I had an ivy plant in this spot previously, thinking it was a good fit for low light and high humidity. Wrong!: Spider mites loved the lack of air movement (we don’t have a bathroom fan and that window isn’t open during the summer when we have our AC on).

Spider Mites on Ivy Leaves
Spider mites! Infinitesimally small and master web weavers – they enclosed the leaves so completely it was like they had been wrapped in plastic wrap. There was actually a sheen to the web. RIP ivy plant.

Spider Mites on Ivy Leaves
One more thing: someone commented on Pinterest: “I can just see hitting your head on that plant holder every time you step in to take a shower.” Don’t worry, Internet Good Samaritan: they are hung high enough even for Jarrod to avoid hitting his head – see?

Jarrod Loves Plant(He’s giving a thumb’s up but it kind of looks like a finger gun, which may be how he really feels about posing for this photo.)

Granted, if you’re 6’4″ and you’re showering at my apartment, you may bump your head, but that’s on you. 6’4″ is too many.

Reminder: Today is your last chance to participate in the Cape Horn Illustration giveaway. I’ll randomly select a commenter this evening.  Your deadline to comment on Cape Horn post is 7:00pm CST. Delurk and win!