Spiders, Not Poop, and Furniture

Good morning!  I’m baaaack!

My over-a-week-long hiatus was part of my quest to enjoy the summer more with my incredibly handsome boyfriend (who just left for a business trip this morning), and our little sweeties (one of which unfortunately has canine influenza at the moment).  Yesterday we went on a 5-mile bike ride and 6-mile kayak trip on the Tuscarawas River in Canal Fulton, Ohio.  It was so beautiful and peaceful.

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I joked to Mike that all he had to do to get me to stop talking was to put me in a kayak or on a bike… so I’m getting a bike!  I’m looking to see which cruiser I like best (Jamis, Torker, Schwinn?).  Any of you have any recommendations?

Oh, and I can’t help but show you this picture of the world’s biggest spider, discovered yesterday while kayaking.  If you’re squeamish about spiders, I suggest looking away now, cause this bad boy was about 3.5 inches in diameter!

imageOne last gross picture and then I promise I’ll be done with the rambling.  This is a collection of mushrooms found in our yard yesterday… and it almost looks like dog poo.  I have searched long and hard online, but cannot find the name of these mushrooms and whether they are poisonous.  Do you happen to know?

Not poop!

Not poop!

But on to the important stuff.  While Mike and I haven’t been as busy with the house this past week as we should have been, we have been super productive.  My old apartment is officially cleared out and ready for my lease to end mid-August.  In addition, Mike’s childhood home was sold this weekend, and we helped clean that out.  We made off with a ton of amazing hand-me-downs from his parents, and are slowly working them into our decor.  I will post more on that tonight.

Also, Mike has been hard at work refinishing our dining room table, which was stained a little too red for me.  While Mike is away on business this week, the table will be taking some time out to dry and get ready for sealing.  Look what an expert refinisher this guy is!

photoAmidst all the moving and refinishing, Mike managed to find some time to remove the TV and sound equipment from a console (we think it’s circa 1950-1970?) we bought on craigslist for $20.  My task is refinishing this bad boy:

image (2)Looks like the dogs and I have a busy week ahead!  Want to keep us company while Mike is gone?

Mad About You

Somehow I ended up the luckiest girl in the world.  I get to spend every day with the love of my life; my best friend, Mike.  He’s very adored by me and the pooches, and that love carries over into our home.

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Even though our house is still too rough-looking to give you a video tour (hopefully coming soon!), we’re beginning to fill the place up with fun and sweet momentos.  A perfect case in point is our TV console: we have absolutely no idea where we should put the TV, since the living/dining/kitchen is all too open.  So it just sits awkwardly in a tiny space between the living room and the dining room.

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See how close that leather couch is to the TV?  It definitely makes for difficult viewing!  But that console is holding some serious love!

In the back right corner is the Himalayan Salt Lamp that Mike bought me for our 6-month anniversary.  I’d been wanting one for a while since I had read that they improve the air quality in your home.  And look how beautiful this lamp is, to boot!  There are a whole bunch for sale at varying prices on the internet, but I think Amazon carries them pretty reasonably at around $24.

You might also notice our beaver skull.  I spotted that this past weekend at a sidewalk sale in the town of Chassell, up in the Keweenaw Peninsula, and just knew I had to have it.  I have a future project in mind, but for now, our $15 head is resting on top of two books.  I found “Blind Date” for $1 in an antique store in the Keweenaw, and knew it was perfect for our collection, since Mike and I met on a blind date of sorts.  I found “Laura” for $3, and am still looking for a book called “Mike” to complete our collection.

And then you have our Bete Grise jar.  It’s just a random jar that I picked up for $5 at an antique store called The Yard Sale, in Laurium, MI.  I stuffed it with anything pretty that I found while wandering the beach in Bete Grise, which is famous for its Singing Sands.  The sticks, pink rock, and rock-shaped wood chunks have no particular meaning; they are just from a special place.

For now, I’ve placed them on the ever-evolving fireplace mantle, next to a big picture of the Mendota Lighthouse in Bete Grise.  You can tell that nothing on the rock mantle is set in stone (pun intended!), since there’s an abundance of random frames sporting anything from birds cut from a 2013 calendar to a 5-year old Laura in a hammock to one that is completely empty.

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So there you have it.  Decorating love.  <3



Go Away, Rain (for the Fathers!)

I had big outdoor plans for today involving weeding areas in the front and side yard that have reached the point of being out of control.

It looks like it’s supposed to stop raining soon, so hopefully I’ll be able to get outdoors and take care of this weed situation.  But I’ve got a back-up list of things to accomplish indoors, as well.  We’ll see how many of them I am able to take care of today:

  • The living/dining area needs to be re-arranged before I can present it to you.  It does look a little different at the moment, but here’s a super embarrassing pic to show you what it started off like yesterday: image (20)
  • Speaking of which, that back wall needs one more coat of paint, especially in the grooves.
  • I hate this fireplace situation.  I’d love to remove the tacky gold cover and clean out the inside.  I very much doubt we’ll ever use the fireplace, but if we wanted to in the winter, we could just put the gold tackiness back in place. photo (11)
  • If I find myself with a big chunk of free time, I’d like to attempt to make some easy-on-the-tummy homemade dog food.  Both of the dogs have been a little out of sorts without Mike, and I’m worried that Gus isn’t feeling well.  It’d be nice to be able to feed him the doggie equivalent of chicken soup and toast.  I found a great starting point on Happy Herbivore.  The dogs aren’t vegetarians at the moment, but I think going this route for a few days might help get their digestive tracks back on, er, track (where’s a thesaurus when you need one?).  This will also be a test run to see if I have the energy to make their food all the time, which I think would save us money, but I’d need to crunch the numbers a little more.
  • I’d like to get my printer up and running so that I can do some couponing!  Hopefully this will help out with the homemade dog food plan.
  • All of our rugs are super slippery and we constantly trip over the corners in the upstairs hallway.  image (18)So I’d love to make a no-slip grip bottom for them. We’ll see if Martha Stewart knows what she’s talking about.
  • My closet/craft room needs to be organized, as does Mike’s closet, as does our bedroom, which looks like a college dorm room at the moment.  Phoebe is either chasing her tail or checking out her own butt.image (17)

So there’s the list!  I’ll keep you updated today how far I get.   But before I go, I’d like to wish a very Happy Father’s Day to my dad – the greatest dad I could have ever asked for, and the world’s best beekeeper!  Here he is with my nephew a year and a half ago, and back in March, teaching Mike how to start a hive.

And happy Father’s Day to my brother-in-law, Matt!  On Father’s Day last year, he returned from Kuwait.  It was a very happy reunion for his family, and I hope today is just as happy for them!

Kelsey Dyer Photography

Kelsey Dyer Photography

Happy Father’s Day to all you other dads out there!  :-)


Naughty Dogs, Birthday Ghosts, and Yummy Food

(ML Reminder: Keep entering to win the succulent GIVEAWAY!  It’s only open until Sunday night!)

Sometimes Gus and Phoebe drive us insane.  Especially when Phoebe goes on mid-night tours of the house to pee in the kitchen, or when she sneaks out to the backyard (without permission) for a mid-day sunning session:

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Or when Gus eats garbage in the kitchen, fancies himself an archaeologist on an excavation, or decides he’d rather be in the sun room than outside on his lead (R.I.P. screens):

Or when either of them think it’s appropriate to scale the furniture during move-in to bark at rabbits in the front yard:


But mostly we just love them.  A whole lot.  So much so, in fact, that we make videos:

We also love how much they love their Uncle Paul.  And he must love them, because he’s coming down from Michigan to dogsit them tonight.

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Wondering why we need a dogsitter?  Tonight we are celebrating my birthday a little early with a ghost hunt at the Mansfield Reformatory.  I’ve been itching to visit since I moved to Ohio back in August 2012, and I just about lost it when I watched the crew from Ghost Adventures go on lockdown there.  So I was beyond ecstatic when Mike told me back in April that he’d purchased two tickets for us to go on an overnight ghost hunt.  So by the time you read this, we will be gone.  Gone ghost hunting, that is.

Tonight’s hunting festivities mark the second night in a row of celebrations.  Last night we celebrated 7 months (since the day we met) by dining at Ken Stewart’s Grille in Akron.  I ordered the vegan Cauliflower Steak, and it was absolutely delicious.

Speaking of vegan food… my friend Erin runs the blog Wicked Vegan, which features stupidly good recipes like Peanutty Noodles and Veggies or Coconut Cupcakes with Melted Chocolate Frosting.  I can’t tell you how many of her recipes I have made.  So.  Effing.  Amazing.  The girl is a genius.  I highly suggest you give her page a visit!

Wish us luck on the ghost hunt tonight!


Phoebe’s DIY Doggie Makeover

(Note from Laura: I apologize for the lack of post yesterday, but I had a paper to write,  had my last class of the summer, was dealing with a popped tire, and was just generally in a cranky mood.  Now that classes are done until the fall, I should be less crabby and have more free time for posting!  So please enjoy the post below, which falls under our new category, “Makeshift Life.”)

Phoebe has always been a fan of the doggie spa.  Or rather, I’ve always been a fan of sending her.  But at a little over $50 a pop, her monthly haircuts were costing me a fortune.  So one day, I woke up and decided to cut her hair all by myself.  It helped that I had seen a 5-star dog clipper online for $29, which is much less than just one month’s worth of grooming.  And I already owned the $10 PediPaw, and even though Phoebe had practically tried to throw herself from the balcony the one time I used it on her last year, I felt confident that I could master nail clipping as easily as the folks on the PediPaw infomercial.

My little love bug is definitely capable of looking polished and cute after a day at Diggity Dogs’ spa, but lately she’d been looking a little bit more like a ragamuffin.  And all that fur makes her too hot in the summer.  This side-by-side comparison should help you see the ragamuffin transition (please ignore the devil eyes in the third photo… I swear she isn’t actually possessed):


As you can see, whether she is groomed or au naturale, she is one of the world’s best looking dogs (obviously G-man is right up there with her!).  Especially when she accessorizes with dandelion necklaces:

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So my goal was to get her looking runway ready once again while shelling out as little dinero as possible.  I was all ready to go electric shaver shopping when Mike kindly donated an old one of his.  And just like that, I was ready to groom my dog for free.  My favorite price!  And in an even more fortuitous turn of events, Mike offered to help shave Phoebe!  So the three of us headed out to the garage (Gus slept inside, probably out of fear that we would also try to groom him), where Mike took control of the shaver and I used scissors to trim up the hair on Phoebe’s head while simultaneously pinning her down on the workbench.  Here is the only “during” photo that I was able to snap, as well an after-the-fact goodbye hair photo.  Too bad there isn’t a little doggie locks for love company for donation!

And now for the post-grooming reveal:

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She’s a little shocked at how much hair we removed.  And she was also snapped in the middle of a freak out session, thus the awkward pose (do any of your dogs randomly start running frantic/excited laps around the room for seemingly no reason at all?).

Overall, I think we earned a B- grade for our first grooming session.  Mike’s shaving job was straight A+ quality, as you can see from this close up:

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But I was a little less wonderful with my trim job.  In the below picture, you can clearly see one too-long strand on her ear (I promise I later took care of it):

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True to typical male form, her brother did not seem to notice her stylin’ new do.  Here they are, caught on video inspecting the yard/driveway bug situation (as you can see, Gus is totally ignoring how hot Phoebe looks).

Now, as for more specific details on how this makeover happened… It took about an hour for Mike to meticulously shave Phoebe (using a 1/8 inch attachment), and for me to simultaneously snip her face and ears.  She was wonderfully behaved for the first 15 minutes, and then she must have started panicking, because she turned into a wiggle monster.  I held her down on the workbench, and then later held her vertically suspended in the air.  After Mike finished shaving her, I took Phoebe into the backyard to trim her leg hair and tail while Mike rubbed her belly.  After another half hour, I was finally done.  Well, except that we definitely gave up before trimming her nails… That will have to wait until this weekend, when we will tackle all 8 paws on both dogs.

And that is how our first doggie makeover went down.  Do any of you handle your own dog grooming?  If so, have any advice for how we can make the process run more smoothly next time?