Friday, May 30, 2014

What I Learned This Month

(Photo: Picture of park in Baltimore's Homeland neighborhood)

Recently, I was asked by one of my favorite bloggers Yuko Jones of NORTHFIELD GATE to participate in a link-up party called, "What We Learned". The premise of "What We Learned" is for bloggers to get together at the end of each month and write about what they've learned. I always enjoy reading these posts, so I was more than happy to accept her invitation. So here goes, this is what I learned in May:

1. When You Don't Like Something, Work to Change it

Some weeks ago I wrote a post about the importance of city dwellers working to rebuild public education institutions. In Baltimore, many city schools are of poor quality. There are most certainly some gems within the system, but there is still much work to be done to ensure all residents have access to strong schools.

Recently A local non-profit has been working to convert my neighborhood school into a charter school. They received final approval from our local school board to proceed with their plans a few days ago, and I could not be happier. I've visited several of their schools and seen the good work they do up close and personal. I can't wait to see how they improve my local elementary school. I think it will provide a good opportunity for young families to reinvest in public schools, and make more long-term connections in my neighborhood.

Following and participating in the process to get the school approved has shown me the importance of being an involved community member, and not just a complaining when conditions are not how I would like.

2. It's Important to Set Aside Time for Marital Check-Ins

Having a stable and loving marriage is of utmost importance to me. I love my husband with all of my heart, but know it takes much more than love to make a relationship work. With a baby on the way, I am particularly concerned with making sure our little one enters the world as a part of a healthy and loving union. As a result, the hubs and I have been setting aside time to have deep talks about our expectations, hopes for the future, and suggestions for making our marriage better. These talks have really done wonders to bring us even closer to one another, and I'm really looking forward to getting old together :-)

3. I Don't Need to Travel Far to Have a Good Time

The past few weeks were filled with extended travel for the hubs and I (a post about one of our excursions will be coming soon, so stay tuned). We are trying to live up our last few child free months, and have been having a good time. While I enjoyed both of the trips we took this month I realized they were not necessary. While away we both felt super home sick. I guess this a testament to the saying, "home is where the heart is". When we are at home we both feel loved, peace, and secure....what more could we ask for?

"As I grow yearly, I can see things more clearly." ~Nas

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Around (Another) Town: Our Trip to San Francisco

You may have noticed things have been a little quiet on the blog. That's because for the last several days the hubs and I have been away on travel. We had to attend an IT conference for work that was in San Francisco. While there we had lots of fun. SF happens to be where my best friend Kevin lives, so he showed us around.  Kevin says hi everyone.

The first place Kev took us was LOVEJOY'S, an extremely charming tea room with an affiliated antique store across the street.

The ambiance at the place is incredible. It feels like it belongs in London. I wish we had one in B'more, I'd so host a shower or party there.

In addition to the decor being great, so is the tea.

I also tried the hot chocolate, it was very tasty.

They offer a nice variety of tea sandwiches and crumpets. 

 Next up, we went to a few open houses. I always like to peak at the housing inventory in other cities.

A deck off the master, how lovely.

I'm a big fan of the bright kitchen.

San Francisco is known for it's bay windows. I think they are so awesome.

One evening we went out for sushi at OSAKA. The chef there is very innovative and concocted the roll below called The Power of Love, made with shrimp tempura, cucumber, mango, cream cheese, and a sweet mango sauce. It was delicious!

My favorite destination on the trip was MUIR WOODS NATIONAL PARK, which boasts beautiful 700 ft tall redwood trees.

This place is a true national treasure. Pictures can in no way capture its beauty. The place is just breathtaking. I definitely have  to come back to experience it again.

A few other food spots worth mentioning are SUPER DUPER a very good hamburger joint (make sure you get the single burger if you go),

and MINNIE BELL'S food truck.

They offer smothered steak with grits.

Lastly, I went on a VICTORIAN WALKING TOUR that was very interesting and enlightening. On it I learned about San Francisco's victorian architecture and saw a few celebrity homes. 

All in all I had a great time, and can't wait to visit again in the future.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Around Town: Miss Shirley's

One of the best all around restaurants I've been to in Baltimore (or anywhere for that matter) is MISS SHIRLEY'S. Located in the city's Roland Park neighborhood the food is to die for! My only complaint is that they are only open for breakfast/brunch. With their cult like following they could easily be open 24/7. If you want to know what Maryland seafood is about, this is your spot. There are many yummy items on the menu like their monkey bread and crabcakes, but on my latest visit I had one of my faves the "Get You Grits On" dish which is comprised of blackened shrimp, grits, and fried green tomatoes (pictured above). The hubs had the "Surfin' the Bay Club". Both were scrumptious, do check them out! As a bonus they are kid friendly, but still cool enough to bring a date.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Garden Tour: Jim and Diana's Beautiful Oasis

The other day I had the pleasure of meeting two long-term Lake Walker residents Diana and Jim. The lovely couple have a spectacular garden sprawled out over a half acre of land. It's a true treasure tucked in the middle of the city. Most striking are their 80 year old fuchsia azaleas, some of the most mature azaleas I've ever seen. They were so kind as to give me a tour, so I thought I'd share it with you. Enjoy!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Around the House: Progress in the Nursery

After much distress over what to do in the nursery, I'm finally making some progress. Due to hormonal changes and my crazy obsession with making our home perfect for our little family, it's been a lot of work. My poor husband has been very supportive during my numerous meltdowns where I've begun on a design scheme only to scrap it, screaming out, "This isn't good enough for my baby!" Sad, I know :-( Don't judge me, again it's the hormones (at least that's what I'm telling myself).

My small budget hasn't made things easier either. On many occasions I've thought, "To heck with that budget! I'm gonna spend every last penny to make this baby's room great." Luckily, I came back to my senses and kept the receipts on a few ridiculous purchases. Gotta before cute expensive baby crap. So without further ado here's my progress.

Tada, I painted that ugly red chest I had.

If you'll remember it looked like this before.

I think it looks a lot better in white, and for a little over 10 bucks to paint it and swap out the knobs, I couldn't be happier.

I also picked up a crib, the Davinci Jenny Lind 3 in 1, which converts into a toddler bed later on.

(Sorry for the terrible pic. This room is tiny and difficult to photograph). Next up I'll finish painting the walls, and tackle storage and seating. I hope to have everything finished in the coming weeks and will update you on the final result.

I hope all you mothers had a fabulous Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Spring in Lake Walker

Spring in Lake Walker is such a treat! I feel so fortunate to be able to take in all the wonderful flowers and greenery without having to venture far from home. Here are a few of this year's extra special beauties. Thank you to all of the residents who give their time and energy to beautify our community. The fruits of your labor are greatly appreciated.

P.S. If you enjoy peeking at gardens, stay tuned. I'll be posting an in-depth Lake Walker garden tour soon.

"It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood." ~Mr. Rodgers