Weekend wrap up

What a great weekend!  The perfect combination of relaxing, productivity and FUN!  I had Friday off from work so my weekend started on Thursday night.  Picture taking was a total fail…I will get better at this!


My friend L & I went to Soba to try out their Vietnam tasting menu.  So amazing!

nem nuong: grilled pork, bibb lettuce
spicy meatball lettuce wrap – a perfect bite. Not too spicy but a nice little kick.

banh bèo: shrimp, scallion
steamed rice pancake with diced shrimp and scallion – I actually didn’t remember what this was so it wasn’t too memorable

goi cuon: summer roll, hoisin
shrimp summer roll with cilantro and cabbage – best part of the appetizer course. The flavors were so fresh and bright. I’m a cilantro maniac and it was well represented.

lotus root, chicken, green papaya, nuoc cham
julienned vegetable salad with smoked chicken – I just about licked my bowl clean. The salad was so flavorful and the chicken was very subtle. The veggies were definitely the star. Actually the dressing was the star. Who cares…it was yummy.

crispy bronzino, lemongrass,  radish & cucumber pickle, rau muong
marinated, fried whole bronzino with pickled watermelon over sesame spinach – I have never eaten a fish served with it’s head still intact. I’m weird about that kind of stuff so I try and avoid it. But this was some of the best fish I’ve ever had! I’m definitely a bronzino fan. And pickled watermelon is also a new favorite!


cassava coconut cake, lychee, black rice ice cream, mango
That black rice ice cream was out of this world!! The cake was ok.


I had some doctor’s appointments to get out of the way so that’s how I spent the morning.  In the afternoon, I settled in at the salon to wash that grey right out of my hair.  It was time.  My stylist freshened up my layers and cut 22 2 inches off the length.  Jerry was pouting about my new short hair.  He would prefer I look like Crystal Gayle.


RB and CB home from Charlotte for the weekend so we picked up some takeout from The Flame BBQ…pulled pork, ribs, mac & cheese, cornbread, macaroni salad, baked beans and some collard greens for our southern belle…and headed to Chiquita’s house for the evening.  We spent a lovely evening catching up with our dear friends and even though Jerry and I made it until 11:30, our time with them was way too short.  Man, I miss those two!  But they are thriving in the south and it’s wonderful to see them so happy.  Can’t wait to visit!


A much overdue pool day!


Despite my excitement over the opening of the BM pool, I’ve only visited twice.  Whomp, whomp.  I enjoyed 2 glorious hours in the sun, reading Gone Girl (it’s finally picked up and I’m totally sucked in!) and turning into a bronze goddess.  Ha!  How bout a less-pasty-white-than-usual goddess.  That’s better.  But…I have freckles.

We met some friends at Bonnie & Clydes for dinner (yum, burgers!), shopped for a washer & dryer and then capped off the night with some frozen yogurt.  In bed by 9:30.  We know how to do the weekend right!


Jerry golfed and I took a long walk with Jacob.  Then I hit a few stores to stock up on supplies for our 4th of July beach trip (yay!) and watched 15 episodes of Flip or Flop on HGTV.  Oh, HGTV, how I love you!!

We had a little early birthday celebration for my Mom at Luciano’s Brick Oven in Mars.  #1 I love pizza  #2 Kendall no longer bursts into tears when she sees her Aunt Jenny…there are smiles and giggles now.  We may have turned the corner with that little peanut  #3 All of my Mom’s birthday cards had cats on them.

We got 2 extra large pizzas and our pizza lovin’ crew polished them off with only 3 slices remaining.  Overall, I liked their pizza…the sauce was a bit on the sweet side for me but the crust was good.  But canned mushrooms…I just can’t.  Note to pizza places:  stop using canned mushrooms!!!

Jerry and I finished up the weekend by lounging around, watching Big Brother (what are the thoughts on this season?  I’m having a hard time getting into it.) and then lights out @ 9:30.

On to Monday and a 2.5 day work week.  Bring on the beach trip!

Lot 256

And the drywall goes up!

The inside of Lot 256 is starting to look more like a home!  The garage is bursting with all kinds of fun stuff.  Doors, appliances, trim…all waiting to bring our little townhouse to life.


When you enter the house from the garage, you get a glimpse of the Rec Room in all it’s drywall, mudded glory!  Our dishwasher is hanging out waiting for the kitchen to be build

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Here is our entry.


Come on in!


I know these pictures are dark…sorry for that.  But here is our kitchen/family room.


And the living room.


The guest room & office are looking good…

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As are the laundry room and guest bath.  Tile is being installed!

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The master bedroom

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And master bath…tile is going down in the gynormous shower!

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Our pre-settlement walk through is definitely set for August 1st.  The place should be ready to go by the following week.  We’ve extended our lease at Berkley Manor through August 31st.  As that’s Labor Day Weekend, we hope to be completely moved out by then.  We have a super busy August but at least we’ll have some time to transition gradually.

It’ll be here before we know it!

Lot 256

House of Blues

The siding is up!  We are officially the House of Blues.  Blue is my favorite color so I couldn’t be more thrilled!


Not so thrilled with the color of the front door…but that will apparently change.  The “dirty diaper” brown is just primer.  I’m hoping for a black door.  And black shutters.  No, we don’t get to pick.

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We are also officially locked out of the house.  Not sure if I mentioned this earlier in the week, but the garage doors and front door are locked at night and over the weekend.  No more snooping around when no one is there.  I plan to stop by one day next week and take some progress pics from the inside.  That’s not creepy, right?  I assume these guys are used to home owners wanting to check out things during the construction?

Lot 256

The John Jacob Astor Model at Venango Trails

As you may recall, Jerry and I decided to purchase our townhouse without seeing a model at Venango Trails.  We drove to DC to see the models in Virginia and Maryland (and visit Stephanie!).  But that was in November!  It was really hard to remember how the townhouse was laid out and how much space there was in each room.  So we were VERY excited when the JJA model opened for us to revisit.

The onsite model is different than our townhouse in that they have the street entrance on the second floor.  You enter into the Living Room.  The model has the Rec room in the basement.  Our townhouse has the street entrance on the ground level and you enter into the Rec Room.  I’m not really sure which layout I prefer.  I guess it really doesn’t matter at this point!  With the exception of the entrance, the layout of both townhouses is the same.

Obviously the model has ALL of the upgrades.  And the designers did an amazing job outfitting the house.  The color palate is mainly aqua and lime green and it flows into into every room.  These vibrant colors aren’t for everyone, including us. At least not on this scale.  But it’s still pretty stunning!

So let’s take a tour!

The exterior of the model is all brick.  Ours is partially brick.  But the doors, railings and landing are the same.


They did a great job with Rec Room!  There is a wet bar and a powder room on this floor.  We roughed in the plumbing for the powder room but didn’t bother with the wet bar.  Our intention is to use this room as a Media Room (aka Jerry’s mancave).


The living room has tons of light and is very spacious.  There are 3 windows in this living room, plus the light that comes in from the front door.  So almost 4 windows.  We have 2.  Grrrrrrrrrrrr….  But we also have that side window so I’m sure it’ll be fine.  This entire floor has hardwood, as does ours.

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There is a powder room on this floor as well.  The model also has a small closet.  It would be perfect for the vacuum and cleaning supplies.  We don’t have anything like this in our place.  Guess I just won’t clean this floor.

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Right off the living room is my baby…the kitchen!  Boy oh boy, I can’t wait to put on my apron and get to work in here!!


We chose these exact cabinets…same style, same color.  But our granite has more grey and the tiles in our back splash are smaller.  It’s hard to tell in this crappy light (it was sunny and there are too many pictures to edit…sorry), but the granite in the model has a lot of brown in it.

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We do not have the French door fridge.  Ours is side by side.  But the rest of these appliances mimic ours.

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This floor is so open and airy.  Everything flows from one end to the other.

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Parallel to the kitchen is the dining room.  They have a six foot table in here, but they also have a fireplace in the family room.  We do not so we will have a larger dining area.  So we’re planning on a 7 foot table.  It’s still up in the air if Jerry is going to make one.  He has until November 15st to complete it or we’re buying one.

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The family room is right off the kitchen/dining area.  Those French doors lead out to the deck.  The silly 4×18 I mentioned in a previous post.


And I mentioned we didn’t get the fireplace in the family room and here’s why.  See that little box in the wall.  Yeah, that’s it.  So dumb.  And it was really expensive! We opted for more room in the dining room.

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Upstairs are the bedrooms.  They have one staged as an office, as we intend to use it.


The other is the guest room.  Ditto.

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They didn’t even give us the option of these tiles in the guest bath.  Bummer because I love them.  We chose the standard 8×8 square tiles and I’m sure it will be lovely.


And then we move on to our behemoth of a master bedroom.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining.  Not at all!  It’s gorgeous and so. much. room.  I love the sitting area!  We did not get the side windows…it’s just one big wall.  I think that gives us more furniture arranging options.


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The master bath is amazing.  You can’t tell but we have TWO showerheads in our enormous shower.  What the what?!?!  I think next to the kitchen, this is my favorite part of the whole house.

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His and her closets.

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The model has the 3rd floor and it’s unreal.  There is a full bath AND a roof deck, in addition to this living/bedroom/office/playroom.

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So there you have it!  I can’t wait to be settled in our place and see how different it is.

Jerry talked to our project manager tonight and it looks like our pre-settlement meeting is August 1st.  We should close within a week from that meeting. Yippeeee!


Blueberry Oatmeal Bread

Last week, I really was in the mood for blueberry muffins.  The blueberries are so good right now!  But, as what seems to be a reoccurring theme these days, all of my muffin pans are packed away in storage.   My favorite recipe is so yummy yet healthy…made with whole wheat flour and oatmeal.

As I do have loaf pans in the apartment, I decided to search on Pinterest for a similar blueberry bread.  The first one that popped up was this fabulous looking Blueberry Oatmeal Bread

So I decided to give it a shot.  Of course, I modified it a bit.  Here’s my version:

Blueberry Oatmeal Bread
     makes 1 loaf
1 C old fashioned oats
1/2 C oat flour {or blend 1/2 C oats in food processor or blender}
1 C whole wheat flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp baking power
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 C non fat, plain Greek yogurt
1 pack unsweetened apple sauce
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 C sugar
1-2 C blueberries*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray loaf dish with baking spray with flour in it, such as Baker’s Joy or the Pillsbury brand. In a medium bowl, mix together the oats, oat flour, flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk or mix together the yogurt, apple sauce, eggs and vanilla. Add in the sugar and mix.

*After the blueberries have been washed, mix them with 1-2 tablespoons of the dry ingredient mixture until they are coated. This way, the blueberries won’t sink to the bottom of the bread.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet a little at a time and gently mix until everything is incorporated. Add the blueberries to batter and gently fold in. Pour batter into a loaf bread pan and bake for 55-60 minutes or until bread is fully cooked and a tooth pick comes out clean.

Let cool for a few minutes then tip bread out of pan to cool on a cooling rack.
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The original recipe calls for 1/4 cup of vegetable oil.  I was going to add 1/4 cup of coconut oil but I put in the microwave to liquefy and forgot about it.  It really didn’t need it.  The bread isn’t too sweet and is hearty from the oatmeal.  Jerry and I both loved it!