Saturday, March 26, 2011


Before Spring Break started, I knew that I wanted to accomplish some sort of home improvement project before going back to school.  Since the first part of the week was spent in Colorado, I really only had a couple of days to pick which project I wanted to get done in the next 48 hours.  Since we've been in our house, we have painted the basement, kitchen/dining room, basement bathroom, our main floor bathroom, and the unfinished storage room (soon-to-be office space that included painting the walls and the floor).  Originally each of the rooms were a standard beige color (we're pretty sure that the previous owner hired painters just before putting the house on the market, and painted every room the same), except for the basement, which was the yucky fake wood paneling.  Since I believe that the easiest way to make a big change for little moola in the shortest amount of time is to throw a new color on the wall, I decided to paint the guest bedroom. 

Here's a reminder of what the room looked like before:

On Saturday, Luke and I took a trip to Home Depot and Menards to pick up some much needed items for our projects (Luke's working on finishing the ceiling in the old storage room.  More on that when it's closer to being completed!).  Originally, I went in there thinking that I wanted to go with Behr's Shale Grey (kind of a brighter blueish grey), but after some deliberating in the paint chip aisle, I walked away with 2 gallons of Glidden's French Grey, which was a much bolder color that I had intended getting!  We couldn't remember if we had any rollers left or if we had any clean paint trays around, so we went home to tally up our supplies and planned to come back the next day for the rest of our necessities.

Sunday morning was spent at Menards, picking up a short handled brush, a wide paint tray, a new roller brush, painter's plastic and more Frog Tape.  As soon as we got to the house, I jumped right into getting the room prepped and taped, and I was painting by 2.  Getting both coats on took me until about 7:30 Sunday night, with only brief breaks for snacks and fresh air.  In the end, I was very pleased with the results!  As for the trim, Luke and I have decided to keep the oak trim the way it is, despite the fact that we know that the room would look even better with crisp white trim.  We just haven't figured out if it would be too weird to have just one room with white trim, while the rest of the main floor has oak.  Since this will be a kid's room eventually (provided that we're still in this house when we have kids), our opinion might change by then.

After shots (be warned, some of the shots do not show the true color of the paint.  For some reason, some of the pictures show the French Grey as brighter than it really is)

In progress

In progress

Immediately after the tape came off, but before the outlet plates were put back on.

To the left of the craft table is where the photo collage will go!

The bedding definitely doesn't match the walls as much as they seem to here...  A nice white bed frame will also help contrast and define the colors!

This picture captures the color the best.

Ugly light fixture that will also need to go...

View from the hallway.  Any ideas as to what we should put on that wall of the guestroom?

The next steps are to buy a new white bed frame (IKEA, here we come!), a queen sized mattress and to create a frame collage thing on the wall next to the closet.  The plan is to start off by printing some of my youngest sister's photography work and put in in white frames and then going from there.

As of right now, this is one of my favorite rooms in the house now to just sit and catch up on emails, read, etc.   I just can't get over how much I love the color!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spring Break Fun- (it's long...)

Thinking back, the last true spring break trip that I took was probably when I was 21 to Las Vegas with my family.  Needless to say, it was a pretty eventful trip (including a power outage on the strip, causing some people to panic, and one of my under-aged sisters figuring out that they weren't carding at the bar and being discovered on the floor of the bathroom by my dad...).

Other than that, Spring break has pretty much just meant hanging out at home and getting things done in Minneapolis.  This year, Luke and I decided that it was time that we get up off our butts, and actually take a trip out to see friends who live in different states.  This year, Nick was the lucky winner!  I had never seen Colorado, nor the mountains, and since we were able to snag plane tickets for pretty cheap (comparably) we found ourselves prepping for a trip to the Mile High City!

Day 1:

Thanks to Luke's mom, we managed to get to the airport early enough to get one of the best boarding groups (A) on our SouthWest flight (though we found out later that we could check in up to 24 hours early online to reserve the better boarding group).  We made the best of being there nearly 4 hours early by checking out the breakfast buffet located in Terminal 2.
Luke gives the french toast a thumbs up!

Fruit and yogurt was the only really edible part...

After breakfast, we found out that our flight was delayed by an hour, so Luke took time to nap, while I continued to enjoy the book Room by Emma Donoghue on my Nook.  At about 12:50, we finally boarded the plane and took off for Denver.  The flight was uneventful, and we made it there in one piece :-)

Once we got into Denver, we took the Super Shuttle into downtown to get to our hotel.  Now, I want to take a moment to RAVE about our hotel.  One of Luke's coworkers suggested that we stay at the Courtyard Marriot and we are super glad we did!  When we first walked in and gave the receptionist our reservation information, she said "Oh dear.  We are all out of the room that you booked."  Luke and I exchanged an "Oh crap" kind of look, until the lady went on to say, "Well, I've taken the liberty to upgrade you not to a junior suite, but to a full king suite at the same price."  We said that we'd take it and went up to our room.  It was amazing.

Hallway into the living room

More of the living room

Living room again

Bathroom with amazing wallpaper!

Living room at night

Living room at night

View of 16th Street Mall from our room

The one night we spent in Denver was fun.  We tried out Rock Bottom Brewery (it reminded us of Granite City) and sampled a few of their microbrews.  After getting a bit tipsy, we wandered down the 16th Street Mall (again, like Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis), which is a pedestrian-only street filled with restaurants and shopping.  The best part of the night was the book store we found while perusing: The Tattered Cover Bookstore!
Of course we would spend hours in a bookstore on vacation!

Awesome building off of 16th Street Mall

This was the only store we actually bought anything to bring home (fitting for us though), and I walked out with a new graphic novel memoir titled Stitches, and Luke found a couple of history magazines.  The rest of the night included watching cable TV in bed and getting some sleep before our big drive through the mountains.

Day 2:

We started off the morning at Sam's No. 3 for breakfast.  It was HUGE!  I've never had breakfast portions so big, and I left wishing that I had a place to store leftovers because I had at least half of my meal left.  Luke, on the other hand, managed to wolf his whole meal down...
Giant breakfast burrito

Monster cinnamon bun that we boxed up and ate while driving through the mountains

Massive skillet breakfast

After breakfast, we checked out of the amazing hotel, and drove over to the Denver Art Museum.  There were some pretty interesting exhibits, and we were glad that we took advantage of it!  While we wish we had allowed some more time for us to be there, what we were able to experience was cool.
Sculpture outside of the DAM

The drive to Rifle took about 3.5 hours, and with the help of our trusty GPS named Charlie, we made it without getting lost (though, 171 miles of our trip was spent on I-70).  I was having a minor panic attack for the majority of the way there since I had never driven through the mountains before, but Luke did a great job manning the Ford F150 we had rented (it was the last car available).

When we finally got into Rifle, we drove up to Nick's house and he showed us around and we got ready to check out one of the nearby towns and grab dinner.  We also made plans to go see Battle: Los Angeles later that evening.  The first stop we made was in Silt, where there is a statue in the middle of a roundabout that displays a rock climber's bear bottom.  Apparently it is quite the controversy right now!

Then, Nick took us on a tour around Glenwood Springs, and ended with dinner at a nice restaurant called the Juicy Lucy Steakhouse.  After, we went and saw Battle: Los Angeles and were extremely pleased.  We ended the night with a tour of the Rifle Police Department.  It was fun to see where Nick works.

Day 3:

This was probably the most intense day of our entire time in Colorado.  The day started with shooting Nick's guns at the private gun range.  I had never shot a handgun before (only a .22 rifle growing up), so I was a bit nervous.  Lucky for you, I've got some videos of us shooting:

After shooting, we went back to Nick's house, washed the gun powder off our hands, and then drove about 1.5 hours to the Colorado National Monument East entrance in Grand Junction.  While the mountains we drove through were beautiful, having the ability to drive up to the tops of the canyons in the national monument was amazing! 

Proof that we were all actually together!

This cactus poked me... I wanted to kick it.

Luke decided that he wanted to throw a snowball into the canyon...

... so he did!

Anybody home???

Man-made door in the canyon thing

We exited the canyons in Fruita, and had dinner at a local pub brew.  After an exhausting day, Luke and Nick played xbox, and went up to read and fell asleep with my Nook still on.

Day 4:

This day was also dedicated to traveling.  After waking up a bit later than anticipated, Luke and I packed our things, said goodbye to Nick, and headed out back through the mountains to Denver.  By this time, I was used to high speeds, curvy roads, and sharp grades in the roads, so I was no longer panicking around every corner or down every hill (though we did drive through some rain and snow at the beginning of the trek, so I was only a teeny bit anxious)  Since we were short on time, we had to quickly get gas to fill up the rental, drop off the truck, and then speed walk back in time for our scheduled pick up by the Super Shuttle at the hotel we stayed at on Day 1.
Can you spot the Bullseye???

Cloudy trip out of town.

We got on the Super Shuttle, and it took us an hour to get from downtown Denver to the airport because of all of the construction going on.  We both started to doze in the van, so the ride didn't seem as long.  Once we got to the airport, we got placed in the C boarding group for our flight back home, so that kind of sucked, but now we know what we need to do differently next time we fly SouthWest.  Anyway, I kept myself entertained by watching season 1 of Friends on my laptop, while Luke read his book.  At 6:45 (the time our plane was supposed to take off), we realized that they still hadn't started to get people lined up for boarding.  Turned out that another flight was late, causing our flight attendants to be late as well.  45 minutes later, they finally show up and we were able to start the boarding process.  Luckily, Luke and I found two seats together despite being in the C group, but it was in the very very back row of the plane.  The flight was very turbulent at first, and I was gripping my seat for dear life, but everything turned out just fine, and we made it back only about 45 minutes late (apparently we had a good tailwind?).

Overall, our spring break to Colorado was one I will never forget, and we were so glad to be able to see Nick (it had been over 1.5 years).  We'll definitely be making a return trip at some point!