The Joys of Homeownership

by Koko on March 21, 2014 · 2 comments

in Georgia, Me, Preston Home

I’ve lived in our new house for 2 weeks. In those 2 weeks, I’ve called a plumber, an electrician, and ordered a hot plate. It’s been an exciting 2 weeks.

With all “new” homes, there come issues. You hope that these issues are found during the home inspection (i.e. improper supports under the house and a leaky bath tub), so that the buyer repairs them before you move in. Our inspection happened in an empty home that hadn’t been lived in for a while, so unfortunately it missed a few fun surprises that appeared after I moved in!

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Surprise #1: Our dishwasher didn’t drain. Ok, you think, not too bad, that is until for some weird reason it starts flooding out the sides and bottom… at which point I sort of look at Carl, who looks back at me, and I run to get paper towels and some Sham Wows (those things are miracle workers). Then the gross part- I had to actually take a glass and empty out the gross stagnant water into the sink, which I hoped wouldn’t just drain into the dishwasher (it didn’t). And I did this for 10 minutes. The things homeownership will make you do that you never would have done before. 

Solution: I called a plumber and they installed a new dishwasher, which we had luckily already purchased. They carried our 15+ year old dishwasher to the curb, and surprise, someone actually picked it up overnight. The joys of living in the South! Oh ya, forgot to tell ya, when they installed the new dishwasher they broke off a chunk of our countertop! Awesome!

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Surprise #2: I was casually boiling water over the stovetop to cook pasta when all of a sudden the breaker switched (is that correct in electrical terms?). So what would anyone else do? Flip that breaker back on and turn the damn stovetop on again. When I did that, a huge POP and what looked like a fireball appeared. “Hmmm,” I thought, maybe it is a fluke. So what do I do? Flip the breaker back on and try again. Same result. What is the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Needless to say, no pasta for me that night.

Solution: I called an appliance guy through our home warranty and thought, “Thank goodness for this home warranty!” Yeah right. So the appliance guy comes over and starts tinkering and looking and  I am thinking, “Alright, let’s fix ‘er up!” So after 20 minutes, he asks me to come over and look at something. “Yes?” I ask innocently. He points to condensation across the entire inside of the stovetop, yes the stovetop. Water inside the stovetop, the wires, the insulation, everything. “Soooo, what does this mean?” I ask innocently. He replied sternly that it was NOT ok to cook on and likely our home warranty people would deny the claim to fix it (they did). A hot plate was ordered.

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Surprise #3: It has been raining here quite a bit, raining enough that water began pooling at the bottom of our driveway. I thought to myself, “hmmm I guess it’s because we are sort of at the bottom of a hill.” That is until a neighbor let me know that beneath our driveway there is a pipe. This pipe takes water from one side to the other. Weird, I thought, the water looks pretty stagnant to me. So off I went to investigate with my polka dot rainboots, gardening gloves, a shovel and a rake. Again, the things homeownership makes you do. I went down there, got on my hands and knees and started clearing out old leaves and dirt that were blocking the pipe.

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Solution: Twenty minutes later, arms covered in mud, a broken shovel and there was some water flowing through that pipe! Mind you- this is a verrry temporary solution, but hey, I got some water moving!

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Moral of the story(ies): New houses are a lot of work, but they are YOUR work, which makes it all a little more bearable. There is not even a figment of my imagination that ever pictured that I would be on my hands and knees clearing a pipe or taking stagnant water out of an old dishwasher, yet I did it. I only wish Q could see how out of my comfort zone I’ve gotten these past few months!

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I have a sinful treat for you today: Girl Scout Cookie Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies. My go-to-impress-the-crowd dessert are these Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies. Unfortunately after making these a half dozen times in the past year, my audience started catching on that I was a one hit wonder (what!?!). So for a Ranger wives’ function we had last week, I decided to switch it up and put Girl Scout cookies in place of my usual Oreos. They were a hit.

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I used a mix of whatever cookies I had on hand- Samoas, Thin Mints and Tagalongs, and I can’t say that I have a favorite as they were all so delicious.

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For serving, I usually cut my cookies into halves or quarters to show off the treats inside. Also, the cookies are enormous, so cutting them into smaller pieces makes them easier to eat!

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Chicago Part 2

by Koko on March 17, 2014 · 0 comments

in Cooking, Travel, WCR

Over the weekend I realized I never finished recapping how much fun I had in Chicago during the rest of the Women’s Chefs conference. With a conference consisting of incredible women chefs, you have to know the food is going to be knock out. Each meal was unreal, mostly created with ingredients supplied by the sponsors (think Wisconsin Dairy (cheese), Gallo Winery (wine), In Harvest (grains), and Tabasco. This cute ramekin was filled with spicy hash and topped with a fried egg – to die for. Oh and that was only one out of maybe ten freshly made breakfast items available.

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For the big gala on Monday night, there were Kitchenaid centerpieces (my mom and I both were plotting to take one home) and more food than you could even imagine (check out that cheese plate, there were two of those per table!)).  photo 3

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On Tuesday, I took a few breakout classes. The first was about pairing beer and cheese. Apparently beer pairs better with cheese than wine does because of all the bubbles (clears your palette better between tastings). I learned about different craft beers and cheeses from smaller producers. Most importantly, I learned how to put an ideal tasting together (start with light cheeses and lagers and move towards blues and stout beers). I can’t wait for Q to get home so I can show off my new skills!

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My mom took a class on butchery where they butchered the whole lamb and talked about the different cuts and how to use them. I stepped in at the end trying to learn something to bring back for Q, but all I took away is that he is a far better butcher than I am.
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I met an amazing pizzeria chef, Ruth Gresser and bought her pizza book to give Q and my Friday night pizza tradition more excitement. Those of you in the DC area may know her for Pizzeria Paradiso IMG_1322

And then sadly, I had to fly home. My mom and I were both originally on mid-morning flights out, but with the storm that was hitting Chicago, we raced to the airport and got on earlier flights. Our earlier flights ended up being delayed until past our original flights, which ended up getting canceled. We were just glad to have gotten out of there. And this guy was very happy to have me home.

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Weekend Style

by Koko on March 15, 2014 · 1 comment

in Clothes/Shoes/Bags, Fashion, Weekend Style

The sun is out and spring is finally starting to show its face! It is still a little chilly in the mornings, so I love throwing a denim jacket on over my warmer weather outfit. I added these cute Alexander Wang heels into the outfit to transform it from a day to night look easily, but we all know I am more likely to be wearing the slip ons! Happy Weekend!

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Striped T: Velvet $80

Jeans: Paige Denim $180

Slip Ons: Vince $295

Heels: Alexander Wang $500

Red Purse: Tory Burch $365

Necklace: J. Crew $75

Bracelet: J. Crew $95

Denim Jacket: J. Crew $110

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