Reimagined mid century record cabinet

6 Jul

Our living room quadrant is one step closer to completion thanks to Hubster finishing a big project on our to do list this weekend. Meet our new media center:

When we moved from our house we didn’t take our media center for a lot of reasons, the  main one being that it weighed a literal ton. We knew we’d need to get something when found a new place and after a little Craigslist browsing we fell in love with the idea of using a mid century credenza. Much like the table, we knew we couldn’t walk out and buy one at a traditional store. So we started scouring local antique malls and shops. Mid century items are definitely a niche that not all antique malls support. Thankfully, there are a few mid century stores in St. Louis and one of our favorites is a small shop in Soulard. The owner has a great eye and I kept thinking ‘we need to stop there.’ When we finally made it to the shop, a brief look around left us disappointed. Nothing was quite right. But a quick conversation with the owner revealed that he had other pieces in storage AND he happened to have a record cabinet that was thinking about redesigning. He pulled up some pictures and we were immediately smitten. The piece was in phenomenal condition and it has a unique curved front. A few days later Hubster met the owner to view the piece and it came home that afternoon.

The middle top of the piece flipped up to access the turn table, radio tuner and a little records storage. The sides were large speakers. Our original idea was to turn the speaker panels into hinged doors where we could hide away our electronics. The curved front, which is totally awesome, put the kabosh on that but Hubster quickly came up with a plan B: affix the panels with cabinet magnets so they could pop off and on.

I left for a girl’s weekend a few weekends ago with high hopes that this project would be done when I returned. Hubster dug even further into gutting the piece and realized that it was just too well made to remove the front panels. I’m honestly not sure how many plans he went through that Saturday, but eventually (and after some real life testing) he realized that we could pop all of our electronics, except for the DVD player, in through the back and work them through the speaker screen. Genius! So the shot you see above is totally functional. Our cable box, Apple TV, and Hubsters Xbox are all hidden away, but totally working.

The DVD is a bigger issue. Not only will our over sized 5-changer DVD player not fit, it doesn’t really work with the in-through-the-back set up. So we’re going to downsize to a smaller unit and just stow it away unless we’re using it. Ditto on the Wii and old school Nintendo. We’ll pull them out when the mood strikes.

Also, once we had the piece at home and realized nearly all of our electronics would fit in the two side panels, we decided to retrofit the middle section into a swanky bar. Hubster built a custom shelf to cover the record player holder and a felt covered shelf for some bottles of spirits to sit on. The record storage was a near perfect fit for our shaker and a few snifters. Now we’re on the hunt for mid-century whiskey glassess…

So here’s the process (minus pictures of the piece with the record player in it. We just get so excited to start on a project that we forget to take “before” pictures.)


Trip to Tennessee

22 Jun

Hubster and I have some downtime in our wedding season this year. Last year we took advantage by heading out to Colorado for a week. It was AMAZING! (see pictures here and here) This year we’re more budget conscious thanks to moving cities over the winter. As luck would have it, my aunt and uncle came in the same weekend as our studio open house and renewed their request to have us out to take pictures of their bed and breakfast. We accepted so the trip planning is on… but not really in full swing. Colorado, especially Boulder, was a bit more up our alley (i.e. Let’s hike in the morning and happy hour in the evening. Done.) Tennessee is… well I’m not quite sure what we’re going to do. So I’m soliciting suggestions.

Here’s an estimate of the route we’re going to take.

It’s our first road trip and I’m interested in making a stop or two along the way if we find something worthy. The general plan is go through Nashville on the way out. We’ll leave mid-day so any stops would need to be short so we don’t get to the B&B too late. On the way back, I’m thinking we’ll head through Kentucky so we have some variety. We should have all day to travel so if there’s something worth stopping at I’m open to ideas. I’m also willing to reverse the route if something in Nashville really piques our interest.

We have two strong candidates to for filling our few days in Tennessee:
Smoky Mountain National Park
Biltmore Estate (technically this is in North Carolina, but I keep hearing it is worth the day trip)

We’re not into super hokey touristy things, which seems to be limiting in this area (i.e. We’re not going to Dollywood. As a side note, Hubster and I have actually both been to Dollywood in our younger years. This seems very random to me.) We’re also not huge into country or bluegrass music… also limiting.

Barring those things, any suggestions from the audience?

Finished the triathlon!

20 Jun

Well, this certainly was an eventful Father’s Day this year!  We began our morning at about 4am.  It was storming outside, but I had a feeling the storms would pass by the time the triathlon began.  Yes, that’s right, I participated in a triathlon this past Sunday!  My girlfriend, Leslie, and I had been training for it last couple of months.  Neither of us have done one before so it was certainly nerve-wracking!

My husband, Brett, dropped me off at Leslie’s condo at 5am.  At that point, it was only lightly raining, so we knew the race would go on.  We loaded up our bikes on her rack and headed to the St. Peters Rec-Plex, who was hosting the event.  Well, when we got there, we noticed that Leslie’s bike rack busted on the way there.  Whoops!  Not exactly a great start, but the bikes survived and so did her car…just need to fix the rack so not too bad. 

The area wasn’t marked the best for where to go, but we were able to follow others and eventually found the transition area and where to go to get our bodies marked.  It was beginning to feel more real by this time!  Everything was soaking wet, but fortunately, Leslie had some plastic bags for us to put our shoes in, and I had an extra towel to lay on the ground and a bucket to cover our other stuff. 

The race was a 500 meter swim, 21 mile bike ride, and 5 mile run.  However, due to flooding, they had to reduce the bike ride to only 16 miles.  We were set and ready to go by 5:50am and the race started at 6am, but because the swim was in a 50 meter length pool, they were individually starting people every 15 seconds.  Leslie’s start time was 6:25:30am and mine was 6:28:45am.  It was nice because we had time to watch the other participants start their swims.  I felt better because I could easily see I was a stronger swimmer than some of the other folks. 

And so the race began….  I wanted to get a quick start, but the first two lanes were divided in half to make 4 lanes (very narrow) so that the pool could have 10 lanes across.  There was no room to pass anyone.  Finally, when I was in my 250 meter length, I was able to start passing.  I think I passed 5 people total, which isn’t bad since everyone of those people before me!  I had one guy pass me.  Here is a photo of me in my first 50 meters (I’m the swimmer at the bottom of the picture with the black and green suit):

I finished the swim strong, now that it’s all over, I know I could have pushed it harder.  I was so worried about being able to finish the run at the end though that I didn’t want to overdo it on the swim or bike. 

Leslie was waiting for me at the bikes so we quickly put on our shorts, helmet, and tennis shoes.  I popped an energy bite and off we went.  The bike ride wasn’t too bad.  There were hills for the first couple of miles, but then, mostly flat.  Of course, we had to tackle the same hills at the end of the ride too.  Still, it was overall not bad.

Then came the run!  Yikes!  I was nervous about this leg of the race the entire morning.  Thankfully, Leslie stuck by my side the entire time and wouldn’t let me quit.  We weren’t allowed to wear any sort of headphones so Leslie talked to me almost the entire run to keep me distracted from feeling so tired!  At about the 2.39 mile mark (I have a GPS watch so am able to keep track), I thought I was going to die.  Had she not been there, I would have slowed down to a crawl!  She kept pushing me though, which I am so thankful for, that’s for sure. 

Fast forward to the end…I knew I had started my watch a little late, but I guess I hadn’t realized how late because I thought we still had another quarter mile left when the next thing I know we rounded a bend and there was the finish line.  I still had some left in me so I was bummed that I didn’t finish a little stronger, but hey, I finished!  AND IT FELT AMAZING!  Overall, it took me 2 hours, 1 minute, and some seconds, but I don’t remember how many. 

Next time, and yes, there will be a next time… I plan on shedding a minute from my swim time, shooting for several minutes off the bike ride, and several minutes off our transition times.  For the run, I’ll be happy to shed 20 seconds off of my per mile pace, but we’ll see!

Special thanks go out to my parents, Brett, and our friend, Sean who all came out that morning to watch the entire race.  Thank you all!  It meant so much to me!  And thank you to all my other family and friends that showed your continued support throughout my training period.  I couldn’t have done it without your motivation!

Wish I had more photos, but that was the one thing Brett forgot to do!  Oh well…NEXT TIME!

If you’re interested in competing in the fall triathlon, visit:

Food blog is a go!

17 Jun

In case you haven’t heard, I officially launched my food blog: Modern Meals for Two! Yay!

Many thanks go out to Hubster for helping me with some all of the set up. Now go check it out. And bookmark it/add it to your Google reader/subscribe. I have lots to share!

Don’t worry, I’ll still be here rattling on about non food things, like our next vintage find that’s getting a serious makeover…

Last note: GOOOOOOD Luck to Christine!! She’s running her first triathalon this weekend. Wish her lots of luck. Hopefully she’ll share some of the details here next week.

Yay table!

15 Jun

Two posts in one day?! I know, but this had to be shared and the title says it all. The vintage table we’ve been dreaming of since March finally came home (and was disassembled, cleaned, painted, and reassembled). This post was all about white dishes, but in the background Hubster and I started fiending for a vintage table with a brightly colored top. Despite our lack of a real home, the hunt was on. Let’s be honest, you can’t run out to Ikea and pick up one of these babies. It’s all about antique karma.

I conducted twice daily searches of Craigslist that eventually turned into scouring all the Craigslist sites in nearby (Chicago is nearby right?) cities. We hit a few estate sales and garage sales. I had a brief crush on a green topped dinette, but our hearts were definitely set on something bright. We couldn’t get the aqua color out of our heads.

Then as fate would have it (see antique karma above), we headed to Kansas City over the first weekend in May. If you’re from KC you know the First Friday of the month means art openings in the Crossroads. If you’re from KC and you like antiques or are a hipster, you know the first weekend of each month is your only chance in a month to stroll the West Bottoms  in seach of freshly picked antiques. I felt like a kid on Christmas morning and honestly walked into each building knowing around one corner or another we’d find THE ONE! It didn’t happen, but what did happen is that we had enough time in our day to check out Weird Stuff Antiques for the first time. The bottom floor didn’t yield much, but as we crested the second floor a litany of mismatched tables and chairs greeted our eyes.

And right in front of us was a laminate table with a gray woodgrain top. It wasn’t aqua. It wasn’t even bright. But something about it made us stop and utter things like “Ya know with a little cleaning up this could be awesome” and “It’s not what we had in mind but it’s SO cool” and “We haven’t seen anything like this”. Of course, price was still a factor. I’m not saying we’re cheapskates, but the table was by no means immaculate. As luck would have it, the owner was willing to part with if for a mere $60. WHAT? A few minutes later, Hubster was using a borrowed drill to remove the legs and I was digging through my purse for something to store the screws in. It fit perfectly in the Jeep and after attending a few engagement sessions with us, made the drive back to St. Louis.

Then it sat in the corner of shame for a while. There’s no getting around the fact that we’re busy. Plus the weather here was yucky during May. It kept raining, which meant we couldn’t whip out the spray paint.

When the clouds finally parted, the table received quite a makeover. Here’s what we (and by that I mean mostly Hubster) did:

  • Removed the rust on the rails for the leaf with a steel brush attachment for the drill.
  • Soaked the leaf hardware in vinegar to remove the rust.
  • Beat out parts of the edging to make it straight.
  • Secured the leaf permanently in place.
  • Sealed the bottom with primer.
  • Coated the leaf rails in white paint.
  • Taped off and painted the edging white.
  • Painted the legs black.
  • Reattached the legs.
  • Cleaned and polished the top (twice).

Our old table is a high top, so the chairs wouldn’t transfer. Luckily Haute Look tossed the ones we’ve dreaming about on sale for $70 a piece (normally they’re $210). We picked up 4 reasoning that we can add the aqua ones we keep at the desk if we have a larger dinner party.

Put it all together and you get this!

So there you have it! We’re so excited to finally have it in place. Now, let’s see if I can convince Hubster to get that gallery wall up so we can call this quadrant done!

A globe under glass

15 Jun

Just a little vingnette in our condo that I’m loving:

Hubster bought the globe for me from Etsy. It’s actually a bank. It was originally intended for my desk at work, but I dropped it under the glass dome we picked up at half price on our last trip to Kansas City and it kind of just worked. The vases are full of old radio tubes. We bought an entire crate at an antique mall for just $20. This is only about 1/3 of the crate so we have plenty more to play with. And the camera is a Rolleicord that Hubster keeps around the house to shoot with. It’s a constant fixture, albeit a working one, so it made sense to get a home that made it readily accessible.

Things are starting to come together on the table (literally, Hubster is assembling it as we speak) and I can’t wait to share the transformation of the dining quadrant with you!

How sweet he is

9 Jun

At the end of May, Hubster and I celebrated our 6th anniversary. (Wow! Somehow ticking past the 5 year mark just makes me feel old.)

Normally you’d expect a gift exchange on an anniversary, but we’re really bad about gift giving. We have a tendency to buy what we want, which doesn’t leave a lot of extra wishes on our list. So the general assumption is “no gifts”… but that doesn’t always happen. Instead, one of us will get a wild hair, purchase a gift (or two) and leave the other one saying “I didn’t know we were doing this…”

Apparently it was my turn to feel a bit bad, because Hubster knocked it out of the park.

Gift 1: Milk glass cake stand

I’ve been eyeing one of these on Etsy, but it was a bit more than I wanted to spend. So every recent trip to an antique mall trip has been backed by the hope that I’d find one in the “wild”. It may have been the promise of more cakes or just a useful prop for my new cooking blog, whatever the inspiration I’m happy to have this baby in the house and counting down the days until I have a minute to bake.

Gift 2: An iPad of my very own

The key to this gift is the last part: it’s all mine. The first thing Hubster said after he bought “our” iPad was, “We probably need two of these.” I disagreed, partially because I wasn’t excited about spending that kind of money twice in one week. What I didn’t realize was this was some kind of guy code for “I will be using this technology exclusively and if you want more than visiting rights, you best get your own.” Lesson learned. A few weeks ago I announced that I did, indeed, need my own (preferably with 3G so we can use it while traveling) and he used our anniversary to fulfill that desire.

So, Hubster, good job! You’re amazing, as always! I love that you surprise me with things I wouldn’t buy for myself. Maybe next birthday/Christmas/anniversary I’ll come up with some awesome gifts for you. Until then, at least you’ll be getting cake.