Thursday, February 26, 2015

RVA Snow Day — Or Snow Paws?

We woke up to a snow-covered Richmond this morning — about 7 inches and powdery white. When it snows like this in Richmond, most of the city schools and local businesses close or open on delay. Working from home doesn't lend us the advantage of an official "snow day" but we did get a chance to take an early morning walk with Basil, who just loves a good romp in the snow.

We always enjoy walking over to Monument Avenue since it's close and admittedly picturesque. Here's old Stonewall Jackson enjoying the snowy view:

Just off Monument is a large church yard where we like to let Basil run and romp. Since we have a very small and limited back patio for him to play in at home, we will bring him here to really just let him have a good run. When it snows, these runs are even more fun to watch:

One of our favorite things to do when it snows is play "snow catch" with Basil. 

Tim will make a snowball, get Basil all excited about catching it, then the snow fantastically breaks apart on contact. Basil loves this game and takes it very seriously — we laugh every time he goes after a new snowball.

No fear in this one when to comes to chasing or catching (gold letter balloons are a different story):

It's always amazing to see how the landscape transforms under a blanket of white snow. Everything seems a little quieter and slowed down for the moment.

If you're in or near Richmond, we hope you're enjoying the weather and perhaps a formal snow day off. Who else has a dog that's a fan of the snow? Any favorite games you like play? 

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Over on eHow: DIY Hollow Book Safe

In our latest project post with eHow, we transformed one of our flea market hardback book finds into a hollowed out book safe — perfect for keeping trinkets and small valuables out of view.

After building out the industrial bookcases for our office, it's been fun collecting things we'd previously had strewn around the house or stored away to put on display along the shelves. Among books, magazines and records, we've included some of our favorite vintage finds and a few different boxes and cases to act as creative storage:

The two older books on the shelf above were flea market finds that I've used as a props for photographing jewelry in the past. Since they don't hold significant meaning or value to us as books, the green one made a perfect supply for DIY-ing a little more creative storage for the shelves.

The process is straightforward, but requires a bit of patience and a steady hand since cutting in straight lines with a box cutter is the main source of hollowing out the book pages:

Head on over to eHow to find the full tutorial with step-by-step instructions for making one of your own hollow book safes!

P.S. And now you're probably thinking the same thing — yes! Now the world knows where our book safe is hidden. Good thing we're really just using it for keeping unfiled papers and coupons out of view on the desk. #thepaperstruggleisreal

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Weekend Basics: NYC Roundup

If you keep up with us on InstagramFacebook or my personal Insta, you may already know we returned home this weekend from a chilly week spent in NYC — and when I say chilly, I mean some of the coldest temps we've ever endured:

Needless to say, we're happy to be back in the milder temps of RVA (which are only in the 30's) and wanted to share a roundup of photos and memories from our most recent trip to the city, if you care to see...

When staying in the city, we usually stay at the same Williamsburg area hotel since we're familiar with the neighborhood and are pretty much creatures of habit. This past week we tried out a new place on the Lower East Side of Manhattan — The Ludlow Hotel. We were excited to get to know a new spot, plus it's 3 F train stops from the Etsy offices in Dumbo where Mary commuted in each morning as opposed to the complicated route between Dumbo and Williamsburg.

The Ludlow was a convenient spot, but also a really unique space with so many inspiring details:

I think Mary would have picked up the bathroom and transplanted it into our master bath if she could have. It was done in white & black tiles with marble and brass fixtures throughout:

Yes, we are those weird people that take pictures of hotel bathrooms to share with our family and friends. #noshame 

We were also able to catch breakfast one morning in the hotel restaurant called Dirty French. Now this place is a quiet tame breakfast spot but at night it turns into one of the most happening hotel restaurants we have ever walked past. Because of the draining cold days we are saving an evening visit for when return. Definitely more to come.

Right across the street from the hotel is Katz Delicatessen, which is a bit of an iconic NYC destination (that famous scene from When Harry Met Sally was filmed there). While we've passed it several times, neither Mary nor I had ever stopped for a bite, so we decided to change that this go round.

When you enter, it's a large space, completely packed. You are handed a ticket that's used to tally up your order before checking out:

Mary got the half pastrami and soup — yeah this is what a half sandwich looks like at Katz's:

I opted for the full reuben and as you can see, appear to be hopeless when it comes to taking photos of my food (I was also tired from waking at 3:30am for the drive up):

Speaking of nearby eats, we stopped into Taverna Di Bacco (which I have dubbed besta meatballa in NYC, say it with me), an Italian restaurant just across the street from the Ludlow (it was cold so we didn't want to walk far) for dinner. This is a space I'd been wanting to try since we both love Italian food (it's how we met), and the space is owned by Chef Maurizio Crescenzo, who was a recent winner of the Food Network's 'Chopped' show.

We walked in expecting great food, but not expecting Chef Maurizio to actually be there — so it was icing on the cake. After an amazing evening eating at the bar and a few glasses of wine in, we mustered up the courage to ask for a photo and he obliged:

This evening was certainly one for our memory books and a great spot to stop in if you're in or near the Lower East Side.

While Mary would make her way to Dumbo each day, I worked on a few deadlines from a handful of different spots — the fact that I can work from anywhere still boggles my mind now that I'm almost 2 years out from my previous daily office trek. The Ludlow Hotel lobby was actually one of my favorite spots. You can probably gather why:

It's light-filled with a blazing fireplace, a bar and comfortable seating options. One day while working on a batch of photo-editing, I noticed a photography shoot getting set up right near the bar. It turned out to be Sharon Radisch, a NYC based food and travel photographer who was prepping a shoot for a magazine:

I don't know if I'm alone on this, but love getting a chance to see other photographers at work — I feel like there's always something I can learn from or be inspired by. Sharon's style was a good reminder that natural light is always key and that by flipping the lens hood around, you can keep it on the camera instead of having to fish around in the camera bag for it while on shoot. She was nice enough to say hello and indulge me in a few questions after shooting. Check out her Instagram feed for some awe-inspiring photos!

Outside of the hotel and nearby spots, I did get a chance to venture out, checking out city views and hitting up some of my favorite routine spots, like the Grand Central Oyster Bar and Dumbo Shake Shack:

Oh, and random photo — a Manhattan shaped coffee table:

It was a short week, and before we knew it, it was time to head back home. We made it back in a straight shoot outside of a quick pit stop at the Maryland Chesapeake House. This on-route rest area has been closed for revamping the last several trips we've made up north, so when we saw it was open, we were curious to stop.

The entire rest area had been demo'd and this new, modern building is now serving as the stopping hub — it's pretty neat to see. The building has modern lines and is wrapped in a wooden-like facade. Indoors, the the space is a completely open format with so much natural light peering through. The ceiling looks like the bottom of a ship, with wooden beams that curve and bow down.

Thanks for taking a peek at our travel pictures and sharing a few of our favorite memories from this past trip. We're hunkered down in Richmond this week, braving the final few weeks of cold and dreaming about our yearly trip to Mexico coming up in March. Cheers to the week ahead!

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Giveaway: Dinner For Two At Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurants

Today we're excited to be hosting a giveaway for a "dinner for two experience" at Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant — perfect for a fun date night, girls' night out, or heck, keep them for yourself to enjoy twice!

The winner will receive 2 tickets for your choice of entree and glass of wine, usable at any of the Cooper Hawk Winery & Restaurant 16 locations — Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant is a modern, upscale casual style spot with a full-service bar and menu centered around food that compliments well with their own handcrafted wines. That's right, Cooper's Hawk makes and exclusively serves their own wines, created in their Chicago winery. We like how each menu item even has a bin number listed next to it to use as a guide for a perfect wine pairing — it's a simple way to try new varieties.

For those in and near Richmond, Cooper's Hawk recently opened their newest location on the West End. We had a chance to check this place out back in December during the soft opening and have been back for a date night at the bar since:

Most anywhere we go, our date style is always dinner at the bar — we love the chance to enjoy a spot outside of the more traditional "table for two" and somehow it feels more social. This is actually how we met way back when — I was the bar fly and Mary worked in the front of the house. The rest is history.

Learn more about Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant and keep up with special events and promotions as they happen by following the Cooper's Hawk Winery Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

- + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + Giveaway Details + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + -

One of our readers will win both of the tickets for a full Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant dinner experience featured in today's giveaway. To enter, simply use the Rafflecopter form below — there are several options for you to choose from for entry. Feel free to use a few or all for more chances to win. For those unfamiliar with Rafflecopter, you fill in the fields using your choice of Facebook or your email, which is only used to contact the randomly selected winner (no spam) — it's that simple.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Our friends at Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant generously provided these dinner experience tickets for one lucky reader included in today's giveaway. All the thoughts and opinions are (as always) our own — thank you so much for supporting the partners that make 17 Apart possible.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Over on eHow: DIY Animal Friend Organizational Helpers

Meet our newest little organizational friend — eh moose! In our latest project post with eHow, this watchful moose organizer came to life and has been one of the biggest helpers ever since. The full project details can be found newly published in eHow's Home series today.

Making one of these friendly animal helpers is a simple project and takes little more than a plastic toy animal, wood craft plaque and a touch of your favorite spray paint from the craft store — it would make for a really easy weekend project and fun one to take on with the kids. Speaking of the craft store, these are the types of weekend picture texts I get from Mary and they usually say "this one:"

All in a day's work?

The key (<---- see what I did there) to this project is in finding an animal with antlers, tusks, extended arms or a long neck, since these are the components from which your keys, sunglasses and other odds and ends will hang from.

With a few layers of spray paint, drops of super glue and dry time, our little moose made quite the modern transformation:

Sprayed gold like this, he almost takes on the look of a trophy. Aside from looking great, our new moose friend has been a big helper in the ongoing organizational battle — keeping watch over our keys, sunglasses and other small objects that tend to get lost within the vortex of the entryway.

Head on over to eHow to find the full tutorial with step-by-step instructions for making a handy helper of your own!

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Sunday, February 8, 2015

Fancy That!

Original image by Tori Watson

Today we're back again, sharing all the smaller things we're into (or fancying, hence the series name) that might not fit into a single post for one reason or another. Sometimes there might be a long list of randomness, other times it might be a single gem — whatever the case, here's what we're into right now.

- Instagram to follow: For beautifully detailed shots of plants and succulent propagation, Needles & Leaves is one to keep up with.

- Big a** yarn — Giant Knits.

- Have you gotten a chance to see the new collections from IKEA launched this month?

- Amazing dog topiaries from the Garden & Gun Jubilee (5th photo into the slideshow).

- Staying in on Valentine's Day? I've rounded up some of my favorite date-night recipe ideas for cooking dinner at home over on E.A.T. to help you win this Saturday.

- Speaking of dinners, Mary's kept up with her Wednesday dinners (a 2015 goal) — lately we've had these twice baked potatoes, this creamy spinach and chicken thighs, this quinoa casserole and my personal favorite — this recipe for slow cooker short ribs over this creamy polenta.

- The nose always knows.

- Weekend project idea: DIY leather bar tags.

- If we ever make to the UK, this place is on the bucket list.

- Worth Watching: Maker profile on Nick Olsen and Lilah Horwitz — a young couple who built a house of windows in West Virginia. How fun would it be to stay in this spot for a weekend getaway?

- Last but not least, there's still time to enter for a chance to win this RVA To Go box filled with local Richmond goods — learn more and enter here.

This weekend is beautiful in Richmond — we've finally had a slight weather break, so we took the excuse to get out and do a little antiquing and flea marketing yesterday. Today we're still enjoying the sunshine and knocking out a few projects for the week ahead. Can I hear it for chocolate covered strawberries anyone?

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Friday, February 6, 2015

Industrial Style: The Bookcases Are In!

That's right, our bookcases are in! Building these shelves was the final piece to completing our front office space and we've finally gotten them to a point where we were able to take pictures to share here on the blog.

Earlier this week we shared the details behind the new office rug, which paired with the new bookcases has completely transformed the look and feel of this room!

Wait a minute, I think something was missing from that photo above:

Building the bookcases was a lot of fun, like putting together a puzzle — it was coming up with the design, doing the math on measurements and planning all the pieces that took the bulk of time.

We ended up with an almost 7ft tall design with five shelves that flank either side of our mantle:

The width on this design can be adjusted for a truly custom feel — we made ours at 52" wide to fill each wall:

We've written up a design plan with the full step-by-step instructions for how we built the shelves in our latest project post with eHow — click here to see the entire process.

I have to credit Mary with the initial "styling" of the shelves — once they were built and in place, she was completely in her element.

We now have a place for all the books, magazines, records and other oddities we'd previously had scattered around the house. We even brought the wine crate phone charger and small vintage camera collection in to rest on the shelves:

We both had a lightbulb moment when realizing my cased "Downton Abbey" fish would fit perfectly within the larger shelf space:

And... in case anyone's wondering, this is what usually happens when we try to photograph a finished product for the blog:

No Basil, the new bookcases aren't more important than you. In fact, you compliment them quite well:

Down the road we'd like to smooth the ceiling texture in this room and add in additional electrical outlets (this spring or summer I may even tackle crawling under the house to install one on the floor under our desk). I also imagine the configuration of the shelves will evolve over time as we bring art and other decorative pieces into the office — but at this point, we're calling the room complete!

This front room has gone through quite the evolution over the past 3 years since moving in. We pulled together a bunch of pics for fun:

When we first moved in, the walls were bright red, with a sponged on paint pattern. We ended up painting the walls the cooler blue they are today, then used the space primarily as a front parlor, which got very little use:

Last April we decided to make this front room our joint office, since we both work from home, and we ended up working in the space like this until our latest updates:

It's always fun to look back and see how things have changed — we've certainly come a long way!

Head on over to eHow to find the full bookcase design plans with step-by-step instructions for creating one customized for your own space!

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