Little Letters

tulips

Dear Costco Tulips:  $10 including the vase and you are still alive 2 weeks later?  You were definitely a solid purchase.

Dear Giants:  I love you guys, but your fans make my commute so much more horrendous.

Dear Giants Fans:  Learn how to ride BART or GET OUT OF MY WAY.  Please.

Dear Weather: Jeeeeez you’re nice.

Dear Disneyland:  Even at age 30, you’re still the most fun.  Let’s never stop being friends.

Dear Splash Mountain:  I’ve never been so soaked, but I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Dear Game of Thrones:  You never stop surprising me.  Or being really dark and depressing (with the very occasional upside).

Dear Week:  I’m really glad you’re almost over.

Dear Frittata from last night:  I think you were the most delicious frittata I’ve ever made.  Way to go.  (Recipe will be up on the blog next week — unless next week is like this week, in which case I might disappear for a bit.)

Dear KC:  Remember when you were trying to say “frittata” but instead very clearly said “free tacos” (as much as you deny it).  Hilarious.  I’ll just have the free tacos.

Love, Chelsea

DIY: The Finished Trunk

Our newly-updated trunk is fully cured and now brightening our new downstairs space.  There’s still more work to be done down there (adding artwork to the walls, painting the ugly wall pipes gold), but I think the mint and gold masterpiece is a nice little addition for now.  (Although it does make me think about swapping out some of the pillows on the couch to make the space a little lighter and more on the blue/green scale…)

room 1room 2room 3room 4

I think the gold hinges really make a difference with this piece.  But then again, I’m sort of obsessed with gold spray paint, so…

PS:  The stack of records on the trunk were my grandpa’s, and yes, the one on top is Mr. Rogers’ “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” :)

DIY: Trunk Update

As expected, once I got the idea to update the trunk in our new downstairs laundry/family room, I knew I was going to have to follow through on my mint green and gold dreams.

Here’s where things started:

laundry 1On old, dinged-up trunk that I got for free (and I think was maybe originally from Cost Plus?  Who knows.)

I removed the hardware from the trunk (2 back hinges, 2 side handles, front closure, and unscrewed the internal hinge) so I could paint those separately.  Removing the hardware also made painting the trunk a lot easier, because I didn’t have to tape and paint around anything.

Here’s the trunk with the hardware removed:

Trunk 1First I primed and painted the hardware, using Kilz spray primer and Rustoleum metallic gold spray paint.

Original hardware:

Hinges 1Primed:

Hinges primedPainted:

Hinges paintedIf you’re thinking that metallic gold spray paint is awesome — well, you’re right.  It totally is.

Next I got to work on the trunk.  First I sanded down the surfaces I wanted to paint using an electric sander.  Like I’ve said before, I hate sanding, so I just did a quick once-over with the sander to rough up the surface to make sure the primer would adhere.

I then did one solid coat with the primer (Glidden Gripper, you are amazing), and let that dry:

Trunk primed 2I didn’t bother to paint the inside of the trunk because I a. didn’t want paint to potentially get on any of the 47 blankets I like to store in there and b. I didn’t think it was necessary since no one was really going to see that anyway.

After the primer dried, I started in with the paint.  I used a small roller and brush to apply 2 solid coats of Behr Kiwi Squeeze (allowing time to dry in between), and did an extra coat on the top of the trunk, since that would likely get the most wear and tear.

All painted:

Trunk painted 2After that dried, I screwed the (newly gold) hardware back on, and left the trunk in the basement to cure:

Hardware back onTrunk finished 1Trunk finished backOnce the paint had cured for 7 days, I sprayed the top with a couple coats of indoor water-based polyurethane to seal it (since it will likely have drinks sitting on it, food/water/whatever).

And now, the how-to:

How to Paint a Wood Trunk

 Materials I used:

How I did it:

  1. Remove hardware with a screwdriver and place on a drop cloth.  Spray with 1-2 coats Kilz Original Primer Sealer Spray and let dry.  Spray with Rustoleum Metallic Gold Spray Paint — as many coats as you need to get the coverage you want, allowing time to dry between each coat.
  2. Sand the surface of the trunk where paint will be applied with medium-grit sandpaper.  A quick once-over with an electric sander should do the trick — you’re just looking to rough up the surface a little so the primer will adhere.
  3. Wipe down the trunk with a clean, dry cloth to remove any dust and then transfer it onto your drop cloth.
  4. Paint 1-2 light coats with Glidden Gripper Primer, making sure that all surfaces that will be painted are well covered and let dry.  Don’t worry if the coverage isn’t opaque yet, the paint will take care of this.  You want to just make sure that the primer is covering all surfaces so the paint has something to adhere to.
  5. Paint trunk with at least 2 solid coats of your paint of choice (I like to use semi-gloss for furniture), allowing time to dry between each coat.  I do more coats on surfaces that will get a lot of use — like tabletops, the top of the trunk, etc.  Using a roller for this step is helpful because you don’t end up with brush stroke marks on your piece of furniture.
  6. Once the paint has dried, reattach the hardware and let the paint cure for at least a week.
  7. Once the paint is set and cured (it no longer feels at all sticky or tacky), spray the top of the trunk with at least 2 coats of the Polyurethane Spray to seal it, allowing time to dry between each coat.

And voila!  Brand new trunk.

Finalized pictures of the piece in our laundry/family room will be up tomorrow!

Trunk finished front

Little Letters

our house

Dear KC:  Remember when you dug a giant hole in the middle of the ivy so that I could have a grapefruit tree?  I love you.  (And how about a lime tree for the other side?)

Dear Grapefruit Tree:  Remember how we picked you because you’re called “Cocktail Grapefruit“?  It was meant to be.

Dear Blog Readers:  Please ignore our string of Christmas lights in that picture.  I know it’s April, but that peak is super high and we’re a little bit trashy.  (And please note we did manage to take the other two strands of lights down.  …In March.)

Dear Self:  Happy birthday!  You are officially 30 (as of 5:52 this evening).  It’s gonna be an awesome decade and you should celebrate as much as you want.  (Also, remember how you almost pulled a hammy jumping puddles last week?  Very adult.)

Dear Friends and Family:  You guys are the best birthday gift I could ask for.  (And also probably why my actual birthday list is all, “a cat litter box! a laundry hamper!“)  *KC — you are my favorite, best and most important gift though.  It’s mushy but true.

Dear Rustoleum Metallic Gold Spray Paint:  You make me want to paint everything gold.  EVERYTHING.  (I’m coming for you, weird basement wall-pipes!)

Dear Laundry/Family Room Trunk:  As I suspected, the Kiwi Squeeze + gold was a great choice for a quick update.  (And the how-to and reveal of the finished piece will be up next week!)

Dear Neighbors:  You guys are awesome and we feel so lucky to have such nice friends living right next door.  (And we hope we don’t bother you… too much.)

Dear Penny:  I hope you had fun living like a wild pup outside all last weekend.  Let’s work on the whole “eating grass and then puking” thing though.

Dear House:  You are so cute, and such a great place to live.  We sure are lucky.

Love, Chelsea

It’s My Birthday! (Tomorrow)

Tomorrow I turn 30.  And because I’m saying farewell to a pretty significant decade of my life, I thought I’d take a minute to recap some of the highs and lows of the last 10 years.

In my 20′s I:

  • Graduated from both UCLA and USF Law School (age 22 and 25). CIMG1822
  • Passed the BAR and became a real-life attorney (age 25).
  • Cried a lot while studying for the BAR (Fun fact: after the second day of the exam, I called KC sobbing and asked him to bring me a happy meal.  True story.) CIMG2415
  • Worked at 11 different jobs.
  • Had 3 different full-time jobs (including one that has been my dream job since law school).
  • Bought 2 cars (age 25 and 28). IMG_0065
  • Became a certified Bar Method instructor (age 27). IMG_2241
  • Studied in Stratford-upon-Avon and London  (I spent a fortune on phone cards while studying there, calling KC) (age 21) and Rome (age 23). CIMG1253
  • Traveled to Hawaii, New York, Oregon, Wyoming, Utah, Montana, Nevada, Illinois, Louisiana, Ohio, Washington, Canada, Austria, Czech Republic, Ireland, Italy, Germany, France, Belgium, and the UK. IMG_0804
  • And also traveled to Oklahoma, Texas, Florida, and Arizona (but not for fun).
  • Got the flu twice and broke a rib coughing both times (the woooooorst).
  • Met KC (at age 20) and started dating, moved in with him (age 25), got engaged (age 26), got married (age 27), worked really really hard and finally figured out what the hell marriage is all about (age 28-present). awesome_1
  • Figured out that working hard is really worth it, when it’s for the right person. 2011_12_23_Chelsea_&_KC_Wedding_0594
  • Lived in 8 different residences.
  • Had 10 roommates (including KC!  And my sister :) )
  • Moved 12 times.  (It was awful every. time.) IMG_0537
  • Moved out of my parent’s house for good (age 24).
  • Lived in a very transitional part of Oakland for 4 1/2 years (where I got grabbed walking home from BART one time, and saw someone get car jacked another time).
  • Moved into the cutest little Tudor-style duplex on a street where I’m not scared walking at night (age 28). IMG_1480
  • Adopted Seuss (age 22). CIMG2288
  • Adopted Penny (age 28). IMG_0794
  • Went from not being able to afford anything, pretty much (age 20-26), to being a completely self-sufficient, financially independent adult.
  • Lost my grandpa.
  • Figured out that it’s way better to do what you want and be happy, than to try and make everyone else happy.
  • Learned that drama isn’t worth my time, and it’s better to just be straightforward with people, even if it feels awkward.
  • Learned that it’s better to be honest about being mad, even when it’s hard.
  • Oh yeah, and started a blog (age 25). P1010077

It’s been a pretty good/crazy/fun/amazing/transitional 10 years.  I can’t wait to see what the next 10 will bring.

Raw Beet Green Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing

Raw Beet Green Salad 2

First off, I did think about titling this dish: Roasted, Toasted and Goat-ed Beet Green Salad, because there’s roasted beets, toasted sunflower seeds, and goat cheese in it.  But then I thought that was a little bit annoying, even for me.  I also thought that there was a very solid chance that this salad was going to be awful when I made it.  It’s pretty, sure, but beet greens?  RAW beet greens?  Not to mention that the spring onions I used were so freaking onion-y that it was all I could smell when I was putting this together…

I’m doing a good job selling this recipe to you, huh?  Totally.

I really don’t want you to think that I’m some kind of healthy-eating mutant who loves eating raw kale and chia seeds on the regular and would die before allowing red meat into her body.  Cuz I’m not.  I mean, go ahead and think that if you want to — your choice.  It sounds sort of nice to be thought of as some kind of crazy health ninja — completely inaccurate, but nice.

But no, I like junk food.  I love a big greasy burger.  And french fries?  Don’t even get me started.  I may or may not have a very trashy relationship with the McDonald’s drive-thru.  (PS: Did you know you can ask for your fries “fresh” there?  Yeah, it means they fry them up fresh for you and serve them to you so hot they burn your mouth off.  WORTH IT.)  But that’s not what this is about.  This is about everyday life where I make the conscious choice to not eat an entire jar of peanut butter in one sitting (and believe me, that’s a legit choice right there, because it could very well be reality), and instead work vegetables into some semblance of deliciousness.  And especially because I’m turning 30 this week (!) I did make a decision at the beginning of this year to get my healthy eating back on track so that I could ring in my 30′s wearing my skinny jeans.*

So, because of that and because our CSA has been giving us beets lately (sooo many beets), I decided I should try something new.  I roasted the beets like usual, but then opted to use the leafy tops of the beets as the base for this salad.  The beet tops are mild in flavor and a little more tender than raw kale.  However, these are still a pretty hearty green, so feel free to add the dressing to your salad and let it hang out for awhile.  If you end up having leftovers, this is even a salad that will hold up well in the fridge for a couple days.

Raw Beet Green Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing

Raw Beet Green Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing

serves 2 as a meal, 4 as a side

For the salad:

  • 1 bunch beets with fresh-looking greens attached (I used 2 large golden beets and 1 large striped beet, but red beets would also work just fine here)
  • 4 spring onions (scallions), white and light green parts thinly sliced
  • 1 cup cooked and cooled quinoa
  • 1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds (just place them in a dry pan over low heat for a few minutes, tossing regularly until fragrant)
  • 2 oz crumbled goat cheese*

For the dressing:

  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1-2 tsp agave nectar (start with 1 tsp, then taste and add until desired sweetness is reached)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh chives (optional)
  • hefty pinch of salt and pepper
  1. Remove beet greens from beets and roast the beets.  Once cooled, remove the skin and chop the beets.
  2. Remove beet leaves from the stem and tear or chop into pieces.  Rinse leaves and spin dry, then add to salad bowl.
  3. Add chopped spring onions, beets, quinoa, toasted sunflower seeds, and crumbled goat cheese.
  4. Whisk together all ingredients for the dressing (add a little water if the dressing is too thick), then add to salad and toss to combine.

*To make this salad vegan or dairy-free, feel free to sub in avocado for the goat cheese.

Raw Beet Green Salad 3

*Um, I should probably note that I did follow up this salad with half a dozen mini Cadbury Cream Eggs.  Real life, y’know.

How to Roast Beets

We’ve been getting beets pretty much non-stop in our CSA box, which means we’ve been eating many a salad with roasted beets.  I was initially kind of intimidated by beets.  They’re delicious, obviously, but beets in their raw form look a little insane.

Luckily, with a little googling and sister-texting, I figured out that roasting beets is actually crazy-easy.  So here’s how you do it:

  1. Preheat oven to 450°
  2. Remove the beet tops and leaves (reserve them if they’re fresh — I have a salad recipe using beet greens up on the blog tomorrow!) and trim the bottom (it looks like a little tail).
  3. Rinse and scrub the beets clean, then lay them on a large sheet of foil.  If you’re roasting a bunch of beets which are different sizes, you can cut your larger beets so that everything is around the same size:
  4. roasting beets
  5. Drizzle beets with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt, then bunch the foil tightly around them to form a foil pouch.
  6. roasting beets 1
  7. Place the pouch in the oven and roast 45-55 minutes, until tender (a knife should slide in easily).
  8. Once cooked, remove from oven, open the foil pouch and let cool.  Once cooled, the skin should peel off easily with help from a clean paper towel.

roasted beetsAnd voila!  Roasted beets ready for salads, or whatever your little heart desires.