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awfully big adventure Posts

currently: july 2017

With July’s end comes the end of our summer hanging in Austin with no travel plans. I feel like we made the most of it this month, with trips to the movie theater, a 65 degree pool, and margaritas inside when it was just too hot to be outside. We’re really looking forward to some fun trips this month, but summer in Austin has been pretty sweet. 

Making: My fourth trip to Ikea since we’ve moved. It’s a blessing and a curse to have one twenty miles away. 
Cooking: My sister sent me this recipe for honey sriracha turkey meatballs and they were *baller.* Also made this healthy-ish orange chicken (so yum) and fish tacos with “chipotle crema,” which FYI is the easiest way to feel sophisticated even though you’re literally just scooping adobo sauce from a can and stirring it into sour cream. If you want to really put the nail in your coffin, pronounce it with a very slight accent. 
Reading: Continuing the Great Harry Potter Re-Read of 2017 with the Chamber of Secrets. This may have been my best decision of the year. 
Wanting
: Zero emails in my inbox, always. I used Unroll.me again today to unsubscribe from over 450 subscriptions. BAI!
Enjoying: The sheen of a freshly oiled cutting board. Wish I was making this up. 
Listening: To Matt’s horror, I’ve been listening to My Favorite Murder while I get dinner ready. It’s like hanging out with two of your best girlfriends, chatting in an in-depth way about famous murders. It can (obviously) sometimes get a bit graphic, and Matt will just yell from the next room “WHAT!” “WHY!” “FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!” 
Needing: Finn to get over his frog obsession. So far no casualties, but every night when it gets dark he wants to go outside every 20 minutes, a new excuse every time. “I think I left my collar outside.” “I forgot to sniff an important corner.” “I’m just going to meet some friends.” If anyone knows how to stage a dog intervention about frogs, lmk. 
Smelling: Right now? At this very moment? My chapstick.
Wearing: Now that I’ve safely secured a couple pairs of these: holy moly, these are the best budget leggings I’ve found. They are thick, comfy, not shiny, not see-through, and they have the elusive side pocket that will fit your phone. So just to catch everyone up to speed: cargo pants are cool now, as long as they are in legging form. 2017 is a trip.
Loving: Craigslist connections – not the romantic kind. I snagged two amazing purchases in July, and both times the item happened to be located in my neighborhood, less than a mile from our house, and I randomly knew the seller of one of the items. What are the odds?? (Reminds me of this episode of This American Life, which is so good.)
Watching: The Big Sick in which Holly Hunter stole the show as usual, Dunkirk which was gripping and whose soundtrack is almost as good as Inception’s, and Game of Thrones obbbvvviousslyyy. 
Bookmarking: I’ve never felt prouder to be a millennial, this is a good spot to get lost for five minutes, and I realize this is so old but it’s new to me, and taught me one of my favorite new quotes: “The show doesn’t go on because it’s ready; it goes on because it’s eleven-thirty.
Feeling: At the beginning of writing this post I was ruhl cranky. Something about sitting down and typing out these pretty silly, meaningless words makes me feel a little better. I’m still cranky. But grateful. 

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the blue door house tour: the patio

Let me begin by saying that I’m just as surprised as you are that this space is somewhere close to complete a couple of months after moving in – taking almost a year to decide to paint an accent wall and taking over a year to finish an office when I WORK FROM HOME has traditionally been my speed. All the before and afters are below + a full source list at the bottom of the post!

small patio before and after

Here’s where we landed right after moving in. Our chairs from our tiny apartment patio were holding up pretty well, considering they aren’t technically outdoor chairs and that they got pretty intense afternoon sun. The little blue rug was obviously way too small for this space. The plants and their shelving unit somehow survived the move. The shelving unit is just an old thing from Ikea, but the size and utility is pretty perfect for what we need. 

concrete pad patio makeover

Here you’ll notice our charming view of the air conditioning unit and a receptacle we use for Finn’s…things. Sometimes spaces have an ideal focal point. This is the opposite of that. 

I toyed with the ideal of creating an outdoor dining space, but felt 1) I didn’t like the idea of a table and chairs blocking the flow of traffic from inside to the grassy part of the yard and 2) we’d probably get more use out of a casual lounge-y space. So, I set out to find some furniture and decor that wouldn’t break the bank, fit the space, and might help us block the unappealing view. 

 

 

concrete pad patio makeover

We did it! In case you missed this post a few weeks back, we constructed some posts set in planters to frame out the space with string lights. The lights pop on at dusk thanks to a magical timer that I am pretty sure Matt ordered from Diagon Alley, but he insists it was Amazon. 

concrete pad patio makeover

I kept the furniture and accessories super neutral, letting almost all of the color come from flowers and plants. The bougainvillea makes me SO happy and is growing so quickly. I mixed in varying heights, colors, and textures of plants that do well in full, hot sun in the planters for an organic look. True life: I snapped these pictures like the day after I planted everything because I was so worried I was going to kill them all. Turns out having really low expectations of yourself can sometimes pay off, because I proved myself wrong and everything is thriving. 

Can we talk about this rug? I LOVE it. I love the clean lines and the slightly different take on the black and white stripes. I also LOVE that Target let me buy the only one left in town on sale + an additional discount because I bought the slightly dingy floor model. The thing about these rugs is that they can be hosed down and then dried out in the sun, so I did that when I brought it home and it looked good as new. It also works great for two or three or twelve hundred muddy paw prints. This luckily hasn’t been a huge issue since we’re in the middle of a hot dry summer, but seriously every time I just hose it down and everything comes right off. 

 

concrete pad patio makeover

Hard to pick the star of the show, JUST KIDDING it’s obviously this daybed/bench/sofa situation. When I found this on sale at World Market, I knew it’d be the perfect solution to help us block the AC unit view. It was also gorgeous, the price was so good, the scale was great, and it coordinated so well with our current chairs. It’s got a nice deep seat and an outdoor cushion, but I treated the cushion cover with this in the hopes to extend its life. So far it’s been a lovely spot to lay down and scroll through Instagram, I mean read a book.

It’s also a top notch spot to enjoy a glass of wine with the feet kicked up on the coffee table. This coffee table from Target caught my eye right away – I really liked its simplicity, interesting lines, and size. I worried that since it’s metal I’d be re-enacting the hot plate scene from SNL if I touched it during the summer, but since it’s powder-coated it hasn’t been a problem at all!

concrete pad patio makeover

We really love this functional space – it feels like an extension of our home and we are out here all the time. We will love it even more when I finally remember to buy an outdoor extension cord so that we can hide that strand of extra string light sockets. 😀

 

Sources:

MCM-style bench (sadly, sold out!!)

Coffee table  (on sale!)

Outdoor chairs (discontinued from Target)

White wire & terra cotta planter (on sale!)

String light posts/planters (DIY here)

16″ terra cotta pot

Copper side table 

Rug (on saleee!)

Shelving unit (similar)

String lights

Outdoor pillows (old from West Elm)

Concrete & wood planter

Wood tray

White ceramic candle holder

 

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i’m a big fan of citronella: my accidental trick to getting rid of mosquitoes

If you live anywhere with mosquitoes and with any sort of outdoor space you’d like to utilize between the months of May – October, this post is for you. If you live somewhere without mosquitoes then please 1) go away, 2) stop bragging, and 3) no one likes you. The truth hurts, but does it hurt more than the emotional pain of having to scratch a mosquito bite on the BOTTOM OF YOUR FOOT?

The way this post came to be was serendipitous. Kismet. Fate. Also known as an accident. I should preface by saying that mosquitoes love me. “Molly: it’s what’s for dinner” must have been the ad playing on their tiny little mosquito TV sets every night of their little mosquito childhood because they crave me. So a couple of weeks ago when we were hosting a small group at our place, I knew I wanted to attempt to de-mosquito-ify the patio so that we could hang out there for a bit and enjoy the string lights.

I had recently opened up a box of essential oils from Aroma Foundry, including their citronella oil. I figured I’d try a two-pronged anti-mosquito approach. 1) I’d diffuse the citronella oil in my essential oil diffuser (found here) and 2) I’d set up an oscillating fan (found here) because I felt like the breeze might cool us off and blow the mosquitos away. This is where the accident happened: by chance, I placed the diffuser behind the fan. When the fan was on, it sucked in the diffused citronella oil and gently blew it all over the patio as the fan oscillated. I swear to you, I did not get a single bite during the hour or so we hung out back there!

If mosquitos aren’t a problem for you, you’re probably like… “and?” (In which case, again I’d like to BID YOU GOOD DAY SIR.) But if you get covered in bites every dang time you walk out the door, I think you’ll understand my total glee and need to shout this pretty simple solution from the rooftops. There are so many perks. You likely already have both a diffuser and an oscillating fan laying around, and if you don’t, they’re just a quick order away. I love that this solution doesn’t leave anyone covered in sticky, gross-smelling bug spray. AND it uses cool air, not hot! I love the look of those citronella torch things (here’s one, if you have no idea what I’m talking about), but the last thing any Texan needs is the addition of more heat sources on their patio in the dead of summer. 

The citronella oil from Aroma Foundry worked wonderfully, but I’m wondering if any of the other scents that I’ve heard can work for mosquitoes might work just as well and smell even better — like basil or lemongrass. Aroma Foundry has an awesome selection of unique scents, so I might have to try out some of the others. They also come in cute lil cobalt bottles packed neatly and tightly, which certainly doesn’t hurt. Check them out if you’re in the market!

I will say, this did not help with flies one bit. I think mosquitoes far outweigh flies on the annoyance scale, but I do wish the fan would have staved off the flies. So I leave you with two questions: what’s your go-to mosquito solution? And any great tricks for getting rid of flies? 

 

This post is sponsored by Aroma Foundry. Thank you for supporting the brands that support ABA.

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