Happy Hour

tossed salad {A salad topped off with goods from our garden (green beans, cherry tomatoes, peppers, & herbs)}

Soooo, July is basically over. Which means summer is basically over. Which means we are officially into the second half of the year. Full stop. Can we discuss how this happened? Preferably over a few of these, because, let’s be real, I’m going to need some alcohol to numb the pain of another month slipping away. I mean, I’ve only gone to the beach once, (forget about going to a pool), I can’t remember the last time I grilled a hamburger on our grill, and I have 2 brand new swimsuits that I have yet to wear. Either I clearly need to plan my life better, 2014 just needs to slow down…..or I just need to have another one of these!

Hope you’re having a great week and savoring these last days of July! 

NYC photos {Old black & white photos of NY I bought at a garage sale long before NY living was even on the horizon. Now, 4 years later, I’m pulling them out of storage as they finally fit in our NY apartment.}

Arsenal vs. Redbulls Soccer Game {After Runway Chef, the thing that Mr. RC is a biggest fan of, is the English football (soccer) team Arsenal. This past weekend, they came to NY to play against the Red Bulls so of course we had to go. Mr. RC requested a picture of the soccer game be included in this week’s HH post, and obviously I couldn’t say no!}

chickens {A couple months back, on one of our walks, we happened upon some chickens…in Brooklyn…I know. I was shocked too. Now, I make a point to go by that park and visit with the chickens on a regular basis. Not only do I love seeing something so country in the city, but it also reminds me of my Mom and brother, who raise chickens in their backyard.}

gold brackets {Gold-spray painted brackets look so much better then plain ol’ black brackets…but then again, what doesn’t look good with a little metallic spray paint?!}

If you never try you'll never know {source unknown}

 

Brooklyn Backyard Reveal, Part 2

before and after brooklyn backyard makeover After revealing last week how my husband and I have become complete and total gardening nerds grown lots of veggies, I am excited to reveal, *drum roll please*……our entire backyard. We have worked many long, hard hours (even sacrificing time with friends) to take this space from a concrete dump (quite literally) to something where we can relax and entertain. $500, 19 trips to Lowe’s, 15 trips to Ikea, 10 bags of soil, 5 bags of mulch, a couple of furniture pulls from the side of the road, a few good finds on Craig’s List, 2 trips to CT to pick up our seating area furniture, 1 ridiculous month-long search for solar-powered globe lights (they apparently don’t exist for under $100), and more seeds and plants than I can count and #operationbkbackyardmakeover is complete. We still have plans for a few things here and there (like staining the wooden bench that Mr. RC made and adding plant name tags) but for now we’re spending time just enjoying our little slice of outdoor Brooklyn. I hope you like the pictures (because there are about a million of them #sorrynotsorry) and get some backyard ideas for your own outdoor space. Please let me know if you have any questions about anything in the comments (just so we’re clear, by ‘anything’ I mean anything pertaining to the backyard ideas and outdoor space makeovers, not like “Is there extraterrestrial life outside our atmosphere?” and “How many gum balls does a gum ball machine hold?”). FYI, sources of products are listed at the bottom and part 1 of our reveal was posted here. Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Brooklyn backyard makeover From this….

budget backyard makover in NY budget outdoor space makeover Brooklyn Backyard Reveal, Part 2 || Runway Chef …to this!

brooklyn backyard makeover on a budget ideas for small backyards Old $10 Ikea shelves that we stained + waterproofed

Ikea oudoor table Free table from Craig’s List + DIY bench

backyard makeover on a budget Brooklyn Backyard From L to R- chair + couch are Pier 1 given to us by my father-in-law, the black and white striped “cover” is a blanket from Ikea, and the other chair we found on the side of the road

Pier 1 outdoor couch outdoor furniture outdoor couch Brooklyn Backyard Reveal, Part 2 || Runway Chef ideas for small outdoor spaces bugs Some of the little critters we see in our garden

budget backyard makeover backyard plants Brooklyn outdoor space

Sources

Bar Cart + Stools- a DIY made from a piece of Ikea furniture found in the free section of Craig’s List, tutorial here
Grill- Target
Plant Stand- Ikea shelving, stained by us
Table- Ikea via free section of Craig’s List
Bench- DIY by Mr. RC
Lounge Chair- found on the side of the road
Spool Table- found on the side of the road
Couch, Chair & Cushions- Pier 1 via my father-in-law
Black and White Striped Blanket (currently acting as a couch cover)- Ikea
Fire Pit- Lowe’s
String Lights- Ikea
Copper Watering Can- Target (smaller one here)
Copper Bin- Marshalls (similar one here)
BK Letters- Marshalls (similar here and here)
Door “Screen”- sheer curtain from Ikea
Pots- Lowe’s, my father-in-law, old tomato cans, Ikea, Goodwill, and a wooden toy box found on the side of the road

DIY Outdoor Bar Cart + Styling Tips

how to style an outdoor bar cart It was quite by mistake that we ended up with an outdoor bar cart in our backyard, but now that we have one, I am convinced everyone that doesn’t have one is totally missing out (ummm, having a bar just inside your house is so yesterday, haven’t you heard?!). Before I reveal the 2nd part of our backyard makeover tomorrow, I thought I’d share one last snippet (I’m such a tease, I know) by revealing our little DIY outdoor bar cart. Also, it’s Thursday, which means it’s almost Friday, which means it’s basically the weekend, which means you’re totally going to need a bar cart of booze in your backyard. Oh, and I made you a video, because, well, I couldn’t make you a drink at my outdoor bar cart, so making you a video was the next best thing. Obvs!

outdoor bar cart styling To make the bar cart, you will need:

Ikea Kitchen Island
Wooden Stain (you want something that says waterproof or exterior use)
Paint Brush

1. Make sure the kitchen cart is nice and clean.

2. Add on a coat of wooden stain, then let it dry for at least 4 hours. Repeat. Let it dry overnight.

 

To style the bar cart, some of the things I like to have include:

A non-acolholic beverage (otherwise known as a mixer)
Liquor (served in a fancy decanter, preferably)
Glasses
Napkins
Fun straws
Fresh fruit
Mint
Toothpicks (for the fruit)
Votives (battery operated ones are best for outdoors)
Various trays, slate, wood pieces, etc (to add visual variety) 
Flowers

Proceed to style as you wish and watch the below handy dandy little video I made you for some styling inspiration.

Supplies Shown In Video (linked to either the same item or similar items):
Pitcher
Glasses
Mason Jars
Straws
Decanter
Slate Board
Flameless Votives
Galvanized Bucket (holding the white flower; also great to use as an ice bucket)

how to style a bar cart

outdoor entertaining ideas DIY outdoor bar cart paper straws how to style a bar cart bar cart styling

Happy Hour

tomato can flower pot {Old tomato can turned flower pot}

We kicked off last weekend by going on a double-date with one of my dear blogging friends and her husband, who were in the city for her birthday. We had such a blast hanging out with them and it reminded me of all the wonderful connections and friendships that blogging has brought to me. Connections to a new brand, a budding entrepreneur, to people who live right next door or on the other side of the country, people who love bacon and Chanel as much as me, to a girl who went to the same college as me, and most importantly, to people who have become truly wonderful friends. I know I (along with plenty of other bloggers) have said it before, but when I started blogging, I certainly had no idea so many connections could be made through this space. The relationships that have developed out of blogging are truly an unexpected blessing, and definitely one of those little things that makes me super happy!

I’d love to know, what makes you happiest about blogging? And if you’re not a blogger, what’s making you happiest this week?

outdoor lights {Enjoying a double-date rooftop pizza dinner overlooking lower Manhattan with one of my best blogging friends and her hubby}

chocolate and cherries {Chocolate + cherries = one sweet snacking combination}

Lobster ale {A beer I tried strictly on a name and looks basis….for the record, I didn’t like it, but I guess that’s what I get falling for something on looks alone}

shag carpet {Taking some more baby steps to get the apartment finished..finally got our living room rug down and have started organizing our coffee table tray}

Mr. Rogers quotes {This quote, from one of my favorite people growing up, seemed appropriate for today’s post; via}

 

Brooklyn Backyard Reveal, Part 1

urban gardening It’s finally time for the big backyard reveal! I know, I know, it’s already halfway through summer and I’m just getting this up here. I blame…..the fact that we’ve been enjoying the yard so much, I almost forgot to take pictures??! Does that work as a valid excuse? Excuses or not, the backyard pictures (part one) are finally here!

I wanted to start by first sharing our garden and all the veggies we’ve been busy growing (yup, we’re #28goingon60). One of the biggest reasons why Mr. RC and I wanted outdoor space was specifically so we could have some home-grown produce. I grew up in a family of gardeners and home-grown produce was a part of every summer meal. Of course, when I was younger, the only reason you would find me in the garden was by force (weeding was on my chore list) or because I was sneaking a veggie snack. Of course, now that I’m older (and wiser) I realize how much I missed the simplicity of fresh picked tomatoes and lettuce for a supper salad, or picking a few green beans to snack on, so, despite everyone telling us that a garden in Brooklyn would never work, we decided we would make it work (we’re such #gardennerds). Currently we have 4 types of tomatoes, 4 types of peppers, peas, beans, swiss chard, radishes, carrots, beets, lettuce, chives, parsley, basil, sage, dill, rosemary, cucumbers, yellow and green summer squash, and a grape plant. Below are a few pictures of our plants plus a few tips for “urban gardening” (mostly courtesy of my 13 year-old brother who spends his spare time working on a farm and is quite the little gardening whiz). Stay tuned next week for part 2 of the Brooklyn backyard makeover reveal.

herb plants squash blossoms Brooklyn Backyard Reveal, Part 1 || Runway Chef urban garden tips vegetable plants grape plant mini grapes Brooklyn Backyard Reveal, Part 1 || Runway Chef tomatoes green beans Small Gardening Tips

Know when to start something by seed and when to buy a plant already started

  • Seeds are great for things like lettuce, herbs, spinach, peas and beans as well as things that grown into the ground (i.e. beets, carrots, onions)
  • Buy starter plants for things that take longer to germinate, so tomatoes, peppers, squash, eggplant, and cucumbers are all good examples

Use pots to make your space go further

  • Anything that grows up and not out is great for a pot, i.e. things like tomatoes and peppers.
  • Herbs are also great in pots. While some of them do spread out, we tend to use herbs enough in our cooking that the plants are always getting trimmed back.
  • Of course, keep the shape of your plant in mind when picking out pots. Tomatoes will need something very large, herbs mostly work well in smaller, round pots, and things like thyme or mint spread out so I would recommend using rectangular shaped planters.
  • Don’t be afraid to try growing something less traditional in a pot. We have both cucumbers and squash in planters, and while the squash have yet to produce fruit, both plants are doing really well. In a way, the pot replaces the mound of dirt traditionally needed to plant things like squash so I think that’s why it works so well. Just make sure you have room to let the vines spread out.

Combine plants to maximize your gardening space

  • Coordinate your plants based on how they grow to get the most gardening space out of your planters. What I mean by this, is place plants that grow up with plants that stay low or grow out. So for example, peppers grow up and squash spreads out, so in one box we have the peppers in the middle (along with some dill) and then the cucumbers are on the edge growing down over the sides of the box. Thyme is another plant that grows low and does well on the edge of a flower pot. If you have a wall or trellis, put things like peas and beans next to that and then put something low growing beneath them.

Make sure you consistently water, weed, and fertilize

  • I know this kind of goes without saying, but the biggest key to a successful garden (big, small, or just in pots), is making sure you keep things cleaned up and weeded, water consistently, and fertilize (or use soil that has fertilizer added to it).

Do you have a garden? If so, I’d  love to know what you are growing.