Friday, July 30, 2010

Almost there...

We have less than 24 hours now until the big move...a mere17.5 hours, to be precise. There are still things to be packed, but we are seriously almost done now.  We are living in Cardboard Castle, and I'll be sure to take pictures tonight or tomorrow morning before the movers show up...boxes piled high atop every possible surface, in piles on the floor, on shelves in closets - we're surrounded.  Last night, as my dear friend Emika and I tried to find places for each box we packed, I just turned around in circles laughing.  Because guys, it's kind of hilarious. We have so much more stuff than we thought (and yes, most of it is technically "mine" and yes, this is always what happens, and yes, we donated a few big bags to Goodwill), and I have been severely underestimating our need for boxes.  Every day, I bring a load home from work (thank goodness for working in a big building with lots of tenants who have many boxes to recycle) and say, "Ok! I think we're good on boxes now!" only to find that by the end of the night, we're all out.  We have about 5 boxes left, but I'm going to grab another stash from work today just in case.  I can't believe tonight will be our last night in this apartment - even though the place is clearly in transition, it hardly feels real.  But real it is, and the trucks will arrive at 8:00am tomorrow morning whether we believe it or not!

Not our kitchen, but it's very pretty.
The floor reminds me of a carpet, and I'd like it to
be lighter, and the overhang of the sink is kind
of odd, but hey, it's not my house.

And it's pretty.
via The Kitchn.

See y'all on the other side!  :)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Apartment Tour

If you've been reading this blog lately, you know that we are moving this Saturday.  You also know that last night, I went to our new apartment to get keys, take pictures, and do a general walk-through with the landlords.  The landlords are leaving a few things behind for us - some pretty lights, a TV wall mount, firewood...and the 3-4 tomato plants that are on the patio.  Apparently, the plants just started growing a few years ago from seeds that literally fell from someone's 4th floor balcony into their pots on the patio. Hello??  The plants have been producing tomatoes ever since.  I think I'm going to get some cages for them and prune them a little, but right now, the vines are spilling over the edges of the pots, and there are at least 10-15 little green tomatoes that will soon turn red. The landlords said they eat them all the time - Score!  They also said we should feel free to do whatever we want with the pots (tear out the plants, plant new stuff, etc), so depending on how the tomatoes do, I might try to grow something else in there too.  Either way, now I don't have to buy a bunch of big pots and potting soil (they're leaving some for us)!

As usual, I went over there expecting to be there for 20 minutes, and ended up staying for over an hour, walking around the place and chatting with the landlords (who, by the way, are ridiculously nice).  I think it's a good sign.   Oh, and fun fact: I measured the bedroom closet-rod-hanging-space in both our current place and the new place...right now we have just under 7 feet (includes the space-doubling hanging rod I bought a few years ago).  Our new bedroom closet has just over 12 feet.  Yes.  The coat closet is about three times the size of our current one as well, and the linen closet is bigger too.  Plus there is an additional storage closet across the hall from our unit that will be big enough to hold all our camping gear, ski gear, hockey gear, etc.

I made a little photo tour slideshow for those of you who want to see the place as it is now.  It's not totally cleaned out (they are still fixing things up, and still have to paint and have the professional cleaners come in), and I'll try to snap some pics of the totally empty place on Saturday, but for now, this should give you an idea of our lovely new place. What it lacks in 1930's charm (one of the only things on our "list" that we didn't get with this place), it makes up for in space and general awesome features (need I remind you of the dishwasher, garbage disposal, in-unit laundry, and wood-burning fireplace?).

Less than two days till the big move!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Floorplans and Packplans and Letting it Go

It feels like we've reached the halfway point in this whole omigod-the-last-week-before-we-move thing, and I have to keep reminding myself that it's only Tuesday.  Ah yes, the days go by quickly, and time will fly away before we know it, but for now, it's only Tuesday, and I sat in the sunshine while I ate my lunch, and well, sometimes an hour of sunshine in the middle of your Tuesday is just nice.

Tomorrow evening, we get to visit our new apartment (hooray!).  We're going to take the "before" pictures and get keys and ask all the questions we didn't ask before.  We'll do the official walk-through with the landlords; even though it's not being professionally cleaned until Friday, they will be moved out and we can take stock of any repairs that need doing, or any scratches in the floor, or whatever else you notice in such events.  The landlords are having the unit repainted and professionally cleaned - I know this is standard in many areas, but around these parts, it's definitely a rarity.  It's such a radical change from our current place, where I had to make the landlord help me clean the previous tenant's crusty food off the ceiling in the kitchen before I moved in.

I made this floorplan with
 based on rough sketches from our landlord
The landlords sent us a rough sketch of the floor plan, but I'll probably take some extra measurements too, just for peace of mind.  You see, I can be a bit of a control freak at times.  I have this fear that when the movers bring our furniture in, we won't know exactly where it goes and it'll all just end up in a big clump in the middle of the room.  I want to minimize the shifting we have to do, and basically know where stuff is going to go before we get there.  I worked it all out in my own fancy way (see picture), but the measurements we got aren't all correct, and the dining room and Will's desk area are not quite worked out yet in my head (or on paper).  So there are just a few little things I want to know about, and then I'll feel ready.

I'm trying to relax, and for the most part, I'm doing quite well.  I'm proud of the fact that I chose cooking over packing last night, and that I am feeling remarkably calm (minus a little teeth-grinding) about the fact that we are moving in just over three days, and we are not done packing.  There are things in life that we cannot change, and even when we can, it's sometimes best to relinquish the control and just let life happen. Know what I mean? Last night simply felt like it needed a home-cooked meal, so there!  Tonight, tired as we might be, we'll pack a few more things (personally, I have a big pile of papers to file).  And tomorrow, after we've (ok, I've) taken a million pictures of our new home-to-be, we'll celebrate with dinner and drinks at Cafe Beire (this has now become our go-to place).  Thursday evening, the packing will resume, and Friday I'll be playing on the football field with a couple hundred ladies.

And Saturday?  When the movers show up at 8:30am and we inevitably have to scramble for last-minute items?  Well, it's not going to freak me out.  We're only moving about 5 miles away, after all, and if anything gets left behind and we have to make a trip back with my car later in the day, we'll just do it.  We don't have to be 100% out of the place until the end of the day on Sunday, which gives us a little more leeway and a little less stress.  At least that's what I say now - we'll see how I feel when it actually happens!

Photos of our empty new apartment to come, but for now, enjoy this wonderfully bright and "quaint" (I hate that word; it always sounds sort of condescending to me) kitchen, courtesy of TheKitchn (of course).  Just looking at this picture is calming, isn't it?

Why yes, I could absolutely imagine myself here.  Thank you for asking.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Why pack when you can cook?

For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to do a lot of cooking on our last Monday in this apartment.  I'm not really feeling sentimental (anymore...or yet again) about moving, but there is something nice about a good-smelling home, even if it is piled high with boxes.   I can definitely get behind the whole "we're moving; let's order in" rationale, but I guess I wasn't quite ready to give in to it yet (though I did not complain when Will brought home pizza from The Cheeseboard on Saturday night!).  I guess I figure that as long as we haven't packed all the cooking paraphernalia, we might as well use it.  Save those "oh my god I cannot cook tonight" meals for when we can't find the spatula.

Delicious muffins.
When Jacqui posted a recipe for what is simply one of the best kinds of muffins on the planet, I knew it was time to pull out some frozen bananas.  I thought there were probably 3 or 4 hiding in the freezer, and that I'd use them all up - you know, a good ole pre-move freezer cleanout.  Whoops. There were 6.  I feel a little like I will turn into Dooce when I have a larger freezer.  Note: before I found that link to Twitter, I was trying to find a post on her site about an overabundance of bananas in the freezer, but I could not. The search function on her site kept asking if I was looking for "front banana" or "banana freedom".  I found this amusing.  So yes.  I figured it would be a good idea to make some chocolate chip banana muffins.  My cookbooks are all packed, and I like to play in the kitchen, so why not try a new recipe?

Meatloaf + Rustic Sourdough.
Bad photo, great dinner.
And when I found myself wanting to make something healthy with ground turkey for dinner tonight, I simply did a search for the ingredient on Food Loves Writing, where there are just a ton of recipes on my "gotta try it" list.  Voila!  That turkey meatloaf recipe I bookmarked so many months ago!  Shanna makes any recipe seem approachable and worth the time and energy, and while my version was not perfect, it was delicious.

I used almost 1.5 lbs of turkey instead of 1. Whoops.  The turkey  came all the way to the top of the pan (borrowed from our neighbor, because whoops again, we already packed the loaf pan), and the sauce spilled over and burned.  Whoops whoops whoops!
It didn't matter though; it tasted so dang good.
And a little salad, just for good measure.

Tonight was my first attempt at meatloaf, and I'm pretty proud.  It was fun to make, squishing up the meat and egg and breadcrumbs and such with my hands, blending the ingredients and trying something new.  And the muffins came together in about five minutes, ready to pop in the oven as soon as the meatloaf came out.  I don't care that the kitchen got swelteringly hot and crowded with dishes (hey, we're moving soon!), or that this meal took about an hour to make, or even that now I am so tired I just want to pass out on the couch and not pack a single box.  It was delicious.  It was new.  And right now, I am all about starting fresh...even as we spend our last days in our "old" apartment.

CSN Stores Giveaway Winner!

It's time to pick a winner for the $30 CSN Stores Giveaway!  I use the number generator, even though it feels so anti-climactic.  There's something that's just so quick and easy about it; it doesn't feel like it's enough effort being put forth for such a fun thing as a giveaway.  Perhaps I should think of a new way to pick winners for contests on the blog...I could write all your names on slips of paper and draw them out of a hat (waste of paper).  I could make you all tell a story in the comments and choose my favorite (too subjective).  I could put your names on a dartboard and see where the dart flies (I am terrible at darts and would likely miss every name).

Alas, the Random Number Generator is simple, and unbiased, and thus, it gets used.  Wow, that was kind of a letdown, wasn't it?  Yikes.  Sorry about that.

In happier news, I'm going to be baking recipes tonight from two of my favorite food blogger friends (and let's be honest, two of my favorite bloggers in general), Shannalee and Jacqui, who happen to be real-life friends (no, I'm not jealous. Some day we three will hang out in person, I swear).  They made these two recipes sound so delightful that I decided to do a little cooking, even though most of the kitchen is packed and we're moving in less than a week. I'll blog about both later, probably with pictures, but for now, you've been patient long enough.  Without further ado...the winner of $30 to CSN stores is...Debbie of Suburb Sanity!  Congratulations, Debbie (who I think is a new reader) - I'll be emailing you in just a few minutes :-)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Mid-Pack Update

As the weekend comes to a close, I thought I'd provide a little photo update of the rest of the weekend's process.  We've packed the entire living room, as well as most of the kitchen.  What's left in the kitchen now is stuff we'll use this week, so there wasn't much we could do about it.  Can't very well pack every single dish a week before you move, can you?  :-)

Things still to pack:
  • linen closet (yikes)
  • coat closet (yikes, but it really shouldn't take more than 10 minutes)
  • bedroom (just the shoes, top-of-the-dresser stuff, and desk stuff really - clothes will all go into wardrobe boxes, thank goodness)
  • kitchen (a few baking things, plates, bowls, glasses, plus food)
  • bathroom (um, does throwing shampoo and towels into a box count as packing?)
We have all week to finish after work, except for Friday, when I'll be at the Cal Women's Huddle.  Will reminded me that even though the movers arrive at 8:30am on Saturday, we can still pack last-minute things (power cords, last-minute kitchen items, etc) while they're starting to load the truck.  

The good news?  The disaster zone is no more!  T-minus-5-days-till-moving-day-omigod!

Boxes, boxes, and more boxes!

Adorable Play Kitchen!

Ok, how much would I love to have the grown-up version of this kitchen?  I have such fond memories of playing with the cardboard "store" and play kitchens of my childhood, and this brightly colored cutie pie of a space makes me want to have a little girl of my own some day.  I would love to replicate the cheery colors in my own kitchen someday!  (via The Kitchn)


Last weekend, I made a promise to myself: Pack one box per weeknight, minimum. I've been doing really well.  In fact, as of bedtime Thursday night, I had packed 7.  Will hadn't really done much; he's more of the "get a lot done at once" type.  That's fine; most of what I packed last week wasn't his anyway (yeah yeah, we live together, it's all "ours" blah blah blah).  The plan is to pack as much as humanly possible this weekend, since oh yeah, we move in a week.  That's right, one week from today, we will be in our new place.  Wowza.

This weekend so far...oh boy.  We took a night off from packing last night to go to our favorite place, where the owner just so happened to be debuting a new menu.  We had flatbread complete with carmelized onions, herbed goat cheese, garlic, and a balsamic demiglaze.  We had the most awesome chicken wings ever.  We had succulent lambchops with garlic mashed potatoes and a balsamic reduction.  And then, for dessert, "chocolate cake" (chocolate stout with a shot of raspberry framboise).  It was a welcome break, to be sure.

Today, we dove right into the packing...after we slept in and had a late brunch.  But we packed almost all of the living room, and I'd say we made excellent progress.  Tomorrow we'll pack the majority of the kitchen, the kitchen island, and probably some bedroom stuff as well.  Then starting Monday, it's back to "one box a night" or so until we finish!  Hopefully we'll get so much done tomorrow that there won't be much more to do during the week!

Because I loved A Serious Girl's mid-packing update photos, here are a few photos I took today to give you the full visuals.  One week to go!

I am afraid of this closet.  It still looks like this.
Luckily, most of it will be taken out in wardrobe boxes.

We have a lot of books.  This isn't even all of them.

Piles of boxes, everywhere.

It's a disaster zone.  Yikes.

The neatest, most orderly pile. It makes me feel good, even if we are being surrounded by boxes.

PS - If you can guess what's on TV, you win bonus points*

*note: bonus points are of no actual cash value

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Don't forget! Contest ends tomorrow!

You have just over 24 hours left to enter the $30 CSN Stores Giveaway!  As a reminder, CSN Stores sell just about everything...from kids' toys to cookware to furniture, you will totally find a way to use that $30, I promise.

I'm getting a $30 code myself (in exchange for writing a product review - in the interest of full disclosure), and I'm getting two freaking skillets.  8" and 10", non-stick, oven-safe.  We totally need them, and I'm stoked to be getting them for free.  Thank you, CSN!

What will you buy if you win?  Enter here.  By 11:59pm PST, TOMORROW (Sunday 7/25/10)!  :-)

I wanted to add a super cute photo, but Blogger is freaking out and won't let me.  So...sorry.  Enter the contest!

Sara B does "Single Ladies"

I swear, there is no better artist out there when it comes to covers. Love her.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


This kitchen is just delicious.

PS - I have enabled fancy sharing buttons, so now if you like a post (say, for example, an awesome giveaway going on right now), you should be able to easily share it on Twitter or Facebook or whatever.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Another Giveway Courtesy of CSN Stores!

The good folks at CSN Stores have offered to do another giveaway here at the Sink!  This time, they're offering a promotional code worth $30 to any of their stores. You can use the promo code to buy anything you want from any of their stores!  You can apply the $30 to a higher-priced item if you want, but for those of you who don't want to spend any money, I should mention that they have a very nice selection of products from le creuset in this price point!  And there are a lot of stores under the CSN umbrella, so that $30 could buy you just about anything!  Woo!

Entering is easy - here's how:
  • Leave a comment on this post* (1 entry)
  • Share this giveaway on Facebook (1 entry)
  • Tweet the giveaway with a link to this post (1 entry)
  • Mention the giveaway and link to this post on your blog (2 entries)
So many ways to enter!  If you mention this on your blog or Facebook or Twitter, email me at kimskitchensink [at] gmail [dot] com to let me know!

*If you comment anonymously, make sure you leave an email address so I can contact you! If I can't contact you, you can't win!

*Updated 7/22 to add: I neglected to post a deadline for entering this awesome giveaway.  I hereby decree the deadline to be...11:59pm (PST) on Sunday, July 25.  

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

And because I couldn't resist

via Emily, whose Tumblr is a fountain of beauty.

To Tide You Over

While I wait for confirmation from the company donating the Mystery Item I'll be giving away soon (another giveaway! hooray!), and before I make a fun and exciting announcement (the suspense! just a few days more!), I thought I'd share a photo that has been staring me down, taunting me with thoughts of perfect kitchens and cool summer evenings I wish would last forever.  Today is one of those days where I wish I could just get paid to take walks, grow vegetables in my backyard, read lovely books, and cook delicious meals.  Perhaps I have been reading too much of My Life in France*.

Like here.  I could cook awesome things here.  Or just be happily basking in the warm glow of kitchen beauty.  (via Apartment Therapy, The Kitchn)

*Full Disclosure: I have joined the Amazon Associates thingie, where if I link to products on Amazon and you click through and buy them, I get some small portion of the money.  I don't expect to make much off of this, but I figure that if I was going to be linking to Amazon anyway, I might as well see if anything comes of it!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

It's been so long

I haven't blogged in about a month, and for that, I'm sorry.  Some of you have been guilting me into writing again, and some of you have been harassing me on Twitter, and it makes me feel truly loved.  And ashamed.  Bad blogger, bad blogger!

Ok, enough of that.  Truthfully, things have been busy around here in the last month.  From a little legal battle with our landlord (he wasn't making repairs) to finding a new apartment (we move in a few weeks) to five days of camping in Yosemite (our families met each other for the first time), well, blogging has just taken a back seat.

I will definitely share photos of our new place when we have them, but for now, I will tell you that it has almost everything on our wish list (hardwood floors, laundry in-unit, plenty of storage), and a few things on our "don't even want to say it out loud" wish list (dishwasher, garbage disposal, wood-burning fireplace).  The landlords are wonderfully nice, and we can already tell that they care about maintaining the property.  Not that it's hard to care more than our current landlord, but let's just say that the look of pure shock and horror on our new landlord's face when I told him about the lack of repairs in our building won me over.  And we'll be living by a lake, which is pretty cool too.

Yosemite was wonderful, as it always is.  Our families met for the first time, and everything went well. We went on some great hikes, and grilled some delicious meat.  I got a ton of mosquito bites, but it was worth it - I miss the mountains already.  Note: the "Four Mile Trail" is actually 4.8 miles, and it's all uphill, gaining 3,200 feet in elevation. Grueling, but the views were unbeatable.  We also hiked to the top of Sentinel Dome and then around to Taft Point.  We saw Bridalveil Falls (my favorite) and Yosemite Falls (and again at night, all alone), and hiked to Carlon Falls on our last day in the park.  We camped at Hodgdon Meadows, in the two best sites in the campground, slept under the stars and swam in the ice-cold river.  On the way home, Will and I stopped at a Gouda cheese factory, Big Dipper (I think that's what it's called) for homemade ice cream, and at a farm stand (Costa Farms?) for fresh-picked corn...10 ears for $1.00.  The shower I took after a quick unpacking burst felt amazing, and now we're turning around to go on a short camping trip again this weekend.  

For now, enjoy some Yosemite photos, and I'll return with a giveaway soon!

 Tunnel View

 At the top of Sentinel Dome

 Checking out the view atop Sentinel Dome

 I love Bridalveil Falls!

 Carlon Falls

Yosemite Falls and the Merced River