The first year we moved into our urban lot, I started a vegetable garden knowing next to nothing. “Don’t worry Kev, I’ve got this.” I planted in May, where the sun stuck to that sunny sliver running along the driveway, when the snowglobe promised to stop shaking, when the plant store was flooded with humans again. By June, the sun slid high into the sky and stayed there for the rest of the season, throwing complete shade at my small vegetable garden. Despite all odds, produce produced, and Hal learned that food comes from the dirt that summer. The next year, though, I packed up my expensive idea, splintered cedar, and trellis, leaving it on the curb for another optimist, hopefully an optimist with some sun in her garden. Read more

Homemade Corn Tortillas

It’s Friday. And by Friday afternoon, we have, what Daniel Tiger calls, mixed up feelings. Tired from the week yet excited for the weekend, with a nearly empty fridge, but an always stocked pantry. What will we make of it? Isn’t that always the question? We pull out the bag of masa from the pantry. Add a generous pinch of salt and some warm water. And somehow, we make something special out of our scraps, enough to yield a thrill, a delicious dinner, and homemade corn tortillas on a Friday night. Enough to remind me of my teenage weekends growing up in Texas—steamy tortillas, crispy chips, smoky salsa, and a hot sizzling skillet around the restaurant table with my family. Read more

cleaner skin care and makeup from the faux martha

Years ago, I started to think about what I was putting in my body—food. Lots of years later, that question morphed into what I was putting on my body. I gave myself a parameter, that once cleaner skin care started showing up at Target, a place I could easily return things if they didn’t work out, I would give it a go. The day has come; it came. And it feels like I’ve tried it all, outside the new line they just launched. You’ll have to let me know what you think because I’m officially, mostly, done with the process of converting to cleaner skin care and makeup. And what a process it’s been. Read more

Spicy Zucchini Spaghetti recipe

Kev’s doing a 34-day fitness program, which includes changing up your macros, your carb intake. I’ve been a little grumpy about it all. Mostly because I’ve had to change my cooking habits. Let me clarify. I didn’t have to change a thing. “Mel, you don’t have to change a thing. I can eat around what you serve,” he said. But I’m the dinner maker around these parts. He does the laundry. Dinner is my job. And dinner is communal. And we sit together at the table to eat, eating mostly the same thing. I can change my dinner-making rhythm for 34 days, for Kev, I told myself. It hasn’t been without a grumble or two. Read more

Make Ahead Thai Mango Salad from The Faux Martha

After eating my way through a couple diets in my late teens and early 20s, I now have one mantra for feeding myself—lead with vegetables. I’ve heard this advice a thousand ways over the past 10 years. From Michael Pollan who said, “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” And from Bringing Up Bébé, where a French mother recounts putting vegetables on the dinner table first to feed the grumbling children begging to eat. (Maybe she didn’t say grumbling. Maybe only mine grumbles?) Let them fill up on that, she said, before setting down the next course, which has led me to believe that a 2-course meal does not need to be fancy. For us, that looks like a salad before pasta or pizza. For me, that looks like a salad before dinner, at lunchtime. And a salad at lunch only really happens if I prep in advance. So I’ve added this Make Ahead Thai Mango Salad to the menu.  Read more

Well, the verdict is…still out for us. To hire deep cleaners a couple times a year or do it ourselves? That is still the question. At a minimum, we will be maintenance cleaning over here, which means we need to keep our cleaning supplies around. But what supplies do you actually need? Are they reusable and durable? User-friendly and efficient? Affordable and effective? Compact and easy to store? Below is a list of the cleaning supplies I’ve landed on to make this mundane task of cleaning more doable + a giveaway from OXO. Read more

There’s a running discussion over here—to hire out deep cleaning or continue doing it ourselves. I’m team hire. Kev is team DIY. I posted about our debate last year here on Instagram, and boy did you have your opinions. “Hire it out! It’s worth every penny.” “Outsource. It’s been wonderful for our marriage.” “No one will clean your house like you do.” “I would never hire cleaning out.” “Wait, you can hire out deep cleaning?!” I just assumed you could hire out deep cleaning, more like hoped you could hire out deep cleaning. Maybe you can’t? Come to find out, you can, and you can’t. Here are my findings. Read more

When we started designing our home, I was pretty sure every room would be as colorful as Hal’s turned out to be. Either my color palette was refining itself, or I just couldn’t pull off more than 3 colors at a time. It’s probably the latter. Because in my junior year as a graphic design major, I was reamed in front of the entire class over my color palette choice on a magazine redesign project. I am not so great at pulling off a lot of colors at one time like Jenny Komenda, one of my favorite designers. So we renegotiated a rug, a large piece of framed art, and a couple bright pillows from downstairs to Hal’s room, and they felt right at home and like a cousin to her bathroom.   Read more

 
 
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