So I’ve never done anything like this before, but given the amount that I a) complain about the weather and b) go on excessively about traveling I guess this is kind of a ~lifestyle~ blog at this point. This is the SEVENTH apartment I’ve lived in since I started this blog (HOW MANY MILLION YEARS OLD AM I) but the first one I feel kind of proud of. Ben and I have lived here for two years and it’s still scrappy as hellllll, but there are some nice elements too. When we moved here in 2014 we had a weird mixture of my grandmother’s awesome 1950’s furniture and whatever we could crap together from yardsales/the curb/probably someone’s sewage-filled basement pit. We’ve made it our own (see: huge wall of photos and art we’re slowly collecting, plants, and Christmas lights strung up year-round). Almost no mold!*
I spend most of my time in the kitchen (if that wasn’t obvious) and photograph all of my food there. I try to use soft, natural light in all of my shots, which can be challenging because the room only has one mothafuckin’ window #LeSuck. The next place we live will have at least 50 and the whole thing will also be glass, both to let in light and so I can shatter the ceiling! #ImWithHer. I digress.
I also frequently like to walk around my whole apartment with no pants on, so I’ve been looking for good blinds for both my kitchen and living room for a while. I heard about Blinds.com from an Instagram post and decided to check them out. They have a good selection of wood, cloth, and plastic blinds in alllll different styles. I liked the soft light created by the fabric ones (Radiance Light Filtering Sheer Shade) so I decided on those in the Seville Glacier color. With sheer shades like these you get essentially as much light as having the windows open but nobody can see your butt. Win-win!
*There definitely is some mold.
Blinds.com was nice enough to send me some to try out. Once the shades arrived I bribed Ben to put the shades up… It works really well when you ask someone to do things in 95 degree summer heat when you have no air conditioning #protip! I stayed on the ground and supervised and drank beer.
So here’s a before shot of the windows in our living room (imagine this room as a horrible, dark dungeon, which is basically what it was):
See how these drapes don’t fit the window at all? The room was always dark, which is hard because our bedroom and kitchen each only have one window. I wanted a room where I could sit and read or paint (or… scroll through Instagram, whatever). Here is the after of the living room with the new sheer blinds (with more of the room in view!):
See how sunny the little desk area is?
The pictures don’t do it justice, but the room really is a ton brighter and we still have privacy.
As I mentioned, the kitchen has but ONE MEAGER WINDOW so that light is important. We previously had nothing covering the window which let in the most light possible but gave our neighbors a view in at all hours of the day and night (remember my butt?). Here is the before (very sunny but zero privacy):
And after (lol look how much my plants grew/disappeared between these pictures!). Again, a little hard to see in this moody shadow picture, but I can pull the shade down about 80% of the way and still get tons of light filtering through:P.S. Here’s the rest of the kitchen from some semi-blurry iPhone pictures. The wall is my favorite part of the apartment. It’s got pictures from college, our cross-country road trip, art our family members have made, art I’ve made, and cool mementos from various travels.
The rest of the kitchen. Don’t look at the dirty dishes on the counter :-0
Because this is an iPhone picture it isn’t fabulous quality, but see how bright the room is? The horizontal sheer shades are actually down in this picture!
Last but not least here is a recipe I’ve been loving on lately.
Sun-dried Tomato & Braised Leek Farro
All summer I’ve basically been making this dish using whichever grain I have around (orzo, farro, rice, whatever). I braise up some leeks and sundried tomatoes then mix it all together. The trick is to get the leeks super soft and use a bit of the oil the sundried tomatoes are packed in to boost flavor.
- 1 cup farro, rinsed
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 large leek, outer leaves removed, halved lengthwise, rinsed (to remove dirt), and sliced thinly
- 1/4 cup vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil, chopped (I find that the flavor varies from brand to brand, I like these)
- 1.5 tablespoons olive oil reserved from sun-dried tomato jar
1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Stir in farro and 1 tablespoon salt. Return to boil, reduce heat, and simmer until tender (about 15-20 minutes). Drain and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium skillet. Add the leeks and cook until softened and light golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir and continue cooking for 2-3 more minutes, until they begin to brown. Add vegetable stock and fresh thyme. Bring to a boil then reduce and simmer the leeks for about 15 minutes until the liquid is reduced and the leeks are very tender. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and cook for a minute, stirring. Remove from heat and mix the leek and tomato mixture into the cooked farro. Add the sun-dried tomato olive oil and stir well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or room temperature.