7th House on the Left

Greetings from the earthquake capital of the U.S. of A.! …Or at least that’s how the news has been making it sound over the last 24 hours. As everybody knows by now, the East coast experienced a rather unusual occurrence yesterday, an earthquake! As it turns out, the epicenter of the quake was only 40(ish) miles from our house. Aside from a few fallen picture frames, some furniture moving a few inches (including the couch and the guest bed), and a Mr. Potato Head walking his way off the shelf in my office, all is well here at the house. Ashley, Bentley and I are fine, too, if a bit shaken.

Okay, okay. Ashley here. Greg’s totally the “cool, calm, and collected” type. I for one, was totally freaked out. I was home at the time and as the rumbling progressed, my thought process went a little like this: That’s some deep thunder… that’s not thunder… an explosion?… tornado?!… but it’s bright and sunny… wow, it’s loud… OH MY GOODNESS, WE’RE HAVING AN EARTHQUAKE!?! Bentley started barking like crazy – the rumbling was making his paws come up off the floor! I yanked him up and went to the hallway to wait it out (I now know you’re supposed to go under a door frame!). The eeriest part was hearing things fall throughout the house. It only lasted about 30 seconds, but at the time it seemed longer. So, yeah, that was my earthquake experience here at the house. I’ll shut up and let Greg finish his post now! Sorry!

After this experience, we realized that we’re relatively unprepared for emergency situations. Therefore, I figured now would be a good time to post about emergency preparedness in the home. So, no, this isn’t a “pretty post” as Ash would call it. However, being prepared for the unexpected is something really important for every home (no matter where you are) and hopefully this will help everyone (including ourselves) get organized and be prepared if the unexpected happens.

Since we moved in the house, we’ve been collecting supplies for an “Emergency Box”:

Here’s the breakdown of what we’ve collected so far:

  • 2 water filters
  • Weather radio
  • 4 masks (N59)
  • Compact camping cooking kit
  • 2 “wind up” flashlights
  • 3 thermal blankets
  • Battery Operated Lantern
  • Lighter
  • Manual Can Opener
  • Tooth brushes & toothpaste
  • Personal hygiene products
  • Advil
  • 2 T-shirts (his & hers)
  • Deodorant (his & hers)
  • Eco-Balls (for washing clothes)
  • Shampoo
  • 3 months worth of freeze-dried/”just add water” food for two (in a different container)

We’ve got a good start, but it’s nowhere near complete. Here’s what we need to add:

  • Water (the CDC recommendation is 1 gallon per person for three weeks)
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Multipurpose tool
  • Scissors
  • Copies of important documents (proof of address, birth certificates, insurance policies, etc)
  • Cash
  • Sanitation products
  • Maps of the area
  • Pet supplies (extra collar, leash, food, and collapsable bowl)
  • Extra set of car keys & house keys
  • Cell phone chargers
  • Bleach
  • Duct tape
  • Blankets and/or sleeping bags

Sure, there is a lot more stuff you could add in there, and in this case, adding on is never a bad thing. Just make sure you cover all of the basics first (water, food, shelter, medical) and … Okay, let’s just start another list:

  • Make sure everyone in your family knows where your box is.
  • As you add things to the box, make sure you unwrap things like those ultra hard-to-open flashlights.
  • Make sure your stash is movable (break it up into separate containers or bags if it gets too heavy).
  • Clearly mark your “Emergency Box” so you don’t have to go searching for it if you need it quickly.
  • If you’re a geek like me (or has a husband that is one) and think the zombie uprising is coming, you might want to include thick clothing (good to stop bites) and a minor arsenal. That was sarcasm. Fact: the CDC actually has a Zombie Apocalypse Prepardness page (check it out here).

Do you have an “Emergency Box” in your house? Have anything to add to the list? Share it with us in the comments section…

Earthquake map found here, check out the CDC Preparedness Kit Checklist for more preparedness information.


posted by Ashley  /  12 Comments

It’s no secret we love our little guy, Bentley. As you dog lovers on the other side of the screen can relate to (and thanks to the reader survey, we know there are a lot of you out there!), he’s much, much more to us than “just a dog” – he’s more like a part of the family. Truth be told, he’s like a child to us. Yes, we’re crazy like that. But how could you not unconditionally love this little sweet face?!


Today we’re celebrating Bentley’s 5th birthday! To celebrate the big 5 on the blog, we thought it would be fun to share a few of Bentley’s faves, “His + Her Favorite Things” style…

dog treats, dog's favorites, dog toys

1. Peanut Butter - I’ve never met a dog that didn’t love Peanut Butter, and Bentley is no exception! Even though it’s pretty typical, Bentley was pretty adamant that this made it to his list. If the slightest whiff of peanut butter is in the air, he goes absolutely crazy and does not stop begging until he gets some! (And he does always get a lick or two. I mean, how could we resist?!)

2. Squirrel Intelligent Dog Toy by Martha Stewart Pets  - This is a favorite of Bentley’s – he just doesn’t know it yet. It’s what we got him for his birthday… shhhh! I have always wanted to get this for him.  He absolutely loves trying to figure things out, so this is right up his alley.  You just put the little squirrels down in the tree stump, then let your dog go find them. I think he’s going to totally geek out over it!

3. Blue Buffalo Turkey Bits - When Bentley comes in from “using the little boy’s room yard”, we give him one of these Turkey treats from Blue Buffalo. We love these treats because they’re pretty small (no worries about him filling up on them) and made with wholesome ingredients. Once in a while, he acts like he has to go outside just to get a treat! It’s things like this that makes us think he’s part human.

4. Tennis Balls – Bentley has three toys he makes sure he knows where they are at all times: his orange rubber dog-shaped toy whom we’ve dubbed “Rufus”, his plush Parmesan (it looks like a can of Kraft Parmesan) and his tennis ball.  The tennis ball is is favorite thing to have thrown around the house.  As soon as you lay a hand on it, he’s bouncing around and ready to play.

5. BabyBel Cheese - Even though Bentley’s the type of dog that always has to know what you’re eating, he has a very sensitive stomach and can only eat certain things (he even has to eat prescription dog food). After a lot of trial and error, we found that aside from a tiny amount of peanut butter (fave #1) and Blue Buffalo Turkey Bits (fave #3), the only other treats we can give Bentley is BabyBel cheese (in tiny pieces). We save this treat for special occasions (like his birthday!) so he knows that when he gets a piece of a BabyBel, he must have done something really good.

6. Blankets – If there’s a blanket in sight (or a towel, or even a jacket), Bentley WILL dig a bed out of it. When I say “dig a bed”, he literally twirls the blanket into a circle, digs a hole in the middle of the circle, and (when it’s to his liking) he curls up in a little ball right in the middle. We’ve seem him work for a solid 20 minutes making the perfect “hole” to lay down in. When we try to help him, he just gives us a look that clearly says, “Really? I’m 5. I can handle this,” then starts over. Psst… find the pictured blankets here.

7. Bone Quilt Bolster Bed – This bed has recently been referred to as Bentley’s “blogging bed”. Bentley loves to run around the house and get into things while I’m not looking (He’s just an inquisitive puppy!), so I need to keep an eye on him sometimes. While I’m on the computer, I set this bed up in a chair next to me so he can be comfortable while I write. He absolutely loves being “on my level”, so he just settles down and hangs out with me. I can keep an eye on him, and he can keep an eye on me. It’s win-win!

So what about your dog (or cat)? Do they have a particular favorite thing? Share it with us in the comment section!

One thing our house is seriously lacking at the moment (besides color) is accessories. Coming from a small, two-bedroom apartment (check out our first place here), we didn’t really need a lot. Now that we’ve got 2,000+ square feet of living space, the accessories we do have are thinned out throughout the house causing things to look a little sparse. For example, the dresser in our master bedroom:

Even though I’m anxious to accessorize, I don’t want to just go out and buy a bunch of “stuff” for the sake of having “stuff”. I’d much rather keep my eye our for things that are really us and collect pieces little by little. Slow and steady wins the race, right?

As far as decorative accessories go, Greg and I both like seeing a modern designed room accessorized with quirky vintage pieces . Like a random typewriter, camera, or old milk crate. While we aren’t gung-ho antique enthusiasts, we both have an appreciation for history and the idea of marrying the old and new in our house.

In an effort to fill our empty spaces, I’ve been getting into the habit of spontaneously hopping in the car and driving to antique malls and flea markets. Even though I’ve been using a lot of gas driving all over town, I’ve found quite a few new favorite places to hunt down potential vintage accessories. One of those places is the Cold Harbor Antique Mall. Yesterday, I felt like I needed a break from looking at my office. So I decided to go back to see if anything new came in since I was last there about a week ago. When I was walking through the parking lot, I realized I should probably take some photos to share on the blog. Good thing I had my iPhone with me!

Don’t let the outside fool you. Once you step inside, every corner you turn, it keeps going and going and going.

This place is filled with tons and tons of stuff. The store is divided up into sections, each section being a different vendor. Because of that, there are all kinds of things scattered throughout the store, so you have to spend a lot of time and really look. There are a variety of ages throughout the store including late 1800′s all the way to the 1970′s. And, like any thrift store or antique mall, you’re going to find some rather odd things, but you’re going to find some real gems, as well. Here are a few things that caught my eye…

I sorta kinda fell in love with this brass rabbit. Our backyard seems to be the local hangout for the neighborhood rabbits, so it would make a perfect subtle conversation piece. Sadly, I didn’t take him (or her) home with me… kinda wish I had, now that I think about it. I also liked the Kodak camera, but we have more than enough vintage cameras around here at the moment.

I’ve been looking for a crate similar to this for weeks to use it as Bentley’s “toy box”. They’re practically a dime a dozen at places like this, but I’ve been keeping my eye out for one with a cool company on it. I loved this one, but it was too big. We could have fit five Bentleys in there! (The dog, not the car, of course!) It would have been perfect too because sometimes we call Bentley “Biscuit”. Major sad face.

I’m totally not exaggerating when I say that every single nook and cranny of this building is absolutely packed. It’s kind of like going on a hunting expedition. I feel like I’m one step closer to becoming a Picker Sister!

I loved this chest of drawers! I could totally see it spruced up and put in a bedroom or a nook in a hallway. If we had a place for it, it’d be in the back of our SUV.

Like the brass bunny, I fell in love with this vintage typewriter. It was only $45 and 30% off of that. I stood there for a while wondering where I’d put it and if it was the kind of thing I was looking for. (When it comes to our house, sometimes I’m indecisive like that.) The “T” key isn’t sitting straight but from what I could tell, it could be easily fixed – cosmetically speaking, anyway. I finally decided to leave it, but now I’m thinking about going back to get it. Though one thing I can tell you for sure, that thing is majorly heeeeeavy.

Just when I thought I was coming to the end of the store, I found a hallway leading to even MORE!

And more…

Another “If-I-had-room-it-would-be-coming-home-with-me” piece of furniture was this mid-century dresser. It was marked at $145 and 20% off that and in really good condition.

Add a hook to the back, and this barrel top (Maybe? I’m not completely sure what it is.) from Mollenhauer Sugar Refining Company would make really interesting wall art in a kitchen. I was curious and did a little Googling to find that Mollenhauer Sugar Refining Company was established around 1869 in Brooklyn, NY. I think it’s fun knowing the history on pieces like this!

That about wraps up yesterday’s visit to the Cold Harbor Antique Mall. I ended up coming home empty handed but planning on going back soon for the “wish I should haves”. Are any of you antique mall regulars? Come across any good finds lately?

Btw, I’m not digging the iPhone photo quality, are you? I’ll be sure to bring one of my other cameras the next time I bring you along for my accessory hunting.

AND, today is the last day to enter the HomeTalk $100 Pottery Barn Gift Card Giveaway. Everyone has three chances to win. Entries will be accepted until midnight EST tonight. So get clicking!