Saturday, June 29, 2013

Day 101 St. Thomas Episcopal Church Hostel

Miles hiked 18.9
Total miles 1352.6

Today started out like the last two, wet, humid and swarms of mosquitoes.  We both were very down due to the bugs and wet feet. Three days of wet feet and you start to have problems.  Sassafras calls it the New Jersey blues. But the last two hours of the day and the bugs died down and the trail was beautiful. We then got a ride from a great guy who wants to thru hike in a few years.  We dropped us off righr at the hostel. The hostel is very nice. We are the only ones here. We did laundry, resupplied at the grocery store down the street and had burger king for supper. We are now relaxing and watching a little tv. All is good. Kaboose

Today was fun. We hiked 18.9 miles. The weather was good. The trail was good. We hiked the longest boardwalk. We went to town to resupply. We are in a hostel. The hostel  feels homey. Sassafras

Friday, June 28, 2013

Day 100 high point shelter

Miles hiked 19.6
Total miles 1333.7

Today was long, hot and buggy. The mosquitoes were just torturous.  We think this is worse than the snow, ice storm or the week of cold rain and heavy winds. We were lucky to find a tackle shop on one of the road crossings that had bug spray.  There was a line of thru hikers buying some.

On a more positive note we had a nice lunch at the pavilion on top of sunrise mountain and got a free pepsi for being a thru hiker at tbe high point state park office. I also got a hot supper from boy scout troop number one from New Jersey.  They made too much cheese tortellini and were going to have to pack it out, so being the nice guy I am I helped them out. You could see the vegetables so Sassafras did not want to have anything to do with it. She had mashed potatoes and spam instead. We are now dry in the shelter while it is thunderstorming outside again.  Kaboose

Sassafras is sleeping,  she will update you tomorrow. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Day 99 brinks road shelter

Miles hiked 24.8
Total miles 1314.4

Today was hot, muggy, the mosquitoes were unbeatable and we pulled over 20 ticks off if us. It was a long day now we are in our tent trying to get away from the mosquitoes and  now we have a thunderstorm.  I wanted to like New Jersey but this is not a good start. Kaboose

Today was hard work. We hiked 24.8 miles. The trail was great. The weather was good. We had a lot of bugs. We also saw a glacial pond. Sassafras

Letters to Myself

For the past couple of years at the end of our yearly vacation to the Adirondack mountains I write myself a little note to pop up on my phone a year later.  I list things that I think will help me plan for next year and improve the packing and planning of the vacation.

I just received last year's message today.  Here it is:

Getting a message from myself a year later has to be one of the greatest things I've ever done in my life.  I get such a kick out of the them. 

We haven't really found a cabin, or I haven't really found a cabin, that really felt right, until we got the one we stayed at last year.  Friends of Brian's family were staying there a couple years ago and we went over the visit them and it was like the best place ever.  It just felt so comfortable and not creepy and I wanted to stay there so bad.  The folks that own the house visit it every weekend so they only rent it out during the week, which is unusual because most people who rent a house stay for a week not Sunday to Friday.  But the house is so awesome I didn't care.  We'll stay at a hotel the other nights, I'll sleep in the car, I do not care, this is the house.

Getting this message and assuring myself, oh yeah, well watch me eat fruit this year SUCKER! makes me so happy for our trip.  I cannot wait.

Devonshire Arms, Baslow, Derbyshire

I've been pretty underwhelmed with the dining options since moving to a small town in Derbyshire. This wasn't entirely unexpected, the more rural areas of the country just can't match the offer of the cities at the budget end of the market, the end where my eating out firmly rests at the moment. 

The big northern city combo of bargain Asian restaurants and a highly competitive casual drinking and dining market mean that it's easy to eat well for under twenty quid, all in, including a drink or two. Down here there are plenty of good options in the high end pub category, but when the average main course is upwards of fifteen quid alone, you're no longer in the cheap and cheerful range.

It would be daft, of course, to criticise the Peak District for not being Sheffield or Manchester. I'm not expecting to get Vietnamese food, but what has so far been disappointing is the pub food. There are loads of non-chain pubs in the vicinity, but sadly a lot of them aren't really serving anything better than a chain, and in some cases are dishing up something far worse. Rule of thumb: if the only chicken you have is in the freezer, and it's been there for god knows how long and has gone all grey and fibrous looking, then maybe take it off the menu. Just a suggestion.

So Sunday lunch at the Devonshire Arms in Baslow came as something of a surprise. Very nice food, served by some nice people who actually seemed to give a shit. Well done them.

The Sunday roast wasn't perfect, because they never are in pubs, but it was a good effort. Thick slices of pink beef rump, good gravy, a Yorkshire pudding that was fresh and pliable rather than ancient and fractured, and accurately cooked veggies. Only the roasts were a bit of a let down, being almost devoid of roasty brown goodness.

Pudding actually was perfect, at least it was as far as I'm concerned. Lemon posset, lemon sorbet and ginger biscuits. I thought the double lemon approach might have been citrus overkill, but it wasn't, it was divine, rich and creamy offset wonderfully by sweet and sharp. And anything can be improved by the addition of ginger biscuits.

Including service we paid exactly twenty quid each for two courses and a drink or two, great value for the quality and locale. I liked it here, but I'll still have to dock them half a point for the lacklustre roast potatoes.


Nether End
DE45 1SR

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Day 98 Delaware Water Gap

Miles hiked zero
Total miles 1289.3

We took a zero today. We had breakfast at the bakery and then resupplied at Wal-Mart.  We got a shuttle from the pack shack for four dollar,  they were great. We spent the rest of the day eating and resting. We now will push thru New Jersey in 3 big days. Kaboose

Tosay was fun. We had a zero. The weather was good. We went to walmart, also known as wally world to thru hikers. We resupplied, and we got some snacks. Sassafras  

Dear Me and the Old Lady I Have Become

Every time I sell something on Ebay, which isn't that often I go to box my item for shipping and can't find the bubble wrap.  I search high and low in the house and then certain I have bubble wrap at the office I check there too.  And I never find the bubble wrap.

So I buy bubble wrap at Office Depot further reducing my profit (bubble wrap is expensive) and ship my package and then I come home and look for a place to store the remainder of my bubble wrap, like that giant basket above the office armoire and there I find 3 rolls of partially used bubble wrap.

Why can I remember that I have bubble wrap and not remember where it is?  And why is it driving home from Office Depot I always think, oh, I'll put this in the basket and yet I can't seem to remember that before hand?

The letter is for me six months from now when I go to ship something else.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Day 97 Delaware Water Gap PA

Miles hiked 15.6
Total miles 1289.3

We had a great day. We are 0.3 miles from the New Jersey border.  We plan to take a zero tomorrow and rest up a bit. We have already had a great time I Delaware Water Gap. We had a hot dog and a piece of apple pie at a cool bakery and it was only $2.49. The post office and police department are in the same building and when we picked up a package the lady at the post office and the police office on duty were very cool and interested in Sasssffras's hike. We are staying at the Pocono inn, it is an old Ramada inn, a little dated but a palace compared to were we stayed last night. I think they had bed bugs. I was itching all day. The Pocono in is also ten dollars less tban the Gateway inn. Kaboose

Sasssffras is sleeping so she will update the blog tomorrow.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Day 96 Wind Gap PA

Miles hiked 20.1
Total miles 1273.7

Today was a long, hot day. We had a big climb out of Palmerton. We left at 6am to try to beat some of the heat. We also had a 1.2 mile round trip climb down a very steep mountain side for water. These off trail miles do not count.
We are at the Gateway Motel, it gived the Relax Inn in Va a run for the most run down motel we have stayed at (the Doyle don't count), but there is a thunderstorm right now and we are eating pizza so all is well. Kaboose

Today was fun. We hiked 20.1 miles. The weather was good in the shade. The trail was great. We hiked to a motel. We also had pizza. Sassafras

Day 95 Palmerton PA

Miles hiked 8
Total miles 1253.6

We took a short day in Palmerton. We are staying at the town jail house hostel. We are trying to rest for a big climb and a very hot day without cover because we are hiking thru a super fund site deforestation due to zinc smelting in the area for almost 100 years, ending in 1980. Kaboose

Today was fun. We hiked 8 miles. Today was hot. I think it is in the uundreds at one point. To trail was good it was mostly downhill. The town is great it is so beautiful. Sassafras

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Bold Street Coffee, Liverpool

Of all the coffee shops in northern cities I've been working my way around, Bold Street Coffee might just be the best yet.

The flat white was faultless. Beautifully crafted, perfectly textured, the espresso blend packing a punch but with a subtle fruitiness and hints of smoke too. A joy to drink.

A Monterey Jack, cheddar and onion toastie was also on the money. Generously proportioned and oozing loads of molten cheesy goodness, the sweet, sauteed onions were a nice touch, improving on a classic combination by avoiding the overpowering raw onion reek. The only thing I'd change would be to swap out the Monterey Jack for something with a bit more character, it melts well but doesn't taste of much.

£2.60 for the coffee, a little bit more expensive than the other independents I like, but still passes the 'cheaper than a shit version from a chain test' easily, and £2.95 for the huge sandwich seemed like a bargain. Also worth pointing out that the service was lovely, no hipster aloofness here.

Highly recommended. I'll be returning.


89 Bold Street
L1 4HF

Day 94 Bake Oven Knob Shelter

Miles hiked 17.4

We had a full day. The trail was diffucult, rocky and steep in places. I watched Vagabond,  a 70 year old lady with a knee replacement fall on  difficult part of knife edge,  but luckily she landed on her pack and was not hurt. Sassafras and I hiked with her the rest of the day to make sure she would be safe. Later in the day Sunshine and Not Yet's family provided wonderful trail magic.  It was a tast of Pennsylvania,  with tomato pie, tasty treats and soft pretzels. Oh and of course cold soda and fresh fruit. It was very nice. We sat and talked with them for a long time. Kaboose

Today was fun. We hiked 17.4 miles. The weather was good. The trail was good. We had two hard spots, the first was knife edge, the second was a big rock scramble.we went to a resteraunt for lunch. We had trail magic for dinner. Sassafras

Day 93 Echville Shelter

Miles hiked 14.8
Total miles 1228.7

We started the day eating trail magic doughnuts and then walking down a four lane highway to resupply at Wal-Mart and have second breakfast at McDonald's. We then had great views at the Pinnacle. We ended the day at Eckville shelter, a bunk room with showers. We tented in the beautiful tenting are which looks like a garden. Bag of tricks stoped by and Sasssfras got to meet another multi time A.T.  thru hiker and the caretaker of Eckville Shelter for 21 years Mick. Kaboose

Today was fun. We hiked 14.8 Miles. The weather was good. It was perfect all day. The trail was great. There was two small steep climbs, the rest was perfect. Sassafras

Friday, June 21, 2013

Day 88 Cove Mountain Shelter

Miles hiked 21.6
Total Miles 1138.5

I had a great fathers day. We hiked thru some beautiful PA farm land. It is a blessing to be able to be part of this adventure with Sassafras. Tomorrow is a nero at the famous/Infamous Doyle Hotel. Kaboose

Today was fun. We hiked 21.6 miles. The weather was perfect. The trail was great. It was flat in farmlands for more then half the day. We are going to the Doyle tomorrow, in town for a nero. Sassafras

Day 90 near yellow spring village site

Miles hiked 24.7
Total miles 1167.2

Today was our longest day yet. We are tired but feel good. It was suppose to rain today and are tenting and hiked late, so we had our hot meal today for lunch at a shelter. We are our cold lunch for supper tonight. This worked out well and we will do that again.   More twenty plus days to come. Kaboose

Today was fun. We hiked 24.7 miles our longest day hiking. The weather was good. The trail was good, mostly flat with one big climb. We had dnner for lunch with soda we bought from town. We had lunch for dinner too. Sassafras

Day 91 501 shelter

Miles hiked 22.1
Total miles 1189.3

What a great day. We had hamburgers for trail magic for. Dirty Ernie and his wife S.O.S. Dirty Ernie thru hiked in 2007 after he retired.  They were very nice and we enjoyed their company very much. We hiked the 22.1 by 4pm because you can order pizza from this shelter but once we got set up in the very cool four sided shelter with bunks (very fancy) Amish a 2011 thru hiker and her family came with a true feast for supper as trail magic. It was a great day. Kaboose

We hiked 22.1 miles. The trail was rocky but not too hard and we had trail magic two times today.  I had a good day. Sassafras

Day 92 Port Clinton PA

Miles hiked 24.1
Total miles 1213.4

We had a good day. We hiked over 24 miles before 4pm to get to the post office. We are staying in  church pavilion in Port Clinton PA. We spent the evening with Sinner and Johnny Walker. We met the trail legend Bag of Tricks. Kaboose

Day 89 Duncannon PA

Miles hiked 4
Total. Miles 1142.5

We took a nero in Duncannon PA. We are staying at th Doyle hotel, it is just as described, a tired old girl that the owners Pat and Vickey keep going the best they can. You could put a half a million into this old building and still have much to do. I am glad Sassafras had an opportunity to experience this part of A.T.history because I do not know who would put the time and effort that Pat and Vickey do to keep her going. The food at the Doyle was great, Pat did all the cooking.  I tried to eat all of the blueberry pancakes at Goodies this morning but just couldn't.  Kaboose

Today was fun. We hiked 4 miles to town, a nero. We aren't staying in Doyle. Tye weather was great. The trail was great. We had ice cream, it was delicious. The Doyle is beautiful, and has a lot of history. Sassafras

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Update form Mrs. Kaboose

Just wanted to let everyone know that Sassafras and Kaboose are doing great!  They are hiking an average of 23 mile days and the weather has been good, no rain and warm!  They are in PA and should be in Port Cliton PA tomorrow.

Pinche Pinche, Chapel Allerton, Leeds

Pinche Pinche is probably your best bet for Mexican food in Leeds. I didn't love everything we ate but the good stuff was really very good, and it was all a significant cut above your average Tex-Mex chain fodder. If it was one of my local restaurants I could definitely see myself stopping in from time to time for a few tacos and a beer.

We started with an impressive mountain of guacamole and some pork nachos. Both of these went down a treat, the fresh, bright guacamole being particularly fine, a world away from the luminous processed green paste versions. I want to describe it as zingy, but I hate that word.

Of the good stuff the meaty things were the highlight. The aforementioned nachos were piled with shards of tasty pork (tasty - another rubbish word. Sorry.) and I could have eaten a dozen of the excellent lamb or pork tacos.

The lamb was slow braised to moist shreds with a gentle, fruity chilli heat, the pork the opposite; small pieces in a garlicky adobo marinade, quickly flash-fried until just done. The result was beautifully tender meat, not easy to do with lean cuts of pork.

I was less enamoured with the flautas from the specials board. I can't remember exactly but I'm sure they were supposed to involve pork scratchings, but just seemed like slightly greasy deep-fried guacamole filled tubes. Others liked them though so what do I know.

Getting the negatives out of the way all at once the fish tacos were also a bit dull. Tasteless fish on a bland and not at all spicy as advertised coleslaw.

Finishing off on a positive note a portion of fries were properly fried, and the refried beans were great. All comforting and savoury and mushy in a very satisfying way.

Service was friendly. Very friendly. Exceedingly happy verging on scary. I shan't complain though, that's just my British cynicism at play, which makes me automatically consider American style service to be false, deranged or both. The fact is everyone was lovely, and they brought us the food we ordered in a reasonable amount of time, and cleared up after us. What more do you want?

We paid £20 each for a good spread of food and a couple of drinks apiece. A good quality local restaurant that's well worth a visit. You probably need to book at weekends as it's small and clearly very popular.


116a Harrogate Road
Chapel Allerton

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Day 87 Boiling Springs PA

Miles hiked 12
Total miles 1116.9

We had another great day. We hiked the 12 miles into Boiling Springs PA by 1130 am and spent the day at the town pool. We swam ate good food from the snack bar and relaxed in the sun. Later we went out for pizza. We are spending the night at a free camping area set up by the town. We are on the edge of a corn field and right next to a train tracks.  Two trains have already been by so it may be an interesting night.  Kaboose

Today was cun. We hiked 12 miles. The weather was good. The trail was great. I swam today in the public pool, in boiling springs. I slid down on a slid to get to the water. Sassafras

Friday, June 14, 2013

Day 86 James fry shelter

Miles hiked 17.1
Total miles 1104.9

Today was a great day.  We passed the halfway point, succeeded in the half gallon challenge (eating a half gallon of ice cream at pine grove furnace state park camp store) and the weather was beautiful.  Kaboose

Today was fun. We hiked 17.1 miles. The weather was good. The trail was good. We passed the halfway point today. Kaboose did the half gallon challenge. I ate a pint of ice cream. Sassafras

This and That, Manchester

I had to trawl through the archives to work out whether I'd ever written a review of This and That before. It turns out that I haven't, which is something of an oversight.

If you don't know already it's perhaps Manchester's most renowned curry caff. I'm not really sure why it's fame exceeds that of the others, as the formula is identical whichever one you choose. Rice and any three curries, in a room you might politely call basic, for not very much money.

Here we have chick peas, spinach and potato, and lamb and okra. The curries aren't the most vibrant or exciting you'll ever taste, but they are all at least distinct from one another, and more than satisfying when perked up a bit with the self service condiment selection. This and That is one of the best on this front. As well as coriander and chillies there are yoghurt and mint sauces to be had.

£4.80 with a decent, freshly cooked chapatti. They even have a website, on which they make the dubious claim that their rice and three is unique. It isn't, but it's still worth having.


3 Soap Street
M4 1EW 

Day 85 Birch Run Shelter

Miles hiked 19.6
Total miles 1087.8

We started the day hiking in a severe thunderstorm.  It was thundering, lightning with heavy rain. It was sunny later in the day and is cool in the fifties this evening. Pennsylvania has been nice. Kaboose

Today was fun.  We hiked 19.6 miles. The weather was good, exept for the thunderstorm. The trial was good. Tomorrow is halfway point.  Sassafras

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Day 84 Tumbling Run Shelter

Miles hiked 18.1
Total miles 1068.2

Today was a much better day.  First off we hiked northbound all day. It was warm but no rain and there was a breeze some of the day. We are now in Pennsylvania so six states down. We passed the Masson Dixon line so we are back in the North (closer to home for these two Mainers). Kaboose

Today was fun. We hiked 18.1 miles. The weather was good. The trail was great. It was pretty flat. We finished Maryland . We are in the north again. Sassafras

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Day 83 Ensign Cowall Shelter

Miles hiked 15.7 plus 4
Total miles 1050.1

I had a tough day. It started with us hiking two miles south before Sassafras convinced me we were hiking the wrong way. She knew from the start we were going the wrong way. My head was not in the game. I guess I am missing Mrs. Kaboose. I need to make sure I listen to Sassafras, she knows what she is doing. We did have some nice trail magic, saw the the first Washington monument and it only rained half the day. Kaboose

Today was fun. We hiked 15.7 plus four miles. The weather was great. It only sprinkled once. The trail was good. We had trail magic. Sassafras

House Tour - Kitchen

Continuing the home tour, we move into the kitchen.  I really wanted this room to look like a cupcake store so that was my jumping off point.  I chose a soft aqua for the walls and mosiac white tiles with gray grout for the floors.  I originally was going to do white upper cabinets and dark gray bottom cabinets and marble counters but I had to adjust things for my budget. 

The kitchen used to be closed off, there was a wall right where the camera is looking through, and it was very important to me to open this space up.  I think after having the very tiny kitchen in the yellow house and admiring so many open concept spaces on HGTV and elsewhere, it was something I really wanted to have.  I also thought it was important to be open to the backyard as much as possible.  There used to be a long, narrow window at the back of the house and a door off to the left where the washer dryer now is.  I wanted to put in french doors or sliders to have loads of natural light flow through the house.  Sliders worked best for us because of the cats and wanting to keep the door open on cool days, though french doors are a much prettier option.

I also know my island is too small.  I have my eyes on an island way out of my price range at Crate & Barrel and have been looking at other options too but until then, this cart from Ikea has been doing a great job.  My unique shelving unit thing is on the left.  I thought it would hold more dishes but it's mostly photographs and for display.  The bottom folds down awkwardly and holds extra cat food and other storage needs.

I put up the scalloped banner for Christmas and really like it.  The mint honeycomb balls are from the Oscar's party.  I think they are fun to look at so I haven't taken them down.  This is not a house to be serious in, the more whimsical I can make it the more I enjoy being here.  The big house was the stuffy house and I really like a playful look in this little bungalow.

Since the shelf unit is on the left side of the kitchen and I opted not to have a peninsula, all of the main kitchen is on the right side of the room.  The island of course was supposed to be a main prep area and it could stand to be about twice as long and work very well for that purpose.  I really didn't think I'd be here for over a year and still not have the proper island but that's the way it goes.  Other things are in line to be done before the island situation and that list is long and expensive (replace front porch boards, painting exterior, new roof, extend deck).  Until then I've found this kitchen to be extremely easy to work in.  I've thrown multiple parties here, some as big as over 30 people and this kitchen is great.

We were on a very tight budget to renovate this kitchen ($10,000 for the whole house, though I did go over some due to window treatments - they are expensive).  We used cabinets you can pick up at Home Depot right now.  After having a kitchen with only 1 drawer, I went drawer overload as you can see.  I'm a huge fan of having a single deep white cast iron sink and that was a splurge for this house.  My sink light fixture looks almost orange but it's mercury glass, I really like it.  The view from the sink is of the next door's house beige vinyl siding so I've tried to hide/spruce up the view with cute cafe curtains and cute items on the window sill.

I recently mounted the television to give me extra counter space.  I don't really need a television in here except for maybe the Oscar Party or Thanksgiving, I'm partial to using my Pandora on my beloved ipod dock.  It doesn't really look that great even mounted so maybe I'll remove it one day.  This "cord zone" kind of drives me crazy.  My shelves are kind of a renovation mini-disaster.  There's always something at the end you want to change but it's such a big ordeal you just leave it and these shelves are the mistake.

I figured the studs would not be symmetrical to hang my scrolly brackets so I had the handyman cut a backboard from plywood and use that to attach the brackets.  I should have made the backboard much larger and my shelves would not have ended up so dinky but worse than that, the studs ARE symmetrical and I could have hung the brackets straight on the walls and have my shelves be much longer and look much cleaner.  The downside to that is the walls are a mess and I think they are beyond simple (spackle) repair.  The plywood hides that.  With a larger budget I could either a) install beadboard along the back of the wall and paint it white or aqua or with a real budget b) install subway tile all the way up and used a more simple shelf bracket.  I so want to take the plywood down and get longer shelves but it's a lot of repair and painting and I'm just plain lazy about it.  I envisioned these shelves holding all our plates and glasses but it looked a little busy and not functional (I can only reach the bottom shelf) so I just use it for display.

I had different knobs from Anthropologie but I found they stuck to the fabric of my clothes and I was afraid something would rip.  When I saw these aqua milkglass knobs I knew they would work perfectly.  I never know what to do above the cabinets.  I'd love cabinets that went all the way up and I was certain I'd put up crown molding but the budget ran out and then later the cats started using the top of the cabinets to sleep and I didn't want to block them so I just left it plain except for the mixing bowls at the end.

On a budget there are limited countertop options.  I personally have never minded Formica.  I find it extremely affordable and durable and easy to clean.  I really wanted marble counters considering the countertop is not very long but financially it didn't work out.  They had a Formica that looked like marble but I was unsure, I thought it might look cheap.  I ended up going with this "soapstone" looking Formica and it's great.  As a consolation prize for not getting the marble counters I bought a marble utensil holder from Crate and Barrel.  I also use this toaster oven all the time.  It's truly a second oven for us.  I even cooked a quiche in there for Mother's day when I was running out of time.  I would love a kitchen with a double oven one day but this oven is great until that time.

And now, the other side of the kitchen.  I've posted about this pantry before but to recap, I was really trying to figure out a way to hide the litter box and unfortunately because of Zimmy I need the largest cat box known to man or he won't fit.  The pantry ended up having pretty good dimensions so I cut the hole and use a Rubbermaid storage container for their litter the front open.  Besides a lot of dust in the cabinet that drives me crazy it works really well.  I only store cleaning supplies in this cabinet and they are all dusty.

I found these vintage Westmoreland plates at a local store for $5 each and thought it was the steal of the century.  One broke during the move and I had to replace it for like $25 but they probably more than anything else I own speak to my style.  I love the colors and the milkglass delicacy of them, the little beads around the edge.

Brian is crazy for water and having the water in the house has always been a problem to solve.  Back in the Big house we put the water dispenser in the laundry room and it was ugly and out of the way.  Then at the yellow house we used 2 Britta pitchers but they take up a lot of space and were high maintenance.  At Costco we saw this water cooler that hides the water bottle inside so it looks cleaner.  It works pretty good.  Mostly it reminds me everytime I wonder why I didn't buy stainless steel appliances how much I hate stainless steel.  Between this and the toaster oven they never look clean even after I clean them and polish them.  White appliances stay clean and when they aren't clean it's because you need to clean them.  Stainless steel drives me crazy.  I don't know how you guys do it.  The stool I got from Home Decorators.  It's very handy for cooking for long periods of time like for parties and Thanksgiving. 

The charging station should probably be in the office but I wanted to make it easy for my husband to charge his phone so I put it here.  Sometimes you have to use function over form.  I have my little ipod dock that I got for Christmas and love and I also replaced my digital photo frame that was broken in the break in.  My mom gave me the vintage canisters a billion years ago, I love them.  The bird is one of my favorite things in the whole house.  We display the bulk of our photos here, the cats have a knack for knocking them over if I put them in other places.  I really need to paint that purple frame.

I really want a basket for the island to put bread and other food items.  One odd fact about me is I don't like to put open food in the pantry.  I have a bug phobia and everything has to be wrapped really well and I don't trust my husband.  Having the food in the center of the room means the bugs have to work harder to get to the food.  I know, I'm so weird, right?  However, this basket from Target is too big and isn't working for me.  Man looking at this makes me want to get a bigger island.  I also have the cat food and the trash can in the center of the room for the same reason.  Notice the cat bowls are off the floor.  I'm telling you, I'm totally weird.

For the flooring I really wanted to do checkerboard marmoleum tiles or industrial vinyl tiles (like at Home Depot).  And though they were a bit more expensive I think I could have swung it but I remembered my husband telling me at some point that he hated vinyl tiles.  So when it was time to do this kitchen I went with this mosiac tile that we had to drive to every Home Depot in a 50 mile radius to get enough of.  I chose gray grout to hide stains and then I spent my 40th birthday laying this tile and grouting it and crying a lot and wanting to die.  I worked my hand so hard my thumb and first finger were numb until around Christmastime.  I swore I would never tile again in my life and I mean it.  Then a few months later Brian was all, you could have done vinyl tile, I would have been fine with that.  Grrrr.  Also, I am not a master tiler or anything but this floor is so uneven it would blow your mind.  We tried to somewhat level it, I spent $600 to get it as level as we could but it would take probably another $2000 to get it completely level and sadly I wish I could but I didn't have the budget.  So the tiles like curve over the bumps so it doesn't look perfect at all.  I could have done a much better job (and it would have gone faster) if the floor was level.  But since I'm never tiling again it doesn't really matter. ;-)  The grout has worked perfectly.  This floor has seen normal stains and it's never been an issue.

I'll source a couple of things, if there are items in my kitchen that you are curious about let me know and I'll try to help you out.

Paint Color - this is color matched to a Maine Cottage Furniture color sample but I looked in my Benjamin Moore fan deck and Antiguan Sky is a very close match.

Blue Milkglass Cabinet Knobs
Mercury Glass Pendant Light
Aqua Bar Stool
Breville Toaster Oven
Bose Ipod Dock
What I Love Most About My Home - Print
Adorable Bird - Get on the mailing list if you want one.
Cake Stand
Westmoreland Fruit Plates
 Floor Tiles