Deuce Cities Henhouse

Tulum Time!

Tulum Mexico Travel Guide
Whazzzzzzup people? I’m back as promised with some pics — okay, a lot of pics — from our recent trip to the shores of beautiful Tulum, Mexico. Tulum is located in a jungle that is on an ocean a mere two hours south of Cancun. It’s totally amazing and beautiful, the locals are wonderful and welcoming, the air is warm, the beaches are beyond compare and the food is excellent(tontitos). ‘Tontitos’ is one of those things I probably should not tell the internet about, but whatever, it’s fun to say after about every word when you’re pretending to speak Spanish. You should give it a try and bastardize another culture’s language with me!

We’ve vacationed in Cancun twice before it doesn’t even come close to comparing to Tulum. Forget the tourists and replace them with ex-pat hippies in MC Hammer pants and you’ll get the vibe. We rented a house in the heart of the city central. Hidden behind a 12′ plywood facade is a modern house called Saamal rented to us by a charming French man named Renaud. It made the perfect retreat for my budz and I. We ate out a lot but also made a few meals at home. Our days were sparsely peppered with a handful of touristy destinations but mainly anchored around the beach.

Tulum Mexico Travel Guide
At the end of our first day I started to feel ill, tons of painful stomach cramps, but like a jerk I ignored them and pushed through. I swam around an underground ceneote doubled over in pain for a morning, then I made the very unwise decision to say say “eff it”, and followed up my swim by eating some delicious food and drinking a bunch of stuff. Later that night I went home and made peace with the fact that I could not drink this pain away. Me and my fever tucked ourselves into bed and stayed there for the next day and a half. Don’t drink the water, bros – even in your coffee.

Tulum Mexico Travel Guide

Tulum Mexico Travel Guide

Tulum Mexico Travel Guide

Tulum Mexico Travel Guide
Hey you guys like inside jokes right? I mean they are usually hilarious to other people. Here we have pictured Vaughn, Dan and Ron (respectively), the faces of the worlds most successful company, Highly Pun LLC.

Tulum Mexico Travel Guide
Photo Via www.elcaminodelaloha.com

Sights to See
We were told by a bunch of taxi drivers that the Pet Cemetery Cenote was the one to see. Although I’m sure they are all pretty cool. This one did have underground caves with stalagtytes and stalagmytes you could swim around. I’m pretty sure we were being filmed for some sort of Discovery channel cave divers show.
So I didn’t make it to the ruins, this was the day I was in bed with a 102º fever, but my friends did. They said it was cool and that they wished I had been there and it wasn’t the same without me. They would like me to pass on to you to not do the guided tours unless you really want to know about the history of the ruins, instead just pay the admission fee and look around. There is a beach right next to it called Santa Fe Beach club and you can beach hop down the coast. They had a fun time, blah blah blah.

Tulum Mexico Travel Guide

Tulum Mexico Travel Guide

Tulum Mexico Travel Guide

Restaurants
This place is #1 on our list. We stumbled in after spending the afternoon on the beach, and were so happily surprised with the warm hospitality, cold and delicious cocktails and amazing food we received. We stayed for hours – it was the best and you need to go here if you ever make it to Tulum.
We stopped here for a super casual meal during an afternoon of hard beaching. Did you know that all the old people, heavy-set midwestern folk and families visiting Tulum love this place? Just a heads up. My budz said the food was decent and made for a good afternoon snack, I was only eating toast because I had the appetite of a baby.
Okay, I’m all for eating fancy meals and what-not but this place was pretentious to the maximustontios. Not only was everyone around me making out, I was also being doused in wizard sage smoke the entire time. Food was good, but spendy. Not my favorite, although the ambiance was deec, I guess.
Yes, this place was super good. This was the first food I had eaten in a few days. I was so glad to be offered highly cooked starchy foods. Besides the fact that I was visiting with a tender stomach, the food at this place was highly loved by all my friends. Homemade pasta, fresh seafood and delicous cocktails. I had the drink with the gin, ginger and bitters and it did wonders for my recovering belly. Also, after dinner we took a cocktail to-go, went down to the beach and peered into the blackness where darkened ocean and deepest space meet – we were overwhelmed with a sense of Neil DeGrasse-Tyson’s spirit. We almost all gave ourselves up to the sea but decided we should probably keep on living for our kids.
This place was located right near our casa in the heart of Tulum. After arriving we were fed mojitos that were made with real sugar cane and we all agreed this was probably the most romantic setting we had ever been in. A pretty Mexican lady was serenading us drinkers, and the stars were twinkling I’m pretty sure. Go here when you visit Tulum!
Go here for shots and beers. It won’t disappoint.
We did not go to the Hartwood, but we very much wanted to though. We showed up too late to be seated and the hartwood being all fresh and fancy, only do uno (that’s ‘one’ for you monolingual people) service a night. Learn from our mistakes and get there when they open! Not dining here was my only Tulum regret. Please avenge my name, get there early and have a cocktail – do this in the remembrance of me.

Tulum Mexico Travel Guide

Beaches
Go here if you like to hang out with trendy hippy-sters (ha, Highly Pun LLC in effect, yes.) who are way to cool for school. We pulled it off, because we are naturally cool, but it wasn’t my favorite place to hang.
Ah, the birthplace of Highly Pun LLC. The strawberry Margrs do the trick. Swimming is fun! There are boats to rent for trips out to snorkel and swimming is fun. This was our favorite beach. Thanks to our taxi driver Miguel for the tyte tip on our first day and swimming is fun.
This is the beach I didn’t go to because Montezuma hates me. It was highly pretty though as seen in the photo above. Who doesn’t like swimming amongst ruins from an extinct ancient culture?
Coral Beach is part of a chi-chi hotel. Don’t let that fool you, if it’s slow they will rent you some cabanas to siesta and bebes in. Mi Espanol es muy bueno, Si? The thing about this beach is that it has huge ginormustontios waves. Bring your boogie boards and tighten up the strings on your bikini top. This beach will rock you. It was my favorite for swimming.

Tulum Mexico Travel Guide

Tulum Travel Tips
All the beaches are public
The beaches are public, the chairs are not. Don’t be afraid to rent a beach bed, umbrella or chair at a hotel if it’s not busy – most require a small fee or a minimum drink amount.
Don’t let your taxi driver make you buy gas
One morning, us ladies hailed a taxi and took off to the cenotes. The taxi driver stopped halfway there and told us to pay for gas. There are some men that think that women can be taken advantage of, especially when said womens are traveling in foreign countries. Unfortunately for us, we were well aware of the scaminess of our situation, but were also out in the middle of a jungle. When possible, travel with a dude and don’t let your cab driver jerk you around.
Take a Car Service from the Airport
Arrange a car service in advance to pick you up from the airport, this will work in your favor especially if you are traveling with a larger group. PS, they stop at the 7-11 outside the airport so you can pick up a six pack of cervezas for your 2 hour ride.
Use ATM’s
We realized after a few days that we would’ve all saved a bunch of money and probably been a bit more thrifty if we had gone to the cash machine instead of exchanging a lump sum at the airpuerto. There was a rumor floating around our group that there were only two ATM’s in all of a Tulum. That my friends, was a lie.
Don’t let anyone carry your bags at the airport
Just don’t do it, you’ll thank me later, I promise.
Hot water is hard to come by
This is for real. Water in Tulum is collected in rain tanks that sit on top of homes, hotels and restaurants. Some of the larger hotels may have gas to heat said water, but most of them will not. Our place did have gas, but there was not enough of it to heat an entire tank of water let alone keep a lit burner on the stove. Just be prepared for cold showers.
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in Travel

Basement Hang Space Inspiration

Nordic Inspiration for a Basement Renovation

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Hola Pals! We’re back from our vacay in Tulum, Mexico. It was pretty great, except for that 48 hours I spent in bed puking my guts out, but whatever. I’ll share a recap of the funner side of the trip in a coming post because the other 60 hours in Mexico were pretty amazing.

Even though it wasn’t the vacation I was dreaming of, I did come back feeling really refreshed and focused. I’m excited to get to work on our biggest project yet! We’ll be gutting our old dingy basement and making it awesome. It will change the way we use our house and I can’t wait! I’ve got a few other smaller projects in the works too – if only I had enough time for it all ;)

As it is with almost any project I take on around the house, it starts with inspiration. I can’t do it all willy–nilly like. A goal and vision are what help get me through a project, and keep me focused. I’m excited to share potential floor plans in an upcoming post – I can’t wait to share my ideas. Our hope is to transform the basement from 600 feet of unusable space into a fully functioning family hang zone with a living space, game area, storage, second bathroom and a laundry area.

I really hope when it’s all said and done it will be reminiscent of some of these interiors that I’m inspired by. We want a bright white space with floors to match, a grey sectional, tons of black and white accents, pillows and throws. The winter months aren’t my favorite time of year, but I do have a soft spot for that muted grey winter light thats only achievable during a Minnesota winter. I think that very specific soft light is a big reason behind my love of Scandinavian interiors. I really, really love them, and I think the basement would be the perfect place to let my ScandiLove rip.

Nordic Inspiration for a Basement Renovation

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Nordic Inspiration for a Basement Renovation

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5| 6

We’re going to be setting up meetings with contractors and design/build places in the coming weeks. If you live in the Twin Cities area and have any recommendations on basement pros please let me know about it! Thanks in advance bros!

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in Inspiration

Updating Electrical Components

Sconces from School House Electric
Hello pals, welcome back to the slowest makeover project in the world: our bedroom. It has been no blink-of-an-eye endeavor; it’s more like a slow-mo replay.

Over winter break I had to turn off the power a lot. My kids hate me now, as I cause the interruption of their shows and vid games and whatnots. I thought everything was battery powered these days, but apparently I was wrong. Whateves: these fans, sockets, switches and sconces weren’t going to update themselves, so those kids just had to learn how to deal.

Sconces from School House Electric
First, something not super electrical but it has power going to it from a cord I plug into the wall, so it counts. I installed two new sconces over the side table on either side of the bed. Do you see? They are the Isaac sconces from School House Electric and they are perfect. Schoolhouse reached out and hooked me up with a bit of a discount after I soullessly begged them on the internet for a deal – they fit right into the budget so I nabbed them up along with a covered cloth cord to run all the new electrical together. Can’t thank those guys enough for making awesome things and giving pitiful bloggers a helping hand.

Modern Ceiling Fan
Then, I did the thing that I’ve wanted to do for so long: I replaced the ceiling fans. It took me a lot of debate to pick a fan, mainly because there wasn’t one specific fan that I loved. I ended up going with these Futura Eco fans by Hampton Bay because the price was good and they look simple. Now that they’re installed, I think they’re pretty great and I’m really happy with the choice. I didn’t need a light or anything. We had lights on our old fans and we rarely turned them on. The install on these was a bear especially when you multiply it by two, but I’m happy that they are up and keeping things cool.

Modern Ceiling Fan

Upgrading outlets - replacing receptacles sockets and plate covers
I didn’t want to leave anything untouched so I also replaced the outlets. The old ones had about a million coats of paint on them and had seen better days. It only took a few minutes to switch them out for these new black receptacles. I repurposed some of the copper outlet covers from the kitchen renovation, I painted them black and I think they look sharp against the white walls.

Upgrading outlets - replacing switches with reproduction button switches and updating plate cover
Since I was in the business of having the power off, I also replaced the switches. When electricity was put into our house the switches were all buttons, we still have some in the hall, entry way and music room. I thought these would be nice as button switches too, and I ordered a set from House of Antique Hardware. Tyte, huh?

In other news, I’m totally headed to the tropical climate of Tulum Mexico tomorrow. Beyond stoked. After dealing with the SADZ last year there was no way we were enduring this winter without a trip. Send any restaurant or bar recommendations my way. Thanks to Grammy and Mudgy for staying with the kids while we party hardy in the sand and sun. See you on the flippity flip.

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in Around the House, Bedroom

Strippin’

Freshly Stripped Antique Door Hardware
Guys. Confession time: I think stripping paint off antique hardware is fun. It also comes with the added bonus of being one of the easiest ways to sponge every last bit of character out of your home – you know character, that thing that we all want our old homes and apartments to have? Forget fancy moldings and un-painted wood work. There’s lots of it hiding in all those badly painted and chipped door knobs, hinges, window pulls, (and locks) and other painted metal objects you might be finding all around yer house. This is one of the most oddly satisfying quick home improvements you can do if you’re living in an old space.

So come get weird with me, and try stripping the paint off those suckers just to see how it feels. I swear, you’re gonna like it.

Restoring Antique Hardware

Step 1:
Remove Hardware
A long time ago I stripped our bedroom door hardware, I’ve actually stripped everything in the house minus the stuff in the kids bedroom. I’ve also stripped all the hardware on the kitchen cabinets and now I’m moving on to the hinges in our master bedroom. The hardest part of this whole project might be getting the hardware removed from whatever sort of thing its attached to. Imma give you some tips to make this as simple as possible. Since I’m removing hinges it only seems right that I mention that you’ll want to take remove the pin from the hinge first, then remove the door before actually removing the hardware from the door. Also since I’m giving out tips here’s another one. Buy a husky reversible screwdriver. I love these things, I have five of them stashed all over my house.

Restoring Antique Hardware

Step 2:
Remove Hardware Some More
The only way you’re going to get those old flat head screws out is if you use direct firm pressure while slowly turning the screw. If you don’t chances are you’re gonna strip that screw. Do not use your drill or power driver, do it by hand. If you feel the screw head begin to strip, stop and try using a different size screwdriver head. If you have gunky painted over screws, make sure to clean them out with a utility knife before attempting to remove them. You heard it here first.
Step 3:
Remove Hardware Some More & More
Got your screws out? Now you’re ready to score around the hardware with a utility knife as to not damage surrounding paint.

Restoring Antique Hardware

Step 4:
Making Hardware Stew
Place the hardware in a crockpot or pot on the stove (including screws) or on a low heat on a stove top. I use an old canning pot that I picked up at the hardware store for a couple bucks. It is exclusively my paint-strippin-pot. Cover the hardware with water and add a couple teaspoons of liquid soap or laundry detergent to the mix.

P.S. don’t use a pot you might ever want to cook in again.

Step 5:
Cleaning off the Paint
Once the hardware has has a few hours to cook, remove it carefully from the pot (its hot so use gloves). Then gently scrape off the remaining paint with a nylon brush or the soft side of a sponge. I usually bathe my hardware twice because there are usually multiple layers of paint and stubborn stuck on spots.

Restoring Antique Hardware

Step 6:
Polish or Paint
If you hardware comes out clean polish it with beeswax to protect the surface, reapply yearly. I did this with my door hardware and it looks tyte, but my door hinges were a little worse for wear. The brass was scratched so I decided to give it a spritz of flat black spray paint. My favorite brand is the Rust-o-leum paint and primer in one. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the real-deal reproduction oil rubbed bronze finish, verses the spray paint over rutty, scratched brash finish. You can’t even tell, bros.

Also, there are chemicals that you can bathe your brass or bronze hardware in to give it that dark patina. They sell it over at House of Antique Hardware it will probably do the job even better, I however am impatient and I like the way spray paint smells.

psst, I had to buy a set of reproduction hardware. The closet door hinges had been replaced with modern hinges at some point. They’re the only hinges in the house that don’t match, and they were installed with phillips screws, two dead give aways that they were not the O-ridge. I ordered up some reproductions from House of Antiques Hardware. Have you visited that site yet? I love it there.

Step 6 and a half:
Touch Up Paint
If you want to be real anal like me, you would go to your basement, shed or garage, dig out your can of trim paint and touch that shit up right about now. It probably needs it! You don’t want to spend all that time making your hardware look amazing and leave your trim hanging.
Step 7:
Install Hardware
Install your purty new hardware and enjoy all that GD character.

Freshly Stripped Antique Door Hardware

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in Around the House, DIY, Tutorial

Go Jump in a Lake and Stuff

Lake Minnetonka Polar Plunge
Hello bros, and Happy New Year! I missed you dudes.

I just took a three week breather from the old blog and I’m not gonna lie, it felt pretty great! I really needed that time to prepare for the holidays and enjoy a bit of R&R with friends and fam. I hope you all had happy and safe holidays and NYs celebraishes too!

We celebrate the New Year the same way we always do, a few of my pals jump into a freezing Minnesota lake, on a freezing New Year’s morning – and I watch them. Then we drink and eat a lot.

Lake Minnetonka Polar Plunge
I’m really looking forward to getting back to house projects and blogging in the coming weeks and months. I’ve almost finished up this bedroom makeover thingy – I swear. I’ll have more to share with you on that real soon and hopefully a reveal by the end of the month. Also we (the old man and I) are starting plans for a basement renovation (coming this spring) and I’ll be sharing all the dirty details with you as they begin to be realized. I’m really excited about all the possibilities for that space.

Anyway, there is stuff going on and many home projects to look forward to – hopefully it’s enough to painlessly make it through these coming winter months. Also, I got a bunch of tools for Christmas and am looking excited to put them to use ;)

Lake Minnetonka Polar Plunge

Lake Minnetonka Polar Plunge

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in My Life