Life Without Internet or Cable

This picture has nothing to do with the post. I just really like it.

A few months ago, Feraz and I tried to implement a no-internet from 8-10 rule. We wanted to do this to help reduce screen time and encourage more conversation and fun times. It felt to me that Feraz would come home from work and we would exchange some words here and there but we spent virtually all of our time in front of our computers or watching TV together.
We tried the ban for a few weeks but with varied schedules, guests popping in or having places to go, the 8-10 ban wasn’t practical and we abandoned it after a short while. Even as we both went back to the internet, we lamented that we didn’t like being so attached to screens.
While we were discussing where we would place furniture in the new place, Feraz suggested we keep the TV out of the main room and not get cable at the new place. I thought not having a TV in the family room was a great idea and quickly agreed.
A few days later, I had an idea to take things a step further. I asked Feraz, “What if we don’t have internet as well?”
Feraz seemed a little skeptical but after thinking about it for a few moments, he agreed. We figured we would have a library close by, so we could use that for internet and we could always use our phones to look up directions, places to eat or do quick email check-ins.
This way, we could still benefit from the internet but we would completely eliminate mindless browsing and facebook black holes.
After about five minutes into moving to our new place, Feraz started talking about missing the interent. The first few days were tough on him but pretty soon he stopped missing the internet. I, shockingly, did not miss the internet at all. I went from obsessively reading 10-15 blogs, doing all my shopping online and spending too many hours to admit on facebook to just using my phone every now and then and I loved it.
We have now been internet/cable-free for 21 days. Our goal was to go without these things for one month and then decide if we wanted to stick with it.
The most obvious advantage for me has been that I have been reading more. Since moving to the new place, I have read What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures, The 19th Wife, The Toss of a Lemon, Detroit: An American Autopsy, TheThousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet and This is a Book by Demetri Martin. That is more books than I read in all of winter!
I have also felt much more creative since going internet/cable-free. The ideas and words for stories come much more freely now. I find myself using my imagination frequently. I get a lot more done during the day and Feraz and  I are spending so much more quality time together.
I don’t think the internet and cable are terrible things. I love TV. There are so many great shows on and I do miss watching some of my regulars. There are also times in the evening when I just want to put in an old episode of the Office and let my mind just relax. We especially miss finding things to watch on Netflix or Amazon Prime. But by having to think about what we want to watch and going and getting the DVD in advance, I find that I now get much more enjoyment out of watching a movie.
Overall, at this point in the experiment, we think that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.  I will let you guys know if we decide to go back to having internet or cable and what prompted that decision. What about you? Would you ever consider cutting out internet or TV or both? Have you already?

House Tour Number Two

We moved!

The move was relatively painless. We used Bookstore Movers and they did an amazing job. They showed up at a little after 8 am and by 11 am, we were sitting in Kebab Palace having lunch, with all our furniture and boxes safely tucked away in our new place.

I’ll tell you all more about the new place soon but lets take a tour of the house we just left.

After I was mugged, Feraz and I wanted to move to the safest place we could find in DC. One day I was parousing Craigslist and saw what looked like the perfect apartment. I immediately contacted the lister and within a few hours, we were standing outside the house waiting to see the place.

Feraz always warns me to not show my reaction to a place so we have negotiating power. Sadly, as soon as I walked in, I said, “I love it! We’ll take it.” It was such a beautiful space on one of the best streets in Georgetown. I loved the layout and how it felt like you were walking into a home, not an apartment. As much as I loved this place, I learned a lot more about what I didn’t want in an apartment than I expected.

Lets start with the living room. The living room had two things that most people traditionally like in a home; a fireplace and skylights. We ended up only using the fireplace once (although that was to make s’mores so it was one time well used). So, although I liked how it looked aesthetically, I realize now that not having fireplaces in the house will not be a relevant consideration for us.

As for the skylights… I curse the skylights! They made the home so energy inefficient. When one service woman came to our house to help figure out why it was so cold all the time, she learned that the temperature was ten degrees cooler at the top of the room opposed to the bottom of the room. Since the vents were high up in this room, the heat was literally being sucked right out of the house. In the summer, the skylights made the family room unbearable. It would get so hot and no amount of cranking up the AC would help. So, if they are not put in correctly, skylights can be a huge problem. I am sure there is better technology available for the glass or that you could get remote controlled blinds for the skylights but to me it just isn’t worth it!
Like our last place, this apartment had 2.5 baths. I love this and am of the mindset the more bathrooms the better! I liked that the powder room for guests generally stayed clean and we never had to worry about having guests show up at any time. Feraz used the guest bedroom bathroom and I used the bathroom attached to our own bedroom. We both had our own space and could always get ready without bumping into each other. I loved this and it is going to be a huge adjustment to have just ONE bathroom at the new place.

The master bedroom in this home was ridiculous. It was certainly an impressive room to walk into when we saw the house but there is no reason that this room shouldn’t have been broken into two bedrooms. It was such a waste of space! Because of how the windows and closets were placed, we had few options with regards to placing the furniture. There was a lot of dead space and even if it was better laid out to accommodate more furniture, I don’t really see the point of putting a bunch of couches and seats in your bedroom. (This might change once we have kids. I guess you might want your own space more then? I doubt it would matter then, either.)

This is a huge bedroom set but looks so dwarfed in this huge room!

The guest bedroom was great. It was a much smaller size and Feraz spent a lot of time watching soccer in here. Since it was smaller, it was actually the warmest room in the house so when our heater broke this winter, we spent a lot of time in here.

For me, a dining area is a must. Even if it were just a small table on the side of a room, I need a place in the home dedicated to eating food. Here, we sectioned off part of the living room to create a dining room.

After having a great big kitchen at the old place, I was a little nervous about having a galley kitchen. Especially since we both love to cook and I bake all the time. The kitchen was amazing! The cabinets were so well laid out and I had just as much storage space as the first apartment. Since the kitchen was small, it was always easy to quickly grab whatever I needed. So, I learned that more than a big kitchen, you just need a well designed kitchen.

Overall, this apartment was a showstopper in one sense but definitely not the right long-term place for us. On to the next one!
There are some more detailed pictures of the place after the jump.

tea station 
the backyard view
wide window sills
i loved watching the many stages of the moon through the huge windows
tea station 
hutch details
one of my favorite bowls from turkey
rudimentary filing system
never-used cook books

House Tour – 21B Quincy

We are getting ready for move number three in three years in DC! The week passed quickly with getting boxes, organizing drawers and packing everything up.

I have always meant to do house tours on here but never quite got around it. Better late than never? The first place we lived in DC definitely had its charms. The place was newly renovated and everything was shiny, fresh and modern. It was a beautiful row house that was broken into two homes. We lived on the top two floors and had a whopping three bedrooms and two and a half baths. If we could have bought it, we may have ended up staying there but eventually we decided to move. We didn’t feel safe walking around in the evenings, there wasn’t a grocery store close by and once I got mugged walking to the metro, we knew it was time to move on.

Although we had to leave, we have so many great memories from our first place. We had the best property manager, Makeda, and neighbors that were so sweet and brought us a welcome card and present when we moved in. Here are some pictures of our first place in DC, 21B Quincy, and some notes on what we learned about what we want and don’t want in a place. Sadly, we have no pictures of the upstairs! What a shame!

We spent almost all of our time in the family room or the kitchen. When we finally buy a place, we will make sure that these two rooms are where most of the square footage is spent. Some people like big bedrooms but we realized that we only use our bedrooms for sleeping. No need to waste space there!

We had some good height on these ceilings which made the apartment feel pretty open even though it was a narrow row house. When you have a really large family room, the best bet is to break the space up into separate seating areas. A blogger I love recently did a great job discussing how to tackle that design challenge.
I created this second little reading nook that we used pretty sparingly. It was a good place to sit down and have a cup of tea and watch what the neighbors were doing but it was under-utilized space. This time around I would probably put a desk to work at here.

We had a wonderful open kitchen/dining space. I loved all the new appliance and counter-space. Again, I don’t think this design was the most space efficient as you had a lot of room to the right where nothing was going on. You can’t see it here but the counter curves around and we had some great bar stools there. You could sit at the bar stools and easily chat to whoever was slaving away in the kitchen. I think an island or a bar are a must in any kitchen.

I loved our alley. We had a parking space out back which we didn’t use but was nice for guests. I never thought about wide window ledges but we had them on every window on this house and they were great for putting trinkets on. This is definitely an addition I would like in any house we move into. Does anyone else feel like they are in a romance novel whenever they see a room with window seats?

Here is a shot of one of many, many brunches we had in this dining room. It was great to open the door and get some fresh air when the weather was nice. A detailed view of our large art below!

We love our books.
I saw Young House Love use these frames for a large wall and I loved the impact they have. They are 20×20 and when you put 9 of them together, you get the impact of a really large piece of art for just few hundred dollars. I definitely recommend this if you are looking for a budget friendly project for a large wall.

This hutch is my favorite piece in our house. I found it on Craigslist right before we moved to DC and went and paid for the guy to hold it until we moved here a few weeks later. So glad I did! It is a great statement piece and makes me happy whenever I look at it.
Look at that lonely egg. The best part of any home is sharing lots and lots of great meals with people you care about.
And even better than that is breakfast for two!
Hope you enjoyed! Look out for pictures of our Georgetown apartment and the new place soon!