parties at the pool

Two days ago I decided to go to the Patterson Park Pool for a nice evening swim. It was perfect pool weather - hot and sunny but not so sticky as to be unpleasant outside, and it being six o'clock I figured it wouldn't be too crowded. So off we set, towels in hand, a skip in our step, and $1.50 to get us in the door. When we got near, we could see that the baby pool was pretty crowded - tots running through the sprinkler arcs and wading in the shallows. Parents chatted and corralled running children. All in all, it was a sweet little scene in the baby pool. The big pool, however, was empty, save for three older kids. Perfect!

Well, it turns out that
the Downtown Baltimore Family Alliance had rented out the whole pool for the afternoon and evening for their annual pool party. While I was really disappointed (big pool! empty!!), I have to say it looked like a pretty good time was being had by the DBFA'ers. A moon bounce was set up in the back corner of the grass, lots of balloons and decorations around the baby pool and tables set up with what I found out was catered food! That's right, dinner was provided by Chipotle, drinks by Water for Chocolate, and hard-served ice cream in a variety of flavors from Taharka Brothers, all free of charge to DBFA members.

Morals of the story:

1. If you have kids, you really ought to join DBFA and start taking advantage of these great events. If you don't, well, you'll get left outside the fence staring forlornly at an empty pool and a spread of food. Or at least that is what I did. *sigh*

2. Who knew you could rent out the whole pool for the afternoon and evening!! Maybe we should look into a giant neighborhood association pool party and bbq? Perhaps following a follow-up Highlandtown vs. Patterson Park double-header....?

love k

television cameras coming to a home near you!

Our neighbor Corey has spent the last year or so renovating his home with his girlfriend's help, transforming his muralled, plane-jane Patterson Park rowhouse into a beautiful gem of a home. We're talking major work here, folks - tearing down walls to expose brick, re-running electrical, framing and dry walling galore, redesigning the kitchen, and myriad other projects I would never even pretend to be able to do myself. But lucky for us, they've done them, blogged about them and taken beautiful pictures to boot. So it's no surprise that HGTV is recognizing their awesome work and coming to our neighborhood in early July to film one of their rooms for the show "Bang For Your Buck."


(Both photos c/o BaltimoreRowhouse)

In case you haven't heard of the show, here's the synopsis from HGTV's site:
"Bang For Your Buck has the concrete answers on remodeling value and how to get the most out of any renovation budget. In each episode, three homeowners from the same city renovate the same room of the house with the same budget. After the renovation, experts determine the value of each home, dramatically revealing whose remodeling choices were good investment decisions."

If you haven't read Corey's blog, brush up in the coming weeks and then be sure to tune in when the Baltimore episode airs - you might even find yourself inspired to do a few sweat-equity projects yourself. Just be sure to call in the pros when you reach the end of your know-how.

Congrats, Corey!

love k

they came, we swung, we conquered

Oh, what a day! Despite torrential rains, sodden fields, and threats of lightning, we went ahead with our scheduled softball game against Highlandtown on Saturday and actually ended up with some sunshine at the last minute! With a 2 o'clock game-time, I hosted a pre-game Bloody Mary party to get the team fired up and ready to play. With bagels (Thanks Marisa!), cheesey croissants, fruit salad and beverages flowing, we distributed shirts (look how great they turned out - thanks Matt!), and played some tunes.

Puppy wanted to play, but as you can see his shirt didn't quite fit - he cheered from the sidelines instead.

A pre-game toast and rally in my living room!

When game-time came around we ventured across puddles, sinkholes and mud pits to get warmed up and size up our competition. And competition it was! Highlandtown definitely brought their a-game on Saturday, keeping us all on our toes (muddy toes though they were).

Our fans seemed to have a good time, too!

We even had our friends from Three... come check us out and cheer us on:

With plenty of cheering from the sidelines, we battled it out inning after inning, with coach Joe keeping the score, and Jen keeping the style:
With Councilman Jim Kraft (also a Patterson Park resident) as our umpire, the double-header delivered a loss to Patterson Park in game one, and a win in game two. A couple disputed calls were resolved with a pre-determined method: a chug-off at homeplate.

With an overall tie, the final win went to Patterson Park after a close chug-spin-run relay:

We ended the day with both teams patronizing each other's neighborhood bar, with everyone heading first to Three...Restaurant and then The Laughing Pint. While we may have claimed victory this time, I hope we organize a follow up game soon, because really the whole game was a win for everyone - good times outside with old and new friends and neighbors. Thanks, Highlandtown, for a great game and a fun day!

love k

hitting 'em outta the park

What are you doing this Saturday? Because I'll tell you where I'll be, and where you should be, too: The Patterson Park vs. Highlandtown Softball Face-Off Double-Header!

That's right - we're taking on our neighboring neighborhood in a fun (but legitimately competitive - our street cred’ is on the line here, people!) softball showdown on Saturday.

The rules have been set, the team shirts ordered, and neighborhood spirit building. So come on out and show your Patterson Park pride - wear green and yellow, bring the kids, bring the dog, just make sure you're there. And if it's raining? Oh, we're playing on - a little mud can't make the Patterson Parkers forfeit! To quote Joe, our team captain: "Dude, we're playing softball even if it hails on us, even if there is a snowstorm and a tornado, we're playing softball." THAT'S the spirit I'm looking for.

After the game we'll either celebrate our domination or nurse our wounded egos at Three... Restaurant, so if you miss the game or get scared by the rain make sure to come out for the post-game party.

When: Saturday, June 20th at noon
Where: Patterson Park, on the field closest to the Linwood Ave/Baltimore St entrance
What to bring: Cheers, sneers, beverages and some peanuts.

love k

top nine over time

Forgive the absence, dear friends and neighbors, but you all know how life has ways of taking up time. However, I've been making a list in my head for days of the...

Top Nine Reasons I Have Confidence In Patterson Park's Longterm Stability
(or, Why Patterson Park Will Keep Rockin' It)
  1. Location - Positioned right between Bay View and Hopkins Medical Center, Patterson Park is the perfect neighborhood to call home for students, doctors, nurses and support staff alike. Now if only we could add another shuttle stop...
  2. Housing Stock - With houses in our neighborhood running the gambit from cute little one bedrooms to 6 bedroom park-front stunners, there's something for students and families alike. As people outgrow their starter home, they can make a move-up purchase without leaving the neighborhood.
  3. Diversity - Our neighborhood is home to people of myriad races, ethnicities, nationalities, economic backgrounds and lifestyles, all of which make our community stronger and will continue to help us grow for years to come
  4. Comparative Prices - While I'm confident our neighborhood's value will increase in years to come, it will most likely remain a more affordable choice than water-front neighborhoods such as Canton, Fells Point and Harbor East, attracting young families, fist time buyers, and other cohorts looking for affordable housing.
  5. Active Association - The Patterson Park Neighborhood Association is one of the best organized and most proactive our city has. With a core of hard-working volunteers, the PPNA continues to pursue grants and public support for community building and strengthening projects, which will only continue to better our neighborhood for years to come as more members join.
  6. More Babies - Have you noticed that increase of babies and children living in the area? I sure have, and it's a great sign that people are boht moving into and staying in the neighborhood once they have children. More children mean more families, greater investment, and increasing stability.
  7. Schools - Out neighborhood has seen the addition of some great education options in recent years, such as the Patterson Park Public Charter School (PPPCS) and Patterson Park Montessori. See #6 for why this is awesome news.
  8. Continued Investment and Growth - Continuing and upcoming development in our area indicate a future of growth and prosperity. The recent announcement of the redevelopment of the old Highlandtown Middle School building by Focus Development shows that our neighborhood is still attractive to investors. And while the market is still playing catch-up with the glut of rehabs in our area, it means there our neighborhood presents attractive housing options for buyers now as well as in the future.
  9. The Park - Finally, we have 155 acres of park in the middle of our neigbhborhood! Well-kept fields, basketball and tennis courts, ice-skating, sports leagues, a name it, Patterson Park has it. Additionally, The Friends of Patterson Park and the Patterson Park Audubon Society work hard to keep the park clean and green, while also providing educational opportunities to keep people informed and active in what we all know is "The Best Backyard in Baltimore."
So the next time you're feeling frustrated that your property values are dropped since you bought here, or a rat eats your mint and parsley (don't get me started...), keep your chin up and remind yourself how lucky you are to call Patterson Park home today, because we've got a very bright tomorrow ahead of us.

love k

three... + you = 2

No, my math skills aren't lacking, and I'm not saying that you equal a negative integer. Rather, our neighborhood restaurant Three... threw a birthday party today to celebrate their second anniversary. To thank the neighborhood for its continued support, Three... stayed open after its regular Sunday brunch hours and served up some delicious (free!) food.

Now for the details: In a sort of "blast from the past" gesture, the buffet showcased some of Three...'s earlier small plates, such as involtini (delicious tuna rolls), tomato sandwiches (two thick slices of green tomatoes sandwiching ham and cheese, then deep fried. Oh my!), and shrimp cakes. Lots of party goers were sipping Mojitos and Thai Lemonades, as well as beers on tap. Just as the food ran out, I busted out the big pink strawberry birthday cake I'd made earlier in the day (thanks to a heck of a lot of farmers market strawberries in the cake and cream cheese frosting, it was dee-lish - or so I was told since we ran out before I snagged a piece!). With food and drinks flowing, dozens of partiers spilled out to the outdoor tables to enjoy the gorgeous weather. If you weren't there, boy did you miss out on a great party; just check out some pictures I snapped and see for yourself:

Perfect examples of what we affectionately call "'hood love"!:

The lovely, talented chefs - Thanks! And congrats on the engagement!

Ooo! And some cake photos...Just look at that cream cheese frosting with strawberries, and how it matches my kitchenaid perfectly ;-)

The cake said "Happy Birthday" in lime green. I wanted to take a big ol' bite out of the side before cutting it... and then finally posed for a real photo:

It's easy to take it for granted, but this restaurant has provided such a strong core for our neighborhood; in many ways, we've come to see it as an extension of our own living rooms - somewhere to come to celebrate occasions, share news, mourn losses, unwind from work, or just have some delicious food and drinks. So really, thank YOU, Three..., for all that you continue to do to make our neighborhood such a great place to call home. Here's to many more birthday parties!

Even Puppy enjoyed himself - in fact, he gave the whole affair a standing ovation:

love k