help haiti, have fun

Tonight you can have a blast and satisfy your benificient side by heading over to Big Poppa's Bar and Grill (corner of Fairmount and Streeper). Featured in Baltimore Magazine's "On The Town" nightlife blog (go patterson park!), this benefit is sure to draw a good crowd of neighbors and outsiders alike.

Here is the scoop:
Starting at 6:30 p.m., Big Poppa's will donate all of its profits to the American Red Cross's Haiti Relief and Development Fund. Coordinated by one of our own, the fundraiser will also offer free food and entertainment as well as a presentation by David Bersh, of whom I blogged a few days back.

A $5 minimum donation is suggested, but you can also give a lil' more and get some great raffle tickets! So come on out, bring your checkbook and a big heart. See you there!

love k

winter home project: laundry/powder room make-over

I am fortunate enough to have a home with both a first floor powder room (hurrah! guests can come over and my bathroom can be a mess!) AND laundry room above the bowels of my house (aka the basement). Only thing is that they share the same space on my first floor... tough.

Taking a trip back through time, I should tell you how it looked when I bought my house. Unfortunately, the only photo I have is from the listing when I bought my house, and only shows you the door to the bathroom (though it does give you an opportunity to see how truly horrendous the entire house looked). But this feature is noteworthy since, oh, IT IS ACTUALLY A SALOON DOOR:

[Photo]I mean, really? You want people seeing your feet while you're in the powder room? Unbelievable. So you can imagine what it was like. When I rehabbed my house, a coat of paint and some white tiles freshened it up...a bit... But the sink is still miniature, the washer and dryer were old and fritzy, and the IKEA storage cabinet is a bit worse for the ware after three moves and seven years. Hmm. I imagine this is a plight with which many of us have battled - things aren't ideal but they'll do for now, right?

But then my washing machine stopped draining and spinning. And soon after my dryer lost the ability to sense how dry clothes are - one day you might pull out a soaking wet sweater and have to run the cycle TOW MORE TIMES to make it work, and the next morning you might, say, awake to find the dryer still roaring from last night's laundry. Whoah. Talk about a waste of water and energy...

So, a trip to sears and some fantastic negotiating later (truly, people, I got a major deal. Go to Sears. Work with Mac. He's the nicest man ever), I bought these and stacked them:

So now I have room to get a normal size sink some storage for detergent, etc and a good looking mirror...maybe something like this:

It's all a work in progress and a big ol' mess now, but I'll keep you posted with photos and such. My deadline is the spring home tour so I have to get on it!

What are you working on at home these days?

love k

new tavern coming to three...'s location?

I got a tip that a new sign was in the window at Three... so I stopped over as soon as I got home and snapped a photo - anyone heard of or recognize this tavern? Looks like the sign has been moved from another location as an "R" has come loose, but would read Bender's Tavern.

There is a Bender's Tavern on Bond street in Fells Point...not sure if they're related. Anyone know anything about this?

love k

swings, smiles, sunsets and a celebrity patterson parker

Just a few things to make you smile this Friday evening while you unwind for the particular order, no particular theme, just goodness:

I took my niece to the swings in the playground across the street the other day, and it was awesome. When was the last time you let a simple pleasure fill you so fully?

Rush hour ain't so bad when it's Friday and the sun and clouds add up to this image against downtown:

I nominated one of our very own for Baltimore Magazine's Top Singles and she won! Congrats, Amina - now we all have printed proof that our neighborhood has some real catches :). You'll find the full article and list in this month's Baltimore Magazine, along with a feature article on the best employers in Baltimore (and they're all hiring - and THAT is some good news!)

Have a save, restful, warm, fun weekend, Patterson Park!

love k

block buds unite to make taste buds happy

Need something Spring-y on this gray day? In the same vein as my post about indoor home projects to keep you busy this winter, here is one to get your outside ready to rock, and your summer and fall table bountiful. If your back yard is anything like mine, there isn't exactly room for a full seasonal vegetable, fruit, and herb garden - you have to pick and choose. But then you end up with an unmanageable amount of rosemary, and more sage than anyone could ever need. Peppers and tomatoes are awesome but they all seem to ripen in waves...hmmm....

So while at a neighbors the other evening, I got to talking about herbs and flowers and he mentioned that he'd had an enormous crop of mint. Mint! I forgot mint last year! While adding it to mental thing-to-plant list, I had a though: Why not try to divvy up herbs etc over a few different households? A sort of uber-local
CSA of sorts. Not only could you get an AWESOME variety of veggies, berries and herbs that you alone could not produce, but it might also do some nice neighborhood bonding along the way. Why not do a monthly pot-luck alley BBQ where you try to use the literal fruits of your labors?

Between a CSA, block CSA and the farmers market, you could really keep things local and delicious this summer!
Make some friends, eat fresh food, share the work...what's not to love? So get out there and meet your neighbors and start brainstorming what you can bring to the table.

love k

good things for bad weather

Late January gives me a big case of cabin fever - the novelty of cold weather has long worn off, the holidays are a distant memory, and the rest of winter still stretches endlessly onward. The feeling I get is really best described as "ants in my pants," with a constant agitation to get out and DO something or MAKE something. As someone who isn't much for TV watching (though I DO love a good Law & Order marathon as background to blogging!), I just get wild for a good home project.*

I am sure lots of you start feeling the same, so I thought I'd share a few easy, low-skill projects to take one to spruce up your house while you're stuck in it for the next few months. Depending on your personal penchant for cleaning, organizing, and styling you may find some of these more appealing than others. Use them as jump off points - maybe you'll be inspired to offer your home for the home tour?

  • Kitchen - These row houses leave many people begging for more storage in the kitchen. But take a moment to think: when was the last time you really got in there are organized things? Probably not since you moved in, and at that point you didn't have a good sense of how you'd be using the space! Over a weekend you could reassess your kitchen plan - what do you use regularly vs. rarely? Could you put some specialty bakeware/counter-top appliances in the basement and free up space? How about your pantry? Are there outdated spices or ingredients that could be past their prime? Some air-tight containers and a labeling machine could come in handy to create an organized cupboard of dry ingredients (IKEA has some great cheap options). Tackle the fridge/freezer with a good cleaning and restock on basics. Voila! Cooking is a pleasure
  • Living Room - If you're anything like me, it's easy to find that cupboards and shelves on the first floor can quickly become squirrel holes where small items and loose papers get quickly stuffed before company comes over, never to be seen again. Get in there and do a clean sweet, and chances are you'll find 2 things you really missed and 20 you can toss. Check our your walls, too - could you use a nice picture on the wall? Ebay and Etsy can be great places to find unique prints, and IKEA is GREAT for cheap frames that still look sharp.
  • Bathroom - You'd be AMAZED how far two new, fluffy, white towels and a matching bath mat go. Add in an attractive soap dispenser, small flowering plant on the sill, and a diffuser and you'll be AWESTRUCK. But while you're in there, go the whole hog and just pull everything out of the drawers and cupboards - just do it(I pulled out FOUR plastic bags' worth of junk two weeks ago). Old meds, expired make-up, half used body wash, the eight types of shampoo in your shower you kinda don't want anymore...toss it. And, oh my! What a lot of room there suddenly is ! It's positively spa-like, isn't it?
  • Bedroom - Ah, my personal favorite and room in which I just did a little transforming myself! Your bedroom should be your retreat, and the less stuff you have, the more serene you will feel. Declutter, declutter, declutter! Invest in some nice shelves, or baskets for the closet, but just get your bedroom free of excess stuff. Next, transform: does your bed cry out for a nice new duvet and pillow shams? I think crisp white linens and fluffy pillows paired with a bright, cheerful cover are just lovely. Lots of great sales these days, too. Compliment your bed with bedside tables (bit of an investment - strangely expensive as I recently found out!) an lamps. I personally like lamps that are similar but different - it adds just a touch of asymmetry that I find attractive.

I just completed a project of my very own tonight, of which I am totally proud. Several months ago I purchased two Mexican wrought-iron lamps from In Watermelon Sugar (Hampden) but didn't like, nor wish to pay for, the wall sconces with which they had paired them. Two months passed and nothing had struck my fancy. Then when at Home Depot (Dundalk) to buy my new lamps (my side - feminine, N's side - more manly), I figured I might as well look at their plant hooks. And voila! SUCH a cute one but all the wrong color and finish....but a coat of primer and a couple more of a flat black pulled the whole thing together. Two dark candles, some superb drilling by N, and ooo la la, do I ever LOVE my "new" bedroom!

Have you had any great home projects lately?

love k

*While I was forced to take on a BIG one earlier this month, thanks to an explosion of water through every light fixture, floor board, wall and inch of crown molding, it wasn't really something that was enjoyable to deal with since it was way out of my area of expertise...Long crazy story I'll tell anyone who asks! I'd like to take a moment to comment on how truly wonderful Allstate was, though. I could not have asked for better service and I really do mean that - I imagine you all are assuming there is dripping sarcasm but no!

open your hearts to haiti

With the recent earthquake and subsequent turmoil in Haiti, there has been a tremendous outpouring of financial support. If you're still looking for organization through which to give, consider looking into David Bersch's (from!) sister's organization that helps Haitian orphans. St. Josephs is, from all that I have read and heard, a true beacon for youth in need, offering a safe place and hope for their future. It is now St. Joseph's that needs help so that they can continue their good work.

While there are countless wonderful organizations out there doing fantastic work, consider giving to an organization to which many of us in Patterson Park have a connection through David.
For more information, read the recent TIME Magazine article; I imagine you, too, will feel a desire to help these kids. The St. Joseph's family has temporarily moved to a rental property due to the destruction their facility has faced. Rebuilding will be a long road and we can help!

love k

we're at it again for home tour 2010!

Were you at last year's Patterson Park Spring Home Tour? How awesome was it?! Well, it was so awesome that we're doing it again with nine new houses and a new slogan - "Patterson Park Home Tour: We're Blossoming!" Like it? You better because that is my little brain child there, people!

But we ARE blossoming in so many ways, with new home owners buying in, residents starting up renovations projects to invest in their properties, greening projects, alley gating, block projects, grant proposals... you name it, we're working on it.

So while our flowers and trees may not be blossoming
just yet, they'll catch up with the rest of us by Home Tour 2010. So save the date! May 8th! Are you interested in helping out by opening your home or volunteering? Let me know ( - I'll be needing help!

love k

who will be in the cdc?

The former Patterson Park Community Development Corporation headquarters on the corner of Linwood and Baltimore is set to hit the auction block on January 29th at 10 a.m. (on the premise). I, for one, plan to be there.

With such a prominent spot in the heart of our neighborhood, I am sure we're all a touch apprehensive of what will come of that space. With a great restaurant space on the first floor, two double-wide levels of office space and a fantastic roof deck, this property could be used as a fantastic addition to foster continued growth in our neighborhood. Let's hope the winning bidder is someone with the heart, hands, and honesty to make that happen - I know we're all ready and willing to offer support!

Some stats on the building:
  • Three-Levels
  • Commercial Designation
  • Approximately 4,869 sq. ft. Gross Building Area
  • The building is divided into two units (1st floor restaurant - approx 1,800 sq ft; 2nd/3rd floor office space - approx 3,069 aggregate sq ft)
  • A deposit in the amount of $75,000 will be required of the purchaser at the time of sale
Members of our neighborhood have been brainstorming restaurants that may be intersted in opening another location, businesses that could be good additions and investors that could consider the purchase. With only a week and a half to go, take a moment to think if you might know anyone who would be a conscientious investor ready to work in our neighborhood. The possibilities for positive impact are endless!

love k

Three...strikes out?

As everyone has noticed by now, our beloved neighborhood restaurant Three... is with us no more. I thought it would be a good opportunity to dry our tears and try something new. So! Without further ado, a list of my honest-to-goodness favorite spots within a one-mile radius of my front door:

1. Annabelle Lee Tavern - The whole Poe thing is just totally rad. Don't let the exterior fool you - everything inside is straight up lovely, from the food to the service.

2. Peter's Inn - Get there early or be prepared to wait. But so worth it, with a weekly changing menu of seasonal specialties.

3. Dipasquales - My mouth waters just saying the name. It's like the most amazing deli, corner grocer, and gourmet caterer rolled in to one adorable house. Go there. Immediately.

4. Mamma's on the Half Shell - Great for lunch or dinner, drinks with friends, or brunch with the fam. Large portions will never leave you hungry. Make sure you try the Orange Crush in summer!

5. Rosina Gourmet - Awesome lunch spot, and I LOVED their recent appearance on Groupon! For you harbor east workers, new spot coming soon in the Bagby Building! (If this was with a 1+ mile radius, I would be including Bagby Pizza FOR SURE!)

6. Bonaparte Breads- Fantastic espresso drinks and out of this world sweet treats, best enjoyed overlooking the water and Thames Street. Their breads are also fantastic...I especially recommend the whole wheat boule

7. Hudson Street Stackhouse - Gotta admit, I haven't actually eaten here, but love the bar vibe for a low-key catch up evening with friends. Neat Cannon Co. paraphernalia on the walls, so check it out before you start drinking!

8. Tutti Gusti - Oh, the pizza! This side of town, you'll find the best pizza here hands down (try the soup, too!)

9. Yellow Dog Tavern - slick bar downstairs, classy dining room upstairs. All yum, no stuffiness. Also love their brunch on weekends.

10. Patterson Perk - Grab a coffee and take a stroll around the Park! Or snuggle up on the couch with a borrowed book from their little library. This place exudes "neighborhood friendly" of my favorite friends and I have started meeting for knitting and coffee once a month here!

So those are some of my personal fav's around the 21224 and 21231. What about you guys? Where are you going to start hanging out to fill our lil' local void?

love k

lean, green, public transportation machine!

By now you've probably seen one of the new Charm City Circulator (CCC) buses around town, and boy do they look slick! With the snappy slogan "Fast. Friendly. Free!" the fleet of 21 buses debuted about a week ago with the commencement of 3 different routes - Orange (go Orioles!), Purple (yeah, Ravens!), and Green (here's one for the environment!), each arriving at various stops every ten minutes. Ten minutes! Free! There are high hopes that this will ultimately lead to higher use of public transportation, lower congestion, decreased air pollution and more smiles all around.

And if that isn't enough, the fleet is entirely comprised of DesignLine 2009 EcoSaver IV LF Hybrid Electric vehicles— in other words, they're low emission and that's something we can all get behind these days. The Mayor (though her days may now be numbered) has introduced this anti-pollution piublic transportation posse as part of the
Cleaner, Greener Baltimore Initiative.

Unfortunately, the CCC doesn't currently come over to our neck of the woods, but if you're up for a little westward walk, you can pick up the Green line on Broadway. Additionally, the CCC is integrating with a new
Water Taxi Harbor Connector from Maritime Park to Tide Point and Canton Waterfront Park to Tide Point from 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. Monday through Friday (the CCC runs 7 days a week).

Have you had a chance to check out the new buses? What did you think? Oh, that one day they head just a tad farther East to us in Patterson Park!

love k