Community Food & Exercise

Ohio Valley Veggie Eaters

St. Clairsville Farmers Market was last night. I hear that last week, a very rainy Tuesday, was the best business day ever for most of the farmers there. I guess everyone wanted to play outside with their umbrellas. It is like the phenomenon I heard about while at school in talking to a professor from Finland. At ‘first snow’, everyone goes to get a coffee to stand outside. I looked up Finland and coffee just now to find that Finns drink on average 8 cups of coffee a day! That is my kind of place.

So, in the sunny weather yesterday we didn’t have to dodge the crowds or the rivers like last week. We bought bread, were given bread by another baker, purchased more sorrell (yum!), wax beans, yellow plums, peppers and dilly beans. Then, I came home and took a picture of it all on my table.

Oh yes, blueberries too that I later spilled all over the floor…oops. But, I will still eat them anyway.

Then, dinner was served. A salad of East Wheeling Greens, purchased from Life Savers Health Food store on Market Street in downtown Wheeling, a peach, salmon cuts, pieces of torn jalapeno bread, and hot mustard on the side. Top it off with Annie’s dressing, split a Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, and catch up on a  good conversation equals a quality night!

About Me Architecture

Statues around a Wedding

‘We like to have the saints watching over us.’ Commented the groom’s sister. A weekend wedding in New Kensington Pa. A town full of marbled faces, happy family, italian babies and a celebration this weekend.

The happy couple married in Mount St. Peter Church.

Mansion moved, brick by brick, gold fixtures and chandeliers. The marbles from India, Japan, China and Italy walked 27 miles from one mansion to the mount over the course of six months just to break ground, and begin construction.

The church is made from reconstructed materials partitioners  moved from the Carnegie Mansion in 1940. The 60-room home, now the grounds of Mellon Park, still boasts some of the walled gardens and is open to the public. After the wedding ceremony the couple stopped by to take a few photos in these terraces.



In the spirit of a rich Italian heritage, the church has many gifts to commemorate past partitioners. Stone etchings, writings in the marble, poetically chant their names, peak from grottos above arches, bronze busts aligned in the oval circles encompassing the hill upon which the church is built.

A walk in the Mellon Park.


Check out this nice exposed aggregate walk into the University Club…landscape architecture nerds.

And a little fun to boot, dancing to Cityscape, a fantastic Pittsburgh band!

About Me Community

Homemade Wedding

Has it already been a month?  Yes!

My husband and I wanted the wedding day we shared to be relaxed and fun, special and intimate, and personal in our home town. We wanted to share the great things about our place with our family and friends.

Beginning with our invitations which we made at home and had printed on plantable paper. These are a few pictures of our operation invitation. Our seed paper has yet to produce any wildflowers but I’m keeping my eyes peeled!

My husband drew this map to get guests from our church to the reception at The Farm.

I just love it!

The second large project I took on with my mother. She agreed, after some bribing and begging, to make my wedding dress with me! We clocked in at just under eighty hours, with 75% of those being hers. I kept a journal every time we met to document where we began, what we did to create the pattern, buy and cut the fabric, make mock assemblies, and finally sew and resew the seams until it laid exactly right! The day of my bridal photos was meant to be our dry run. We bought the veils to top it off and mom ended up sewing a few last stitches just before the pictures began! It turned out beautifully! More to be posted on the making of the dress soon.

We ate a celebratory dinner at The Farm restaurant!

A few homemade gifts were a set of pottery bowls that had been made in Astoria, Oregon as apart of a soup bowl project.

The beautiful bowls are made by  this pottery artist who hosts his own blog about building a kiln here in Ohio.

My aunt made our huge cake, and cut the initial toppers out by hand!

Below is a picture of a spoon bracelet. I remember commenting on my cousin’s this past Christmas.  She and her family remembered and I received one as a gift. I have been wearing it most days since.

A hand painted plate of our home.

A clock! Yes, hand crafted by one of our good friends. She even cut out the tiny date of our wedding if you notice it in the bottom right corner!

The jewelry I wore was by Juleray Designs. This woman owned business is right here in St. Clairsville and if you like what you see you may email her at She custom-made the ruby earrings you may have noticed at the top of my blog. A friend of mine gave me the rubies for my birthday, and I had Juleray Designs make dangles out of them.

Here is a fuzzy shot of the ruby earrings again.

Then, what wedding is complete without a custom couple logo?

My husband and I played around a lot while designing our invitations, and though the plantable envelopes wouldn’t cooperate with my printer to don this on each one, we still ended up incorporating washed out versions of this below.

Architecture Building Sustainably

The Home Altar

A client approached me with the desire for a home altar. After the inital design proved to be way too complicated a second one was agreed upon.

Then, voila! Paired with local carpenter Jeff who completed the second design then hung the altar in the home, we left a happy home owner to pray.

Blue Earth Design custom constructed the two adjacent shelves. I found the right  Colorado craftsman through Etsy.


When does an Architect draw?

When I take vacation I try to draw every day. When I traveled abroad in 2002 I carried only a camera, journal and sketch book all day. In every day life and at my job it is a treat when I get to draw.

But what it is about drawing? Is it similar to my kinesthetic learning preference? I will not design creatively if I am producing in cad. In a production type job, where time is money and delivering in a quick fashion is what the client prefers, when can I allow myself the luxury of using a pen and paper? I cannot choose colors on a computer either. I cannot get a feel of a place or figure out a detail without jotting down a three-dimensional problem. It is like solving math equations in your head. It is just easier to write it down.

The computer is a drafting tool helpful for repetitive and square foot programming. But in a recent project, once I devised a plan that worked for the client, I printed it out, overlayed it with trace and began to imagine living in the space. Looking down the street, helped by the ability to walk anywhere in the world with Google street view, judging where the sun would be and how people could be served off of the street helped fit the design to its place. Then, once the day dreaming phases with my pencil were over, I relayed the design into the computer for the first run of  documents.

Voila, the computer is used as the production tool, and I push drawing into this fast paced world of architecture.

About Me

Ten Minute Blog Challenge

Who’s up for the Ten minute Blog challenge?

My girlfriend and I for starters! You have ten minutes to upload an image and describe something about it, then, you post. The point? To get our your thoughts, even if it is only between two people, and feel a sense of accomplishment in completing the task!

Where did we get this idea?  For one, The Happiness Project.  Two, my girlfriend and I live in two different climates, on different continents, but we still have a strong friendship and inspirational goals between the two of us. So, this is a great way to keep track of one another, as if we lived just across the hall from one another. I am going to challenge myself with a goal of posting five times a week!  Why don’t you also check out my friends’ blog, Pencil In Hand to see what she is proposing!

What we intend to write about relates to what we share as motivation between the two of us when we call and write to each other. Also check out Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project to see how her project influenced this challenge!

Ah,…12 minutes.. done!

Architecture Building Sustainably

A Green Interior in the Woods

What green initiatives are directed at Interiors? Positive indoor air quality, durable materials, local materials and production, upcycled products, and the aesthetically pleasing arrangement of these items to encourage a healthy lifestyle. A plan that responds directly to each site is important for the Interior Design as it relates to natural light, comfort, distinctively framed views, and overall wellness of the inhabitant with the land and surrounding community.

While being in the daydreaming stages of a proposed new job, I developed a presentation and directed the above new statement to the beginning of my cause; and that was to develop a design for the interior of a home that met with the strict rules of a Net Zero Home. The project goes on without me but is still alive in my thoughts. I am encompassed with the ideas that floated in and out of my mind as new clients, programs and experiences tend to, so, I decided to share them in writing.  The setting for the new home is within a forest community. The site has a tall canopy of existing trees through which natural paths have formed. A grown-over right-of-way allows easy access to the nature of the site.

I have a philosophy of what a house is for.  That is to eat, clean, sleep, work and play. In this project and others, I want to promote this in a sustainable, healthy, growing way. I pulled together inspirational images from my files.  These images have a lot of character, they show the importance of texture varieties and together assemble a pallet that is right for each place.
I began to think of natural materials in relation to specific functions of a home and how these materials may change in relation to where the house resides. The materials should speak with the site, pull together and define places so that the inhabitants are aware of themselves and their activities.

Light and view became a common theme as I critiqued what drew me to each image. Therefore, Light and View developed into a category.

The limits of light and view shape spaces, they define a material arrangement around the opportunities of each room. A space may be open to allow light deep within the room, making the function of the room more versatile. Designs to incorporate natural light have high windows, and a specific percentage of floor area dedicated to translucent material.

Mirrors and light shelves are used to bounce the light through the interior. Natural light is important for work. Specific to a project in the mountains and woods would be particular attention to framing the views from inside and not forgetting the opportunity to frame a view of the interior from a path in the forest.

Lighting fixtures may be used to light spaces of course, but also may define spaces as well depending on their arrangement and size. Unique alteration of traditional things are playful such as the crystal chandelier in a modern shape.

Another focus on the images became the apparent ability of the place, the site, the home, to sustain oneself. Light and stone materials merged into this category together.  Stone became the focus of sustaining comfort.

There are beautiful radiant floors with unique concrete stains made to look like majestic stone. Concrete holds heat well, and if they are installed to orient toward direct sun in the winter time, the chill of the cold is offset by warm feet. The sparse, open nature of some of these stoned places were very restful to me. I realized what materials should be in the sleeping rooms by studying these restful relaxing spaces. Linen and wood played a large role in these rooms. The colors were varied, light and dark, cool and warm. I found out that I had a soft spot for white attic bedrooms. These looked like they belonged at a beach more than a mountain forest though.

A lot of images I pulled began to fit into a playful and fun category.  Along with being efficient for the function they served the bathrooms were colorful, thrown off-balance and surprising with the introduction of purple sinks and oversized mirrors. The background tiles matched colorful memories of my own youth and inner desires of comfort and glee.  Imagine writing on these chalk board walls, organizing in glass shelves and feeling a breeze by an invisible fan.

Melissa Warner is a designer I admire. She uses forgotten furniture and blends color with function and repurposed house-hold times to create a place that is invigorating as well as inviting.

A project in the forest, a lodge, a vacation home for guests in the mountains assumes that you use earthy products in versatile spaces. In this home that appears to be made of wooden framed views, one can study how wood spans and the introduction of high windows, helps to arrange a continuity of rooms scattered in a West Virginia site. The house forms its own community, giving visitors and the hosts a vacation together.

Another take on timber framing is this room set to the south side of this house that is used for heat storage. A trombe wall is set up behind the glass, and is the vertical transgression through the house.

Another interesting design concept is a ‘stack house.’ This is a house that uses the passive strategy of natural ventilation. An open stairwell with open treads can do this simply in any two or more story home.

Architects can use the program of a home to come up with a completely different design tailored to the use of a client. This is seen in the barn structure extension of wood supports as it is used for a cover that is still careful to incorporate natural light from above. This focused design effort leads into the categories of intricate, deep and made-for-the-place.

Spaces that fit in and respond to a site take more time as the incorporation of a new use is fit into an existing place.  Take for instance this parquet floor, stained and painted areas are used to define a grouping. Simple treatments of an overhead bulkhead give interest and depth to areas that may otherwise go unnoticed. Curved windows, courtyards with large table settings and built-in bookshelves make use of what a room has to offer in its’ arrangement.

Two entire buildings that respond to the site are Alvarao Leite Siza Viera’s Casa Tolo project and Legorreta & Legorreta’s Hotel La Purificadora in Puebla, Mexico.
With Siza Viera’s house, the stair house, reacts to a sloping site.  The transgression through a cemented step in the forest is imitated in floating treads to the interior. The definition between room to room is made naturally by following the grade.  You keep stepping down and down into the next room.

At Hotel La Purificadora, natural stone spaces from a 16th century building are brought to life with the modern use materials of glass, purple cushioned furniture and cantilevered metal balconies.

Reclaimed wood is used to encase columns, a space left between the top of these and the second floor makes the second story seem weightless.  Other rooms are divided by deep shelves, an organized grid that serves the purpose to separate and contain.

In these two projects, aesthetics and the acute realization of place make the effect of space better than if materials were assigned to only fulfill the program and build the job.

What about spaces for entertaining? I found the ones I most preferred to have many different materials in some instances with off kilter patterns and mixed up uses, and some to have flat, simple wood floors with an overfilled, simple lined chair. The quality of light was important in all of these cases. A soft light preferred.

Last but not least of course is returning to nature and going back outside. The land supports the house. The house should allow a positive impact on this place where one did not exist.  The site allows visitors to enter and entertains their first impression.

Before I began this analysis I had a predisposed desire to assign materials to spaces.  What made sense was the following guideline:

o    Stone – How Can we sustain ourselves every day?
o    Light – Eat and heat, Natural light, glass allows view
o    Wood – Sleep
o    Metal – Clean
o    Wood & Metal – Work
o    Wool & Silk – Play
o    Plaster – Surface and definition of space

This could only be carried out with sustainable, local, well made, durable, healthy products. So went my research into certain systems and a product checklist particular for this project.  I used the outline below:

Systems and Products Checklist

o    Flooring
o    Trim
o    Wall Coverings, Finishes, & Interior Partitions / Bulkheads (including the use of 4 x 8 sheets of sustainable goods that could replace gwb.)
o    Casework
o    Work Surfaces
o    Doors, Frames and Hardware
o    Ceiling
o    Furniture & Artwork
o    Plumbing Equipment & Energy Star Appliances with Smart Metering
o    Fabric, Curtains & Shades
o    Lighting Fixtures / Solar Tube
o    Caulk & Material Finishes (waxes, paints)
o    Windows
o    Linens, Dishware, Toiletries, Cleansers, & other Household necessities

So, for now, I can draw, learn more about sustainable products that are local, and look forward to the next opportunity where I may be able to apply materials to a real place!

About Me

La La Land


I am floating on air, remembering the moments, on cloud nine.

Or, perhaps I am lost in a field with my husband.

We were married the second weekend of June.


Joe Krehlik with   Forever A Masterpiece in St. Clairsville captured the day, the seconds, the big laughs and happy tears. He and his wife took my husband and I around The Farm, the reception spot, at dusk to capture these pastoral views.  If you want to view them all on his website let me know.

Our friends took pictures too.  My great friend and college roommate took these. Julie Doerr took one of my favorites of my little cousin and I.

Beginning the week prior, our friends threw us a deck party with wedding bells and all. Our very talented friends put together a newly wed game, etched wine glasses with our initials, made a three-tier checkerboard cake, and entertained a comfortable setting around a fire pit for drinks and conversation.



We even had our own party mascot.

The weekend before our wedding we hosted our friends who drove from Louisiana, fit everything they owned, including their Kerbey, into a Prius and moved to Erie Pa for work and proximity to us!


We began to receive gifts from friends around town, we found a large composter on our porch that must have been dropped off in the middle of the night, artists painted plates depicting our home, letters and cards came by mail, and we began to be overwhelmed in the best way as friends and family shared in their excitement over the celebration we were about to engage in.

A color palette and a girlfriend book were opened from a friend who could not make it for the weekend, due to the fact that she had a little baby girl the Thursday before!  The orange bound book is a timeline of my friends, beginning with my mother, growing up in Louisiana, moving to Pittsburgh, spending time with my roommates at Virginia Tech, moving to Houston and ending with my favorite picture of engagement atop of Mt. Saint Helens last June.

We had a lovely time the week after too, sitting on our front porch writing about the past weekend, still being surprised by boxes in the mail,  opening everything in our living room~



But nothing compares to the days surrounding our weekend wedding. So, here we go!

The girls, meaning my sister, mom and mother in law to be, went to get our nails done Friday morning.  Here is my sister, Starbucks in hand as usual, in the pedicure chair.  We had lunch at Panera, and I must have been more nervous that morning; my usual hungry every-three-hours self had gone away, but was back by Saturday morning!  Friends from out of town came by our house all day Friday, visiting from Raleigh, DC, Chicago and Chile!

That evening at St. Mary’s Church we had rehearsal with our priest.  This was the first wedding he would be presiding over, everything seemed calm and easy.

We had dinner at the patio of Later Alligator in Wheeling WV.  This dinner spot specializes in crepes but served us fresh fish and potatoes for our special social event.  We sat beneath the red umbrellas, introduced guests, had homemade soaps with Bride & Groom sitting at our place setting, ate salads, croissants, and nutella deserts, mingled as the sun set and the patio candles lit our merriment.  We had an idyllic evening before my fiance and I had to say goodnight.  I went home with my family, enjoying the company of my God parents, grandma, brother sister and parents before I went to sleep.

Thunderstorms were predicted, the skies poured before we said our vows at St. Mary’s Church and the clouds opened up just as we stepped into the 1916 Cole car to arrive at The Farm.





There are so many things to remember. Some of my favorite stories are the ones I am hearing from friends and family.  Everyday there is a new story. What other day in your life have 150 of your closest friends and family helped to notice every second of your happiness?




Community Food & Exercise

The Wheeling Ogden

34th Annual Ogden Newspapers 20K Classic

Race this morning!

I will be going head to head with and against my brother! I thought it was a friendly race until the other week when he emailed me to say that he’d stay with me for the first four miles before kicking it in!  While he did just complete the Pittsburgh Half Marathon, I have at least run this HUGE Hill called 29th Street Hill. I mapped it out for him below so he could know what he was up against.

Two years ago the Ogden Relay Race was introduced. Instead of training for the full 20K, two people could run the race, and swap a baton in the middle.

My brother will be running the relay race with my friend against my fiance and I, who will be running the relay as well.

The race transforms Wheeling’s quiet river city into a huge race weekend. There are so many healthy happy people hanging out, talking and stretching where I typically take lunch on a quiet lawn.


Running with 16,000 People over Bridges and Rivers

At the Pittsburgh Marathon!    

My family went up the night before to carbo-load with my brother at Bravo’s.    


 It is his first Half Marathon and he has been training to run this for about three months, so we had to be there. Round two of two glasses of water later, he was ready for a coffee break then  bed!    


We began the morning before six, waking up with a downtown-hotel-full of runners. There were so many people, we waded through the crowds before finding my brother.  He did some chatting, then we all watched on and took pictures by standing on the railings to get the full effect idea of what its like to run beside so many people! (click this photo to see it better!)  

The count down began, and they were off… 10 minutes later my brother started across the start line!   


We couldn’t tell where he was at all, so my sister and I ran to the 16th street bridge and grabbed a rail to sit on and wait for him to go by at the 3-4 mile mark. We waited about half of an hour and spotted him.   


By this time everyone was drenched, us included. He looked great, barely winded at all! We ran with him for a few seconds to grab a shot and then ran on to cut him off at the 7 mile mark, (He ran about a 10 minute mile pace for the duration of the race!)    

and… we got there just in time!  He spotted us first, and by this time our parents were long gone. We figured we’d all have the same goal of finding my brother at the finish line so we weren’t too worried!     



From that point my sister and I dashed to the finish line and waited under the water-fall-off-of the dry people’s umbrellas to see if we could spot him.  We were freezing by this point but were glad to have at least run 1-2 miles through out the day while trying to see him at different points.     

Then, just after the first Marathon runners came in, he was there!  Red in the face, but by the time we caught him under the Convention Center he was completely recovered and so happy.  Everyone that ran the race received a medal!    



Chip Time : 2:12:05     

Clock Time: 2:22:12  (Meaning a full 10 minutes to cross the starting point!)

Placed 185th in his Division, he’s a 20- 24 year old Male!     

Placed 1,733 for Men     

Placed 3,334 overall!            That’s the top quarter!

  Brother   Pittsburgh PA USA Men 20-24     2:12:05 2:22:12 3334 1733 185


Of course then, we all went out to The Library and he celebrated with the darkest beer on the menu!   

Go Brother!!!