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Weekend Update: Progress!

Kitchen renovation: cabinets and countertops are in! Details at une femme d'un certain age.

It’s Coming Together…

Things are now moving fast with the kitchen and bathroom renovation!  Cabinets and countertops are in and…

stacked washer and dryer.

so is my washer/dryer! I can finally do laundry at home again!! We had to carve out a niche in the bathroom, as that was the only spot in the house that would accommodate full-sized machines. And as you can see, it was a still a tight squeeze.

The job foreman tells me they want to get much of the rest done by the end of next week, so I’m hoping to have a functioning kitchen by then, yay!

Out And About…

Style blogger Susan B and friend Karen checking out the shops on Rodeo Drive. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

My friend Karen is in town for a few days, so got together yesterday. We had fun exploring some of the shops on Rodeo Drive, and both crushed on this scarf at Burberry. We ogled some of the fun stuff at Gucci (kind of a visual candy store these days), and then dashed over for a quick lunch at Eataly in the Century City mall.

crostini with figs and burrata cheese at Eataly.

Eataly was still quite mobbed, and we didn’t want to stand in a long line for table service so we grabbed a couple of kale salads and split one of those crostini, above. It was all delicious. After lunch we made a quick pass through the sale at Zara, where Karen nabbed a few cute jackets. It was a short visit but a lot of fun!

Staying Healthy…

There’s been a nasty flu going around. I had my flu shot a few weeks ago, but am still making sure to wash my hands several times per day. I had a couple of days of sore throat and congestion earlier in the week, but thankfully it didn’t turn into anything worse. If you haven’t had your flu shot yet, go get one! I find that since I started getting annual flu vaccines I get sick far less often, and even when I do catch something, seem to get over it quicker. I’m also going to make a point to get a shingles vaccine soon, as I did have chicken pox as a kid.

Trying to stick to healthy eating without a kitchen has been challenging, but I’ve been getting better at it as time goes on. My new favorite breakfast is a poached egg and quinoa over a handful of arugula. (I use the microwave to poach the egg and heat the pre-cooked grains which I find in the rice section at the market.) It’s a light and satisfying breakfast that holds me for a few hours.

I’ve been reading a lot of raves about the Instant Pot, and am thinking about getting one. Have you used one? What did you think?

Bon weekend!


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  1. Patricia
    January 13, 2018 / 5:20 am

    Thank you for sharing the photos of your home; it’s really shaping up. You will so appreciate an updated kitchen, bath, and traffic flow.

    Re: the shingles and flu vaccines. Definitely get them! But, I was surprised to read that that the flu vaccine is only expected to be about 30 percent effective this year. (In recent years it’s been between 19 and 50 percent effective, per the CDC.) The shingles vaccine is about 50 percent effective overall, and less as one gets older. So, it is imperative that one continue to practice good hand washing, avoidance, etc. even if one’s had the vaccines.

    Something else to keep in mind, if you do get either influenza or shingles: as soon as your symptoms become apparent, call your health provider. An anti-viral medication administered within a day or so of the onset of symptoms can help reduce the seriousness of the flu/shingles.

    (Caveat: I’m not a medical professional, and this info is based on my own experience and reading.)

    • Susan D.
      January 13, 2018 / 12:05 pm

      There is a newer Shingles vaccine called Shingrix–google an article about it from the NY Times. It is much more effective than the older vaccine. I have gotten shingles even after the older vaccine, so I will definitely be getting the newer one.

    • Susan
      January 14, 2018 / 12:55 am

      The flu is a very nasty strain this year and is referred to as the Aussie Flu in the UK. My hubbie (I am in Australia) had two flu shots, but still collapsed on the floor (and needed an ambulance) as he was so unwell. Scrupulous hand washing, banishing him to his own bed/bathroom and wearing a mask around him helped to prevent me catching it from him. Hope you stay well.

  2. Rita
    January 13, 2018 / 5:22 am

    I know how you feel about being able to do laundry at home: my house had w/d hookups in the basement, and I was determined to NOT spend a penny about putting machines there. After thinking about it for a long time, I decided my bathroom was the only place I could fit in a smaller sized unitized w/d. I had the 5′ vanity yanked out & replaced with a 30″ vanity, leaving just enough room for the new w/d. Then getting electric & plumbing hookups done, and FINALLY the machine was delivered. What a TREAT to do laundry! 🙂

  3. Linda B
    January 13, 2018 / 5:46 am

    My husband is one of the top nursing executives at the hospital where he works, and I hear daily from him that the number of flu cases is extraordinary right now–and that the flu vaccine is not on target. (They have to make an educated guess each year which strains of flu to focus on when they concoct the vaccine, and sometimes they are not able to forecast it well.) I get a flu shot every fall, but it doesn’t always work, for sure. Healthy lifestyle and frequent handwashing are helpful, I have to hope.

    My husband (it’s all about him for the moment!) bought us an Insta-pot last year and he uses it ALL THE TIME when he cooks, to great effect. I never use it, but think I should. One of these days. . .

  4. Barbara
    January 13, 2018 / 5:48 am

    Your new kitchen will be beautiful! I love the two tone. I recently asked my doctor about the shingles shot and she indicated a “new and improved” shot was in the making and hopefully available sometime this year. You mentioned the Instant Pot. My suggestion before purchasing would be to join the Instant Pot Communuty on Facebook. It’s a huge community of Instant Pot lovers posting recipes, asking questions and just helping each other. By joining the community, you will be provided with loads of information to assist in your decision. By the way, I have two pots and cook in them about 3-4 times weekly.

  5. January 13, 2018 / 6:12 am

    Hi Susan: Great kitchen–we did ours 11 years ago and what a difference!
    The new “Shingrx” shingles vaccine will be out soon, it is a 2 part vaccine, and is 90-95 % effective for protection against getting shingles.
    It is stated to have more side effects, however.
    I also love your stacked washer/dryer and yes –so nice to wash your clothes/bedding at home!

  6. January 13, 2018 / 6:35 am

    The kitchen is looking lovely. I still have a pressure cooker from years ago. I might get it out again.

  7. Cat
    January 13, 2018 / 7:12 am

    Your kitchen is gorgeous! As for the Instant Pot, for some it is a religious experience. I put off buying one because I live in a small city apartment, but I last November I bought a small model and now I’m glad I did. I love the convenience: there’s no need to attend to it while it’s cooking, so no boiling over or scorching, plus you can prepare grains and legumes in far less time, with no need to pre soak. It does a great job on dals and curries, and there’s less lingering odor.

  8. Betty
    January 13, 2018 / 7:43 am

    Kitchen looks great. I’m thinking of redoing my tiny laundry room with stackables, what brand of washing machine/dryer did you get?

    • Susan B
      January 13, 2018 / 8:16 am

      We decided to go with Electrolux. They were well reviewed, and at a price point we could stomach. I initially wanted Miele, but they were more than we wanted to spend at this point.

      • Susan D.
        January 13, 2018 / 12:07 pm

        We have Miele and you may have dodged a painful bullet. Since we purchased our full size Mieles, they have changed their servicing model–and insist on doing all their own servicing now. This means long waits and sometimes very substandard service I would never buy Miele again.

  9. Eliz
    January 13, 2018 / 8:13 am

    I too am thinking about getting an Instant Pot. Melissa Clarke of the New York Times has had quite a few articles on this which I have been reading. She also just published an Instant Pot cookbook. Keep us posted if you decide to buy one. Btw, your kitchen is beautiful. I do like the two tone cabinets particularly.

  10. January 13, 2018 / 8:23 am

    Oh. My. God. I want to go to your house and cook in your new kitchen. It’s beautiful and the space looks so well thought out and efficient!!!
    As far as the Instant Pot goes, my daughter, Oona, is buying one this weekend as I write this. She has inherited mommy’s love for cooking and is already in love with her sous vide. She can’t stop talking about why she needs an Instant Pot so I’ll be interested in what she has to say about it. I found this blog post for you to read–it seems like a very good purchase…https://www.thekitchn.com/i-tried-the-instant-pot-and-heres-what-i-really-think-about-it-8-months-later-226178

  11. Suzanne
    January 13, 2018 / 8:34 am

    The Instant Pot is amazing. I have made spaghetti and various other dishes and they turn out perfect. You can cook an entire meal in the darn thing! Best appliance I have ever purchased. Now onto the air fryer:)

  12. susanburpee
    January 13, 2018 / 8:45 am

    Happy weekend, Sue. You reno looks lovely. We’ve been in the midst of home chaos this week. Old wall-to-wall carpet and flooring ripped up and new hardwood installed in most of the house. After the first day of ripping out I felt like Betty Davis in that old movie… “What a dump!” But the floors looked lovely when they were finished.

    • Susan B
      January 13, 2018 / 8:51 am

      Ripping out all of the carpeting and putting in hardwood floors a few years ago was one of the best things we ever did. I haven’t missed the carpets for a nanosecond!

      • Brenda
        January 14, 2018 / 9:33 am

        Good for both of you – wall-2-wall carpet (even high quality wool) is a nasty invention and never want to live with it again. Hardwood floors are so much cleaner! Of course, like many western Canadians (and Scandinavians), we never wear shoes in the house as that is a number one way to track in dirt and pathogens.

  13. Janice
    January 13, 2018 / 8:56 am

    I love your kitchen. I am thinking I would like to redo my kitchen and bring my W/D upstairs. I bought an instant- pot before Christmas, but haven’t taken the time to really use it yet. Enjoy your blog as we are near the same age and I like your style!

    • Mary
      January 13, 2018 / 11:39 am

      Please think long and hard about bringing the W/D upstairs…my friend did that and one day a hose came loose when no one was home. It collapsed the downstairs ceiling and shorted out the alarm system.

      • January 13, 2018 / 1:38 pm

        We’ve had a main floor laundry for close to 40 years and I love it! We’ve never had a moment’s problem with it and I can’t imagine how many trips up and down the stairs it has saved me.

  14. Marybeth
    January 13, 2018 / 10:30 am

    Please get your shingles vaccine…it’s ugly, don’t wait! xoxo

  15. January 13, 2018 / 11:15 am

    Susan, your kitchen looks wonderful — and just like the designer’s renderings that you posted several weeks ago. I know how happy you’ll be when it’s ALL done.

    I do have an InstantPot, but so far am a scaredy cat. However, I do own two InstantPot cookbooks — this one about Indian cooking at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075HHYXWF/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1 and Melissa Clark’s book. Come on, Ann — buck up!

  16. Kay
    January 13, 2018 / 12:12 pm

    You will be thankful every day for the time and effort and money you invested in that new kitchen. When mine was done, I kept asking myself why I didn’t do it sooner. Now I actually look forward to cooking, but I’m not the best cook in the family. That is my daughter, and she has a new InstaPot she raves about. All her husband’s coworkers are begging her to send them leftovers for lunch, too.

  17. January 13, 2018 / 12:39 pm

    I’ve been following along on the kitchen remodel! Steve and I are about to embark on the same…full downstairs and staircase. I hope I survive!

    Yes, the flu has been awful. I’m currently at market in Atlanta, sharing a house with 12 other ladies and 75% of us are sick. Some with the flu, some with a cold. We’ve had two go to urgent care and took one to the ER with chest pains. It’s unbelievable. Trouble is, this year’s flu vaccine is ineffective…only 10% efficacy I’ve learned from my neighbor (a doctor). It’s a nightmare. I rarely get sick but spent yesterday in bed.

    So glad your remodel is successfully coming to a close. It looks great!

  18. Ciel
    January 13, 2018 / 12:40 pm

    I love reading your posts but I have to differ with you on the point of vaccines. This year’s flu vaccine is said to be effective with only 10% of the strains out there. With the toxic aluminum adjunvant used in the vaccine, I feel the vaccine injury risk (immediate and long term) far outweighs the benefits. I have never had a flu shot and never get the flu. Everyone has to come to their own conclusion, and there is a lot of info on vaccine injury so its not hard to get educted these days.
    Your kitchen is beautiful!!

  19. January 13, 2018 / 12:57 pm

    Poaching eggs in a microwave sounds like a great idea even for those of us with a kitchen not under renovation!

  20. January 13, 2018 / 12:58 pm

    I have an Instant Pot and I use it all. the. time.

  21. Sandra N.
    January 13, 2018 / 1:07 pm

    If possible, could you share the color of your lower cabinets. With the light uppers and stainless appliances, it looks amazing!

    • Susan B
      January 13, 2018 / 1:11 pm

      I think the cabinet people just referred to them as “light grey,” but I’ll see if I can get more info.

  22. January 13, 2018 / 1:40 pm

    Your kitchen looks fabulous! It will be well worth the hassle.

  23. Ann
    January 13, 2018 / 1:41 pm

    You’re kitchen is lovely…great layout. As for the instant pot it’s fantastic! It’s amazing how fast it cooks and the taste is great. Easy cleanup too.

  24. Karen
    January 13, 2018 / 2:21 pm

    I have the same washer/dryer combo. Love it. Especially the dryer’s 10 minute steam refresh cycle.

  25. Barbara Sewell
    January 13, 2018 / 2:24 pm

    I’ll be the weirdo asking HOW do you reach the controls on the dryer? I’ve seen this on blogs, Pinterest and in magazines and can’t help but focus on how one reaches the dryer controls! Just completed a kitchen reno before Thanksgiving. Hard to go without during construction but SO nice to have a beautiful new space to work in. Good luck wrapping up the renovation.

    • Susan B
      January 13, 2018 / 2:33 pm

      I’m able to read and reach them without standing on tippytoes, so it’s all good!

  26. Shawna
    January 13, 2018 / 4:10 pm

    It’s looking great! I cant’ wait to see the final results and am feeling hopeful for you that it’s all done soon and you can use your kitchen.

  27. amidprivilege
    January 13, 2018 / 4:24 pm

    Your kitchen is going to be just beautiful!

    And, I have two Instant Pots. I use them 2/week usually. They’ve completely changed my attitude towards legumes. (Not a sentence I ever expected to use;)). So, if you’re watching saturated fats, soluble fiber, etc. I couldn’t recommend them more highly. They are also great for carnivores – all the braised meats and stews etc.

    Plus SO EASY to clean up. Which, to me, is just as important as what I’m making to eat.

  28. January 13, 2018 / 5:20 pm

    Your new kitchen looks amazing ! No flu here yet, thank goodness…but bronchitis that is hanging on. Can’t wait to see the finished kitchen – thanks for all your great posts !

  29. Suzanne
    January 13, 2018 / 6:11 pm

    Get the instant pot – it does everything – and so well. And do get Melissa Clark’s book – fantastic – everything has been great! Although you may want to spend a lot of time in your kitchen since it looks so great – you may not want to save time cooking!

  30. karen h
    January 14, 2018 / 5:01 am

    love how you have taken the cabinets all the way to the ceiling!

  31. Jannie
    January 14, 2018 / 5:37 am

    Lovely kitchen!! Just a heads up to those of you who have a decent sized laundry room…highly recommend the Speed Queen top loading washer. My old top loader was dying a couple of years ago so I began asking service men for their opinions. Speed Queen was top recommendation! A load is finished in 30 minutes; you can add clothes; reset the cycle…just simple knobs. I love this washer. My cousin even sold her new front loader and bought the Speed Queen.

  32. Jane2
    January 14, 2018 / 8:12 am

    If I was limited to buying just one appliance, I’d get the Instant Pot. It’s so versatile, and it *is* everything it’s cracked up to be. It replaced my pressure cooker, slow cooker and rice cooker – and it steams vegetables like a dream. I haven’t tried the yogurt function, but if you like that sort of thing, I’m sure it does the job. Buy one!

  33. Lyn
    January 14, 2018 / 9:30 am

    Love the two-tone look. My daughter is in the planning stage for a kitchen renovation, and I think this would be a great look for her. She was thinking of all white, but the gray helps incorporate the stainless steel appliances, and I think it also helps the transition from open kitchen to dining room. I’m sending her a link.

    I just replaced my perfectly good traditional pressure cooker with an Instant Pot. The “set it and forget it” feature won me over. I grew up with one that had a round weight that jiggled, so you could monitor it by the noise it was making. But mine just had a silent valve, requiring a constant, nervous vigil. It’s cold here — time to try out the new technology with an old-fashioned pot roast.

  34. Ainsivalavie
    January 14, 2018 / 9:59 am

    When renovating our beach house kitchen ( circa 1980;) I considered many option and had initially thought all white. After looking at traffic flow ( the main entry opens into the space) I realizes it would need lowers that could handle a lot of traffic so we did go with the lower cabinets in grey and, like Susan’s it looks great! The white quartz lightens the look as well. I have a tenant in there and she just loves it ( so much that her architect husband has agreed to design their new, awesome kitchen in the same colours)Susan you will adore your new space!! A main floor laundry is simply the best idea and wish I had one when my kids were little. It was first on the list when we went through our remodel no regrets!
    We have Bosche machines and they are awesome.
    About the flu/shingles and pneumonia vaccines. I have been a health care provider for 35 years. Just get them. Yes this year’s vax might not be as effective BUT it still lowers your chances of getting the flu and might lessen the severity if you do get it. Disregard comments about risk vs. benefits. As we get older that argument is ridiculous. Flu and pneumonia can kill and shingles are horribly painful and can do permanent nerve damage. No argument. Get the shot.
    The instant pot? I was sent one to test. So far, meh. But I might change my opinion over time…I live in the city where it was invented so it’s a cult here..

  35. Sheryl
    January 14, 2018 / 6:45 pm

    Your kitchen is shaping up beautifully! We did a kitchen renovation a few years ago and remember the challenge of functioning without it. A hot plate, microwave, laundry sink and lots of take out good made it doable. I love the gray and white cabinets.

    We always get our flu shots. I was sick recently – started with a sore throat that came and went followed by a day of high fever (almost 103), fatigue, and body aches. At the time I was sure it must be flu, but the fever only lasted a day, then morphed into a sinus infection, so unlikely. There is appatently a nasty respiratory virus going around in addition to the flu. I carry Purell wipes in my bag this time of year to wipe down supermarket carts and use on my hands.

    My brand new InstaPot just arrived this week -I haven’t even taken it out of the box yet. I hope it lives up to all the rave reviews!

  36. Sheryl
    January 14, 2018 / 6:58 pm

    I meant to add, I have Miele machines and have to echo the previous poster. It may be because less water is used for efficiency purposes, but the clothes seem to come out more wrinkled than my old, much less top loader. Fabric softener or dryer sheets help, as do smaller loads and a lower spin speed, but still.

    I’ve adjusted all the settings and had service out ( (actually had no issue at all with scheduling) but that’s just the way they are. I wouldn’t feel so bad if they weren’t built like a tank. They will probably not need to be replaced for decades!

  37. candy
    January 15, 2018 / 12:25 pm

    The kitchen is both beautiful and practical. Love the white and gray cabinets idea, too. May it bring you many years of happiness and delicious memories!

    As a science writer, I also echo the advice of the health care professional commenting here: Even tho the vaccine has a low effectiveness level against the most virulent strain, it still greatly lowers the risk of getting pneumonia or being hospitalized, especially as we get older and our immune system gets weaker.
    Also, do not put off getting the shingles vaccine. From experience, shingles is a miserable, excruciating condition and if not caught quickly can cause serious nerve damage, including to your eyes. And you can get it more than once.

  38. Lisa
    January 17, 2018 / 2:10 pm

    I am a recent Instant Pot convert. I love it, and have used it almost every day since it arrived. Tomorrow I’m making bone broth!

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