Tuesday, June 25, 2013

hacienda lights.

Jon and I met at a bar. Yes, that is how the greatest love affair of my life started: in a dimly lit room with a cocktail in hand. Obviously, it's been awhile since Jon and I have painted the town red like we used to. Heck, I don't even think we own the paintbrushes any longer. Somewhere along the way waiting in line at Whitlow's turned into a few casual microbrews at Liberty Tavern and has now settled in the grey area between an occasional boozy brunch and weekend backyard barbecues. Oh no ... I'm not complaining. I quite like where we're at. But there is something to be missed about the mood lighting at our old watering holes. They just made us look so damned good. 

Lighting is everything, after all. Bad lighting can give you a headache ... or worse, make you turn in early. Good lighting, on the other hand, can convince you the mosquitos aren't out and the night is still young. Just look at the next few photos. Doesn't make you want to pop a can, pull up a chair, and chat until the morning light?
Pottery Barn
The answer yes. After all, there is nothing quite like the soft glow cast from a string of party lights. It's why college students decorate their dorms with Christmas lights (guilty! we called them twinkle lights), and why low lighting over dinner signals ease, elegance, and intimacy. Knowing all this, and knowing we'd be spending much more time hanging out at home than at the bars following the arrival of our baby, I bought some string lights from Pottery Barn when they went on sale last year. Crazy forethought? A little. Mostly it was some crazy nesting (never underestimate the power of hormones, folks). Either way, I'm really happy I did, because this summer our backyard looks awesome. 

To get the job done, all we needed were a few garden stakes and an eye bolt from the hardware store, good friends (and beer to bribe them with), and a big ladder borrowed from a kind neighbor. We set to work in early spring, when the leaves weren't yet on the trees and it was still cold after dark.
^^Look how much C has changed since April!^^

The project was a snap (thanks Brad & Maggie!), and we have been enjoying the subtle glow of our lights ever since--day and night. They add a certain something when we entertain ... and their soft glow rekindles that je ne sais quoi when Jon and I are hanging out after C's been put to sleep. (Don't laugh! It's been many moons since that fated evening in Glover Park!) And, what's best, unlike Christmas lights these string lights can stay up year-round. Easy assembly, no social stigma, and knowing you're heading home with the hottest guy in the bar, I mean, backyard when the night is over ... Victory.

If you're interested in tackling this project yourself, look out for sales beginning after July Fourth. Otherwise those lights can get mighty expensive. For the record, our backyard called for two sets of 20-bulb lights and one set of eight-bulb lights.
^^See?? Even Bogie looks just gorgeous in this lighting! ;) ^^