Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Fall Travels

Where did Fall go?  Since the end of October I've been lucky enough to travel to Louisville, KY; Las Vegas; Key West; & Hawaii.  Yes, Hawaii... more on that later.

Las Vegas was for work, but fun all the same and Louisville and Key West were for weddings.  One wedding felt country with touches of Fall and an intimate dinner as the reception.  The one in Key West was quite the opposite- with the rehearsal dinner on a sunset cruise and the wedding and reception on a dock with dancing, a guacamole station, and plenty of margaritas.  Each was perfect for the couple and so much fun.  But between these trips and other things over the past few months, the season flew by and before I knew it we were kicking back on a beach enjoying a big kid vacation in Hawaii.

I'm going to designate a separate post to that trip because there are just too many details (and photos) to share.  For now, here are some pics from my travels leading up to our vacation in paradise.

Monday, September 16, 2013

From Street to Chic Dresser Makeover

Finding furniture on the street that has real potential is a rarity (it's only happened to me once)- but when you do it's awesome.

Jake came across this piece while on a run in our old neighborhood and was so proud of his find.  I still remember walking through the door to find him (and it) waiting for me right in the middle of our dining room.  The bottom drawers were difficult to open/close and one of the top drawers had a hole in it- none of which have been repaired.

I liked the distressed look so I left it untouched for a few months.  As a matter of fact, it was serving as storage space in our laundry room until I needed a space to create a mimosa bar for a bridal shower.  Since my search for a unique piece hadn't turned anything up, I decided to pull it out to see whether it could work.  As you can see, beside our new dining room table it looked a lot less distressed and a lot more gross.

I decided to sand it, add a coat of powder paint (like Annie Sloan, but made locally), and replace some of the hardware.  It was warm enough that I did a few coats and had it back inside after a few hours.  The hardware is  from Target and allows you to label what's in the drawer.

What do you think?  It definitely served it's role for the mimosa bar set up.  Do you think I should keep it in the dining room or put it back and pull it out when entertaining?  It's easy to move because it's on casters, but I'm torn.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Wine Review: The Good, the Great, and the Gross

Let me start off by saying that I am not a wine connoisseur but I do drink it often enough to start comparing.  If this sounds like your level of expertise too then I think you'll appreciate the following three reviews.

The Good: Cloud Break
Type: Chardonnay
Region: California
Cost: $9.99 at Total Wine
The Story: I tried this wine at an "Over and Under" wine tasting and it was hands down my favorite white overall and was well liked by everyone at the table.  My notes from the event were that it was light and refreshing- a great summer wine and perfect to bring to a dinner with friends, as it was sure to be a crowd pleaser.  I've definitely been craving it since that tasting too, so that says something.
#Summary: #yesplease

The Great: Evolution 
Type: Nine Grape White Blend
Region: Oregon
Cost: $14.99 at Total Wine, $17.99 Target (not always in stock)
The Story: I first tried this wine a few years ago during a date night with Jake.  We hit up a little wine bar in Norfolk that we heard offered an open bottle night tasting.  The rumors were true and the tasting description was spot on- you picked white or red and for $10 could try ever open bottle in that category. Awesome... I know.  If you really liked something, all you had to do was ask for another glass and you got one.  Even more awesome. Evolution, was my absolute favorite out of everything we tried.  It is not too sweet, a little crisp, fruity, and refreshing.  I was surprised to see it at $15 bottle because when I've gone to buy it in the past it's been more, which is why I've mainly received it as a gift from friends and only picked it up for special occasions.
#Summary: #haventfoundawhitetotopityet

The Gross: Firecracker
Type: Red Blend
Region: California
Cost: $9.99 at Target
The Story: I recently picked this up from Target because it was on sale, the label was fun, and we had seriously depleted our wine supply somehow.  My girlfriend came over after work and we decided to try it out.  Note, if you don't care for the smell of maple syrup you will hate this wine.  I didn't think I was opposed to it, but theres something about catching the scent of it with each sip that was simply too much for me.  It was gross.  It's only redeeming quality was that it was better when paired with food- my friend and Jake actually enjoyed it.  However, it offers no absolutely no appeal apart from it and isn't something I'll purchase again.
#Summary: #neveragain

Have you tried any of these wines before?  I'd love to know if you did and whether or not you agree with my review.  If you haven't, I'd love to hear what you have tasted recently and what you did or didn't like about it.  At the very least, your tips may prevent another firecracker experience. #wecanonlyhope

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Updo or don't

Maybe it's the planner in me, but I'm knee deep in wedding festivities and am l.o.v.i.n.g. it.  It's not just planning for the shower either- I had so much fun in Charleston, SC for my girlfriend's bachelorette party and have loved weighing in on wedding ideas.  I took the friday before my friend Ashley's wedding off and got really excited when she emailed that day's agenda as well as the itinerary for the entire weekend.  I mean who doesn't love manis, pedis, mimosas, cake and getting dressed up? Seriously.

However, amidst all the excitement I'm starting to panic a bit about my hair.  We're in these beautiful orange, flowy, floor length dresses and the bride is providing gold jewelry and our sandals.  So, literally all I am responsible for is choosing a hairstyle... and I'm struggling.  What do you think about the below looks?  Go ahead, cast your vote- it would really help me make a decision and move on to bigger and better bridesmaid responsibilities.

Option 1: Messy 

Option 2: Curly to One Side

Option 3: Curly Straight Back

Option 4: Braided 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

A little bridal shower inspiration

The bridal shower brunch coming up has to be great.  Why?  My friend, Jill deserves it.  She's one of those people always going above and beyond for others and never asks for anything for herself.

Since her wedding is in the Keys, everything has a beachy vibe with aqua, coral, and navy as her colors.

I didn't want to pick a random theme, so we stuck to the wedding theme/colors and built everything around that.  Here's a peek at the sources for my inspiration- hopefully the real thing comes together the way I'm envisioning it.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

House Preparations

I can't believe summer is almost over.  Jake and I were going through our calendar the other day and every weekend in September is already booked- it's insane.

I'm in a wedding at the end of the month and am co-hosting a shower for another friend before her wedding in Key West (fun!).  Somewhere in between then, Jake and I will be headed to Louisville for our friend, Howard's wedding in October.  Craziness.

But back to the shower coming up in a few weeks and everything I have to do to prepare for it.

My friend, Jill is getting married in Key West this November and wedding festivities are in high gear.   We head to Isle of Palms next weekend for her bachelorette and then two weeks after that she'll fly home to VB from Jacksonville for back to back showers with family and friends. Her maid of honor/sister, Madeline as well as another bridesmaid are in the area so we're hosting a bridal shower brunch for around 20 people in her honor... at my house.

I always knew I loved to entertain, but this is only the third formal event I've hosted at our house (the first being our housewarming and the second Thanksgiving) since we moved in.  The minute we confirmed the location would be at my place I started a list of things I wanted to have done before the event.  It sounds ridiculous, but things like adding hardware to the kitchen cabinets, etc. all of a sudden have a sense of urgency when you're about to open your home to a large group of people.

My To Do List:
1. Replace kitchen tiles (we already had the tile, we just needed to old stuff ripped out and the new stuff put up)
2. Add hardware to the kitchen cabinets (nothing there to start with)
3. Area rug for the dining room from

4. New stainless steel trashcan for the kitchen
5. Bench for the front porch and new house numbers
6. Professional weed treatment for the yard, bushes trimmed, lawn edged
7. Find and renovate a buffet/sideboard for the dining room (something like the below)

9. Steam clean the ottoman and wash the couch cushions
10. Replace the outdoor light fixtures

Since making my list, the kitchen tiles have been replaced (more on that soon!) and hardware has been added to almost all of the cabinets and some of the drawers.  I've also come close to making moves with a few other things (ahem, the buffet) but it may come down to the wire.  #itusuallydoes

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Choosing a Yellow Front Door

If you can have a "thing" for front doors, then consider me head over heels for quite a few.  I've always been a fan of putting some color on your door to create an inviting entryway and my own house is no exception.  As a matter of fact, painting the door was at the top of my to do list when we moved in.  #itsallaboutpriorities

After turning to friends, family, and pinterest for ideas and eventually taking the The Front Door Test, I chose yellow.  According to the test, having a yellow door means:

You Are Happily Helpful

You are social, giving, and very community oriented.
You like to feel like you're making a difference in the world.Friendly and optimistic, you are a very welcoming person.You like to bring people together. You are the perfect host. 

Not too shabby, right?  Hopefully our guests will find it to be true.   This door "personality" (if you can call it that) pretty much sealed the deal for me- all that was left was to pick the perfect shade.  Similar to judging a book by its cover and a wine by its label I absolutely pick paints by their name.  Of course I go off the color initially, but if it doesn't have a good name  It can't/won't be considered.  So, what'd I pick?
Drum roll please...
... Behr's "Yellow Brick Road"

For a little extra personality, I added the "hello" decal from Hello Vinyl on Etsy.  It turned out cheerful and inviting which is exactly what I hoped for.  

Would you say its an improvement?  I think so.  Have you painted your front door?  I'm curious to see what other fun color choices people are making.

Friday, July 19, 2013

real progress- now we're talking

When we first moved into our house almost a year ago I had a list of "immediate" things to do- some necessary, but most just preferred.  As you may have already guessed, after the initial excitement wore off so did my zeal.  Needless to say, I came across the original list and realized we have in fact made some progress.

Here is the list and notes from September, with new notes since that update:

1. the mailbox The mailbox and post have been completely replaced, I just need to add house numbers. Numbers have been added, courtesy of our neighbors with the same mailbox.  Imagine that. 

2. the kitchen (long story and I'm sure you'll disagree) This is going to stay on here awhile... turns out the tile is going to be much more difficult to remove than I originally thought and since Jake doesn't want to change the kitchen, it looks like I'm on my own.  Demo starts Monday and, if all goes according to schedule, should be complete by the weekend!

new backsplash with a tiny view of the current tile

3. wall color I painted over the cream walls with a tan/grey color in the hallways and dining room and went a shade darker in the living room (same color from my living room in our townhouse). Still painted.

4. living room This isn't done, but progress has been made.  We replaced a bookshelf I bought my junior year of college (it was under $20 and originally intended for a bathroom) with a tall white cabinet I received as a birthday present and I'm a fan.  I also steam cleaned our couches (although you can barely tell), we added linen curtains, and slowly started hanging artwork.  No news on this front.

5. gallery wall Totally done and I'm really proud of how it turned out.  It may have been completed late the night before our housewarming, but at least it was done (and done well) before the masses arrived.  We've started on the opposite wall.

6. hallway bathroom I'm almost there... I bought a new shower curtain, rug, and hand towels to start and painted the walls Turquoise Mist last night.  All I have left is cabinet hardware and hanging something on the wall(s).  Purchased hardware but didn't love it, so I'm back to square one.

7. front door I have always wanted a yellow front door and that's exactly what I got.  Jake painted ours for me the first weekend we moved in while I was out and it made my day!  I since added a "hello" decal, which I love!

8. porch lights Not even close to deciding. I'm now wondering why I thought this was an immediate need.

9. paint the window shutters All I have to do is paint them black from brown, but it hasn't fell high on the list of priorities.  Done.

10. Find art to fit new our walls and hang what we already own sort of started.  I'm not sure what art wasn't hung at this point so I'm considering this done, although we do have some bare walls still.

11. Master bedroom, including getting a king size bed and a ceiling fan I'm not sure if the desire for a bigger bed is actually new (it's been a reoccurring topic) but the focus on decorating the master bedroom in any way definitely is!  Upgraded to a king size bed in November and had a ceiling fan installed in June- thank goodness.  Now we just need a headboard. #itneverends
king bed with summer bedding

12. Window treatments throughout the house We put 2" faux wood blinds in the front window and linen curtains in our bedroom.
new blinds make a big difference

13. Area rug for living room I still want to do this, but am being picky.  The best part will be when I end up just getting a solid, neutral option and then we'll wonder what took me so long.

14. Dining room table Bought one during a Memorial Day sale and it delivered at the end of June!
Legacy Classic Glen Cove dining room table

15. Buffet/sideboard for dining room I'd love to refinish an older piece but haven't found what I'm looking for yet.  I haven't given up on this- I just haven't come across the right piece for the right price yet.

So what do you think?  Do you like the progress?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Armoire Do-over

Feeling encouraged after my lil yellow table turned out ok, I thought it wouldn't be too too scary to tackle a larger piece.  That said, I had a rule about buying furniture while we were still renting- and that was not to do it.  I'd just hate to invest and fall in love with a piece of furniture that wouldn't fit in our next space.  Don't you agree?

Well, low and behold the minute we put an offer on our house I started to nest.  I found this piece on craigslist for $100 cash and convinced Jake we "needed" it for the new house.  With our closing date a month away and no real place to store it, my parents kindly enough offered up a corner in their garage... a spot I found myself in several nights after work until it was move-in ready.

This is how he (I personify inanimate objects a lot) looked the day I got him:
The first step was to remove what hardware I could- there was no getting the door of, but the handles all came off easy enough.  After giving him a good sanding, I taped the door trim to protect the glass and started priming.  This guy definitely took two coats of basic primer, but it was important to get it right since I planned to paint the shelves white.

Next came the color!  Something you should know about me is that I don't typically pay full price for a gallon of paint.  I'm that person frequenting Lowe's and Home Depot's reject section snagging anything in the blue green family or completely neutral for $5 or less a can.  So far it's worked for me.  But in an effort to be honest, I didn't have anything other than primer when it came to white, so I did buy a quart of a grey/white color.  There, now everything is out in the open. 

Making progress...
Once I was done painting, it was time to add the finishing touches.  The below coral handles I'd purchased in white and planned to replace the original drawer handles with didn't quite work out. The knob on the door is connected to the cabinet's locking mechanism making it difficult to remove and the combination of it with the new handles just wasn't working for me.  Oddly enough I'm happy with the original pulls... it keeps a bit of the character for sure, but I'll let you decide for yourself.
Here he is in his new "home".
Well, what do you think?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Did I lose you?

It's been over 4 months since my last post and I've got nothing to really explain it other than life... which also is happening for everyone else, including the most popular bloggers.

Truth be told, I've considered starting a new blog or just redesigning this one and changing the name (esp since I don't have a matching url) and while that debate has been going on in my mind I've avoided putting any time or effort into it as it currently stands.  Big mistake.  I mean that certainly isn't the way to build suspense for a new look or name... and it's not helping my cause with gaining or keeping followers either.  Basically, I did not choose wisely and I'm sorry.

So, what's been going on since March?  A lot actually!

1. Jake and I traveled to Cancun on a trip for my work and it was amazeballs (yes, all one word).  It was really nice because even though we've taken trips together we don't splurge the way you can when the majority of your costs are being covered.  That nicety allowed us to spend our own money on excursions, which were so much fun, and other little things we wanted to do... like be total tourists and purchase photos from said excursions.

couples swim with dolphins

networking reception

view from the balcony

2. I traveled... a lot.  In addition to Cancun, I visited Savannah for my Mom's 50th birthday; Salt Lake City for SNAP! a blogger conference (as a sponsor, not a blogger); San Diego for our largest event of the year; and Atlanta immediately after for the & Crafting for Charity event.  It sounds like a lot and it felt like a lot up until I hit my bed after the very last trip was over (and even a bit after that).  Don't believe me?  Take a look for yourself!

park in Savannah

fun closing party at SNAP!

putting the finishing touches on the booth 

trip to the San Diego zoo after a long week

After photo from the Crafting for Charity event in Atlanta

3. My inner DIY-er was uncovered.  I've always enjoyed artsy projects but working on the dining room redesign for The Nicholas House during the Crafting for Charity event really exposed the joy of it.  It doesn't hurt that Beth Hunter from HomeStoriesAtoZ asked if I was a DIY-er because she thought I was a natural... but seriously, she told me in Atlanta and made the same comment on her Crafting for Charity post.  Needless to say, I finally came home and started looking at every room like a potential project.  What's on my list? Replacing the kitchen tiles to start, adding hardware to our guest bathroom, freshening up the master bath, and renovating the laundry room.  I'm sure theres more but that's what first comes to mind.

I know that's only a list of three update, but it will have to do for now. #babysteps

Oh, well I guess #4 could be that I started regularly inserting hashtag into both verbal and written communication. #bettergetusedtoit

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Cookie Monster

In case you don't already know this about me, I love sweets.  I love them in the morning and in the afternoon.  I love them in the evening and underneath the moon (if you didn't start singing Skinny Marinky Dinky Dink in your head just now get lost).  But it's true.  I really love all types of sweets and I sort of wish I didn't.

I don't think the issue is that I enjoy sweets, lots of people do.  I think the issue is that I crave them... like all the time.  Lazy Saturdays are just better with some homemade chocolate chip cookies and a glass of milk in hand.  And those stressful days at work, well it's nothing that a little cupcake can't take my mind off of for an hour or so.  Do you see how this is dangerous?  I mean it would be nice if I had different cravings and really loved fruit or something healthier... but I don't.

I'd like to blame part of this on my mother who started this infatuation of mine at a young age.  I mean look at me?  I've got Cookie Monster clothes for my formal Olan Mills photo.  Talk about commitment.  Not to mention that my mom also loves sweets, with most her dinners in college consisting of a pack of Reese's cups and a soda.  It's clear where I get it from.

Ugh.  I need to get this under control.  With our trip to Cancun less than 3 weeks away, I'm making changes (at least temporarily).  That's right, I've given up sweets from now until our trip- eek!  I genuinely hope I can go without but it's going to be hard.  Pathetic, I know, but at least I'm honest.

Wish me luck, I'm going to need it.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Just another night at 3780

Saying that Jake and I love our dog is an understatement.  We are obsessed with our dog.  And by obsessed, I mean we are abnormally infatuated with this 19 pound Boston Terrier that was introduced into our lives nearly 2 1/2 years ago, named Tank.

So, what prompted this blog?  Moments like these...

Scene: 8:29pm and a DVR'd episode of Billy On the Street: Funny or Die is playing.  Jake is laying on the couch in his fleece jacket because he refuses to set the thermostat higher than 62° and I'm on the chair playing on my new MacBook Pro, lovingly named Watson.

Jake: Would you rather Tank be soft and have a not so cute face or keep his cute face and not be soft?
Me: Cute face, I don't care as much if he is soft.
Jake: Really?  I don't know about that.

a minute later...

Jake: Would you rather Tank not shoot bunnies (aka fart) or not beg for food?
Me: Easy. Not fart.
Jake: No way.  I'd rather he not beg for food.

another minute later... 

Jake: Would you rather Tank have his cute eyes and face and lose his floppy ears or get buggy eyes and an ugly face but keep his floppy ears.
Me: Lose the ears.
Jake: Seriously?  Why?
Me: Buggy eyes lead to more health problems and I don't want an ugly dog.
Jake: (to Tank) Mom did a good job picking out the cutest Boston Terrier with the best ears and face.

end of conversation.

I won't even get into the details of this past Sunday where me, my Dad, and Jake were at one point all sitting in the living room begging Tank to come sit by us.  Don't even worry about the fact that we paused a movie to have this weak moment.  He chose me, but who's keeping track?

PS After I read the draft of this post to Jake he told me he didn't say any of this and that, for the record, Tank ended up choosing to sit near him Sunday.  

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Midweek Confession

Since I'm on a roll this week, I might as well try to get back into a few good habits.   Midweek Confessions, inspired by our real friend Elizabeth over at E, Myself, and I is always fun to participate in.

No need to waste any time.

1. I've embraced two of the three Pinterest secret boards you're allotted.  I won't share what they are (it's a secret) but I'm sure you can guess one of them.

2. I spent too much money on a quart of "powder paint" for the dresser in our bedroom.  This locally made, organic paint is supposed to compete with Annie Sloan's chalk paint and is cheaper (if you can believe it).  Let's hope its as good as everyone claims.

3. I'm going to be in two weddings this year and I'd sort of forgotten how expensive being a bridesmaid can be.  I love both of the brides, so no worries there, but I'm not sure Jake and I will make it to Napa for our anniversary after all and I'm bummed.

4. Making over our bedroom has become an obsession.  We'd never invested any money into our room until recently when we bought a king size bed, and now it's on.  Since our headboard and footboard no longer fit and my love for our furniture is starting to wane it's set a ball in motion that neither of us can stop.  Hopefully the paint, curtains, new duvet, refinished dresser, and possible upholstered headboard (fingers crossed!) will do the trick.

5. I've made hot chocolate (with more marshmallows than a five year old would request) every day for the past week.

6. I'm finally back on the Weight Watchers train but am not having as much immediate success.  The first week I lost 2 1/2 pounds and gained 0.1 and 0.7 the weeks following.  I'm sure the cupcakes and chocolate chip cookies last week didn't help my cause.  I need to lose 10 pounds by the time we travel to Cancun in March.

7. I have had no desire to do laundry lately.  The result has been me going through the dirty clothes recycling my dress socks. 

8. The most recent movie I watched was Judge Dread, and I liked it.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Master Bedroom Makeover

Before Jake left for Haiti I decided that I was going to use those two weeks while he was gone to be super productive... in a tangible way.  I set the following goals:
  • Replace the broken blinds in one window with 2" faux wooden blinds for all three windows in our living room.  I know the math seems off- one set of blinds was broken and three ended up being replaced- but I couldn't bring myself to replace the basic blinds with more basic blinds.  When we moved in I wanted to get plantation style blinds and this was my window of opportunity (pun intended).
  • Deep clean the house (including Jake's bathroom).
  • Makeover the master bedroom.
And here's what I accomplished:
  • I purchased new blinds from Home Depot and recruited my brother-in-law, Will to install them.
  • The house was professionally cleaned, but not by me (although I was able to keep it that way for a week until Jake got home).
  • I painted our bedroom (Palladian Blue by Benjamin Moore) and Will helped me I helped Will hang curtain rods.
  • Ordered a new duvet from Kohl's and then one from Pottery Barn, both of which did not end up working out.  Ugh.  I'm currently waiting for this one to arrive to test in person.
  • Picked out and ordered linen fabric and blackout lining for custom curtains.  It sounds crazy, but I really love the Pottery Barn blackout linen curtains at 96" but can't afford four panels at $119/panel.  Who can?  I mean seriously.
  • Purchased a fan for our bedroom and requested estimates for installing it.  However, based on the  quotes I got and the fact that we don't know anyone personally who can install it, it will just have to wait.  Hopefully we'll find the time (and money) before it gets warmer.
Before and after shot of our living room window.


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