A Step Up from Glitter Eyeshadow

Middle school trends are not always what I would call attractive. When I was in middle school, glitter gel makeup was a huge deal. Apparently, beauty was equated with reflectivity. Thankfully, I’ve gotten past my sparkly stage.  While I will confess that I love the current middle school trend of self-expression, you also won’t find me donning a “Give Peas a Chance” t-shirt or neon pink skinny jeans. And definitely not jeggings. Because, really? Just the name makes me cringe. That being said, there is the rare occasion when my purchases will actually be inspired by a 12 year-old student. Like, this weekend.
 
When I first saw Toms shoes, I thought they could be cute, but might just make me look like a) I was wearing an orthopedic shoe or b) a man. I wasn’t super excited about either of those options. Enter: a super cute and trendy former student that rocked Toms with just about any outfit. Seeing that they brought such fun color to her outfits (and didn’t make her look like a man), I started to consider them as a viable choice. This year, we have yet another super cute and trendy student in 7th grade who wears her Love is the New Black Toms with everything. This second dose of cuteness sent me over the edge, and I purchased my first pair of Toms last week. Right now, I’m anxiously awaiting the UPS man.

But wait, there’s more! As an early anniversary present (3 years on Wednesday!), my sweet husband bought me a pair of Toms wedges. Yes, I know. Two pairs in the same week is a bit excessive. I feel the need to explain. I stopped in a local store this past weekend thinking that I would try on a pair of the wedges just so I would know my size for future reference (like Christmas). Since the fall styles were out, I asked to try on the gray. When the salesman returned, he told me that they didn’t have my size in the gray, but they did have it in a blue and white striped pair that was left over from summer. Be still my heart. Blue and white striped anything is one of my biggest weaknesses in the world. Just ask my wardrobe. And almost every room in our house. While I had seen this pair online, the summer styles are discontinued and I didn’t think I had a chance of getting them. So, long story (sort of) short, I did, my husband is awesome, and my feet are happy. And today I got the middle school stamp of approval (which is a BIG deal). The end.

PS- Other bonuses: 1) Toms’ One for One concept of giving away a pair of shoes for every pair of shoes purchased is pretty great. 2) After being on my feet all day, I would like to give these shoes the official teacher stamp of approval. I’m not exaggerating when I say that the wedges are more comfortable than flats I own. Super exciting.

 

Fun Date Night/ Dinner Idea (aka Proof that I’m Spoiled)

Sometimes, I am totally overwhelmed by how well my husband loves me. I mean, for real. It’s kind of ridiculous- he puts me to shame. That being said, I totally love it and I’m hoping that it won’t stop anytime soon. Example:
 
On Sunday night, Zach had been doing some work on the car and told me that he was going for a drive to test it out. When he got back, he came in the living room and said, “I got you something,” and handed me a big bouquet of flowers. He repeated the “I got you something”, get something from the hallway, hand it to me process until I had three bouquets of flowers, a Real Simple magazine (I’m not a subscriber but I love it), a bottle of wine, and a delicious dinner and salad from Whole Foods. I know. Over the top thoughtfulness.

Now to the great date night/dinner tip (which was actually passed on to us from a friend): this gigantic, amazing, delicious, REAL food was $15. The meal and the salad. Tons of food. We both ate the pork/risotto/greens combo for two meals, then Zach had it again for lunch, and we still have a huge salad to eat. It’s a great deal for great food. I love that it’s such a perfect alternative to fast food for nights when it’s too hectic to cook, and that it really equates to just a couple of dollars per person, per meal. Needless to say, we will definitely be taking advantage of this deal again.  Bon appétit!

Shined, Sealed, Delivered

Summer is nearing its end, which means that we have been in our house for almost a year. While this milestone mainly just means that we’re celebrating not having any walls that need painting, there are also a few household maintenance issues that need to be taken care of, like sealing our precious granite. Since granite is stone, it possesses some of the same porous qualities exhibited in stones in nature. Not a big deal, but we don’t really like the idea of having grape juice colored countertops, so an annual sealing treatment helps protect against unwanted stains.

Following the directions on the back of our sealer (purchased from Home Depot), we first removed everything from the countertop and gave it a good scrubbing. Home improvement stores sell cleaner specifically for granite countertops, but we found that the degreaser formula of our Shaklee cleaners worked well. After that, we made sure everything was nice and dry with a soft cloth. Then, to make sure it was really  dry, we waited about 24 hours (overnight and through the school day).

When we got home from work, we sprayed the countertop, waited a few minutes (it was almost dry), sprayed it again, then polished the area with a soft cloth. Then, we let the sealer dry. Finally, we buffed everything with a towel.

 
We’re excited about the extra shine that the sealer gives to the countertops, and about the peace of mind that we have knowing that we don’t have to agonize over stains each time we (well, usually I) spill something.

House Tour: Dining Room

To make up for not sharing much of anything last week (our Internet was out and it was the first week of school…pretty insurmountable hurdles when it comes to updating the ol’ blog), I thought I’d share pictures of a room that I haven’t gotten to introduce you to yet. Please meet our dining room (as it was about a year ago):

Part of the reason that I haven’t shared pictures of this room yet is because it isn’t exactly finished. But, as any homeowner knows, nothing is really ever finished, so I might as well share the work in progress:

Source List:

Source List:
·         wall paint: Pine Whisper- upper and Hydrangea Floret- lower (Pittsburgh Paints) colormatched in Valspar
·         trim paint: Westhighland White (Sherwin Williams) colormatched in Valspar
·         table: Craigslist
·         chairs: Pottery Barn via Craigslist ($5 each!)
·         slipcovers: JCPenney
·         wall cabinet: cabinet auction
·         antique scale: parents’ first home (included an old grist mill that they renovated together)
·         dishes: Pottery Barn Emma collection
·         flatware: Oneida Bellini (from Bed, Bath and Beyond, but I don’t think they sell it anymore)
·         painting under wall cabinet: of my parents’ first home, done by my cousin when he was in middle school
·         utensil holder: Crate and Barrel
·         flowers: Trader Joe’s

·         chandelier: Pottery Barn via Craigslist

 
Inspiration:
The wall cabinet served as the jumping-off point for this room. While I love the finish on the piece, it’s also pretty specific, limiting our color choices a bit.
 
Confession:
This room sucked up about four coats of paint (including oil-based primer). I. am. not. kidding. I am not a fan of painting rooms that I’ve already painted, and I got a little sloppy on coat #4. As a result, we now have a few runs that drive me a little bit bonkers. I’m really good at telling middle schoolers not to rush through their work…not so good at following my own advice.
 
Things that Were on our To-Do List:
·         scraping the popcorn ceilings
·         scraping TONS of wallpaper
·         having the ceilings and trim painted
·         painting the walls
·         having the floors refinished
 
Things that are Still on our To-Do List:
Obviously, there is a big, empty wall staring you in the face when you walk into this room. I would love to do a grouping of white plates, which I (of course) have been scouring yard sales for lately. Once we find enough, I’ll be sure to share the final product!

Since we’re not really formal people, the informal touches in this space fit us well. We’ve already enjoyed some wonderful memories with family and friends around the table, and we can’t wait for more!

Even Better than Freshly Sharpened Pencils and the Smell of New Planners in the Morning

School starts Wednesday. As in, the day after tomorrow. As in, I have spent the past week planning lessons and trying to figure out where my summer went.

Even though I’ll miss sleeping in, time for craftiness, and all of the other wonderful things about this time of year, I’m excited for a new school year, new kiddos, and (duh) a new planner! I am a total school supply nerd. That being said, even better than 10 cent spiral notebooks is THIS:

You may remember me talking about my broken sewing machine (because I am a big fat whiner). You also may remember me mentioning that we recently sold a few cars (including mine). Well, since my husband is totally great and managed to make a little money selling cars last week, he offered to buy me a new sewing machine. Out of the blue. Like on a Tuesday. Not Christmas, or my birthday, or our 50th wedding anniversary. Because he is great. I opted for the Singer Confidence Quilter (on sale at Joann’s). I was a little nervous about buying a machine from a store where the staff couldn’t tell me much about the value of one over another, but I like that Joann’s has a 90-day return policy, giving me time to test things out. So far, I love it. Using a new, working machine has really opened my eyes to what I was missing. I don’t have to pull, push, and talk sweetly to my fabric to try and get it to feed through. I don’t have to disassemble my machine every time I want to change the bobbin thread. It. is. so. good. More stuff I love:

Handy needle-threader gizmo and reverse button

Computerized stitch selection

A bagillion stitch choices

Handy drawer for essentials

Can you tell I’m kind of giddy? I can’t wait to get to work!

House Tour: Kitchen

I know that I’ve posted a few pictures of our kitchen before, but I’m excited to share some of the pictures that Zach’s mom took while she was here. I’m also hoping to create a similar format among all of the house tour posts, which will hopefully bring some continuity to the blog.

In case you’re new around here, or to jog your memory, here’s what the kitchen looked like when we bought the house…

 

… and here’s what it looks like now:

Source List:

  • wall paint: Rain (Sherwin Williams) colormatched in Valspar
  • trim, cabinet, and lower wall paint: Westhighland White (Sherwin Williams) colormatched in Valspar
  • table and chairs: inherited from my grandma
  • mirror: Brimfield
  • wood drawers: flea market
  • hand soap, counter spray, and dish soap: Target
  • dish towels: Ikea
  • curtains: Pottery Barn ticking stripe grommet drapes (purchased via Craigslist)
  • desk chair with strawberry seat: flea market
  • dishes: Pottery Barn Emma collection
  • hydrangeas: Trader Joe’s
  • stool: yard sale ($3)
  • ice cream shop fixtures: estate sale (originally from a shop on Raleigh’s Hillsborough Street)
  • enamelware style candle: Vanilla Honey from Wal-Mart (our local store doesn’t seem to be carrying it anymore, which is a bummer because it smells so good!)
  • light fixture over the table: Pottery Barn outlet
  • light fixture over the island: Lowes
  • counters: remnants from Apex Marble and Granite(amarillo gold)
  • refrigerator: Best Buy (I don’t think they have the exact one in stock anymore, but ours is a Samsung. We love the streamlined look of the smooth finish, and the fact that it doesn’t smudge as easily as stainless.)

Inspiration:

John and Sherry’s tutorial on how to choose curtains was instrumental in helping us tackle the beautiful bay window in our kitchen. We used their idea of removing the finials at the intersecting corners of three curtain rods to create the look of one continuous rod. I really love how the curtains soften the corners of the space and make it feel a bit more cozy.

We used the wall paint in the master bedroom of our first house. I loved it so much that I wanted it to have a more prominent spot in our home. We’re really happy with the decision to use it in the kitchen!

I know that the kitchen table (which came from my grandma’s house) isn’t anything shiny or new, but I love that I can remember many family meals, card games, and conversations taking place around this table.

Confession:

Our white plastic trashcan usually goes on the side of the cabinet beneath the wooden drawer. I took it out for the pictures because, really? Who wants to see our trash?

Things that Were on Our To-Do List:

  • scraping the popcorn ceilings
  •  having the cabinets, ceiling, and trim painted
  • painting the walls
  • switching out cabinet and door hardware, light fixtures, countertops, and the faucet
  • adding hardwood floors to match the existing hardwoods that were at the front of the house

Things that are Still on Our To-Do List:

Thankfully, not much. Since this is really the hub of our home, it’s also the place that we gave the first and most attention to. I would love to get some sort of runner for the area in between the island and sink, but, other than that, we’re pretty happy with the way things are for now. We know that we’re pretty blessed to have such a great space, and we’re trying to make the most of it by enjoying it as often as we can!

Professional Photos of a Used Car Lot

We’re currently recovering from a crazy weekend, so prepare yourself for a bit of randomness.

We were so excited to have Zach’s mom come visit this past weekend. We loved hanging out with her, but we also had some serious business to attend to. Zach’s thrifty gene was totally inherited from his mom, who can spot a bargain a mile away. That being said, Zach’s parents live in the mountains of our state, which don’t boast the neighborhood yard sales and general Saturday morning fun that the Raleigh area has to offer. Thankfully, we were able to remedy a bit of her yard sale withdrawal this weekend. We had a great time hunting down deals with Zach’s mom and younger brother. I didn’t come home with too much, but I have found a few fun deals lately that I’ll share soon.

Another great thing about having Zach’s mom here for the weekend was that she was able to take some pictures of our house for the blog! Emily is not only a professional photographer, but an award-winning one at that! She has been recognized for several of her photos, including this one of our bridal party:

It was so much fun to have her take pictures of the house!  I’m looking forward to sharing them with you in a house tour starting tomorrow.

My husband sold three cars this weekend. Yes, three. His, mine (that I’ve had since high school), and a flip. We currently have no cars. This kind of makes me hyperventilate. Mostly because I am starting to realize exactly how much junk I store in my car…because it’s all piled up in our laundry room. Thankfully, Zach knows what he’s doing when it comes to cars, and it looks like I’ll be getting a new-to-me vehicle tomorrow. In the meantime, the laptop is being taken over by my Craigslisting fiend of a husband.

I was so excited to be featured on Fresh Coat Fridayat Life in the Fun Lanethis past week! Holly has an amazing ability to completely transform old, discarded furniture into breathtaking new pieces. Her work has inspired me to get to work on some projects of my own! She is incredibly talented, and it was such an honor to be featured on her beautiful blog!

As my final act of randomness, I’ll leave you with some eye candy from the lovely Jessica Hische. Her work has been featured on several blogs, but it wasn’t until recently that I got to explore her site. Her letterpressed alphabet is beautiful, whimsical, and creative. I love how she was able to transform something that can be seen as everyday or mundane into a work of art! A small confession: I kind of love that Zach and my initials are the first and last letters of the alphabet. A pair of these would be so cute framed in our house!

This viney alphabet would be so incredibly perfect in a nursery. Irresistable, really. It’s not too “baby”, so it could be a piece that could grow with a child.

I’ll be back tomorrow with day one of the house tour!