Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Thanksgiving Weekend

Well I have really been slacking off on my blogging recently. Things have gotten quite busy and hectic for the holidays, and I don't have as much free time to come here.

First, I'd like to remind you to visit my other blog, The Things Girls Love for book reviews, recipes, shopping tips, and more. I've just posted a book review of The Shack today.

So I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! I thoroughly enjoyed mine. It was full of family, shopping, scrapbooking, and playing with a baby. Scott and I left Richmond about 5:30AM on Thursday morning, in an attempt to beat traffic going to NJ. We managed to do just that, only hitting slight traffic about 30 min before we got there. I spent most of the day watching my nephew, Benjamin, reading, and helping my sister-in-law get ready for dinner. There were 15 people for dinner, and the food was great. My cherry pie seemed to go over well, but Jeanine's apple pie was my favorite.

Jeanine was a trooper, and went out shopping with me at 5AM on Black Friday. I think she did more shopping than me! We found some great deals and had a good time. Meanwhile, Scott was doing his very first babysitting job - he stayed at the house to sleep, and was there when Benjamin woke up to feed him and watch him until we got back. Scott and I went back out shopping at the mall for a couple hours, until I got too tired. I took a nap on the way back to Jeanine's.

That evening, Jeanine's mom came over and we all scrapbooked. We weren't able to convince Bonnie to join us - I think she was just too distracted by her grandson. I can't say that I blame her. Jeanine and I spent much of Saturday scrapbooking as well, and we went to Michael's that afternoon to load up on more supplies.

Scott and I left about 8:30 on Sunday morning, hoping to beat traffic once again. We weren't quite so lucky - traffic was pretty bad on 95 between DC and Richmond, but we still managed to make the trip in 5 hours.

Sunday afternoon, I went shopping with my brother, then Scott and I started on our Christmas decorations. I can't wait to post pictures for you all! They will be coming sometime this weekend :-).

Monday, November 16, 2009

New Ottoman!

Last night, I was out doing some Christmas shopping. I had stopped by Bed, Bath & Beyond to pick up coffee for the Keurig, and I moseyed over to the furniture section to check out their ottomans. Low and behold, they had the PERFECT ottoman for the new library!

It matches our chairs perfectly, plus it has storage! Can't beat that. I was thrilled. It was $59.99, and I had a 20% off coupon, so I got it for about $48. Very exciting!!! It looks great. I'll take a picture tonight.

I can't decide what I want to do next: crown molding, recessed lighting, or hardwood floors? Tell me what you think.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Built-In Shelving - Converting the Living Room to a Library!

I've been teasing you all for weeks, and the time is finally here to reveal our latest project!!

About 4 weeks ago, Scott and I started our latest home renovation project: Built Ins! We have a "Formal Living Room" in the front of our house that, until now, has been completely useless. We don't have "formal" furniture (nor would I want such a ridiculous offense to those of you who do) and we spend most of our time in the Family Room anyway.

Here are a couple pictures taken when the previous family was still in our house. The first one is kinda dark, and the second one is kinda small, but between the two you can get an idea.

So that is the "Way Before" picture. The first thing Scott and I did in this room was to paint it the same color as our Dining Room.


As you can see, our choice of furniture was lacking. So 4 weeks ago, Scott and I finally decided to do something about this room. We went to Lowe's and bought these:

They are the basic, unfinished wall cabinets for the kitchen. They were on sale 15% off that day, so we got them for under $100 a piece.

Scott cut the carpet to the width of the cabinets, then built a platform to raise them up just a bit. Installing these was the easy part.

Next, we needed a counter top. We used 3/8" plywood and glued it down. Scott gathered every heavy thing he could find in the house to weight it down and make it glue flat. LOL.

This completed the cabinet portion of our built-ins. Next up: Bookshelves! Scott pre-built the bookshelves using the same type of plywood as we used for the counter. Then he nailed them to the wall.

He added trim to make the bookshelves looks bulkier.

With both bookshelves installed, we removed the cabinet doors and started sanding everything down in preparation for prime and paint. We also filled the nail holes with wood-putty.

Next, we primed and painted everything!

We saved the cabinet doors for last. Scott JUST finished them 2 nights ago, and we put them on last night. And finally, I was able to decorate!! So here we are, the big reveal.

Before: Useless Room

After: Beautiful Library!

 We bought the leather chairs at World Market for $199 a piece. Not too bad!

I found these very cool magazine holders at West Elm, on sale for $12.99 a piece.

I also found this very awesome vase at West Elm for $29.99 and the filling was $6.99.

 I sorted my books by color:

And here are just a couple more random pics:

There is still so much more we want to do in this room: crown molding, hardwood floors, recessed lighting, a new ottoman, etc. But if I made you all wait until we were completely done, you might never see it!

Linking this post to A Soft Place to Land's DIY Day.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hemi Engines and Rain Coats

Today, I am thankful for my rain coat. It's been pouring down rain for 2 days now, and it looks like it will continue through tomorrow night. That is a bummer, because I have lunch plans with my friend Keri at the Nordstrom Cafe tomorrow afternoon (She-Crab Soup, anyone? YUM.), and I was hoping to squeeze in some shopping afterward. But our mall is an outdoor mall, and rainy weather is just not conducive to outdoor-mall-shopping.

I am also thankful for my Hemi engine. When I bought my car, my only criteria was that I wanted heated seats. Apparently, in order to get heated seats, you must get the top model vehicle. So my car came with all kinds of bells and whistles, with a Hemi Engine being one of them.  I can never go back! (P.S. I totally bought my car on ebay).

This morning, I was driving along the exit ramp to get on I-295 (in the pouring down rain, mind you), minding my own business, when suddenly a little Mazda Miata starts coming into my lane. I lay down on the horn, he sees me, and KEEPS COMING OVER. I'll be the first one to tell you that I have road rage. Not only did he come into my lane, practically running me off the road (I slammed on the brakes to avoid either hitting his car, or running into the guard rail) but once he was in front of me, he slowed down just to annoy me even further. There is no doubt he did this intentionally because I was still blowing my horn. (Don't cut me off - I will embarrass you by blowing the horn for a solid 20 seconds.)  So we're on the ramp merging onto 295, and he's going maybe 40mph just to irritate me. So at my first opportunity, I get in another lane, hit the gas, and leave him in a trail of dust. Or mud, actually, since it was raining. I love my Hemi.

In other news, it's almost Friday! I'm seriously considering putting up my Christmas decorations this weekend. I know its too early, but we are busy the last 2 weekends of this month, and I want to have them up before December. Besides, I LOVE Christmas decorations, so the longer I get to enjoy them, the better :-).

Unless my husband decides another layer of paint is necessary, I believe we will finish our latest project tonight! So be on the lookout for the big reveal. It's gonna be a good one.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Dining Room Remodel - Drab to Fab!

When Scott and I bought our house, we knew that almost every room would need some work. One of the (many) rooms that was in need of a remodel was the Dining Room. (Actually, every single room in the house needed one. But I digress.) Case in point:

This picture was taken before the previous family moved out. I would never in a million bazillion years buy a dining room table and chairs that looked like that. Nor would I pair it with that...cabinet? I'm not even sure what that thing is. It looks like it has the wreath from the previous Christmas on top of it. (P.S., this picture was taken in March.) I love to use photos we took during our walk-through as "before" pictures, because they are so horrible. This family had no sense of style whatsoever. Just wait till you see the Family Room before/after. HA! (Think yellow walls, red fireplace.....yep.)

My biggest beef with this room was the chandelier - I despised it. I was also not a fan of the hunter-green below the chair rail. (Better picture below).

Please disregard the mess in the "formal living room". (I can't WAIT to show you what we've done in there...we aren't finished yet, but it's close!)

Anyway, our first order of business was to paint. Unfortunately, when we did this remodel, I was not a blogger. So I only thought to take before and after pictures, and I don't have any "in process" pictures.

We decided to paint the room "Boardwalk" (which is a Martha Stewart Valspar paint color at Lowe's...#MS129). We bought all of our dining room furniture from Target - both the table & chairs, as well as the china cabinet.

We found the light fixture from Lighting Universe. The curtains are from Lowe's and the accessories on the dining table are all from Bed, Bath & Beyond. Kirkland's was going out of business at the time we did this remodel, and I was able to get a great price on the mirror.

So there you have it! Drab to fab!

Linking this post to Between Naps on the Porch's Metamorphosis Monday.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Reasons I Love Friday

Today is Friday! There are so many great things about Friday.
1) It's the start of the weekend.
2) I get to wear jeans to work (which means I can show off my fancy new Steve Madden Amme Sweater boots!)
3) I get off work at 11:30. *neener-neener*
4) The Maids come once a month on a Friday, and they are coming today. SWEET.
5) If The Maids aren't coming, that usually means I get to shop all afternoon!
6) Everyone is in a good mood on Fridays. :-)

Scott and I are so close to finishing our latest project! We've put built-in shelving in our "Formal Living Room", and converted it into a "Library/Study" (because, seriously, who needs a formal living room?). I've also considered calling it "The Parlor" just to be fancy. "Come on in and have a seat in The Parlor. Can I get you a drink?" Although, the words that come to mind when I think of a Parlor are "dark", "smokey", and "British". And none of those describe our new room, so I shall stick with "Library", because I always wanted one.

I debated whether I should blog about our progress as we went, or wait until we were finished to do a big "before & after" reveal, and I decided on the latter.I can't wait to share it! But it will probably be next weekend before I do, because we are going out of town this weekend.

Tonight, we are heading up to NJ to visit Scott's family. We are stopping tonight at Scott's brother's house, then going up to see his mom on Saturday. Her birthday is next week, so we are going to celebrate this weekend. We also hope to visit his grandmother and some other friends and family while we are there.

Happy Friday to everyone! Have a great weekend :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Guest Bathroom Renovation

Last year, Scott and I decided that our guest bathroom really needed some help. This is our first house, so each project we undertake is always a first for us. So this was our first stab at renovating a bathroom. I don't have the greatest "before" pictures, but they will have to do. Keep in mind these pictures were taking the day we put an offer on the house - so all the stuff belongs to the previous owners.

The bathroom was in need of some serious help. We gutted it.

OK, we left the shower. But we gutted everything else.

We decided to put in heated floors with Travertine tiles.

P.S. Heated floors are a pain in the butt.

Scott insisted on putting the tiles in at a 45 degree angle, which seriously complicated things. But it was worth it - it looks awesome, and it makes the room look larger.


We installed recessed lighting to brighten up the room, since it has no windows, and painted the walls a steel blue color.

We put in a new vanity, new light fixture, and new toilet. The faucet we picked out for the vanity is amazingly awesome. We couldn't find a mirror that we liked, so we bought a frame instead and made a mirror out of it. For artwork, we took pictures of the blooms on our Bradford Pear, had them printed in black & white, and framed them as well.



(P.S. It's really hard to get good pictures of a room so tiny)

We were really pleased with the results! It took quite a bit of time, but it was well worth it (for our guests, at least). We haven't braved the Master Bathroom yet, but its on the Project List!

Linking this to Thrifty Decor Chic's Before & After party!

My First Blog Award!!!

Yesterday morning, I was so pleased to wake up to find that I had been nominated for my very first Blog Award, courtesy of Lindsay at Mommy Wonderland! And what's even better - I received not one, but TWO blog awards!!! Thank you so much, Lindsay!

Here are the rules for the first award:
  • Post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link.
  • Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered.
  • Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.
I'm relatively new to this blogosphere, and I don't quite have enough to list 15 blogs, so I am going to list 10. I'm passing this award on to the following people:

And the rules for Award number 2 are:
This award is bestowed on to blogs that are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers.

Deliver this award to six bloggers who must choose six more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award. 

OK, and my nominees for this one are:

 Congratulations to all of you!!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Costumes - Past & Present

Kelly's Korner has asked us to show our Halloween costumes from the past and present. How fun !

Here is a photo of me when I was about 2 years old.

And this is me 5 years ago dressed as a Pirate for work:

And here is me today, dressed as a black cat!

What are you dressing up as?