Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Bathroom Reno Sneak Peek

I think I've teased you long enough. Honestly, I was hoping it would be done by now. So close though.

Let's remember what we started with, shall we. First reaction, no way. Second thought, hmm this could be fun. Here's my first post with our ideas.

We decided we'd take care of the painting ourselves. What were we thinking? Kidding, sort of. But I've taken on this task and I warn you, it is tedious.

The timeline so far:
  • Fill all one thousand plus nail holes with wood filler, let dry
  • Sand, sand, and sand some more. And wear a mask because it sure gets dusty. 
  • Prime
  • Find a few nail holes you missed while getting ready for bed, fill those
  • Sand the trim and walls again with a high grit sand paper. I love the sand paper blocks.
  • Prime again (on a Friday night).
  • Paint the ceiling the following morning
  • Second coat on the ceiling
  • Prime the top half of the walls
  • Take a break and enjoy life
  • Wake up Sunday, sand again.
  • Paint the board and batten (first coat)

Phew, it's been a lot of work. I have to sand once more and add one more coat of paint on the board and batten. We went with Pure White (Sherwin Williams) in an eggshell finish. I realized last week that if I used the trim paint we've been using in other rooms, the entire lower half of the wall would just be way too shiny. So back to the store we went - Sherwin Williams is running a paint and painting supply sale through October 31st so we took advantage of that. Also - in a bathroom, make sure to choose a paint that resists mold and mildew well.

Then comes the fun part, picking out the color for the top half of the walls!  I threw a few samples we already owned up on the walls - Chelsea Gray (Benjamin Moore) on the left, Greyish (Sherwin Williams) on the right. And have decided ones too dark while the other's too light. But I can't say we don't like the idea of something on the darker side...what do you think?

This project has certainly been a dream (and a major headache at times for sure). I never thought I'd have the opportunity to design my own bathroom this early into owning a home. I didn't think I'd be doing any major renovations just yet! But that's the path we've chosen, and I have learned so much from it. The house just needs a little TLC! ;) The final stages of the bathroom renovation take place this week - installing the shower glass. Then we will be able to finish the room. And I'll share the rest of the details and fixtures then. 

Stay tuned!

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Monday, 21 October 2013

Just Like New

Hello Monday. Don't you always sneak up on us. This weekend actually went by at what seems like the right speed. If that makes any sense. We were able to get things done around the house, head out to the bar to watch the Red Sox win (!!), and have family over for the Pats game Sunday. And let me just say, how ridiculous was that call?! I don't get it. Players pushing each other had no impact on the fact that the Jets kicker missed the field goal. Missed it! Ugh, how frustrating.

Anyways, end rant. 

When we moved into our new home, there was something we were seriously lacking. Furniture. Sure, we had our bedroom set and living room furniture from the city. But that's about it. And buying everything brand new was not in the cards. 

We have spent a fair amount of time searching Craigslist. Why not? Although it can take time - we've lost out on several items - it can also be totally worth it. For example, our "new" dining room table. I've mentioned it before, I know. But it's probably my favorite Craigslist find to date. 

This is embarrassing, but when we first got the table, I used pledge wipes to clean it. And that's it. Since then it's been wipe downs with a sponge. We rarely eat at it since it's just the two of us. But this weekend, baby got a good cleaning. And wow, what a difference. 

Look at that shine! 

I knew I needed to be careful. I didn't want to use anything too harsh because the table is solid wood, built at least 40 years ago. So after a little bit of online research, I went with with what I had on hand: equal parts white vinegar and Meyers all purpose cleaner, mixed with hot water. And I used a face cloth to wipe down the furniture. I had picked up the Meyers for $1 on a whim at Target one day. Best $1 spent!

I took this photo after the combo worked wonders. And yes, look at that water! Ew.

Another reason I broke out this all natural wood cleaner? J and I have inherited a few pieces of furniture from my grandparents house. We are so grateful for this! If there's anything I've learned since moving and looking at furniture, items built 40+ years ago were built to last. I have a totally new opinion of furniture sold today at some of the major name stores. So you want to sell me a veneer topped table for thousands of dollars? No thanks.

Here's a look at the bureau we brought home from my grandparents house, pre cleaning:

And all of the drawers...
Snagged that awesome mirror at my grandparents' too and am planning to hang it above the bureau.

And after cleaning:

Let me repeat myself, look at that shine!

Would you guess how old this furniture is? It's looks just like new!

I was beyond impressed with this almost all natural cleaner (Meyers' ingredients are at least 98% naturally derived, according to their website) so I just had to share. I will certainly be using it more often. Already have on the sideboard we recently picked up from Craigslist! But that's a story for another day. 

I couldn't stop myself Saturday. I found myself scrubbing all of the kitchen cabinets with this mix too. I love that the house didn't reek of chemicals nor are surfaces we eat off of covered in anything toxic. 

What do you use for all natural cleaners?
White vinegar has so many amazing uses. I use it when washing towels and cleaning our hardwood floors too!

If you like this post please let me know by leaving a comment or liking my Facebook page. You can also follow along on TwitterPinterest, and Instagram. Let's stay in touch!

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Number Cruncher

Yes, that's me. I spend my weekdays doing accounting work for a private company and my nights and weekends crunching numbers for our household. It's not a chore to me, it's what I like to do.

I've contemplated putting together a post on the time value of money. What is that? It's what the pros use to calculate any loan you might have - mortgage, car loan, etc. It's the amortization schedule of payments - principal and interest - they show you. And it is an incredibly helpful tool to know how to use. I'd be lying if I said it was super complex. If you have any interest in a post like this please let me know. I would be thrilled to throw a little number knowledge at ya! Nerd alert.

Anyways, I'm getting sidetracked. And I have one more sidenote before I get to the meat of this post. I happened to catch this opinion post on CNN and just had to share it. My favorite quote from it being,

"Competence, meanwhile belongs to the women, particularly in the usually macho world of global finance. Over in Europe, Merkel was re-elected on the basis of her deft handling of the eurozone crisis, and in the United States, monetary policy was entrusted to [Janet] Yellen. Making the victory extra sweet for women, she was chosen instead of Lawrence Summers, who will forever be remembered for saying women aren't that good at math."

Oh yes. We aren't very good at math at all. Let me ask you a question, Beyonce. Who runs the world? Girls.

So, back to regularly scheduled post. While getting rooms painted and furnished is really important, sometimes it's the little projects that make our new house feel more like a home. Pictures definitely do this. I've mentioned these Etsy pictures before. It all started with the artichoke, I had to have it in my house.

I knew I wanted to hang all four pictures in a row, evenly spaced apart. What does that require? Math! This was not a gallery wall I could wing, unlike the bedroom one I put together the weekend before. This was in a high traffic area and needed to be perfect.

I started by measuring the length of the bar unit the frames would be hung above (which was actually 71.5 inches), as well as the distance to the crown molding. Then, I measured the frames, which were 13x16. Four 13" frames would take up 52 inches. My original calculation above gave 5 inches between the frames but I decided that was too much and went with 4 inches instead. The outside frames were hung 3.75 inches in from the edges of the Besta (IKEA) unit and voila, 4 level, evenly spread out frames. (Don't be fooled, there are a few extra nail holes behind a couple of the frames...)

Next up in crunching numbers over here, finding the best deal. We were down to two rooms that still needed rugs, the dining room and living room. Columbus Day sales meant it was time to rip the bandaid off and finish a few home purchases. I've done my best to browse rug sales almost weekly, hoping I'd find something I love for pennies. If you've researched rugs, you know that they don't come cheap. But knowing what's a good price to pay is definitely valuable knowledge.

I started my living room rug selection not quite sure what direction I wanted to go in. Masculine, with a den feeling? Or light and airy? Well, then I came across this rug, asked Jay what he thought, to which he replied yes (shocked is an understatement), and my decision was made. Especially since we have a white haired pup. Light for the win!

I decided it was worth checking one of my favorite sites for this same rug. I've definitely seen it before and wanted to make sure I paid the best price.

Well Joss & Main had it, but the closest size was more than the Overstock price. That's settled.

And here she is! Not the greatest photo, but it was dark out and the living room needs the most work. And now I have lots of incentive to get things together - thinking cream walls and maybe a navy contrast wall. Maybe? That would be very bold for me but I love the idea of it.
An 8x10 wool rug for less than $300? Now that is a steal!

Where do you check for online home decor deals?
Any site that wants to give me a great price and free shipping is right up my alley. I've spent a fair amount of time on the following sites while attempting to decorate our new home: Overstock, Joss & Main, One Kings Lane, Target, Etsy, Home Depot

If you like this post please let me know by leaving a comment or liking my Facebook page. You can also follow along on TwitterPinterest, and Instagram. Let's stay in touch!

Wednesday, 16 October 2013


If I've learned anything about my style from this move, it's that 1 - I have too many clothes and 2 - I keep things fairly simple.

Our bedroom has been in disarray since we moved in. Specifically my closet once it became the storage space for our contractor during the master bathroom renovation. There are a couple boxes of clothes that have yet to get unpacked. And guess what, I haven't missed much. I'm sure there are some cute tops, shorts, light sweaters, etc waiting to be discovered in these boxes. But I can't tell you what they look like! So that tells me one thing, I don't need them. Don't worry, they'll be getting donated.

But isn't it funny that mentally cleaning out my closet can lead to a few new purchases? How horrible is that?! Some Fridays at work are more productive than others. Last Friday? Awful. Hey, it was my anniversary and all I wanted to do was get to our dinner reservations! So when I decided to scan the promotional emails instead of immediately delete, it was clear to see that everyone is having sales. Major sales. 50% off JCrew Factory, yes please! I ordered #2 & #3 below and threw in a new pair of jeans for J to make him feel good about my spending. What?


 1 / 2 / 3

Then I learned that Old Navy was having quite the in-store sale (30-50% off). So somehow I conveniently ended up near one over this long-weekend and snagged a new vest and some long sleeve cotton T's. My definition of autumn this year is cozy. That's how I want to feel; bundled up and cozy. 

These purchases definitely fall under my keep it simple style. 

How would you define your style this season?
In the Spring & Summer I think my style is definitely more fun and bright. But this fall has me leaning towards more neutrals and cozy layers.

If you like this post please let me know by leaving a comment or liking my Facebook page. You can also follow along on TwitterPinterest, and Instagram. Let's stay in touch!

Friday, 11 October 2013

Cheers to 4 Years.

It's hard to believe that four years have gone by since our wedding. 4 years! I think, and more importantly I hope, that our wedding day will always feel like it was just yesterday.

Playing along with my typical fun facts Friday, here are 5 of the best memories we have together to date:

1. We've been lucky enough to have traveled both 5,000 miles west to Hawaii and 3,500 miles east to Morocco. Rich in memories, not savings is best right? ;)

2. We rescued this little guy. Best.decision.ever. Well, behind saying yes to J.

3. We've celebrated the weddings of our brothers and sister. One brother to go!

    4. We bought our first place together in the city. Sold said place, and have now started a life in a house in the suburbs.

    5. And most importantly, we've had so much fun! I can't picture my life with anyone else. And I am so excited to see what the future brings.

    And baby, the way you move me it's crazy
    It's like you see right through me
    And make it easier
    Believe me, you don't even have to try

    Oh because, you are the best thing
    You are the best thing
    You are the best thing
    Ever happened to me

    Baby, we've come a long way, baby
    You know, I hope and I pray that you believe me
    When I say this love will never fade away

    Oh because, you are the best thing
    You are the best thing
    You are the best thing
    Ever happened to me

    Cheers to our lifetime together.


    Wednesday, 9 October 2013

    What I Wore: Wedding Style, Part III

    Sadly, our wedding season has come to an end. So this will be my last What I Wore recap of Wedding attire. I had so much fun finding the right outfit for each and every wedding we went to this summer. And my curling iron sure got a workout! This seemed to be the year of wearing my hair down to weddings. Something I never used to do.

    Wedding #1
    Dress: Calvin Klein (via Rue La La), on sale here
    Necklace: Monogram from Etsy (gift)
    Bracelet: Target
    Watch: Michael Kors
    Shoes: Ralph Lauren (via TJ Maxx years ago)

    Original wedding recap here

    Wedding #2
    Dress: Nordstrom
    Necklace: C. Wonder (borrowed!)
    Bracelets: Alex & Ani
    Watch: Micahel Kors

    Original wedding recap here

    I actually had all intentions of wearing my hair up to this wedding but thought I'd be sweet and ask J what he'd prefer. He said down. Welp, so glad I went out and bought the bobby pins I forgot to pack. You can never have too many of those though, right?

    What's your wedding style?
    I've realized that I tend to stick to simple dresses, no pattern or busy print. Weird, huh? I'm not really sure why because I always love the fun dresses I see on others. Maybe I'll branch out next year. :)

    If you missed the past wedding wear recaps, you can find them here and here.

    Until next year wedding season!

    If you like this post please let me know by leaving a comment or liking my Facebook page. You can also follow along on TwitterPinterest, and Instagram. Let's stay in touch!

    Linking up with What I Wore Wednesday, Three-fer Thursday

    Monday, 7 October 2013

    Fall Home Maintenance

    This weekend was all about getting things done around the house again. With the bathroom renovation nearly done, the construction crew finally cleaned up and removed the ram board floor protector used to cover our hardwood floors. So you better believe I got those new floors back to their shiny self! There was a lot of sweeping, vacuuming, and steam cleaning around the house this weekend. And a bit of gardening and clean up outside as well. Couldn't have been happier to have a front porch to decorate!

    But as we head into the fall months, there are certain maintenance projects we need to do that we can't exactly do ourselves. One room I cannot wait to spend time in this coming winter is our living room. I haven't had a fireplace since we moved when I was in the 5th grade. I envision myself curled up under a blanket, reading or enjoying a hot drink by the fire this winter.

    Before we use our fireplace though, it's really important that we have it cleaned. If it's anything like the rest of the home we've taken on, it may not have been deep cleaned for quite some time. So for safety's sake, we've decided to hire the pros (you can't really DIY chimney cleaning/sweeping). I should point out that the more often you use your fireplace, the more often you want to get it cleaned. Ash buildup is no joke - we're talking the possibility of chimney fires and carbon monoxide leaks. Scary stuff.

    While this may not be the cheapest home service, it's a necessary one. The average cost in the Boston area could run you about $350, but like I said, it's a necessary maintenance expense. You can read more here.

    In order to find a chimney sweeper in the area, I filled out the pre-screened pro service request on Homeadvisor's website. Guys, it was so easy! And possibly even better? There was no initial profile set-up, mandatory registration, or annual fee to use their service. Now that is my kind of website.

    After looking through the list of professional's in our area, we chose one we felt confident with and have scheduled our cleaning. While I may not be ready for winter weather yet, I'm excited knowing we'll have a clean, safe fireplace to use.
    Zip code and town removed for our personal privacy.

    If you're looking for a chimney cleaner in your area, click here. And get this done before the cooler temperatures hit!

    Home Maintenance
    Do you have a few other maintenance projects you need to get done? Another one on our list is cleaning the gutters and downspouts. There are a lot of leaves out there. Oh, you too? Check out this profile to learn more on what you can expect to pay in the Boston area.

    And best of luck to all you homeowners / house renters out there! As we're learning, home maintenance is no joke!

    Disclosure: I've teamed up with HomeAdvisor this month as part of their Blog Ambassador Program. Although this post is sponsored by HomeAdvisor, all opinions expressed are my own.

    Friday, 4 October 2013

    Fun Fact Friday 10.04.13

    Hellooo Friday! This work week wasn't too crazy busy for me which was refreshing. Although I'm still exhausted by Friday, how does that work? I was able to have dinner with my longest group of girlfriends this week and I so cherish these times. We may not be able to get together all that often, but when we do we pick right back up where we left off. There's nothing like friends who have known you since elementary school, some even longer! Yikes.

    So here's what we've got going on over here:

    1. I've deemed this weekend, let's see how much we can get done without spending any money. Somehow weekends have been adding up too easily for us lately. I mean I know why, paint, lawn care, Home Depot trips, etc but it's time to start making do.

    2. Except I am giving myself a small budget for mums, pumpkins, and the like. I must decorate our front porch. And I can't wait.

    3. Goodbye remaining yellow kitchen! Here's a peak:

    4. Last weekend the weather was so nice that I decided to open the double doors in our kitchen. During the summer it was SO hard to open but now that the weather has cooled off a touch, the lock on the left door is much more manageable. I only have so much strength in my fingers! I made Tucker be my model. It made such a difference having both doors open.

    5. Oh, and good boy no longer. We left the doors open while we got things done. Tucker has been great about hanging in the yard and coming in when he wants to. Well apparently he got a little too bored, and I didn't check on him soon enough. Suddenly he was gone! Very thankful he does come when we call him. And he came strolling down the road! Ugh. You've lost your privileges Tucker.

    Well, that's about all we've got going on around here lately. A bit boring. But tonight we are heading into the city to meet up with a group of high school friends. I can't wait.

    What are you up to this weekend?
    Will you be decorating for Fall too? Send me some inspiration!

    Have a fantastic weekend!

    If you like this post please let me know by leaving a comment or liking my Facebook page. You can also follow along on TwitterPinterest, and Instagram. Let's stay in touch!

    Linking up with H54F, That Friday Blog Hop, Friday Favorites

    Wednesday, 2 October 2013

    What I Wore: Wedding Style, Part II

    I realize my outfit posts have been few and far between lately. Honestly, my closet is covered in a layer of dust, half of my sweaters still aren't unpacked, and neither are my fall shoes/boots. Until our bathroom renovation is done, my daily work wear isn't all the exciting. It's more of a what's not wrinkled/ what's not covered in dust decision lately. I'm hoping to have an hour or two this weekend to get out my cooler clothes and put away the summer ones. Oh and clean up the contractor's mess! Ugh.

    So until then, I'd love to share the rest of my wedding outfits this week and next. If you missed my first recap, you can find it here. As I've mentioned before (and recapped here and here) we had two weddings Labor Day Weekend. Not only did I love the weddings themselves, but I just loved the dresses I was able to wear. One thing I can recommend now, tailoring. It makes such a difference. And depending on what you need done, it can be reasonably priced.

    Wedding #1
     Dress: Lily Pulitzer (via Rue La La)

    Tip: I googled the dress name before buying since it was a clearance, final sale item and found many reviews. Including, and most helpful, Rent the Runway where reviewers can leave photos of themselves in the dress (here). This was incredibly helpful!

    Wedding #2
    Dress: Modcloth

    I didn't do so well getting photos of my dress at this wedding. Especially since the back is the best part! Check the link above.

    With so many weddings this year, I only bought dresses if they were reasonably priced, on sale, etc. The final sale deals on Rue La La can be totally worth it if you know what size you need (since they're usually final sale).

    What's your favorite shop/site to buy dresses?
    My go-to's tend to be J.Crew, J.Crew Factory, Rue La La

    If you like this post please let me know by leaving a comment or liking my Facebook page. You can also follow along on TwitterPinterest, and Instagram. Let's stay in touch!

    Tuesday, 1 October 2013

    Sending a Smile

    I'd love to start this post by saying earlier this month but I guess I can't. How is it October?! Insanity. During September, I found out about the site Cardstore. I don't know about you, but I really enjoy sending out greeting cards when I get the chance. Who doesn't love getting a card in the mail?! They tend to be less frequent due to staying in touch through e-mail, text messages, and social media so they're even more surprising these days. Good old fashion snail mail.

    Well Cardstore lets you personalize a card through their website and send it right off to a recipient. The minute I found out about this, I knew exactly who I wanted to send a card to - my Nona. She's someone I don't get to see as often as I'd like to and knew how delighted she'd be to receive a card in the mail.

    I asked my mom to e-mail me a few photos of fun memories with Non that I'd be able to use and chose from one of the many thinking of you photo cards.

    Here are a couple screen shots of the website I took. It was so easy to use!

    Since this was the first card I was making on Cardstore's site, I decided to have it shipped to me first so I could see the final result. 

    What do you think?!

    For under $4 plus the cost of postage, you can send a personalized card to anyone you'd like. How fun is that?! I'm excited to give this site another go soon. I don't know about you, but I have the hardest time finding cards I like at the store these days. So sending a more personalized one, that doesn't flat out say "to someone special," is right up my alley.

    Disclosure: I received a promotional code to send one free personalized card of my choice. But all opinions expressed are my own. 

    Monday, 30 September 2013

    Window Reflections: Looking Back

    Although we've been spending our free weekends working on our new home, there are times where we stop and think what the heck did we get done? Because even the littlest projects seem to take time. I love when someone who's seen this home since the beginning stops by and notices how far it has come. Because living in it, sometimes it's hard to remember where we started. Even though we see it everyday, or maybe because.

    We spent our Saturday afternoon filling nail holes, priming, and painting the window trim in our master bedroom. A job I've procrastinated for months. And while we were happy to have it done, it seemed kind of menial and routine. In order to feel a bit more satisfied with our work, I looked back at a few photos of where we started. Umm, I kind of forget how bad it was at first. Shall we take a trip down memory lane?


    In Progress


    Like I said, looking back, part of me cannot believe what a wreck the bedroom we bought was! But I've really loved being able to make all the decisions, as stressful as it can be at times. And I'm so impressed with J's carpentry skills. Seriously. So thankful. Obviously there's still a lot left to do, like finishing the nightstands...but we'll get there. And I'll keep looking back at the before photos for inspiration to keep going. Somedays it's needed.

    Wrote this post, signed onto Pinterest, found this quote.....perfect timing?

    How was your weekend? 
    Do tell!

    If you like this post please let me know by leaving a comment or liking my Facebook page. You can also follow along on TwitterPinterest, and Instagram. Let's stay in touch!