Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thrifty Thursday: Topping the Cake.

I spotted these figurines at Goodwill many moons ago, the night that Goodwill gave me 50% off everything I bought.


These puppies ended up being $1.63 for the set! Can you believe that? They even had attire similar to ours.

DSCF0973 Poofy dress, even a pink bowtie! I just knew these had to be our one year anniversary cake toppers… since ours were thrown out, being fresh apples and all ;) But the hair and eye colors were wrong. His was blonde/blue (like me!) and mine was black/brown (like neither of us). So with a little acrylic paint from my stash, I slowly made them over to look like us.

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Then added a little sparkle to her dress to make all the bling in my dress:

IMG_4329And ta-da! Ready to go for our one year anniversary, cake cutting, top layer eating festivities!


The hard part was keeping them a secret from Hussy. I succeeded for WEEKS, until he looked at the pictures I took of them on my camera our anniversary morning. So he got to see them before I got to put them on the cake. Oh well, we don’t do presents/surprises well here anyhow :)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Kitchen Renovation: Loft Inspiration.

I’ve gone back and forth so many times trying not to go too taste specific. Then I realized I wouldn’t be happy with something that I didn’t love for the remainder of time we spend here. I just didn’t want to spend so much time and money and know that we’ll only enjoy it 3 years, and have it ripped out by the next owner. 3 years SOUNDS like a long time, since we use that kitchen every day. But I look back at the last 3 years, and it’s gone in the blink of an eye!

Of all people, I know paint is an easy fix. I love changing paint like I change my clothes. For $30 you can basically make an entirely new room.

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(Pink/Black then Blue/White Master Bedroom wall, Beige Hallway, Brown Bathroom)


(Red/Black/White Living Room, Blue Hallway, Beige Bathroom)

However, I do NOT want to paint around cabinets. So I want to make for darn sure this paint color is going to stay for the remainder of time we’re here. Period. My problem? I want to go light, but I really want a cozy space too. It’s a battle people. With myself. Constantly.

So my #1 fave thing to do is photoshop. Like a mad woman. I know the lighting and furniture will make the color change from what’s on my screen, but it’s a starting point for my in-store and paint sampling search just a little easier, because I’m a super visual person. But this opens up the potential to pick any color under the rainbow, and makes the options harder to weed out. Example?


I loved the Ralph Lauren Stone I have in my living room carried over to the kitchen:



But after staring at it so long, it’s become a little… cold. So when we visited The Wine Loft in Short Pump, I was studying the muddy greige walls with the dark cabinets, mirrors behind the glasses, and warm amber light the lampshades gave off. It was comfortable, homey, and I wanted to stay there forever… or just take all the ideas home with me. I don’t think they’d let me live there, so I was stuck with option 2.

When we moved in, I went to town picking out all kinds of colors to paint all the rooms. The kitchen became gray, but it is such a saturated straight up gray, it sucks the life out of the room, and all the sunlight with it.


The muddy greige at The Wine Loft was more brown, and gave off a soft glow mixed with the amber lamp shades. So I tried to pick the shade out of a thousand online squares from the memory I have of the wall color I sat and studied while I sipped my Riesling. This is the closest I got to it:

urbanliving I picked a beige shade (yes, the lighting changed again. Why? OVERSTOCK DOESNT HAVE IT ANYMORE!!!) that I used in an old roomboard I made to give the amber glow, the dark cabinets and floors, and I wanted to bring in a little happiness with the lime green curtains. Which you KNOW will change.

Well, earlier today I showed Hussy a picture of a kitchen I love love loved with white counters, dark cabinets, and greige walls:

1468c01b1a3eThe irony? I saved this picture on my desktop on March 21. A MONTH ago, I saved this picture while I was getting my initial inspirations together for light counters and dark cabinets, and didn’t even remember it! It even has shelves like mine and the drum shade I want! It’s easier to visualize it in here than photoshop, but it’s hard to believe in my subconscious I liked one look for a month now. You’d think I’d stick with this look now, right? I hope so. The color I used is Urban Living in Ralph Lauren’s Urban Loft Paint line.

One Year Wedding Anniversary.


Since I semi-swore off the internet this weekend, for good reason, I'm a little delayed in wishing my husband a happy one year anniversary on here! Our weekend was jam packed with fun stuff, because, well, that happens when you don't waste your time hitting refresh on facebook. I may or may not be guilty of that when I'm truly, severely bored. But hey, it works, because other super bored people keep posting stuff for me to read every 2327840.2B seconds. Anyhow, I just wanted to kick the habit and enjoy my time with my husband with little to no interruption. You see, we wanted to go somewhere fun, like New York City, since I've never been. Or even take some crazy getaway vacation like we did for our honeymoon. But we didn't.

So why didn't we? For one, the kitchen renovation is on the table. Although the money is just sitting and waiting, everyone knows things go over budget. We also dragged our feet in booking anything, so by the time we almost decided what to do, things were too pricey.

Instead, we had a delightful weekend around home. On Friday, we went to look at a foreclosure. This home was listed for $150k, but assessed at $300k. I knew something was wrong with it, but I had to know what. I HAD TO. So we met up with our friend/realtor and took a glance at it. Our suspicions were right, it needed work. LOTS of work. When foreclosed upon, someone took the cabinets, appliances, vanities, light fixtures, air vents, heat pump, and even tried to rip the countertop out of the kitchen. They failed and left a broken chunk on there, and drew a pretty picture on the wall where the cabinets were.

Safe to say, it needs a lot of stuff. However, we looked at it in a different light than most. We welcomed the challenge. Nothing I love more than planning a kitchen or bathroom remodel! We also love buying stocks at half price (when the stock market crashed, THAT'S when we saved our money!), so why not a house at half price? Well, we haven't even gotten started demo'ing our kitchen, refinishing our floors, or planting grass seed. The main things we need to do to sell the house at top dollar. This also meant we wouldn't be able to even enjoy the fruits of our labor. Although we discussed that house over and over, we just couldn't do it. Yet.

Saturday we went to the park and threw a frisbee and fed the ducks bread.

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Since it was our Wedding Rehearsal/Dinner Anniversary, we celebrated by eating dinner at Bottoms Up pizza, where we had our rehearsal dinner.



Their pizza is to die for. The crust is thick and delicious, and the Hawaiian toppings are pure heaven. The interior is also incredible with the exposed brick, beams and pipes, and industrial lighting. When we had our rehearsal dinner, we ate next to some doors off the side of the building that they opened up. We played with the kids outside while still chatting with the guests inside, and watched the trains go by until dark.

We also decided to hit up The Wine Loft in Short Pump. We drove past it a million times (I mean, we have to pass it to go to the gym!) but kept putting off going. Since we would have spent so much more money on airfare and hotel accommodations, we decided to splurge $20 to enjoy ourselves. The Wine Loft didn't disappoint! The walls are a dark greige, the lighting was yellowy and comforting, and the seats are so incredible comfortable, even the bar chairs! They also had beautiful floor lamps and tufted brown ottomans that I want so badly in my own home now. The staff were amazing, and we sat next to a guy trying to impress his date (while asking us if he should go after the more attractive lady to his left. Yeah, he was a little gone.). We were pretty underdressed for the upscale atmosphere, so at least we know to look a little more classy next time. But it really was a nice comfortable place to hang out, and I can't wait to go back again.


Then Sunday, the official anniversary day, we slept in then took a trip out to Ashland to enjoy the downtown walks, homes for sale, and take pictures in front of the place we partied at a year earlier. Ok, and lots of pictures of everything else, but you know how I do.

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Then we got home and Drew grilled us a delicious feast:


We spent a lot of time relaxing, and then watched our wedding video (good idea, Hussy!). We toasted each other with our year old toasting wine (which was still delicious!) along with the toasts in the video.


My dad gave a heartfelt speech about Drew becoming his son, and me no longer being called the Runt. Then Jesse, our best man, entertained the crowd thanking Myspace for introducing us, and commenting on how we're the two most financially conservative people he knows, and he's shocked we weren't sharing a glass. Little did he know we didn't even have toasting glasses without my stepmother's present! Yeah, we're cheap. Ok, we also didn't buy cake cutters, not fancy nor bland ones, we BORROWED someone else's wedding set!

Then we finished the movie and cut the top piece of our cake:


with a cake cutter we ended up getting as a present. (check out all that open area in the freezer now! precious real estate in a home where people actually eat there!)

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I'll tell you more about those cake toppers on Thursday, but the cake was delicious. Now we have to have a cake eating gathering like we had with the groomscake.


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But just for good measure, we went to the gym afterwards since it's so dead on Sunday evenings, and I tested out my new workout attire. (and I sure don't want those pounds installed upon my person!) We enjoyed our anniversary, even though we didn't do anything spectacular. But that's how we roll.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Apartment Therapy is Having Another Contest.

And of course, this girl had to enter. So I spent the last two days rearranging a little to please the camera, and taking a LOT of photos. Since I could only submit 5 pictures and 1 floor plan, here are the ones that made the cut (click the photos to enlarge):

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This is also me showing off the final touches of my Spring makeover around the house, since I never OFFICIALLY posted photos of it :) The floor plan was from Floor Planner. It’s free for personal use, and all you do is measure your rooms and build each one according to the measurements. I threw it in Photoshop and added samples of my paint colors from My Perfect Color to each room to show the color scheme. Soon the kitchen will PROBABLY end up matching the living room, but I may feel more daring. We’ll see.

AT asks for fuller shots rather than vignettes so the whole room can tell a story. I’m all about some close-up shots, mainly to hide everything that’s going on around it. The problem with taking pictures of a room, is that everything may look awesome in person, but what it shows like in the camera can be a whole nother ballgame. I ended up needing to beef up every single table with bigger, brighter accessories in the living room because the MONSTER furniture took over the shot. I spread out the dining ensemble and set the table with plates to lighten up all the dark wood that inhaled the room. I also shot up from down below to get the most ceiling, floor, and lighting that I could to brighten the room even more.

Lastly, I moved the dump chair from the far corner to the opposite side… and you can see what took it’s place. Yep, I moved the new vanity into the living room. It’s actually what I’m sitting at typing this right now. It’s a great desk, and my other landfill chair is seated at it. I planned on painting it this weekend and reupholstering the cushion, but I got lazy. But looking at the room with the accessory switcheroo, I actually like where everything has ended up. The camera can definitely help you decorate. You pay more attention to all the details that work together to create an atmosphere.

I’m on stand-by waiting to see if they publish my entry. I don’t know if they really choose certain people to post and turn others away since I’ve only entered once before, and made it pretty far in my division. But this time I won’t be grouped with random people from the South. This is the Small Cool Contest, where you’re actually grouped with people who have similar square footage… so you can really visualize what you can do with your entire home, instead of how to work with color. I’m in the Small division, which is surprisingly the LARGEST category in the contest. There are people entering with less than 400 sf of living space!

So stay tuned to see if I make the cut and they throw me in the contest. I’m excited to see how far I can get this time. Though, my space is far less exciting than most of the awesome entries in there so far!