Monday, May 31, 2010

I Love Keep Cup.

Have you heard of the Keep Cup? It’s the cutest DISHWASHER and MICROWAVE SAFE (!!Cue those angels!!) coffee mug that actually fits in my Mini Cooper’s cup holder. You can customize it with almost any color your heart desires:


However, it’s expensive to ship over to the US. I was honestly trying to convince myself to order it anyhow, cause I’d never seen anything like it. And those colors! I loved those colors.

Then one day we randomly decided to go to Ross and see what they had in stock. I needed some new work appropriate dresses, and Hussy was looking at the mens clothes selection. We both came up empty, but of course ended up in the Home area. And Drew, with his super spectacular, x-ray, superhuman vision saw this:


The packaging is a little arrogant calling itself “The Perfect Not Paper Cup.” I mean, who does he think he is? A Keep Cup? Not quite. It’s so boring, and blindingly white. But I couldn’t stand my big, bulky, non-MINI Cooper Friendly coffee mug, so I studied it a little. I flipped the box over, ready for sticker shock. I got that, but it was the good kind, not the bad kind I expected. I mean, I was at Ross, I should have known better!


$7 for something that will make my life a whole lot easier. Mornings a little brighter. Hand washing more bearabl- I mean non-existent. Who was I kidding, I simply must have this thing in my possession. So I made it happen. I’ve been using it with my beloved Kuerig coffee (I feel like such a home-barista snob) for several weeks now and I have to say, this was one of the best purchases I’ve made in a long time.



Aside from everything else in the kitchen remodel, of course. If you happen to spot this at your local Marshalls/Home Goods/Ross/TJ Maxx or whoever else in that chain may possibly have it, do yourself a favor and pick it up. I can’t think of a single moment you won’t think it’s worth every cent.

A Kitchen Renovation: Well Hung.

We are finally getting to the fun part. Maybe assembling cabinets from scratch (well, flat-packed IKEA boxes) aren’t everyone’s definition of fun, but I LOVE THIS. LOVE IT. Honest to goodness, if I could assemble Ikea Kitchens everyday, I think I would be in heaven. It’s fun, it passes the time, it gives a good excuse for some rockin’ Pandora, and it’s rewarding when it’s put together and functions properly. I seriously love doing kitchens. Now if only every room in this house was a kitchen, I would be floating on air. So since I can’t do that in real life, I had to pick one style, and although I picked many different things along the way… we ended up with Nexus Brown-Black Ikea Akurum Cabinets with Avsikt Frosted Glass Doors. That’s a mouthful and a half, isn’t it? Basically black and frosted glass cabinets.

Taking it back old school, our kitchen came with the original 1950’s steel cabinets. They were cool, but they were old with old cabinet problems. And being somewhat caring of what exactly holds our food and keeps it fresh, storing our food and dishware in something older than my parents didn’t really sit (or hang) well with us. Here’s the original hung cabinets:


Luckily we already had some of the uppers already hung in our hold-me-over kitchen update:


So the bar was ready to go back up to hang those cabinets back in place. Super easy.


The fun part was measuring for the other side of the room that had NO upper cabinets. It wasn’t that bad with two hands. Oh, and 4 paws. We’re so lucky to have such a great helper.


And while we were at it, we hung up our Ikea Wine Rack and installed some token bottles of wine including one from my last wine tasting a couple years ago, our honeymoon in the Dominican Republic, and a special honeymoon wine we planned to drink ON our honeymoon, but still keep forgetting to drink :)


Here’s a little sneak peek at what the cabinets look like now, with the curtains I made out of Target Napkins. I can’t wait to show you how I made them!


Friday, May 28, 2010

Long Time No See.

I know it's bad blog ettiquette to state the obvious: I've been away. Or apologize for being missing for so long. Especially when I have like 2.5 readers. But I'm breaking the mold, and saying I Sowwi for disappearing, because since I have SO MUCH to tell the internet! Like the kitchen is coming along and it looks AWESOME! And I missed like 2 Thrifty Thursdays, yet I have so many goodies to show you! Oh, and I pretty much chopped almost a foot of hair off!

I have been in a great funk. A funk of "I don't want to blog, I'm so bored all the time since things have been so slow, and I hate this whole stand-by waiting for items to ship and can't keep renovating." So what do I do? Obviously, I just chop off all my hair. I always grow it out, then when the mood strikes, like, say, during an epic time in my life, I sit in that salon chair and don't think twice. I did this when I first started dating Drew. I did it when got a great job offer. I also did it when a hairdresser ruined my hair by chopping off random chunks and thinning it out with a razor. I looked like she blow dried my hair while I sat in a bath tub, and not a chair. Electrocuted people, I'm saying I looked like I was electrocuted. And this was a mere 4 months before I was going to get married. Wouldn't most people panic about this? I didn't. I don't care what I look like, I'm here to party. On my wedding day, I put my hair half up, slapped on a little eyeliner and shadow and walked down that aisle looking like ME. I didn't hire a hair dresser, or even a friend, nor a makeup artist or any other fancy money-wasters. I simply don't care how I look THAT MUCH.
Well today, I kind of looked more like a middle aged newscaster. No offense if you are one, but hey, I got that great volume like you! Everytime I cut my hair, I forget HOW MUCH hair I have until it's gone and what's left is extremely thick. It's a lot, guys. My normally stick straight hair is now curling under because there's so much freaking hair sitting on my shoulders. I was actually mildly upset I had to go to work looking like a volume junky. Until I actually got to work, that is. Maybe it was the classic pencil skirt mixed with the button down, also classic, white top that helped me out, but I got compliment after compliment all day long. Needless to say, I feel better about how it looks, and it finally inspired me to blog. I know it's just hair, but it's motivating hair!

To be perfectly honest, I have about 5 posts already written. I've literally had literature ever since my last post. I've been so lazy to post them though, because I haven't edited the pictures to go with them. How sad is that? I really plan to post them all starting tonight. I'm going to make Thrifty Thursday come not on a Thursday. I'm going to update you on kitchen stuff that's long been finished. But you know what, if it takes a bad turned good hairday to make it happen, I'm not ashamed to admit it.

I'll leave you with a photo that perfectly portrays my littlest niece's second birthday party that I attended while I was avoiding my blog. Sprinklers and cupcakes, people. What more could she have asked for? Oh, I could just eat her to pieces. Not just cause she's covered in chocolate cupcake. Ok, so that helps a little.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Kitchen Renovation: Laminated Part 1.

Why is this labeled part 1? The floors are finished, so part 1 is obviously about the floors. Part 2 is our decision to cut costs after all the surprise work we had done on the electrical and plumbing, and the fact it’s a small kitchen,and although people gather in there, it’s not enough to justify $2,000 for a luxury item. I’m sure you can figure that one out.

But onto our floors: they’re amazing! They were a mere $1.60/sf from Lumber Liquidators. We went in there to browse and get an idea on the cost of floors. We had been to Orange (HD) and Blue (Lowes) to get an idea, and were quickly turned away with the $3 and $4 pricetags attached to the very attractive options. Although we wanted something that LOOKED expensive, we didn’t actually want to buy the expensive stuff. We didn’t want to sacrifice durability for a cheap pricetag either, since the kitchen is our main entrance to the house being that our carport is in the backyard and our friends and family can pile cars up back there.


Yeah, we have a lot of room for parking. So we spotted this amazing pricetag on these amazing floors and decided to scoop them up with an added bonus: there was an odd-lot in the same flooring where only the top plank was ruined, but it was being sold for $.89/sf! So we went home with a truck bed full of flooring and asked a friend/contractor for a price on installation. We got him down to $2/sf, but Drew was convinced we could do this ourselves. Much to my dismay, I agreed, and we borrowed my dad’s table saw and got a $15 floor laying kit at Orange (pull bar, spacers and some floor risers), and grabbed a handful of tools from the shed:

IMG_6242 Even while I was sick, we got it done this weekend. It was SO easy. Of course, I’m terrified of saws so he did all the hard work.


Here’s a picture I snapped ALMOST finished. Aren’t they spectacular?:

IMG_6203 I can’t leave out our little helper, Rupert. See his paw dangling in the photo above? Here’s him supervising when he’s not pawing at our tools trying to help us:

IMG_6218 Here’s a little before and after of putting our cute little 20” stove back in it’s place. I miss having all that room to run around in already (and I don’t know why the first shot looks so orangey! The second shows the true floor and wall colors):


And lastly, our new washer/dryer stack. We had them side by side since we moved in, but little miss 4’11” here needs more lower cabinets to reach anything, so stacked these must be:

IMG_6254We started on the cabinets last night. I love the dark black/brown with the warm colored floor and walls. I just need to hunt for the perfect curtains to pull all the shades together!

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Kitchen Renovation:: Plumbing, Electrical and PAINT!

There’s only so much you can budget and plan for before a proverbial wrench is thrown in the mix. We ended up pretty much replumbing and rewiring the entire kitchen and half the house. This included the necessary: setting the washer and dryer hookups into the wall (FYI, free dangling pipes aren’t up to code!) to the optional: garbage disposal hookups! We also put up the new paint color (which, as you may recall, was inspired by The Wine Loft. I just need to get pictures of that place!)

First, the real life “mood board”:


Then all the painting and professional work:






Stay tuned for our beautiful new floors!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I've Been Framed.

This weekend a plumber came over to work on our kitchen, and we were pretty much chained to the house all day. That didn't stop me from yardsaling with my friends at 6:45am, since I was able to get back home before he arrived! I have been looking for a frame for my living room mirror for months. I can never find one big enough, but I thought I might get lucky this morning. I found a $8 picture that looked to be huge enough to fit on the mirror. I had high hopes. Really high, since I didn't have a tape measurer on me. I figured $8 was cheap enough that I could find something else to do with it if it didn't work out.

It didn't work out. It was PERFECT from top to bottom, but it was just 4 INCHES too short width wise. I was crushed. So I had to find SOMETHING to do with it. I never want a finished room, I love the thrill of changing things up by finding new treasures, or reworking my current posessions into a new room or area. Things take on a whole new life in a new space, and it's those little things that make me happy. That blank recessed wall where the fireplace is makes me the opposite of happy. I've been trying to figure out how to make it look more full since we bought the dang fireplace. Should I flank it with shelves? Should I put the corner piece on the back of it to make it a corner fireplace and put a chair on the other corner? Should I keep it in the middle and put a chair on each side? That could be overwhelming. I don't like a lot of furniture, I like room to breathe. However, this nook was basically suffocating in all the air I gave it.

I decided I wanted to use the frame over the fireplace, but I needed to figure out what to do. Something that I can easily change out, or at least match everything I change on the mantle. I need change! Then I remembered this collage idea from Life In The Fun lane:

GENIUS! It satisfies my need to consantly change things around, but still have the overall look stay the same. The best part? I could destroy this huge posterboard of pictures we had at the wedding reception and use the pictures on something more attractive.

I'm finally happy with this nook taking a little more shape. I'd still like a heavier piece on each side, like a vase with tall limbs coming out of it. But with 4 broken vases in a week, I think bare is pretty ok for this house.

I'll need to be a little more random with my pictures, and want to find more special things to put up there, but you get the idea :)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Thrifty Thursday: Goodwill Hunting.

I was trying to decorate the living room to be a little more summery since this heat wave has come through Richmond. I went through my stash of decorations and wasn’t inspired at all. I was so uninspired that I was getting frustrated that everything was just a small knick knack and there was nothing to add height to our mantle or side tables. I had my eye on a few vases at HomeGoods, but I thought I could do better than that. I went to Goodwill last night on a mission to find things to work in all of our main rooms: living, dining and bathroom. This meant it had to be green, white, or silver. I usually throw in pops of color with flowers and pillows, so I like to keep the accessories neutral.

As soon as I got there I spotted this Apothecary Jar for $1.25:


I was studying which room I’d use it in and what it’s purpose would be. The problem was I had 100 ideas for it, and I was fighting with myself over which use I’d have for it. The poor thing will be homeless until I find a permanent spot because I want to use it everywhere! Where's that multiply button? For right now, I just have it sitting with my pony head with a flower inside.


Then while I was trying to find more inspiration, the unbelievable happened. I was so excited that one day I got 50% off both of my items, and never asked why. Well, over the intercom, a voice spoke some beautiful words: "attention shoppers, this week is half off all blue sticker items!" It was like magic when my eyes darted around focusing in on all the items with that color sticker. I'm not going to lie, they picked a good color to mark down that day, because it seemed like only all the best items were ready to be bought for half off. I normally don't fall for percentage sales, especially after working for the mecca of this tactic, a mall department store. But seeing pewter candle sticks for $3.13 each? I'll take that TYVM.


I had 7 things in my arms that I placed on the counter one by one, excited about seeing the total:


Then my cashier, the lady behind me in line, the cashier beside me AND her customer all looked at my stash with mouths dropped at how nice everything looked put together. "Oh, I love those candle sticks!" "I know, those things are beautiful!" "wow, all those things are so nice!" "where did you find those?" Well, ladies, it was all right where you were looking. My eye just happened to see the potential ;) They aren’t really all that pretty. They just look better pulled out from a bunch of useless junk. They needed some cleaning up, so I got to work tonight polishing and scrubbing and then placing them around the living room. Lets break down each item:

Cute little dish= 4.25


Bowl that says “LGA 1956 First Flight Runner Up Bill Herman”= 3.25-50%= $1.63


Avon After Shave Bottles= $2.25 each-50%=$1.13 each

IMG_5700And here’s the new fireplace topping, including a decanter and another apothecary jar holding wine corks, a vase that held my Secretary Day Bouquet from my boss, and the silver all shined up:




All that for just over $13. Not too shabby :)

Then I come home tonight after work, and realize in our pile for the neighborhood cleanup, someone took the countertop off our cabinets and dropped off a crib frame.



Real funny, guys. Real funny. It would have been a perfect present from the stork, had I been pregnant. It’s not everyday someone has a good condition, vintage crib handed in their lap. Yes, I want it. No, Drew won’t let me keep it. But I have a vision! For SOMEONE! Anyone that’s pregnant!

Monday, May 3, 2010

I love lamp.

It’s no secret, I love acrylic ball lamps. I love them so much, I have 4. 4 of them in my house.


9Then I saw the floor lamp version at the mall and fell in love… but I was worried it would be overkill. I mean, that’s alotta balls. Then I saw it on Restoration Hardware’s site.

Wilshire Floor Lamp

I didn’t fall in love with the floor lamp version, in fact I did think it was overkill after looking longer at it. But the name drew me in. Why? It’s called the Wilshire Lamp! It’s like they KNEW that I loved those balls so much, they had to name it after me. Or a variation of my name. But who cares, my love of this lamp has suddenly grown stronger. Or at least, the lamps I already own.

Don’t worry Hussy, I don’t want it. I still long for this one:

Sigh. One day, my sweet. You will be mine.