Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What’s For Dinner? Peanut Butter Apple Pita.

With only one meal option left in the kitchen, I was so not feeling pasta tonight. So I raided the cabinets for anything that sounded remotely decent thrown together. Let me preface this with a big fat: I CANT COOK. So, what does one desperate, undomesticated girl whip up? A Peanutbutter Apple Pita.


It’s really as simple as it sounds. Find an almost expired whole grain pita pocket and cut it open:

IMG_6640 Slice up a Granny Smith Apple that you caught out of the corner of your eye in the back of your bread cabinet. Why is it there? I don’t know, but that’s why it hasn’t been eaten.

IMG_6642 Smear Peanut Butter all over the inside of your pita. Stuff with apple slices, and close up your pita.


Then enjoy :)


For using crap I found in my drawers, this thing was DELICIOUS.

Out Of the Office.

Literally. Yesterday was my last day at my job, and tomorrow is my first day at the new one. Quite the transition right? So with that said, today will be my one day vacation with my family. Looking a little like this:

IMG_60302 I couldn’t ask for anything more :) Wish me luck for tomorrow going smoothly!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Kitchen Renovation: Laminated Part 2.

I noticed my blog is coming up a lot on google searches for "Formica 180 FX Antique Mascarello Laminate Countertops" or some variation of those words. And although I decided against it midway through the remodel, because we had to rewire and replumb (is that a word?) the entire kitchen and half the house, we decided to go ahead with it after all.

Formica Brand Laminate 30
We found a GORGEOUS granite at a local stone yard that we were ready to order, but wanted to check out Blue/Orange in hopes they'll have a cheaper, similar granite. It was then that I found Lowe's finally had samples of the 180FX counters that, up until this point, were non-existant in ANY local big box home improvement stores. All the sales associates were clueless about this "new" product every time I asked, and I was getting frustrated... which led us to picking out granite. The first time I found out about the 180FX counters was at least January/February, and they still had no idea about them in April!

So I was giddy with excitement when I saw the sample book at Lowe's. I took home a pamphlet that you can unfold and see what a good example of the slab of Blue Storm will look like, complete with raised texture similar to the actual samples. This was REALLY cool because it was just your generic glossy paper, but with texture! I had been eyeing the Antique Mascarello online for months, and in person it PERFECTLY matched my paint sample (Valspar Iced Chocolate. The perfect milk chocolate color to go with these counters.). I was floored. Sure it looks fake, and feels like laminate, but I knew it would be significantly cheaper, and do the job in the kitchen for the remaining years we're going to live here. I took a picture of it with my camera phone WITH flash so some of the texture would show up.

The problem was, every time we went to Lowe's there was never anyone in sight in the cabinet area. No one to ever help us, no matter what the hour of the day it was. I finally broke down and called to see if anyone was available, and EUREKA, they were! Not only that, the guy knew what I was talking about AND had an accurate quote. I guess they just needed one more month to get it in and learn about it? Ugh. But for you lucky readers, Formica actually has downloadable PDFs of the counters to use as samples.

This is just for the Richmond area Lowe's, so I can't promise it's the same pricing anywhere else. It's $29.17 a LINEAR foot (compare that to $59 per SQUARE foot for the Brazillian Fantasy Granite). The installation is $195 including a free sink cutout (which you have to pay for at some places) bringing the grand total for our entire kitchen to.... $750 installed. Not bad, considering granite was $2,000 installed. Granted, that's GRANITE, but we're on a budget here, people. And in a starter neighborhood. My dad has been warning me countless times not to overdo it. I just watch enough HGTV (or did, before DTV lost it :( ) to know first time home buyers still expect a luxury kitchen, even in a starter home.

You have to pay $35 for Lowe’s to come measure, but it’s applied to your installation if you use them. They told us they’d be there at X time to measure, and they were Johnny on the Spot. They said it would take 3 weeks to come, it came in just over 2. They said they’d be at our house to install at 8am. They were there the second the clock struck 8. I couldn’t believe my luck.


I took one look and knew it was going to go downhill. It was perfect, except they didn’t use my template to cut the hole. Yeah, it ended up being too big, and we had to order a new slab :(


Lowe’s came to the rescue, and got us a brand new slab, used our template, and installed it… yep, on the dot at 8am THE NEXT MORNING. Now, I’d like to know why I had to hold up my entire kitchen renovation for almost 3 weeks if they could turn this around in less than 24 hours, but whatever.

The edges are almost invisible in the pattern, unless you’re looking hard. Or have your camera on macro focus ;)

IMG_6488The sink is SUPER deep. I could take a bath in this thing. For an overmount, it looks really contemporary, and it’s actually fun to wash things in now! It was also so worth the trouble we caused with the counters. It’s from Overstock, and it was only about $150.

IMG_6536 We got a chrome faucet, and it was just WAY too chrome. We ended up trading this one for a stainless finish to go with the sink better.

IMG_6537It’s absolutely gorgeous. I’ll be posting more pictures as we wrap up the kitchen. In the mean time, here’s a teaser cell phone shot with our Coffee Bar in the corner. The silver bowl holds our K-Cups and the sugar is in the pink glass :)

IN CONCLUSION, with those savings we can replace our stinky, dirty, 20 year old fridge AND buy some dining room chairs. I say deal.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Mood Board Monday!

I’m so excited. I found a site that actually gives me an excuse to make roomboards! As I type, I’m splattered in paint. Yeah, I decided to start yet another room makeover. But I did manage to put this together last week to be able to have it done in time for today!

I wanted to do a colorful room, but didn’t want the jump off bedding to be overloaded with color to begin with, so I chose this:


And came up with this colorful number:


Everything in this room was from Urban Outfitters, Ikea, and pieces that can be created with paint and old furniture. I’ve had a love affair with teal, plum and mustard for years, and keep coming back to those colors. Maybe one day I’ll wisen up and make a room with them. Until then, it just lives happily in my head. Or on this roomboard :)

I REALLY Love Keep Cup.

Brace yourself. This will be long. Remember this post where I mentioned that I bought a $7 fake Keep Cup? It was a great buy. It’s ceramic so you don’t feel the heat almost at all, especially through the grip. The lid is easy to attach, and to be honest, I spend a lot of time peeling it off and putting it back on because of how cool it latches onto the cup. I’m just weird like that. It fit in my Mini Cooper’s cup holder with only a little struggle, which was the main reason I bought it. I was content.

Until I got an e-mail. Possibly the most awesome e-mail I’ve gotten in years. It was Keep Cup, and they wanted to ship me one. As I read it, I thought it was a joke. Seriously, who googled my blog and wanted to play such an awful prank on me? So I went to Keep Cup’s website, and it was a legit email. Then I had to rub my eyes and read it again. Were they really asking me to put together my own Keep Cup to send to me? I was grinning ear to ear. My eyes may have teared up from overjoy. I may have also run around the halls at work bragging, called my husband, and my MOM to tell them what just happened. YES PLEASE! I WANT KEEP CUP!


It was the longest wait of my life. In reality, it was only a week or so. But knowing that I’m waiting for my precious to ship all the way over from Australia was a little torturous. It ended up coming on a Friday. While I was at work. Sent Certified. :(. So I had to go to the post office on Saturday to pick it up. In true Samantha/I Heart Mini style… I got it after I went Estate Saling with my mom.

I’d never received a “Post” from Australia before, so I was already won over just by the package. Are you bored yet? Let me just get right to the details. I went to my favorite coffee bar (aka, my kitchen) and took it for a spin.

It’s plastic. I started getting nervous that I would have to hold a hot cup once I actually touched the plastic. I put hot coffee in it, and was shocked to realize it only got a little warm. Holding it by the band grip, I didn’t feel said heat. It was awesome.

The lid looks kind of like a baby wipe top. This may sound funny to some, but I think that’s what makes it extra cute. It also slides to cover the hole you drink out of to keep your coffee warm, then over to a dummy hole while you drink. My Fake did NOT have this option, and my coffee got cold before I could finish drinking it. And I know this sounds completely silly, I’m almost embarrassed to type this, but it’s actually comfortable to drink out of. Like, it was molded for my mouth.

For all you Kuerig fans out there- You can fill the Medium size Keep Cup with the large coffee option. I didn’t know this, and I filled it with the SMALL option, since that’s all my Fake could hold. Can you believe my Fake was TALLER than my Keep Cup, and held LESS liquid? Big, extra fluffy bonus points to Keep Cup. More coffee for my money!

The band has options for you to marker for your favorite coffee spot (if your local coffee shop doesn’t already have your bosses order memorized, like my work-adjacent Starbucks :P). I obviously won’t need this since I brew frou-frou Kuerig coffee, like German Chocolate Cake and Chocolate Glazed Donut. FYI: those options aren’t listed on the band, but this just means you’re extra special because you have fancier stuff than Starbucks. So you can have some of those bonus points too.

-For the Mini Cooper owners: This is honestly, truly, really, seriously the best cup for the Mini that I’ve ever found. Why? It. Fits. PERFECT in the cup holder. I love my Mini. It’s my second one I’ve owned, so I have 5 years of experience knowing that Mini makes life really difficult when it comes to storing cups in the front. It has to sit under the toggles, and be out of the way of the gear shifter. This is NOT an easy task. Please trust me on this (or agree if you own a Mini. Pound it!). The Keep Cup slides in like it was literally made for a Mini Cooper with zero hesitation or struggle. I couldn’t say that about my Fake, and I thought that was still the best fit I could find without having to order a special Mini brand mug. It sits low (while still holding my large option coffee!). It sits out of the way. And you can’t tell me it’s not the cutest little cup your Mini will ever hold.


It’s no secret that I love small, cute things, and talk about them like they’re my child. But I was not let down with my Keep Cup. I enjoyed picking out the color and size options, and waiting for it to ship/Post from Australia. But I enjoy it even more now that it’s in my hands. Now I just want 100 more so I don’t have to go through the agony of waiting for the dishwasher to run and clean it every night. Yeah, it’s dishwasher safe, so that’s the only logical way to clean it. Because I can ;)

I feel a little snotty walking around with it, cause I know how uncomfortable those hands and mouths are sipping out of those cheap Starbucks cups. Meanwhile, I have a cup with character and comfort. Also, my coffee is 45 cents a cup. Sip on that!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Kitchen Renovation: Take Cover!

The cover panels. The missing puzzle piece to our cabinets. When we installed these last night, it literally felt “finished.”

Here is what we were working with the last 3 years. The holes are for the brackets that hold our shelves:

IMG_6573 Pretty stark. Now with a cover panel:


IMG_6574 Then the Decor Strip. I’m in love :)

IMG_6579 Then the other side of the kitchen. Sadly at my eye level, I can see the cabinet frame, that’s Birch. You can see here how we worked the pink mixer into the design thanks to my Target napkins!

IMG_6582 Same for my happy red microwave.


Now for the really exciting news… Our new fridge is being installed today! The only appliance we had to buy for this reno :D I’m currently laying in bed, awaiting it’s arrival. Look out for the review on Friday, so we’ll have about a week to get to know it better!

Friday, June 25, 2010

A Head of Roses.

I’ll just get right to it. I’m a copycat. It wasn’t intentional! I just saw this headband on one of the best people in the whole world’s head, fell in love, realized I had EVERYTHING I need to make one just like it… and it just happened. I have a headband now too. It’s beautiful. The colors look awesomeeeee on my blonde hair, and when I pair it with a coral shirt, I feel like the bees knees. Or in this shirt’s case, Minnie Mouse.


Here’s where I saw it first:

That’s “Salt.” Isn’t she gorgeous? I know her IRL


She owned 2 Mini Coopers as well :). She has the most lovely voice and her outfits make me swoon. Suffice to say, she could make an outfit out of chopped liver look like… a designer outfit. Cause I don’t wear spensive clothes or know a lot of spensive label names. I mean, I’m making a headband out of scraps. But her headband was perfection. I needed it. I got it.


It was completely 100% free. I just pulled apart my leftover Dollar Store flowers, glued pearls from a necklace I broke a couple weeks ago in the centers, and attached it to a headband that came in a pack I bought to make cow ears with E6000 glue. I’ve worn it just about everyday since it was invented. And I <3 it.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Catching the Moment.

I realized something as I watched my mother in law take 4 pictures of 2 of my nieces. She was asking them to say cheese and trying to get them both smiling and looking at the camera at the same time. That’s not an easy feat especially when they’re both in hyper moods, and 4 years old. I realized how different I take my pictures. I knew I liked “moments” over “cheeses,” but in going through my more recent pictures, the only pictures I have of “cheeses” are of me, cause cheesin is what I do best.


I prefer to stand off to the side, let life happen, and capture it. Here’s an example below. The first one is the fam asking all the girls to smile for the camera, while I’m snapping from the side:


It’s cute. Ok, THEY’RE cute :) I can see how big they are, the nice dresses they’re wearing. I know it’s Easter. Or at least I hope it is… unless random plastic egg shaped toy hunting is your thing on the first day of summer. Or some random day like April 27th. But I don’t see any interaction, or personalities shining through.

Lets take a look at this one. Where the girls are enjoying their finds. Anticipation and smiles, wondering what’s in their treasured eggs. It’s sweet, and I feel like I’m right there with them, waiting to see what treats are about to be presented. And which chocolate I get to ask them to please share with Aunt Samantha ;)


Now take a look at the one below. The one where D is infatuated with her little sister, Little A. Wanting to hold her, show her the eggs, make her play with them. Big A shares an egg with Little A as well, while she is pouting, wishing she had enough strength to high tail it out of there.


Here’s another, showing the curiosity Big A still has with her eggs, and now D is reallyyy loving on her sister. How precious is this?!


So I try more angles, since straight on went out with film cameras. It’s still really staged, since they were placed there, after all. But it still feels real, in the moment.


IMG_4249 Of course, not all cheese photos are bad. Sometimes I agree when one begs me to take a picture, says cheese, and then “LET ME SEE!” and it turns out oh, so cute.


What would these kids have done back when we had film? Waiting for it to develop? Oh the humanity! By the way, these pictures are from LAST Easter. Capturing those moments is especially nice when you realize how much they grow up in just one short year:

IMG_3801 IMG_3837

Make that 2 years. This was a year before the first set! Yeah, Little A wasn’t even born yet! Shh, don’t tell their parents they’re about to pick up M&M’s on the ground. And probably eat them. Oops.


And here’s one last cheesing for your viewing pleasure. We were all asked to say cheese, so what do Hussy and I do? Bunny ears. Hey, it’s allowed, it’s Easter! Then Big A wanted to make bunny ears, but it came out as peace signs :) D is not pleased at all, but the way she’s sitting is hilarious.


What’s your picture style? I know I’m not the only one with a “signature” way of doing things! Or a complete hypocrite for always cheesing hard when I see a camera pointed at me, yet don’t like taking cheese photos!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Roomboard: Busse Bathroom.


The Busse’s came to me to help them redesign their guest/kids bathroom, and come up with a “youthful contemporary” look. I decided to use a fresh, modern palette. Not just for the kids, ages 2 and 4, to grow into, but also to appeal to any age since it’s the main bathroom people use at parties. The biggest issue that I know about in the bathroom is the old linoleum floors that are currently in there. I mentioned for them to pick up some inexpensive peel and stick tile from Home Depot to lay on top. I know from my own experience they’ve held up really well the last 3 years with all kinds of splashing, leaking, and tons of traffic with no signs of wear or buckling. And it couldn’t be easier to install!

I started researching the price of vanities, knowing theirs was in the ballpark of 5+ feet, and realized I wasn’t anywhere close in my price guesstimate. I was finding generic white vanities with generic cultured marble tops for almost a thousand dollars! Even Ikea’s most simple design was $550. I think it’s probably best to salvage what they have already and freshen it up with some white paint.

The rest of their house has so much fun, inviting colors (except the master bedroom. what’s up with that, guys?!) that I wanted to add yet another color to their home palette: blue! Since the curtain has so many colors to jump off of, I decided green would be the biggest accent color. I went a little crazy with the main accessories all being from Target since they’re so dang affordable :). This included the funky bright green bath rug, the stripey Hand towel, green bath sheet, and that glorious “Shakira” Shower curtain.

They wanted some storage solutions for the kids bath toys that can be put away for parties. Did I mention how fun this couple is? They love to have people over, but the girls have a whole lotta toys! I chose these Storage bins, also from Target, to hold all their play items. The best part about this is they interlock, and come apart, really easily. The possibilities are endless on how to put them together. As you can see in the picture, one of the bins has the opening facing up, while the others face out. If storage is an issue under the sink because of pipes or other things you have hidden, you can interlock them like a Tetris L (but rotating the L counterclockwise so it lays 3 bins on the bottom) and have only one bin facing out, and the others up to catch toys like a basket. Then just pick it up, and set it in the cabinet. Easy Parcheesy.

I know I use these a lot, but they’re so versatile I just can’t help it! I love, love, love these Anthropologie Knobs, and they come in all the colors of the curtain for you to mix or match. I found the Artwork on Etsy, and thought it would be perfect in an intricate, vintage frame painted white.

So what do you think? Would you enjoy a space like this as a toddler? I think I’d enjoy it right now :)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Thrifty Thursday: More Diversity Finds.

I went to Diversity Thrift on my lunch break a few weeks ago, and was on a hunt for some more accessories to bring in some color or shine to the living room and dining room. My hope is to bring in some floating shelves in both spaces to hold some cute treasures that show more of my personality. Since, you know, those Americanized Sofas aren’t bringing enough sexy back for you. In due time they will come, young grasshoppers. You know I’m slow.

IMG_6343 First up, that milk jug was way too cute to pass up. I want to paint it soooo bad, but I don’t know if I’ll really have the heart to. I love it though, also, it was 2 DOLLAH.

IMG_6345 That cute little owl is part of my ever growing collection of Avon containers. It’s not intentional, but Avon is the bomb at designing attractive aftershave and perfume containers. My mom had a collection when I was a kid. He ended up in the bathroom. I’ve been looking for an ivory colored owl to go in there forever. I almost gave up hope and was going to spray paint one then OMG this one said “pick me! pick me!”


This little pink cup will probably end up in the kitchen. I was thinking about making a little coffee station, and since we use splenda packets, we can stick them in here next to our Kuerig.


That little teacup really shined up. After I bought these two dishes and polished them up, I developed another obsession. How cute did it turn out? And that sweet pink rose on top melts my heart.


IMG_6409 Then the pony. Oh my god the carousel pony.


I want to paint him too. I love spray paint. But the colors are so sweet, I don’t know if I will. He’s still looking for a home, so I may do a switcheroo around until he gets one.