Wednesday, December 29, 2010

[Paint] Color War

The day we closed on our house was the same day I painted our kitchen.  The kitchen was originally pinky lavender... and just terrible.   I had seen a blue kitchen with white cabinets in a Pottery Barn catalog and knew I had to have the same (even though our cabinets were honey oak at the time).

I found the PB Color in the catalog  - Benjamin Moore, New York State of Mind - at got to rolling.  (You can find all sorts of kitchen reno details here).  The color was a tad brighter than I had hoped, but I still got the look I was going for.

Husband on the other hand liked to refer to it as Painters Tape Blue (which I still defend it was not).  However, I did always agree I wish it was a tad more muted.

So last Sunday, before the snow storm hit, we ran to the paint store and decided to give it another go (only 2.5 years later).


This is swatch of my original color scheme.  I think online (or at least my monitor) the blue looks similar to what I wanted, not what I got.

Upper Left - Benjamin Moore, New York State of Mind

And an online photo of NYSoM.....
Photo Found Here

And a Photo from my own kitchen.... Maybe its the light we get, but it does photograph MUCH brighter than it looks I promise (Husband agrees)...
This view is a little more realistic....

We got inspiration for the new blue when I brought home this dish towel from Crate and Barrel last fall. It was the perfect grey'd out blue we originally wanted. 

Darjeeling Dishtowel - Crate and Barrel $1.95

So I took the dishtowel to Lowe's and swatched a bunch of colors that were similar, some more blue, some more grey and then we tested them against our current wall to see if it was more contrast than we wanted.  I found some old swatches in the junk drawer and that's where we found the perfect shade.  Ralph Lauren Canyon Blue.  The color was almost the same as the current, just a little more subdued. Perfect!

We went to Sherwin Williams and had them color match with their Duration paint.  We only needed a quart and since they were having an End of Year Sale, it only cost us $17.  We've learned over the years that the higher quality paints do really provide better coverage (ie, less coats and less time... and less sore muscles) and we definitely wanted that when working with a dark base to start. 

In progress (Canyon Blue at the bottom and edges)

All done!

Hysterical, it looks almost the same! 

In real life, I don't think anyone would notice a change, but the Husband and I definitely do.  I really wanted to keep the two blue walls because the rest of our house is so neutral.  I feel like if any room can have some vibrancy, it can be the kitchen.  I also love how crisp the white cabinets look against it.  These were my arguments to Husband on why we had to keep it blue and just find a less "bright" color.  I'm glad we were able to call truce on the "color war" and I'm stoked that he's happy with the new shade.

This was such a great project that we were able to complete together in a few hours.  It was nice to have something to do and I'm already making a list of new projects to tackle next year. 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Here is a close re-enactment of what happened in our house this morning.....  True Story.

Long story short.  For the 3rd time in two years, a bird flew into the dryer vent (on the 3rd floor exterior)... fell behind the dryer, yet this time... this bird freed itself through the foil coil that connects to the dryer and attempted a getaway throughout our house.

I will now die 5 years earlier than planned.

Really, Life?  Really?

Friday, December 24, 2010

...a not so very merry christmas, BAH HUM BUG

Sometimes when Life hands you lemons... it's completely impossible to make lemonade.  I mean, what if Life doesn't hand you sugar?... What are you supposed to do then, swallow down some sour drink and pretend it tastes sweet???... Fake it?

Sometimes Life is greater than shopping, decorating, and cooking.... pretty much the fluff (and fun) I fill this slice of the internet with.... Sometimes Life sucks and you can't hide from it, it finds you, and shows you there is more than shopping, decorating, and cooking... more that is better, and more that is worse.

I've been absent, readers. 

Which you clearly noticed since I may have posted, oh like what, 6 posts in the last two months when I used to hit at least 6 a week?...  At first, I was hiding.  You see I'm a terrible liar.  I couldn't come here and write freely about random life happenings because I felt like you'd all see through that... that there was more going on and that I was hiding a secret.  So like I do in real life, I went into avoidance mode.  I filled my time cataloging future posts... and lots of them.  I had lists of ideas, new 'wishlists', and lots of stories to share.

This was supposed to be a great week.  It Christmas for heaven's sake!

I was going to finally share my secret, a Strawberry Swing Christmas Surprise!... if you will.  Instead, Life - that stupid bitch without the sugar - decided to be an Indian giver (apologies for the non-PC term) and she took it back. 

She took it back.  And worse, she took it back without even telling me.

Maybe she didn't see my Joy, as I was trying so hard to keep it contained and under wraps until the beginning of 2011, as I had poised 2011 to be the "BEST.YEAR.EVER."  But Joy was here. Like Katy Perry's Firework... it was burning inside me.  Colorful, bright... just waiting to explode.

And Life came over with a bucket of water and extinguished my light.

... and now it's dark.

And this time an extension cord won't fix the fact the outlet on the porch is blown and stretch to another to power my Christmas lights.

Regardless of my Bitter Betty attitude just hours before the big guy in the red suit arrives, undoubtedly without what I asked for, I still believe 2011 could be the BEST.YEAR.EVER.  Instead of the planned window shopping, home decorating, and wishlist making I thought I'd be making, we've already come up with some new ones to fill in their place.  

...retail therapy (natch), different home reno's, maybe even a different house... you never know.

But first up for 2011, a much needed getaway to Bahamas with the Husband.  

.... I'm sorry Readers for such a depressing post at Christmas, but from what I've learned over the past few years is that Life doesn't give a crap about holidays or happiness and also that you are a wonderfully supportive group of friends.

In the spirit of Christmas, if you are able to, please do something extra nice for someone - a family member, friend, or even a stranger - in the next few days.  You never know what is happening in someone else's life and sometimes just a little extra generosity and love can put a smile on someone's face when they didn't even think it was possible. 

Wishing you all Christmas' that are Merry and Bright...

Friday, December 10, 2010

Off Beat Holiday Decor

Sure, you could easily decorate your whole house by getting sucked in at Target... how do I manage to leave the store $50 to $100 poorer every time... even when just buying toothpaste and deodorant??... but I love the charm of crafty decorations that aren't massed produced, nor able to be found in my neighbor's home.

Here are some of my favorite 'off-beat' Christmas decorations this season....

Holiday Pom-Pom Garland - Buy on Etsy HERE for $15

....or make your own with a tutorial HERE

Paper Wreath (from a dictionary) - Buy on Etsy HERE for $20

... or make your own, like Amy K's.... her tutorial HERE

Hand Painted Holiday Blocks - Buy on Etsy HERE and HERE for $21.95

Glitter Trees - Buy on Etsy HERE for $26

...or make your own, tutorial HERE!

Do you have any favorite DIY or custom made decorations?  Share links and ideas in the comments - I love inspiration!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

::tap tap tap:::

Is this thing on??

Hey there long lost friends!  I've returned from the crevice in the couch that has sucked me.... sucked me into numerous naps, a Dexter Season 1 (and now Season 2) marathon, and just general cold weather-all-I-want-to-do-is-wear-sweats-and-snuggle mood.

But I finally uploaded a bunch of pics, so it's time to finally get back and share some post turkey day recaps....

First up, the ever on going curtain debacle.  I finally took down the old valence the weekend before Turkey Day and hung the new rod, but that permanent butt mark in the couch grabbed me for a few Dexter dvds.... The Husband patched the old holes and painted them over while I ironed the new curtains (after washing).  We finally had them up Tuesday night, just in time for our company on Wednesday. 

Nothing like some home makeover procrastination....

The Before

The After

...and yes, the pups may be permanently stuck on that ottoman the way I am in our smooshy couch...

In all honesty, I like the curtains... but don't love them.  I think if the walls weren't the most boring color on the planet it'd change a lot of things, but it working for now.  If I find a set of great (yet, non-obnoxious) patterned drapes, I'll definitely replace the white Ikea set, but we didn't want to spend a ton and they are getting the job done for now....

We also got the new microfiber Parson dining chairs that I posted about here. Except we got a different set from Overstock (love $2.95 flat rate shipping) instead of BBB, since they were a bit smaller in dimensions and we hoped it'd be easier to fit all 6 chairs around the table.

The only issue is that the Parson chairs' height is less than the others.   Since they are at the head of the table, I feel like they should be higher, but small potatoes.  I'm digging the mixed and matched chair look (thanks for the inspiration Amy K!)

And lastly for the all-in-one recap post, the table setting pre-turkey scarf down.  We actually added a second table since we had 10 guests, but since I got busy with prepping all the grub I didn't snap a picture.
("Hi Sarah!... I'm the perfect centerpiece, Thank You IBFF!")

Hope Everyone is having a Happy Holiday Season!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

[Home Decorating] Bay Window Part 2 of 3

Wow... where have I been?

Can tell you where I haven't - shopping!

I've been so wrapped up in getting the house in "visitor" condition that I haven't had time to shop or blog about shopping - my wallet thanks me.  Of course "visitor" condition is always more than just dusting, vacuuming, and changing the sheets in the guest room.  My visitor condition always includes some last minute home renovations.

We ordered the bay window curtain rod and finally went and got curtains last weekend (ok, so I've been shopping a little). 

Umbra Solutions Bayview Black Window Set - Bed Bath and Beyond $49.99

Ritva Curtains (2 Panels) - Ikea $19.99 (woohoo)

Since we had a little issue with another bird flying into our dryer vent, our dryer has been out of commission.  Now that it's back up and running, I'll wash the curtains tonight, before I measure where to hang the curtain rod.  I am afraid the curtains will be too wide at 57", if that's the case I think cutting them in half and using some iron-on hem tape will do just the trick and get up 4 panels instead of two (like the BBB stock photo above)

I'll be back later with a Poll to get your opinions of what you like better, the current set up or the new.  I'll also share some polyvores of how I've been dressing recently, since the camera battery died and I haven't recharged it yet... oops.

(catch up on the original bay window post here)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

[Holidays] Table Setting Ideas

I love that the holidays are upon us.  You already know I went crazy picking things up for Thanksgiving Dinner, but look at these cute ideas I found at (natch).

Pinecone Turkey

Pom-Pom Tom Turkey

Trivia Turkey
(such a cute idea if you are hosting two families for the first time)

Printed Linens

Glimmer and Shine
(perfect for anyone who loves some sparkle)

Modern and Simple

Harvest Napkin Ties
(I still need 4 more napkin rings - I think I found my solution!)

Beaded Napkin Ring
(even easier than the acorn option above!)

Do you have a creative table setting in mind? 

Find the rest of Martha's creative ideas HERE

Thursday, November 4, 2010

back... weekend wedding recap

Wow Readers, sorry for the little hiatus... This week has just been crazy.  I'm getting my car fixed from when I was rear ended a few weeks ago and I have been, what seems, like running a ton of errands.   So now that I have a minute to sit, I thought I'd recap my amazing weekend.

One of my closest friends got hitched and it was just a perfect day (and weekend!)

The bride was gorgeous, the weather sunny and cool, and the groom teared up as he watched his bride walk down the aisle (this always gets me)...  We had a great time and had so much fun all weekend long.

all dolled up

how many bridesmaids does it take to button up a wedding dress?

beautiful fall flowers


The bride gave us bridesmaid gifts that included an adorable reusable bag, a make up case, a pashmina (seen above) that matched our shoes perfectly, and the gorgeous necklace and earrings seen in the photos above.  I'm obsessed with the both! 

Sadly, the etsy seller appears to no long have a profile.... but here are some similar looks I found, in case you love the look as much as I do!

Cara Accessories Pearl & Crystal Statement Necklace - Nordstrom $98

Bobble Statement Necklace - The Limited $39.90

Braided Ribbon-Tie Necklace - Kenneth Cole $79.98

Hope everyone is having a great week!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Day to Night

While I know most people are looking for the insanely popular Urban Decay Naked Palette (which may still be available at, hurry go check!).  I decided I'm not really in need of 12 varying shades of taupes and browns.  I'm a creature of habit and usually find a few colors I like and stick to them.  I figured spending $44 (plus tax and shipping) to only end up using 3 of 12 colors, wasn't worth it for me.

Instead, while scooping out the rec's you kind readers provided me at Sephora, I stumbled across this Bobbi Brown Limited Edition palette while walking through Nordstrom. They were all out of the Warm version in store, but luckily I found it at

It's $45 but shipping is free with code FALL1 (and you'll get an additional free sample of eye cream) and you can also get 4% cash back thru ebates.

The Warm palette is perfect for my coloring, but the Cool colors are super pretty too.  I definitely can see myself wearing the 3 matte colors day in and day out, and using the metallics when I want to add some drama to my look.

I'll report back when it arrives on my doorstep!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

[Shopaholic] FINALLY!

The elusive Merino Cool is now finally mine... too bad I can't wear it yet as I need to do my nail pretty pink for this weekend's wedding. 

Soon readers, soon.

....oh and 20% off too, thanks Ulta!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Tis the Season... well, almost...

The holidays are fast approaching...
  • 7 days until Halloween
  • 32 days until Thanksgiving
  • 62 days until Christmas
  • and 69 days until my Birthday... ok well, New Year's Day for everyone else.

I've mentioned before that I'm a bit more into the "seasonal" decor for Halloween and Thanksgiving than actual ghosts, cauldrons, spiders, and turkeys.  I find right now this is a bit "two birds one stone" and a tad easier on the wallet.  So pumpkins, pine cones, and acorns it is!   I know one day our home will be covered with fake cobwebs and maybe even some glitter skulls, but it just doesn't seem worth the effort when no one is here to see it.  

However, the Fall Harvest-ish theme will be enjoyed, since once again we are hosting Thanksgiving.  This is our second year (of hopefully many more) to invite family over to our home and this year we have a few more guests than last.

While our house is pretty large for 2 people at just under 2,000 sq ft, we don't have a formal dining room to easily feed 10 people without some rearranging.  The joys of townhomes.

Last year there was 7 of us, so we added a folding table and chairs and made like Tim Gunn and "made it work".    I was pretty wrapped up in making my first Turkey, that I decorated as an afterthought. 

(yay! my first bird! - and no one got sick)
This year we will have 3 more guests, so it's time to make some less makeshift maneuvers and think with the future in mind - we plan to continue to host for years!  So our dinner table that currently seats four... will now comfortably seat six.

I was inspired by Amy to mix and match our seating... (and it's going to save us some dough, instead of buying more from our current set!)

Beige Microfiber Parsons Chair with Merlot Legs - Bed Bath & Beyond $99.99

And this year I'm going to make an effort to really 'set' the table.  A daughter/sister in law needs to show off, right?  I swung by Crate & Barrel this afternoon and in addition to grabbing a few more dinner and salad plates for our dinnerware set, I grabbed some great items to decorate the table(s).

First, I picked up this gorgeous table cloth.  I think it will be perfect for Thanksgiving and is also neutral enough to leave on the table through the remaining holidays.  The acorn branch print matches my go to fall favorites and the gold branches are enough glam to bring us through the New Year.  It'll also be perfect to coordinate with our second table, which is getting our white table cloth and a metallic gold table runner.

I picked up 10 pumpkin colored napkins to place at both tables to keep things cohesive.  Also the deep orange color looks great with the candles and pumpkins already scattered throughout the great room.

Then, for the main table the napkins will have these blingy little napkin rings.  Again, these are sparkly enough to be used through December, I'll just swap out the orange napkins for our green ones.  Or maybe go really classy and just use white with some other metallic accents.

I still need to grab 4 more napkin rings for the second table, but I think I'll go with something cheaper different.  I like having fun mixing and matching, and hopefully it'll be something I can reuse for another season if need be.

We still have a few more things to pick up before the big day sneaks up, but I thought this was a great start and really got me excited for the holidays.

Do you host Thanksgiving?  Do you have something that is a table top must?