Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Kitchen Clean Up: Mid-Week Reno Update

The Mid-Week Status Update:

Bottom cabinets stripped, sanded, and primed.  A pattern was made of the counter for the granite, and the backsplash removed.

Top cabinets stripped, sanded, and primed. All cabinet doors and drawers taken to the shop to be stripped, sanded, primed, and painted.  Granite was scheduled to arrive next Friday!!

seriously, the primer alone looks 100x better than the original cabinets...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Kitchen Clean Up: Kitchen Purgatory

As I mentioned when showing you what the kitchen looked like when we bought the house, I made moves (with 3 cans of paint) to snag the kitchen of my dreams the day we moved in.  However, the undertaking came to screeching halt when we realized paying for a wedding and paying for kitchen reno weren't going to happen at the same time.

So the kitchen sat in it's own little renovation purgatory for a year and half, before the first moves were made yesterday.

So, since you know I everyone loves a before and after, here are some shots of what the kitchen looked like post a coat of paint that was not "lavender".

Blue Cabinet Walls - BM New York State of Mind
Taupe Walls - Valspar Weathered Oak

I used the blue after seeing it in an OLD Pottery Barn Catalog that I held onto for years because I loved a kitchen that was used as a backdrop.  While in my opinion the blue looks way better than the previous lavender pink color, it still looks pretty fug against the honey oak cabinets, if anything accentuating their orangey color. Not to mention the flash is brightening the true color of the walls, which is less a bright royal blue and more a lighter shade of navy (swatch shown below).
Now visualize with me readers, those blue statement walls popping against white cabinets with nice neutral backsplash in between the two... see it?? see it?!.. mm hmmm, that's what I'm talking about.

Now that we decided on the "Blue Sapphire" granite, we may have to repaint the blue walls something less matchy and more neutral letting the counters be the star, but we'll see how it looks when everything is installed....

[Impulse Buy] Liberty of London for Target

A lot of bloggers recently shared all their hits and misses from Target's collaboration with Liberty of London.  Not being one to normally go crazy for Target diffusion lines, I decided to stroll through the women's section to take a peek while stopping in for random house crap... and I mean that with all sincerity.  Crap being a tape measure and a 3M sticky hook thingamachiggy.

I'll admit, most of LOL's signature busy and bright prints were just too much for me.  As I was about to walk away, I spied this little top and thought for $19.99 it'd be adorable to layer under a cardigan or just wearing as is in the warmer summer months.

Liberty of London for Target® Tiered Ruffle Keyhole Tank - Multi-Color Fairford Replacement Print
(sold out online)

It must be pinned in the back on the model because it has a much boxy-ier fit and really gives no shape to the waist, like shown.  However, my new love of belts will solve that problem and since there are so many colors in the top it'll be fun to mix and match with a variety of clothes.

My Target still had a TON of LOL items throughout the store, so don't stop looking if you see something is sold out online.

Are you a diffusion line junkie? 

Friday, March 26, 2010

Potentially Interwebz-less and Singing the Blues

Oh my god.... the day has finally come.  The one unlocked wireless connection in my neighborhood has disappeared from my wi-fi and I can't access the interwebz from home!!! 

We actually do have our own wireless (that we pay for), but for some reason my work laptop won't connect.  Something with an IP Address and whoziwhatits, I don't really know.... so I use the one some sucker left unprotected, but now its gone.  GONE!

Last night I read my emails and blog updates on my Smartphone that is not an iPhone and not really user friendly.  It's my work cell and I prefer to keep it hidden and non-used in my purse - where it belongs.  It's alright for a clutch situation, but I stick to using it for reading - responding and blogging is far to difficult on that thing.  Hopefully, I'll get this connection stuff  figured out so I can keep up over the weekend otherwise you may not hear from until Monday....  or I'll have to resort to using my personal laptop, however it's from 2004 and on its deathbed.

Anyway, it's amazing how much "stuff" can get done when I'm not glued to my laptop.  The Husband went out for a bit last night to watch some NCAA games and when he came home he was shocked that I ran the dishwasher, mopped swiffer wet jet'd the kitchen floor, organized both pantries (we have two), and cleaned the fridge, the toaster oven and range, as well as the windows (pupper nose smushes everywhere!).... I normally save my chores for the weekend... I can't imagine what I'd do without internet on a regular basis... it's actually sorta pathetic...

So to follow up to yesterday's kitchen post.  We picked out our granite... actually we picked out our granite left the showroom, came home with a sample, decided we didn't like our choice anymore, and went back this morning to pick another. 

We are trying to save costs since granite is granite and that alone will make the house marketable, just because we get a Level IV granite (the highest price) over a Level II will not make a buyer pay more... If we were planning on staying there forever, then we'd go with the one we LOVED, but it just doesn't make sense to spend so much more for such slight differences in color and texture.

So we made an agreement we'd stick to the Level II range.  This was our first selection.
Giallo Vincenza Granite
image via

That was until we got home with a sample they gave us and all we could see was salmony-pink colors, in place of what we thought was taupe-y bronze on the gigantic slab in the granite yard.  We are desperately trying to get away from our current lavender pink counter so we really didn't want to replace it with another.

Giallo Venetiano Granite

This was our second choice that was in the II range, however the sample didn't show how "orangey peach" it was on the gigantic slab.  Again we were afraid of committing to it.

So as we walked around the granite yard this morning, I decided to stray back to the dark colors the Husband was initially drawn to (since I wasn't finding the taupey-beige-gold-brown combo I was 'seeing' in my head)...  So I found this... and readers, I love it.
Blue Sapphire Granite
image via

I think it'll look amazing next to crisp white cabinets and the greys and charcoals playing off the stainless steel appliances.  And BLUE readers, not pink... but BLUE!

Reno starts Monday!  So excited!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Kitchen Clean Up: The Backstory

After showing you readers some of my Kitchen Makeover Inspirations here and here,  I guess it's time I show you the ugly dated duckling that is getting the much needed face lift.... (and we are going shopping this afternoon for granite (!)... squeee for early dismissal - and yes, I work for a corporation, not a school)

When we purchased our home, the previous owner had just installed brand new stainless steel appliances and laid a mahogany finish laminate flooring (which I actually prefer to hardwood, since we have two puppers running around).  Everything else was "mehhh" in my opinion, but only in terms of design and decor which would be able to change to our taste... it's not like we needed a new layout or serious structural renovations.

I'm also not sure why the previous owners really thought painting the kitchen a pinky-lavender grey would be fun, but I'm guessing they thought it would bring out the lavender flecks in the grey laminate countertop.  In my opinion, it just looked fug against the orangey honey oak cabinets and blended into the stainless steel appliances...

Here is what the house looked like at our home inspection.

(bad lighting shot, but you get the layout idea)

You know the day we moved in I started painting that bish! ...Seriously, we left settlement at 10:30am and I was rolling paint by noon!   I had high hopes to immediately makeover the purple kitchen into the kitchen of my dreams.  I picked out paint colors (from "heaven")  to go with what I wanted to the kitchen to look like in my vision (you know, the vision that includes white cabinets)...

... so here we are more than year and a half later and our kitchen might possibly look worse due to my "white cabinet kitchen" paint choices, that let's just say don't quite flatter the honey oak cabinets. 

Stay tuned for the "current state" of the kitchen post...

(if you want to peek around the rest of our casa check out our previous home makeovers here)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

[Update] Piperlime Perk Round 2

Something I didn't mention in my last Piperlime post, is that keywords "Surprise" and "Treat" would also take you the same page as "Hooray".   During February "Surprise" took me to a page of discounted denim and "Treat" to marked down handbags.  So I believe this is ever changing monthly promotion (possibly even more frequent than that!)

Reader AppGal pointed out she was having trouble getting the 20% Off coupon code, so I took a little look and it appears all three search words (Surprise, Treat, and Hooray) all take you to a new 20% Off selected items when using code "SPRINGTIME" at check out.

If you are looking for some summer wedges there is a great selection at all price points, amongst many other items - including jeans, tanks, and dresses!

I'll try to stay on top of this promotion and post updates to when they change it!

Happy Shopping!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Kitchen Inspiration

Yay!  We finally got a quote for our kitchen reno from our contractor (the one who snazzed up our faulty master bath) and it's in a range we feel comfortable paying.  Sure, we could roll up our sleeves and do (some) of the work ourselves, but for the price we are happier knowing that a professional will be doing it saving us unnecessary arguments and potentially some 'first timer' blunders...

I love the clean and airy look of white cabinets, which is why we are having our builder grade 'honey oak' cabinets revamped.  We are replacing our lavender ::shudders:: laminate counter with granite and getting a snazzy back splash (inspired by the looks I drooled over HERE).

Aside from the clean and crisp look of gleaming white cabinets, they are super versatile in terms of home style.  With the right decor elements, they can be Modern or Contemporary, as well as, Country or Traditional, or even my favorite styles Farmhouse and Beachy.  Which will no doubt raise our home's potential to sell in the future, since a future buyer can change their look with a can of paint for the walls, personalized art, and some countertop accessories...

Here are some white cabinet kitchens that make me super excited for our own!

photo courtesy

photo courtesy

photo courtesy of Eric Roth Photography via

photo via, source unknown

Do you like white cabinets or do you prefer the sleek and modern look of ebony or dark brown espresso cabinets in the kitchen??  Or are you perfectly content with the look of the '80s and '90s "oak"?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Recipe Share Update: Irishy Cheddar Deliciousness

Just wanted to pop in and say....

For the rest of the Recipe Share update, check out the Irish Cheddar and Stout Fondue Recap HERE!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Travel Plans and Blog Award

Craziness, I miss one day and it feels like I haven't posted in forever... hmm, I'd suggest that I need a hobby, but online shopping and blogging are my hobbies!?

Yesterday was a busy day at work, and in addition to that, I played travel agent for the majority of the day.  I like to travel the way I shop - and that's getting the best deal possible.  So booking through Ebates and using my Starwood Preferred Guest membership is a must!

I have two trips coming up and both are to good ol' sunny California.  These two trips will make California my most visited state, surpassing Washington and Florida.  Which, seems a little out of norm for a Mid-Atlantic East Coast girl, but 5-hour flights are a cakewalk for this cross-continental vet.... mmmm, cake.

My first trip is a quickie, so my plan is to pack light and just bring a carry-on.  On official the scale of "tendency to over pack" I place myself at a 7.  I normally load up and then edit some things out... but regardless, bring more than necessary.  My goal is place myself at a "5" and bring only what I need, so you bet you'll be seeing my Polyvore Travel sets in the up coming weeks.

I was surprised and honored when I caught up with two of my blog-sessions this morning and saw that I was nominated for a award by the Cute-as-a-button Coley of Coley's Closet Cravings and Keepin'-it-real-Kristen of K's Conspiracy of Being Maria.  Thanks Ladies!

So in no particular order... 10 Random Facts about Me.

1. I am the only person in my immediate family to have been born on the east coast (Jersey Girl!)
2. I despise Pink, specifically hot pink... product of my Tomboy-ish Girly Rebellion
3. I own 3 skirts, I wear them never.
4. My first car was a Jeep Grand Cherokee and it kicks my current "reasonable" and good mileage getting Honda's ass.
5. As a child I had a dog, a cat, and even a guinea pig.
6. I've never broken a bone (knock on wood), but have had my fair share of stitches...
7. My favorite flowers are daisies because I like their simplicity and crisp white petals, hydrangeas are a close runner up.
8. I love baked goods... muffins, brownies, bread, cookies, cake, you name it!
9. Got 3rd place (for the women) in a 5K race in Philadelphia last year, sadly I've been slacking on my fitness since my wedding - 6 months ago!
10.  Loves March Madness and, even though I'm a UNC girl at heart,  I have picked Kansas for the last 5 years... you bet I'm going with them again to take it all!!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Recipe Share Sunday: Irish Cheddar and Stout Fondue

Being Irish and a Pescatarian does have some drawbacks... 

Growing up we always celebrated St. Pats with some good ol' corned beef and cabbage, now that corned beef is out of the picture, the Husband and I have to get creative.  Last year I made a Cabbage Casserole - he liked it, I kinda thought it was a combination or bland and too much heavy cream.

This year I was inspired by our new crock pot to make a Beer & Cheese Fondue.  Served with Irish Soda Bread and, naturally, Red Potatoes amongst some other fresh steamed veggies. 

I'll be making this on St. Patrick's Day so no pictures or reviews (yet), but maybe you'll be inspired to stuff your face with this Irish couple's two favorite food groups - cheese and beer.

2 cups 1- to 1 1/2-inch-diameter red-skinned potatoes, halved
2 cups cauliflower florets
2 cups very small brussels sprouts
2 apples, cored, cut into wedges

1 pound Irish cheddar cheese, grated
2 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
3/4 cup (or more) Irish stout (such as Guinness)
6 tablespoons frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Steam all vegetables until tender, about 15 minutes. Arrange vegetables and apples around edge of large platter.

Meanwhile, toss cheese with flour in large bowl. Bring 3/4 cup stout, juice concentrate, and mustard to simmer in large saucepan over medium heat. Gradually add cheese mixture, stirring constantly, until cheese is melted and smooth, thinning with more stout, if desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer fondue to bowl. Place in center of platter with vegetables.
UPDATE:  The Irish Cheddar definitely has some bite, but that's to be expected with any aged cheddar...  Overall the recipe was a hit, if you aren't big on "tasty" cheeses and prefer a milder flavor, substituting some classic Cracker Barrel or even some Velveeta would be a nice, smoother (albeit less Irish) concoction.

The Ingredients (that matter)
Dipping Implements - YUM!
silly girls, that's my HUSBAND'S arm....
mm mmm, dessert!



Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Spring Cleaning - Closet Tour Time

So I cleaned out our closet this past weekend and gathered two bags of clothing... and I actually found myself still pulling things off hangers last night to add to the donate pile.

So anyway onto the Closet Tour....

But first, I have to be honest, I'm sorta an organizational freak. In addition to dusting and vacuuming almost every weekend, I have OCD tendencies to make sure things are always in their place. You will never see our closet with things on the ground, hangers facing the wrong direction ::cringe::, or colors out of the color order...

Oh and I DESPISE wire hangers.  I only keep the ones with the roll bar for the Husbands slacks or my work pants (which have been banned to the guest room closet with my dresses)

So before you scoff, here is the before.. not quite the bomb you may have expected...

This is the shot that particularly drives me up the wall... The husband has no problem hanging up his slacks, but the khakis... grrrr... oh the khaki's just get thrown over my tank top basket every week... kills me.

but tonight I'm cleanin' out my closet, {one more time},

the denim collection

bye byes!  (this was just the beginning)

The not so different "After Shots"....  and yes, we still need to paint the closet to match or at least coordinate with the bedroom, but the shelving would need to be detached from the wall to do so... and we aren't ready to tackle that just yet...

I have rights to the whole bottom rack and maybe 40% of the top :)

... more shoes, obscene amount of Pumas, Rainbows, and clutches. The basket on top houses all my beaters, tanks, and gym tops...

Fun Necklaces and my J.Crew Flower belt (which sadly doesn't get enough action)

Bottom corner shelf - stacked shoeboxes

middle bottom corner shelves - my hoodies and t's (and yes all my 'navy' hoodies reside above my jeans...  my hoodie collection rivals my denim)

top corner shelves - bags and the Husband's hoodies (he has quite a few more, but they were in the wash)

behind the door - zip up hoodies, scarves, and belts
Well, not that exciting of a post, but I had promised to share - and who doesn't love checking out other people's closets??
Just a reminder, I'm still looking to share to some of my closet cast-offs, let me know if you're interested!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Obligatory Oscar Fashion Post

Yes, it's time for my obligatory Oscar Fashion post...

You've seen the photos (probably over and over), so here's to keeping it simple.  My Top Two Best and Worst

The Best:
Cameron Diaz - I know some people think she was looking a little worse for wear, but I think the dress is perfection.  Classic, sparkly, flattering, glamorous - it's my idea of an "Oscar" dress.

Elizabeth Banks - Not sure if I truly pick this as my 2nd best, but it was one of my favorites because... 1. the Color, the carpet was dominated by nudes/blushes/golds and jewel tones (sapphire blues and garnet reds) it was nice to see something else and 2.  the Ruffles, they don't overwhelm or distract like they did on Vera Farmiga or Zoe Saldana.  The dress is flattering to her skin tone and shape.  It's pretty, but it doesn't take away from her beauty (like the dress selected for my 1st Worst)....

The Worst:
Charlize Theron (obviously - no words needed)

Zoe Saldana (yeah, maybe there were a few other really bad ones, but I hated this... the top, the bottom, the slit where's the cohesion Givenchy??)

As pointed out by my fab friend Sarah over at SemiAutobiogRApHical (so clever), I solely inspired Rachel McAdams GORGEOUS Elie Saab Couture gown... yup, little ol' me in my Donna Morgan Silk Chiffon number that wore to my rehearsal dinner...

Girlfriend knows a good look when she sees one.... (PS - Rachel would have made my Top Two, but I felt the need to add more pictures, so Elizabeth made the cut)

Ok Ok.... her's is a tad more glamorous, not to mention is a full length gown, and the grey/blue watercolor print is to die for...

If you like Rachel's dress (and or mine too) Donna Morgan is offering the same dress in a new print for this season, and I'm loving it!  Such a cute dress for summer.... which brings me to my next SQUEE- Daylight Savings is Saturday!!

and ok, one more SQUEE - I'm still tallying the points, but it's looking like this chick is going to clinch her FFL* title! 

*Fantasy - "FASHION" - League
All Oscar pics courtesy Just - Elizabeth Banks Oscar Photo courtesy