Thursday, July 28, 2011

Goings On

Hello there!! Hope you are having a great week! It’s the last one of July – can you even believe it? I’m actually writing from our deck tonight. It’s been so dang hot it’s been unbearable even at night, but it’s quite lovely this evening.

And now that it’s nice out, what am I doing? Not working on anything on our HUGE, ongoing list of outdoor projects, but blogging. Figures. :)

Anyhoo, first I need to announce the winner of the Pottery Barn gift card, courtesy of Groopdealz. Whoohooey, Dawn of dccrader(at)hotmail(dot)com,  you are the lucky duck winner! Dawn, holla at me in an email and I’ll get you hooked up with your gift card.

I forgot to mention that I was included over at my friend Emily’s Now and Then series last week:


You can go here to see some before and waaay before pics of our family room. :)

This week I may have mentioned a few times on Twitter and Facebook and then Twitter and maybe here, and then I called my Dad and my teacher from the 5th grade and mentioned it on Twitter…again, that we went to the NKOTBSB concert the other night here in Indy.


I tell. you. what. Whew. First of all, certain things get better with age. I’m just sayin’. I think all of the guys are in their 40’s now? And they can jump and run all over and sing and we’re in the stands screaming like teenagers and we’re sweating and exhausted. :)

And while wearing uncomfortable (cute) shoes, you know…just in case one of them has super sonic sight and can see my shoes from a mile away and they’re all, wow, I must meet that girl with the cute shoes! She’s rockin those!

What? Huh? That’s not how your mind works? Well, um…awkward.

Anyway, I got tired from screaming and jumping around like a lunatic, and then I go to sit down for a few and then Donnie goes and takes his shirt off and there. you. go.

And all the sudden I wasn’t so tired.


If you’ve been you know…it’s a ROCKIN’ show. I think this must have been my 8th (or so) NK’s concert and it gets better every time. Entertainment at it’s best!!

There’s something about being in a space with thousands of women who were YOU 20-something years ago. It’s like you look around and you feel like you belong…it’s really a wonderful feeling:


I went with Stink Eye Sis and two (practically) life long girlfriends (love you Erin and Mandy!!!).

Sis and I got a good pic in the bathroom:


Because I ask you, where else do you take pictures?

And here’s the one and only full length photo in a mirror that you will ever see of this blogger. Just to show you the cutie shoes:

I felt like a COLOSSAL dork taking my own picture. 

And my feet still hurt.

Anyway, it was a blast. Jon didn’t feel my mojo from a mile away and call up into the stands though, darn it. Or he maybe he did and he was terrified. We’ll never know. (He’s a DIY guy you know…someday I WILL get him to read my blog.)

Did that sound stalkerish?


If they go on another tour, we’ll be there. If they want to keep going for ten more years, we’ll be there. :)

And at the end of the night, who do I run into but a TDC reader?? She was sitting a row behind us – how wild is that? Hello Michelle!!

To see more about our girls weekend in NYC to see them last summer, go here. To see my sister dancing with Donnie a couple of summers ago, click here. (No that’s not me screaming in the background. I didn’t film that. I’m off to the right with my mouth hanging open because my sister is dancing with Donnie.)

Now, back to reality. The reality I LOVE. :) I told you we took a vacation a few weeks ago and I wanted to share a bit about it because we had such a fantastic time.

I must preface this by saying that practically every trip we EVER take is for hubby’s work. I mean, overseas (back in the day), NYC, wherever. It’s pretty much always in relation to work. Which certainly doesn’t suck, but we just never go on a vacation, just because.

So that made this one even better. We decided to rent an RV and travel north. We had a destination (Wisconsin Dells) but we decided to just go slow, enjoys the sites and take our time.

We took our time a little too much securing the RV, so when we called, all they had left was a Class A – and when they say Class A, they mean “house on wheels”:


I had envisioned something like this:


So I was pretty stoked. :) It was practically a freakin’ tour bus! And it. was. AWESOME.

Hubby has driven a few RVs before, but it was a bit intimidating. He got the hang of it right away though – and that is reason 4,203 that I love him. I love that he tries new things like this, isn’t afraid, and just goes for it and makes it happen.

The little man thought it was a bit harder to maneuver:



We drove up to the Indiana Dunes for our first night, and if you haven’t been to the Dunes, you are missing out. It is absolutely gorgeous. Beautiful white sandy beaches:

Indiana Dunes

It had been 20 years or so since I had been there and it was lovely. The Bub had never been on a beach, so we got to see another first in action:


Yes, I giggle about a boy band from the 90’s, but this man is my forever man. The most handsomest, most loving, most amazing man I could ever ask for. And he doesn’t care that I go scream at boy bands from the 90’s. ;)

Our favorite part was the view of the Chicago skyline on the horizon:


Can you see it? Too cool!

We stayed at RV parks every night, and by the second night were old pros at parking, putting down the jacks and hooking up the water and electric.

Let me tell you, I can’t recommend the Wisconsin Dells enough for a family vacation. That place was incredible. We didn’t even begin to scratch the surface though – the activities were endless.

Indoor theme parks were everywhere, outdoor parks as well, duck boat tours – and it’s the water park capital of the world. And they take that seriously folks. I mean, they are EVERYWHERE:

mt. olympus

We went to Mt. Olympus one afternoon and didn’t even get through a quarter of it.

SO FUN. Watching my husband go down the water slides – priceless. :)

There were a ton of fun, unique restaurants too, like Buffalo Phil’s, where a train delivers food to your table. Or a bubble machine:

That’s a happy hubby right there. :) Love him so very much.

We will go to the Dells again for sure -- it was an absolute blast. And RVing was SO MUCH FUN! We had the luxury of electricity and a shower, but also got to roast marshmallows over a fire and enjoy the outdoors as well.

I grew up camping every weekend as a kid, and I’m not high maintenance in the least, but I don’t know if I could do the whole tent thing again. This was the perfect mix for our family and I can’t recommend it enough. Big RV or small one – we will do it again. Our plan is to head west next summer and I can’t wait!

So, that’s what’s been up around here lately. Thanks for indulging me! Have you been to see a boy band from the 90’s lately? Scream like a 15-year-old? Take RV vacations? Scream like a 15-year-old while flying down a water slide? I’d love to hear. :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pinterest hits and misses

Hey hey! Sorry for the delay with this post – I was too busy screaming like 15-year-old at the NKOTBSB concert last night to get this up. :) OMG…it was SO. GOOD. Sooooo good. More on that later.

I’ve told you before of my love for Pinterest – and I haven’t fallen out of love yet. :) It’s easily the best way I’ve found to organize fun stuff online.

The only problem? I’ve found about 40 bazillion ideas I want to implement. Seriously a bazillion.

Some of my favorite pins are helpful little tips. Things that make your life easier, idea for organizing, things that make you say, well DUH, why didn’t I think of that?

One of my latest favorites is this how to fold a fitted sheet tutorial:

how to fold a fitted sheet


Halleluiah!! Do you know how long I’ve been trying to figure out the elusive fitted sheet? I’ve even watched videos and couldn’t figure it out.

I’m pretty quick. :)

I caught on to this one right away – today I successfully folded two fitted sheets and they look pretty spectacular, if I do say so.

I thought this idea was bahhhrilliant – using a tension rod to hold cleaning bottles under the sink:


Um…this did not work for me. It didn’t stay up for long. I went in the next day to get a bottle and everything had crashed down. Awesomesauce.

I may try this one again and get the tension rod really, super tight. I think that might help.

This little snack station for the fridge was definitely a DUH moment:

snack portions for fridge


Putting the snacks in portions, out in the open in the fridge…so simple, but I had never thought of it.

I did it the other night, and it’s been four days and I haven’t grabbed a bag of chips once. That’s saying a lot too – I lurve me some chips! Because the good, fresh stuff isn’t hidden away in the drawers, I’m grabbing fruit, carrots and cheese.

I know – duh, right? But it works.

I thought this next idea was super fun:

bubble refill station


How cute!!

A couple of months ago, I found an old sun tea jar at Goodwill, and I knew I could make it work for this project. I covered the front with my black vinyl like I did our cereal jars:


I was planning on using chalk to label it. I started filling it with our bubbles and then went to see how it was working:


I pulled instead of pushed. Oops. :) Drats.

Since it’s no-spend July, I don’t have anything else that will work. The more I thought about it, the more I knew I’d want something with a handle on the top anyway. A big jug of bubble solution won’t be light, and a handle would help.

We’ll see if I tackle this again…next summer maybe?

Here’s another duh one – using heat to get price tags off of items:


Goodwill tags are the WORST – I used my hair dryer on a couple Goodwill items and it worked like a charm.

It’s not super convenient to grab a hair dryer, I know. But if you’ve got a sticker that’s good and stuck, or a bunch of items, I think it’s a great idea. I bought a bunch of these pretties from Target in May:


And the dryer made quick work of getting those tags off. I usually use Goo Gone, but it’s such a mess. This worked great!

Of course, if you’re on Pinterest for two hot seconds, you’ll come across a scrumptious recipe you must. make. now.

Just look at this:

sopapilla cheesecake


OH. my. word. Just look at it.

Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Hungry? :)

It’s basically crescent roll dough, cream cheese and sugar. Easy, right?

I made it the other morning (I halfed it) and was SO excited:

It was as I was pulling it out of the oven that I realized I forgot to mix in a very important ingredient – the sugar.

I thought it may be OK without it…but um, no. Without the sugar mixed in to the cream cheese, it just tasted like crescent rolls, with cream cheese, with cinnamon sugar on top. Dur.

Good, but not scrumptious. :) This I will try again though. Oh yes…I will. Tomorrow. Or maybe tonight.

Got any helpful tips that didn’t go the way you thought they would? Or some that work great? Anything I can’t go one more day without knowing? Do share…so I can “pin” it! ;)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

From Mossy to Beachy

beachy vignette

Well, it’s the end of July and I’ve just finished up my summer vignette in the foyer – welcome to my world. ;)

I’ve had most of it done for umm…weeks. Since May? There was one small detail I’ve been putting off all that time that I FINALLY just finished up. More on that in a smidge.

I don’t think I’ve ever really decorated with anything beach-inspired in our house…like, ever. Until now! It must have been the summer Pottery Barn catalog this year, because all of the sudden I thought that look was just lovely.

And no, we don’t live anywhere near the coast. I don’t care. I do what I want.

It started with a beautiful blue spray paint I picked up at True Value a couple months ago:


I’ve been adding more and more blue to our home over the past few years, and this is a lovely smoky tone. I sprayed my old Southern Living pedestal with it:

sea shells on platter

It was brown, which was beautiful. I just wanted it to pop and now it does. I can always spray paint it back. ;)

I filled it with decorative stuff – some shells, twine-covered balls and even some rocks from our vacation.

We picked a few pretty rocks at the beach and of course they needed to be included:


(The writing is for next year when I’m purging and I see the rocks and go,
“What the heck? Rocks? Why do I have rocks?” And toss them.)

I’ve wanted something LARGE on the buffet in our foyer for a while now, and while at HomeGoods last month, I saw a gigantor wood lantern and it had me at pretty window paned doors:

pottery barn lantern knock off

It is SO close to the Pottery Barn version, by the way:pottery barn window pane

Mine was $20 – there’s is $80. Boo to the YAH.

Yet again, I’m fairly sure Pottery Barn will never become a sponsor at TDC. ;)

I put a trio of white candles inside, and then wrapped some rope I picked up at True Value around them:

white candles rope lantern


The rest of the goodies I already had:  

The lamp used to sit on the sofa table in our kitchen, but I thought it worked so much better in the foyer.

Lately I’m smitten with the fresh look of silver or brushed nickel, so I grabbed some Rub ‘n Buff in a silver color and changed up the raised part of the mirror:

 rub n buff 

I’d love something chunkier up there, but I’m trying to use what I’ve got! The Rub ‘n Buff is so easy to use it’s just silly – and one tube will last you foreveeeeeer. Seriously. A tiny bit goes a very long way.

When all was done, we had a slightly sea-inspired vignette in our foyer:

sea-inspired vignette

And I must say I’m lovin’ it! That lantern rocks my socks off – big fat heart that thing.

Sp you want to know what’s held me up all this time? The one thing I needed to finish up?

I started painting the inside of our front door black the weekend of the back door disaster.

Yes, when we had a hole in our house, I did what any smart person would do. I started painting another door. :) I think I was trying to redeem myself…either that or I have some serious addiction to painting doors black. I don’t know, I just went for it.

I did a coat of grey primer and a coat of black and then it sat…and sat. For all this time. Till this weekend:

black interior door

I love it, I knew I would. I used my Behr Black Suede paint in an eggshell finish and I’m pretty much obsessed with how it turned out.

Here’s a comparison, with a way before photo:

black interior door

I know some like a shiny, high gloss door, but I only like shiny on my molding. ;) So the eggshell finish I already had worked out great. It’s taken three coats so far -- I actually need to do one more, but for now I’m calling it done.

I’m just happy to have the painters tape off the door for the first time since the first week of June. :)

No, I’m not painting the trim, at least for now. I’m lucky this got done in 2011 people.

So, are you a decorating with seashells kind of person? Don’t worry, the beach police won’t come find you if you’re name isn’t Sally and you don’t live near the seashore. ;) You can incorporate it all you want – it is your house.

Do what you want!!

**Cassity’s black door project encouraged me to start painting our front door black, and Shelley’s got my booty moving to finish it!


I was one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program as well as my writing about my experience. I have also been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY project. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Measuring Time

When we were on vacation last week, I was reminded how full my life is.

It was just the Bub, hubby, the dog and I, just enjoying each other.

No appointments. No blogging. No work. No DIY.

There were moments when the Bub would turn to me and say something, or I would watch him playing, talking, whatever.

And I would see his face and it was like my heart stopped.

Like I was seeing him all over again for the first time.

I felt like my heart would burst out of my chest.

When he was born, the first line I put on his birth announcements was

“Our hearts are bursting!”

I swear mine is 100,000 times bigger than the day he was born.


Today, I did something I’ve been meaning to do for more than four years.

I don’t know why it took my so long – it literally took 30 seconds.

I measured my boy and marked “now” forever in time.

My heart aches that I didn’t do this four years ago. Aches.

You know all those pictures you wish you would have taken? All the firsts you wish you would have written down? All the everyday things you think you’ll never forget and you do?

I’m trying to get them all down, trying to slow down time just a bit.

It’s going by ridiculously fast.

It’s just one of those days when I’m overwhelmed with joy because of the gifts I’ve been given.

I don’t feel worthy  – I hope I do him justice. :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pops of Green

One of my very favorite things about blogland is that I’ll find inspiration in the weirdest ways sometimes. I’ll see a beautiful room and focus in on the smallest little detail that I MUST find a way to make my own. I love that!

I discovered a beautiful blog a few weeks ago called Maillardville Manor and it had me at hello because of the pretty spaces, but there was an underlying detail that I noticed after browsing a while:

fern on stand succulent

Do you see it? All that GREEN. Live plants people – not faux. I mean, I love me some faux, but there’s something to be said about the real thing. ;)

I don’t have what you would call the greenest thumb, but it’s been so long since we’ve had a plant in the house, I wouldn't really know anymore.

Plants have always been a PAIN with our animals – especially cats. They munch on them – flowers, plants, whatever. Crunch crunch munch…the cats love the green.

And so many plants are toxic to cats, and now that we have the dog, we have to think about him too. It seems like every time I find a plant I like, it’s not fit for animals, so I keep on walking.

I haven’t taken the time to figure out what plants would work…till now. :) This time I was ready -- I stood in Lowe’s with my cell phone and some time, searching each and every house plant I came across. And I finally found a couple that worked. (It took awhile.)

The first, a basic fern…who would’ve thought?:


I love it’s feathery, uhhh…ferns? It’s so delicate and full and pretty.

(This one is Nephrolepsis exaltata (huh?) –  and is non-toxic. I hear some ferns are!)

It’s such a lovely pop of color too – I put this one next to the foyer buffet and it’s just perfect:

fern in entry

I could've used our plant stand (that’s never held a plant) but I like having it nestled in that little corner on the floor.

I also found a cutie little fern I put in the kitchen:

fern in kitchen ikea pot

The rattan pot is from IKEA. Plant plus pot was less than $10 – not bad for a breath of fresh air. For reals. :)

The Bub picked out a Venus Flytrap, which I think is pretty darn cool:

venus flytrap

I always wanted one of these growing up and now I totally have the kiddo excuse. ;)

Just be careful when you repot it – it may bite.

I kid! I kid!

Or do I?


Our final choice was a Fittonia something-or-other:

fittonia nerve plant

I think it’s called a Nerve Plant? I just loved it’s deep green leaves. And the fact that it wouldn’t make our cats puke. :)

Because I never have plants and we had nothing to put these babies in, I picked out some pots – I went with basic white ones that I can use anywhere in the house:

It was fun finding little nooks for the plants – I put this one next to the candlestick table in the family room:

I can’t tell you how giddy I am about these! It’s just silly.

Both only need low light, which I did on purpose so I could move them anywhere around the house without worrying about enough sun:

nerve plant

And get this – the cats haven’t even sniffed at them. Not a second glance – nothin’. You gotta be kidding me. I mean, I don’t want them to snack on them, but I finally have something in the house that wouldn’t hurt them and they don’t. even. care.

So totally cat-like. :)

I found the ASPCA site to be extremely helpful when picking out the house plants. I could search each name on the site and it told me if they were toxic to cats or dogs. You can also just look at a complete list of toxic/non-toxic plants as well.

I’m hooked now – if I can keep these green I’m totally getting more. I know there are many benefits to having plants in the home so they aren’t just pretty. (Check out all the benefits here.)

Any house plant lovahs out there? Know of any more animal-friendly plants I should look into? I hear some clean the air more than others too.

Let’s just see if I can keep these alive and kickin’. Wish me luck. :)


Did you miss the DIY trough how-to? If so, click here.