EPIC ROOM GIVEAWAY ENTRY

This post is an entry into an contest from Vintage Revivals….help me win by voting once a day every day until September 14th! To vote just visit here, scroll down down down to the entries, and click the little star by #36!!

My bedroom is… ordinary. And isn’t that just the worst thing ever? I actually I identified this room as the one I want to work on in your Fearlessly Finding Awesome Challenge (ps- what happened to those, missy?) but then I got stuck. Then months later I spray painted my dresser blue in hopes of getting on the ball, and while the room’s not awful it’s just not me. Allow me to show you what I’m talking about:

The first thing you see when you walk in is our lack of closet doors, and the little gate I have in front of it to stop the dog from stealing all my shoes. It’s hideous and I hate it and it does not at all encourage me to keep my closet neat.

Ok, I see lots of things when I walk in besides the gate. Like our gross brown curtains (from Big Lots about 5 years ago), our plain beige walls (beige walls AND white ceiling for epic blandness), the nothing-special-about-it lampThen we’ve got a paisley bedspread, which is fine, I guess, but what you can’t tell from this picture is that all four corners have each been resewed at least twice because I thought a new comforter and a teething puppy would get along. I was so so wrong, and now I so so need a new comforter.

In the corner we’ve got a chair that pairs with another one I have downstairs, I thought maybe mixing fabrics would be kind of interesting and it does look nice… but nice isn’t what I’m going for. I’m going for BAZAM. At least the blue dresser makes a statement:

See! I can spray paint! Look what a helper I can be. :)  It’s actually a dark navy in person, but it’s not sealed because I couldn’t find a poly that would work. Also, I don’t know how to look for poly. And also, I store my purses under a chair because I have no other space in the room. You hoard chairs, I hoard shoes- and I bet my itsy bitsy shoes take up just as much room as all your chairs SO that leaves no space in the closet for purses.

Then at the foot of our bed is our lazy bookshelf and tv stand. And that’s it.

Don’t judge me for having an entire shelf dedicated to Nic Cage movies, I’m a little strange.

The bookcase really doesn’t need to be in this room, and is totally off center with the bed but I had nothing else and just a plain bare wall so there it sits. Gathering dust. Because with internet and Netflix I really don’t read all that much.

And one more time, just for kicks, the view that is the bane of my existence:

I absolutely can’t stand the sad state of affairs our closet is in. I hate the the wall you walk in against is bare. I hate that there’s nothing stenciled in this entire room (and I KNOW you’re just dying to get your stencil on).

Overall the room is average, but when you’ve got zebra striped chairs in your living room and a metallic accent table in your entryway and hand made art in your kitchen this just feels so off kilter and sad. I focused so much on the rooms that everyone else gets to see that I lost track of the room I see the most. PLEASE HELP.

Also, I live in Masschusetts, where Halloween was cancelled due to snow last year, so get here ASAP with that Krylon! AND as of a few weeks ago my man Matt and I are newly engaged so we REALLY need a slammin’ new master bedroom to call our very own, dontcha think?

And if you’re worried we might not be style BFF’s, check out some of my projects:

Thanks for taking the time to take a peek! See more on me in the about me section if you’d like. :)

Here & There Wedding Things

I admit, it’s been all quiet on the western front here for a bit. It’s back to school mode around here, I work at a college and Matt is student teaching this semester so house stuff has been a bit on hold (though I still have a few in progress things like our stink stairs and walkway).

I thought to silence the crickets I’d post a few little wedding thoughts and ideas I’ve had floating around:

- I want small, small, small for our wedding. I was really hoping to have no more then 100 people, but it’s looking closer to 120-130 and that’s with A LOT of cuts. One of the best ideas I was given was that if I want to keep it small and we end up cutting friends we’re not amped to cut is to just have a little part-ay at our house the next weekend for us all to get together. Who says I can’t have an open bar in my sunroom and a dance floor in my living room? No one, that’s who. And our friends will hopefully understand our budget and my fear of social interaction.

- Originally I absolutely, 100% wanted our colors to be gray and yellow and white, but now we’ve got our eyes set on a particular venue that may not work for. So I guess I learned I can’t just be all willy nilly with this, I like themes and if I pick a theme I want to stick with it. If gray and yellow doesn’t match the venue, it’s out. At least I’ve still got my gray and yellow living room.

- We are touring one venue at the end of September and one venue at the beginning of November. I’m super hoping we don’t have to tour more then that. And that every single date for fall 2013 won’t already be booked. It BAFFLES me how quickly places book up.

- We’re not doing an engagement shoot because I just don’t see why we would need one, and on that note we’re not doing save the dates either. I also don’t plan on having flowers because I’m wildly allergic anyway. Hopefully these three things, combined with lots of other little things, will help to cut costs.

So- any advice for me? Warnings? Funny stories? Breathing techniques? :)

The Amazing Chicken

So I know I’ve already fulfilled my challenge requirement for the month with some delicious soft brown sugar cookies, but I thought I’d try my hand at an actual meal as well. Make no mistake, this  by no means implies I made something healthy- only that I made something that was not a dessert. Let’s not get too crazy here.

We all pin so many ideas and recipes, but let’s take some action people! At least once a month, cook or bake something that you pinned and link it in the comments!

The original recipe for the chicken I made can be found here, but I only loosely followed it.

Holy delicious chicken, batman.

I took 3 chicken breasts and cut them in half long ways, then covered them in the following mixture

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1.2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1.5 teaspoon Adobo seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • A little sloosh of lemon juice
  • 4-5 basil leaves (shredded)
  • 6-7 parsley leaves (shredded)

Cook for 45 minutes at 375*.

I was super concerned when it was cooking because all that oil and grease seeped out, then I realized I used an entire cup of mayo to make it soooo that’s about right.

The chicken didn’t even need a knife to be cut up, it melts in your mouth and all is good in the world.

This recipe took about 10 minutes of prep work and cleaned up really easily, I highly recommend it. I also highly recommend you eat it with a salad so you don’t feel as awful about yourself when you’re done. :)

So what have YOU made from your Pinterest board? I’d love to hear about it!

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A preview of things to come

I haven’t done any big projects in quite a while and around 4:30 yesterday when my dog sidekick and I pulled up the driveway after a 3 mile walk/hike it hit me. I hate the flower box under my side bay window, and I hate the patchy grass in front of it and I just couldn’t look at it any more. So with 3 hours to spare before company came over for the night I went to town… I find that if I at least start a project, having it stare me in the face on the regular will drive me nuts enough to finish it asap.

 

Our bay window originally looked like this:

This is the saddest looking flower bed I have ever seen.

 

I dug up just about all those plants and transplanted them to various spots around the yard, cleared the weeds and nonsense, dug up the rocks (we’re on a hill so we’ve got real rocky soil), and switched my potted herb garden to an in the dirt herb garden.

Still pretty sad looking, but a definite improvement.

 

I decided to keep the filler greens (I don’t know what their real name is) on the left because they’re nice to trim and use in flower arrangements, I added my three herbs which will hopefully now spread and grow, and I left the zinneas because they’re already there and they won’t grow back next year anyway.

Still to do this summer: fix the rock border so it’s not so haphazard and drunk looking

Still to do next summer: add sage and rosemary and then mulch

 

But I couldn’t just stop there, of course! We have a ton of cement pavers in our yard left over from when we got rid of the pool, and I’ve been dying to use them to create a few walkways around our house.  I lugged a bunch of them to the front yard and laid them out then got my handy dandy pitchfork and started to tear it up.

Me woman. Me strong. Me have a hurting back today.

 

The walkway will run from the driveway to the fence, so it’s not super huge but just big enough to make it more welcoming and homey. Throughout the week I plan to dig up (and relocate) the dirt and grass, spray weed killer and spread sand, place the pavers, and fill in the rest of the whole with some pea gravel. I have the sand and gravel leftover from the pool as well, so it’s another one of my favorite kind of projects: f-r-double e.

 

STAY TUNED.

High 5 for Friday!

PhotobucketI’m linking up with From My Grey Desk once again for H54F! It was a simple, easy week, but I’m still glad it’s almost the weekend!

 

1. On Monday Matt & I joined some friends at an old movie theater called The Strand to see Rear Window, which I’d never seen before. The theater is gorgeous and restored so nicely, there’s side tables in between seats so you have room to lounge and eat if you want, and our friends had a coupon so it was f-r-e-e for us. We had a great time!

 

2. On Tuesday I tried my hand at flower arranging- it had rained so hard that my gladiolas were knocked over so I figured I  may as well trim them and put them in a vase. Only I don’t really have any vases so I used a champagne flute, same dif. Clearly I’m no pro at this, but for a first try it’s not too awful. I used 4 gladiolas, some coreopsis, and some greens. They’re in the den which holds over 5,000 movies so really anything is a visual improvement.

 

3. Wednesday & Thursday I got a chance to use some of my homegrown from seed herbs, which I was way too excited about. On Wednesday I made a sage and lemon sauce to pour over spaghetti (browned butter, lemon, sage, and parmesan) and on Thursday I doctored up some Ragu sauce with my basil, parsley, and oregano. Yum!

 

 

4. Yesterday I also pit stopped at Target on my way home to grab a few things and found myself meandering around the clothing department, I made it out with only 2 dresses which is a miracle because I tried on 6. I wasn’t a dress person for such a long time and then it dawned on me that hello you don’t have to wear pants if you’re in a dress. And who wants to wear pants? No one!

 

 

5. Today after work I’m headed to a little lounge-y pool party with some work friends, cross your fingers for sunny skies! It’ll be my first pool day all summer… I know, I’m nuts. I prefer hibernating.

 

 

How was your week?!

It’s a Dirty Job

Matt was busy, busy around the house last week getting things done before he’s back to schooling and work full time. Of all he did, I’m most pleased he tackled the grossness of our upstairs bathroom. Even though we painted, frosted the window and removed the drape, added a new curtain, and switched up the mirror , and redecorated a little there was still two big issues: stank and mold.

First he tackled the vent- which I will not share pictures of because I could barely look at them myself. But they were rusted, bubbled, and full of dust and pee. Yes, pee. My lovely fiance scrubbed, sanded and repainted and now it’s fresh white and un-stanked.

Next up  he tackled the ceiling, which was covered in various types of mold. Here’s a few shots of it:

I don’t even want to talk about how it feels to look up from a shower to see patches of that lurking above.

Oooh black mold, my favorite.

Somehow this is my THIRD experience with moldy ceilings. Hopefully it is my last. But from experience, I instructed Matt to completely bleach the ceiling (1 part bleach, 2 parts water) to kill the mold, let it dry, sand and scrape it off, and then to paint. Things are looking much better now:

The absence of color never looked so good.

Painting the ceiling made a WORLD of difference. This room has graduated from “dark, sad, and awful” to “bright, light, and live able.” I’ll take it! If you want to see what we started with, just check here.

How to Take Apart an Above Ground Pool

Sadly, our pool is now gone. Between the time and money it takes to keep a pool going, it was in our best interest to get rid of it. I posted it on Craigslist and got several responses so off it went!

Here’s some tips on selling something huge like this on Craigslist:

  • I sold it for CHEAP with the stipulation that whoever bought it would take it apart and remove it from the yard on their own
  • I put every bit of information I had: size, age, where purchased, etc.
  • I posted not just pictures of the pool, but the pump and filter as well
  • I allowed people to come look at it before having them make the commitment to buy

Our pool was 7,700 gallons and about 5 years old, we had a ladder and a partial safety gate as well as an alarm system to go with it. Last October we drained it as much as we could to prepare it for winter, and then the day before we sold it we rented a submersible pump from Home Depot to drain it the rest of the way (and we split that costs with the buyers).

Here is a step by step picture gallery of how it was taken apart- please note all these pictures were taken from my bedroom window because I didn’t want to creep out the people working oh so hard to get rid of it:

Our pool was a gross filth mess, and on our own we could only drain it about a foot or two down. The submersible pump took under 4 hours to do its’ job, so I suggest if you live close enough to a store that you only rent it for half a day and not a full day.

The pump came with a 50 foot hose, there’s an option to rent an additional 50 feet but our pool was close enough to the edge of our yard that we didn’t need it. We just ran the hose down under the fence and drained it down the side of our property- which is on a HUGE hill so most of it soaked up before hitting the street.

From start to finish I think it took about 3 hours for this couple to completely take apart the pool- loading it up and taking it away took them 3 trips in a station wagon. You do not need a truck to transport an above ground pool!

The steps are pretty straight forward, you start with the bolts you can see and just work your way around and down. The couple was particular to keep each section together, with the bolts that belonged to it, so they could easily reassemble it at home.

What seemed like the most tedious part was the removal of the bolts that held the whole thing together, which makes sense of course because if this part isn’t sturdy you’re in big trouble.

Luckily this man was smart enough to bring big rain boots with him for when he needs to muck around in the bit that didn’t drain. There were a lot of leaves and grossy things at the bottom of the liner.

There was A LOT of sand underneath the pool and the couple took about half of it away with them. I asked that they leave the pavers so I can use them to create a walkway in our front yard eventually.

So in the end we’ve got a big new open section of the yard, but it’ll take a lot of work to weed, even the land, dig up the weird patio, and get this looking nice. Maybe over the next fall and spring.

Overall I did ZERO labor- not one bit. I did leave water out for them because it was about 90* out, and I creeped from window to window while they worked because it was fascinating, but that’s really all.

Matt’s a bit sad that we don’t have a pool anymore, but I promised him a chair swing and a hammock (someday) so that eased the pain a bit :)

High 5 for Friday

PhotobucketToday I’m linking up with From My Grey Desk for “High 5 for Friday.”

Here’s my top 5 for the week:

1. Well really now, I think it’s a little obvious what my number one is. While we have no plans yet, and probably won’t for a bit because Matt has student teaching to get through this fall, I think it’s safe to say we only have one more “dating anniversary” left before we switch over to celebrating wedding anniversaries. Also, I already scheduled a tasting at a venue for November because even though we have no plans we’re perfectly willing to taste test free food. :) Also, apparently those things book up fast and November was the earliest one available!

2. With a little help from my grandparents and a little help from my Holiday Inn rewards points, we were able to get a Black and Decker Grasshog and do some serious weed-wacking this week. And by we, I mean Matt since I can’t be outside for more then an hour or two before my allergies start knocking me down. Matt and I did tons of research to figure out what brand and type we wanted but at the end of the day we went with our tried and true method: call Dad and ask what he has. So far it’s worked excellent, we got a 100 foot electrical cord to go with it and it’s all very light weight and high quality.

3. In the excitement of getting engaged we’ve done a ton of celebrating this week. And how do we celebrate? By eating, of course. Monday night we made use of a Friday’s gift certificate I’ve had sitting around for a while, Tuesday (our actual 3 year dating anniversary date) we tried a restaurant called EVO that was delish, and last night our dear friends took us out to the Flatbread Pizza Company. om nom nom. Maybe the wedding dress diet will start next week… I make no promises.

4. We sold our pool on Craigslist! I’ll put up a post next week about how it was sold and how it was taken apart, but for today you can see how we’ve replaced the eye sore of a covered pool with the eye sore of a sanded, weedy backyard plateau. No one said this was an overnight process…

5. Matt painted our bathroom ceiling this week! No more mold, mildew, and sickly gray hanging overhead and no more pee stink vent! I’m still waiting for him to send me the “before” pictures so I can write up a quick post about how it went down, but I am impressed. Do you think between the weed wacking and the ceiling painting he was perhaps softening me up for some big question? Hm.

So there you go- it’s been a great week! How’s yours been?

Our Little Engagement Story

Well first things first, I absolutely promise not to go crazy with wedding stuff all over this blog even though holy crap I am going to be a wife soon…. but I thought I’d type this up once here instead of messaging and emailing everyone individually. So I hope you all don’t mind the slight DIY detour. And a few other detours along the way as I DIY invitations, centerpieces, and whatever else I can.

Today is Matt’s and my 3 year anniversary, even though we’ve known each other for much longer then that. However, he knew I fully expected the proposal today and it is nearly impossible to surprise me because I’m such a sneak, so he proposed yesterday. And this is how it went down:

I got home from work yesterday, cranky because I was hungry and seriously I need to eat when I’m hungry or I get real awful. So I took off my shoes and opened a bag of pepperoni and starting sharing some slices with the dog (Dutch) while Matt was trying oh so patiently to get me to go upstairs. Once the hunger cranks had subsided we went up and he said he and Dutch had a project to show me, and I fully expected maybe the bathroom ceiling to be painted or something because he had the day off. Nope. He had covered our bedroom with candles and tea lights and was down on one knee and who the heck knows what exactly he said to me because I was so excited, but he asked me to marry him. It was something along the lines of he and Dutch really hoping I’d say yes. And then we decided pepperoni slices were not actually an adequate dinner so we went out to eat to celebrate!

 

So that’s that- nice and special, very “us.” Hopefully we’ll set a date for sometime around fall of 2013,  something smallish and cozy with lots of dancing and fun.

 

Here we are on the day we starting dating 3 years ago:

 

 

Soft Brown Sugar Cookies

This Pinterest Food Challenge is quickly becoming a way for me to bake a new dessert every month, maybe next month I’ll try and cook an actual meal (especially since the taquitos came out so great!)

We all pin so many ideas and recipes, but let’s take some action people! At least once a month, cook or bake something that you pinned and link it in the comments!

The original recipe for Soft Brown Sugar Cookies can be found here, but I did alter it just slightly. Here’s what I did:

  • 2/3 c. margarine
  • 1-3/4 c. brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 2-3/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 c. sour cream

From the site linked above: Blend together butter and brown sugar.  Add eggs, one at a time; blend well.  Add vanilla; beat until light.  In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with sour cream; mix well.  Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto non-stick or lightly greased baking sheets.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.  Remove to a wire rack; cool.

I followed the recipe for the frosting exactly, but I ended up having to use leftover chocolate frosting from my monkey cupcakes for half of them because what I made wasn’t nearly enough. I suggest you double it, by using these measurements:

  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 3 c. powdered sugar
  • 4 T. Milk

From the site linked above: Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat until it turns golden.  Watch carefully as this will happen quickly. Remove from heat. Stir in powdered sugar and enough milk to make a spreading consistency.

These cookies were DELICIOUS. I brought some to a friends’ house for dinner and some to work and they went very quickly. They’re also huge- they really spread out while baking. I’m guessing the stickiness of the batter has something to do with them coming out so soft, but really I don’t know. Whatever it is, I’ll be sure to  make them again.

I’m also going to guess that sprinkling a little pumpkin spice or cinnamon on top of these would be an amazing idea.

So there you go, dive into the week with a sugar high!

What have you made from your pins? I’d love to hear about it!