Thursday, March 31, 2011

Nap Time

Today I am giving a practice standardized test in my classroom; can you say, EXCITING?!  Not.  It's one of the duties that must be done every year, despite it's monotony.  However, I'm feeling a bit under the weather/tired today and I think I'd rather be here:

 via Elle Decor

With a copy of one of these:

via Design Sponge

And this to nibble/sip on:

But instead I'll be here... proctoring and grading. =)  However, this afternoon I'm going to the musical instrument museum with a friend, and it should be very interesting.  Hooray for free admission week!  I'll take pics! (I've heard there's an instrument made out of a squirrel?!)

Happy Thursday, friends!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Curtain Lust

Today I am giving a test in every class; sad day for the students, but an easy day for me!  Tomorrow I will being grading the tests... Great day for the students, sad day for me!  Isn't it funny how that works?  =)

Lately I've been thinking of how to brighten up my family/living room, and I think my solution for now is new drapes.  I'll be re-painting in a few months, but spring is coming on and I'm CRAVING the natural light (my dark brown walls and cranberry curtains are KILLING me right now!).  I've been searching for curtain styles that "go" with my room, and aren't too pricey, and I think I've found my solution - sew my own!  I've been sewing since childhood (on summer, my mom and I made an entire wardrobe for me out of remnant fabric!), so I'm up for the challenge, but now I'm trying to choose fabrics...  I've found a few pictures that I'm using as inspiration for my project:

via Young House Love

via A Thoughtful Place

I am fairly certain that both of the wonderfully talented ladies behind these blogs sewed their curtains.  I LOVE the look that the stripes bring to the room.  However, I'm trying to decide whether to go with smaller stripes or wider ones?  I know I love the two-tone tan on cream color scheme, and I particularly love the top picture as my furnishings and wall art are very similar to hers.  I think I'm partial to wider stripes, but what do you think??

As soon as I begin, I'll be sure to take some "before and afters," (hopefully I can make sure they're all in focus, unlike my kitchen remodel photos!) and maybe even post a tutorial on how to sew your own striped curtains (if I do a good job!!).

And did I mention our reading nook is getting a mini-makeover this week/weekend?  I'm collecting my before, during and after photos for you~get excited!  =)

Happy Wednesday, friends!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Jewelry Organizing DIY

Yesterday morning was panicked.  I could not find one of my favorite earrings, and I was late to boot.  Enter a situation my husband cannot bring himself to understand...

Me: Babe, have you seen my peach and gold colored earring??  I can't find it and I'm late and I don't want to have to change clothes!

Husband: Just wear another pair...


Husband: (now scared for his very life) I haven't seen it; how can I help?  Wait... why would you need to change clothes?

Me: (completely unable to process his sweet offer for help b/c I'm blinded by my lateness and need for said earring) YOU CAN HELP ME FIND MY EARRING! Oh wait... It's here under my other eleventy-million earrings.

Husband: Great!  But, why couldn't you just wear another pair of earrings??

Me: Oh, honey - you just don't understand...

Ladies, I know you're with me on this one - sometimes your earrings just MAKE your outfit.  I couldn't waste the time to come up with another cohesive work look after I was late; I NEEDED that earring.  This is why I couldn't find it...

Let's play I spy. Can you find the following?

1 headband
6 necklaces
7 pairs of earrings
2 brooches
1 Q-tip
1 bobby pin
3 Ibuprofen

This is a shelf in my closet built ins, and it's right next to my full length mirror (outfit central!), so things are just strewn across it regularly.  I decided last night that the earring fiasco was not one that needed repeating, but it surely would happen again if I didn't do something about my "shelf of crap," as my husband calls it.

Enter the mesh basket that I found cleaning a few days back...

While I'm not in love with the color, it was free, and therefore perfectly on budget for my organization project. =)  Don't you love when you discover previously unused, but still extraordinarily useful things lying around your home?!  I do.

So I began organizing my earrings.  I matched them up and made sure all of them had their backs, and of course I ended up short about 5 backs... how does this happen?!  I think the same creature eats earring backs, hair ties, and socks from the dryer.  Really, where do they go??

After all the organizing was done, I started attaching them to the red basket, and... Viola!

(Sorry for the lame-o picture quality, it was nighttime) Now I have them displayed in such a way that I can locate them quickly, and I'll still be able to use the inside of the basket to store something else!  Suh-weet!  Plus I still have 2 unused sides of the basket... I think it's time to go earring shopping ;)  And the big payoff?  I knew exactly where my earrings were this morning, and anytime you can cut some hectic out of your morning, it's a great, great thing.

You could re-create something similar with a wire mesh basket from the $1 section at Target - I know I've seen them there.  Have you made any small changes lately that have had a big impact on your organization?  If so, I'd love to hear!

Happy Tuesday, friends!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Weekend Round-Up

What a WONDERFUL weekend!  On Friday evening, Eric and I had dinner with a dear friend at Casey Moore's Oyster house.  It's an adorable little place in a historical neighborhood; it has absolutely FABULOUS food, and they keep the *beverages* a-comin'!

We sat upstairs and looked out over our neighborhood (did I mention we live nearby?  Within walking distance? LOVE) through a stained glass window in the arts and crafts styled dining room... Good food, great company... It was a wonderful kickoff to the weekend!

Saturday was a CLEANING extravaganza!  I cleaned EVERYTHING, but mainly my kitchen so I could finally show you the before and after pics of my kitchen remodel!  As much as I dislike cleaning, it was worth it to really relish my kitchen this weekend~I love it!

Sunday was AWESOME.  We had been trying to go to the Tempe Festival for the Arts since Friday evening, and I finally threw all of my previous plans out the window to attend... and what a great decision it was!  We rode our bikes downtown (less than 1 mile), and walked through the streets for a few hours (temp: ~75 degrees.  Perfect!).  We sampled everything from Kettle Corn to rum-flavored caramel; we ate yaki soba noodles and listened to jazz; we saw people of all shapes and sizes, including a man on stilts!  Here's a view from the landing were we ate lunch...

Sometimes I can't believe I live where I do~there's always something to see or do, and lately the weather has been so lovely that I've been unable to resist attending everything.  After returning from the festival, myself and a friend of mine hopped on my vintage tandem bicycle (it's a family heirloom - you can be jealous) and took a tour of the world's best university, Arizona State!  She'd never seen the campus, so we went on a biking tour... and I highly recommend biking the campus as opposed to walking~it's ginormous!  Later yesterday evening, Eric and I sat down to finally use the fabulous $45 to CSNstores that I won on my friend's lovely blog (pop over and check her out, if you have a moment!).  We were looking for an over-the-sink lighting option for our kitchen, and we chose this pendant lamp:

I think it will mesh well with the colors of our kitchen and the stainless appliances.  It's going to go right here above the sink...

All we'll need to do then is replace the dishwasher with a stainless model... and remove the fluorescent, 70's lighting... and finish the window treatments... and... =)  Oh, the joys of an older home!

We finished off the weekend with $7/person all you can eat 1 topping pizza at Boulders on Broadway (our favorite neighborhood biker bar, and I mean the type of bike that you pedal...), and $3 pints of Sam Adams.  *Bliss*

How was your weekend?  I hope it was amazing ~ happy Monday, friends!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

My Kitchen Makeover: Before and After

Remember when I said I needed to show you more of my house and personal projects?  Well I'm following through on that today!  For those who have visited my home, you know it's seen quite the transformation since my husband lived here with 6 guys before we were married (yucky!).  We live in an older neighborhood, but we're the nearest suburb (within 1 mile) from the downtown portion of our city.  We love the location, and it's common knowledge that if you buy here, you're really paying for the land, not the house.  We also live within a mile of a major university, and thus plan to use this house as a rental after it is payed off.  This is the main reason for our DIY-ing...  We don't want to over-improve our home for it's neighborhood, and we can't put anything in here that won't be a good investment for the renters who will eventually live here.

With that in mind, we renovate very carefully, making sure we'll get more than 100% back on our investment.  I was growing tired of the kitchen after living here only about a year.  It was straight out of the 1970's: LOW ceilings, dark oak cabinets, formica countertops, basic appliances, and limited storage space, among other limitations.  Just for fun, we priced out new cabinets.  Estimated cost?  $20,000!!!!!  Holy ridiculous!   While I'd love to have that budget, mine was about 1% of that: ~$200.  So, repainting and small adjustments seemed like the best option.  We set out to choose paint colors and hardware that we like, and without further ado, I began the project of Summer 2010.  It took me 6 weeks, and a total of $322, but it was QUITE the transformation!


I apologize for the poor picture quality, this was before the new camera!  And I can't believe I didn't think to take pictures until I had already removed the cabinet doors, and taped everything off!  Do you just love the low ceilings and terrible oak cabinetry?  Inviting, no? ;)

This is after I'd applied the first coat of primer, and I was wondering what the hell I was thinking getting into this!!

6 weeks, 27 hours of sanding (BY HAND!), 4 coats of paint, countless hours of hunching over, and picking paint out of my hair and we ended up with this...


The pantry doors will be my April/May project.  They'll be getting a (scalloped?? maybe??) white border and black chalkboard paint.  Sorry about all the junk on the fridge, we live here... I'm just keepin' it real. =)

You can see we had to remove a cabinet above the stove to add an "over the range" microwave.  Would I have loved in industrial hood?  Yes.  Would it have been the best choice for a rental and a cheap makeover?  Definitely not.  Since having a custom cabinet remade to match the existing cabinets is expensive, I made a curtain to hang there until we have the $400 to have the cabinet made or I think of a better idea. =)  Suggestions welcome!  The curtain color can change as well, I made a cranberry one (pictured), a green one, a blue one and a striped one.  Also, we're saving up to replace the yucky white dishwasher and fridge with stainless steel.  Two appliances down (micro and stove), two to go!

You can see that the lazy susan in the corner and the two drawer fronts below the sink still lack their proper knobs and pulls.  Until recently we couldn't figure how to drill through the back of either cabinet since both were blocked.  UNTIL.... I had the bright idea to just GLUE them!  They're not going to be used to pull anything, they just need to match.  I'll have to do an update when we finish them (such a small task, but I put it off SO well).  Also, can you see my tree through the window that DESPERATELY needs trimming?  Next weekend!

Close up of the nasty white dishwasher.  Luckily for us, the original formica counter tops are faux butcher block, which makes the white look more "southern kitchen."  Even if it is fake-ity McFake-erson. =)

Here's a close up of the paint job, and the farmhouse pulls we chose for our drawers (all hardware by Amerock from Lowes).  And Coca~Cola, haha!

We'll also be installing a new drop light over the sink in a few weeks (as soon as CSN stores ships my new lamp!), and the florescent lighting will go, in favor of a vaulted ceiling... eventually. =)  I'll be sure to post more pics!

This is the first of the projects I've completed around my home that I need to let you see.  So, what do you think?  Although it was hard, it was worth every penny, especially since it only cost $322!   Next I'll take you to my reading nook... as soon as I buy my lamp from Ikea to finish off the space.  (I should be able to go tomorrow, yay!)  Thanks for looking, and I'm serious on advice for the "above the microwave" space!   I hope you're enjoying your weekend; happy Saturday, friends!

**Linking to:

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Rue

The March/April issue of Rue came to my inbox last week, and I spent a few hours DROOLING over my computer screen.  I am absolutely loving reading internet periodicals, it's all of the amazing parts about decorating/fashion magazines plus extra convenience (and the ability to watch videos!).  The features in this issue were so fresh; perfect for spring!

With so many bright colors, and adorable clothing (not to mention the ladder!!  I'm in love with them, as you know!), I already feel inspired to start dressing for spring!

Even though I'm sure I'd tire of it very quickly, I'm currently loving all-white rooms.  I love the small accents of blue and dark brown; It makes me feel like I'm on vacation, and who doesn't love that?!

What a great party dress!  While you couldn't wear it to a wedding (Is wearing white to a wedding suddenly NOT a social faux pas now??  I've seen SO MANY people do this lately and I cringe every time!), I'd wear it every chance I got!  And I'd obviously have to have a navy wall to hang it on.  Love.

Speaking of navy blue walls...  This makes me want to visit Montana or Wyoming.  It's charming and rustic without making you question wether the bathroom is indoor or outdoor.  And while I normally find deceased animal parts creepy (picture taxidermy of ANY KIND), the antlers here add some unique punches of white.  They're growing on me (not literally, of course). ;)

Holy adorable!  I want to own a flower shop now (only for about 3 days... this is the average time I have the ability to keep plants alive) and have a display this freaking adorable!  I wish, Wish, WISH I had the funds to fill my home with fresh flowers, or a garden somewhere that wasn't 1,204,593,457 bajillion degrees during the summer in which to grow them!  I guess I'll dust drool over this picture.

This is a whole new take on a gallery wall, and I LOVE it!  What a simple solution: paint frames and attach prints!  It looks completely fresh and modern, and I want one *cue covetousness!*

Lastly, this sign made me giggle...

So, whose weirdo are you? =)  I hope your day is wonderful; happy Friday friends!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Time to breathe

I'm enjoying being back at work and busy...  but I could use a little time to breathe today.  I think I'm extra nervous because although I donate regularly, I am scheduled for  blood donation to United Blood Services this evening.  And it doesn't seem to matter how many times I donate, I'm always a bit jumpy.  I'd like to sit here for a few minutes.  Wouldn't you??

via Elle Decor

Enjoy your Wednesday Thursday!  (<-- What a goof I am!)

Funnies for your hump day

buahaha!  Oh Calvin and Hobbes, how I love you.

Happy hump day, friends!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


As I'm busily working today (grading, writing 2 quizzes, and preparing for standardized test review, ugh!), my mind is wandering back to a few things I've found to be extra lovely in the past few weeks.  Spring is just arriving here (and it'll be gone soon to make way for summer!), and it makes me want to carry a great spring/summer bag.  Don't you think this Coach one is sweet?

Ok, ok! I'd take it to the beach, twist my arm ;)

How about these super cute place mats by Pomegranate Inc. for a summer table?  Yes, please!

While I'm looking at blue things... This watch from Verdura would look amazing on my desk at work, I'm just sayin'...

And who doesn't think blue and associate it with all things nautical??  I'll take 12 place settings of these designs, please!

A farmhouse sink will always make me swoon!  And this black one by Jean Randazzo looks especially divine!

I love maps... and I love french doors... Put them together?  You have the super-fab map door from Fric and Frac blog!

How about this home??  I'd live here if you made me...

And if i did live here... I'd have this sweet little birdhouse by Martinviette:
That's right, even my birds would be living in high style, because that's just how I roll.

I hope your lovelies are on your mind today ~ happy Wednesday, friends!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring has sprung!

And I'm inside!  I wish Wish WISH I was outdoors enjoying this lovely weather, but alas, I can't be.  Wouldn't it be nice if I could take a day and be a kid again... play in the sun, run around my yard... *bliss*  If I was a kid again, I'd want to play in this AMAZING playhouse!

via Elle Decor

Isn't it completely adorable??  Somehow I imagine it filled with mini-IKAT curtains, mini-KitchenAid appliances, and mini-West Elm couches...  Isn't everything more adorable in miniature?  I hope you're enjoying spring today.  Happy Tuesday, friends!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday Already??

After finishing quite possibly the most lovely spring break imaginable, 5:30 came early this morning...  I'm excited to be back at work, but I'm just praying I can keep my energy up for the final 9 week push to summer break.  This morning is cold and rainy here in north Scottsdale, and I'm wishing it was sunny and I was outside enjoying it!  Maybe wearing this?

This entire outfit is from Old Navy!  I love bargain shopping =)

It's so lovely outside when it's just warm enough for tank tops in the afternoon, but chilly enough in the evening to need a light sweater.  For the rest of you, that is "Spring," for those of us in the southwest, it's the three weeks at the end of March and beginning of April (before we reach a consistent 100+ degrees daily).  If I could do anything today, besides be with my students, I'd take a walk in the sun, and listen to The Shins.  Go here to sample them - you won't be disappointed.  Whatever you're doing today, I hope it's a happy Monday for you, friends!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Ruler Mirror: Before and After

Whoah baby!  I feel like I've been gone forever!  It's been spring break for me this week, and I made a commitment to myself and my husband to legitimately take a break.  I get obsessive about my work (since I LOVE my job), and I needed to take some down time.  We started the break by taking a skiing trip with our friends, and Monday we celebrated Eric's birthday by going to a local steakhouse ~ yum!  Tuesday was spent with friends sitting on a porch (perfect!!), and I couldn't shake the snow bunny thing, so on Wednesday, a friend and I went back to the ski resort to shred some more powder.  Thursday we had friends over to celebrate St. Patty's day by drinking Guinness, watching Flogging Molly live, and following it up by drinking more beer and watching Monty Python and The Holy Grail.  Friday my mom and I found my sister's first car (a Mazda 3, just like mine!) and haggled the dealer down from $17,800 to $12,600!  Yesterday I finally wrote my evaluations for my students, and attended a housewarming party for our friends.  Today is church and then a birthday party for Eric and the other March birthdays in our family.  What a wonderful full week!  I am so rested and ready to spend nine more weeks with these kids!

Do you know what else I stumbled upon this week?  An amazing before and after on Design Sponge.  Most of you know that as a math teacher I'm a sucker for school supplies, especially math related ones!  So since I've been wanting a starburst mirror in my home, I may just have to make this one over my next long weekend...


Isn't that awesome?!  I'm totally in love.  Would you have a ruler mirror in your home?

I hope your week has been as eventful and fulfilling as mine has... Happy Sunday, friends!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Day dreaming, Lonny style

Have you seen the newest issue of Lonny, an online decorating magazine?  If not, Read. It. Now.  I get almost as excited about Lonny as I do the other magazines I receive every month in the mail (Sunset, Better Homes and Gardens, PrimeMath - don't judge!).  This issue had some funnies and some seriously lovely rooms.  Funnies first...

This is a set of brass legs from Bergdorf Goodman...  Really??  I can't imagine these in anyone's home, least of all mine.  Maybe they are meant to be a good conversation piece?  I may be missing the style boat here, but I find these... odd.  And for $1250, I think I can pass them up, just this once. ;)

The rest of the rooms comprise so much gorgeous, that I feel I could mush them all together to make my dream home.  So, imagine with me I am taking you on a tour of my home.  We walk through the entryway and straight into my family room:

Don't you love the elegance, yet comfort it exudes?  Me too, that's why I have it in my home.
Next, we take a jaunt into the living room:

Don't the black walls scream "Drama?"  I thought so.  And I also really love the antlers on my wall.  They add a little rustic charm without staring at you like one of those taxidermy buffalo heads.
Shall we visit my office and take a look at my desk top?

The mini-topiary adds some whimsical charm to an otherwise very functional workspace.  Also, I think I made a good choice with the coral wall color, no?
Come with me, my dining room is right over here...

Isn't the drum shade to die for?  And the turquoise on the chairs is unexpected and fun.  Gosh I love my dining room!
My kitchen is right this way...

The all-white look keeps everything fresh, and the built-in seating allows people to spend time with me while I cook gourmet meals to be served in the dining room above.  Also, I could die for the pendant light in here. 
My eat-in breakfast area is right behind you...

The Ikat pillows and copper pendant lamps give an otherwise run-of-the-mill kitchen table a pop of something unexpected.  Oh, and have you see my windows?  Yeah.  I live here.
My laundry room is right over here, if you'll walk with me...

Isn't my skirted, farmhouse sink adorable?  I also love my collection of milk-glass serving ware.  And my oval window.  But it's just my laundry room, no biggie.
Come upstairs with me and take a gander at my bedroom...

I love how the light pours in the french doors that lead out to my balcony.  And the antique chest of drawers is a chic storage solution for my bed linens, when I'm not using my amazing graphic print duvet.  And if the light gets to be too much?  I just draw my dove-grey silk drapes and take a snooze. 
And my bathroom? Well...

It features this gorgeous soaking tub, and a picture window.  I sometimes spend hours in here (this is my fantasy life, right?  I can have free time!).
Since you've seen most of the inside, why not take a look at my backyard?

Would you like to come over and soak up some sun with me?  If you're not a sun-worshiper, we could just sip Mojitos under the cabana.  It's up to you. 

Oh Lonny, thank you for letting me imagine myself, once again, living in the pages of your lovely magazine.  Did you all enjoy my home tour?  Read a little of Lonny for yourself today, and see of you don't start drooling/day dreaming too!  Happy Tuesday, friends!