2014: A Year in Review

And yet another year goes by and I am shocked how quickly it went.  I swear it was JUST summer time.  Sigh.  This is what happens with you get old.

(In case you want to see other years in review, check them out 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013)  In looking back, this year was not as exciting as last year, but a good one.

January: The first month of the year is always the busiest and most stressful, so nothing really exciting happens out of sheer burn out.  I hate that I have to sacrifice my holiday season to busy season.  This January we suffered from not ONE, but TWO ice storms.  The city shut down.  People laughed at us.  We were the butt of all the jokes.  Whatever.  Let me see you drive on thick ice.  Mmmkay.  I was pretty angry though that we were required to go to work.  My car slid all over the place.  It was very dangerous.


February: Running.  I did that once.  This month I was back into the swing of things and getting ready to get my train on.  I wanted to badly to run a marathon this year.  I was getting so excited about the thought.  Even had a training plan.  We built phase one of our backyard garden.  It was a total pain in the butt, but it produced a lot of yummy veggies.  We also headed to NC for some skiing.  Epic fail.  Fun, but fail!


March: I joined a local running group that would push me through 5k and 10k for those coming off injury.  I loved the group, but probably wont do it again.  We worked on getting the bedroom painted and gussied up.

April: I ran my first 5k of the year and it went swimmingly well.  I was so empowered!  I said that it was the first time I ran a 5k non stop and while that might be true for a 5k race, I am most positive I have run 3 miles without stopping in longer races. I also started redecorating our guest room.


May: Ran the Stash Dash with friends and our running group.  This was more of a social race, so whatever. hahah  We traveled to Chicago for my cousin’s wedding at the Sears Tower and it SNOWED!  People, this is exactly why I wont move back there.  High taxes and crappy weather.  We also hit up Milwaukee to visit my bestest friend.  Also ran a race with my dad and little sister (who kicked serious butt at her first race!!)

June: June was an interesting month.  I felt both sides of emotions.  I was offered a new job with a new company.  It was more money (but a crappy commute) and was a promotion from what I was doing.  We were so happy.  I accepted the job and put my MONTH notice into my current job.  Of course, after I put my notice in something very bad happened with the other job and while I am glad I am not working for such an unprofessional group, I was so upset that I had to crawl back and ask for my old job back.  Things have not been well here and there are no plans for them to change.  I tell every single person that complains about being here that only you control your own happiness and destiny, so if you do not like it, change it.  I am starting to actually listen to myself.  On the other hand, my dad and sister came to town and we had so much fun together.  We hit up the animal safari and rode EVERY SINGLE roller coaster at Six Flags….front row!

July: So I turned 30 (and just realized I never recapped my party).  July is yet another very busy month for us and with me having to ask for my job back, I made sure to ditch my personal life almost completely.  I tried my hardest to create a better work/life balance, but I failed. I also ran the Peachtree again this year.  I really love that race.  It is hot, it is miserable, but the atmosphere is truly amazing.  SO MUCH FUN!

August: ANOTHER stressful month at work.  I tell ya….I was able to finish our guest room and have a room that was pretty much done!


September: I had to travel to Vegas for a work trip and it was flipping hot!  I mean, you soaked your underwear with sweat hot.  Nothing worse than wet underwear.  But it was fun to be with good people.  The minute I got home from Vegas, we turned around and flew to St. Thomas for our best friend’s wedding.  It was a quick weekend away and I was fried with a sunburn at the end of the trip.  (Im actually still trying to pay that trip off UGH)  But the most exciting part of the month (to me) was opening my Etsy shop, Southern Sign Shop.  For only being open for a few months, things have been ok.  I have a bunch of ideas for next year, so stay tuned.  Check the shop out here and place an order!!


October: It was nice to get another project done around the house, especially one that is the most visible.  I finished (well almost) the dining room and LOVE how it turned out.  But fear not, we may have ONE LAST PROJECT in there with some of the wood we took from a knocked down house.  YOU’LL SEE!


November: I realize my posts are less and less as the year progresses.  Not sure what that is all about, but hopefully that changes next year.  I guess things just got really busy.  So while I was on a roll with the dining room, my mom and I did a quick flip of the laundry room.  I love this room almost the most in the house because of how it turned out.  I also had to travel to Houston for work very last minute (team player here) and my household started doing Paleo.  I should probably write an updated post on that.  I probably should do a lot of things.  Have you seen my to do list?


December: Not much has happened.  It has been a busy work month because you guessed it, January is going to be hell.  Sigh.

Categories: New Years | Leave a comment

The Paleo Update

It has been a month since we started eating Paleo in our house and I thought I’d share what the first month was like.  Here is a post on the first week.  After the first week, I felt like a total rockstar.  I never felt so good about myself.  It was like I was a different person.  Since the first two weeks, we made a few adjustments.

Matt is following a more gluten-free diet than paleo and I am doing paleo but I am eating cheese and I drink diet pop every so often.  I also eat dark chocolate.

When I first started doing this, I was getting full quickly and for longer.  Now I am finding myself wanting that 10am and 3pm snack again.  Im stuck on if that is a whatever thing or if I am doing something wrong.

Here is what a typical my style Paleo day looks like (I have little variation, which could be the problem)

Breakfast: 2 eggs (scrambled (with almond milk) or cooked over medium) and two sausage links.  Twice I have had to grab something quick from McDonalds, so I get the #2 sandwich (sausage/egg) and I dont eat the english muffin.

10am snack (if I choose):  1/2 tsp almond butter or a square of dark chocolate…or both if I am feeling frisky.

Lunch: 9 times out of 10 it is leftover dinner from the night before.  Im not big on eating out at lunch because it is really expensive, but if I do, I have no problem finding something.  The other day I splurged and got the grilled chicken nuggets from Chick-fila…..not a fan.  Maybe my subconscious wanted the regular, but I wasn’t a fan of the flavor.

3pm snack (usually happens): Usually whatever is in my desk (if anything).  Nuts or fruit.

Dinner: Dinners have been so awesome eating this way.  We rely heavily on veggies and sweet taters.  We almost always have a meat.

Dessert:  This isn’t a very common thing but it usually consists of nuts and dark chocolate.  Or this week we cheated a little and had Weight Watchers Ice cream.


This is our steak and cauliflower mash dinner.  Matt mans the grill and making the mash was super easy.  I cant remember which recipe I followed, but it is as simple as blending some cauliflower, evoo, coconut milk, garlic, salt and pepper together.  Simple and yummy!IMG_20141212_183024

Asian food is near the very top of my favorite food list and sadly it really isnt Paleo friendly if we went out.  At least where we go.  This is my throw it together version of Asian Paleo.  I just browned ground beef, seasoned and soy sauced it and created fried “rice.”  I grated cauliflower and browned it with onion, salt and pepper, garlic, soy sauce, chili paste, sesame oil, carrots, bok choy, and scallions.  I threw some sesame seeds on top and it was a pretty yummy dish.  I do wish I had added some egg to the “rice” though.  I was caught up in the moment and forgot.  hah


Friends, I was addicted to pasta.  It was my lazy, default food.  Easy and filling.  But I felt so bad afterwards.  Not as bad as Matt did, but that disgusting full.  Now when we crave Italian, it is so simple as cooking pasta.  We have two “pasta” options.  One is roasting a spaghetti squash and scraping out the insides and the other is using that super awesome zucchini spiral slicer that slices zucchini into noodles.  Pretty yummy stuff!  I am not much of a red sauce eater, so I usually use a pesto on my “noodles” but Matt makes a pretty awesome red sauce from scratch.  This way, we control all the things.  Seriously, I dont miss pasta after this meal.

It really is easy to stay on track, but we do allow ourselves some indulgences.  Thanksgiving I stuck close to paleo by eating sweet potatoes, turkey, and veggies, BUT I just had to have a small scoop of stuffing and mashed potatoes.  And I did provide the dessert, so I was entitled to a small sliver (literally a sliver).

Last weekend we had Mexican dinner (which I filled up on damn chips) and Krispy Kreme doughnuts.  OMG Fatty fat.  BUT we did give the remainder of our KKs to a homeless man.  He was grateful.

So far I have only lost three pounds.  I did all that the first two weeks and have maintained since.  Sort of a let down but I am not as obsessive with how horrible I look/felt.  Matt has actually lost eight pounds since we started doing this and his tummy thanks him.  I couldn’t imagine not being able to eat gluten……oh wait…..I guess we are sort of doing that.

Since Christmas is coming and I have a lot of baking/cooking to do, I am going to try to be as strict as I can be.  No cheat days allowed so I can eat small portions from our menu.  I think the day after Christmas, I am going to look for a juice/shake I can have to sort of cleanse everything out.

TMI time!  Hey, you want to know the real things about Paleo, right?  So while Matt’s tummy has been on the upswing, mine is still wondering what is going on.  I do not have a gluten allergy and the only time I am really bothered by food is when I eat too much or too much sugar.  I think because I am eating so much fiber now and natural sugar, my stomach is still processing and gives me some serious pain.  It isn’t everyday, I can usually count on the worst being Sunday.  I tend to call Sunday morning “Sunday, shitty Sunday.”  HAHA  Sorry.  I am hoping that passes soon.  We really are eating more fiber than ever and like I said, it isnt everyday.

I think with a few adjustments, I am going to feel even more comfortable doing this.  I seriously cant get over how easy it has been.  Im not tracking, Im not stressing.  I really love it and I am so excited to be doing it. I guess saying that, I shouldn’t be so worried about the scale, but I really want to be back down to my normal pant size.

Categories: Food, Weight | 1 Comment

Does this stress anyone else out?

I just looked at my calendar and realized Christmas is pretty much next week.  CRAP!  I love some Christmas.  I love decorating, I love baking, I love listening to the music.  What I am starting to not love is gift giving.  Please don’t get me wrong, but I stress the heck out when it comes to getting gifts.  It is one of the reasons when holidays and birthdays come up I specifically say DO NOT GIVE ME A GIFT.  I dont want you to stress about it like I do and I (selfishly) do not want to feel obligated to get you something in return.

That sounds horrible.  But unless you like handmade gifts where I can let my creativity run or you give me a specific list, I lose a lot of sleep over this.  And how many of my family members and friends really want handmade gifts from a 30 year old?  Not many (unless I am refinishing furniture for them).  #macaronitiesforeveryone

So here we are a week before the big day and I have done well this year.  I bought something for everyone except three people.  One wants a gift card, so that is what they are getting when I go out this weekend.  One is a secret Santa that was just assigned to me.  I have ONE idea, but very limited time, so Im a little stumped.  The other is just difficult to shop for.  I actually had the BEST idea for a gift and it sold out in 10 seconds.  Literally 10 seconds!

I personally LOVE receiving/giving gift cards to buy what I need or what I may need when it comes up, but I understand not everyone is like that.  I also love the idea of making a personalized gift basket, but again, a lot of people think that is too generic/unthoughful.  (I think I tend to stick to themed gifts, so that is why these are up my alley).


Things were so easy back in the day when we were all hosting parties all the time, moving into our first apartments, our first homes, adopting all the pets, but now that most of my friends and all of my family has settled, what to get?

With that being said, this year I did come through with Mr.’s gift.  And for the record, I am not good at getting him gifts either.  He actually called me out on it (hence the stress).  He has always gotten me great gifts (DSLR camera, IPAD, etc), so I had to STEP UP this year.  If you are my friend on Instagram, you saw one of the major gifts I am going to try to get him.  I say try because it is not available until next year and fully depends on his schedule.  Now if he decides gift A is just too much on his school schedule, then gift B comes out and it is still pretty freaking awesome.  He is anti-social media, so I do not really fear him seeing what I have posted on my account.

Please tell me you suffer from this weirdo anxiety!  I hope I don’t sound selfish.  I have had many years of giving boring gifts to people so every year it gets harder and harder when I am gifted something, it is amazing.

Categories: Christmas | Leave a comment

My Take on Paleo

High fives for short weeks!  I have been spoiled the last three weeks with short weeks, but I had to take the last of my days off for the year and this is how they ended up.  The first week of December is going to be frustrating being a full week.

I am going to be pretty honest here today.  Ready?

I am miserable.  Miserable with the way I feel and look.  Honestly, it is my own stinking fault.  I am a human vacuum when it comes to food and I have no pause button.  I am always hungry and never making the right choices.  What irritates me the most is I KNOW BETTER.  I know while I am shoving ice cream in my mouth that I probably should have chosen something that isnt ALL THE CALORIES.  When I go out to eat, I find myself choosing even worse.

Thus bringing on misery.  Im not running anymore because something in my body just wont agree.  I haven’t lost my love for it, I just need a time out from it and the pressure I felt to do it.  Im not biking at the moment because we moved offices that are much further out.  The gym I WAS a member of was nothing but ridiculousness and I am in search of a new, closer place.  But all this over time started infesting my head and I was constantly putting myself down.  I couldn’t stop looking in the mirror and poking/prodding at what I did.  This is the biggest I have ever been in recorded history.  I hated it and I hated myself for letting it happen.

A few weeks ago I decided I wanted to take charge of this and get back to feeling normal again, but how?  I toyed with joining Weight Watchers again, but after I started reading experiences on doing the WW system (and my own successful and failed attempts), I started thinking it wasn’t right for me at this point in my life.  I dont want to track things and I dont want to be on a system that charges your a lot of points to use olive oil (the only oil we cook with).  I felt frustrated.

I was on a work trip two weeks ago and started talking to one of my coworkers who did Paleo.  We toyed with trying a Paleo lifestyle (note lifestyle and not diet) but had no idea where to start.  I started doing some research and pinning and decided it probably wasn’t as hard as I made it out to be.  We decided to try it for two weeks and see how we and our bodies liked it (and we couldn’t give up Thanksgiving).  I knew it would be something that Matt would like since he is intolerant to gluten.

Here we are after week one and here are my thoughts:

  • I did menu planning for the first week and gave Matt the reins for week two.  I hate menu planning.  It is a lot of work and I felt somewhat annoyed, so by the end of the week we were freestyling.  I know Matt did well keeping track and I think I did a really good job.  I was fairly strick week one.  On Sunday I did drink 25% of a Coke Zero, but that was it.
  • I tried to cook for most of the week on Sunday and that was a lot of work I never want to do again.  I was worried breakfast was going to be so hard because cereal is my go to, so I figured I would prep as much as I could then.  I think it is better to prep things like potatoes early on for breakfast and reheat versus making the entire breakfast.  There is something about reheated eggs…..
  • Lunches and dinners were pretty easy (esp lunches since I made enough dinner for leftovers).  We ventured into unchartered territories by making cauliflower rice instead of rice or pasta.  We also found ourselves liking spaghetti squash.
  • Our sweet tooth was more mellow this week, but it was still there.  Dark chocolate is not something I prefer, but it does get the job done.
  • Nuts.  We had a huge variety of nuts and seeds in our house and I felt like that helped a lot with snacking.

Physically and mentally there were changes:

  • I find myself not hungry all the time.  I can skip my allotted 10am and 3pm snack times and not stress about it.  10am is a lot easier to skip though.
  • I find myself getting fuller faster.  This makes for more leftovers at lunch.
  • Not a single day this week did I once hate a thing about myself.  I felt better.  Honestly, I felt like I had lost 10 pounds.  I only lost two, but I LOST.  I FEEL slimmer.

The not so pretty things:

  • I dont know if my body is just trying to adjust, or if it truly needs certain things that I am missing out on, but my tummy has been acting the same way Matt’s does after he eats gluten.  I don’t feel this way after every meal, but towards the end of the week I was sucking.  Maybe I overdid it with too many proteins at one meal or maybe my body is in shock, but I was using the bathroom a lot this weekend.  TMI

Here are some of the dishes we made this week and the link to where I found them:  (hooray for crappy cell phone pics)20141116_083512

Simple eggs, avocado, and apple slices.  This surprisingly left me feeling full through lunch.  20141116_120518The recipe for this is a Tuna wrap, but I do not like fish, so I used chicken instead.  Here is the recipe TUNA AVOCADO LETTUCE WRAP

20141116_134302BREAKFAST SWEET POTATO HASH.  Pretty easy to make and pretty darn good.  I made enough for four days and they were nice sized portions. 20141116_192022Roasted chicken legs, CAULIFLOWER RICE, and ROASTED ASPARAGUS AND RADISHES.  I wasn’t a fan of this version of cauliflower rice, but I did make it later in the week with an Asian flavor and liked it much better.20141117_190731This one was my favorite.  It was BACON, AVOCADO, ARUGULA FLATBREAD.  First, the flatbread is so simple to make Paleo if you have the right ingredients.  We added prosciutto and a few drops of balsamic vinegar to this recipe and it was hands down one of the best tasting dishes I have made in a long time.

Snacks have been semi simple:  Nuts, hardboiled eggs, dried and fresh fruit, veggies, and seeds.  We have also enjoyed drinking almond milk in the regular, chocolate, and vanilla flavors.

How we are going to tackle week two:

  • Well it is Thanksgiving.  I am going to limit the amount of gluten I eat, but not restrict myself.  Especially not on dessert….I’m baking after all!!
  • Just to see how my tummy reacts this week we have introduced limited dairy and some  starches.  Yesterday my tummy was acting fierce so I let myself have some corn tortilla chips and pop for the bubbles.
  • The dairy will remain cheese only and in small amounts.  I never had the intention of doing this super strict so I do not want to limit myself from things I love, only reduce my intake.
  • Potatoes.  I am sort of on the fence on why you are not allowed to have them, so I am going to keep them in my diet on a healthy scale.  Im not going to run out and get french fries everyday, but if I feel like I need to eat some roasted taters that aren’t sweet, I am going to eat them.

My go to website through all this is Paleo Grubs.  There are TONS of recipes listed on the site and they are all super simple to make.  I may try to bake something this week with the almond flour we have.

Here is to week two!!

Categories: Food, Healthy eating | 2 Comments

Chunky, Floating Shelves

Between here and my post on Hometalk, everyone was so sweet about our laundry room.  I am actually impressed myself I was able to pull it off.  I must say one of my favorite new home improvement tools I used during this flip…..paintable caulk.  I know, weird, but seriously it is something amazing.  I read a lot of home improvement/decorating blogs and I have heard about it, but never used it myself.  When my mom and I were hanging the cabinets she suggested I use PC on the front doors to clean up the look.  TOTAL GAME CHANGER!  I may have been going through the house looking at things that need to be caulked after that!!!

So I figured I would share some of the smaller projects in the laundry room, starting with the last one I did.

I could have taken the easy way to build shelves in this space.  But I sort of wanted the wow factor of chunky shelves.  I knew there would be no way I would be able to hang true chunky blocks of wood on the wall, so I searched for a tutorial to tell me what to do.  I was surprised to find quite a few people have tackled this shelving, so dont worry if you dont like a certain tutorial.

The cabinets hanging in the LR are 30″ tall, so after drawing out plan after plan, I figured I could easily get away with three shelves in this space and I would be pretty even with the top and bottom.  I planned for 3-4″ tall x 30″ long shelves that were spaced approx 11″ apart and 12″ wide.

Before we go any further, you must know….building things is still new to me and I pretty much suck. 

Now that we have cleared the air….

Here is what my cut list looked like:


Another thing to note that this rookie learned the hard way…..I wanted my shelves to be 4″ tall and grabbed two 1×4′s, stained them, cut them down, and when I went to glue them on, I noticed they are actually 3/4″ x 3.5″.  I was not happy and probably looked like a total idiot when I complained to everyone that knows how it really is.

The easiest part was building the frame20141109_104848I did not stain these since they are going to be on the inside of the actual shelf and no one will see them.  Obviously your cuts will not be the same as mine, but I cut all the frames with:

3- 30″ boards for the back supports
4- 10″ boards for the center and side supports for each shelf (12 total)


I predrilled my screw holes on the back board just to make my life easier since I was doing this alone.  I used some wood screws I had laying around the house from other projects, but I made sure to use 2″ long screws on the exterior boards in case it offered extra support.

Once all three frames were built. I brought them in and started hanging them up.  Here is where the project manager (who was sleeping during this construction) and I disagreed.  He suggested this would have been easier to build if I had it assembled prior to hanging on the wall.  You will see why in a second, but that was not possible.  What I DO suggest is going ahead and screwing the bottoms onto the frame.  It makes it a little heavier, but it saves you a frustrating step.


20141109_111146I spaced my shelves distance from the bottom of the bottom shelf to the bottom of the next shelf and again for the top shelf.  You can tell in the pictures there is a smaller gap in between the top two shelves and that is ok.


Now that the framework is up, it is time to add the top and bottom pieces.  I used my 1x12s for this portion and they fit like a glove.  I started out by staining them with five coats of Special Walnut stain.  I have a special place in my heart for that color.  It isnt overwhelming of a color and still has that rustic feel to it.


20141109_095017Once your stain is dried (or almost dry because you are impatient like me) cut the boards to your dream size and get to attaching.  The bottoms were challenging since the frame was up, so you have to screw them in upside down.  I used four screws on each bottom and placed them based on what looked like a good spot.  There might have been a little sagging action that needed to be addressed or too much of a gap that needed to be closed was how I made this decision (I told you I dont build things).

For the tops, I used some wood glue so there were no visible screws.  Make sure to have something heavy to push the boards in place while they dry

20141109_125728And now you can see why fully assembling these before putting them on the wall would not work.  How are you supposed to get your arm and a drill in there?


Oh the fronts.  My total height of these shelves was 4″ exactly.  Remember earlier I said they did not make 4″ boards.  They SAY 4″, but it is all lies!  I had to go back to the store and kindly bat an eye and see if anyone would love me enough to rip a 6″ board down.  Nope.  No one would help me.  I asked three people and not a single one cared about my situation.  It irritated me because they have braces and guides for their saws, I dont.  So I bought the 1x6s and said I would just do it myself.

And that I did.  I wont lie, I was nervous.

I cut my board down the to 30″ length I needed and then measured out 4″ with a straight line.  Then I went VERY SLOW.  I let the saw tell me what to do somewhat, but when I started to get really nervous, I cut the piece in half so I wasn’t reaching awkwardly.20141114_134911There were some parts that had a wiggly edge, but they were so unnoticable.  Once those were cut, I slapped on five coats of Special Walnut stain and glued them to the fronts of the shelves.  I applied pressure for about three minutes to each one so the glue would hold.

20141114_164018And here they are in all their glory.  Sort of a pain in the butt, but I like how they turned out.

IMG_7765I love how it adds a darker element to the space, but adds so much extra storage.  I havent gotten around to actually putting anything in the baskets and cabinets, but it will happen.

Work It WednesdayThat DIY Party - autumnBy Stephanie LynnThe 36th Avenue

Categories: Decorating help, DIY, furniture, Home Decor | 3 Comments

The Laundry Room Flip

Sweet friends!  Time to scratch another project off my list and this one was done in record time.  WOO! If you are friends with me on Facebook and Instagram, this is so old news to you, but for everyone else, here is my quick laundry room flip

As soon as I finished our dining room, I noticed our lack of kitchen and tool storage was starting to really take it’s toll on this guy.  Sometimes it can be really cool to have a blank slate with creating your own storage, but when you have all the other things to do, it is overwhelming.  While I try to come up with a solution for the tools and get some storage in the kitchen, I could just see how the laundry room was really irritating me with its storage-less walls.

And the wall color bothered me.

The whole room bothered me and I do the laundry at home every week.

IMG_7757That one shelf of wire sexiness just wasn’t cutting it for us.  This is how the room looked most days with no rhyme or reason.  Annoying!

I jumped on Polyvore to see if I could come up with some inspiration for this tiny 5×6 space (that is also shared with the rather large water heater).  Here is what my inspiration looked like:

Laundry room

The first I did was buy a stencil for the wall.  I will write up posts with more in depth directions, so this is more like an overview.


We bought two cabinets for $5 each at our local Habitat for Humanity store and I repainted them because they were brown and had that funky smell to them.  You know what I am talking about.

I switched out our boob light to a hanging industrial light which was the hardest thing EVER and one Saturday my mom came over to help me paint/stencil/hang cabinets.  Once everything was up and we were reassured they weren’t going to fall off the wall, I built and installed the wooden shelves.  More on all this later.  Now let’s look at the loveiness:







IMG_7776I will admit this, I enjoy my time in there a little more.  I dont enjoy doing laundry anymore than I did before, but at least it is in a pretty room.  It is so much brighter and cheerful in there. Plus doing this got me to move everything out of the room to clean the floors and clean out the dryer vent/tube. Just by cleaning it out and cutting it down a little, my dryer is much more powerful. Who knew? Oh and I am also probably preventing fires. Good call.


Paint:  Valspar White / Behr Sea Salt for the stencil/ Valspar Cream Delight in Semigloss for the Cabinets
Stencil: Cutting Edge Stencil
Cabinets: Habitat for Humanity Restore
Shelves: Built by me. Post coming soon
Light: Home Depot
Potted plants: IKEA
Yellow Boxes: IKEA
Baskets: Home Goods
Jar of spools: Jar-had from wedding / Spools-Michaels
Broom rod: IKEA

So what do you think? I will have a post with more details on the shelves and whatever else I took pictures of!

Upcycled TreasuresThat DIY Party - autumnBy Stephanie LynnThe 36th Avenue


TDC Before and After
Categories: Decorating help, DIY, furniture, Home Decor | 12 Comments

Phase 2 Complete: The Laundry Room

I considered naming this the Laundry Room Saga, but we haven’t gotten that dramatic….yet.

This project is on a very strict timeline because I want it done and I have one last project of the year behind it that I am just DYING to start.

This weekend I took Halloween off (because it is like Christmas to me) and I needed it.  Plus, projects are not getting done during the week with all the signs I have been making.

Here are the phases to keep me in check and keep this project moving:

Phase one: Install a new light fixtureIMG_20141101_122742I figured, why not get the easiest project out of the way since I am a total ceiling fan installation expert.  I figured wrong, friends, WRONG!  This was the hardest thing I could do and I said many MANY of curse words trying to get it up.  Why must they make it so complicated?  Maybe it wasn’t complicated to most people that bought this light, but according to the few people that I sent texts to cursing this light, lights are harder to install than fans.  I am going to stick to what I know (which I guess I know how to do this now).  At least it looks cool.

Phase two: Repaint cabinets

2014-11-02 17.58.23I was ready to pull the trigger on buying similar cabinets for $92.00 each from Lowes in white, but Matt convinced me to hit Habitat ReStore and see what they had.  These were just sitting there ASKING to be taken home for a cool $5 each.  One thing I will say….white is a tough color to paint.  I see some of the imperfections.  I did a quick prime and then two coats of paint/primer on top of that.  I bought new handles and spray painted the hinges silver so I didnt have to buy new ones.  Cheapness at it’s best.

Phase three:  Paint paint paint

IMG_20141102_113730I’m going to stencil again.  I really liked the way my guest room wall turned out and I love to hear how professional it looks, so why not do that in my laundry room….the room no one goes into :)  I plan on painting the tiny space white and then my mom is going to bring some left over paint she has to paint the stencil.  It is a color similar to what you see in the picture.  Pretty excited about this part.

Phase four: Hang cabinets, build/hang shelves, and accessorize.

Hopefully some of this will be completed next weekend and the weekend after is the finishing touches.  Looking pretty close to my inspiration!

Laundry room

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Quick Laundry Room Project?

My poor home office is feeling neglected.  I promised to work on it next, but in reality, I am going to work on the laundry room.  This family is in DESPERATE need of storage.  Again, I am so bummed the builders went slack on storage and small custom touches in this house.

But of all things, storage?!  Ugh!

So here is our laundry room right now.  Nope, I didn’t clean it up because I want you all to see just how much our storage situation sucks!  Everything lives on the floor there and it is so hard to utilize the shelf.  Plus, these before pictures will make the after look just that awesome!

This room is tiny and there is a lot going on in it.  It measures 5′ x 6.5′ and houses the washer dryer and the hot water heater.






It is a small space to do much in.  Luckily it is tall.  Very tall.  And I will use that to my advantage.

I want this to be a pretty quick and easy project and something I can finish in the next two weekends.  No reason for the time line other than I just want it to be done.

I was playing around online the other night and created some inspiration for this tiny space:


Laundry room

I don’t plan to follow this to a T, but I needed it to give me an idea of what I wanted to do…..mainly with storage.  I was pretty much ready to pull the trigger on buying two wall cabinets I found and Lowes, but Matt convinced me (not that it took much) to head over to our local Habitat Restore and see if there were any wall cabinets there.  And to my luck, there were two perfect sized cabinets that just need a paint job waiting for me for $5 each.  STOP IT!

You know my love for all things rustic, so instead of trying to find chunky shelves like I have pictured, I am going to follow this tutorial from  Desert Domicile and try to make something similar for probably much cheaper.

As far as the walls go, it is a tiny, dark space, so I am going to paint the walls white and add a feature wall.  I do love the herringbone look mainly for it’s simplicity, so I may toy with something like that for behind the washer/dryer.  I considered for .02 doing tile, but I have never tiled before nor do I have the tools.  #investmentIdontwanttomake

I actually scored a pretty sweet industrial light yesterday while I was at Home Depot.  It doesn’t look quite like what I have pictured, but it has the same feel and was only $30!   Budget people!  Budget!

Accessories are something I am going to try to purchase next weekend.  I took Halloween off because in my family Halloween is pretty much Christmas.  A big deal.  Only I am just getting started, so my decorations are still pretty rookie.  I digress.

And that water heater?  Well, unless the price of tankless water heaters goes way down and we could sell this one, I don’t see that changing anytime soon.  But at least it would feel much more spacious with vertical storage!!

So there are the plans for what will hopefully be a quick project.  Cross your fingers for a quick project!

Now off to fold that basket of whites before I go to work (last weekend to work for the year!!!)

Categories: budget, cleaning, Decorating help, DIY, Home Decor | 1 Comment

Finally – A Dining Room that Matches

So about this space.  Yeah, umm, I think I mentioned here that I was going to start working on it AFTER I finished the living room ohhhh about a year ago.  I don’t know how this space got so neglected.

Oh wait, yes I do.  I had a hard time deciding what I wanted to do.  It is best for me to just move along when I have that issue because I may end up making the wrong decision.

After many discussions on how I was not getting the dining room done….quick enough, I took the time after finishing the guest room and enjoying what little summer I am allowed with my job to get the dining room complete.  I mean, it IS the second room of the house you see when you walk in.

Here is what we started with a year ago:


Just looking at this picture seems so crazy.  Both spaces are SO different now.



I will admit, the table is VERY large for the space.  There is also only two of us to eat at such a large table, but it was a gift from my mom and we do love it.

Here is where we were just about three weeks ago (I told you, I HAD to get it done!)



I had the two white chairs from two former projects, the two black chairs came from my mom’s basement, the brown chair near us came from a garage sale, and the bench under the window came from Craigslist.  I knew if I kept these chairs looking like this for too long, I would have a lot of explaining to do.

I had a hard time deciding if I wanted blue/teal chairs or mustard yellow chairs.  In the end I obviously chose blue mainly because our tv stand in the living room is teal.  The color I chose was Valspar’s Spa Pool.

I took the easiest chair to start working on, but this time I didn’t take the easy way out and just use liquid deglosser.  I sanded it down to the natural wood and threw a coat of paint on it.  The actual color was somewhat bright and you all know how safety Sally I am about colors.  After dreading the idea of picking out another color, I decided to rough the chair up and throw on a layer of Special Walnut stain from Minwax to tone the color down.  Yes, yes this did the trick.  I learned from the first time to NOT use a wax to protect the wood (it got really dirty) but to use a poly.



I did the same with the other white chair I painted and actually recovered the cushion with painters tarp from Lowes.  You can’t beat $5!



The other chairs I did the same thing except with the cane chair I scored for $10, I painted the cane white.  Some of the cane on the seat is broken and the cushion is missing (because I am fighting with my sewing machine), so that is a lingering project.





For the black chairs, I just ordered linen colored slipcovers from Target and called it a day.  I originally ordered slipcovers from Home Decorators Collection, but I have been burned twice from them and refuse to try again.  I ordered slipcovers for these chairs after Thanksgiving last year because they were on crazy sale, but the item kept getting backordered.  I ended up canceling the order because it was pushed to Feb with no delivery in sight.  I figured this was because it was the holidays and that happens.  I tried to order the same slipcovers in Sept and have yet to see them.  They keep getting pushed into backorder.  I canceled the order (but have yet to see my refund) and have to wonder why HDC would keep a vendor like this on their website.  They cannot produce!







I pretty much love it!  It is so much brighter!

What’s left?  I may or may not try to find a rug.  The problem with a rug is the grass in the yard is in horrible shape, so the dog brings in a lot of mud.

The next thing is we need some reds and oranges in there, so I’d like to find something for the walls and maybe a table runner.

The last thing is a new light.  Nothing is wrong with this light, but it is so builder basic.  It makes me sad when we snoop at all the new houses they are building in our neighborhood because the builders used such special touches (salvaged doors, planked walls, awesome lighting) and our house is just basic.  Lights are so expensive, so I guess this is the lowest on the list of things to do.

Now, who is coming over for dinner?

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Categories: Decorating help, DIY, furniture, Home Decor | 5 Comments

Creating a Glam Office

I am on the down swing of shows on my calendar this year.  I.CANNOT.WAIT!  This year at work has been a doozey and I have a feeling the first half of next year is going to be the same.

Next week when the show I just opened today closes, they are going to be tearing down our offices to replace carpet in the building.  I am actually pretty happy about this because our offices are horrible right now.  HORRIBLE.  Aside from the fact that we do not have heat or AC, our walls are black and it is dark.  I like to call this place the haunted house.

We actually have REAL offices, but are not allowed to use them (long story).  We also had REAL offices here at our current location, but they were torn down and we have to use our temporary walls instead….for the last almost four years.  Basically we work in a glorified cube where you can hear your neighbors think and any noise out in the hall from workers/freight/cleaning people/etc.

Since we are tearing the walls down, I suggested that we reconfigure the office to a better layout so it is less maze-y and makes more sense.  The response was teeth sucking so I requested we at least have WHITE walls in our space so it is a little less dungeon like.  Now that I am getting my way (heh), I have been pinning ways to make my office more me.  I am here 50+ hours a week, so it should be more comfortable.  Here is my inspiration and here is my Pinterest board for the occasion (I have a thing for gold right now):

Office Space

This was my vision for the office at home, but since I DO share the space with a boy, it might be a little too much for his tastes.  I have a lot of display space with my desk, the hutch behind me and a table.  I can add any table we have in our office to mine if I need the extra space, but I might try to nix it.  I havent decided.  The key to this update is it has to be quick, easy, and cheap.  All of my money is tied up to finishing our dining room right now (ALMOST there).  Plus, when I leave or am fired, I want it to be easy to take everything with me.

I may have to make a sign for the walls too (and something to post in the shop).  Maybe an H?

What is your favorite office accessory? 

Categories: budget, Decorating help, DIY | 1 Comment