May 18, 2015

Junebug wedding photos...

I just LOVE a good engagement, family, or wedding picture so I couldn't help but share the new June Bug Weddings 2015 best Engagement pictures.  I love them all but these are some of my favorites:

The last photograph here is from the talented Karen O'brist who did our renewal pictures.  So proud of her!  Check out the link for the photographer information. :)

May 15, 2015

Giani Granite substitute...

A few weeks ago we got a quote on our kitchen counter tops.  Now keep in mind we have a pretty small kitchen and the quote came back at $6000!  Holy snikies!  My mouth about fell to our ugly laminate kitchen floor, but I digress.  In frustration, I took to the web and got some ideas on how to pretty up your kitchen on a major budget.  Now, we were going to do our kitchen moderately anyways including a coat of paint for the cabinets, some reasonable hardware, new counter tops, subway tile back splash and then down the road, re-doing all the main level flooring including the kitchen floors.  

I will be honest that I don't care too much about finishes and kitchen just aren't my thang.  Yeah, a nice kitchen can stop you in your tracks but one of those kitchens a.)  isn't in our budget b.)  doesn't really fit our house style and c.) we don't want to go crazy on a remodel that puts our house out of the re-sell budget in our neighborhood.  Thus meaning $6k counter tops are out of the question.

While pa-rousing the web, I found the product Giana Granite which seemed like a great short-term fix to our problem.  We currently have laminate counter tops and they are U-G-L-Y.  So I ordered 2 cases of the Sicilian Sand color and are aiming to try and get it done by end of the week.  Cross your fingers for us!!!  You can also use their products in bathrooms which could be awesome for a bathroom reno on a major budget.

Here are some other great pictures of their products (they also have cabinet paint and appliance paint):

We will share our results with you fine people :)  Have a great weekend!!!

May 3, 2015

stella & dot...

Sorry for the radio-silence lately!  It's been a chaotic few weeks at work, school activities, and we celebrated Jeremiah's birthday on Friday.  Jeremiah has officially been cancer-free for 2 years now (which is a big mile-stone) and we had a fun day celebrating him.  We have also been super busy adding some much-needed curb appeal to the house (pictures soon).  

On top of that, I hosted a small Stella & Dot party on Saturday night.  My dear friend is trying to jump-start a career as a Stella & Dot stylist so I agreed to host a party.  It was a lot of fun (and all the gals who came are a hoot and truly great friends to have).  If you haven't heard of Stella & Dot, they are very similar to Anthropologie and J.Crew in style on a Target budget.  We had wine and desserts, gabbed, and did a little shopping.  Everyone ended up buying something (there is so much to love)! Here are some of the favorite items we saw:

Here is a link if you are interested in checking them out for the first time or if you have several pieces and want to add to your collection!   

April 13, 2015

a few random thoughts...

Okay people, this is fair warning.  This post is going to be a little "weird" and may not make much sense but in the moment I feel strongly that these topics need to be discussed :)

1.  Did I mention that I get to go to Alaska next month?  No way, right?  Way.  I get to go for 5 days and although I am going for work, my wonderful hostess guarantees that I will have a splendid time.  I have never been, so I am pumped to say the least.  I feel confident traveling alone and this will be a 3rd solo trip for me for work, so I feel pretty seasoned about keeping my whits about me when away from home.

2.  I am taking major advantage of my time up there as a little bit of "rejuvenation."  I am been feeling a lot of "feelings" lately (does that make sense?) and a little time away will be good.  No bad feelings of any kind, just "feelings."  Let me explain...

3.  Everyone around me is having babies!  Jeremiah's 3 best friends have all had babies in the last 3 months and meanwhile, I am here...not having babies.  We are totally content with our two (ever-exhausting and have more energy than any children should so much that they drive me crazy but happy crazy) lovelies, but we constantly go back-and-forth and that all came to head over the weekend.  Let me explain...

4.  Our S.U.V. died this past week.  Whatever, it was a car and no biggie except for 1.  It was the first big purchase that Jeremiah and I made together 8 years ago and 2. Both our babies came home in that car.  Friday night it was working and by Saturday it needed a $5,500 motor.  That wasn't going to happen on a car with almost 120,000 miles on it.  So we went car shopping.  The plan was to get our next car "when we have another kid."  Let me explain...our little SUV was great for a family of 4, with no room for that "5th" if he/she came.  When the car broke down it felt like we had to make a decision right then and there about that famous "3rd row of seats" that all of our friends having more babies had in their cars.  Ugh.  So, we looked at each other and decided for the 3rd-row-less 2014 Jeep Patriot.  So...there it is.

5.  So then I start to think about how I feel post-baby.  Then I came to the conclusion that I need to look better.  Okay, that sounds harsh, but to be honest I have only felt beautiful like 4 times in my life:  Our wedding day, the day that we had our renewals, and the days I had my babies.  

I always have bad skin, bags under my eyes, etc. in any photo taken and that is going to change, my friends.  I started doing some research over the weekend and I am going changing my habits.  

I have always used chemicals and harsh products to treat my skin and it is just not working.  I found this blogger who seems to have some of the same issues I have so I decided to give it a go!  I bought the coconut oil, rose petal witch hazel, grape seed oil, and tea tree oil from GNC and even though I am only on day 3, my skin feels healthier and brighter.  Nuts!  Lets hope it works ;)

Also, I am going to start eating breakfast.  I know, I know..."breakfast is the most important meal of the day..."  You all sound like my husband!  So he jumped at the chance to make this smoothie for me before I went out the door for work the last few days.  And. It. Is. Delicious.  No joke!!! You gotta try it.  I am thinking of trying this one or this one as well.  Yum.

I have also decided to find myself a wine I really like and to always have a good book nearby.  I am reading "24-Carat Kids" right now (which I love!) so any next-book suggestions would be appreciated.

Lastly, to relieve myself from a little bit of stress, I will be closing my Etsy shop at the end of the month.  I love hunting and gathering at thrift stores, but now I will just do it for my home!  

Thanks for sticking with me through my is much appreciated :)  Have a great week lovelies!!!

April 5, 2015

Wildlife Safari...

Last weekend I needed to go down to the Ashland/Medford area (Southern Oregon) and it worked out to drag Jeremiah and the kiddos along. 

Since we were going sort of last minute, I ended up booking a room at a resort right outside of Ashland and it is known for their natural spring mineral soaks.  When we opened the door to the room we were pleased as punch to find a big beautiful room with a huge bathtub in the corner.  Well, that happens to be where the kiddos slept for 2 nights :)  No worries, they loved it!  We threw in all the extra pillows and they thought it was pretty awesome.

We had fun visiting my brother, playing some tennis, and exploring Ashland.

Last year on the way home from Ashland we visited this safari and hung out with camels!  This year we decided to spend the day with giraffes and elephants.  We booked some 'Animal Encounters' to feed the giraffes and elephants.  The kiddos loved it and it was pretty amazing.

We would certainly recommend it to anyone who is planning a trip and traveling on I5 past Winston, Oregon.  The staff was great, animals were amazing, and experience was well worth it.

You can find more information here.

March 27, 2015

thrifting rules...

I used to love visiting garage-sales when I was a kiddo and then my friend Heather got me hooked on thrifting.  We have quite a bit of variety here in Portland including Goodwill, Gospel Mission, Salvation Army and also your high-priced "vintage" shops which Portland is known for.

When Heather and I used to shop for furniture that we would re-do, our rule was to never spend more than $50 on any piece and that has always stuck with me.  Although you certainly could spend a lot less on any given piece, $50 was the max.  We were able to do quite a bit with that $50 as you can see:

We had a lot of great projects (I only pictured a few)!  Here were a few rules we had when scouring thrift shops for new pieces to refinish:
  • Under $50
  • Good condition with no major repairs
  • If we couldn't sell it, would we be willing to have it in our own home? (we actually sold every piece for at least double what we paid for it but most of the time it sold for a lot more).
  • Good lines and good style (If it was from the 70's, could we modernize it?)
  • Could it be staged nicely?
  • If it needed to be re-upholstered, could we do it ourselves or would it require a professional?  Professionals can mean $$$.
  • Had to be 100% real wood.  No particle board allowed :)
When I am looking for thrift finds for the etsy shop, here are the rules I follow:

  • Good condition and easy to ship (I try to stay away from ceramics and glass although I have sent them before and they have been fine)
  • No repairs needed and no chips, cracks, etc.
  • If it doesn't sell, would I use it in my own home?  If not, I pass.
  • Can it photograph okay? (sounds weird, but something may be gorgeous but can I photograph it?  I am a total amateur and some things are really tricky to get a good shot for).
  • Can it be used in numerous places in the home?  If its a dish, its just a dish and can probably only work in a kitchen.  If its a brass item, can it work in a nursery, in an entryway, etc?).
  • Can it be cleaned?  
  • Is it unique?  One of a kind?  If yes, then take it to the register!  
When I am looking for thrift finds for our home, here are the rules I follow:

  • Good condition with no repairs needed and no chips, cracks, etc.
  • Can I get it home easily?  If it doesn't fit in the good ol' S.U.V...pass.
  • Can it be used in numerous places in our place? I try to not buy pieces that work in only 1 room.
  • If I want to change it, can it be updated with minimal effort?  (So like this map project, can it be done in a weekend and easily?)  If the answer is no, its not worth storing it until you think of something to do with it, because by that time you may already be bored with it :)
  • Can it be cleaned?  
  • Is it unique?  One of a kind?  If yes, then take it to the register! 
My best piece of advice is to have a plan when you are headed to the store...what are you looking for and what is its purpose?  Have a handy tape measure and your wall measurements if you are looking for a specific furniture piece for a specific space.  I am by NO MEANS any expert, but these are the rules I try to follow.  Happy hunting!!!