It’s Been a Long Time Coming

But a change finally did come! 100 points to Ravenclaw if you understand my Sam Cooke reference. But really. After three months of puke-orange kitchen nightmares, it’s finally gone. Completely gone. No more nights staring at my kitchen walls telling myself this would be the week – the week I finally paint my kitchen. And people, it feels oh so good. I’ve never felt so satisfied staring at a blank white wall. So here she was in all her puke-orange glory (sorry for the bad iPhone pic):

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Kitchen BeforeAnd here she is now…

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DSC_0004Don’t get me wrong… there is still a TON of work to be done. And there really is just no hope for that awful tile. That being said, just getting rid of the orange has made such a difference. But, let me tell you, it was no easy feat. There was a lot of climbing on top of refrigerators and behind washing machines and under cabinetry… and on top of counters. You get the idea.

Half of my walls are also covered in some pretty nasty 70s paneling which had some pretty wild cracks from floor to ceiling. But what girl isn’t always equipped with a jar of spackle and a spackling knife? I ended up spending quite a bit of time repairing the cracks which delayed the process by about a day. But my spackle starts off purple and then turns white, which makes me really happy, so it was all good.

DSC_0066And if that stupid orange hadn’t caused me enough heartache already, it took nearly five coats to completely cover.

DSC_0060But after much hard work, a lot of paint in my hair, and some really sore quads, she is done. I can’t wait to find some curtains for the window and figure out something fun to do on all my blank wall space. So many options! Simply can’t wait!

Here she is… one last time 🙂

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Subtle Changes

I love how even the smallest of additions can make spaces in my home feel so much closer to complete. Over inauguration weekend, a dear friend of mine came to visit from NYC and with her she brought a darling metal “A” for my new place. Not sure if it was by chance or she is just extremely observant and thoughtful, but it matched perfectly with my new photo gallery wall.

This weekend, I finally added it to my gallery and it makes the whole thing feel so much more complete. Here’s what she looks like:

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Cute, no? I really really love how it turned out. Thanks, V for the awesome A! I’m hoping to add more frames in the future, but I want it to evolve slowly. Until then.

Finding Balance

With the start of my last full semester of grad school, I have found myself struggling to keep a healthy balance among all of my responsibilities and commitments. While I know that working full time while going to school full time is only temporary I find myself dreadfully overwhelmed and often end up doing nothing instead of trying to take the first bite out of the tower of things on my plate. This brilliant strategy ultimately leaves me in worse shape than I was in before and creates a nasty circle of no productivity. So, to help me stay focused I’ve decided to make one realistic promise to myself in every aspect of my life. And hopefully by sharing them here, I’ll force myself to stick to them.

 

Grad School:

    • Do not let a day go by without doing at least one school related task.

 

Work:

    • Spend at least one hour a day entirely in Final Cut with nothing else open. Because once I get in the zone, I stay in the zone. 

 

Half Marathon Training:

    • Keep a set of running clothes in the office so I never have the excuse that it’s too cold to run outside, and I don’t have clothes with me to go to the gym. 

 

Apartment Renovations:

    • Don’t update something just to update it. Take the time to really figure out what I want from my space and wait for the perfect items to come along. 

 

Personal Life: 

    • Continue to do what makes me happy but be more cognizant of budgets. Opt for nights in with friends instead of dropping $15 on one cocktail. 

 

And of course, to help keep me focused here are some wise words from my favorite ladies Kathy and Melody from Brave Girls Club:

Do you over commit and then beat yourself up when you under-deliver? 

Are there a million things on your list that were really really important that you didn’t even get to because you got caught up in doing things that weren’t nearly AS important?

Ok now. Take a deep breath. Now take another one. One more.

Remember that you are wonderful. You are loved. And, phenomenal friend, amazing woman, you are a human being. You DO have limitations.

When you don’t stop to rest, to think, to recharge, to remember, to restore, you end up grouchy, tired, uncreative, angry and numb to lots of life. You are a sparkling, beautiful girl and we need that sparkle. So STOP today and make a list. Prioritize it. Be realistic…

Say yes to yourself, to joy, to rest, to being 100% present to the things that matter most to you — instead of a tired and diluted version who has too much to do to ever do her best at ANYTHING. Don’t lose yourself while you are trying to be everything to everyone….

If at all possible, only have enough on your plate that you can do your best at everything you have to do. Your life will take on new meaning and happiness.

Just practice. This is a hard one, but so worth it. Hang in there. You are loved!

Xoxo

 

They always know exactly what to say. Here is to staying focused and refreshed!

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

In my previous apartment I had a photo frame collage on my wall that I loved. The only thing I didn’t love? The frames were black. They always felt too heavy and a little too traditional for my style. So when I moved to my little Old Town haven I knew I wanted to spruce them up.

One of my January Cure projects was to paint my frames grey and finally arrange a new and improved photo frame gallery on my wall. So this weekend, I finally bit the bullet and tackled yet another project for January.

I started by laying out half of my frames out on some old newspaper, mixed my paint, and got a’ workin’.

Closet Curtain and Frames 028When they were finally all painted and dried, I decided to replace the photos inside to change things up a bit. Then I laid the frames out in a pattern that felt thoughtful but still a bit haphazard.

DSC_0001I then flipped each frame over and covered them with a big sheet of wax paper.

DSC_0002Using a gold sharpie, I traced the outline of each frame and marked a dot where the hook of the frame was.

DSC_0004Then I taped the piece of wax paper to my wall so that I could center the collage.

DSC_0007Next I hammered a nail into each of the dots I had marked on the wax paper (sorry neighbors), tore down the paper, and hung each frame. Here is the end result:

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I really love how it turned out, and I’m excited that I left myself room to allow it to grow. I’m so looking forward to making some 2013 memories to add to my wall.

Pay No Attention to the Clothes Behind the Curtain

FINALLYYYY! I finally finally made the curtain for my one baby closet that houses my entire life. I ordered the burlap months ago but never got around to actually making the curtain. But today? Curtain is hung and I am a happy girl.

I originally learned how to make no-sew curtains when I started reading Young House Love two years ago. Since then they’ve become a DIY love of mine. I made my current curtains for my old apartment and made my sister a set of snazzy yellow and grey curtains. So I was looking forward to tackling a project I had done before.

When I finally unraveled my yards of burlap I realized that I got less than I ordered and was about 7 inches short. So I started by trimming 4 inches off width wise which gave me a few extra scraps and the potential to get creative.

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After I trimmed the edges, I needed to hem them. I prefer to iron the hem first so I can see the edge without committing to anything.

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After I had the hem ironed down, I placed my Heat n’ Bond hem tape in the crease and ironed the hem closed.

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After I had both sides hemmed, I needed to add some length to my curtain. I started by taking my scraps and cutting them into four pieces. Then I just hemmed them to the bottom of the curtain, which created a cute striped detail.

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(And I trimmed that little bit of excess on the end). Then I took some jute string I had and threaded it across the top of the curtain so that I could hang the panel.

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The final product? Heaven.

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Here’s a better look at the striped detail at the bottom.

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And I just love how it looks next to my necklaces.

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Happy heart ❤

The January Cure: Days 1 & 2

2013 is upon us and I”m feeling particularly focused on finding ways to eliminate negativity from my life. So when I heard about Apartment Therapy’s “The January Cure” I knew it would be the perfect way to start the year with positivity and clarity. The first day’s task of the cure was to do a walk through of your home and make a project list for 2013. I somewhat already had one of these, but have decided to make it a bit more comprehensive as per the cure. So here’s what I came up with by room.

Living Area:

  • Find a small sideboard/buffet for under mirror
  • Organize the chaos between my bed and the wall
  • Make or buy new curtains
  • Buy throw pillows to match the rug
  • Organize the mess behind my recliner
  • Paint my picture frames grey and create a photo gallery
  • Put a long floating shelf above my bed
  • Find an antique trunk for under my window

 

Kitchen:

  • Paint the walls
  • Paint kitchen cabinets
  • Organize food cabinet
  • Buy a large barn star for the wall

 

Bathroom:

  • Make no-sew curtains to cover my closet
  • Finish installing my new towel bar
  • Find a way to organize all of my earrings
  • Add more storage for my shoes

 

I have since updated my project list page above to include all of these new additions. And it feels so good to be able to see all that I want to do written in ink… html?

The second day’s task of the cure was to create an “outbox” or a space in your home where you place items you are unsure of. While Apartment Therapy suggested designating a corner of a room, my baby studio’s corners are all occupied so instead I’ve designated an “outbag.” It’s already filled with items I’ve been debating about for far too long. And you know what? Just by pulling those suckers out of my closet, I’ve already got a Friday afternoon trip planned to consign the items at the Current Boutique down the street.

Loving loving this much needed purge! If you haven’t already, make sure to sign up for the January Cure and happy cleansing!

But s*** it was 99 cents!

I’m back. The hiatus is over and after a month of letting my hair down, lots of reflection, and a few key moments of clarity I am so ready to tackle this new year and enjoy all it has to offer.

My new years resolution? If it makes me happy I should do it. If it gives me butterflies I should buy it. If it makes me feel awesome I should wear it.

So I decided to start my year off with something that equally makes me happy, gives me butterflies, and makes me feel awesome… why a BARGAIN of course!

If you’ve yet to hear Macklemore’s Thrift Shop, here’s where I change your life.

If you know me, then you know that this hands down wins as my theme song. I don’t pay full price for anything, and the Arlington Goodwill and I are well acquainted. One of my best Goodwill wins wasn’t even mine but was this killer bench I helped Young Scholar’s Life refinish. Macklemore also makes for a pretty killer bargain hunting soundtrack.

So the year began poppin’ some tags (at TJMaxx not the Goodwill but close enough) and by the end of the night I was home with an incredible new rug which originally cost over $300. I, however, only paid $120.

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The rug covers nearly the entire floor of my living area, which makes the space feel so much cozier and more easily allows for floor-living, which of course includes floor-DIYing, floor-reading, and floor-west-wing-watching. I also love how very anthro it feels without the anthro price. Because, let’s be real… who can afford a $20 teacup? Not this lady.

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My pretty new rug was not my only bargain that day. I also managed to snag this equally-anthro-feeling mirror that I’m totally obsessed with at less than half the original price.

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It lives right by my front door which is incredibly convenient in the mornings when I’m running late to work. I also hope to buy a nice, compact buffet or sideboard for the empty space underneath it. It’s on the to-do list.

The only problem now? My curtains no longer match at all, which means I’ll need to make new ones… oh shucks 🙂 So at the end of the day, I paid more than 99 cents (sorry Macklemore), but I certainly got a bargain. Not to mention I’m absolutely loving my new additions.

Happy. Butterflies. Awesome. I could get used to 2013.

ORB Family Fun

I’m back…. after much too long. This weekend I traveled far below the Mason-Dixon to my lovely hometown of Memphis, TN to celebrate my dad’s 60th birthday! The weekend was filled with lots of laughs, cocktails, mustaches, and a few happy tears.

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"Yo Yo The Big 6-0"

Amazing carrot cake made by Marian. Decorated hastily by me.

Check out my awkward arm... meh.

With my daddy and pretty sisters. Check out my awkward arm… meh.

After the festivities concluded, I being the DIY/YHL-obsessed girl that I am, convinced my Dad and Stepmom to paint their old 90s brass shower frame Rustoleum Universal in Oil Rubbed Bronze (ORB). My dad was clearly hesitant so we only tested the inside of two panels so he could see how it would look.

First we taped/papered off the glass and tile portion of the shower.

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Next, I carefully sprayed a thin coat of the ORB over the not-so-trendy brass frame. After testing a small section, my Dad seemed to totally be on board so I finished spraying the inside of the two glass panels we had taped off.

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After letting it sit for a few hours, we peeled back the paper and tape. Dad and Marian (my step-mom) seemed to be happy with the result (you know unless they just have really good poker faces and were humoring me, though I don’t think that was the case).

DSC_0238It looks black in the photos, but in real life it has this nice bronze-shimmery tone to it.

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I am just so in love with how it turned out. They’re hoping to finish the rest of it sometime in the coming weeks. I’m also planning on ORB-ing up my door knobs here pretty soon, and this project made me all the more excited to do so!

A December Groundhog Day

About 2 years ago I bought an advent calendar on sale. And while I love a good bargain, this special price came with a caveat: there were 2 December 3rds.

Womp Womp

Womp Womp

So finally, two years later I decided to fix it. I figured that if I finished out the star, it would cover most of the 3 and I could hopefully turn it into a 2. I used some paint left over from my bathroom reno. And while it wasn’t a perfect match, it did the job.

DSC_0157Then I took a silver sharpie (P.S. people, that thing wasn’t cheap) and continued the top of the 3 and turned it into a 2. I’m actually quite proud of that 2. It’s completely free handed. Clearly I’ve got mad number writing skills.

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I think it worked out splendidly, and I’m so enjoying the Hershey kisses inside. And as any of you who know me know, I desperately want to move to ATX in the near future, so it’s nice to have a small reminder every day of what hopefully lies ahead. Until then, I’ll just keep enjoying my chocolate.

Happy Holidays Y’all!

So THIS happened…

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As of about an hour ago, I am officially registered for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in DC! Part of me is screaming “WHAT WERE YOU THINKING, YOU FOOL!” but another part of me is beaming and so excited to get started. And after the week I have had, anything that brings a smile to my face is worth pursuing.

So it begins! I’m ready to tackle the farthest distance I have ever run! And I’m thoroughly looking forward to getting super in shape in the process… Holla!

Also, I am completely aware that my DIY-ing has slowed to an abysmal rate. Finals, work, and some personal stuff has got me in a DIY funk. I’m working on a tree skirt and some other fun things, and I’m hoping in the next few days I’ll finish at least one of the projects I have halfway completed and left in the middle of my apartment.

Until then… let the training begin!