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Our own little island…

27 Sep
After many months of debating and changing our minds and spending money on other things, we finally got a kitchen island! Here is what our kitchen looked like before our living room was styled by Emily:

And here is our new tropical getaway! Err… I mean island.

We removed the little bar from the open wall and put this sturdy black island in the middle of the kitchen.

We used to have our silverware in this cabinet because we didn’t have an appropriately sized silverware drawer.

I still have trouble remembering that the forks and knives aren’t in the cabinet anymore!

A little story about this island: I originally wanted this one from Crate and Barrel (in black), but it was a bit expensive and my husband wasn’t sold on it. He didn’t like that it was on wheels and thought the kitchen would look better with something built-in (or at least something that looked built-in). So, we just put the idea on the back burner.

Then, on one of my husband’s weekly trips to Home Depot, he saw this one and noticed it’s incredible price, $399. He also noticed that the one next to it was the same model, but smaller, and it was $100 more! He sent me a picture and got the ok to pull the trigger. I was so excited!!

He called a bit later to let me know that they didn’t have it in stock, but that he could pay for it then and they would transfer it from another store. We asked my mom to borrow her SUV the following day and were all set to bring it home and put it together. Well, the one from the other store was damaged. They offered us an “upgrade” to the smaller, yet more expensive version to which we replied, “Hell no!” This happened a couple more times before the angry pregnant lady in me came out and my husband had to get pushy. Finally, they were able to find one in yet another store that wasn’t damaged and now it’s here! It was worth the wait.

We love having the extra storage and counter space. It’s nice to be able to both prepare food at the same time! Right now, we have these beauties sitting on top of the new island:

Carrots, tomatoes, and peppers from the garden! The other veggies are from the store.

Now that we have our new fridge and island, our kitchen face lift is almost complete! Next step: re-grout the tile floor and paint the walls a light gray. I also plan on adding new window coverings and wall art.

What do you think?

Sunday at Ikea

26 Sep

Yesterday morning, my husband and I headed to Ikea to pick up a few things for the house and for work. We had a list, but only left with two items that were on it and a few things that weren’t.

Here’s what we purchased from our list:

I got this bar stool for $20 so I could sit while teaching at the podium. The one I brought in from home last week is a little too short and I’d like to have a back rest.

Our new kitchen island (did I blog about that? I will, I promise) needed another drawer organizer, so we opted for one of these that you can adjust to fit your utensils:

Unfortunately, I’m stupid and didn’t measure the inside of the drawer before we went, so it was too long and now I have to return it. Oh well, gives me an excuse to go back!

We also wanted to get a little side table for my husband’s new office at work, but they didn’t have anything he liked.

Now for the items we bought that weren’t on the list:

We picked up three of these to fill with water and keep in the fridge. We both love drinking out of glass as opposed to plastic and this can be resealed so the water doesn’t get yucky like it does in an open glass over night. They will also be nice to use when we have people over for dinner – which, come to think of it, we haven’t done in a long time – so they can refill their own glass without having to put the ugly brita on the dinner table.

The last thing we bought was probably a bit stupid, but we both got excited and couldn’t resist.

with this:

I’ve known for quite some time that we would get the Antilop high chair and tray from Ikea. It’s cheap, easy to clean, and simple. Can I tell you how much I dislike high chairs like this? Do I want that in my kitchen or dining room? No thanks. Do I want to deal with cleaning mashed food off of all that fabric? Nope. Do I want something I can spray off with a hose? Yes please.

Forget the fact that we won’t actually need to use a high chair until the baby is six months old and that I still have six months left of this pregnancy – that’s only a year of storing something in a tiny house with too few closets. Oops. Oh well, it made us both happy, so that’s what counts, right?

Overall, I’d say it was a good trip. We looked at some rugs and curtains to get ideas for the nursery and what will become the guestroom/office which helped me rule out the ones that looked good online, but cheap in person. I’m hoping to be more prepared for the next Ikea trip because it isn’t exactly in our neighborhood and I’d like to avoid any more returns.

Do you shop at Ikea? Love it or hate it?

Flowers make me happy

12 Aug
Can you tell which of these flowers are store bought and which are from our garden?

Hydrangeas

Dahlias

Roses

and Lilies!

Take your guess in the comments and have a fabulous weekend!!

Sleepy Anxiety

8 Aug

I start at my new school one week from today. I’m terrified. The dreams should start any night now. I always have scary dreams about work at the end of big breaks (summer and winter). I wonder if that will ever go away…

I’m tired. All I want to do is eat and sleep. This is making it difficult to prepare lesson plans and set up my classroom. I’ll get it done, though. I always do.

This weekend we my husband almost finished our entryway. He wanted the record to show that I did not help AT ALL. I just paid for the paint.

I took this picture of the paint chips because we were buying the paint, but I already had picked out the colors from swatches we have had since right after Emily styled our house. She told us what would compliment the dark purple in the living room and we listened. I will tell you what color we went with once it is all done.

Saturday night, we went to my friend Michelle’s parents’ house for a BBQ. I had fun playing with her adorable son, Carter.

We went to church on Sunday morning and afterwards my husband made breakfast. Love that guy.

I feel kinda bad that my husband worked so hard this weekend on the entryway while I sat around and did nothing. But, not THAT bad.

Ok, back to worrying myself to sleep. I hope you had a great weekend!

Happy Weekend!

15 Jul
Image from Nadja Seale via Pinterest
What are your plans for the weekend? I want to be this girl. So beautiful and carefree…
Don’t forget to watch Secrets from a Stylist tomorrow at 8:30pm on HGTV! Did you watch last week? Emily did her first bedroom and it was awesome. I’m in love with the headboard she used for the first look – it was a huge slice of tree – but she said it was $1,100!! Needless to say, they had to switch it out for a more affordable option for the final look. This week the show changes to just one look and I’m excited to see the new format!
Since so many of you commented last week that you like posts about design (and I’ve sort of hit a wall in that department), I thought I’d tell you a little bit about some of my favorite design blogs so you can do a little browsing this weekend!
Design Sponge – if you don’t already know about this site, you’ve been missing out. They post several times a day and have the best inspiration around for designing the perfect rooms. They also have posts on flowers, food, and DIY projects. My dream is to be featured as one of their before and afters!
With Two Cats – Lauren also blogs for Spearmint Baby and her adorable little girl Violet has one of my favorite nurseries. She makes the most beautiful inspiration boards for her readers and I love her fresh perspective.
Moggit – While this might not be the site to gather inspiration for your own home, it is hilarious and Joy and Janet come up with the funniest commentary for the strange items they find.
Style by Emily Henderson – As host of Secrets from a Stylist on HGTV, Emily is a designer like no other. She has a knack for mixing vintage thrift store finds with more contemporary pieces to create a collected, lived-in look. Watch her show and then check her blog where she spills even more secrets and resources.
Young House Love – You have to check out this blog by John and Sherry featuring their adorable daughter Clara and cuddly pup Burger. They are all about the DIY and I learn so much from them every week.
Design Mom – Gabrielle Blair has six kids and a husband and moved them all to France for the year. She throws the most beautiful parties and her kids make the most creative Christmas presents for each other every year. Not to mention she shares her great eye for design for the home and more!
Anna White – Anna is known for her catalog-quality furniture plans, but more than that, she is now building a duplex for her mother and mother-in-law! I am amazed at her mad skills.
Lay Baby Lay – First, check out little Vivian’s nursery. Fall in love. Then, subscribe to the blog for a regular dose of super cute inspiration boards for the coolest nurseries ever. You won’t be disappointed!
Spearmint Decor – I honestly don’t know how Shari does it! She has five fabulous blogs that she updates regularly (Spearmint Baby, Decor, Kitchen, Weddings, and Money), she has little kids, AND she’s super fit and adorable. I want to be her when I grow up.
I hope you get a chance to check out these amazing blogs and if you do, let me know which are your favorites! If there is an awesome design blog that I missed, tell me about it and I’ll check it out!

SFAS Season Two

9 Jul

Hey there! I just wanted to let you all know that season two of Secrets from a Stylist with Emily Henderson on HGTV premieres tonight at 8:30pm (7:30 CST). If you have DirecTV like I do, you can watch it with the East Coast at 5:30pm. Please set your DVRs and watch! There are some big changes this season and my neighbors are on one of the episodes. I think she might have wallpapered their ceiling…

Watch it people! It is really important that you watch and tell your friends and family to watch so SFAS can be renewed for a third season. Emily is awesome and deserves to stay on the air, so let’s do this!

Weekend Wrap-Up

27 Jun

I’m sorry I posting this so late today. I’m not feeling so hot and couldn’t bring myself to do anything but sleep, eat, or watch TV until now. Pathetic, aren’t I?

Not only was it the first weekend of summer, but it was the first weekend of my summer break! Friday, I packed the last of my things at school and said goodbye. After work, I went out to happy hour with a few teachers, something I never do, to celebrate.

sorry for the blurry pic
I had so much fun and am so glad I got over my usual shyness and went out. Isn’t that how it usually works?
Saturday I was as lazy as I could possibly be. I pretty much did nothing while my dear husband worked on skimming the walls in our entryway. We are trying to get them flat like our living room walls are now (thanks to HGTV) and wanted to start the DIY process in the smallest of the three areas that are covered in horrible texturing.

It still needs one more coat and a lot more sanding, but it is looking pretty good! We are thinking we’ll need more than just one person to do out hallway and guest room, so if you’re into hard labor, let me know. We can pay in pizza and beer!

Sunday morning I met a few of the girls for brunch. I gave my friend Laura a late birthday present with this card:

Since there are four of us in this group of friends, I labeled each of these little girls as one of us. From left to right: Roxanne, Michelle, Laura, and Amy (me). Michelle brought her son Carter who was super cute even though I made him cry. Oops!

Last year, we got to go to the Twilight Eclipse premiere that was part of the LA Film Fest. Read about it here. This year, we decided to attend the premiere of Katie Holmes’ new movie Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark.

The movie was downtown at the Nokia theater across from the Staples center. We started off the evening with happy hour at Fleming’s which is one of my favorite date night activities. We always make an early dinner out of it. Our favorite is the beef carpaccio and calamari with sweet peppers. Mmmmm getting hungry just thinking about it.

After a couple of drinks and a good meal, we headed over to the movie where we had to endure complaining of one of the donor’s employees who believed we were sitting in their reserved seats. We ended up being moved (to better seats very close to where Guillermo del Torro, the film’s writer, and Troy Nixey, the director, sat) and found out that those employees who were so concerned about their seats left halfway through the movie to have drinks at a nearby restaurant. Whatever.

I liked the movie, though I think that’s because it wasn’t too scary – I don’t really like very scary movies. I wouldn’t say it’s a must-see, but it was a cool event to attend. Oh, and I got to see Katie Holmes in person! She’s extremely skinny.

The after party wasn’t as good as last year’s, no celebrity sightings or amazing decor, but my husband enjoyed the red velvet cupcakes and I enjoyed watching this adorable couple dance:

I love our yearly tradition of attending one event at the LA Film Fest (as a couple, my husband always goes to a few events on his own), but I’ve learned my lesson and will be wearing very comfortable shoes next year. My feet are covered in blisters today. Ouch.

How was your weekend? Busy? Lazy? Somewhere in between?

Kitchen Face Lift Part 1

16 Jun
My husband told me I should title this post “Kitchen Botox” because he said what we’re doing isn’t enough to be considered a face lift. You can be the judge.
Here is our kitchen now:

One of my main gripes is the tile:
The main problem is the grout. Not only is it white and therefore extremely dirty, it is also chipping off in some areas. Also, there once was a sealant of some sort on the tile that has been partially buffed off (we got our floors professionally cleaned when we first moved in – we blame them), so dirt collects in the areas without sealant and it always looks gross, no matter how hard we try to scrub it clean.
We have already bought some sealant to try and have picked a new grout color (the color of light dirt – might not look fancy, but it won’t look dirty), so the next step is to use a dremel tool to remove the old grout and re-grout with a darker color. Then, we’ll wait a couple of days and seal everything all at once – tile and grout.
Another issue I have with our kitchen is that there is no proper silverware drawer. We need the silverware near the dishwasher and the only drawers that are sort of close are tiny little square ones. Right now, we have our silverware in a lower cupboard. 
I told you I wanted to get this island from Crate and Barrel and I still love it (especially because it’s black), but I found this one today at Target for half the price:
Downside of the cheaper Target island? It’s white and will get really dirty and it doesn’t look as substantial and sturdy as the Crate and Barrel one. BUT it is half the price… decisions, decisions…
We also want to paint the kitchen. The yellow was my favorite when we first moved it in, but now that our living room is so fancy, I think we need to update the color of the kitchen. I want to paint three of the walls a light grey like this:
Benjamin Moore Smoke Embers
Then, I want to paint the fourth wall – the one with the little bar against it and the trash cans – with black chalkboard paint and hang a bunch of frames in a big collage. Some frames will have pictures in them and some won’t, kind of like this:

Here’s a kitchen with an island and one chalkboard wall, though it is much bigger and fancier than ours:
Image found via Decor Pad

I thought I wanted to paint our old white refrigerator with chalkboard paint as well, like this:
Image from here

But I went on craigslist today on a whim and found the best deal ever on a new stainless steel fridge. 
Can you believe this baby only cost $375??? With free delivery and a 90 day guarantee?? I thought it was too good to be true until it showed up in my kitchen. And it isn’t broken or anything. There is one teeny tiny dent on bottom of the front of the freezer drawer, but it can barely be seen, so we don’t care. 
Yes, our fridge is in front of a window. Yes, we’re putting the new fridge there. Honestly, there is no other place to put it. We are planning on closing off that window one day, but that’s not part of the face lift. That will require a contractor and a bigger budget.
The last thing we want is a subway tile backsplash. We priced out the tiles at home depot and after measure the area to be tiled, we’ll only need $32 worth of tile. Add on another $20 for grout and thinset and we’re golden. My father in law already has all the other supplies we’ll need as he built his own house from the ground up. I want the grout to be dark and the tile white like this:
Image from here
And that completes the face lift! Of course, I’ll keep you updates on things as they unfold. I’m hoping we can finish before I go back to work in August.
What do you think? Any advice? What’s the one room in your house that your dying to give a face lift?

Weekend Wrap-Up

13 Jun

This weekend wasn’t particularly exciting or eventful, but I thought I’d start a weekly weekend wrap-up and there’s no time like the present.

Saturday didn’t start off so well. My husband and I were going to go see Hangover 2, but his friend called and asked him to come over and help him put together a basketball hoop for his kids. He left and I sulked in bed for an hour or so until I decided to go to Home Depot to ask about how to fix our ugly tile in the kitchen. When I tried to start my car, I realized the battery was dead. My husband came home to jump my car, but then my radio wouldn’t work. We went to Home Depot together, got some advice about re-grouting and sealing, bought some more tomato plant cages, and came home. Then, we tried to get my radio working.

I was determined to figure this out because I have recently become addicted to audio books and am in the middle of Lincoln Lawyer right now. I love it so much and can’t wait to drive somewhere so I can listen to more. When I get to work or home from work, I sit in my car for as long as possible so I can keep listening. So, now you see why I just had to fix my radio. Since my car has a built-in navigation, any time the battery dies and the system is reset, I have to enter a code. I bought my car from CarMax and not a Honda dealership, so they had to look up the navigation code when I bought it and it took some digging. However, this wasn’t the problem on Saturday. After I entered the navigation code, it asked for a code for the audio, which I have never had to enter. This code wasn’t anywhere in my manuals and we tried parts of the vin number, which didn’t work, so I called our local Honda dealership. They tried to help me over the phone, but we were both not understanding each other, so the service rep told me to go in.

They were amazing. It took a good hour and more than six guys to figure it out, but they did and they didn’t charge me a penny. Thank you Honda.

After all that drama, my friend Michelle invited me to her mom’s birthday dinner at Duke’s in Malibu. I was supposed to babysit, but decided I really needed a night out with the girls after such a stressful day, so I canceled babysitting and joined the ladies.

I think I need an iphone solely for the instagram and postagram apps.
I got to drive a Bentley full of teenagers while the other ladies took a limo (I think I got the better deal) and we arrived just as the sun was setting, granted, it was very overcast and there wasn’t much of a sunset to be seen. Dinner was delicious and we had a great time. I need to get out with the girls more often!
Sunday, my husband and I took both of our cars in to EZ Lube right down the street and then walked from there to Cables, a diner/coffee shop, for breakfast while our cars were being serviced. Then, we took the dogs to the dog park where Jackson peed on every single tree and trash can a minimum of 5 times each. Since someone was having a huge party at the park with a DJ and everything, we decided to hike up one of the trails behind it to get away from the crowd.
This gorgeous view was the reward for our workout. It would be a great place to watch fireworks for the 4th. We could bring some beach chairs and a cooler…
After our impromptu hike, we decided to go check out an island I want to get for our kitchen at Crate and Barrel.
Even though our kitchen cabinets are white, I think the black island would look good and wouldn’t get as dirty as the white one with our dogs and future babies. It is more than I’d like to spend, but I have looked at so many islands over the last few months and it is the best one I can find that meets all our criteria. Every time we make a meal, I’m dying for more counter space and a real silverware drawer would be nice, too (ours is in a cabinet right now because there is no real silverware-appropriate drawer in our kitchen). We didn’t buy the island today, but I’m going back soon to make the big purchase. I can’t wait.
Sunday night my husband went to watch the basketball game with his friend and I went to The Counter in Studio City to meet up with a couple of friends I haven’t seen in far too long, Angie and Lindsay.
I got a 1/3 lb beef burger with lettuce, cheddar, grilled onions, and guacamole. It was good, but really messy.
Overall, I had a really nice weekend and was so happy I made time to hang out with my friends. I’d like to make a commitment to see a friend at least once a week. I think I can do that and I think it will be really good for me.
How was your weekend? Do you get out to see your friends often or are you a bit antisocial like me?

Wish List

26 May

No birthdays coming up. Our anniversary is over. No reason to buy me any presents until Christmas. But I still have a pretty long wish list right now and here it is:

We got a nice iron two years ago for our wedding, but it has been dropped on the floor too many times and now the steam function doesn’t work. This one from Bed, Bath, and Beyond has a handy retractable cord and with one of those 20% off coupons, it is in the budget.

My husband just told me that our coffee maker broke this morning (I wouldn’t know because I have been drinking decaf tea lately) and I’ve always wanted a french press. My grandmother used to have one and I’ve read the coffee is much better when made with one. The one above is from William Sonoma and would take up much less counter space than a bulky automatic one.

I’ve been dying for an island in our kitchen for a while now. We don’t have a proper silverware drawer (ours is in a lower cupboard) and an island would solve this problem. I also really want to redo our kitchen floors and am hoping we can complete these projects over the summer. Above kitchen from Design Sponge.

I’d love an ipod dock so we can listen to music outside or while cleaning the house. I actually bought one for my husband for Christmas (I guess it was sort of for me, too), but he returned it because it wasn’t the exact one he wanted. Unfortunately, we still haven’t replaced it. The one above is a bit pricy from Best Buy, but I think I can find something cheaper.

Another item on my list is a grocery cart like the one above (from Amazon) so I could walk to Trader Joe’s and back with all of my groceries in tow. You see, we live just a few blocks from TJs, but we rarely walk there because we usually have too many groceries to lug home. This way I could get some exercise in while doing the weekly shopping.

What’s on your current wish list?