Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fall Fashion

Recently, I took some time off work just because.  It was a nice little vacation.  I got a few things done around the house and relaxed a little.

I was able to catch my favorite show of all time: The Nate Berkus Show. I just LOVE that show!  I was really inspired by their segment on 30 Fall Looks Using 8 Items under $150. Here's some of my favorite outfits from the segment:

Neutral Dress, Black Belt, Leopard Print Shoe
A neutral dress can be accessorized by a black belt and a leopard print shoe. Apparently leopard print shoes are big right now and never go out of style.

Red Pants, White Shirt, Skinny Black Belt, and Black Pumps
Red is a hot color this season.  Paired with a dressy, white shirt and black pumps this look is definitely one of my favorites.

Polka Dot Shirt
Polka Dots are HOT this year! Love them!

Black and White Stripe Sweater, Skinny Jeans, Boots: border=
I love this look of a striped sweater with jeans and a pair of boots.  I'm usually not a fan of black and tan together, but this looks fantastic!

Red Pants, White Shirt, Leopard Print Shoes, Cream Cardigan
This color combination and style combination is sophisticated yet fun.  Perfect for shopping with friends or lunch with the girls.

Black Long Sleeve Shirt, Colorful Scarf, Dark Wash Jeans, and Nude Shoes
Scarfs aren't typically my thing, but the colors in this scarf just scream fall!

Here's a board with some of the pieces!
Olioboard: Fall Fashion

(see the 30 Fall Looks Using 8 Items under $150 page comments for shopping list)

What are your favorite wardrobe pieces for fall?

Linked here: Mine for the Making

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Light Fixture Transformation

I'm not sure if you know this, but light fixtures are expensive!!  I was in absolute shock!

My husband and I are trying to rid our house of the Gold EVERYTHING!   They are so hard on my eyes. Now don't get me wrong, I love shiny things but this just hurts my eyes.

Light Fixture Before Painting

We've been scoping out for fixtures for the past few months and... nothing :(  I finally had enough of the gold light fixtures in our bathroom, closet, guest bedroom, and basement entryway.  I read quite a few articles on spraying fixtures and ta-da they look so good!  You can't tell they're spray painted right?  Check out what a difference the paint made! 

Bathroom Light Fixture after Spray Paint

Bedroom Light Fixture After Spray Paint
I know, the glass shades definitely dated them, but at our house we go step-by-step.

We actually did this process many months ago, and I'm just now getting it posted but here's the process:
  1. Caution: Be sure before you begin this project you turn off the electricity to the fixture from your breaker box.  We don't need anyone being sent to the Emergency Room with 'electricution' written on their charts.
  2. Remove the light fixture from the ceiling/wall/ etc.
  3. Disassemble and clean the fixture.  We removed all screws, sockets, and fiberglass insulation and were left with bare metal ceiling plates that didn't need any taping up.  Just remember where everything goes unless you want some extra parts here or there.
  4. We used KRYLON Satin Nickel paint from Wal-Mart (about $2).  Two thin coats of paint later, our light fixtures have completed their makeover.
  5. The only thing left to do is re-assemble, install, and admire!  
P.S. If you have assembly issues or installation issues like we did because we didn't pay attention to which wires we disconnected from which wire, just search the Internet for solutions.  BUT Be very cautious when turning the breaker back on if you're not sure.

Disclaimer: We are in no way professionals.  If you're cautions about installing light fixtures in any way, please be safe and contact a professional to install them.

Remember that day of garage sales during which I found the blanket chest?  (Post found here) I was luck enough to find some beautiful nickel light fixtures with alabaster glass to replace the light in the guest bedroom and entryway.  Now they look even better! See?

New Nickel and Alabaster Entry Way Light Fixture

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

One of my favorite cake and cupcake blogs is Half Baked. They have such delicious looking posts.  I always get a craving when I read their blog.  Yum!  When I saw their post on Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes I practically dropped everything and ran to the kitchen.  They turned out fantastic.  Everyone at work thought so too. I would highly recommend these for any summer party or BBQ. Here's a link to their recipe and pictures.  Beware: they may create the desire to bite the screen!

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcake

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes
{makes 24 cupcakes}
For the cake:
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup lemonade powder mix (I used Country Time)
1 cup milk
3 Tbsp lemon juice (juice of 1 lemon)
1 Tbsp lemon zest (zest of 1 lemon)
1 tsp vanilla
lemonheads (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin pans with cupcake liners
  2. In medium bowl mix together dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt, lemonade powder and lemon zest, set aside.
  3. In bowl of stand mixer cream butter and sugar on medium speed until combined.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
  5. Add the lemon juice and vanilla and mix well.
  6. Gradually add the dry ingredients and milk, alternating starting and ending with the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
  7. Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  9. Let cupcakes cool in pans for 5 minutes, then remove to wire rack to finish cooling.
  10. Once cupcakes are completely cool, ice with Strawberry Lemon Frosting and garnish with a lemonhead on top.
For the frosting:
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups confectioner’s sugar
3 Tbsp strawberry puree (from about 3-4 strawberries)
1 tsp lemon zest
  1. In bowl of stand mixer cream butter for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Gradually add confectioner’s sugar and continue mixing scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
  3. Mix in strawberry puree and lemon zest.
  4. Place the icing in a piping bag fitted with tip 1M to decorate cupcakes.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Blanket Box

Since we moved into our house and I started exploring blogland, I've wanted a bench of some sort at the end of our bed.  Our room is perfect for one, long and skinny.  I searched for an inexpensive blanket box or decorative bench at a few places on the internet.
Here's a few inspirational photos I discovered:

I love the idea of benches.  They look so elegant without looking too bulky.

Here's kind of a combination style.  Upholstered and a chest perfect for storage.

Here's an example of the traditional wooden blanket chest that I'm really imagining for the space.

I found this one for $249 from Target, but the price is just a bit steep for me.

It was a typical Saturday morning and I was out searching garage sales for some wonderful finds. And then I saw was perfect! Well, not really.  It was pretty beat up, but I paid a whole $5 for it.  After cramming it in my car and getting it home, I immediately had regret.  What if Hubby can't repair all the cracked and broken pieces?  What if he doesn't want to re-finish it and stain or paint it? Within 15 minutes of wrangling it out of my car, my hopes of finally having a blanket chest were falling fast.  

So when Joe came home and saw the falling apart plywood he was less than pleased.  Then he found out I only paid $5 for it.  His opinion did a 180.  I was so excited I could barley contain myself.  I couldn't believe he was up for the challenge. 

A few weeks later we were out shopping at Lowe's for some other stuff when he dragged me over to the wood stain.   We took booklet of colors home and compared them to our bedroom furniture to see if we could find one similar.  I was amazed when we found an almost identical match! Minwax Red Mahogony.

Red Mahogany Stain

Hubby labored a few hours to sand down the chest, stain it and poly coat it.  I'm so impressed with the turnout. He did a fantastic job and I LOVE the way it turned out.

Master Bedroom Blanket Box

It's perfect for our blankets, extra towels, and extra sheets.  See, we don't have a linen closet so our extra linens hung out in the guest bedroom dresser.  Now they have a new home in our wonderfully refinished chest.  What a beauty!

Inside our Blanket Box

Here's the beauty in a close-up.

DIY: Blanket Box

I think I'm in love!  Thanks Hubby for your hard work.  Our room is closer to being complete.

Cost Breakdown:
Chest: $5
Stain (from Lowe's): $8
Poly: $0 (already owned)
Foam Brushes (3: 2 for stain coats, 1 for poly coats): $1.50
Total: $14.50 definitely much less than the Target option.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Another 25 update!

With only 3.5 months until my birthday, here's an update of my "list" (original post here):

- Lose 15 pounds
        Working on it....I'm down 2 pounds so far.
- Have a date with Joe that includes a picnic
Bake a pie
        Lemon Meringue Pie from Lemon Meringue Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke – Made it at my mom’s the weekend I forgot my camera…oops. I’d never made one of these before and everyone who came to the bbq said it was wonderful! Yay me!
- Make homemade spaghetti sauce
Find a fantastic recipe for salsa and making it with veggies from my garden
        I made salsa just by throwing a bunch of stuff together.  I had about 2 cups peeled fresh tomatoes, ¼ cup chopped onion, 1 chopped jalapeno, 1 clove minced garlic, a little salt, and some fresh chopped cilantro.  It turned out fantastic!!  I can’t wait for more tomatoes to be ready!
- Bake a loaf of bread
- Visit a new city
         Only 30 days until the trip. I just bought tickets to Louisville and Lexington in October to visit my bestie, Danielle.  Even though I’ve been there before to see family, I’ve never explored as a tourist.
Go to a concert
         Steel Magnolia – June 23
         The Band Perry – June 30
         Gloriana – July 7
         Randy Rogers Band with Reckless Kelly – July 14
         Corey Smith – July 28
         Kenny Chesney – July 30
         Sunny Sweeney - August 4
         Craig Campbell - August 18
Run a 5K (and train for it first)
         Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure – August 14
- Make a menu for the week using my cookbooks, or at least Monday through Wednesday for the whole summer (Memorial Day through Labor Day)
         I definately could have done better here, but I'm not going to complain. I did prepare for Mon-Wed   
         every week.  Sometimes I even prepared for the rest of the week too.  I'm going to keep doing this 
         one.I’m doing a good job prepping for part of the week
- Write notes to friends
         I wrote a couple of notes recently and sent them off.  I am going to do this again soon.
- Make homemade salad Dressing
- Blog at least 1x per week!
         Yeah, not so much.  I tired, but not hard enough.  Definitely need to work harder at this one!
- Volunteer with an organization
         Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Shirt Pick-Ups - August 9 & 12
- Go to church more
         Haven't gone once yet.  Oops.
Go to a Sporting KC Soccer game at their new stadium (I'm not sure when construction is going to be completed though – Opened June 9)
         Hubby and I went July 23 with some friends from work.  It was crazy hot, like 100 degrees. We were trying not to move and photos slipped my mind, but the stadium was really awesome.  I hope we can go again this season.
- Attend a Play, Symphony, or Orchestra Concert
- Make a little "Welcome" spot for visitors to our house
- Host a dinner party (or a BBQ?)
- Read 2 books a month (any suggestions?)
         June:  The HelpDecision Points
         July: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie…and ? (oops only 1 book!)
         August: Committed and.....? Oops only 1 book again.
Plan a trip for "just the girls"
         Labor Day Weekend Trip with my Mom and Sister
- Get a pedicure with my mom
         Planning to do on the Girls Weekend Trip (didn't end up getting one on that trip)
- Make a fancy tiered cake (a reason isn't necessary)
- Tailgate at 6 Royals Games
         June 6 vs Toronto Blue Jays
         July 8 vs Detroit Tigers
         We better pick up the pace, season ends in September!
Ride a motorcycle

Saturday, September 10, 2011

10 years later.....

September 11, 2001
Just like the rest of the country, I can't believe it's been 10 years since the day we were attacked.  I was a sophomore in high school.  I was sitting in the front row, third seat from the left in Driver's Ed.  It was second period.  We flipped on the TV after the science teacher came running down the hall shouting to turn on the news.  We watched it live, as the second plane hit.  I was 15 years old, so naive, so innocent, so clueless.  The entire class's immediate reaction was "well, how are they going to get the planes out?"  It seems silly now.  None of us even knew what the World Trade Center even was, and here it was, in front of our eyes, changing history forever.

I've always been patriotic.  My dad was retired Army, my grandfather fought in the Battle of the Bulge in WWII.  It's in my blood. But this changed my outlook on this country.

The strength of this country as a whole and individual communities will always be remembered in my heart.

Has it really been 10 years.....

I think of all the things that have happened in 10 years:
- I learned to drive
- I went to Prom
- I graduated High School
- I started college
- I bought my 1st car
- I had my heart broken....a few times
- I joined Zeta Tau Alpha
- I met my best friends
- I found the love of my life, my husband.
- I graduated college
- I moved to Kansas City
- I started my 1st "real" job!
- I got married
- I bought a house with my husband
- We adopted a dog
- I've created a life for myself

Sitting in that classroom, 10 years ago, this day was WAY too far in the future.  But I've never forgotten.

There are many heroes in this world because of that day.  There are those who immediately responded: Fire Fighters, Police, and others at the scene.  There are those who gave blood, donated money and time, those who drove across the country to lend a helping hand in any way they could. There are heroes who signed up to serve their country in the military knowing they would be sent to dangerous places to fight with the risk of never coming home.  There are those who return after volunteering to serve deployment after deployment.  There are those who give the ultimate sacrifice. Heroes from that day are all around us.

I think about 9/11 often.  It's the little things that bring it to my mind.  My husband.  The woman in uniform at the supermarket. Hearing a stranger thank someone for serving this country.  Flags flying out side the neighbor's house.  Going to work.  Donating blood.

9/11 is all around us.

Tomorrow I'll be spending the day with my husband.  Thinking of those who lost loved ones and praying for those in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Tomorrow will also be the day I convince my Husband to go with me to Lowe's and purchase our 1st United States Flag and hang it outside....but he doesn't know that yet.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Close Call

Yesterday, I shared with you about our "fur-baby", Daisy-Do.  We don't have children to spoil, so we spoil her. I'm not sure if it was gut, or just fate that I shared how much I love that girl.  She's really our saving grace.

Most of the time we HATE it when she wakes us up before our alarm clock.  Usually she wants to go outside, play, she's thirsty and her water is empty, or because she hears the neighbors' dogs outside and wants to join in whatever fun they're having.

This morning started out like a lot:  It's about 4am and hubby wakes up to her....whining.  Go figure.  He heads out to the kitchen to let her out and immediately knows something is wrong.  There's a smell.  Not the "oops, I forgot to empty the garbage" smell, or the "man, that food smells so good I wanna eat it now" smell.  The smell was definitely hot, electrical.  He woke me up and we searched the house without finding the source or heat or anything.  I gathered a few things as Hubby called the fire department.  I've never been in a situation like this and I have to say, it was pretty terrifying.  If there was an electrical fire, I could be anywhere.  I do know those spread through the walls so fast things can become dangerous in an instant.  

The volunteer firemen from down the street came in first.  One, then another, then another.  No sirens (thank goodness, people are trying to sleep, ya know at 4:30am!). Slowly the numbers grew to 5 firemen and 2 police officers.  The smell was very evident but the cause still wasn't determined.  They used the thermal imaging camera and found nothing out of the ordinary.  

Just when the firemen were getting ready to head toward the door with the mystery unsolved, we heard it.  There was a current arc in the area of the refrigerator.  Sure enough, our 12-year old, came with the house refrigerator was shot.  

We'd talked for about a year about getting a garage fridge knowing full well that some day this would happen.  We never bought one.  Hind sight is 20/20 right?

I'm very thankful not only for our wonderful alarm (aka Daisy), but also for the fact that we were there.  It could have happened while we were at work, or out of town, or anytime.  

Things obviously could have ended very differently.  I like to think that today Daisy not only saved our home, but our lives.  It makes me love her more....although I'm not sure that's really possible.

Through this "scare", I've realized to be thankful for what we have, the time we have, and the family and friends we have.  I feel a bit more prepared if we really have a fire someday.  Checking out our fire extinguisher and our smoke detectors has now become the top priority on my TO-DO list.  

Anyways...Happy Friday everyone!  Enjoy your Labor Day weekend!  And if you don't have one already, get a dog.  They're amazing!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Daily Attack

Every day when I get home I get attacked.  I don't mind it though.  One reason is because of this face right here:
Daisy - the Dog
She jumps and runs and whines with excitement as soon as she sees us.  It's funny how she does it just the same way if we're gone for 12 hours or if we've just run out to get the mail.  
Sometimes she even helps me sew!
Daisy Helping me Sew
We do give her treats.  This special occasion was just an empty bag of chips that she proceeded to lick the seasoning off the side.  She was NOT happy when we took the bag away from her though.
Daisy Eating Doritos
Most of the time she cuddles up on the recliner with us or just sits and chews on her bone.
Daisy chewing on her Bone
She even makes us laugh by playing with her bed and playing hide and seek.  That silly girl!
Daisy our Dog