Friday, December 30, 2011

Kitchen Additions

Here we go, the last post in December, can you even believe it? The year is over and done with and it's exciting to look back and see how much has happened in 2011. And to think about what's to come in 2012, both in our house and in our lives, just gets me very excited indeed. Next week is my official blogiversary so stay tuned for that!

The kitchen has certainly come a long way from when we first moved in and is still not 100% finished but we're getting there-- all the major pieces are in place and being thoroughly enjoyed and used every single day. We couldn't be happier to have running water, a functioning stove, and tons and room to move and groove so to wait a little longer for all the finishing touches doesn't really matter much right now. In time all the moldings will be back in place, the window will get a sill, and treatments will one day grace the three windows and block some of the mid-morning sunlight that blares through them (I'm really not complaining, I love all the sunlight!). For now, I've added just a few little touches to make the room ours.

First off, my sister in law Diana bought me this awesome rug from West Elm for Christmas that I asked for to be used specifically in the kitchen. And I love it.



Then a couple weeks ago I picked up this sweet vintage metal basket for about seven bucks and have been using it to corral kitchen towels so they are easily accessible to messy hands.


And lastly, I bought this cute little garlic holder at TJ Maxx so I can keep the garlic right on the counter and hide it in style while still keeping it fresh. The best part is that the inside is terra cotta but the outside is glazed white and blends right in with my color scheme.



This past week has been chock-full of after-Christmas deals and steals and I think I can officially say I am ready for next Christmas! It's gonna be a sad day when I have to take all the decorations down, throw out the tree, and prepare myself for the next two months of wintery coldness. Brrr. (But truth be told, seeing all the cheery greens and blues coming into the stores makes me excited for Spring to come. Shhh, don't tell Christmas. He's still my favorite...)

This weekend we have a Mad Men themed New Years party to attend and it's sure to be a good time. What do you guys have planned to ring in the new year? Regardless of what you wind up doing...

HAVE A VERY HAPPY, HEALTHY, AND BLESSED NEW YEAR! SEE YOU IN 2012!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Closet Quick Change

Hey guys, I'm back from a much needed impromptu Christmas vacation where I just relaxed with family, ate lots and lots of food, and did some great after-Christmas shopping. Now that things have finally slowed down and all the gifts have been given, it's time to get back into the swing of things and tackle even more projects around the house. Also, next week is my official one-year blogging anniversary (can you believe it went so fast?) so I've been busy getting things ready for that on the 3rd of January (if you want, you can ready my very first post here).

On one of my many ventures out into the world of after-Christmas sales was to make the trip out to Hobby Lobby for my first time ever. See, NJ doesn't have any Hobby Lobby's and after hearing so much about them on various blogs I looked online for the closest one (in Easton, PA about an hour from our house) and made the journey. One thing in particular I was looking forward to was the famous aisle of Hobby Lobby Knobby's:


There were so many great knobs and pulls and at 50% off it was tempting to bring home more than I should have. But since I'm really trying not to buy things without a specific purpose, I chose only two sets that I wanted to try out in our office/guest room, namely for our basic closet doors.

This is how they looked before with just simple matching white knobs:

And here's how they look now:


I just love them with their classic drop shape and their off-white color which is a nice contrast to the all-white doors. Their brassy color also ties in nicely with my framed ostrich print.



And just in case you're wondering, here's the other option I bought which I still like but just not for this room.


So there ya have it, I just popped in to let you know about this quick little update and now I'm going back to the other project I'm working on: finally making something to hang on our living room windows!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Time is Here

Which thoroughly explains my lack of blogging this week. Christmas snuck up faster than usual this year and I'm still not done shopping let alone wrapping. Therefore I will finish this week by saying MERRY CHRISTMAS and relaxing with family. Hopefully once the season slows down I will be able to get back into the house-work swing of things. Be blessed! :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Updated Entryway

Hey guys, I don't know about you but this December has been one of the busiest months yet in our house. From shopping for gifts to wrapping them up, to throwing our first official party, it's safe to say that the blog was quiet for the past few days and for good reason. But I'm here today to give you a little part-ay wrap up as well as a little house tweak.

First off, this past Saturday we hosted our second annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Party, but this was the first time in our new house. There was lots and food and fun (btw Just Dance 3 for Wi is awesome!) and I found it funny that at certain times people were crowding into the smallest rooms (the kitchen and the office) rather than the open living/dining room, but hey, that's why you have to have every room ready because you never know where your guests will wind up. At one point, the living room was empty and everybody had crammed into the office/guest room so I snapped this shot:


Then I hopped in and we took a picture with our computer:


Good times. I was too busy being the hostess so I didn't manage to take any pictures of the food or decor but someone must've grabbed my camera and took this shot of the bathroom that Dan so cheerfully decorated with a string of paper lanterns:


And now our updated entryway. The motivation behind this was partly due to the impending party and my desire to have another surface to decorate but mostly it will be needed long after the Christmas season is over. We needed somewhere by the door to drop off keys/mail/etc as well as extra storage for other random things that need a home. Enter our old dresser that used to live in the closet in our old apartment.


And here she is in her former life:


Bringing in the dresser gave me the opportunity to bring some decor onto that side of the room so I relocated the items that I previously used on our Parsons desk (which then became the "cookie table" at the party).


The only new thing I added is that mercury glass tree in the back that I scored at TJ Maxx for $16.99.


Doesn't it remind you of this much more expensive Pottery Barn version? Anyways, here's the whole entryway, as it has shaped up today. Things are still constantly evolving, being taken away (hopefully those curtains soon), and being added (like that jute rug that I also got at TJ for only ten bucks) but I'm liking that we now have a designated entryway and a place to store stuff. Right now, Dan and I each have a drawer of our own so when/if it fills up, it's at least not on the dining room table!


I'm still working on cleaning out our coat closet so hopefully our shoes will wind up in there from day to day but for now they've been getting tucked under the dresser, which also works. I'm also glad that mercury glass can still be great through the winter, although my tree may need to get the boot for being too Christmas-y, but I love me some mercury glass and I'm happy to see it stick around.

P.S. I've been pinning a lot of entryway inspiration lately- see it here.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Past

As some of you may or may not know, Dan and I used to live in Manhattan four years ago (man how time flies). We moved there over the summer so when Christmas time came we had to make it work for our teeny tiny one bedroom apartment. I did my best with what I had on hand and since I couldn't live without a real tree I bought what I could fit in the living room. Funny thing is I paid about twenty bucks for it (oh New York, how I don't miss your prices).










Good times. You can see how we still have the same stockings today and even that same framed print of us on our wedding day and they're coincidentally on the same desk in our house right now.


I've been pretty busy this week getting things ready for a little shin-dig we're throwing this weekend so hopefully I'll get to share all those details with you soon. Oh and I've only bought about four presents to date so I'm wayyy behind on my shopping this year and may be spending every night and weekend trying to catch up. How about you?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Kitch-tin

Last night when I was searching for a couple things in the basement I wound up finding neither, but rather brought up a couple things I hadn't unpacked yet- doesn't that always happen? I went down looking for my address book and fishing line (for this diy garland) but came upstairs with a set of vintage tins Dan bought me when we were living in our old apartment. I wasn't sure exactly where I wanted to put them so I just decided to keep them together on top of the fridge that previously was sporting a lonely potted plant (sidenote: it's faux and it's from Ikea).





Ya see what I did there? I just "replanted" the faux greenery in the coffee tin-- easy peasy. I'm not sold on that location but it works for now and adds a little character to the room. Once I get the floating shelves hung above the dishwasher I'll probably play around a little more with accessories. Oh and we're hoping to get some hardware on those cabinets pronto, I wouldn't want you to think we're keeping em naked!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Saturday Morning Breakfast

This morning Dan and I slept in. It was great. One Saturday a week he has to work and then every other Saturday he's usually helping someone do something so it was a treat to have him home all morning. We enjoyed a nice breakfast together (of waffles- we need to go shopping) and it was his idea to eat in the kitchen. So we did. We pulled up two stools to a corner of the counter and ate our breakfast right there.



Then Dan had fun doing a little photography session with the cats. This was our favorite:


And then of me. This was my favorite:


And then this shot of the sugar, which incidentally is a great shot of our counters and sink:


Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas Tree 2011

Every year at Christmas we try to avoid the big box stores and their overpriced trees and try to support the smaller private lots with their quaint old-timey charm. This year we got our tree from a guy selling them in the back of a shopping plaza's parking lot. When we pulled up he got out of his cute little trailer and proceeded to walk us around the lot, showing us each tree a-la the guy from A Christmas Story, albeit less like a skeezy salesman but rather helpful and charming.

Here's the one we bought:


The "during" phase. For the past couple years we've watched Elf while decorating the tree (and this year was no exception as evidenced by the TV- that's Buddy walking through Manhattan) and I've got it down to being able to completely finish by the time the movie ends.


I went with a white and silver scheme this year with a few touches of red.


Then came the tinsel. 
(The whole time I was putting the tinsel on I kept singing to myself 
"Throw some glitter make it rain" hah)





Aaand lights off...

The snowflake "ornaments" are actually supposed to be decorative gift tags and I bought four packs of five for a dollar each at Target. The glittery silver ornaments I believe I got at the dollar store last year. The pearl-y silver and shiny silver ornaments, both large and small, are from Martha Stewart and I picked them up at Macy's last weekend because they were 50% off and then another 25% off for Friends and Family (neither of which I am, they were just being nice and gave me the discount anyways).

So there ya have it, our first tree for our first Christmas in our first house. It was a good night.

P.S. I updated our kitchen photos on the Tour page with some more current shots.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmasification

Yeah, I just made that word up but it totally applies to what's going on inside our house these days. After finally finishing the two huge projects we needed to do after moving in (floors and kitchen) it feels great to be able to bring out the Christmas decor and make this place shine.

First up was a little DIY project I mentioned here and I love how they turned out. Super simple and super cute, can't go wrong with that. You start out with various jars, I stole a few of these from my parents and then I had a couple smaller ones on hand.


Fill with "snow." I used a combination of Epson salt and silver glitter, just a tad.

Add a few bottle brush trees (I bought a pack of like 20 at Home Depot for $7) and viola!




It's like a little winter wonderland for your house. Dan actually walked by them after he got home from work, looked at em for a little bit, and then said they were cute. What a guy. The best part of all though is that the whole thing ran me just the cost of the trees because I had everything else on hand- and now I have tons of trees left over! The trees in my inspiration photo were all white so maybe next year I'll whip out the spray paint and try this again another way but I'm actually loving the green so I'm pretty happy with how they turned out.

Next up is a little tip we actually picked up from our contractor, the one who did our kitchen, which is to stuff Christmas lights up above our cabinets and snake the wire down the side to give a nice soft glow to the room.



And with the light off...


The only thing I wish we had done was to get the lights with the white wire instead of the green. Oh well, maybe I'll pick up a string of them during the after-Christmas sales but for now we're just gonna live with it.

What have you guys done decoration-wise? Anyone sent out their Christmas cards yet? I'm still on the hunt for ones that actually say Merry Christmas and aren't super corny. Any suggestions? Sidenote: we put up our Christmas tree last night so stay tuned for that!
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