Thursday, March 31, 2011

Top 5 : : nail polish

It's that time of year know, when you have to make sure your toes look decent since they will be showcased every day by your flip-flops instead of the closed-toe shoes of winter.  I'm pretty simple in my beauty rituals, but it never ceases to amaze me how much better I feel with a little polish on my toes {and on my fingernails, if I'm lucky}.

Here are my top colors...and while I love me some OPI and Essie, I love trying out new colors from Revlon or Sally Hansen as well and have had pretty good results overall.

1)  Classic red.  I especially love wearing this with black or white just seems to pop.  I've currently got OPI Deer Valley Spice in my collection, but I also just picked up Sally Hansen's Something New at Dollar Tree and I love it too!

2) A good fuschia.  This is what I currently have on and it seems like you just can't go wrong with this can wear it with or without a tan and it can really go dressy or casual too. OPI has some great choices in this shade, but right now I've got Revlon Oh My Magenta and it is great!

3)  Light almost white.  I love this look especially when my skin has some color.  It's neutral too so it will go with just about any type of clothing.  Essie's FIJI is amazing!

4)  Coral.  Another great summer color.  I love this with turquoise jewelry.

5) Black.  I had Essie licorice on for two weeks and didn't want to take it off!  I love the edge this has, but with it's great gloss, it still can be dressed up and look great.

6)  Ok, I know I'm only suppposed to have 5, but another one of my go-to faves is a a sand taupe color...I had the perfect OPI version forever until it broke...ugh. : (  I can't remember the name, but I don't think they make it anymore after searching through their website.  Here is a great alternative...great for all seasons, outfits and occasions.

Ok, I'd love some feedback on this one....what is your favorite tried and true color? Now that my toes are showing, I think I need some new ideas! {Also, I just realized that Amazon is a great place to get nail polish...Essie and OPI both retail for about $8-$10 and all my choices where around $4 and under}

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Taking time to smell the flowers

Since we are having a bit of a cool & dreary spell here in Texas {which I know come July, I will be begging for this weather so I am not complaining!}, it's been a great day to stay home and catch up on cleaning and my 40 day challenge for Lent.  The only problem is that sometimes when I'm in project/task mode, it's hard to see what else is going on around me.  This can be great for completing the goal of the day or the to-do list, but this morning as I was in the heat of it...I realized I needed to take time and enjoy the day at home.  My youngest two were playing SO well together, but why not take just a few minutes and enjoy them.
I think the simplicity of this week's flowers sum it up...$5 bouquet of little white flowers in antique mason jars.  Does simple beauty get much better than that?

Taking time to smell the flowers for me meant putting down the dust rag and playing a game with these two { a made-up game that happened to involve blowing into a bowl of soapy water in the middle of my freshly cleaned bathroom...deep breaths, deep breaths...}.

What does it mean for you today?  Stopping at the store on the way home to pick up some flowers to enjoy God's beauty in a simple way?  Writing a note to thank someone for the good friend they are to you?  Or maybe you are like me and you need to put aside your to-do list to make a little room for the more important things in life....whatever it is, I hope you'll find time today to enjoy it.  I did and I know at the end of the day, it will probably be the highlight of my day.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Kitchen lamp revamp: Take 2

A couple of years ago I was looking for a lamp to go in the window above my kitchen sink and I happened to find one that included the shade at Wal-Mart for $3 so I figured it was worth a try.  When I got it home, I realized that it was a bit too tall for that space, so I thought since I spent so little on it, I'd try to take it apart and take a section out so it would fit.  Well, it worked....that is, until this past week in the middle of the night and I heard a horrible noise and found this....
 Apparently, the hot glue choice was not the right one.  Instead of trashing it, I decided to give it another go and revamp it in the process.

Step 1: Fix it better : )
LOVE Gorilla Glue!

Step 2 : Paint the base for a whole new look
Krylon Gloss spray paint in Ivory

Step 3 : Update shade {I actually began to update it, but then ended up stealing a shade from another lamp....hopefully, I can pick up a drum-style lampshade to replace this one}

Step 4 : Enjoy the new look...with $0 spent!

 I wasn't sure with my countertops that I would like the all-white grouping, but I think I'm liking the white look for above my sink...when I finally find some fun fabric to use for my window treatments, it will be sure to accent it well.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

How to Craig's List

Yep, I just used Craig's List (CL) as a verb.  That's because it is a lot simpler than saying..."How to buy things on CL" or "How to sell things on CL" and I bet you knew exactly what I meant. : )  Anyway, I've had quite a few people ask how to find what you are looking for on CL and get a good a deal in the process.  Now, I can't guarantee your safety (although I hope you use common sense) or that you are getting a quality product, but I can let you know how I do it and how it's worked for me so far.

1)  Narrow down your search.  CL can be a bit daunting if you just go to your local area and click on "household" or "furniture".  You'll get pages and pages of 100 listings.  So, for example, when I was looking for chairs, I typed in chairs and then used the option to only include the ones by owner.  If I wanted to by from a dealer, I'd go to the store and look for myself.  That's just my opinion though. : )
I looked for a couple months before I finally found these...$30/both.  I hadn't seen anything under $100 for one!
2) Do your research.  Whether this means figuring out an exact model to what you need (like a microwave we purchased on CL), or having measurements of a room or piece of furniture, or figuring out what your price point should be...make yourself be a knowledgeable customer!  This isn't like a store where you can take it back if you got overcharged or just got the wrong model or size, you've got to get it right the first time.
New microwave with receipt in box for 1/2 its selling price

3)  Check often.  Like as much as you can.  You never know when that perfect listing is going to come up and you want to be the first to pounce on it.  If you can, just keep it up on your screen and refresh it whenever you walk will just take a second to glance and see if there's anything you're interested in.

4)  Keep an open mind in your search.  We were looking for a king sized bad frame (which ran about $100 new), and instead of just checking for that, I would search "king headboard".  I ended up getting not only the frame, but a headboard and two bed side tables made of solid wood for $50!
The bedroom furniture I picked up for $50...not a great pic, but it had another finial in the middle of the headboard I removed and then painted it all black and added crystal knobs to the tables.

5)  Also, keep an open mind about the possibilities of what your looking for.  If you can look at an item to see if it has good bones, then, in many cases you can customize it yourself with paint or fabric.  Back to the example of the bed set...that particular bed wasn't my favorite.  After taking it apart some and good paint job, I love it!

6)  Without, being completely insulting, low-ball on the price.  I've never had someone be so offended that they didn't respond back.  And while I don't always get my low-ball price, I usually get the price reduced in some way.  The bed set actually was listed for $100, I thought they might meet me at $75, but they ended up taking my offer of $50.

7)  Be PATIENT!  Although, you can have good luck finding what you need or want right away, sometimes it takes time, and if you wait long enough, you will probably find that special piece right at your price!

I've also sold quite a few things on Craig's List. My advice would be the same as it is for having a garage sale...price to sell and not make people think that this might be your only income. (Have y'all been to one of those garage sales where they price their junk so high that you know they are selling nothing???)  If you truly want it out of your house, then, figure out what the going rate it is (through ebay or CL), price it, and be willing to budge if needed.

So, what treasures have you found on Craig's List?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Girls' room

My older girls have to share a room which I am completely fine with, but right now, they are sharing a queen sized bed {a gorgeous iron canopy queen sized bed to be exact} and I am thinking it might be time for a change.  Their bedroom is fairly large and I'm thinking about putting two twins instead of the queen.  That way they can at least have their own little space at night.  I just re-decorated their room 2 years has light pink walls that could easily serve as the backdrop to a completely different look and brown accessories.  Pink and brown, real original, I know.  I still love the color combo, but I think this would be a perfect time to really get out of that baby girl phase {that is almost torture to write!} and transition into something better suited for their ages of 7 and 9.

Here are some color combos I'm me they say fun and maybe even sophisticated while not being on the extreme ends of the spectrum, too stuffy or no cohesiveness at all.  Notice all the gorgeous upholstered headboards...I'm thinking that might be a MUST for this room.

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This might be my the color scheme and the fun prints.  The shape and color of the headboard is perfect too!

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Been admiring this one for a while...Emily A. Clark

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A version of this could allow me to keep my pink walls and some of my accessories

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I love this light turqoise and white....pretty and chic, especially with that chandelier!

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Not sure if my girls would love this as much as I do, but I'm in the love with this combo of taxidermy, pink and lush bedding

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Love the wall has that sophisticated and fun look that I'm hoping to achieve

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Twin upholstered beds, check.  Doable with pink walls, check.  Fun fabrics, check.  What a great space!
So, are there any crowd favorites out there?  I think I might have to consult with my little "experts" on this one, but I'd love to hear what YOU think or if there's some great ideas out there I missed.  I will definitely keep you updated on the progress. {It's not at the top of the list right now, so it might be a bit!}

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


The word chevron used to bring to mind  a gas station or maybe those puffy coats from when I was a kid that had the one large zig-zag stripe across the front, but, recently, my eyes have been opened to a whole new world of chevron.  The world that makes me want it in every room of my house.  I'm not quite sure if it's the vintage look of that design or that bold, modern presence it has in a room that makes me love it everytime I see it. 

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Don't think I'd be brave enough for this, but it does look fabulous {}

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I'm thinking something like this for my new office decor...can you believe it's a DIY?!  {}
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This one's for the more conservative it's natural, warm look {}

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Wow.  Gorgeous tile. {}

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A little more understated, but still amazing tile {}

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On to some the punch this adds {}

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                                          I think I could design a whole room around this pillow from Etsy  {}

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Blue and Chevron...I'm not sure I could ask for any more! {}

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Wouldn't this change a whole room's look?  I think I'd like 2! {}

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                                                       I love this subdued chevron print used around this canopy                                                  {}

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I think these curtains make this room...anybody spot the Ikat?? {}

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Chevron subway tiles...wish I'd thought of this one : )  {}

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If you need just a touch of chevron, try these fun personalized placemats {}

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How cute would this look by the door? {}

I'm ready to get some chevron somewhere in this house...well, I guess my baby girl does have those chevron leggings she wants to wear EVERY day. 

 I'll keep you posted because I think I'm seeing a chevron project in my very near future... : )

Monday, March 21, 2011

Back to a new reality

We are just coming off of Spring Break unbelievably relaxing break in the mountains of Colorado.  On the drive home, I was completely dreading getting back into the insanity that life with 4 kids and all the craziness it brings...don't get me wrong, I'm so thankful for this life, but it can also make this momma tired!  I began to wonder how I could incorporate some of the slowness of mountain life into our busy city life.  Here are some things I am going to incorporate into our home to make this place a better place for all 6 of us.

pic courtesy of The Nester {kinda looks like my post-vaca house}
  • We never did much for Lent growing up, but I love this idea that Sara from August Fields  is doing...taking 40 garbage bags and taking an area of the house each and filling one up.  Less stuff to mess with and clean and launder, etc....the more time to focus on what is important...especially during this Easter season.  {It is quite disturbing that you can fill up multiple garbage bags and hardly notice, isn't it??}. This might become a year-round thing.
  • One of my favorite blogs, The Nester, has been proclaiming this for years..."It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful."  This cuts deep for me.  I'm not a perfectionist, BUT how many times have I been hard to live with because I wanted something done the "right" way.  I haven't perfect this approach yet, but I'm trying.  This is probably the main reason that it took so long to do so many things around our house....fear of not making it perfect.  When I finally take that step, it may not be perfect, but I am so thankful I went for it and helped our home be more comfortable for our family.  It's also so easy to think that so many other people have the perfect home or family or fill-in-the-blank.  The reality is that no one's life is perfect {no matter how great someone's may seem on the outside} and when we are so focused on reaching perfection or even other's "perfection", we lose sight of our own blessings right in front of us.
  • Maybe I'm the only one slacking in this area...that's all right, I think I'm airing all my dirty laundry today. : )  Eating/drinking right.  My husband is a Phys Ed teacher and former personal trainer...need I say more??  I like to eat healthy, but I get so caught up in busyness that I many times forget to eat or I grab a quick bite through a drive-thru.  That was no problem...until life caught up with me.  I was dragging my feet so badly by the end of the day.  The problem is no food/bad food = no energy.  I need be the wife and mom I want and need to be!
  • Make time for quality time.  On vacation it is so easy to spend time with each other and then when you get home there is homework to be done and practices to go to and a million things in between.  I made time to take a walk with my younger two today and I made time for the older two to paint their nails.  I'm going to make time for more quality time...I loved it and I don't ever want to miss out because of my busyness.
Me and my baby girl...and yes that is shorts, leggings and pink cowboy boots ; )

Ok, so maybe I'm the only one out there who struggles with any of this. Right now though, I'm am so thankful for the reminder I had this past week to find ways to slow our life down and enjoy my family and home as much as I can.  How do you keep your busy life from getting the best of you?  I'd love to hear!

French Country Kitchen

I wanted to show you the progress on my latest friend Kristen's kitchen.  She is a girl after my own heart who likes all things pretty and wants to make it happen without breaking the bank.  Kristen loves French Country so about a month ago we made a game plan of how to turn her "cookie cutter" kitchen into something she loved!  We are not quite done, but I thought I'd share with the progress.  Here is before....
This kitchen has some good bones...brick floor, lots of cabinets, the island, lots of natural light and a nice open space.  And here's the after (for now)....
They painted the cabinets a green we'd chosen with a black trim.  Love this green...definitely makes a statement with green, but it still is warm, inviting and not too overpowering.
Obviously we haven't gotten to the walls yet...paper is coming down and paint is going up!  I also love that the counter tops don't seem so stark white anymore.
I am loving this back splash she had bought a while simply went up with adhesive {ok, maybe not as simple as Lowe's made it look, but easier than re-tiling}.  She also already purchased the hardware which looks great with the back was exactly what I would've picked for her!
This butcher block island fits in perfect with the French Country look.  All Kristen's great accent pieces {her gorgeous canisters, the cutting board, and other pieces as well} look even better when put in her "new" kitchen. 
Coffee nook...all her dishes already match the new look.

Although there is still work to be done, I am SO excited about this transformation and I'm pretty sure there are some happy homeowners who are enjoying their new kitchen's new look.  Will keep y'all posted on the finished product!
Penny Lane Designs