Tuesday, March 31, 2009

States of the Union

Although we picked Melissa, our hearts really belong to Molly. And when I say Melissa and Molly, I mean Georgia and our native states. Yup. My boyfriend and I are not natural born Peaches. Sure, some people didn't think it would work...you know, us being Georgia dawgs but just like Michael Vick, if you hang out with enough canines, eventually you can become a dog. (Bankruptcy hurts doesn't it buddy - Burn!)

Don't get me wrong. We love our little nook in the world - smooshed inbetween the rednecks and the rappers. But we still have a soft spot for our home states. Jeremy was a Tennessee boy when our romance began and me, well, I am a Jersey girl through and through. So naturally, when I spied this art at ZGallerie it inspired me to create my own little montage to our alma maters.
I noticed how the fonts were different sizes and styles. I also saw that they used names of landmarks, general areas, specific towns, and famous New York roads.

I kept those important factors in mind while I went to work with my own version of wordle. I created a little Tennessee montage and a New Jersey montage to remind us of our own home sweet home. Yes, I did it in Paint. Yes, it is not high-tech. Yes, I want to print it out on cream colored paper instead of super-white.

So what do you think of the final reveal? My uber-cheapo art is a fun reminder of who we are and where we come from. I tried to focus on including as many major cities as possible and also incorporate some very personal places as well. I bet with a little time and google.maps, you could create your own version to represent your home state.

Which leads me to my next question - where do you live and where are you from? Do we have any Jersey gals out there? Or Tennessee peeps? You know the volunteer state produced one hot cookie of a husband, so I imagine the gene pool is booming up there :)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Living on the Ledge

So this is what's up...ledges. Specifically wall ledges.

Not only are these puppies fabulicious but they are uber-functional. You can use one to create a frame gallery, display your cork collection, store your kid's Beanie Babies, or show off your favorite books. The possibilities are endless! Seriously, I betcha ten thousand points you could think of something awesome to do with these in your own home.

I picked up three at my local Pottery Barn outlet a while back for my dining room. Since the space was too small for a buffet and a china cabinet, these ledges provided a perfect solution for storing (and showing off) my beautiful Lenox.

The ones I bought are called the Holman Ledge and are just lovely! The price however makes me smile less than a SAW movie. Which is why I was very excited to share this news:


That's right my fine friends - Ikea now has the Ribba ledge...comes in black or white and they have three different sizes. Picked one up myself this past weekend! Love it, adore it, lick it occasionally. Best part is that the price is no Dog the Bounty Hunter, if you know what I mean...

Let's face it, ledges rock...also Ledgers rock as in Heath as in the Joker as in Oscar booyah as in that's all I got. So go on, live on the ledge! You'll thank me, I promise.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Linen Closet Organized

This is a boring post. But if you are already bored, it won't hurt to read. Or if you are looking to become un-bored, get a bag of marshmallows and stuff one into your mouth every time you read the word "STUFF" - then say the title of this post after each mellow - it's like playing Chubby Bower Power. One million points to those who can do more than six marshmallow. (STUFF)

Our linen closet is in the upstairs hall. And we just STUFFed it full of STUFF to make room for more STUFF in other areas. By now it is a mess full of my old apartment STUFF, Jeremy's old apartment STUFF, STUFF we have acquired during our marriage, and a good deal of new STUFF.

And now for my boring after. Yup, nothing color coded or labeled or with shmancy organizers from a Home STUFF store. Just the ole fashioned stacked items. We do keep a heck of a lot in there though. Look at all this STUFF -

5 pillows, 2 sleeping bags, 7 blankets, 1 heated blanket, 2 body pillows, 6 sets of queen sheets, 1 extra duvet cover and shams, 7 beach towels, 2 sets of twin sheets, one mattress protector, and all the ironing STUFF! STUFF, STUFF, STUFF! (that is for those people with giant pie holes)

And that is after we purged a lot of STUFF! Having all that STUFF organized instead of just STUFFed in feels really good. So have you cleaned your linen closet lately? Find any weird STUFF? I found a dropcloth. Complete with paint stains and pine needles. Stranger things have happened :)

Okay I am done with the boring post - so like scrunchies and tightrolling, I am out. (STUFF!)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Fan of Fans

Sea fans, that is! And during my recent trip to Grand Cayman, we learned that the earlier hurricane season brought strong winds, high seas, and roughed up some of the coral reef. The rejects were just laying on the beach. All I needed to do was stroll. That and have someone help me carry all my doo-dads back home. So I went walking on the beach with high hopes and boyfriend in tow to perform an America's Next Top Sea Fan search. Requirements - be skinny enough to fit in a suitcase, be able to sit still and look fierce, and be real. Please note that these requirements are exactly the same slightly different than ANTM's requirements.

Let's just say I wasn't disappointed. I brought my collection home and started to make the perfect scene for displaying my pride and joy. More specifically, a perfect yellow sea fan. It is drop dead gorg! I bought a Ribba frame at Ikea and wrapped the mat with white fabric to create a soft uniform background.

As you can see, I wrapped it just like a present...except with packing tape. And I made sure there was a white piece of paper (it's actually gray on one side but the back is solid white) on the underside of the fabric between the mat and fabric. It makes it a little more uniform.

And there you have it. A new piece of art for my kitchen. It covers an outlet right now :) And I love the color and interest it adds to an otherwise boring part of the wall.

Just look at that detail! Beautimus, no?! Not only is it a good memento of my trip to the Caribbean but it is just an everyday reminder that each person in this world is even more wonderfully made. Everyone is intricate. Everyone is different. And just like this sea fan, I need to remember to treat each with tender lovin' care. Even skinny model-types that seem to have everything in the bag. But that doesn't mean that I can't taunt them with a bagel every now and again. It's actually really fun! I would never do that.

***Those ocean-lovin' Youngsters over at TYH also did this project a while back by ordering their dried sea-fan online - go on over to check all the details!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Peace (out) Lily

Yo, I have a lily! And it is a Peace lily. And it makes you peaceful. No, seriously. NASA did a study on houseplants and this sucker was among the top ten in removing indoor chemicals and keeping the air greener. Tell me that doesn't give you peace of mind, go ahead, I dare ya!

We got a honker of a plant at IKEA (of course) for $20. I don't know if this is a good price for one this large but it was the "Plant of the Week" so I bought it. It was calling my name!

I decided that the little area behind this chair in the den needed a little sprucing...err, a little lily-ing. And since we didn't have any foliage going on in this space, it was only a matter of time till it would feel sterile and cold.

Can you see her? She is peaking out from behind the chair. I love her. Although she is pretty, peace lilies aren't for everyone. Apparently they are toxic. And toxic is not a good thing - you can't believe everything you hear on a Britney Spears' single, you know? The peace lily leaves are NOT chew toys for animals and humans...so Moms - it is not ok to tell your kids to suck on the plant to shut them up...unless you are evil...in which case, alright.

From another angle, you can see that my NASA-approved houseplant looks quite homey. It just works. Like an OJ Simpson hand and a glove. Like Will Smith in Bel-Air. Or like Bower Power on your computer. Peace out lily.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Cool Stools

This past weekend, Ikea had some specials. Here was one of the ads:

My reaction was a little somethin' like this:


So I checked. And I was right. They are not listed online.

Currently we have two counter height barstools from Pier 1. They are slim profile with metal legs and a woven seat. The problem is this: our counter/bar is not very deep. So in order to sit comfortably with your knees under the counter and not jammed up into the paneling, you must scoot your hiney back and then lean forward. That last part sounds like a rap song :) But maybe our patooties are too big because we feel like our derriere is falling off the chair.

That is the prob bob. And it doesn't help that one of the stools has a bent leg. I thought about posting a weight limit sign on the stool but then that would be tacky...I'll just let the fatty take a tumble :)

One day maybe my rear end will only be four inches deep...I could be dreaming though. I think I was born with a bigger bootie than that....and I ain't talking about baby shoes :) These babies are gonna make it into the yard sale pile....maybe someone will buy them that can fit....like a child or a dwarf or anyone on Dancing with the Stars.

It didn't take long for my boyfriend and I to head down to our lovely Atlanta branch of Ikea to check out the fabu barstools. Obviously they were sold out of the antique stained version at the too-good-to-be-true price of $20. Buuuuuutttt we did see something that caught our eye.

They carried this stool in WHITE!!! Sure, they weren't the best price in the world...$60 a piece. I have listed all the reasons I love them:
  • They require no work (apart from assembly).
  • They break up all that woody-woodwork in the kitchen.
  • The backs are low enough to not block the open feel of the kitchen/den.
  • The seats are large enough for an adult-sized bootwha.
  • They resemble a much pricier Pottery Barn version

So there you have it - yet another reason to visit Ikea asap...or any store for that matter....because just like a dog's stomach, you never know what's inside!

Slain with Polystain

Right now I am focused on getting the den done. I want it to feel like the Paula Deen of dens....I want it to draw you in with a warm and cozy spirit...I want it to feel like it has been around a hundred years but not stuffy...I want it to make me smile.

Ya'll remember my conundrum?

Yupperdoodle. Five different wood finishes. So I got to work to remedy the color problem. The table in between the chairs (#4) and the dresser (#1) needed to be morphed into a more sophisticated version of themselves. I conjured the makeover powers in the movie Princess Diaries where Anne Hathaway goes from 'nerd' to 'word' - and hoped that I could be as effective as Julie Andrews...dude, is there anything that woman can't do?!?

Just take a gander at the top of this dresser. The shame. But what can you expect for $25 at Goodwill, right?

Our original plan was to use Minwax gel stain in walnut. But nobody sold that color. I found that out after calling 17 home improvement stores...so I bought hickory instead. We sanded the pieces lightly to make sure that the stain would stick. And here are the results after two coats of gel stain...

Less dramatic than a Hugh Hefner breakup (or three). The problem with the gel stain was that you had to wipe the thick-as-butta stain off after you let it sit for a few minutes. The longer it sits - the more time the wood can suck the color. But the longer it sits - the harder it is to get it off. I could only convince my boyfriend to assist me with two coats... I needed a hero and fast.

Enter Cabot Polystain. I picked up a jar of Dark Oak in satin finish...it's the butter on my pecans...it's the sugar in my grits...it puts the purr in perfect! Sure, it takes a million thin coats - but there is NO WIPING OFF REQUIRED :) By the time I finished the first coat, it was dry enough to apply the second.

Twenty-five or so coats later....

...our curvy little side table matches the flanking bookcases.

And the moment you have all been waiting for....dim the lights please...our new princess of the den is ready for court -

I couldn't believe it either :) Let's look at it one more time:

I am officially on the Polystain train. I am slain with Polystain. I would love to obtain, sustain, explain the Polystain campaign with plain Jane, Elaine and Wayne in Maine while drinking champagne. Can you tell I have Polystain on the brain? (heehee)

I loved this product. And the results were fantabulous, no? So the question is...did you guys know about this? And if so...why didn't you tell me?!?! One hundred points to those of you that wanna join the Polystain chain gang.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Bigger is Better

Bigger is better especially when it comes to lighting. And that is exactly the reason I was so pumped to find this huge (no kidding - it's humongous) deal at my local Pottery Barn outlet store.

Yes - I placed that regular sized wine bottle next to it specifically because I wanted you all to get a sense of scale. This sucker is big. Like Pamela Anderson big, if you know what I mean! I also figured that most of you knew were pretty familiar with the size of a wine bottle :)

Just for kicks, here is a link to a PB side-table glass lamp that is ridiculously similar. See the price? Yeah - $200!!! The original price on my sweet see-through baby was $250 including the oversized linen drum shade. Wanna guess how much I paid? Ok...take a shot. You'll never get it - I will just tell ya....(drumroll please).....

$15 for lamp
$17 for shade

TOTAL of $32 for this sexy beast.

This is better than chocolate. better than Lost (this season is rockin my socks off!). better than the time I saw Theodore Huxtable in the airport. And way better than Pam's acting skills.

**Please note that bigger is not better for Miss Anderson - think apples my dear - not watermelons.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Nothing get's my heart throbbin' like an interactive online decorator. So naturally I am totally diggin' Anthropologie's Hardware Store. Experiment with different dressers or cabinets, change the color and add a few totally fun knobs and handles to create your own favorite look. It's more fun than Bengay on a toilet seat :)

Here are some of the ones I came up with:

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bedroom Sidetable

I love Walmart. I ain't ashamed either. I LOVE WALMART! (yup, I would yell that in a crowded courtyard declaring my feelings for the chain superstore - the doves would fly, the violins playing in the background, and hearts would melt). And I love them even more since they got the Canopy line and the Better Homes and Gardens stuff. Seriously, I haven't been this excited since they started selling Mary Kate and Ashley makeup!

So our bedroom. Yup. This is where the magic happens (and when I say magic I mean thousands of hours of sleep complete with drool, snoring, dreams about befriending Britney Spears, and a little tiny bit of stuffed animal canoodling). Our bedroom was a mish-mash of different styles - but it has always been in the plan book to get a complete bedroom set for this space. And I have proof...remember this post? Obviously my two readers do :)

First, I did the most complicated disassembling job evah. I took apart our current 'side tables'. That's right - it got me sweating worse than a Biggest Loser contestant. I think I need a massage :) Seriously though...as you can see, our side table was nothing more than a $10 mirror on a $5 luggage rack. And being the thrifty gal I am, both the mirrors and the luggage racks will have new homes in our wee little house.

Then we put together our new fabulous side table. Yes, that is a singular term (not side tables) because we only have one. We bought two. The other one suffered from DDS....popularly known as 'DAMAGE DURING SHIPPING' - which is a quite common occurrence with el cheapo and expensive furniture alike. Note this is the side table with the silver knobs (Jeremy's preference).

And this is the side table with the more subtle wooden knobs (my preference). What do you guys prefer?

I also decided to change out the lamp shades. I got these creamy silk beauties at the Pottery Barn outlet for $7 a piece. I love the non-shine-through quality. Nothing is worse than rolling over to say goodnight and being blinded by the bright bulb shining through the shade. Except maybe rolling over onto a cockroach, or having a giant spider dangle over your head as you sleep or the thought of those microscopic worms crawling into your mouth as you nod off. Do you see why I have a hard time going to dreamland?!? Thank you Jesus for pest control....and Listerine!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Book Nook

Like a hounddog, I have been on the search for the perfect bookcases. My goal - to improve the den. My sad little den is really a transitional zone in the house. It has the most architectural details (read: the fireplace) but it really isn't a focal area in the home. It's most important role is that the den connects the kitchen to the living room (read: the food to the TV). The den also serves as an overflow room when we have too many people to seat around the kitchen peninsula.

Originally we had red accents going on in there - but the globally inspired crimson accents didn't flow with the rest of the rooms. And since the adjoining living room has green spots of color throughout, my boyfriend and I decided that this room should be like Paula Abdul and be completely statement-neutral but still make you smile.

My biggest beef with this room is that the leather chairs didn't balance out the microfiber chair because they were pushed back too far. In order to center all the chairs on the fireplace, the club chairs had to be floating out about two feet from the window wall. And let's face it, random brown floaters only are good in one place...and we are working on the den. (Gotta love some potty humor!) So we decided to buy two of these bookshelves. The problem was no store carried them. After a few weeks of fervent Target-stalking, we finally landed two of the espresso colored cases for flanking our window....on sale for $64 a piece.

After assembling the new shmancy bookcases, we called it a day. I stuffed some books in the bottom and threw some old pieces on the shelves but really wasn't digging the vibe. It wasn't putting out a neutral mojo, was it?

So we decided to begin accessorizing. Bringing in a small lamp ($2 Mexican thrift store find) and a few $1 books from the flea market (all with brown, beige, and white covers) helped create a little reading zone on the center table. The Pottery Barn photo albums took their place on the bottom shelves. The rest of the shelves got a few scattered items for now but will need to be adorned in the near future. I definitely want to paint the gold mirror white and place above the bookshelves (don't worry, I have two!). Any other suggestions? If ya;ll find links to neutral hued items that you think I might like - please let me know. A girl is nothing without her accessories :)

Oh and I almost forgot to mention, the bookshelves really help my floaters to not look crappy (heehee) pushed out in the middle of the space. In fact, I can just imagine dumping (haha) my junk on the floor and popping a squat (ok, I'll stop) on one of the leather thrones (sorry, I can't help it).

A little makeover that happened by chance. This is a chest I scored at Goodwill for $35. On top it had a bit of that red we were phasing out. Naturally it had to go.

Obviously this isn't done yet. But just so I can keep you guys up to speed, I did a quick change to make the chest accessories a little more neutral too.

Ok now here is what I really want to share. I have FIVE different wood finishes in the den. All different. It's driving my boyfriend bonkers. He is so matchy matchy :) So over the next month or so, be prepared to see some of these wood colors change...yup, Bower Power is gonna digest these suckers and you are not gonna believe what comes out the other end :) Seriously though, potty humor is a stinky habit and I am trying to get it outta my system...pun totally intended.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Lots of Love to Locks of Love

In this day and age it is hard to know whether or not charities are good samaritans or evil doers exploiting our generousity. Case in point -

After yesterday's post, I was concerned about the feedback I got about Locks of Love from my fellow Shades of Light fan, The Upstart. She stated that her hair (which sounds freaking gorgeous! hello hair model!) wouldn't make the cut at one of the best known charities in America. So I followed her well-spoken (err, well-typed) advice and did some of my own research.

Here's what I came up with:

  • No charity can use every single thing donated
  • No charity can sell every single thing for the highest amount
  • No charity is going to be perfect or flawless because they are run by humans who are imperfect and full of flaws

And so my decision is to keep with my original support of Locks of Love. This may offend people...well, tough cookies. I am standing by my decision. I am Hayden and this is my Shamu.

A huge thank you goes out to The Upstart for encouraging me to get some charity enlightenment. And a million points goes to each one of you that told me about your donated follicles....dudettes, you rock! Even if your locks end up getting sold to a doll company instead of adorning some child's shiny bud-free head, your act was still a good deed and it still benefits the charity. So high-fives all around!

Oh and those of you that haven't voted on a Shades of Light rug for my kitch, get to it! This is my call for help -

(clockwise from top left)

Totally chic and super comfy on the knees for those baking marathons - Happy Trellis Rug in green
Uber durable and easy to clean for when spills happen - Variegated Round Rug
Cheerful hue and texture galore for a little global inspiration - Soho Dhurri Rug in yellow