Life’s not just about the big things….

Take it easy? Relax?  Well, I don’t.  I like to suck up all my free time doing things.  At home, that time is chewed up my my inability to take breaks and my can do, must do attitude results in numerous side projects.  So, while I take some time to brainstorm my next entry, I want to share some of those smaller projects with you.

FlowerLet’s start with beautifying the outdoors.  Goal in mind, curb appeal. We all know that flowers bring color and life to an otherwise drab space but gardening was unfamiliar territory to me and something I was apprehensive about doing.   What if I pick the wrong flowers for the wrong space? What if everything dies?   What will my neighbors think?

Worry.  As referenced above, this one word takes up an awful lot of my time and has plagued me my entire life. My husband gets major props for helping me change those “what ifs” into “who cares!”.  It truly is a better way to live.  Yes, I want things to look beautiful but let’s save the worrying for something truly worth worrying about and allow yourself to learn by just doing.

Learning by trial and error has actually become my most traveled road while living here.  Both my parents live too far away to physically  assist, no matter how much they would like to.  Plus, why give them the impression that I didn’t pay much attention to what they did to make our home as beautiful as it was while I was growing up and now let’s face it,  I am a little lost in this new world.

I started out with no knowledge and built some things that I have to admit, are pretty okay to look at.  Here’s what I learned along the way –  just a few tips so you can be a bit less apprehensive on your journey to “curb appeal”.

Tip #1:  Ask questions in the flower section. Those people are pretty knowledgeable.

Tip #2: Learn the difference between an annual and a perennial.

Tip #3: Know what plants love sun and what plants prefer shade.



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Tip #4: Ladies, DO NOT get a manicure until weeding, mulching, planting and watering are done.  Which is never.  Gardening and keeping up with a yard is a rough and dirty job. You will get dirt under your nails.  And not just your fingernails.  Somehow it will find its way into your toes, which were covered up by sneakers and socks.  #howdoesthathappen

Tip #5: Be okay with Tip #4.

PS – #donttellmomtheflowersaredead . Just kidding.  Not all of them are. 😉

Moving on.

Typically, new homeowners want to start with a clean slate and prefer nothing but floors and walls when they move in. The story is different when the previous homeowners leave you actual good, useable stuff, as was the case for us.  One of the best things they left behind was an outdoor teak table and chairs set.  All it needed was a good part soapy water/part bleach scrub down and it was as good as new!

Tip #1: A warm, sunny, windless day is best. A beautiful, Spring day calls for a project like this and helps you to feel like you can take on any project. The sun and fresh air can do wonders for your soul after a long winter.

Tip #2: A toothbrush works best for those hard to reach places.

Tip #3: Rinse well and when you think you’re done, rinse again.  Soap really gets in there!

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Tip #4: And this is key. If a chair is weak or broken, DO NOT put it out before fully fixed.  One of our guests had an incident.  😉 Don’t worry .  No one was injured and we ended up only needing 5 chairs anyway because they also left us an awesome bench, which we now use on the end.


Speaking of friends…….

“Make new friends but keep the old.” Same goes for decorating your home.  It’s fun to buy new stuff but it’s extra special when you can find a way to re-use old, sentimental pieces.  Keep meaningful pieces around.  If not, you will miss them.

I always loved this one bench my parents had and when my mom finally moved she had no use for it.  Perfect timing because our entryway was in desperate need of a typical “entryway item” and this bench immediately came to mind.  Too bad it was black…..and orange and red and blue and brown, each color visible in certain spots revealed by a bad case of peeling.

This project nearly killed me and during it, I would not have recommended it to anyone.  The amount of scraping and sanding it took was incredible and it still needed a couple coats of paint stripper, more scraping and more sanding.  And then it still needed to be cleaned, dried and painted.

Looking back on this project, that once severely strong memory of blood, sweat and tears has diminished partially due to the passage of time but mostly due to how much I love it now.


Let’s move on to a project I enjoyed from the start.  My indoor faux planter!  I became obsessed with an indoor planter I saw on Pinterest but I never stumbled upon anything that resembled it closely enough or matched the colors and size I needed.  So I made it my next DIY project.

The simplicity of this project was great.  I took measurements of the planned space, got the boards cut at Lowe’s, sanded them down (and bashed them with a bag of nails) to make them look older and then I simply glued the pieces together and set with a clamp.  Okay – it wasn’t exactly the easiest thing I had ever done.  There was some amount of frustration involved. At first the gluing was a sloppy, slippery task. I just couldn’t get the boards to stay in place while trying to get the clamps on.  I ended up with gluey boards (that weren’t attached to each other), glue on my hands, floor and kitchen counter……but with a little time (glued partially one day and partially the next) and a little patience, I finally figured it out and was able to move on to the best part – staining and filling.

I attempted to achieve a more rustic look by brushing cooled black tea onto the planter.  Once that dried, I brushed a mixture of apple cider vinegar & steel wool, which had been soaking in a mason jar for a couple days.

My finishing touches were faux flowers stuck into green foam (cut to fit inside the planter) – both of which I picked up at Michael’s.

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So those are some of my favorite little projects.  And below are some pictures of other fun little additions to our home:


Tree hammock, courtesy of Amazon.


Tree lanterns, courtesy of World Market.












New Jersey Pillow, courtesy of Catstudio.


Picket Fence Flag, courtesy of Home Goods.


Our basement set up, courtesy of our old apartment.


Grill, courtesy of Weber.


Fire Pit, courtesy of the previous homeowners.


American Flag, courtesy of our freedom and Home Depot.


Finish the bedroom, so you can get to the REST. ;)

“A good day starts with a good night’s sleep.”


The realization of how far we’ve come is pretty strong when it takes me a minute or two to remember what project came next. Maybe my lack of memory is just due to lack of sleep, which would be ironic because it was definitely our bedroom.

Since moving out of our apartment, we had become completely unorganized with basic, everyday things – namely our clothing which was strewn about my mother-in-law’s house in various places. We were very much longing for a place for our “things” and so logically, the next step was our bedroom.

Color first. Everything was purple – the walls and the ceiling. It all looked nice enough – probably painted only a couple years back but with it being our first real space, we wanted to switch things up.  I had visions of the finished product and per My Bedroom Board my “pinning” habits were trending gray and yellow.

Tip #1: When you find yourself envisioning (or pinning) the same look and colors over and over again, take it as a sign and get started!


Before the changes…


Color choosing process…








Tip #2: If you plan on pulling up the carpet, paint first.  Your carpet can double as a drop cloth because….no one’s perfect. :/


Along the way, I learned that having a strong vision of your finished product can be a great tool for planning but it can also make life difficult when you run into inevitable “bumps in the road”.  This happened to me as I searched high and low (to no avail) for a comforter to match what was in my head.  Eventually, I had to allow my vision to change and I ended up eliminating yellow altogether.  I have yet to master this skill. I struggle to make any decision (whether deciding what to eat, what to wear or where to go) so when I do finally make the call, I don’t like having to choose a different direction, mid-stream.

I did stick with gray as the main color and kept things simple by buying a white comforter set.  I actually really ended up liking this plan because eventually, I would like to work in some color and when I do, anything will match!  Maybe my husband won’t mind pink. 😉

Tip #3:  Plan.  But allow your plans to change.

I still wanted to have some fun with this room and so I decided to create a wallpaper accent wall, which would become the backdrop for our bed.  Nowadays, the choices for wallpaper seem endless (#patternsfordays), which can make this decision making process a hard one.  I however, quite enjoyed using my lunch hours to peruse wallpaper stores and to look through wallpaper books.

My friend Katie (check out her awesome blog documenting her life as a New England girl making her way in Miami) turned me on to a very cool wallpaper blog (check it out here!).  I learned of it too late for our bedroom and dining room (which you’ll soon see) but don’t think I’m done wallpapering so……I’ll be referring to it very soon!

Tip #4: Wallpaper books are awkward and heavy but are well worth bringing home. You should get a feel for how the paper looks in your  space, before you drop lots of money on it.  It is $$$.

Accent wall and not much else.

Accent wall and not much else.

So far, so good…

Paint (Behr, Dolphin Fin) – check.
Carpet up, 8’x10′ down (Pier I Imports) – check.
Wallpaper (Ricciardi Bros.) – check.
Headboard (Wayfair) – check.
Nightstands (Home Goods) – check.
New fan (Wayfair) – check.
Curtains (TJ Maxx) – check.
Dressers (Home Goods & Overstock) – check.

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Tip #5:  Stay as focused as possible when in stores that also carry non-home related goods.  There were many times when I struggled to not grab that pair of shoes calling my name or that cute shirt reaching out to grab me.  Don’t grab back.

The accents wall was finished off with a large three paneled canvas photo, which really gave it the ultimate sense of prominence and acted as the finishing touch.  Go big or go home!  I wanted to hang a piece that would really draw attention and catch the eye but that would still be subtle enough to match the softness of the room.  I came up short on all of my shopping ventures, so I decided to pull from what I already had on hand.

One of my favorite past times is taking photos. I partake in the activity like it’s going out of style.  The image I chose for this space has long been one of my favorites. I took it at Central Park’s Strawberry Fields Memorial a number of years back and finally it’s up for the viewing thanks to Groupon where I was able to get an awesome deal on a tri-panel canvas wrap of my photo.

Tip #6:  Utilize your skills.  You’ll find you do have them.  It could be something as simple as taking pictures.  If you like to do it, and have thousands of images saved up like I do, you can use them to decorate your own space.  At least you know they are things you like to look at.

My John Lennon Imagine canvas

My John Lennon Imagine canvas

This room is still very much a work in progress but it has already accomplished our main goal which was to become more organized, get our clothes out of sight and to be able to start each day feeling well rested and ready to conquer the day.   It’s slowly becoming my night-time sanctuary.  I sleep soundly under a thick, white cloud of covers, IMAGINING our future in this house, while my husband tosses and turns from “boring bedroom” syndrome.  Men.

Close to finished...

Close to finished…

Still on our bedroom TO DO list:

  • hang the TV
  • find wall mirror(s)
  • find fun round storage ottoman
  • get a white sheepskin rug
  • install crown molding

and then…decorate, decorate, decorate! (accent color…PINK.)

Because starting fresh, just feels good.

So moving into our home didn’t happen in the timely manner we had hoped it would.  We called it quits on our apartment in October, to save on November’s rent.  Honestly, we both envisioned a short period of sadness when leaving behind what was the home to our relationship for the past 8.5 years but apparently, we were over it because we left and never looked back.  I have to say, it’s kind of nice to close a door and keep it closed.

Goodbye Sagamore Apartments.

Goodbye Sagamore Apartments.  We loved you but for some reason we won’t miss you.

Our plans were to move into our new home on November 21st, the day we were handed the keys but it didn’t actually happen until a whole month later.  Right before Christmas!  Ah…the best laid plans. :/  If it were up to my husband, (which I am now starting to sympathetically realize, not much ever is) we would have been in right away but I prefer to live comfortably, not anxiously and in my eyes, it would have been pretty stressful to live amongst paint cans, pulled up carpet, open cleaning supplies and pretty much in a state of constant mess and confusion.  Why move stuff in, just to have to move it around to get stuff done?   He was anxious and excited to have a house and I was anxious and excited to make it our home.

That being said, we extended our stay at his mom’s house.  While we were there (November and much of December) my wheels were constantly turning, dreaming up plans.  I had been pinning up a storm to get ideas for bedroom colors, dining room wallpaper, outdoor spaces, DIY projects and anything else I came across that interested me in the slightest. For some, this is just a bad addiction that leads nowhere but for me it’s a constant and reliable source of inspiration and it serves as my own personal assistant when my memory fails me.  Also, I “pin” fully aware that some dreams (pins) will remain dreams (pins) forever.  #Ihavealoveaffairwithpinterest

Sharing time between our temporary house and our future home (thankfully only separated by a few miles) worked out well for us – a decision we do not regret.  While the house was nice and empty, we were able to;

Tip #1:  Kitchens take the most work and can be the dirtiest when they should be the cleanest  – so start there.  Otherwise, you will be too exhausted to give that space the attention it deserves.

If it's not cleaned by you, it's not clean enough.

If it’s not cleaned by you, it’s not clean enough.

Tip #2:  If there were cats, it has to go.  Muscles or pure angst required.

Goodbye gross green runner.

Goodbye gross green runner.

Tip #3: Pay a professional and don’t stick around.  The smell is enough to kill someone!  Do your research.  We weren’t 100% satisfied with the job and satisfaction is key when paying a lot of money.

Tip #4: If it’s a small job, do it with your partner….otherwise hire a professional.  No matter how much you love your significant other, you will want to kill them and you will need their help down the road so you may want to keep them around.

Tip #5:  Steamers can work magic in the removal process.  Thanks Dad.

We learned a steamer can work magic.

We learned a steamer can work magic.

Shades of gray.

Shades of gray.

Aside from the feeling of accomplishment after a long hard day, the best was simply being able to leave it all behind for tomorrow and head back to a cozy bed and the company of family, just one town over.  It was, in fact a relief to step away, reflect on what had been done and dream of what tomorrow would bring.

Fun Fact/Unexpected Twist:  I learned to love a dog.  It took time but that was definitely something rare, unexpected and special.   #Ineverlikeddogsbuthegrewonme #hadnochoicebecausewelivedtogether #ILoveYouMunson



My happy space is my happy place.

At 33, my life is just beginning.  Does that give you hope?  Good.

My husband and I finally have our own home.  When our eyes are open we see years of work ahead of us but when we close our eyes we see our future family, enjoying all of our hard work in their home.   That vision of our future is what makes me most excited and is what keeps me motivated every single moment of every single day.  To my detriment, this “can’t sit still/always need to be accomplishing something” attitude is what drives my husband crazy.  My brain constantly buzzes with design ideas.  My to do list is a mile long.  My wants exceed my budget.  My Pinterest is on overload.  And I’m constantly nudging him to be more like me.   Maybe I do need to tone it down a bit?  Maybe this blog will help me realize that I have in fact accomplished a lot (enough) in a short period of time.  That I am on the right (an okay) track.  That I should relax (sit down) a little and enjoy what I (what we) have, more than waiting to enjoy what we don’t (yet).  But then again…..there’s so much to do!  😉

Me and my husband the day we got the keys!

I plan to take you on this “make my house my home” journey with me.  I’ll show a lot of before and after pics letting you know what worked and what didn’t.  I’ll share details on my brave (at least brave in my mind) DIY projects and let you know if I’d do it again OR never recommend to anyone who wants to remain sane!

I will work tirelessly to make our house, our home.  I will do it, not without difficulties but happily.  I will embrace this experience knowing it is time-consuming, never-ending, expensive and exhausting.  But I will love it because…why shouldn’t I?  I promise you fun pictures and fun stories that include both successes and fails.  I hope you’ll find inspiration through my experiences and carry that inspiration into your own space.

Welcome to my home ownership!