since i’ve been gone

Here we are a few weeks short of the one year anniversary of this blog and a few days short of my being married for six months.  Time flies when you’re having fun eh?  As you may have noticed, posts have been pretty scarce around here due to my being neck deep in wedding craziness, followed by work craziness with a dash of newlywed bliss craziness, plenty of house project craziness and just overall life craziness.  While the crazy still ensues, it’s about high time I get back to documenting the goings on around these parts.  If you follow me on Instagram then you’ve gotten sneak peeks here and there of updates to the house and recipes I’ve been trying out.  If not, then you’re in luck.  I present to you some snapshots of what I’ve been up to since I’ve been gone, Instagram style:


We’ve cooked a lot of yummy recipes that we’ll definitely be making again and will share some of them here in the near future.

Like these cute Christmas tree cake pops I made for the holidays…

Christmas Tree Cake Pops

and this artichoke soup…

Artichoke Soup

and these chicken enchiladas…

Chicken Enchiladas

and these banana fritters…

Banana Fritters

and these parmesan crusted calamari steaks with lemon caper sauce…

Parmesan Crusted Calamari Steaks in Lemon Caper Sauce

and this farfalle with pistachio cream sauce.

Farfalle with Pistachio Cream Sauce

Guest Room

We painted the guest room in Valspar’s Filtered Shade.

Valspar Filtered Shade

I had some trouble deciding which rug to put in the freshened up space.  Ultimately I went with Genevieve Gorder’s Arabesque rug on the left.

Arabesque Scalloped Fallon Dhurrie Rugs

We took out the bulky bed and added a sofa bed to turn it into a functional TV room when we don’t have house guests.

Ikea Hagalund Sofa Bed White Garden Stool Arabesque Rug

(pre wall art)

I then promptly changed my mind (big surprise) about the throw pillows and switched them out with these black and white ones.

Black White Chevron Pillows

Living Room

We painted our fireplace and re-tiled the hearth with slate in my beloved herringbone pattern.  Okay, more like Devin re-tiled the fireplace, but I directed.  I am super in love with it. (Details to come in a separate post.)

Slate Herringbone Fireplace Hearth

Last August we replaced the old mirror over the fireplace with a reclaimed wood one (sorry for the holiday decorations)…

Reclaimed Wood Mirror Holiday Mercury Glass Mantel Burlap Stockings

then last week I fell in love with this antiqued glass gem mirror (on sale!) at West Elm.

West Elm Gem Mirror

Dining Room

We got a beautiful reclaimed wood farmhouse table for the dining room along with a new rug and Tolix marais chairs…

Reclaimed Wood Farmhouse Table and Marais Chairs

and I finally finally have a chandelier. (Separate before/after post to come.)

Dining Room Crystal Chandelier


I took some baby steps towards my office redux. I still need to paint my beloved campaign desk and dresser, but the filing cabinet looks great in there already.  Here’s a peek of a new print in the room.

The Best is Yet to Come Print

Master Bedroom

Currently we’re concentrating on redecorating the Master Bedroom.  I’m really excited about the beautiful rug that will add a fun pop of color to the room.

West Elm Dhurrie Rust

Here’s a sneak peek of the new dresser and lamp.

West Elm Stria Dresser Honeycomb Lamp

So.  As you can see we’ve been busy.  I’m looking forward to sharing all the details of the above projects with you all!

Also, welcome to all of the new readers who have been popping over from Recipe by Photo.  I’m so happy you’ve all been enjoying my spinach artichoke bites :).

a new front porch light fixture and wedding invite sneak peek

Remember when I showed you all our newly painted house exterior and mentioned that we hadn’t decided on a light fixture for the front porch yet, but I had found one I liked?  But Devin didn’t like it, and I needed a little more time to work on him?

Well, I worked on it :).

I love it!  A couple weekends ago we went to Lamps Plus and looked at the fixture in person.  Not only did Devin end up liking it when he saw it, but it was on sale.  Score!  Not only that, there’s a matching longer one that we’ll be getting for the back of the house by the sliding door.

I like the simple clean Mission style and the rubbed bronze finish…and the clear seeded glass.

It hangs just far enough off the wall to be noticeable but not in the way.


In other news, yesterday marked the two month countdown to our wedding!  I can’t believe how fast time is flying.  You may have noticed that it’s been pretty quiet around these parts in the last few weeks.  That’s because I’m neck deep in wedding projects, but I can’t share any of them on this blog yet because I want our wedding guests to be seeing all of the details for the first time on the day of.  Fear not, I’ll be providing detailed posts on our wedding after I get back from the honeymoon :).

To whet your appetite, here’s a sneak peek of the kraft paper tags I made with a custom stamp for our wedding invitations.

I’m really happy with how they turned out, and all of the guests have been loving them…I can’t wait ’til I can share them with you all in their entirety!


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before & after: painted house exterior

The thing about short work weeks is that while it’s fantastic to have an extra day off, that also means that all of the work that was supposed to be done in five days still needs to be done in four days.  Which equates to a crazy short work week.   Add to that two long evenings of helping my sister move and what you get is my not having written a post since last Friday.  Ah well, better late than never eh?

I’ve finally taken some photos of the house exterior, though it’s not quite done and won’t be for some time.  Because “done” to me means:

  1. Spray painting the door hardware
  2. Choosing a new light fixture for the front porch
  3. Building a wooden railing and banister for the front porch
  4. Get a new front door
  5. Get a new roof

Those are in order of “most likely to happen fairly soon” to “maybe once our unborn child goes to college.”  As many of you homeowners may know, getting a new roof ain’t cheap.  We’re not talking about adding another layer of shingles on top of what’s already there.  We’re talking rip the whole enchilada out and start afresh.  The roof doesn’t leak (thankfully) so it’s not the greatest sense of urgency.  Though it’s become much more obvious now that the rest of the house looks nice and refreshed that the roof is pretty sad.  Whenever we do take the plunge, we’ll replace the brown shingles with some crisp dark gray ones.

Here’s the house before. (This was also before we put the front island in.)

I don’t even know what you’d call that color.  Pale pink?  Blush?  Whatever you call it, it was pretty BLAH.

Now, Devin and I have been talking about painting the house for the last three years.  It’s taken us THAT LONG to agree on a color.  Hey, don’t look at me.  Look at my fiance aka THE MOST INDECISIVE MAN IN THE HISTORY OF THE KNOWN UNIVERSE.  We’d settle on a color, then he’d be all “Eh, I don’t know about that one anymore…it’s too brown/gray/blue/green/light/dark, let’s go look at more paint colors.”  Repeat eleventy hundred times.

We finally settled on Behr’s Fashion Gray for the walls, Graceful Gray for the accent and Gallery White for the trim around the windows and doors. The shutters and front door are Myth, also by Behr.

What do you think?

I love the blue of the shutters we made against the new wall color.  They look so much better than the old white louvered ones.

You can see that we also tore out the wrought iron railing that used to be on the porch, which as mentioned above we’ll be replacing with a wood railing soon eventually.

We debated for days about whether the window and door trim should be the Gallery White or the Graceful Gray like the peak and the garage door.  My vote was for white, Devin’s was for the gray.  I knew I was right, but let him have his way and we had the trim painted the lighter gray.  After which, he decided it was too much gray and not enough contrast (as I knew it would be), so then we had it painted over again with the white.

I’m not going to say “I told him so”…

…but I did. 🙂

By the way, that little sliver in the front curtain in all of the photos would be Echo trying to see what was going on outside WITHOUT HER HOW DARE I.

I neglected to take a before photo of the front door, but it was a light cedar wood.  I HATE the carved detailing in the center and wanted to fill it in with wood filler, but everyone warned us that it would still show through so I settled on just painting it for now.  Eventually I’d love to get a nice craftsman style door with maybe some windows across the top.

As you’ll see, no light fixture yet since we haven’t decided on one.  I like one on Lamps Plus, but I’m still trying to sell Devin on it because he doesn’t like that the glass is clear.  Give me a little bit of time :).

I also need to brighten up the porch with a couple accessories and need to spray the hardware with some oil-rubbed bronze (which is why the knocker is already removed).  I think it’ll really make it pop against the blue.

The copper rain chain was a gift from Devin’s dad and stepmom.

We’re pretty happy with the results.  Even Mr. Indecisive now comments every time we come home that “the house looks nice.”  Hallelujah.



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bathroom fixture fail and spray paint is my BFF

This was our teeny tiny bathroom last year.  Please excuse the horrible photos.

Yes, bathroom singular. Our three bedroom house only has one bathroom. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find a house with two bathrooms for less than $700K in our neck of the woods. Really depressing, isn’t it? You can understand then why, when watching House Hunters on HGTV, I want to throw things at the television when I see someone buying a huge 4 bedroom 3 bath house for $300K. Ah well, I know we choose to live in the bay area. The many perks of living here are balanced with the high cost of living, but there’s nowhere else I’d rather be…at least for now.

Anyway, I digress.  So back to the bathroom.  One bathroom suits us just fine for now, though we do toy with the notion of someday bumping out the guest room a few feet and turning it into a master suite with a second bathroom.  Maybe one day when we have kids who are old enough to start hogging the bathroom :).

It’s not a completely horrible bathroom, even with the 1940s tile, but it definitely needs some sprucing up.  The bright sort of turquoise blue wall always seemed too loud for me against the gray and cranberry tile.  I’m also not a huge fan of the plain old medicine cabinet and the light fixture above it.

Eventually, when time and finances allow, we’d like to gut the whole thing and start from scratch.  For the short term, I was happy to just give it a facelift with a new medicine cabinet, light fixture and shelves above the toilet and to freshen the entire space up with some paint.

On Saturday, we cleaned the walls, took out the old medicine cabinet and light fixture, patched some holes and taped everything off.  Then on Sunday I put two coats of Behr’s Semi-Gloss Paint & Primer in One in Sterling on the walls.  When Devin first saw it his initial reaction was, “Eh, now it looks kind of boring.”  I however think that the whole space looks brighter and lighter, and now we can make the room pop with the accessories…whereas before we were limited to the decor due to the gray/cranberry/turquoise combo.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the before/after post I was hoping for because Devin ran into a little hiccup when he installed the new medicine cabinet and light fixture this afternoon.

This is the original light fixture that I chose from Lowe’s.  Devin has it wired in upside down in this photo.  Why?  Because when it’s right side up (with the domes facing down), you can’t open the medicine cabinet door due to the lights hanging in the way.


I don’t know why neither of us thought about the fact that the old fixture was practically right on top of the medicine cabinet.  I suppose I just thought it would be magic and everything would just…WORK.  Sadly, not the case.

I was pretty bummed because I really like the fixture…especially the glass domes we chose (this was a mix and match fixture where the base came by itself and you chose the domes you wanted from a variety of styles).

We discussed our options:

A. Choose a new fixture that either has lights that are straight across or facing up.

B. Move the hole.  While this would’ve allowed us to keep the fixture, it would require moving the old wire, opening up a new hole and patching up the old one with sheet rock.  While doable, it negated the whole point of us not putting too much backend work into this facelift.  (I originally wanted a larger mirror/medicine cabinet, but it would’ve required moving the outlet that’s right next to the vanity.  Again, that was nixed due to the backend work involved.) Not worth it since we want to gut the whole room down the line anyway.

So option A it is!  We hopped over to Lowe’s to return the first fixture and examine our options for a new one.  Surprisingly, we found one that we both like better than the first one.  It’s a more modern style, but that actually suits us and the bathroom better.

Except, they were all sold out of the model we wanted.

FAIL again!

There’s a Lowe’s not too far from my office that has them in stock so I’ll swing by tomorrow and pick it up.  In the meantime, here’s a sneak peak at one of the accessories going in the bathroom.

I got this sunburst mirror from Target.

Originally I planned to put it in the office, but then we decided it would be a nice addition to the bathroom above the bathtub.  While I liked the original oil-rubbed bronze finish, I decided to embrace the cranberry tile in the bathroom and use that as our accent color instead of trying to run away from it.  I am loving me some spray paint these days, so after a coat of Rust-Oleum Clean Metal Primer and two coats of Rust-Oleum Gloss spray paint in Cranberry, the mirror is begging to be hung in the bathroom.

I think it’ll look great in there and will really add a nice pop of color.

Stay tuned for the bathroom reveal in a couple days!



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before & (for now) after: the living room

When Devin first bought the house, the entire place was carpeted in a grubby pale pink.  One of the first things that he did before moving in was to rip up all of the carpet and have the original hardwoods that had been hiding underneath refinished.

The Before

This is the only before photo I could find of the living room.  This was before he ripped up the carpet and in the midst of cutting all the crown molding.  Don’t you love that dirty pale pink carpet and the maroonish brown fireplace?

Behind the sawhorses is the coat closet.  Directly across the coat closet is the front door of the house.

In Progress

This is what the living room looked like when I first moved in.

From this viewpoint, the front door is directly to your right.  Compared to the first photo, you can see the hardwoods, the fireplace that we painted and the crown molding.

The gargantuan sectional is also a sleeper and was a hand me down from Devin’s mom. It took up way too much space in the living room and closed the whole area off from the dining room to the left.  The deep brown color also darkened the overall feel of the room too much. The buffet along the far wall was a really ornate antique that belonged to Devin’s great grandmother.  While it’s a beautiful piece of furniture, it was much too large for the space and the style is more traditional and classic than we prefer.

The (for now) After

Here’s what the living room looks like now.

The new couch has a chaise that is shorter than the old couch which opens the living room up to the dining room so it feels much more open now. The craftsman style wood rocking chair sat abandoned in a rundown cabin on Devin’s great aunt’s property until we rescued it.  The display cabinet was made by Devin’s dad, the console table that the TV sits on was made by Devin’s stepdad and the candle stand was made by Devin.  I told you his family’s got some skills!

The wood mirror, candlesticks and lantern are from antique stores, the yellow vintage frame is from the flea market and the metal egg basket that we keep the dogs’ toys in is from a garage sale.  The mirror feels too “church-y” for my taste and puts too much focus on the center of the mantel, so I’m on the lookout for a different mirror to put in its place.  The little wooden elephant figurines are from a trip Devin took to France after he graduated high school.

Here’s the new couch.  We purchased it from a local furniture store, and I LOVE it.  When we chose the fabric, we were worried that it was going to end up being too dark, but I think it’s perfect and I love that it has simple clean lines without being uber modern. The cream wool rug and distressed green coffee table are from Pottery Barn (no longer available), and the hurricane candle holders are from Cost Plus World Market. I’m in the midst of replacing the throw pillows with a variety of more brightly patterned ones as right now, all the pillows are so BROWN.

Please excuse the blurriness of the above photo.  I just love these nesting tables.  Devin already had these and doesn’t remember where he got them. MEN.  The framed prints on the wall are of the Ireland coastline, purchased by Devin on a trip there.  The cute leaf coasters are from Crate and Barrel Outlet.  The pharmacy floor lamp and Crosley iPod dock are from Tar-jay.  The little elephant chair is a souvenir from a trip that Devin’s mom took to South Africa. Do you notice a trend here? Devin went through an elephant phase.  I’ve lost track of how many elephant figurines I’ve found around the house, in closets, bookshelves, etc…we now have them narrowed down to a select few.

Behind the couch (and to your left as you walk into the house) is my good old Expedit bookshelf from Ikea.  This bookshelf has been with me ever since I moved to California from New York over five years ago! The grandfather clock belonged to Devin’s grandmother, and the frames on the wall are from Kohl’s.  Let’s play “where are the elephant-themed items in this photo?”  Ha.

Before I wrap up the living room, I wanted to share one of my favorite little details with you.

I would guess that most people who come over don’t even notice them, but these old wrought iron skeleton keys are hanging on the wall to the left of the front door.  We found them at the Alameda Antiques Faire along with the old hook, and I just love them.

By the way, if you live in the Bay Area and have never been to the Alameda Antiques Faire, you are MISSING OUT.  It’s amazing, and whatever little vintage knick knack, antique piece of furniture, old book, etc. that you’re looking for?  It will be there.  TRUST.  Just make sure you wear comfortable shoes because it’s HUGE, and you’ll be doing a lot of walking.

For anyone interested in the paint colors, the fireplace is Twig Basket, the walls are Hazelnut Cream and the trim is Ivory Mist, all from Behr.

I say this is only a “(for now) after” because I’m not done with the living room yet.  As I mentioned, I need to brighten up the couch with some colorful pillows and jazz up the mantel styling as well.  I’m also searching for the perfect throw for the couch, which by the way I never realized was so difficult to find…until I actually started looking for one!  Then there’s the display cabinet.  While it’s a really nice piece, in its current location it looks a little awkward, so we need to decide if it’ll stay or get moved somewhere else in the house.  Lastly, I recently scored some really awesome hollywood regency style chairs from the Alemany Flea Market which I’ll be repainting and reupholstering.  One of these will go in place of the rocking chair (the other in our Master Bedroom) and will also need a little table and lamp to accompany it to create a little reading spot.

Despite the aforementioned changes that still need to be made, we’re really happy with how the living room has progressed so far.

There you have it folks!  This concludes the living room portion of our tour 🙂



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