An American Lawn Story

Life gets in the way of life.  This election.  Parenting.  Pet parenting. Commuting for work. Dishes that beg for attention.  Laundry that sneaks up on you (and hides for a day in the washing machine, after being washed).  The fact it took me 55 minutes to drive to my daughter’s school from my work and I was almost late picking her up.  All of this ‘living’ has gotten in the way of me wanting to share a story with you all.

My dog, my beautiful (probably 100 pounds by now) cuddle monster (aka Cane Corso baby), hates my yard.  She lets me know in not-so-subtle ways…like repeatedly peeing on my Target outdoor rug.  Yes, I bought two in the past, but she peed on the prettier one that I displayed more prominently on my tiny patio.  The beautiful white and blue chevron striped one that graced the front stoop of my past home.  I felt like my home was starting to get fancy because I was incorporating more bold pieces to balance out my understated staples, namely wood pieces.  My dog peed on it over and over again.  We cleaned it over and over again as a result.  I was determined to salvage my rug….but there was no saving it from repeated damage.

I can’t blame her.  This home, while quaint, has large rock in the backyard in lieu of grass or a full concrete slab.  It is not an appealing yard space but I have dreams that will satisfy me for now and hopefully a small patch of green will keep my dog from peeing on the new rug, which I won’t get until after her needs are addressed first!

I will not invest in real grass in Arizona.  I know some people adore having a real lawn, the feel of, lovingly maintaining it, followed by great appreciation when said lawn rivals all others in the neighborhood with its perfect full thickness and height, bright green color, and even patterns of cross-cut mowing.  Not me.

I want low maintenance.  I kill all things green.  Plants cry at the sheer idea of being gifted to me.  Flowers wither as I pass them in the grocery store.  Home Depot would probably ban me from their garden section if they realized the kind of damage I can do to plant life.  (In fact, perhaps that’s the reason they didn’t hire me the year I left the Marine Corps.  Just a thought.)

My idea of the ideal lawn is artificial turf.  I can’t kill it.  It doesn’t require the care of a regular lawn (albeit watering is still necessary).  My dog might actually pee on it, saving me from many rug purchases for years to come.

I will be saving up to get Little Miss Picky her astroturf dream space before next summer rolls around.  However, it is fun to scout around for now (see fun below) and figure out how much her pampered dreams will set me back.  (If anyone wants to crowd fund a backyard for me, I won’t mind.)

~Cheryl

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Home Office In Progress: My Desk

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I am very thankful IKEA exists! I could not pull my house together (without significant financial distress) if it were not for businesses like IKEA. Raising a family on one full-time income at this time is exceptionally challenging and I do not want to forgo personalizing this home based on my tight finances. Hence, my love for IKEA.

We decided our spare bedroom would become a home office/workout room. Although the small space was already outfitted with an office desk from American Furniture Warehouse, the space was not designed with two people in mind. As an amateur writer, it does not always bother me to plop down in a chair or on the couch to write using my laptop. Longer writing sessions though call for a designated space. With my husband in law school, I cannot always compete for the original desk.

IKEA and its affordable designs are becoming mainstays in my place. Let me just say I also love their advertising (see below).

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I also love the one about the divorced dad recreating his son’s bedroom. You can check it out here.

I know there are many families, like ours, that run into tight financial circumstances.  Others desire to spend less on things like furniture, housing, and dining out to fund other short or long term goals (higher education, family expansion, travel, a career change, etc.).      After making a number of moves, I became more and more hesitant to make expensive furniture purchases and more particular when picking higher priced pieces.

I continue to see that western style furniture is too large and heavy to go “just anywhere.”  For this reason, I’ve had to part ways with a Cal King cherry wood bed, its matching armoire, and dresser.  I’ve also sold a beautiful oversized fabric and leather couch.  When I thought we would move to Okinawa, Japan and our housing accommodations would be even smaller than the rooms in our 1950’s Wyoming rental, it was important to downsize on furniture as much as possible.  The upside was also spending less money on furniture.

I was a bit of a mess scouting around for my own office desk.  I am a bit more of a mess when spending money on furniture since I’ve dealt with two past periods of unemployment.  I know if I’m spending a lot on a piece of furniture it better be a piece I want to have in my own house for 10+ years.  If I’m shopping around for an inexpensive piece to replace something worn out or out-of-style, I still want it to be functional and fit into my design aesthetic (as much as possible).  I also hope after the furniture is no longer needed by our home, we can donate it to another family (or person) in need.

It’s important to know, in case I haven’t mentioned it before, but the majority of IKEA purchases require DIY skills.  My desk fits into this particular category.  I seriously recommend bringing a friend over (if you don’t have a partner/sibling/incredibly helpful neighbor available) to help build any large piece of furniture you buy from IKEA.  Invite them over for pizza and beer (or their other favorite vice).  IKEA also offers delivery and assembly services, if you don’t mind fork over some extra money or don’t want to impose on those closest to you for assistance.

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My desk in progress:

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Sometimes I seriously wonder how many allen wrenches IKEA “sells” since these little guys are in nearly every “put it together” piece of furniture I can think of; we still needed to use another wrench but that’s probably more a reflection of our skills and less IKEA’s manufacturing. Perhaps…

I do love my desk though.  I love it more than my work desk.  For only $179 I got something that is very practical, visually appealing, and has the right amount of storage without imposing on my foot space.  I love the metal legs and the gray color.  Ok, I adore the gray color.  (Yes, I also have plans to paint the exterior of this home gray but that’s another adventure for years down the road.)  Gray is beautiful even if not everyone agrees with me.

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My desk is a beautiful addition to this home and while it doesn’t have a beautiful/highly functional/ergonomic chair to match (yet) we’ll get there someday. Today is just not that day and tomorrow isn’t either.

It’s almost my bedtime and I have a partly taped downstairs hallway calling my name tomorrow after work. I definitely need my sleep.

Sunday Painting Project: The Downstairs Hallway

Last Sunday I woke up with an exceptional amount of ambition to tackle more painting.  I know, who wakes up around 6 deciding ‘I will paint today.’  Just me apparently.  Before setting myself up with some breakfast I got to work taping our hallway.  I do like that taping helps with the actual painting process but taping is quite a process in itself.  Additionally, it’s not possible to work without drawing my kids in.  Thankfully, my little blonde girl is easily drawn away with an iPad or an episode of Pokemon XL.  My fuzzy girl was bound and determined to steal floor space while she could.  The hallway is, after all, one of her coveted spots.

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Do you like my Invader Zim painting sitting on the floor?!  It creeps out my daughter which is why I don’t have a home for it yet on my walls. IMG_0245IMG_0246IMG_0247

I am glad we found the butcher paper at Home Depot.  For me, it’s a much better solution to tarps and look, I found a perfect task for the blue Painter’s tape.  The harder work was left up to the FrogTape but I will let you know as an amateur painter I still did not get clean sharp lines throughout.  My secret way to win the game…tear up the baseboards later, replace them with nicer baseboards, and a finishing classy touch with crown moulding.  Moving on…

I had to stop and eat breakfast.  The initial part of taping and covering the floor took up almost an hour of my time.

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Taping doors is definitely one of the least enjoyable tasks.

Overall, it took me a couple hours to fully tape up the baseboards, doorways, and ceiling.

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I’m not sure what kind of paint is on the wall but every scuff, piece of dirt, and dog slobber becomes highly visible.  Goodbye, white!

Do you remember my challenge with paint sitting out?!  Yes, the paint separates out even more.  This time our Behr Marquee Dawn Gray was bright blue throughout at the top of the can and took some constant stirring in the can and on the paint tray to stay consistent throughout.

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As you can see from the photo below our walls do not have the same appearance as the paint chip from Behr.com (above).  What I love about the color we choose is how different it appears based on time of day and the amount of natural light in the space; it varies from a strong ship gray color (closer to the paint chip) to a stormy deep blue.  This color is not for everyone but I am not having white walls everywhere anymore.  I will have touches of white and later, maybe some wainscoting but fully white walls…no.

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The project neared completion around dinner time and I am happy with the results.

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Waiting for the paint to dry.

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My moody colored walls…I LOVE THEM!!!

From our adventure to go with deeply colored walls I will say I am most surprised the dark walls don’t make the place (as small as it is) feel more closed in.  Instead, I feel the opposite.  I think the color makes the space more inviting.  It is cozy and I am not looking at dirty walls all the time.  I’m so happy.

We are putting our decor items back up but we’ll have more things in this space in the future and in a few days we’ll put the IKEA lockable storage cabinet back up as well.  We found this item when we lived in our rental and loved the playfulness of it.  I couldn’t imagine a room where I couldn’t use these.  We stopped ourselves at two though.

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This almost finished space already feels more inviting.  I can’t wait to paint the front door down the road and add a few handmade items I’ve been admiring online.

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A Clean Home, A Cleaner Mind

I write to you all tonight with a sense of relief.  This week was a busy one.  I let my house fall apart a bit this week and it’s been tough to relax seeing a myriad of unfinished chores.  Half painted walls, partially emptied moving boxes, and sadly–please don’t judge me–we still haven’t put our luggage from my Albuquerque trip back in the garage: these things all haunt me and remind me that I’m being lazy.  My first grader (yes, she’s getting that old) started school not too long ago bringing back a daily deluge of kid paperwork and with my husband entering his first year of law school, my home is not so slowly being filled with piles of law books.

With my schooling “complete” for the moment, I need a new hobby.  Reorganizing my life at this moment is becoming my mission.  I am facing the box after box (when I tackle them) of things that are taking up unnecessary space in our home and these items–while still usable–belong with people who need them more than we do.  For the things that are well beyond their utility, it’s the recycling bin (if they are made of the right stuff) or the garage bin.  I find that these tasks require I have an inspirational person to follow who believes in decluttering.  For awhile now that person has been Michelle from One Fit Widow whom I follow on Facebook.  Her blog entry, New Year’s Baby Steps, motivated me earlier this year to take some steps of my own and I thought we were doing well when we decluttered our rental and packed up to move into our current home.  Haha…not so much.  There’s still so much that I’ve been holding onto that is not serving a purpose in my life.  Additionally, I haven’t faced up to the fact we have some things we use ALL the time that has just met its demise and needs replacing.

As such, we carefully make some practical purchases from REI this weekend.  We picked up some hot beverage containers, which are made of recycled materials.  Our old ones made it into the recycling bin today.  We also replaced our well worn water bottles and recycled those as well.  We also got some clothing needs met too since REI had some decent sale items.  I picked up two United By Blue graphic tees.  I am a sucker for t-shirts and since they are one of my favorite weekend wear items many of my shirts are seeing the end of their lifespan.  I have other things I bought through ThredUp that I haven’t been wearing too much of recently so those hit the donate pile and we’re dropping them off later this week with some shoes, two kitchen dining stools, and two suits my husband no longer wears.

Currently, I’ve become quite a fan of StitchFix for clothes because the stylist I’ve worked with has been great with perfectly fitting petite clothes.  I have the hardest time finding things that fit just right in stores so when I really need a few overhaul items I schedule a clothing fix.  So far, I’ve only returned two items, a necklace and a wrap blouse.  The dresses have been my favorite things so far and I will probably try out a pair of jeans for fall sometime.

Anyways, I know I am getting distracted.  Haha….

The house is looking better now that we have our piles of “Donate Stuff” set aside and the other items were moved out to the recycling bin and trash can.  My closet is slimmed down and now it will be easier to plan out my fall wardrobe as the weather cools (eventually).  I am dreaming of fall so much right now.  I love October.  It is my favorite month.

My mind does feel more at ease now that I’ve tackled this simple project.  You might be wondering what happened to the table that goes with those chairs.  I had plans to use it as an “entryway” table upstairs in the hallway but it is too big.  Now my plan is to take it apart and see if I can use at least one of the leaves as a shelf.  It may (or may not) work but I’m willing to try something new.

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Design Inspiration:#magnoliamakeover

Like many of my fellow Americans who are HGTV fans I am smitten with Fixer Upper.  As such, I have been falling over myself trying to be considered for the #magnoliamakeover contest.  So far, my photo of my sad little patio was not considered and I decided to enter again, this time with a photo of my master bedroom. However, if this room’s not chosen, I might break down and enter in a photo of our office.  Currently, it’s burdened with a bunch of moving boxes, an exercise bike, and extra bedding. However, I did pick up new curtains. We needed some for the space but I won’t post any photos of them up in the space until it is 1) cleared out and 2) we get longer curtain rods set up.  The current curtain rod holders are shorter than the length of the window so we have some work ahead of us to redesign the space.  By the way, I love the savings on the curtains!

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Anyways, getting down to business, I spend some time today dreaming about what would be fun to do if I received the prize package (shown below):

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  1. That’s right $1,000 gift card.  Where do I start?!
  2. The paint color was an easy choice; I love the weekend color.  My husband and I both have trouble sleeping, he more than I so we do like to keep our bedroom space as dark as possible.  We currently use black out curtains for our large side window and we found curtains for the two windows bordering our bed that we’ll purchase in the new month or two.
  3. I was a bit torn over furniture.  Our space is not very large and is already dominated by a curio, our queen size sleigh bed, an alphabet dresser, an Amish heater (temporary storage, not in use anyways with these hot summers), a garden stool (as a nightstand) and for some time (to be determined) a bistro table and two metal stools.  (In the past, I found it useful to have a table in the bedroom to do homework on the computer.  Currently, it’s serving as an oversized “nightstand.”)  A chair might do to replace the seating in the room and we can find a new place for the bistro table and stools.
  4. I think a non-wool rug would be most appropriate since my stepmom is allergic to wool.  While my family won’t visit often since they live out of state, I would want my home to stay as comfortable as possible for everyone.

Below is collection of what I love:

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I think the bold Weekend color should decorate the entire space and a thin horizontal stripe of Shiplap would add some beautiful detail.

I am also always on the lookout for additional storage in our home; it’s only 1,200 square feet and I don’t think people make enough use of the vertical space in their homes to maximize their storage needs and/or physical appearance of their spaces.  The dimensional these items add to the space is worthy for their functional and aesthetic qualities.

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Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 1.38.18 PM I really love the coat rack as one of the options to house my growing selection of scarves.  For a number of years I didn’t wear scarves (and I’m still not fond of turtlenecks) but now that I am adding these items into my wardrobe they need a better home than my dresser!

I know the cup rack is meant for the kitchen but it would be a great way to store various fabrics out in the open.

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I am also fond of these dreamer pillows!

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A slab table would partner well with a comfortable chair to round out the space. Oh and a rug (since that’s part of the package).

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Based on the $1,000 gift card the items that were outside of the 2 gallons of paint, a selected piece of furniture, and rug, the items still fall far under the total of the gift card.  As such, I am curious if the money could be use towards other home purchases because I absolutely love these plates and bowls for my kitchen.

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So here’s the space I nominated for #magnoliamakeover.  Hopefully, it’s chosen!

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Design Inspiration: Vintage Market & Design

This past week I was in Albuquerque for a conference and had the chance to check out Vintage Market & Design with one of my coworkers.  There are a ton of things I saw that tempted me and thankfully (in the future) I can buy something online from them.  For this visit, I made a very small purchase, both in price and size.  The metal house numbers (below) are a perfect little decoration to use in the house and I have plans to put them up on the master bedroom door once it’s painted.

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Want to see the other stuff that tempted me?  There was so much.

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And if you have extra time while in Albuquerque, don’t forget to pick up some candy!  One of my high school friends lived out there and recommended Buffett’s Candies.  Thankfully, they do online orders, too, just not this time of year.  I tried the chocolate covered piñon roll and it was fantastic.

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Saturday: Projects and Playful Adventures

Hello, everyone!  Not too long ago I promised I’d show off some progress we are making on the house and I am finally delivering on that promise.  One of my favorite projects recently has been turning Dutch Bros. hot coffee lids into framed art for our downstairs hallway.  The company has a variety of inspiration lids to give you a little daily pep talk but I kept a few I really enjoyed and this idea started when we were still living in our Gilbert rental.

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Don’t mind the fact the walls are still unpainted in the hallway. I will provide better photos down the road as all the art displays come together.  Putting the artwork together took a bit of craftiness I don’t normal tap into; the lids were not sticking to the scrapbook paper I obtained at Michael’s  with just a thin line of craft glue so I ended up putting glue on the inner rim, the edge and the “gap” between the two areas to help hold the lids on tight then I weighted them down with bags of rice and lentils for a few hours.

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The end result for the lids makes me happy and my daughter is (mostly) happy with hers as well. She wanted a shadow box for her room as well but I had a 50% coupon for a frame instead and instead of spending $15 for a shadow box I found a perfectly size frame which only costs me $4.

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I recycled the glass pane that came with the frame so we didn’t have a potential accident with the forgotten glass.  If you do something similar and could use the glass frame, I do recommend storing it safely until future use!

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My daughter got super crafty and snuck out to use the spray paint when no one was looking so her project has a bit of uneven color as a result. (Life happens!)

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We are still unpacking more wall art a bit at time so it is nice to see some playful representations up at this time even if they are a bit lonely.

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The living room is now the only room that is completely finished as far as painting goes. We did discover some of our artwork won’t stay up with Command Strips alone however I would still highly recommend using those items where possible.  As someone who rented for 10 years, they are a lifesaver.  Additionally, I still prefer to not put holes in the wall if they aren’t necessary.

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Color swatches shortly after we moved in. Top is Behr’s Off Broadway and the lower one is the Behr New Dawn.

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This awesome $400 couch is from IKEA.  The star burnout pillows are from American Furniture Warehouse (only $6 a piece).

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The color might look dark but it’s lovely in person and bounces back between a rich gray and a bold blue depending on the light filtering into the room.

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The danger of not using your paint right away is the color separates.  We obtained a mixing tool that attaches to the drill to help mix the paint again.  Stir sticks are not sufficient for this heavy separation.

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Ta da!!!

Again, the room’s not entirely finished so we still have artwork to place but I hope you love the current progress.  Lastly, here’s a peek of our before/after progress in the kitchen.

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A reminder of our ‘before’ from May of this year.

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The kitchen desperately needed some additional storage and this French Country island fit the bill.

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The stools add some nice pops of color.  We saw some high end ones at Design Within Reach but picked up truly affordable ones awhile back from Target (green one), American Furniture Warehouse (blue one), and the one on the right from Fry’s grocery store.🙂

We also received some unexpected surprises courtesy of our loan officer for the Fourth of July.  Thanks as always for sharing in this delightful journey with us.  I love seeing this house become a home.

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Design Inspiration: Genevieve’s Renovation

As most of you know my budget is modest, modest, modest.  It’s almost so small it might not exist, which is why I won’t always have awesome updates for you about the house.  We have done a few things like installed a new toilet in the master bath, picked up a French Country style island from American Furniture Warehouse, and painted the living room (finally).  The two best things about the island purchase were the fact we paid for it with our refund money from the rental and a $25 coupon from AFW reduced the price a little. I will share photos of both those adventures once the spaces are closer to being finished.  However, I know I don’t have a vast array of exciting stories and Instagram worthy photos to share with you all the time.  Sorry my life is pretty ordinary so I (also) enjoy living vicariously through the design efforts of others and love talking about the amazing things they do with their spaces, too.

For approximately the last week I’ve taken up watching Genevieve’s Renovation and fallen in love with the bathroom tile in her daughter’s bathroom and become envious of these gorgeous floors.  (If my legs could look like hers when I’m in my forties too I also wouldn’t be disappointed.)

While I haven’t watched her design shows in quite some time this renovation project has me interested. My husband and I don’t pay for cable so we watch tv as a family using Hulu and Netflix. My daughter doesn’t seem to mind watching a plethora of design shows with us. We also catch episodes of Fixer Upper but Genevieve’s Renovation speaks to what I love in design: an eclectic mix of style that highlights world travels.  The Moroccan door she put up in her renovated apartment is stunning.  While I’ve loved the idea of visiting Morocco for some time now whenever I see Moroccan design elements my heart is so happy.  I was actually quite disappointed during one episode of House Hunters International when a couple choose to build a western style home in Morocco rather than restore one of the riads.  What were they thinking?!  Riads can be so beautiful; the designs are something I wish American homebuilders would gravitate towards.

Here’s hoping you find some awesome design inspiration this week, too.

~Cheryl

p.s. If any home design company/tv show wants to throw some free products my way, I won’t mind a bit.  My house will love the extra goodies.

Design Inspiration Day

Today started off with a perfect amount of ‘me’ time.  My daughter is spending the Fourth of July weekend camping with her grandparents so I have the time to invest in some unfinished projects and relaxing with my husband.  We started our day off with a 50 minute walk/jog around and just outside our neighborhood and headed out to Nico’s Kitchen for brunch.  It hasn’t been open long and today was our first outing there.  The space makes me think of a combination of Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn.  It’s so beautiful and our servers plus the food there was excellent.

We were the first customers of the day.  I can tell you I’ve never been the first customer of the day at a restaurant and it’s a giddy mix of joy and also a bit nervousness.  In that moment, we are the center of attention and I certainly didn’t want the staff to feel that their efforts were under appreciated.  Hopefully, more people start to check this place out. The experience was fantastic.

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Nico’s Kitchen (Located in Downtown Gilbert)

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The space is so fresh and inviting.  

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While we were eating our meal, one of the servers tucked sprigs of rosemary into the other place settings.  We were in so early ours weren’t finished yet.🙂

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Don’t let the prices deter you; the food is REALLY worth it.

My husband had the chistorra and eggs and I choose the classic crepe.  We treated ourselves to donuts as an appetizer. The sweet milk is fantastic; it has vanilla beans in it and the closest store bought product that brings me similar joy is Shamrock Farms vanilla milk.

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Classic Crepe

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Chistorra & Eggs

We ended our morning with a little peek around A World of Tile in Mesa.  Quite some time must pass before we can tackle the bigger jobs associated with our home and I am not quite content to settle for the selection at Home Depot.  We eventually want to replace the carpet upstairs and downstairs.  Currently, we are thinking about scraped bamboo for the upstairs and a wood grain porcelain tile for downstairs.  Below are some of our favorite selections of tile from today’s window shopping adventure.

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This tile reminds me of my travels and I’d love this (or a similar product) somewhere in the house.

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My daughter would probably love this tile selection because the crackle glaze is something she’d like based on her love for glitter.

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Product information for the crackle glaze product.

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Love…love…love.

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It glistens like snow.🙂

Sneak Peek: A Necessary Home Feature

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Where’s the peephole?!

I know I posted this photo before but I wanted to share with you that when my husband and I purchased our home we cluelessly missed the fact the front door did not have a peephole.  Seriously!!!  We missed it.  We were so enthralled with the idea of homeownership we breezed on by and said yes.

This weekend we tackled this little problem because it was becoming a big problem.  On numerous occasions a slew of solicitors have come up to our home and we cannot see them except for when they walk by the premise.  Currently, we are on the hunt for a fantastic ‘No Solicitation’ sign and I am looking around Etsy for just the right thing.  We would not go another weekend though without resolving the peephole issue.  Thankfully, our local Home Depot has those in stock and we found one that fit our particular needs.  Having never lived in a home without a peephole I was surprised to find out just how common it is for doors to not have peepholes.

We will eventually paint the door (interior and exterior) as the budget allows but for now this simple project brought a lot of joy (without a lot of effort or money).  Please know for the duration we live in our residence I am very hesitant to post full shots of the exterior.  I am happy giving you small glimpses here and there of things but privacy and safety are very important to me.

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And the final product:

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Weekend Work

Pulling the house together requires tackling one obstacle at a time and for me right now those obstacles are the boxes. We still have a fair amount of boxes cluttering up the house and I am thankful our city does trash and recycling pick up on the same day.  Each week our bins are full of moving debris: curled up balls of tape, cling wrap, packing paper that cannot be used again, and a small amount of moving boxes that didn’t fare so well during the move.  We are holding onto the good boxes so we can reduce the amount necessary to purchase for a move later on.

This weekend Avery and I went to Merchant Square in Chandler in our quest for a few new wall mirrors.  Our outing was not entirely successful.  We found a variety of things, but did not purchase a mirror there.  I was delighted though to run into one of my coworkers and her husband.  She was the one who told me about the antique market but during one of our recent discussions didn’t plan on going antique hunting there this weekend.

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This mirror was one of the more affordable ones that I found but not quite what I wanted.

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I don’t know what I would do with it, but I love this old door.

I was a bit bummed so many things I found interesting were more expensive than I thought they’d be so I made the decision to not purchase a mirror there.

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Old rail car door $240 (Love It!)

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We bought this veteran made heart for $22.

I think the next time I check out an antique market I will go in with a broader understanding antique/flea markets don’t always have inexpensive items on my wish list. I picked up a mirror instead from Target. I found a Threshold collection mirror for $50. After bringing it home and opening the box I found a tiny chip in the frame but we decided to keep it anyways. Thomas sanded the edge a little to soften the appearance and as needed, we’ll distress it more as necessary. I eager to get some of our wall decor up so we’ll go back and paint the wall later.  I do think once the wall is painted the mirror will stand out a bit more.  (By the way, this white paint is driving me crazy; whatever paint the builder used is not great and it shows scuff marks and dirt like you would not believe.)

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I still have a minor project in the works for my daughter.  She picked up a beautiful bright pink frame and now I’m in the process of spray painting it. I taped off the portion directly surrounding the glass so it stays pink (as best as possible) so my daughter can have the blue AND pink frame she wanted.  We’ll see how well my first spray painting job goes….

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The best find of the day is this small frame.  It was listed for $8 and because it was one sale, we paid just under $7 for it.

Below is the color it will be once finished:

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Dream “Shopping”

We are not too far into this adventure of homeownership and I can say it’s exciting and stressful. It is very disappointing to find out the blue painter’s tape does not work well with the texture walls here. In painting our daughter’s room we found the paint bled under in several spots. I know it’s not the end of the world especially given the fact we will upgrade the baseboards and add crown molding later, but it feels like wasted money on this product. During our outing to Home Depot today we picked up some FrogTape Painter’s Tape and white and clear caulk for our next couple of painting projects.  Apparently, you can lay down some caulk over painter’s tape and paint over it to help get some crisp lines.  Fingers crossed!!!  The two different estimates we have from professional painters are between $2,100 and $2,500 to paint the whole interior; as such, a professional paint job (on my budget) is not going to happen.

Currently, there’s not a lot of progress in the house to share with you all.  I painted one full wall in our bathroom’s toilet closet and half of the wall on the opposite side.  My goal is to paint the rest of the latter wall and a third wall tonight.  For the time being, we will leave the last wall unpainted.  I do not yet trust my skills to dismantle the toilet to paint behind it.  However, we do plan on replacing the toilets next year so it might look ok until then.  We are considering the Kohler Touchless toilet for our bathroom and our daughter’s bathroom and a dual flush toilet for the powder room downstairs.

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Later on we want to change out the sliding glass doors for some fancy French doors like these.

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The doors are a bit pricey so replacing the sliding glass doors is another project for down the road.

As we look to modestly update this home, we are exploring a number of businesses offering products we like and/or products we can personalize.  Later this month I plan on checking out the Merchant Square Antique Marketplace in Chandler.  I am looking for mirrors that can be updated with some Rust-Oleum Paint and Primer Spray. I bought a bright yellow, citrus green, coral, and teal blue cans for future projects.  Today I stopped by one of the local Goodwill stores to see their mirror selection.  The store didn’t quite have the right style I’m looking for so hopefully the antique marketplace has at least a few pieces.

Additionally, I am keeping an eye on things that are sold on Etsy.  In the past, I bought some floor poufs for my daughter’s room and a pair of earrings through two of the vendors on the site.  I don’t know that I would go through Etsy for mirrors because shipping make make the mirror purchases more cost prohibitive than I like.  Again, I am working with a modest first time homebuyer budget so bear with me.  The house won’t quite look like you’re walking through Pottery Barn or Design Within Reach, which is not really within my reach!  We have furniture from IKEA, American Furniture Warehouse, and Target to name a few things.  Below are a couple of the things I’m considering from Etsy vendors:

I am having a lot of fun envisioning how this home with grow over time.  Last night was the first time we had anyone over that’s not family and it felt a little odd showing off the house in its raw state.  Thankfully, our guests who are parents like us weren’t turned off by the plethora of boxes still cluttering our space. I also learned about the number of projects going on at their own home in the Eastmark area of Mesa so we’re in good company.  Young homeownership is studded with projects in various states of completion!

Talk to you all again soon.

~Cheryl