So Pinterest(ed)!

My latest and greatest favorite website is a place called Pinterest. Have you heard about this already? If so, good for you! Because then you already understand my appreciation for it so much. I mean, isn’t it absolutely fantastic?! If you haven’t yet heard of this site, please do keep reading… :-) I should be upfront in telling you that I’m *slightly* two thousand and late on this discovery; the site first launched last year (May 2010).

Back in March, my thoughtful and oh-so-current husband had attempted to tell me about Pinterest and that he had opened an account. J. tends to sign up for many things out here in internet-ville because, well, he has a passion for all things fresh and exciting on the web. ;-)At the time, I didn’t fully understand the point of the site and was feeling fairly hesitant to join yet another online community that would potentially become a new distraction, eating up additional minutes of my day. But because I’m one curious cat and love any type of place that encourages organization, I decided to scope it out. I had saved the original email that J. had sent me with the invitation, so one evening I went ahead and signed up. The first thing I read was this: “Pinterest: a place to catalog the things you love.” Um, heck yes!! From that small sentence, I knew Pinterest and I were going to be friends. Now that I’ve acquainted myself with the site, it actually reminds me of flipping through my favorite magazines minus the annoying ads and stinky perfume samples. Sa-weet!

But back to my point. What the heck is Pinterest, anyway? Pinterest is a virtual pinboard where you post photos and links to things that you love. These things can be all sorts of goodies you enjoy – from savvy gadgets to wedding inspiration, sewing tutorials, funny quotes, and DIY projects to places you’d love to visit one day, delicious recipes you want to try, and more! In a word: Brilliant. I have found everything from paper packaging ideas, seasonal decor, furniture, and artwork to stunning room inspirations and how-to’s for the home.  It’s the perfect place to find attractive bits of inspiration and share them with others. All accounts are public (thankfully, site regulations require things to be clean and appropriate) so the Love Nesters’ Pinterest is open for all to see. And much like Twitter, you have the option of following friends or like-minded individuals whom share similar interests with you. How cool is that?! If you think you’d like to start “pinning” things for yourself, then you simply can request an invite.

Here is what our page is looking like these days…

It’s very convenient to have a place to store all of the things we imagine for our home and directions for how to create certain projects on our own. I always write myself captions underneath my pin that say things like, “Possible idea for the guest room!” or “I would love to paint a mural like this in our future nursery.” or “How to build our own rain barrel.” as a friendly reminder to myself about why I pinned it there in the first place. And voilà! The photo is pinned with a direct link to the website from which it came. Which means no more messy folders cluttering up my desktop. In fact, Pinterest is sort of like our new virtual filing cabinet.

For the past several weeks, I’ve been fairly active on the site. Every time I see something beautiful that I just have to share or bookmark, I pin it. Here is the direct link to our own Pinterest page right here. One other remarkable feature is that you have the option of adding a “Pin-It” bookmarklet to your toolbar to create your very own pins. This makes it super easy to pin things that you love directly from the webpage you’re visiting. Isn’t that great?  I’ve tried both and they’re great fun!

To get started, you can simply request an invitation for yourself right on the Pinterest homepage, but I think the current waiting period is approximately 2 weeks. If you would like an immediate invitation, we are able to send out a few of them, so please email us and soon you’ll be on your way to storing all of the things you love! :) Happy Pinning, everyone!

Posted in Inspiration, Organization, Our House, Wishes | 5 Comments

Window Shopping and Accessory Storage

A few weeks ago, we had an urge to hit the open road for a casual Sunday drive and pop in to a few of our favorite stores. We drove just a little over 2 hours one sunny, windy morning to do some serious window shopping (with a few purchase ideas in the back of our minds because we all know how excited someone becomes by the word SALE!) ;-)

When we were just a few miles away from the mall, I squealed as we passed a West Elm store. (Remember this post a while back about unsolicited catalogs being delivered to your doorstep? Well, I’d never even heard of a West Elm until I received one of theirs in my mailbox a couple of years ago!) Needless to say, it was love at first sight. I perused through the catalog then the website and – bam! Hooked! So many of the handmade, modern, and artistic designs in that store make me swoon. I couldn’t just do a drive-by. I needed to check things out up close and personal, especially since I’d just ordered these spectacular curtains from WE online. I even had my trusty camera and Flip on hand for the adventure. (Why yes, we do take pictures slash videos while we shop – call us crazy.)

J. and I both have a few decorating styles that we favor, but if you judge us by the house pictures that we’ve shared with you so far, it’s fairly obvious that we both enjoy things that are rustic, earthy, simplistic, and comfy. I also think it’s safe to say that J. tends to lean towards designs that are minimal and super modern, while I’m drawn to more barn-ish and cottage-y styles. Our house is still a mixed bag and we continue to experiment with bursts of color with everything from our furniture to pillows to kitchen appliances to, of course, our walls. We’ve gathered all sorts of pieces from C&B, Target, HomeGoods, Pottery Barn, Wal-Mart, and some local furniture stores around town. We’re certainly open to experimenting with bold colors and combining both vintage and modern styles through art, photos, furniture, linens, etc..

We didn’t spend a ton of money that afternoon but we did come home with a few small items that make me smile, including this sweet ceramic egg crate. Oddly enough, it’s not for holding eggs. I use it as my jewelry holder. It’s just so quaint and perfect for storing all of my littlest trinkets and baubles…

And this made me wonder: where do most people store their everyday, grab-and-go accessories? Does anyone have any creative locations besides the traditional jewelry box or armoire? A vintage tin perhaps? Plastic containers?

I really like the idea of this adorable Love Birds jewelry stand via Urban Outfitters and this clever DIY framed jewelry organizer from Liz Stanley’s blog.

I even repurposed this small kitchen prep bowl in a spot on my bureau to keep my watch and hair clips that I wear daily. Its cheerful yellow color is a friendly reminder for me to put them on each morning:

Our day trip was a pleasant one and we were happy to come home fairly empty-handed, with the exception of a few inspirations that we captured with the camera; particularly things that I’d like to try making on my own. I spied so many fun things – from ottomans to doorknobs to picture frames and more!

In fact, it was such an enjoyable day that we thought we’d share a sneak peek of our little shopping trip with you right here on the ol’ blog. Enjoy! :-)

Posted in Decor Ideas, Inspiration, Organization, Videos | 1 Comment

Kitchen to Bathroom Solutions

I came across this interesting article on apartmenttherapy.com today and wanted to share the helpful info with you, lovely readers!

The article, entitled “5 Items From Your Kitchen To Use In Your Bathroom”, includes things like citrus peels and salt to colanders and coffee filters. All of these items might be lying around your kitchen right now and can be used to make your bathroom sparkle and shine, toxin-free! We always appreciate the idea of avoiding cleaners with harsh chemicals, not to mention saving some extra dough (have you seen how much some of those “household cleaners” cost these days? Ouchie to the wallet!) So, here are some unexpected solutions that they recommend – everything from scrubbing the bathroom drain to adding extra storage in your medicine cabinet…

1. Citrus Peels: Citrus peels and a little salt are a great way to clean sinks, tubs and that spot where the bar of soap sits and seems to get all slimy and weird. If you aren’t into cleaning the second you have squeezed a lime for a drink or eaten your morning grapefruit, just toss them in a bag in the refrigerator and they’ll keep for a week. Check out this tutorial at Re-Nest for more information.

2. Colander: This one is for parent(s) only, but your kitchen colander can make bath time play a cinch. Use it to scoop up stray toys out of the water in one fell swoop. It will drain instantly and it can be set on the bath mat to catch and final drips, placed on the side of the tub (if yours allows), or even left in the bottom of the tub for next time!

3. Canning/Cracker Jars: Glass jars with lids can be used almost anywhere in the home, but they’re especially handy in the bathroom. They’re a great way to keep small items like cotton balls and Q-Tips sealed up, yet still looking attractive enough to keep on display. Larger jars can be used to hold soaps, towels or even bath salts. You can see how to make the hanging version pictured above over at Re-Nest.

4. Coffee Filters: Forget those small plastic storage dividers sold at stores, they might be inexpensive but they’re never the right size for your needs, especially when it comes to bathroom drawers. Instead, try dividing out jewelry or makeup with coffee filters. They’ll catch any dust and dirt keeping your drawer clean and make things easy to pull out to use. They’ll conform to any shape (not just a circle) so make them work for you!

5. Baking Soda & Vinegar: We saved the best for last, but this dynamic duo can clean just about anything. Try cleaning your drains by adding a little vinegar first and baking soda after or using them independently of each other to clean the mirrors (with vinegar) and the sink (with baking soda and a small amount of water added to it).

Don’t you just love simple tricks like this? Personally, numbers 1 and 5 are my favorites because they’re things I’ve tried myself. They really work, folks! Do any of these tips sound particularly appealing to you? Do you have any all-natural cleaning secrets up your sleeve? Share and share alike!

{Images courtesy of Apartment Therapy online: 1, 4, 5. Sarah Rae Trover, 2. Dana Velden for The Kitchn, 3. Liz Marie}

Posted in Cleaning Solutions, Going Green, Organization | Leave a comment

Poppy Seed on the Floor

What’s that I hear? Is it the sound of another paint can being cracked open??

That’s right! Our sun porch has gone through a bit of a make-over! It’s been a little while since our last post and, in the meantime, our dark evergreen floor color with its matching artificial turf carpeting and some white walls are all things of the past! WOO to the HOO! :-) We’ve since painted the floor a beautiful deep shade of blue (Poppy Seed by Behr, in fact) and added hints of French Silver (also by Behr and an ever so soothing shade of gray) to the upper parts of the walls.

This is what the porch looked like shortly after we settled in…

Charming, isn’t it? Before I get into why we decided to change it up a bit in there, I must say that the three-season sun porch was one of the main reasons I fell in love with our house. This quaint, simple space in the front of our home is a small dream that we never even knew we wanted. Our secret sanctuary. It’s the spot where we can sit in total peace and quiet to read, watch and wave to the neighbors that walk by, giggle with excitement as the breeze of a booming summer thunderstorm creeps in, or sip a mug of coffee together on a lazy Saturday morning. Sanctuary, I tell you! When the afternoon sunlight streams in, I am more and more thankful for this place we call home. Cheesy? Maybe. But definitely true.

And because you guys know how much we love the smell of fresh paint in the morning, we couldn’t resist adding our own splashes of color out there. It’s a mini-transformation to say the least, except that now it feels much more ours. The porch itself was in great condition when we moved in – sturdy floor boards and new, insulated windows – so we didn’t need to do too much to fix ‘er up. Our main concern was ditching the green paint and less-than-comfy turf carpeting. Said carpet made me want to practice my mini-golf skills. And did I mention that the carpet was duct taped to the floor? Oy. I’ll spare you our frustration there (let’s just say that ‘Goo Gone’ is our new BFF).

How did we decide on the paint colors, you ask? Actually, it all started with curtains. Beautiful, billowy, Oxford blue and gray curtains. Truthfully, I never minded the sheer, sea foam curtains that the previous owners had left behind. We were grateful that they’d left us the white window blinds too, because they are a true lifesaver in the summertime to help keep the porch slightly cooler on scorching afternoons. The rugs on the other hand, though practical for mucky shoe traffic purposes, definitely lacked style and coziness in our eyes.

One day, after searching high and low for 84″ curtains at every local store known to man me, I decided to plop down on the couch with hopes of having better luck on the internet. Within 15 minutes, I stumbled on these GORGE-OUS Geo Leaf printed curtains from West Elm (cue the angels!) Sadly, the length needed was $29.00 per panel which was not exactly wallet-friendly. I figured I could do better. And by better, I mean cheaper. I’m stubborn and didn’t want to spend much, especially since I needed six total and it is, after all, just a sun room. So… I waited. And waited. I waited for a couple of months, every week or so checking back with the wish that a sale would come flailing with open arms my way. My heart was now obsessively set on these curtains –

{photo courtesy of West Elm online}

In the words of Maria from West Side Story, they were pretty – oh so pretty! Then, quite suddenly, it happened! After weeks of waiting (im)patiently, I begrudgingly clicked on the curtain link, when in bright red, sparkly, capped letters (okay, there were no sparkles, but the red really did scream at me) Sale! Sale?? SALE! Until. I continued to read that the 84″ curtains I wanted so desperately were out. of. stock. Say whaaa? So sad! I didn’t understand. Who the heck bought my curtains?? And how could they have stumbled upon them before I did? I snarled. I pouted. I reasoned with myself. I was not satisfied. So, I did what any other normal, right-minded insane person would do. I called Customer Service. And a sweet, friendly lady by the name of Grace (coincidence, folks? I think not!) chatted with me about a possible re-stocking of the curtains at a later date. A date without any real guarantees.

Oh, that Grace. She was remarkable. Her voice was like a hot knife through buttah, if I may say so. It was as though she wanted me to have those curtains as much as I did. As I was about to admit defeat and hang up the phone, she asked to put me on hold for a few more moments so she could make one last stitch effort to find the curtains. So I held. And held and held, prancing about the house to elevator music whilst crossing my fingers. After about 5 minutes, Grace’s syrupy sweet voice returned to me. She said she had both good and bad news. The good news was that there was a store that would be willing to ship the LAST six panels to me that very day at their FINAL MARK DOWN price of (cue those angels once more!) just $14.99 a piece – less than the $19.99 sale price listed on the website! Plus, the order would be directly through the store which meant FREE shipping! Yahoo–ooh… onto the bad news. The bad news was that those last six curtains were 96″ long, not 84″. Dash-it-all!

Now, mind you, I am not a math-er. And by “math-er” I mean, I am totally careless with numbers in terms of measurements for curtains, blinds, photo frames, you name it. I rely on my eye and it usually turns out pretty well, much to J.’s surprise. I certainly knew that 12″ was a big difference but before I registered this figure in my pea-sized brain, I whispered, pretending to slowly consider my option, “Ye-e-esss?” I muttered. Grace replied, “I’m sorry Becky, what was that? What did you decide?” I hesitated a whole whopping second before squealing, “Yes! I do! Okay?! I will take them!!” :-D *How I intend to shorten said curtains is a whole other blog post. ‘Cause this girl has never hemmed a single thing in her life. Stay tuned.*

For now let’s continue on with our porch’s mini make-over, shall we? After deciding that we wanted some sort of deep blue combined with a more subdued shade of gray, we went paint swatch a-shoppin’. In the end, we narrowed it down to these gems –

Loooove them! Now that all is said and done, we couldn’t be happier with our choices. And all thanks to some mighty attractive (and delightfully, unexpectedly cheap!) window treatments. Before I slathered on the French Silver and Poppy Seed, I went through my usual routine of cleaning, scrubbing, and priming.

Here are a few in-progress shots of our primed masterpiece and the gray detailing:

After using a roller extension to prime the floor, I gave my back a break and let the floor dry overnight. The next day, I was on a mission to get things done… and may have gotten a little cocky. I chose not to use painter’s tape for the edging work. Daring, I know! It’s just that since I have been painting more and more these days, the idea of all that tape stresses me out because 1) it’s a huge waste of time and 2) I’ve developed quite the slow and steady hand at painting a nice, clean line thanks to my fabulous 2-inch painter’s brush. It is by far my new favorite tool and works like a charm! Exhibit A:

There should be a bright banner above this brush in hardware stores that reads “So. Easy. To Cut In!” It’s that wonderful.

Once I was finished cutting in my edges, I used the roller and extension once more and painted 2 full coats on the floor. Even after the first coat, we couldn’t get over how much we loved the color. It was bolder and brighter than we expected, but we were overjoyed at how great it looked…

And what’s a project without posting the ‘after’ photo on the blog? Here’s the newly improved sun porch in all her Poppy Seed glory:

Our small space definitely feels more inviting to us now, all because of our handy little paintbrush, a bit of re-organizing, and a few free afternoons. Now, I’m off to research on how to hem – or perhaps Velcro? – those curtains. Wish me luck! :-)

Posted in Our House, Paint | 6 Comments

Chic, Sleek and Oh-So-Sophisticated

Over on chictip, they’ve got a great write-up of a home designed by Chen + Suchart Studio, LLC. All we can say is, “Wow!” The warm woods and walls contrasting with the cool stone and glass reminds us of Harrison Ford’s house in the movie “Firewall”, which we loved (the house, that is).

Living space

We love the use of this big, free-standing wall separating the living space from the kitchen. Allowing the hallways on either side to run the entire length of the house and keeping the cathedral ceiling viewable everywhere makes this space feel so huge! The lighting is great, providing nice atmosphere but staying completely out of the way.

Kitchen

Where to start with this kitchen? First off and practically speaking, the placement of the stove is great, allowing the vent for its hood to hide behind the fireplace chimney. We love the use of two different counter tops, the white on the island accenting the focal point of the room while the darker tops around the sides allow them to fade into the walls. And that dark wood for the cabinets and those large island drawers is just beautiful. Oh! And is that a wine fridge I spy under the counter on the right?!? Yes, please!

Bathroom

Love the combination of various wood and stone tones in this bathroom. And the sink. And the faucet. And the flattering lighting. Pretty much, we love this entire bathroom.

Landscaping

But the beauty of this house isn’t all contained within. The landscaping is beautiful, as this bonsai-shaped tree and manicured lawn give a glimpse of. Also, we love how the house is architected to blend into its surroundings, almost as a natural growth of them. The spirit of Frank Lloyd Wright is alive and well in this house.

Bringing the outdoors in

How is this for bringing a little of the outside in? This windowed inset allows their Japanese rock garden to extend into the bedroom. We can imagine this making for many a zen morning.

Outdoor lighting

Overall, we were really inspired by how their attention to detail extends to providing dramatic lighting to the landscaping outside just as they used logging to create a mood inside. While the overall style of this modern house just won’t work as-is in our ’20s-era home, there are still tons of ideas to take away from this house. First, the combination of warm wood tones and cool stone. Second, using wood, stone, lighting and landscaping to blur the line between indoors and out. Finally, the use of light and dark to direct the eye towards focal points while allowing the rest to fade into the background.

What do you think? Do you have any examples of using these themes in your homes?

{ all images courtesy of chictip.com }

Posted in Inspiration | 2 Comments

Strippin’ Away the Blues

Operation: Paint Entryway is currently 95% complete! :-)

About 2 months ago, we completely stripped the shimmery floral wallpaper border from the side entryway, sanded, primed, and repainted the walls. The former “baby blue” side entryway is now a combination of Glidden’s Swiss Coffee and Water Chestnut. LOVE! It’s really a huge improvement and the whole space, though small, feels roomier and brighter.

Below you’ll see a photo of several paint swatches. Swiss Coffee is the option on the top left (taped to bright white the ceiling), while Water Chestnut is the top color choice on the blue wall. The paint choice for the ceiling was a subtle difference since it was already white, but we wanted to use a flat paint in a lighter shade to keep the space bright, while hiding the imperfections in the plaster. After sanding, spackling, and priming, I must say it looks amazingly brand new!

We opted for Water Chestnut on the walls because it was a clean, neutral color that looked cohesive with the hues in our kitchen wallpaper. Since we have yet to paint the wood paneling leading down into the basement, we weren’t brave enough to go with a bolder shade just yet…

Then, with the help of my trusty ol’ friend, Chomp!, I quickly sprayed the border, let it soak for a minute or two, and scraped off all of the glue without any trouble. Right before we re-painted the dining room last year, I read a tip that proved quite helpful. It said that you should try to nab a little corner at the top of your border and peel it off slowly and steadily. Once that entire top layer of paper is removed, the last layer (still attached to the glue) can be moistened and scraped off very easily. There were a ton of other suggestions out there, such as using warm water with a little bit of dish soap. *Note: I’ve actually tried this method and it wasn’t the most efficient for me.

Another tip that I’ve read was to use a small amount of fabric softener mixed into a spray bottle of warm water. Once the entire surface is sprayed, the paper should come right off AND smell like clean laundry to boot! :-) I haven’t tried this method yet, only because I want to finish off our bottle of Chomp! first. I hate letting anything go to waste but, after he’s gone, I plan to try the fabric softener suggestion in another room. Any opportunity we have to use items that are already around lying the house is a huge plus.

Here is a photo of our border pre-attack…

Pretty, I know. In fact, neither of us minded the border so much as the bright blue glossy paint. It just wasn’t jivin’ with the kitchen hues. Since neither one of us is a fan of pastel colors for the house interior, the space felt sort of “Easter Egg-ish.” In order to re-paint, the border had to be sacrificed. Poor little lamb.

And here is the entryway view from the stairs, sans top layer of border…

After the border and glue were completely removed, it was time to sand! Sanding = dust. Oooh, the dust! Granted we were working in a very small area, but sanding a ceiling… on a staircase… well, it’s just no fun at all for someone who a. hates dust and b. dislikes heights (or any movement that makes me feel dizzy and off-balance). Leaning upward and sometimes backward while standing on stairs isn’t exactly my idea of a good time. In fact, I will spare you any photos where I painted and J. held on to me for dear life as I leaned up, over, back, etc. to paint the trim above the door. Frankly, those photos don’t even exist since we didn’t have a free hand to document such ridiculousness (luckily for you). I also had to wear goggles and a mask because any little sliver of paint or wood chipping in the eyes would be both painful and dangerous, not to mention the hazards with inhaling it. Safety first!

Once the sanding was complete, we noticed the small mounds of dust in every nook and cranny along the trim. Ack. Time to scrub! *cue the Queen lyrics: “And another one gone, another one gone, another one bites the dust! clap, clap” *

We’ve found that you really get the most out of your new paint job if the walls are free from dust, mold, grease, or any other stains, so I never skip this step (no matter how tired my arms get… Type A girl here!) I always clean the walls with a some TSP cleaning solution prior to painting, but this time I used the vacuum suction to pick up all of the dust prior to washing the walls. (Funny how those DIY lists always expand themselves, huh?) ;-)

After letting the entryway dry for a day, we primed and let it sit for several hours before painting. Two coats of each and BAM! We were done! I should add that I finally accomplished one of my greatest feats that day. I was able to cut-in to all of the edges between the wall to ceiling without using any painter’s tape this time! So proud!! Admittedly, it was total laziness on my part. I dreaded the thought of dealing with the tape on a flight of stairs, so my impatience took over and I went for it. The hubby completely supported me: “It’s only paint, honey.” I gotta’ say the edges came out better than when I’ve used painter’s tape in the past. Go figure! I guess the more we do it, the less afraid we are to mess things up. (Ahem, that’s what she said.)

Below is the end-result. Though my photos tend to give it a banana-y color (I need to work on my white-balance skills. And since when is banana-y a word?) it truly is a a lovely cream/light beige. It’s warm, cheery, and we’re quite satisfied. Next week, I’m re-painting the last of the blues… that’s right – the back of the door is about to get a makeover. Dark chocolate, anyone? Mmm. Stay tuned!

Posted in Our House, Paint | Leave a comment

Commercial of the Month: Lovin’ Sherwin-Williams

This morning, I found myself captivated yet again by a Sherwin-Williams digital paint chip commercial. This is not the first SW commercial I’ve seen, but with the music and animation combined to create a scenic view of Manhattan with hot air balloons, I think it’s an absolutely brilliant advertisement. I enjoy the creativity behind the entire design and the color effects are 30 seconds of spectacular. Is it completely dorky that these types of commercials make me giddy lately? It’s more than likely because we’re swimming in paint chips for the bedroom and sunporch right now… “Full Moon” or “French Silver” anyone?? In another life, I wish it could have been my job to name paint chip colors. No kidding.

But I digress. Here is the commercial that gave me goosebumps this morning – enjoy!

Isn’t it genius?! Below, I’ll leave you with one more commercial that SW released just last year (I’m particularly biased with this one since I have a thing for honeybees! BEE-you-tea-full!)

Posted in Advertisement, Our House, Paint | Leave a comment

The Rainbow Connection

Have you ever wished that you could bring all of the vibrant colors of the rainbow indoors? I sure have… and today, I was on to something! I decided to color-code the books on one of the shelves on the built-in. OCD, you say? Mayhaps! When I mentioned my idea to J. he said, “Sure! Go for it!” Of course, he probably knew that I’d try it out anyway, but still! ;-) I had his blessing so off I went! It was a simple, quiet, morning task and I had fun looking through some of our favorite books.  I also think that the shelf looks much better and, well, colorful!

I should mention that I’ve always been a bit extreme when it comes to organizing things. (Thanks, Mom!) My personal preference has been to sort all of my books, DVDs, CDs, cassette tapes (!) and what-have-you, alphabetically or by genre. Never had it occurred to me to display things by color until today.

Here is the before photo of our shelf (keep in mind, we have an entire bookcase in the upstairs office that I haven’t gotten my paws on yet…). This was an easy starting point:

The ‘before’ isn’t bad, I suppose. When we first moved into the house, things were so chaotic that I simply transferred many of these books straight out of boxes onto the shelf. And there they’ve sat for over a year. The only changes made were some new additions that I’ve read thanks to my book club or books that are missing because I’ve loaned them to friends. Other than that, we didn’t have any type of sorting system on this shelf whatsoever. Which drove. me. craaaazy! I’ve just never had the patience or desire to sit down and sort through them for some reason. Our college textbooks, photography manuals, and many other randoms remain upstairs just waiting to be sorted through. I’ll bet in their sad, piled-high little state, they’re wondering why I haven’t wiped away the dust bunnies and shown them any love lately. All in good time. ;-)

Now, here is the built-in after color coding!

How’s that for a lazy Sunday morning project? Not too shabby, if I do say so myself!

How about you lovely readers? Do you have any color-coding success stories to share? Clothing? Books? Dishware? Shoes? Nesting minds want to know!

Posted in Organization, Our House | 3 Comments

He Liked It, So He Put A Ring On It

Thanks for the title inspiration, Beyoncé – I couldn’t have written it better myself!

Many of you know the story of how we met and fell in love, but some of you may not have heard the tale of how J. finally popped the question after a whopping 9 years and 10 months together! So crazy! When I first saw the ‘Sex and the City’ movie at the theater, I laughed (and cried) over this hilarious scene (p.s. Carrie Bradshaw ain’t got nothin’ on this girl! hehe)

Read all about our engagement story below:

Valentine’s Day, 2008

Since there was a big snowstorm the day before V-Day 2008, the love nesters decided to just relax at home with dinner and a movie. Nothing fancy, but still romantic and cozy. J. had mentioned that he had gotten Becky a present, but that it was going to be late – the delivery couldn’t make it on time due to all the snow. But J., being a sneaky little romantic, asked Becky if she wanted to know her “other surprise.” Naturally, she said yes! She loves surprises! J. told her that he had booked a cottage in Newport, RI for the long weekend and they’d leave on Saturday. Becky was so excited! She had never been to Newport before nor had they ever been to the ocean (their favorite place!) during the winter.

February 15th, 2008 – Mary’s 60th Birthday Dinner

Friday night was spent at one of their favorite restaurants with J.’s family to celebrate his mother’s 60th birthday. It was so much fun with an absurd amount of food, bread, and wine. Somehow at the end of the evening, everyone ended up at another local eatery for dessert. After many more drinks and mocha sundaes, people started discussing weddings, lightheartedly teasing J. and Becky about not being engaged yet; when was the date, etc., etc.. This was a common occurrence when everyone got together and normally, the two shrugged it off. J. became quiet and smiled (like he always does) but Becky was feeling sad and curious. Why weren’t they engaged yet?? What was he waiting for?! Little did she know …

February 16th, 2008

Saturday morning, Becky’s excitement came back full force, with no expectations, just hopes for fun and travel. They arrived in Newport late afternoon, just in time to have a great dinner. As the two were waiting for their meals, a vibrant young couple walked into the restaurant, all dressed up and excited to tell the hostess that they’d just gotten engaged. Cigars and drinks all around! “Not again!” Becky thought. J. looked horrified and quickly changed the conversation to something more lighthearted.

February 17th, 2008
Part I: Greenvale and Newport Vineyards


Sunday was mild, in the 50s, but very foggy, gray, and wet. J. suggested that instead of touring the mansions, they visit some wineries that he had in mind. They went to Greenvale first. After tasting many delicious samples, the time came for the tour to begin. Due to the weather, Becky wasn’t very enthusiastic about walking around in the mucky field of grapevines. She asked if they could skip this tour and go to another indoor tasting down the road. As she tried to hold J.’s hand, he sort of walked around her with the bottles of wine he had just purchased. No hand holding (weird!).

When they arrived at the Newport Winery there were tons of people! The lines were long, there were twinkling Christmas lights and grapes hanging from the wooden beams, and SO much wine! It was really fun. They ended up taking the full tour this time even though it was windy outside. Again, Becky tried to sling her arm through J.’s to keep warm and he dodged her, just sort of standing behind her with his hand on her shoulder. She did not pick up on the reason why until later …

After finishing the tour and tasting 10 wines between them, they headed back to the cottage. They had made dinner reservations at a quaint, Parisian, 1930s-style restaurant in town and wanted to freshen up beforehand. When they got there, Becky was very sleepy. Since they had a few hours to relax, she really wanted to take a nap. J. said that the sun was finally coming out, close to setting, and they should walk down to the beach for a stroll and some great photo opportunities. Becky jokingly remarked that she’d seen a sunset before, but it turned out to be a good thing she finally went!

Part II: Easton’s Beach

To be honest, Becky always thought that she would have some inkling of the time and day that J. would finally propose. After nearly 10 years together, she had learned a thing or two about him. She had always heard women talk about their significant others acting funny or nervous when the moment came, but Becky never got it. If anything, J. was being sweeter, but it didn’t make her put two and two together.

When they got to the beach, she was still oblivious. They were walking and Becky was babbling on and on about photography and all of the things she wanted to learn. J. mentioned how great it would be to have a collection of all of the photos that made up their entire lives together (hint hint). He proceeded to say something along those lines again, with more emphasis on the “rest of our lives” part. Suddenly they stood still, and Becky sort of looked at J. with wide eyes. What was he getting at? She reached to hug him and as she did, he sort of man-hugged her, with only one arm. She squeezed him again and starting to give him grief about acting weird with hugs and hand-holding all day, when suddenly, she felt J. reaching in his coat pocket. As she looked down, she saw him pull out a little blue box.

She was very confused. The first thing out of her mouth was, “What!?” J. only smiled. Becky was giggling and laughing and her hands began to shake uncontrollably. “Is this happening? Are you serious? Is this a joke?!” (she asked that several times…) No tears. No jokes. Just sheer joy and giggles. J. gave her the box and as she opened it, she felt his eyes staring down at her. She was blushing and her heart was pounding. For the first time in her life, she was speechless.

Then it hit her! “Wait!,” handing him back the box… “Don’t you have something to ask me???” she squealed. “Oh yeah!,” he said. Nerves!! Now Becky finally knew why J. hadn’t wanted her to get too close to him all day. The box had been in his coat pocket!

Becky doesn’t recall his words exactly. She does remember that when he slid the ring on her finger, it was a perfect fit. She had to ask him about it later at dinner, because everything had become a blur. J. was on his knee + he was holding a ring + he was asking her to marry him. It was surreal.

Part III: Tucker’s Bistro

That evening, the newly-engaged couple went out to dinner as planned, only this time it was their turn to celebrate! Still in shock and gazing at the beautiful ring on her finger, she could barely eat. They were so happy. Becky still beams just thinking of it! Once her emotions had settled down a bit, Becky asked J. to tell her again how he proposed. He said, “Miss Rebecca, will you marry me?” Beautifully simple and sweet – she’d gone blank from all of the excitement. They talked about a potential wedding date, about the fact that they were now fiancées and no longer boyfriend and girlfriend, and about how nervous and excited they were. Dinner was amazing. They had wine (what else?) and talked for over two hours. It was the type of really long conversation that somehow felt too short.

Spreadin’ the Love…

Though they had every intention of calling their families right away, there was something very special about finishing that meal with just the two of them knowing. They waited until Tuesday afternoon to call their parents. As soon as they got home, they couldn’t wait to share their story.

Needless to say, they will live (love) happily ever-after.

Posted in Engagement, Wedding | 1 Comment

Play-Doh Cologne

Captivating title, eh?

Well, it is deemed appropriate after I made quite an interesting, er, totally bizarre discovery at Parenting online yesterday. (Please don’t get any ideas, folks! Innocently browsing! hehe) These are actual products (which I do not in any way endorse on the ol’ blog) sold throughout the country. I don’t think you need to be a parent to recognize the oddities here…

Do you want your baby to smell even better?! Perhaps this limited edition Play-Doh Cologne is the exact thing you never knew you were looking for –

Is your baby just too bald? Have no fear!! Baby Bangs are here –

Have you ever thought about hanging up your baby to free your hands in a public restroom? No? What a novel idea! Genius, even! The Bathroom Baby Harness is just the thing –

And who needs potty training? Just show your toddler how to grab a diaper and march right on up the steps whenever he/she needs a-changin’ with this dandy station –

For other peculiar (and equally hilarious) baby products, follow the yellow brick road to this knee-slapping article.

Oh, and while we’re on the subject of silly baby products, what’s the weirdest baby-related item you’ve ever splurged on (for yourself or perhaps as a gift)? Do tell! :-)

All images courtesy of parenting.com.

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