Friday, April 29, 2016

Windows & Wreaths: A True Love Affair

If you follow me on instagram or have ever stepped foot into my home for at least 30 seconds, it will come as no surprise to you that I LOVE wreaths and windows. I don't know how it started and I don't really care. I just love them. You can pretty much find (at least) one set in every room of the house. Now I have told you before that my taste is not expensive and I am sticking to that. All but two of the windows that I have in my house have cost me $5 or less. The exceptions being my 30 pane ($30) and my arched window ($20). Still. Every normal sized, normal shaped window I have either came from a yard sale, a thrift store, OR my window lady. (Long story but if you ever want her info...send me a message!) She is this awesome person that keeps a whole bunch of scrap windows from building projects and then sells them for really, really cheap. my opinion (and experience), windows are an awesome way to make a huge statement in a room for a small price. 
The wreaths can be tricky because wreaths are PRICEY. However, if you keep an eye out for sales and/or always seem to have an abundance of Target gift cards (like me...that's all I ever really ask for for holidays...*ahem* Keep Calm and Target On) then you can make it worth your while. The wreaths that I have most of in my house are these Target boxwood wreaths. They are adorable and very affordable compared to any other boxwoods I have ever found. Seriously, google boxwood wreaths...the prices will blow your mind. Disclaimer: I would not recommend them for outside use. At least if you are like me and don't have any coverage over your front door. Mine ended up turning completely black after a couple months of sun exposure. Boo. That being said, I keep all of my boxwoods indoors and have a nice wooden door hanger out front (but that's for another post). 

I have basically adopted the policy that windows and wreaths can brighten up any space, big or small. The fact that they come in all shapes and sizes is always helpful and (because I'm me) being able to switch out wreaths for holidays and such makes my heart happy as well. Here are the many wreath/window combos in my house:

Mantle (You've definitely seen this one before):

Den Wall:

My Big Beauty:

Kitchen (Not a space I have really blogged yet because it is a major work in progress...but more on that soon):


and, Half-Bath: 

Besides my 30 pane, this arched window is definitely a favorite. It is the only differently shaped window I have and I love what it adds to this small space. You might can see in the reflection of the mirror that I actually have a second, smaller window in here as well. That was also a yard sale find and the hubs and I actually attached burlap to the back and added the hooks to it as a little pre-wedding project. I love it and will keep it forever. The wreath pictured here is also from Target but, it is from several falls ago. It is a wood curl wreath and I adore it as much as the Boxwoods. The one hanging on the other window is a miniature version of it. They do not currently carry this exact wreath but they do have a very similar version of it here. Long story short, I love wreaths and windows and use them as accent pieces all throughout my house. You can't go wrong with this combo. Ya just can't.

As a side note/endorsement for the wreath/window campaign: Here is a before and after of the half-bath. Before we moved into the house and what it looks like now.

See what I mean? Happy Weekend!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Currently Loving: Rae Dunn Clay

I have not done a post like this yet but the "currently loving" segment is definitely one that I wanted to include on the blog. Disclaimer: I never love anything expensive but once I find something that is part of a "collection" I usually try to find as many as I can. A few months ago, I found some Rae Dunn mugs at TJ Maxx and fell in love. They are the simplest things but they make a huge statement. I have since collected lots more (especially the holiday themed ones...surprise surprise). Thank you TJ Maxx, Home Goods, and Marshalls! Most of the time I go into any one of those stores I find another piece that I love. Best part? They're cheap and huge! These mugs are all about 4 inches tall and vary a lot physically because they are all hand-made and unique. The mugs run for $3.99 at those stores and the other item's (like the teapot, butter dish, etc) usually run from $6-$20. None of it is pricey (especially when you're like me and only find a couple pieces at a time) but all of it is cute!

These are the mugs that I have out at all times in our kitchen. People might think I am absolutely ridiculous for loving coffee mugs so much when I don't really drink coffee. My response to that is...yes. Yes I am. Although to be fair, the hubs and I use all our mugs for hot chocolate almost daily. Oh yes, we're aware we're children.

Each piece in her collection is either white or cream and features (typically) one word in black, simple lettering. Examples include: Gulp, Sip, Drink, Create, Dream, Yum (and even silly ones) like Selfie, and #Hashtag. I also have a problem with tea sets (you know've seen my dining room). When I saw this in Home Goods I knew I had to have it...and of course, the butter dish. I mean come on how cute is that? Thank goodness for gift cards! I left the store feeling, "Home Goods Happy" that's for sure.

You also know good and well by now that I LOVE Holidays and having holiday themed anything is my favorite. SO, it should come as no surprise that I have sets of these awesome mugs for just about every holiday they make 'em for. Once again, thank you Home Goods, Marshalls, and TJ Maxx. If you go early enough in the season, they always have the biggest selection/best stuff. Plus it's cheap! Here we have:

Valentine's Day:




and of course, Christmas:

Basically, (if it isn't painfully obvious) I love the stuff and I am not afraid to admit it. I don't really have a link to buy simply because...I buy these at the kind of stores that don't have a consistent inventory and buying these babies at full retail price is ridonkulous. So, keep your eyes peeled at Marshalls, Home Goods, and TJ Maxx and you will have your own collection going in no time! 

Just as a random side is the link to purchase the mug rack featured in all my pictures. This one is the white version because they don't currently have the one like mine on the website but I know you can find it in pretty much any of their stores! 

 It is a steal from World Market. I <3 World Market big time. I actually even used a coupon on mine so I think it ended up being around $12. I love it and use it as a decorative as well as functional piece in my kitchen. That combo is always unbeatable. Thanks for reading. Happy almost Friday!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Weeknight Dessert: Easy Ice Cream Cake

Hey guys! Sorry for the big gap between posts. This is a really busy part of the year and I realized pretty quickly that posting every single day was just not going to be feasible (at least until summer break...yay teacher life!) Anyways, today I wanted to take it in a totally non-decor direction with this easy dessert recipe! This is in no way my original recipe but to whoever thought of it first...kudos to you! It's quick to assemble, requires ridiculously easy ingredients, and tastes incredibly delicious. The hardest part by far, is waiting for it to firm up in the freezer. I certainly don't make a dessert every night of the week, but when I feel like doing a little something special...this recipe is a go to. 

Introducing, the Simplest Ice Cream Cake you will ever make!

First, the ingredients:

Probably the best thing about this cake (besides the joy of eating it) is that you don't actually have to prepare any of the ingredients. You just have to buy them.

1) Ice Cream Sandwiches (Any variety you like...the sky's the limit!) I chose the original chocolate on the outside, vanilla on the inside. Plain and simple.

2) Cool Whip. Need I say more?
(16 oz. container for those of us who like to go big or go home.)

3) Store bought (yeah you better believe I didn't actually bake cookies for this!) chocolate chip cookies. I used Annie's cookies because that's what I already had in the pantry.

4) Sprinkles
(Totally optional but I still had these from like 3 Easters ago so I figured why not?)
Side Note: Do sprinkles go bad? Hope not. 

After you have gathered together all of these gourmet ingredients...*ahem* it is time to start assembling your Ice Cream Cake!

Step 1: Line the bottom of your pan with ice cream sandwiches. Yes, I did have to break one in order to get it to fit right and there was just a little bit left that would not fit in the pan. (Not complaining...yum.) Moving on. Note: If you would like to be able to easily remove your cake once it's done freezing in order to display it cutely on a platter or something...I would suggest lining the whole pan with a big piece of wax or parchment paper so you can lift the whole thing out in one piece. I, however only care about the eating part when it is finished in the freezer so I skipped this step altogether.

Step 2: Cover those bad boys with a generous layer of cool whip. Just make sure not to go too terribly crazy because you still have 2 more layers of the cool whip to go!

Step 3: Cover that luscious layer of cool whip with a layer of your store-bought cookies. Note: it won't look perfect. You will more than likely have to break some cookies in the process. Don't worry, this only allows for more snacking while "cooking". If you can even call it that.

Step 4: More cool whip. Be still my heart.

Step 5: The stars of the show make another appearance. Note how precise I was when breaking them and arranging them for maximum coverage...NOT. 

Step 6: The final layer of cool whip. This is where you can just really go crazy and use up whatever is left in that tub. It may look like too much but trust me: One can never add too much cool whip. I'm pretty sure Confucius said that. 

Step 7: Get wild and crazy and use those old Easter sprinkles that have been sitting in the cabinet for years and fall out every time you open it to get your claritin in the mornings. Yolo, am I right?

Step 8: Cover your masterpiece with foil (or if you have an actual lid that goes with your pan, that's even better. I don't.) and put it in the freezer to firm up for a couple of hours. This will be a true test of your self-control but you can do it. I believe in you.

I don't actually have a picture of step 9 to show you because my cake is still in the freezer stage. However, step 9 goes a little something like this:

  • Take Cake out of freezer.
  • Remove foil (or don' each their own.)
  • Eat Cake.
  • Love life. You deserve it.
Happy Hump Day, Lovelies!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Home Tour: Dining Room

Continuing on with the home tour...slowly but surely! This is actually my favorite room in the whole house. I am well aware that most newly-weds don't start out with a full dining room set...they are nowhere near cheap! However, like almost everything else in our house, we were blessed enough to have an entire set (table, chairs, and huge china cabinet) handed down to us from my parents. Thanks Mom and Dad! They had recently gotten a new set and their old one (our new one) was sitting in my grandparent's basement collecting dust. The set was originally a light brown oak color with gold toned seat cushions. The china cabinet was the same color and had leaded glass in the doors (which made it EXTREMELY difficult/heavy to get it up and out of the basement and into our car. (Thanks again, Dad and Brother! You're the best.) Now I really wish I could take credit for the re-do of the table, chairs, and cabinet but...I cannot. We ended up storing all of it at my now in-law's house and my awesome MIL (who is a fabulous painter and DIYer herself) painted the entire set white and re-covered the original seat cushions with my favorite fabric and white toile. Yes, I must be part old lady because I LOVE toile and I just don't care who knows it. In case you're asking yourself, "What the heck is toile?" Here it is:

At the time, I was a senior at UGA trying to get through my student teaching and plan a wedding so any DIY help was much appreciated and in this case...was just plain AMAZING. The only part of the transformation that I can take credit for is the chicken wire. The hubs and I decided to do away with the leaded glass (mostly because it was just too dang heavy) and replace it with chicken wire. The wire itself was cheap from Home Depot and one roll was plenty enough for multiple projects. However, this was a painful process to say the least. Note to self: chicken wire is sharp and hard to stretch. However, the end result gave me the exact casual look I was going for so...worth it I guess? Sorry fingers!

Here's a close-up of the chicken wire:

Anyways, I really wish I had a before picture of the whole set...but I don't. So here is what it looks like currently!

I started collecting various blue and white plates, cups, saucers, etc about 4 years ago and I can guarantee you that not one piece that I have in this room was expensive (to me, anyways). Almost every piece in here has been either a yard sale or thrift store find. I have a couple that are from antique stores in our area (still never pay more than $10...that's my rule) and some have been gifts from my wonderful family members who know how much I obsess over this stuff. A couple things in here are actually from Hobby Lobby! They used to carry a lot of this blue and white patterned stuff but I have not seen it in their stores for quite awhile now. Such a bummer. Anyways, I don't know how it started and I have no excuse for it...I just love blue and white. 

This hutch that we added to the room about a year after we moved in was a Christmas gift from my awesome in-laws! My MIL found it at one of my fave local thrift stores and just knew I had to have it. Once again...I could kick myself for not keeping any of the before pictures...but the piece was a dark reddish-brown that the hubs and I painstakingly painted over with white and then sanded down with a belt sander to make it look as old as it actually is. We were told it came out of an old farmhouse and I would just LOVE to know the story behind it... Oh well. It's gorgeous nonetheless.

The Blueberries sign was not a vintage find (it actually came from my fave etsy shop, RBT Home Decor which you can find here!) but those gorgeous milk glass vases were! My Mom got me the fanned vase (my favorite one by far) for Easter a couple of years ago. I keep my handy dandy couldn't kill it if I tried Hobby Lobby Lavender in there because I love the fresh look it brings to the whole room. 

I decided to paint this room navy blue when we moved in because...well, isn't it obvious? Everything in it goes with navy! Plus, my Mom's kitchen is navy blue and I have always LOVED I knew I wanted it in my house somewhere.

The one thing I would change about this room is the flooring. I did not understand why there was ever carpet put in this room (the previous owners used it as a dining room as well). However, flooring change is pricey so for now, carpet it is! The chandelier was actually another makeover that we did when we moved in...but that is for another post! 

Here is what the room looked like before we moved in, and then now. 

Thanks so much for sticking with me while I learn how to do this blogging thing. Happy Hump Day!