Friday, September 19, 2014

FINALLY - Master Bedroom Makeover Reveal!

Well, it's finally finished. At least, finished for now. I have a bad habit of loving something for a few years, then completely changing it.
The picture below, I did NOT love that.
Don't get me wrong - all of that stuff served us well for the first two years we lived here. It all matched, but there was just no, style, you know?
This room is very large. It has these gorgeous French windows, with lots of crown molding, white doors, and white trim. Can you tell in this room? Nope. Those black curtains, while VERY dark at night, also covered those windows up most of the time. They had no flow, no va-va-voom.
With the three French windows, I also have a door that leads to the sunroom. I haven't had a curtain rod long enough, so I just put cheap blinds on the windows for night time. It didn't do that door justice.
Everything just seemed to be bland and blend together.
We have talked about redoing this room for two years. Two years, we've lived with the so-so and been perfectly content. But we always talked about what we would do if we could change it up? We really didn't have a lot of ideas, but we both knew we didn't want anything super girly, it had to be serene, stylish, and fluffy. We wanted a fluffy bedspread, fluffy pillows, fluffy blankets. You know, like how beds and rooms look in showrooms? We also knew we needed some new bedroom furniture, but we had been shopping for about a year all over the place and couldn't find anything we liked. We went into a store one day and fell in love with white furniture. I have never really liked white, I always thought it looked cheap. But this stuff didn't look cheap. It looked awesome. I started thinking about all of the white and thought, "How great would dark paint look on the walls with all of that white?" I looked up some images of navy rooms and loved how in the right space, it actually opened things up instead of making it feel dark. And this is my vision come to life:
I could literally talk a novel about all of the stuff I got for this I will try to keep it to a minimum.
I bought those beautiful silver lamps at one of my favorite thrift shops in town. They are real metal, not painted that way. They came with different shades that were very dingy and put off a yellow-ish light. These shades came from clearance at Target for $13 each, which is great. I love the pattern. Those mirrors were $1.99 at Ikea. For $8, they make a huge impact, don't you think? All of the pillows came from clearance Steinmart and I LOVE them. The shams and navy blanket at the end of the bed are DD's Discounts, kind of like a clearance Ross (if you can imagine) and they were $10.99. YES!!! The white comforter was a wedding gift and we love it - perfectly fluffy!

The chairs you see below I got from a friend for $40. It also came with an ottoman that I moved out of the room. I got the chair covers from Sure Fit on clearance for $30 each, the pillows and throws came from Ross. The love all of the patterns in this room! Very geometrical.

I think the way the windows look is my favorite after. I had been eyeing those curtains at Target for months and when I finally went in to by curtains, these were 30% off. It was a sign. I love how they bring out the beautifulness of the wall. The shelves on either side, I've had forever, I painted them white. The candles on top came from Dollar Tree. The curtain rod I needed for this space would have been really long and really expensive, so great tip: buy two rods from Family Dollar for $10 and just add them on to each other. $20 curtain rod that is 166 inches long isn't bad at all!

These shelves had been in my brain for months. I wanted to make faux built ins and had really thought I would have to get the billy bookcases as Ikea for $25 a pop. It's almost impossible to find two identical shelves at a garage sale or thrift store, let alone 6. The same day I got Jordan's furniture at our neighbor's estate sale, they sold me these beauties for $5 TOTAL.
One day I will do a tutorial on painting wood white. It's not easy. Don't use spray paint, you will never get it white enough. I got two quarts of white for $8 each and used a foam roller that was AMAZING. I put two shelves together to create thickness, and used tape to paint the stripes. If you look super close, these are particle board shelves and the backing is basically cardboard. The stripes help to camoflauge it. Don't tell anyone. The wreath is my coffee filter wreath that literally cost me $1 and has lasted a long, long time. The mirror is the same mirror above, just painted white. I have painted each of those items below on the wall at least once, if not more. I like to recycle.

Here is a close up of the lamps...beautiful! We've never had two matching night stands, ever.

This big TV was just a treat for us. I love the dresser too. I'd like to say I refinished that, but no way.

I love this room SO much. We just love sitting in it and not letting kids in! (Just kidding. Kind of!)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Picture Purge Tuesday

Here are just a few pictures that I found that I don't think I've shared yet!! Enjoy!


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Avery's First Day of Pre-K 2014

As soon as I had decided to sign Avery up for a pre-k program, all Avery could talk about is going to "Big Kid School." I took her up about a month ago to register, and she apparently thought that was going to be her first day. When we turned around to leave after I filled out the paperwork, she started crying in the parking lot that she wanted to start big kid school! "I want to stay, mommy!!" Avery started her school one week after the other two kids, but when they told us about their first week, Avery was always quick to say, "I am going to Big Kid School, too, right mom?" So, when it was Meet the Teacher, Avery was SO excited.
I was expecting school, but that night, when I brought Avery and she had a chair and folder and sign with her name on it, and bulletin boards with numbers and letters, and days of the week, and months of the year, and backpacks, and lunchboxes, and emails home from the teacher, suddenly I was picturing her first day of kindergarten, and middle school, and graduation. I was so excited to watch her so excited and to watch what she is going to learn how to do this year, but I would be lying if I said I didn't have just a twinge of sadness and emotion because I know this is just the beginning of her life flashing before my eyes.
This year, as we went shopping for the start of the school year, my mom and I decided to just buy her lots of dresses. The child will wear other things (sometimes), but mostly, it's dresses. And on a given day, we will have two or three outfit changes. She is a girly girl when it comes to that. Now, you see that bow in her hair? That will stay in a total of 30 minutes. Then, she just rips her hair down. I can't get her to keep her hair done these days!!!
She requested I take a couple silly shots too. :-)
On her second day, Avery got homework....HOMEWORK!! It was tracing her numbers, so we worked on it, and she did a really great job! She is great with numbers and counting. I am looking forward to her starting to recognize letters, too.
Here are a list of Avery's Favorite Things these days, we will see if this stays this way at the end of the year!
Favorite Thing to Wear: DRESSES!!
Favorite TV Show: Sophia the First or Doc McStuffins
Favorite Movie: Hotel Transylvania
Favorite Foods: PB&J sandwiches, applesauce, granola bars
Favorite Thing To Do: Be my shadow!!!
Favorite New "Trick:" Swimming in the pool without a floatie! (She's gotten quite good!)
Favorite Friend: Anyone who will play with her while she's bossing them around (And her sister).
Favorite Song: "Without You" Toby Mac
Favorite Toy: Her new Big Wheels
Favorite Book: Paragon "Excuse Me!" Storybook
Favorite Sayings:
"Oh mom, that's brilliant!"
"See! I told ya,"
"Here's the deal..."
Here is Avery's First Day of Daycare when I went back to work (February 2011):
Her first day at Miss Jenn's after we moved to Grand Prairie (it just happened to be Halloween, which was interesting because when we dropped her off, Miss Jenn was dressed up as a witch! Avery was like, "Um, you are leaving me with WHO now?") (October 2011):
Her first week of MDO last year (November 2013):
This year, first day of Pre-K:
She is growing up so fast. Tear.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Book Review - Gone Girl (Spoilers)

**This review contains spoilers**
I had a hard time with this book. I really wanted to like it...the story could have been the same, yet told a little differently, and I could have really liked it. I am also having a hard time figuring out how this movie will be one anyone else will like, even with Ben Affleck as the star. Honestly, I had written this book off after about 5 hours of listening to it because it was so awful. But in the last two days, I have had lots of cleaning and painting to do, so instead of letting TV distract me, I just started listening to it again. Kind of wished I hadn't.
This book is divided into 3 parts. The entire book is told with each chapter indicating the time of the year by how many days have passed since the disappearance of Amy Elliot Dunne, the wife of Nick Dunne. We find out in the Part One that Amy and Nick are both writers and have moved to the Midwest after having lost their writing jobs in NYC. The chapters are told alternatingly from both Amy and Nick's perspectives; Nick tells us the events as they are happening when Amy goes missing, and Amy's perspective is told in a series of diary entries, some are flashbacks to their early relationship together while others are journals of their current life together. Both tell of their marriage, but seem to be contradictory. As Amy tells of Nick as this wonderful man whom she doted on and shared wonderful times with but has serious bouts of anger and whom she begins to become afraid of, Nick tells us of an unhappy woman whom he didn't seem to get along with. You aren't really sure which is correct or even if Amy is alive or dead at this point, and you aren't sure if Nick had anything to do with it or not. In Part 2, we learn that Amy is, in fact, alive. Not only alive, but we learn that all the diary entries we've read were fabricated by her, as part of a complicated "disciplined" master plan designed to frame Nick for her murder. We learn she is a manipulative sociopath and has been so all of her life, and has been willing to go to great lengths when she feels people have wronged her. We also learn Nick has been having an affair on Amy for a year, which Amy has known about and is the reason she has planned this horrible fate for him. He also figures out that she has plotted this very meticulously and so as a counter-strike, he begins to use the massive media attention and acting to plead to Amy to come home, mainly because he really wants to kill her. In Part 3, his acting works and Amy does return home. We then learn just how much of a sociopath Amy is and how "cunning" she can be, and what lengths she will actually go to, to get her way.
I have two real gripes about this book that made it hard for me to enjoy it. First, the cussing and vulgarity in this book are astronomical. I am not a prude, but if I had to hear one more cuss word, I was going to scream. Second, the author drags this book out so long and is so wordy for no reason, I lost interest quite a few times. I had a hard time getting through Part One. I would have been happy with a few chapters telling us about the events, but it just went on and on and on and on. So much so that in the audiobook I listened to, I actually skipped over 8 chapters to get to Part Two and didn't miss a beat. Part 2 picked up and was really interesting. The story telling was faster and events were happening more quickly. The part of Desi, her "stalker" from high school and the one she turns to when she is on the run and out of money will be played by Neil Patrick Harris in the movie. I actually can't wait to see him in this role - it's literally going to be what Barney Stinson would be like if he was obsessed with one woman. He's rich, he's suave and he's also insanely controlling of Amy and basically takes her prisoner in his huge house. When they meet initially after she is robbed, they are in a lounge at a casino, and the whole time I was picturing Neil Patrick Harris, and when his character says, "Amy, you can come stay with me..." I just heard in my head, "It will be...legend....wait for it....ary!"
Amy's character in this book is cunning, crazy, psychopathic, and is supposed to be smarter than everyone else in the room. For me, I had a really hard time believing she has been able to outwit and outsmart everyone without anyone standing up to her and no one ever getting the best of her. I thought about this later and came to this conclusion....she is able to outwit her very smart husband, outmaneuver the police and FBI, get it past her parents that she has been this crazy person her entire life, is a murderer with no real remorse, has set up several people for acts they didn't commit and gotten away with it, and spends a whole year plotting and thinking of this full proof plan that brilliantly frames her husband, and yet when put up against two "dumb" rednecks in the Ozarks, gets outwitted and robbed? I kind of started liking her, until the end of the book. I have a hard time believing that this woman would try so hard to get Nick to stay married to her that she would use her own baby as leverage in keeping him around, when she so clearly hates his guts and he so clearly hates her (and tells her every day until he finds out she's pregnant). She ends up being this pathetic, needy woman who lives obliviously in this fake world she has created for herself and the only thing that redeemed anything for me was that Nick stayed with her because of the baby, but said that he stays with her and coddles her because "he feels sorry for her that every day she had to wake up being her."
Had this book been shorter and the author tried not to hit us in the face with every cuss word and synonym of the male and female anatomy at every turn possible, I think I might have really liked it. I thought I might end up liking it in the middle of the book, but by the end, the characters were so sad and unlikeable, so narcissistic and such hateful human beings, I was ready to be done with them and leave them to their miserable lives. They ended up together, in this twisted, sickening marriage built of manipulation, lies, and disgust, yet also have this crazy appreciation for each other and what the other person does to make them who they are.
A lot of people really seemed to like this book, but I think what they really liked is that the story line at it's most simple was a really good one. The way the author set you up in the beginning and takes you on twists and turns is great. I just wish she would make her writing style less, "Hey listen to me. I can write lots of words and am a strong enough woman to use the F-word many, many times in my novel, just like a man would do," and just let the story tell itself, because at its' skeleton, it is a good story. But I wouldn't recommend anyone spend 16 hours of their lives to hear or read it.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Avery's Dresser Redo and Some Tips on Spray Paint

I've been a busy little bee with painting this week! It's not something I really like to do but I do it because I LOVE the results. Jason has had this dresser for years and it was in sad shape. It was wood for a long time, but I got so tired of looking at the knicks in it and the stickers that Jason let the kids put on it, that one day I decided to just paint it black. It looked a million times better. That was three years ago. It has traveled with us from Jason's apartment, to our first apartment together, to our rent house, to our new house. It was time for us to get some new bedroom furniture, so we did. (More on that reveal later!) Since Avery was in need of a dresser in her room, she got our old one.
This is why I love paint. Because it looks brand new and it's probably 10 years old, if not older.
Here is a before:
And the after!
I have had this vision in my head for a long time. Her comforter has stripes and this matches the colors perfectly!! I had leftover spray paint for a couple of projects in her room, so all I had to buy was a couple cans of the light pink. Since I was painting black, I had to put on a couple good coats. So, this dresser redo cost me $8.64. Not too shabby. The hardware is original, I just painted them white. Surprisingly, if you put on a top sealant coat, the paint stays on really well.
Ok - this is a good chance for me to do a little spray paint lesson and some spray paint reviews.
If you are interested in trying out spray paint for the first time for a DIY project, word to the wise - never, ever scrimp and try to save money by buying the cheap stuff. If it's less than $1.50, that can of spray paint will be awful to work with. The more expensive the can, the better off you will be. Trust me - it's worth spending another few dollars and buying quality, especially if that item gets a lot of use. With that said, let me tell you some information on the two major brands I see in my area most often - Rustoleum and Valspar.
First of all, the type of spray paint at your disposal has a lot to do with the stores you have to choose from and their color options. Home Depot, as far as I know, sells Rustoleum, while Lowes carries Valspar. What Walmart sells really depends on the store. There is a blogger I follow who swears by Ace Hardware and their selection, but the only one by me has a terrible selection and all of their cans are about $1 more than other home improvement stores. Rustoleum is a cheaper option at around $3.80 a can and Valspar, I've found, is about $4.80.
In my experience, Valspar offers great color choices. If you really want a great array of unique colors, this is the one to pick. I have found all of the colors I could ever want in either brand, so I will just compare them, in terms of application and paint coverage.
Rustoleum's applicator looks like this....
It has your typical spray paint applicator. On a large project, you could be spray painting for more than one to two hours. Your hand will hurt using this can. I find myself switching hands back and forth a lot. In order to really have an even coat without a lot of paint blots and build up, it requires you to use short, small bursts of paint by pressing and releasing the trigger a lot. This technique is pretty much required for Rustoleum if you want the finished product to look good. You also can't spray too close to the surface - that's a surefire way to get drips and it will take you a lot longer to get an even coat. To make the painting process a little easier, there is a little gadget that looks like this:
It is a spray can handle specifically for this paint can that allows for easier painting. (why they can't change their applicators for comfort and make people buy a separate product is beyond me). I still find this to be cumbersome, but it does make the job easier.
I have had more trouble with Rustoleum, in that probably one out of every 10 cans has issues with paint either not being able to spray out because of a clog or it taking a while to come out without huge paint blobs. OR it will spray in the totally wrong direction. With this dresser, I bought a can of Cotton Candy. Well, I shook the can quite a bit before starting, but it took each can a good minute of constant spraying to decide what color it wanted to be. It was first hot pint until it settled on light pink. That was really annoying, considering I had made a special trip across town to Home Depot just to buy these two cans of paint. Needless to say, leaving again to replace them really wasn't something I wanted to do. Luckily, the decided to spray correctly, but this happens frequently. But with all of these negatives aside, for the price, it's certainly a good brand and you will be happy with the end result.
At $1 more a can, with Valspar, you are paying for comfortability of the applicator and the finish of the paint and it's definitely worth it.
This applicator allows you to use two fingers and your hands don't get nearly as tired. As you can also see, this is a paint and primer in one. Therefore, it's not necessary to use short spurts of paint - you can actually just use one solid stream and it will not drip. Definitely something that will help get the job done quicker!! If I have a choice between Rustoleum and Valspar, I will always choose Valspar. But the Lowe's is farther away from me, so I usually end up with Rustoleum. And like I said, it's totally fine, it's just a little more annoying to use.
Well, I guess that's my small DIY contribution this evening - have a great Labor Day, everyone!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Procrastination - A Sin???

I have the best Bible in the world. At least, I think so. It's called the Life Application Study Bible and it has proven to be invaluable to me. I feel like I always read the Bible but didn't always understand or have information that helped me get to the next "level." This Bible does just that. Usually, when I read a verse in church or during Bible study, I can go to the bottom of the page and the Bible gives me either a background on the story, a background on the verse and why it was written, or some additional information to consider - it just depends on the book and context.
Today, we read from Joshua. I happened to read a description on Joshua 18:3-6. The story was about Joshua and how he assigned land to seven individual tribes, but they procrastinated on taking possession of it. Taking possession would have been a boring, large, difficult task and the Israelites put it off. Joshua asked them, "How long are you going to wait before taking possession of the remaining land the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has given to you?"
In the description, I read this: Joshua asked why some of the tribes were putting off the job of possessing the land. Often, we delay doing jobs that seem large, difficult, boring or disagreeable. But to continue putting them off shows lack of discipline, poor stewardship of time, and in some cases, disobedience to God. Jobs we don't enjoy require concentration, teamwork, twice as much time, lots of encouragement, and accountability. Remember this when you are tempted to procrastinate.
Well, I was convicted.
I would have never have thought to put together this verse about Joshua and procrastination. So, I appreciated that my Bible did just that.
Procrastination has ALWAYS been a struggle of mine. For many reasons, I put things off. And over the years, I have justified my procrastination with many excuses: "The rush of the deadline makes me work more efficiently." "That's just how I am, Jenna the late comer! Jenna, her room is always messy! Ha ha, isn't it funny?" "TV, or do the dishes. Hmmm..." But really, what it is, is me having a problem with being lazy and knowing I have an issue and defiantly refusing to fix it. Being married to someone who is NOT a procrastinator and having kids have changed this attribute quite a bit about my personality, but I still have my struggles with it. In my younger days, though, I put off everything - paying bills, cleaning my room, doing laundry. As a service manager of a restaurant, I would even put off making the schedule for the employees until the very last minute. It was kind of a joke, and in my defense I was an immature 23 year old, but still. It was pretty bad.
Over the years, and through my maturity as a Christian, I have come to realize a few things about my "old" ways and the way I should live now. First and foremost, the old way I lived, where people were inconvenienced by my procrastination (like my roommates who had to live in the same house I would keep messy, or companies who didn't get payment from me or the employees who had to wait for their schedules), it showed a complete lack of respect for them, their time, and their feelings. Secondly, it shows a complete lack of respect for the material things that God has given you to take care of. A house, for instance. That is a big blessing, one that I know some people take for granted, especially if it's a house they don't particularly love. But it's still a huge blessing God has provided and one that we should treat as such. Third, it shows a lack of respect for our relationship with God because we are not attempting to provide the care and discipline these responsibilities require of us.
I realize not all things are a priority in God's eyes. For example, I have six shelves sitting outside in my backyard, waiting to be redone. I started the project yesterday and don't know when I will get back to it. Well, I am sure God doesn't care if I rush out and paint them right now. I don't mean things like that, we all have things that should be done or that we've meaning to get to. But I do mean things like, procrastinating and getting the kids to school late regularly because you put off that snooze alarm just one more time. Or if you regularly put off housework that effects living conditions and the other people in your house. Or if you procrastinate projects at work because they are tedious and time consuming in favor of other, more fun ways to spend your time, whatever the case may be. I know that I feel that guilt when I have put something off for days upon end. I think that if you are walking closely with God, that guilt can be a huge conviction that maybe you have some things to work on. Especially if the thing you are procrastinating is your quiet time (guilty of that myself!)
Something else I thought about as I thought about this....I think so often, we Christians categorize sin in what we deem as most severe to least severe. I see things very differently - I think all sin is hated by God, no matter what it might be. It's a hard concept for us to understand as human beings because there are just some things that don't seem as serious as others. The point I am trying to make here is that if procrastination has been a point of contention in your life and has caused consequences, especially if you are convicted about it but haven't really don't much to change it, that is still a sin because it is separating you from the will of God for your life. If you find yourself saying, "I am such a procrastinator, ha ha! It's always been a struggle of mine..." you almost are saying, "That's just how God made me, oh well!" God wants you to grow and become spiritually mature - this is a great example of how one might do that - by developing discipline through doing the jobs that you might not like doing, but need doing, especially if God has entrusted those jobs to you.
I challenge you this week to give this some thought. My life has become a million times easier since I started changing my mindset. I don't really consider myself a full blown procrastinator anymore, but I still struggle with it. But this verse really made me want to try harder!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Campaign Furniture Set Redo - Jordan's Room

A few years ago, I went to an estate sale and found this beautiful campaign dresser. It actually came with a mirror as well, but I opted to just redo the dresser by itself.
I decided to do it hombre and put it in Jordan's room at our old rent house.
I really loved Jordan's room in this house - everything matched and it looked nice together.
Ironically, it was at that estate sale that we first saw our new house that we live in now. They were only selling the dresser at that time, and I had no idea that it was actually part of a whole set.
Imagine my surprise this summer when I look at the yard of our now-across-the-street neighbors, who we originally bought the dresser from for $10, and see the matching chest of drawers and nightstand. I made a beeline across the street and they sold me both pieces for $15. It was a great day.
The hombre just wasn't working for me anymore - after the move, the paint had a lot of chips in it and it just looked cheap. Jordan picked out a new bedspread for his room, so I decided to redo all of the furniture to match, and wanted to really showcase the campaign pieces and their coolest feature, the metal finishes.
This is what I came up with! (excuse the pano view)

I am just in love with how it all turned out. Since he will be a teenager next year, I really wanted something that didn't look little boy-ish anymore and could last a while into his teen years. He hasn't even seen all of the pieces finished yet - he's been asking me for a month now when I am going to be done. (Yes, it was a good day when I found everything but it took me a while to get up the motivation to get it all done!)
I ended up buying a pint size can of glossy black paint. It would have easily taken me 15 cans of spray paint to do all of this, and I hate spray painting anything that long. Since it's so hot outside, it only took me two days because the paint dried so fast. I prefer to paint with sponge brushes - I hate regular paint brushes. Once I finish with them, I just throw them away. I think I bought a can of Rustoleum Glossy Black for like, $10, and three new sponge brushes for $2. I already had a can of poly from another project (that has lasted me forever). That's the one thing I didn't do with the dresser last time and I regretted it, so this time, I had to seal it with something. So, I guess, if you want to include the original dresser purchase, the new pieces, the black can of paint and the brushes, we got a brand new bedroom set for $37. The bedspread set and sheets cost more than the furniture did!
I love it when I check something off of my to-do list! Now, on to MY room!