When your bff gets a new bf

New relationships are nauseating. Truly. Admit it, you’ve let out the classic “Ugh, you two are disgusting” when you see two lovebirds post stupid, sappy shit on eachothers Facebook walls, or put up matching profile pictures. If you’re truly honest with yourself I guarantee you can remember one of YOUR past relationships and think “Ew, we were that couple that annoyed everyone.” It happens.

But this nausea is magnified by 1000 when your best friend gets in to a new relationship. Don’t get me wrong, you’re always super excited at first, although slightly worried and still over protective. You happily listen to all the little details from her last date, laugh and squeal in excitement with her, and you even give this new fling some great advice on how to impress her or deal with her anxiety. You just want her to be happy. You all hang out together and you love being the third wheel because you get to be with her and this new guy who seems to be the greatest thing ever. But then it happens….

She just disappears from your life and forgets you exist.

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After a few weeks, it seems like they intentionally leave you out of ALL their outings. You never receive invitations anymore. Of course you don’t want to go everywhere with them! They need space and so do you! But meanwhile she’s only 3 miles down the road with him and you had no idea and no one cared to reach out even though it has been weeks since you’ve seen her. And when you are blessed with her presence, HE IS ALWAYS THERE. They have their own inside jokes and funny stories. You try to assert your role and dominance as best friend by bringing up a joke only she’d get, but your words constantly go unnoticed. And when you get sassy, you get accused of being jealous.

You are certainly not jealous. Are you jealous? No, you just miss her company or some shred of attention you used to receive. Okay maybe it could be jealousy. Or it could just be hurt feelings since you don’t matter AT ALL anymore.

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You start to resent the new boyfriend because it feels like he’s completely taken your bff away from you. She may be blinded by obsession but damn it why doesn’t he say something like “Hey, you should go see so-and-so for lunch today, I have some errands to run anyway.” Nope, their glued to the freaking hip because he sucks.

Your long texting convos are extinct now. The texts she does send to you (usually only responses to you texting her since you don’t get first texts anymore) are short and slightly distanced because she is obviously texting him at the same time….and he’s obviously more important.

Since you’re seemingly not as close (or as important) and you never talk (because she’s always talking to him), it feels like you don’t even know her anymore or whatever happens in her life despite you trying.

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Naturally you eventually snap and say something sly again but this time it will end with a petty argument where mean things are said for no reason. You aggressively question her loyalty to you and then accuse her of getting attached too fast…like she usually does. You’re truly concern but you’re also super annoyed so things come out sounding way worse than you meant them to. She gets defensive and lashes out with shitty comments usually about some shit you did like 4 years ago, or she criticizes something you do that normally would never bother her if she weren’t pissed now.

After the fight you definitely aren’t talking and if you do, it’s obvious there is still tension. The simplest of conversations are cold, defensive and impersonal. You try to suggest getting together but she makes up 100 excuses on why she’s too busy to meet up. You never like fighting with her. You feel like shit and wonder if she does too. But you continue on acting as if you don’t give a fuck because she doesn’t seem to give a fuck.

Then the guilt sets in. It’s not like you don’t want her to be happy. She deserves to be happy! And this new guy makes her happy! You just miss when you were part of her happiness. The guilt gnaws at you as you realize you really are just jealous. He doesn’t suck….as a person. He’s actually a nice guy who is doing a good job of being her boyfriend. But he does suck because he stole her away.

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New relationships are nauseating.

Everyone hates those overly-attached new couples in their honeymoon phase. And you can always tell shit is getting serious in the relationship when she creates a wedding and/or ring board on Pinterest.

It’s fun to be absolutely infatuated with someone and have that feeling returned. How many times do you get to feel that way?! But for those of us pushed to the back burner, just remember THE PHASE ALWAYS ENDS! The nauseating new couple shit will come to an end and real life will resume. You haven’t lost her completely and when this new guys starts feeling more habitual and less like new candy, she will love you as much as she always has. Things go back to normal even if you have to share her. But hey, at least you’re sharing and not entirely shunned anymore! You stay at her house one weekend and another weekend she may be shoved up his butt and not talk to you. But it’s BALANCE.

It’s hard to keep your emotions in check when your bff gets a new bf. Jealousy is normal especially if you’re used to being inseparable with her. But don’t take your jealousy out on her. Being angry or clingy is only going to make her more defensive and push her away. She has no freaking idea how stupid she is being. I mean, we’ve all been in a new relationship and basically fell off the planet with no shame. I didn’t realize how stupid I was being in my last ‘honeymoon phase’ until things got back to normal. Don’t let the honeymoon phases ruin friendships.

As much as it sucks, you have to back off and just let her be stupidly obsessed with her new fling. Don’t accept defeat and leave the picture all together though! Always continue to text her and attempt to make plans you know will get turned down. She needs to know you’re still there so when the phase ends, she can jump right back into best friend role. But no one is saying you can’t still roll your eyes and exclaim your disgust when they post their stupid, sappy shit on Facebook.

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A Weekend in San Diego

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This was my first time visiting both the state of California and the Pacific Ocean. I honestly never had any great desire to go to San Diego but I have a good friend from high school, Emily, who is living there now. I often thought about the trip I wanted to take to California and it included the Red Wood National Forest, Napa Valley, San Francisco and Monterey (for the world class whale watching). I didn’t want to go to south of there but after visiting San Diego, I’m so happy my friend moved there so I could experience it! So in this post I will lay out some of the things we saw, places we went, recommendations and what I didn’t like. Here we go 🙂

I flew into San Diego on Tuesday morning and was surprised how small that side of the airport was. Emily picked me up and the very first thing she did was warn me about the traffic and drivers….more on that later. We went downtown and struggled to find parking but finally got a spot (for a $20 fee) and went to the Café 222. Café 222 is a very popular breakfast joint in East Village and I see why! It doesn’t feel touristy at all (thankfully) and had a great variety of food on a manageable sized menu. I got the pumpkin waffle (…yes pumpkin in June, I’m so basic) and it was delicious!

Next we went walking down towards the Gaslamp district of downtown but since we were coming back there in a few days we didn’t stay long.

We saw Kansis City BBQ where the ‘Sleazy Bar Scene” in Top Gun was filmed and went into some shops across the street. One was an awesome local goods place easily named Simply Local with everything from clothes to jewelry to home décor to food items. I really think W Harbor Dr has everything. After that we walked over to the USS Midway Air Craft Carrier museum. USS Midway is an actual Naval aircraft carrier turned museum and has tons of things to see. You can go down into the engine rooms, brig, seamen quarters, main floor, flight deck (equip with tons of planes and helicopters) and up to the captains and air control rooms. Admission includes a self-guided tour with audio and can take up to 3 hours. There is a little café type restaurant there so no worries if you start getting hungry. And water fountains so buy that $3 bottle of water but then refill it as many times as you like. Admission is a bit steep at $20 in my opinion but active military get in free, retired military for $10 and students with ID for $15. Definitely worth the trip!

*PHOTO DUMP*

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San Diego, Kalifornien, USA, USS Midway Museum

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Right next to the USS Midway is the Kissing Sailor statue. Although it is swarming with tourists, go ahead and try to remake the pose 😛

Kissing Sailor

On our way home we picked up yummy cupcakes from Frost Me Gourmet Cupcakes (who won Food Network’s Cupcake Wars)! They offer gluten free too if you think you need that.

The next day, we went to the Birch Aquarium (at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Deigo). Parking is free and admission prices were very reasonable. Before you go in, there is an awesome whale fountain that is definitely photo worthy. They had an awesome exhibit on seahorses and a huge Kelp Forest tank. Definitely makes you feel small. There’s lots of stuff for kids too but of course Emily and I were equally fascinated with the energy exhibits and tide pools (designed to entertain children lol). There’s also a pretty great view.

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After the aquarium, I was dying to hang on the real beach. I was reading about different beaches in the area and stumbled upon the Children’s Pool in La Jolla. It was originally an area designated for children to swim safely way back in the 1930’s because of the big seawall built to break waves. However, this also created the ideal area for another visitor…tons of harbor seals and sea lions! These days, swimming there is highly discouraged because the seals hang there on a daily basis. You can get so close to these guys from the beach (which of course is roped off for safety) and from up on the sea wall. Watching them was truly an experience. Definitely one of the best things I did in SD.

*ANOTHER PHOTO DUMP!*

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Thursday was a chill day since we were already planning on Downtown SD that evening. We went around to some of the shopping malls to find shoes for the event. Unfortunately we ended up losing much of the afternoon after witnessing a car accident and stopping to help….and then sticking around because the poor girl responsible was really freaked out and asked us to. Good citizen deed of the week. Hokay. We were originally planning on taking the Cruiser or Coaster train from Oceanside where Emily lives down to SD but we missed that opportunity and had to drive….I will complain about that later. Emily was dying to take me to The Shout House and I quickly figured out why she was so impatient. This place was awesome! We originally planned on bar hopping but couldn’t bring ourselves to leave after we got there! If you’ve never been to a dueling piano bar, you must go here. Make sure you order the Mac and Blue Balls for a snack and tip the pianists when you request songs. Definitely request the song “Lucille” and follow along with the ‘You bitch, you slut, you whore’ lol. *Disclaimer- don’t be a prude or a wimp here. There is language and there is a chance you will have to go on stage* Super fun!

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The next day we went surfing! Emily and her brother use a great woman named Heather for lessons but unfortunately she was having back problems. I was nervous about who was going to give us the surfing lesson for the day. But I couldn’t be more thrilled with our instructor. His name is Jucimar (I hope to god I’m spelling that right). He was so incredibly helpful, patient and just a naturally nice guy! He explained in very good detail what to expect and what to do and I popped up on my third wave. The lesson also included surfboard and wetsuit rental. I can say without a doubt that surfing is the most incredible thing I could have done in SD. I honestly didn’t think I would ever miss the ocean after I moved to Colorado but this has reignited my love for it. If you find yourself in the San Diego/Oceanside area, it would be a sin not to contact Heather and/or Juicmar. Here is Heather’s website under construction (Emily is about to start building her a new one!): http://www.learntosurfwithheather.com/

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My last day in SD was luckily a long one. My plane didn’t leave until 830pm so I still had time to explore. Emily took me to the main part of Oceanside. We saw the house where Charlie lived in the movie Top Gun (seriously, SD is obsessed with it). It’s fenced off but still very cool to see. I hope it sticks around and never gets demolished. Next we walked on the pier and near the water where we saw Jucimar again! After Oceanside we drove across the way to Carlsbad and walked around there. Lots of cool shops but my favorite thing in Carlsbad was this little section where a trailer named Choice Superfood Bar and Juice sits. The trailer itself was really cool selling juices, smoothies and even quinoa sushi. Around the trailer is the best faux turf I have ever seen and awesome picnic tables around trees. On the far wall (which makes this area impossible to miss) is an incredible painting of a robot “watering” these hanging succulent gardens made from pallets. Just so much to take in all at once!

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Emily loved Choice!

Restaurant suggestions: we did not eat out much because Emily is on a budget and a diet but we definitely recommend Café 222, The Local Taphouse in Oceanside, Ruby’s diner (not because the food is anything special from any other diner food but because it’s an experience) and Choice Superfood in Carlsbad. I plan to do a lot more eating out during my next visit.

BIGGEST TIP EVER!

There are 1.3 million people living in this city….and most of them are terrible drivers. I recommend ALWAYS leaving way, way early before you try to go anywhere. I also recommend taking the Coaster to avoid the interstate traffic (which pretty much is jammed 24 hours a day)

DIY Mason Jar Light!

DIY Mason Jar Light

This is a project I’ve been wanting to do for a VERY LONG TIME! We’ll get into why it took so long for me to complete it later. My inspiration originally came from this light fixture sold by Pottery Barn:

I, like most other people who have seen it, shuddered at the price. Although it is a good price for such an amazing light fixture, I just didn’t want to drop $400 on a light (because I am a chronic cheap-ass). SO the search was on for a DIY version. I learned about and practiced electrical wiring in a few of my college courses so I had no fears about taking on a DIY light fixture.

I found several tutorials for such a chandelier. Some were awful, some were good but missing details, others were overly-complicated for no reason. I realized I was kind of on my own with this one so I took inspiration from some of the better tutorials and proceeded to make up my own plan. Well it SUCKED! This whole project was such a pain because I ran into obstacles at EVERY. SINGLE. STEP. Here is a breakdown of some of the trouble I experienced:

  • There is not one piece of lumber in this state that isn’t all sorts of jacked and warped. If I had certain luxuries at my disposal I could have ran a decent piece through a planer but alas, I am not so lucky. I finally found an OK panel. It was still so warped that it made it very difficult to put the box together and the end result is obviously not perfect. But after a lot of distress, I decided it will just have to be imperfect and that will make it rustic…
    • It also didn’t help that the only saw we have at the new house is a circular saw with a blade that deserved retirement many moons ago. If we had a miter box here, the cuts would have been easier to make and a lot cleaner…one day I will get all the tools here from the in-law’s house.
  • The wood also split about 5 times when I was trying to put it together before I finally stopped acting brain-dead and drilled pilot holes (come on Alison, you know better!)
  • The particular type of wood I purchased had some sort of waxy coating on it (in hind-sight I think it was paint grade but it was the ONLY piece of lumber that had the dimensions I wanted) so it took FOREVER for the stain to dry and it didn’t look right afterwards so I decided to faux-whitewash it…again imperfections=rustic right?
  • There are 30 bagillion kinds of keyless sockets that I know of but according to many tutorials, one specific design would work best for this project. This kind however was not in the electrical area of ANY home improvement store I went to. Turns out they’re in a tiny nearly-hidden area near the ceiling fans…no help to any employees of said stores.
  • The brass nipples that would fit into the sockets need to be 1 inch long. Well there are no nipples in ANY of the hardware areas that are 1in long AND will fit the sockets. After more tedious searching, it turns out they too are in that tiny area near the fans HOWEVER, they only come in 6 inch lengths. Which means we needed to buy an angle grinder and a cutting wheel to cut them into 1 inch lengths.
    • Then after more frustration, it was obvious the ends needed grinding down because cutting them produced sharp jagged edges that made it impossible to thread them into the sockets.
  • The hex nuts I needed were also in that area…which I only realized after several trips spent searching every drawer I’m accustom to finding hex nuts in. But these only come in 16-pack sets of various sizes so I had to buy 2 packs and sort out the ones I needed.
  • I originally wanted all the jars to hang at the same length, therefore I cut all my wires at the same length….well all of the stress from this project must have been killing my brain and impairing my usually immaculate thought process because in order for the jars to hang at the same length, some of the wires need to be longer. Otherwise how would they all be able to meet in the middle to connect together? I realized this one night when I was laying in bed trying to go to sleep (ironically when I thought I finally got a leg up on this project and all the hell it was causing.) Rather than buying more wire, re-cutting it at the various lengths, and rewiring the sockets, I decided the jars would just hang at different lengths and although I like it better this way, it was still another problem encountered.

Because this project proposed infuriating difficulties at every turn, I did not take many pictures as I went along. I cursed it about 50 times and I constantly threatened to do-away with the whole thing and just buy one. Now that it is hooked up and mounted, I LOVE IT! I imagine it will be super straight forward and simple if I ever make another but I’ll admit, this first one was nearly impossible.

Before I continue on to the tutorial part, I realize this project was an ass and I definitely laid out a lot of anger up there. I did this because I either A.) want you to know what hell I experienced so you can try to avoid those issues or B.) convince you to just buy one if you’re not an experienced DIY’er. But either way, here is a reminder of how beautiful it is.

Mason Jar Chandelier

Okay so here is a supplies list:

  • 8 jars of your choice (I wanted true vintage ones from the 1910-1920s rather than new ones. Prepare to be patient if you feel the same, most people charge way too much for them)
  • Wood for the box (I used [one] 1”x12”x36” pine panel for the bottom and [two] 1”x3”x6’softwood boards cut into pieces for the sides)
  • Wood screws, #6x 1.75”
  • One 1”x2”x6’ piece of softwood for a frame to mount the box on to
  • Self-Drilling Drywall Anchors with #8 x1.5” Screws (they’re huge and hold a lot of weight!)
  • 18-2 Lamp Cord at 25ft length
  • 8 Keyless Sockets (Portfolio brand Lamp Sockets, they come in a 2 pack)
  • 8 (1 inch) 1/8 IP threaded brass nipples (The ones that will fit are also Portfolio brand but 6 inches long so they need to be cut, also come in a 2 pack)
  • 8 hex nuts to fit nipples
  • 8 candelabra light bulbs, 15W. I wanted LED bulbs because they don’t produce heat but they’re super expensive so it’ll have to wait.
  • 4 wire caps (2 for wires in box, 2 to connect to ceiling wires). I recommend buying a multi-pack with various sizes so you’re sure you have the right size you’ll need.
  • Wood stain of choice and white acrylic paint if you want to whitewash for a vintage look
  • Black acrylic paint for cords. You could use whatever color you like or leave them unpainted. Get creative with whatever look you want

Fairly straight forward and simple when you think about it.

Tools List:

  • Saw (circular or miter/chop saw)
  • Angle grinder with a cutting wheel and a grinding wheel
  • Drill
  • 1/16” drill bit for #6 screw pilot holes
  • 5/64” drill bit for #8 screw pilot holes
  • 1/4” drill bit for holes wires go through
  • Screwdriver
  • Wire strippers/cutter
  • Hammer & nail (for poking holes in the jar lids)
  • A ladder

I spent about $50 on the jars (including shipping, which cost almost as much as the jars), roughly $13-14 on the wood for the box and frame, $40 on the electrical components (cord, sockets, nipples, hex nuts, caps), $7-8 on screws and anchors, $6 for light bulbs, and $30 for the angle grinder and cutting wheel I needed for the nipples. Everything else I already had on hand. Most mason jar lights I have found online range from $300-500.

I built this one for approximately $140-150, including the angle grinder purchase!

Here is how I made it:

  1. Make all cuts in wood (cut the sides to the length of bottom piece [36”] and then cut ends to fit), drill pilot holes and connect the bottom, sides and ends with the #6 screws. You should end up with a crate/box with the top open.
  2. Stain or paint the wood the color of your choice. To make mine look more worn, I lightly brushed on a faux whitewash made of 1 part white acrylic paint and 3 parts water.
  3. Drill holes with the ¼” bit in the bottom of the box- wherever you want your wires to come through.
  4. Let’s change gears and move on to making a frame to mount on the ceiling (your box will later mount onto this frame). Measure the inside of your box and make the appropriate cuts in the 1”x2”x6’ piece of wood to create a rectangle that fits snuggly inside the box. Drill pilot holes in the frame and attach the frame to the ceiling using the #8 size anchors (use the directions on the bag/box of anchors).

    I borrowed this picture from Sprouting Off's tutorial because I forgot to take a picture of this part. Her tutorial is where I got the idea. Here is the link: http://www.sproutingoff.com/indoor-project-mason-jar-chandelier/

    I borrowed this picture from Sprouting Off’s tutorial because I forgot to take a picture of this part. Her tutorial is where I got the idea. Here is the link: http://www.sproutingoff.com/indoor-project-mason-jar-chandelier/

  5. Use a hammer and a nail to poke a large hole in the middle of each lid- big enough to fit the nipple through. The zinc lids are soft so after I poked 2 or 3 small holes in a tight bunch, I stuck a screwdriver through and rotated it around to make the hole big enough. Also poke 5 or 6 small holes all around the big hole for heat ventilation.

    Here is a close-up of what the holes in the lid look like.

    Here is a close-up of what the holes in the lid look like.

  6. Cut the nipples down to ~1in each and grind the edges to smooth out the jagged pieces left after cutting.
  7. Thread one hex nut onto the 1in nipple piece and push the nipple through the large hole you made in the lid, then thread the socket onto the end of the nipple (remove cardboard from socket but keep it to put back on later).

Okay now were getting into the wiring. I have to put the disclaimer out there that I am not a licensed electrician and it is highly recommended you consult with one rather than wiring it up yourself. You don’t want to accidentally burn your house down. With this being said, I will give very basic directions on wiring up the light. If you’ve never done electrical work before, please don’t attempt.

  1. Using wire cutters, cut a piece of lamp cord to the desired length (remember you’ll need a few inches extra for wiring.)
  2. Separate and strip the ends on one end (back to what I said earlier, if you do not know how much length to separate or how much rubber to strip off, don’t attempt this part of the project alone.) Push the wires through the nipple and separate onto both sides of the socket. I had clear lamp wire so the casings did not show black or white like traditional wires do. So to identify hot and neutral know that smooth casing is hot and ribbed casing is neutral. Hook the wires around the corresponding screws/terminals and tighten. After you’re done wiring the socket, thread it the rest of the way onto the nipple (so the lid is snug between the hex nut and socket) and replace the cardboard.
  3. I painted the lamp cords black with regular acrylic paint to make it look finished. Remember, spray paint will never cure on rubber so don’t try spray painting it.
  4. Push the end of the cords through the holes you drilled in the bottom of your box. I recommend not attaching the jars to the lids yet. You’re just making sure they hang at a good length right now, it would suck to accidentally drop one and break it.
  5. Separate and strip the wires on the other end. Gather all of the neutral wires in one bundle and all of the hot wires in another.
  6. Now make a pig tail to connect the jar wires to the ceiling connections. I recommend making a long enough pig tail so your box can sit on top of the ladder while you wire things together. I did not do this and it sucked making my husband hold it up while I connected everything.
  7. Attach one end of the pigtail to the wires coming from the jars (neutral with neutral, hot with hot) and gently tighten/twist them together with a wire cap. Attach the other end of the pigtail to the wires in your ceiling using the same method (your ceiling wires will be black coated for hot, white coated for neutral and bare copper for ground. Remember, lamp wire only has hot and neutral, no ground).
  8. After the wiring is complete, test it to make sure it works. If it does, push the box up to the ceiling and carefully position over the frame you mounted earlier. Drill pilot holes (in the side of the frame and the box) and use the #6 screws to attach the box to the frame.
  9. Screw in the light bulbs and then attach the jars to the lids.

And that’s it! Look how gorgeous it is! Definitely completes the space! I am 1 step closer to a house reveal post!

 Mason jar Light

Mason Jar Chandelier

Mason Jar Light

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For more help, here are the 3 tutorials that inspired/helped me the most during my research stage-

  • This is the tutorial I found that inspired me to use blue jars. I also love how she used 4×4’s instead of a hollow box but decided a hollow box would be better to hold the wires and would add less weight. But this tutorial is still a great start to gather inspiration! http://www.brandisawyer.com/2013/11/mason-jar-chandelier.html
  • This tutorial helped me figure out the best way to mount a hollow box onto the ceiling. I almost gave up on having a hollow box until I found this site! Also, for those who want a lot less electrical work to do, she has a great method: http://www.sproutingoff.com/indoor-project-mason-jar-chandelier/
  • If you want more of a hanging cluster of jars (which is super popular!) then this is a GREAT tutorial. She also has posted pictures of the materials which was helpful when I couldn’t find the specific sockets – http://karapaslaydesigns.com/diy-mason-jar-chandelier/

THANKS FOR READING! LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK AND SHARE YOUR OWN TIPS/TRICKS IF YOU HAVE BUILT A JAR LIGHT OF YOUR OWN!

If I was unclear on something in this post PLEASE let me know. I did not take many pictures for this project and I know it is hard to read directions without pictures. Therefore, if you think I could have explained something better or have any questions, just comment below 🙂

Also, don’t forget to subscribe!

Easy DIY Table Makeover

Here is what my dining table looked like before:

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Okay so not awful but not really that great either. It was a cheap-o set we got from Walmart. The dark mocha color looked great in our apartment. Beige walls…..beige carpet….dark brown furniture, perfect! But now were in the new house and it did not look good next to light wood floors, especially after we got the charcoal gray sofa. Just too dark. SO it was time for an update.

Here is what my dining table looks like now:

DIY Dining Table Makeover

DIY Table Makeover

It brightens up the space so much and I know it will look PERFECT when I finish my chandelier later this week! 🙂

Here is how I completed this makeover-

Materials needed:

  • Six 2”x6”x6’ (I bought three 2”x6”x12’ and cut to size)
  • Paint for table base (I made white chalk paint)
  • Stain for table top (I used Minwax stain in Special Walnut)
  • Sandpaper (medium and fine)
  • Electrical sander (optional- it’ll just make it A LOT easier)
  • Clear or natural finishing wax or spray polyurethane in Satin or Matte
  • Four USP lumber connectors straps at 24″ long- found near roofing section of Lowes (lengths and quantity will vary depending on inventory availability and your table needs)
  • Screwdriver
  • ¾” wood screws (~20-25 screws)

Process:

  1. Remove old table top. Mine was attached to the base with 13 screws all around. Keep these screws so you can reuse them for the new table top.
  2. Paint table base and legs desired color. I used a chalk paint recipe because I wanted the finish to be textured and imperfect. Just google chalk paint recipe with plaster of paris- that was my favorite. I did not sand before painting and it is holding up just fine. Distress with sand paper after paint dries (optional).Base

    Here is a close up of the texture and distress detail

    Here is a close up of the texture and distress detail

  3. Sand the 2”x6” boards (after cutting them, if you bought longer boards) with medium grit sandpaper so they are smooth and the edges and corners are slightly rounded. Wipe with a damp cloth to remove wood dust.
  4. Stain boards desired color. I applied my stain with a foam brush, let sit for 4 minutes and then wiped off with an old t-shirt I had cut into squares for such a project. Make sure you stain the sides of the boards so unstained wood is not visible in finished project.
  5. After desired stain is achieved and wood has dried for ~24 hours, sand the boards again with fine grit sandpaper to add distress and smooth out final finish.
  6. Apply finishing wax or spray poly as directed.
  7. After everything is dry, attach boards together using lumber connector straps and ¾” screws on the bottom of the new table top. I originally wanted to use two 32” straps but Lowes did not have any in stock so I used four 24” straps and staggered them slightly (two on each end). I put 2 screws through coordinating holes in each board.

    Straps staggered on the underside of the table. This will keep all the boards together and will prevent them from independently sliding and shifting.

    Straps staggered on the underside of the table. This will keep all the boards together and will prevent them from independently sliding and shifting.

  8. Flip top over and attach to base/legs just as the old one was attached. I used the same screws and holes the old top used.

**Jake suggests putting a glass sheet on top if you have kids or if your SO tends to spill drinks. Otherwise, we have just chosen to use place mats (and cups with lids) when we eat**

And that’s it! Admire your new beauty! I added new chairs (mostly because painting the old ones wasn’t working out very gracefully and that was my excuse to buy the chairs I’ve wanted for who knows how long!)

Restoration Hardware REMY side chair

Restoration Hardware REMY side chair

Aren’t they beautiful?! But they’re $149 EACH (although they’ve been on sale for a while at $99 each but that’s still insane!) I found the exact same chairs at American Furniture Warehouse in Colorado Springs for $55 each. That’s much better but still too much for me because I am what some might call a chronic cheap-ass. So I gave up on the dream UNTIL I started getting more of those “Welcome to the neighborhood, you just bought a whole flippin’ house but buy our crap to fill that expensive beast” coupons from various businesses. Well AFW sent me two $25 off of $100 coupons. Those coupons are a lie though (a good lie). I went into the store and ordered 2 chairs. The total was $110 but after the coupon was selected (just straight out of a drop down box so there’s no way the people messed up a code or anything), my total after tax was $64. Last time I checked 110-25 did not equal 64 but WHO WOULD COMPLAIN?! Certainly not I. I later went back and used the other coupon for 2 more chairs. So I got 4 of these beautiful industrial chairs for my farmhouse table for $128. Way better than $149 or 99 each. SCORE. Moral of the story: ALWAYS shop around and NEVER NOT use a coupon 🙂

Now all that is left to do is upholster the bench that came with the table. I plan on using a canvas drop cloth and adding tufts. Maybe a picture of the bench will end up in the final house tour (once I get this place looking how it should!)

Some Favorite Smoothie Recipes

Some of you may know that my dear husband gave me a Vitamix for Christmas. After drooling over it for the better part of 5 months, he decided the investment was worth it and boy was it! I LOVE THIS MACHINE! It is my child and I will never give it up. So far I have made ice cream (with 3 ingredients and 20 seconds), chopped veggies, made hot soup, whipped up homemade hummus, and of course blended smoothies! I usually make green smoothies because I hate salads and this is one of the only ways I can sneak leafy greens into my body and my old blender left chunks of spinach just chillin in the smoothie….no thanks. The Vitamix has some sort of molecular mumbo-jumbo going on with it and leaves zero chunks- even strawberry or apple seeds are all torn apart entirely. Because of this is gives you more nutrient extraction, etc. etc. Anywho…..Since I have gotten my Vitamix I have experimented with some smoothie ingredients and have complied a list of my favorites so far!

Great Smoothie Recipes!

**Note-  if you are military or a military dependent, go to the main PX to get your Vitamix. They are A LOT less expensive in there and no tax helps a lot. If you want more color options, check out QVC

Back to business…..

Some Favorite Smoothie Recipes

Apple-Orange-Ginger

  • Half of an apple (I use Granny Smith. Leave skin, seeds, etc all on if using a Vitamix)
  • One peeled orange
  • One banana (frozen or not, your choice)
  • A handful of baby carrots (or 1.5 whole carrot)
  • Fresh shaved ginger (add as much or as little for your taste preference)
  • Optional- 4-5 strawberries

Classic Green

  • One peeled orange
  • One banana
  • Handful of spinach (or kale)
  • Half cup pineapple
  • Half apple

Abs on the Beach

  • One peeled orange
  • One banana
  • One cup mango
  • Half of an apple
  • Half cup pineapple (I freeze my pineapple before using)
  • Handful spinach
  • Optional- handful of coconut shavings

Cherry Limeade

  • 1/4 – 1/2 Lime, peeled (include some zest though!)
  • One cup frozen cherries
  • Half of an apple
  • Half of a peach, pitted
  • One banana (for creaminess)

Peachy Mango

  • One banana
  • Half cup mango
  • One peach, pitted (you can leave skin on if using Vitamix)
  • Handful of baby carrots (or 1.5 regular carrot)

Immunity Booster

  • One banana
  • One cup pineapple
  • Half cup blueberries
  • One cup strawberries
  • Handful of spinach (note-this smoothie will likely be a hideous color, but I promise it tastes good)

If you have a favorite smoothie recipe, leave it in the comments! I would love to try it 🙂

A Weekend in Nashville!

B.

It has been about 2 months since my trip to Las Vegas, which means it has been too long since I have had a weekend vacation. So I spent this past 4 day weekend of mine exploring Nashville! One of my best friends from college, Brandi, moved there in October and I finally found a long weekend deficient of plans or to-do lists so it was the perfect time to fly out there. This city of HUGE and you could spend a couple weeks there trying to see and do it all but not many of us get that luxury (and honestly, if I were to spend weeks anywhere it would be Europe!) But it is very possible to see and do a lot of awesome things during a weekend trip. Here is how I spent my little mini-vacation in Nashville complete with tips, tricks and recommendations.

The Parthenon

parthenon2Nashville is known as the Athens of the south. Therefore it only makes sense to build a complete replica of the Parthenon from Greece. In the heart of Centennial Park stands this full scale model built in the late 1800s. It’s amazing just walking around the outside and seeing the detail in the stone carvings but the inside is a museum ($7 admission for adults). The first floor has a lot of info and history on this model and the fair it was the centerpiece of. Theres also a few art exhibits on display throughout the first floor. The current main showcase is a series of Civil War wounded paintings by Dane Carder. Awesome paintings of real documented cases but not graphic, definitely check them out.

The second floor is the model we were all expecting, complete with a 40 something foot tall replica statue of Athena just like in the real Parthenon. Supposedly people in Ancient Greece thought their Parthenon was too gaudy/ flashy so they usually preferred to worship their wooden statues at home.

athena

**Warning: Parking is free but complicated. Most people park up on the grass on both sides of the road. I recommend if you have a car or low vehicle you do not try to hop the curb. They are much higher and more oddly angled than they look. Cars definitely have a rough (and possibly damaging) time trying to get on and off of these areas. My friend and her car are troopers, but they got lucky haha

OpryLand Hotel

In a perfect world, I would have seen a show at the Grand Ole Opry but not everything is always attainable. However, it is extremely easy and definitely necessary to take a walk through the Gaylord Opryland Resort Hotel. This hotel, connected to a convention center, felt so Disney to me because of its elaborate décor, 17 restaurant options, many gift shops and HUGE atrium complete with an indoor river and many waterfalls. It is ridiculously expensive to stay in this resort but it is completely FREE to walk around. The atrium alone takes at least an hour to walk through, not including stops through the many shops, candy stores or attractions (such as a riverboat ride). Some tips and recommendations:

  • Park at the Opryland mall and walk over to the hotel. It is not a long walk by any means, 5 minutes or so, and you don’t have to cross any streets. Doing this will save you the hassle (and heartache) of paying over $20 to self-park at the hotel.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. The atrium is amazing to walk through and you should definitely do it! But I underestimated how much walking it would take to get through the atrium to restaurants and shops and back through. Luckily there are many places to sit and take a breather.
  • Be aware that a lot of the restaurants are not open during lunch. We originally wanted to go to the Irish pub but it did not open until 5pm, so we went across the hallway to the Jack Daniels Restaurant. It was delicious and I definitely recommend trying the brisket and the bbq sauce they keep on the table! Also be aware of your dining options. After eating at JD’s, we walked through another part of the atrium and found a sushi place right next to the indoor river which we slightly wished we ate at instead.jack

Downtown Nashville

The main strip of Broadway!

The main strip of Broadway!

Downtown Nashville is a MUST no matter how much or how little time you have in town. You must go check out Broadway where it seems all the main buzz is. Go in the touristy shops, bar hop and definitely stick around for some live bands which are in basically any bar you choose. We walked through some shops and went past a few bars listening to the various singers before we decided on the Tin Roof. There we ate, drank and watched 2 amazing bands.

tinroof

Some tips and recommendations:

  • I recommend parking in one of the parking garages. You may have to walk 5 more minutes but they’re a little easier to get in and out of than the scattered parking lots and usually cheaper. Definitely opt to buy more time than you think you’ll need though. We were originally planning to just walk around and then leave so we paid for 4 hours at $10. We ended up going back and buying 4 more hours because we wanted to stay longer. So we paid $20 for 8 hours when we could have just bought 8 hours in the beginning for $12.
  • If you don’t like crowds but still want to see some musicians, hang around from about 4pm until 7 or 8pm.
  • Take a minute to learn about some history. Downtown Nashville is mostly old historic buildings with tons of character and plaques to prove their age. One of the coolest historical stops we made was in the Hard Rock Café gift shop on the corner of Broadway and 2nd This building used to be the Silver Dollar Saloon and, even though that bar has moved a few buildings down, this building still has a good bit of the original floors from the late 1800’s. The lady in the store told us the story of how the Silver Dollar’s owner was so rich, he put hundreds of real silver dollars in the floor for decoration and would shoot people that tried to take them.
  • Get your fortune told by Elvis and then keep your eye open on the streets for one of the many Elvis impersonators.
  • elvis

12South

12 South is one of the self-proclaimed “hipster neighborhoods” in Nashville and it is awesome! Full of that college town vibe, the 12 South neighborhood is home to lots of unique restaurants, coffee houses and little stores. Some recommendations:

  • Burger Up: This little restaurant/bar boasts artisan burgers, truffle fries and craft beers.
  • The Frothy Monkey Coffeehouse: There are tons of awesome coffee joints in Nashville but how could we pass up a placed named the ‘FROTHY MONKEY’? It doesn’t strike me as a quiet coffee shack to do schoolwork considering it was after 11am and still packed with people BUT the staff is incredibly friendly and the coffee is great.Frothymonkey
  • Frothymonkey2
  • White’s Mercantile: This old service station turned eclectic boutique shop is home to lots of really cool items that, even though the average person couldn’t afford, is still a lot of fun to see. Lots of great gift ideas for anyone and everyone. Women’s jewelry and clothes to mens grooming supplies to pet supplies to home décor.Whites
  • Sloco: We did not have the time (nor empty enough bellies) to go into Sloco but as an avid Food Network fan, I couldn’t help but be amazed that a Chopped winner’s restaurant was right in front of me! Sloco does fast gourmet sandwiches with the mindset of going organic and eating local. They also donate 5% of all profits to community food advocates.

East Nashville

East Nashville is the largest of the “hipster neighborhoods”, spanning three zip codes. It is not as easily walkable as the one street of 12South, but still is worth going to and most things are right next to one another! The old houses in this area are also really neat to look at. Many of the have funky décor and modifications. This artsy fence definitely caught my attention.

Fence

Some other recommendations:

  • The Groove: This is an adorable new and used vinyl and CD’s shop. This place is pretty well hidden, located on the corner of Gallatin Ave and Calvin Ave. But if you stumble upon it, you should definitely go in whether you’re a fan of old vinyl records or not. HINT- the 99cent stack had a lot of awesome options and you get 15% off on Mondays.groove
  • Barista Parlor: This is supposedly the best coffee shop in all of Nashville. We had just left the Frothy Monkey in 12South and we did not want to jitter through the rest of the day by having another latte BUT we did walk in there. The rich aroma was incredible and the atmosphere was so chill and open. All their furniture is reclaimed wood and the light fixtures have an industrial design. And if coffee doesn’t do it for you, they sell tons of unique chocolate bars made with cocoas from around the world.

    Amazing graffiti behind the wall of Barista Parlor

    Amazing graffiti behind the wall of Barista Parlor

  • Fuselage Design: I had an extremely difficult time exhibiting self-control and not buying everything in this funky store. And literally everything, because even much of the furniture the merchandise sits on was for sale too. They had lots of reclaimed metal décor and marquee lights, clothes, shelf décor/trinkets, handmade recycled jewelry, local handmade soaps, etc. What I thought was incredible is that the owner, Anna Cox, builds things out of scrap airplanes. She has an in with a guy who lets her salvage old aircraft before they get broken down and turned into soda cans. The checkout counter, several chairs and many tables holding merchandise were made out of old airplane wings. She will even make you custom pieces. Definitely take a walk through this store.
  • Mas Tacos Por Favor: The locals rave about this place and it was also featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives on Food Network. And let me tell you….it is a dumpy looking little joint. As you walk up to the building you’ll ask yourself “Am I in the right place? This can’t be what everyone is talking about.” Oh but it is! Walk inside and you’re greeted by chill music and funky décor but best of all….AMAZING food! They offer 5 to 6 all homemade, artisan tacos at $3 each. We got the sweet potato and quinoa taco and the skillet chicken with verde sauce taco as well as a side of fried plantains (also $3 and better than any I’ve ever had). Everyone around us kept ordering one of the soups which made me want to try some (also super cheap) but I did not have enough room in my belly. Someone get soup and let me know how it was!Mas Tacos

It was a great weekend in Nashville and we saw a lot! I do have some things left on the list to do and see for the next time I visit Brandi but I don’t think I could have spent my weekend vacation any better!

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW IF YOU HAVE ANY TIPS OR RECOMMENDATIONS FOR A WEEKEND IN NASHVILLE! 🙂 Or if you have a recommendation on where I should go for my next weekend vacation, leave that below as well!

Before I go…..*Extra Photo Dump*

Brandi and I in front of the Parthenon

Brandi and I in front of the Parthenon

The inside of Mas Tacos

The inside of Mas Tacos

These amazing little stickers/paintings were all over 12South

These amazing little stickers/paintings were all over 12South

broadway2

12south3

12south2

And lastly, I have missed Publix so much since moving out west and I was SO EXCITED to go into one haha

And lastly, I have missed Publix so much since moving out west and I was SO EXCITED to go into one haha

Industrial Curtain Rods- Tutorial

There are a handful of tutorials out there for these unique industrial pipe curtain rods, but I have found they are not as black and white as most people prefer their online tutorials. Well I took a crack at this project with some personal modifications. I made a curtain rod with little extra clearance for my living room window and I made a curtain rod with a lot of extra clearance for my sliding glass door in my dining space. I absolutely hated the vertical blinds covering my sliding door and since the door and window are so close to one another, I decided to do a matching scheme for the two.

I spent about $60 on materials at Lowes all together (not including the spray paint and screws/wall anchors.) Which is pretty incredible seeing as the West Elm version that has inspired this project costs $99 for one rod (they are on sale right now though if you don’t want to bother with the diy.)

Finished Result

Click the picture for a bigger/better view!

Before we get started, here are some things I learned while completing this project.

-The pipe is pretty heavy and you definitely need the wall anchors to keep it on the wall. I thought about using PVC instead (to make it lighter) because you can find all of these materials in PVC, but you would have to have a hook or supporting piece to keep the middle from sagging. Regardless of the weight, they are safely hung on my wall and sturdy.

-I needed a lot of clearance space for the sliding door curtain so I bought a 3” nipple piece. You’ll notice a regular elbow cannot thread into the floor flange because they’re both female adapters. Since I did not need any extra clearance for the window coverings, I bought a “street elbow” which has a female adapter on one side (your pipe will thread into this) and a male adapter on the other (which will thread into the floor flange). See pictures in the tutorial for a visual of this. It was just my way of saving money by not buying a small nipple for the window rod.

-These curtain rods are assembles as a full piece and you will have to decide how you will put your curtains on them before hanging the rod on the wall. I personally love seeing curtains hung with the round hooks that have clips on them. Unfortunately, the curtains I liked had grommets so I had to get creative. Of course you could hang grommet curtains directly on the rod as intended before hanging the last floor flange, but then you hide most of the rod. I found some shower curtain hooks that were perfect to hang my grommet curtains and still show off the industrial style rod. I may change it later. I would just use a pair of channel locks to unthread one side so I can slide different curtain rings on.

First, the rod I made for the window:

Materials needed:

Materials

  • One ½” by 10’ Black Iron Pipe
  • Two ½” Black 90-degree Street Elbow
  • Two ½” Black Floor Flange
  • Spray paint
  • All purpose wall anchors and screws
  • Drill, hammer, screwdriver
  • Drop cloth
  • Curtain Hooks (Optional)
  1. When I measured my window, I found that I would end up wanting a 7ft long pipe but these black pipes do not come in that length. No worries though! I had a 10ft pipe cut and rethreaded to the 7ft length I wanted (easy peasy and it’s a free cut)
  2. Connect the 90-degree street elbows to the end of the pipe by gently threading it on. Next, thread the floor flange to the other end of the street elbow. Repeat on the other side of the pipe making sure each end is even with each other. (Be aware that there will still be quite a bit of threading visible)2
  3. Lay your drop cloth out and spray paint the assembled rod the color of your choice. You may also want to spray paint the screw heads and curtain hooks (if using). I sprayed mine with a Rustoleum Hammered paint. There’s a few different shades but I tried to go with one that is “industrial looking”, but not too silver so it wouldn’t look tacky. The result was not as textured as I was hoping but still looks great. 5
  4. To hang the rod, choose the spot you want them to go and make sure it is level. I usually mark the hole spots on the wall with a pencil. Then to use the wall anchors, use a drill with the specific diameter bit to drill a hole into the wall, insert the anchor. You may be able to just push it in. If not, gently tap it with a hammer or the end of a screwdriver until it is flush with the wall. Place the floor flange with corresponding hole over the anchor, insert a screw and tighten with screwdriver or drill.

Next, the rod I made for my sliding glass door:

Materials

Materials needed:

  • One ½” by 72” Black Iron Pipe
  • Two ½” Black 90-degree Elbow
  • Two ½” by 3” Galvanized Steel Pipe Nipple (length may vary depending on the extra space you want)
  • Two ½” Black Floor Flange
  • Spray paint
  • All purpose anchors and wall screws
  • Drill, hammer, screwdriver
  • Drop cloth
  • Curtain Hooks (Optional)
  1. Make sure your pipe is the correct length needed. I got lucky to find that the 72” long option was the perfect length for my sliding glass door and I did not need to get another one cut.
  2. Connect the 90-degree elbows to the ends on the pipe. Then connect the nipples to the elbows and then the floor flanges to the nipples. Make sure each end is even with the other.1
  3. Lay your drop cloth out and spray paint your assembled rod the color of your choice. You may also want to paint your screw heads and curtain hooks (if using).
  4. To hang the rod, choose the spot you want them to go and make sure it is level. I usually mark the hole spots on the wall with a pencil. Then to use the wall anchors, use a drill with the specific diameter bit to drill a hole into the wall, insert the anchor and gently tap it with a hammer or the end of the screwdriver until it is flush with the wall. Place the floor flange with corresponding hole over the anchor, insert a screw and tighten with screwdriver or drill.

Curtains

As you can see, I still need to paint the screw heads but I love how the floor flanges look on the wall!

As you can see, I still need to paint the screw heads but I love how the floor flanges look on the wall!

Finished Result

The finished result was awesome! (Again, I apologize for my camera’s picture quality- one day I will be able to buy a nice camera and really give you the full effect of these projects!) I still need to paint the screws but that will come whenever I have time. It has been a crazy week! I’d also like to go back and buy another pair of curtains to get more coverage but it definitely makes the entire space feel so much “home-ier.” My new home still lacks a lot of decor and I have a long way to go before I get it where I want it. Next project: refinish my dining table to make it look for farmhouse chic!

Playing Catch Up

It has been quite a while since I have posted ( bad blogger! ) but I do intend to fill you all in on what has been going on!

So the last time I did a ‘life update’ blog post, Jacob and I had just closed on our new house and started working on some priority projects. Jacob’s parents came by for a visit and since Jake’s dad is a general contractor with 40+ years experience, he started helping us with some of the more daunting projects like painting, moving outlets and removing a terribly awkward built-in entertainment center that was too small for our TV anyway.

See how awkward and unbalanced it made the wall look?

See how awkward and unbalanced it made the wall look?

Check out what an amazing difference it made!

Awkward unbalanced beast be gone!

Awkward unbalanced beast be gone!

Now I just have to reface our gas fireplace to make it look like it actually belongs there and we’ll really be getting somewhere! Another thing we wanted to do asap was remove the fluorescent light in our kitchen. We could have done it on our own, but Jake’s dad was more than happy to go ahead and knock it off the to-do list while he was here. I made a simple tutorial here if you’d like to see how easy it is to replace those horrid lights!

It wasn’t all work during their visit though. We took an evening and went to Cripple Creek, CO and walked around the casinos. Cripple Creek is a teeny little town, but used to be home to tens of thousands of men in the mountains for the gold rush! There is a ton of history in this adorable town (with an incredibly scenic drive through the mountain to get there). I would like to go back to that town during the day and see some of the shops. I loved how small it was and how on a Saturday night in the winter, there were NO crowds at all. Very little people…just how I like it lol

Because it was night-time, I could not take a good picture of the main strip, but I did take a picture of my favorite casino- The Brass Ass!

Because it was night-time, I could not take a good picture of the main strip, but I did take a picture of my favorite casino- The Brass Ass!

We also took a 20 minute drive to show the in-laws Manitou Springs, CO. It is an equally adorable town with a lot of charm and history. It has been converted recently to be more “touristy” but the mom and pop restaurants are still fun and the eclectic shops are still attention-grabbing. We ate at a Polish place and then walked through the shops. I hope his parents come back in the summer so we can explore the outdoor fun in Manitou. Healing mineral springs, lots of hiking, cog railways, artisan communities, etc. Even on a cold and gloomy day, the main strip is still beautiful.

Heading into the main strip. See that white strip on the mountain? That's the Incline covered in snow- an incredible hiking trail gaining 2000ft of elevation in only 3/4 of a mile. In the early 1900s, it was a cable tram to bring people and supplies up the mountain but was too costly to maintain.

Heading into the main strip. See that white strip on the mountain? That’s the Incline covered in snow- an incredible hiking trail gaining 2000ft of elevation in only 3/4 of a mile. In the early 1900s, it was a cable tram to bring people and supplies up the mountain but was too costly to maintain.

maintou2

Manitou is also home of the North Pole and Santa's Workshop- another touristy thing here. In the far left, you can see half of Jacob's dad's face lol

Manitou is also home of the North Pole and Santa’s Workshop- another touristy thing here. In the far left, you can see half of Jacob’s dad’s face lol

Jake’s parents left shortly before Christmas to try and beat the weather that was heading in again. Jacob and I spent Christmas day at a friend’s house- another pot luck style holiday for everyone who didn’t use up their leave to go back home. We cooked a big ham dinner and all bought each other gifts. It felt really nice to have a real Christmas get-together with friends. Jake and I didn’t do much else as far as a personal Christmas together other than spend the morning together. I got him a really nice electric shaver and he got me a Vitamix! I am so incredibly thrilled to finally have one of these machines after months of wanting one and trying to convince myself it was worth the money. Now that I have one, I know 100% it is DEFINITELY worth the money. No more chunks in my green smoothies. I’ve already used it to chop veggies and make ice cream, and I plan to make soup in it this weekend! I’m compiling a list of successful recipes which I will be posting shortly! 🙂

My new Vitamix! Along with a smoothie of spinach, orange, banana, strawberry, pineapple and flax seed.

My new Vitamix! Along with a smoothie of spinach, orange, banana, strawberry, pineapple and flax seed.

New Year’s came and went. No real resolutions for us but I do have a personal goal of learning how to knit (simple, I know but I’ve been putting it off too long). Then Jacob had to leave for pre-deployment training shortly after the new year began and since then I have had too much alone time and when I am alone ALL I do is think. Therefore, the house is getting redecorated! Haha I just can’t be left alone. I have already bought a new couch (we we’re planning on doing that anyway, so that’s not so bad is it?), built custom curtain rods, bought new curtains and have made incredibly detailed plans on how to refinish my dining room table. I also am planning on building new living room tables, make that mason jar project I’ve been meaning to show y’all, get started on my laundry room makeover and about 10 other things. Sounds like a lot to do when I work 40 hour weeks, but I have also made a schedule on when and how to do these tasks and in what order. (Hey at least I’m waiting until Spring to refinish my kitchen cabinets, put crown molding on the first level, make the second floor guest bathroom all spiffy and landscape the backyard…I’m not a crazy lady tackling everything at once after all lol)

All of this while also going back to school! No, I’m not getting my Masters yet 😦 but my job is paying for me to enroll part-time at an online college to get a certificate in GIS (Geographic Information Systems). It’s basically learning a computer program that allows people to work with data pertaining to maps and other spatial data. Sounds super complicated because I guess it kind of is, but GIS can be used for land use planning, environmental management, business marketing, foresty services, law enforcement, wildlife range analysis, topographical map making, etc. The software and concepts are used a lot in my current job because we need to make a lot of maps and analyze data regarding land use and management. BUT I can also use the skills in a lot of other career choices later on, even my future wildlife management career. And it isn’t going to cost me a dime so alone is extremely exciting lol

Well I’m off to go hang my curtain rods. I will likely post a house reveal when I get the living room mostly done as well as a few tutorials on how to make the curtain rods, refinish the table, etc. Thanks for reading!

How to Replace a Fluorescent Light With a Track Light

How to Replace a Fluorescent Light With a Track Light

We just closed on our new house on the 12th and began the awful process of moving in….during the week…a little bit everyday….after work…when we really didn’t want to. But we managed to get the essentials moved in before my in-laws came for an early holiday visit. As far as fixing up the house, we had several things we wanted to do, one of the most important was changing out the fluorescent light in the kitchen. I HATE fluorescent tube ceiling lights! I work in them all day (because government buildings refuse to use lighting that is easier on the retinas) and refuse to come home to yet another intense, unflattering light. And although I could have completed this project on my own, my father-in-law (who has been building houses for over 40 years) was more than happy wipe it off the to-do list for me while the tools were still out 🙂

The process is fairly straight forward and pretty much as simple as taking the old one down and putting a new one up, but I’ll admit, the first time I did this a few years ago, it was a little confusing, thus this tutorial is born! Before I get started, I would like to apologize for the awful quality pictures. For most of the process, I was using my husbands iPhone to take pictures and those phones do NOT have good cameras.

This picture was taken during our home inspection before purchasing, but it will do just fine since I forgot to take a picture of the light before we took it down. Oops lol

BEFORE: This picture was taken during our home inspection before purchasing, but it will do just fine since I forgot to take a picture of the light before we took it down. Oops lol

REPLACING A FLUORESCENT LIGHT WITH TRACK LIGHTING:

Materials Needed: new light fixture, screwdriver and drill/driver, wire strippers, plastic wire nuts.

  1.  Shut off power to the house at the breaker box first. Then, remove the plastic cover from the light fixture and the light bulbs (they are VERY fragile so be extremely careful!)

    l5

    After the cover and the bulbs are removed, this is what you will see- a shell attached to the ceiling with a center cover within it.

  2. After you have removed the plastic cover and the bulbs, remove the center piece of the fixture. This is just a metal strip covering the wires. Depending on the kind you have, you may be able to just tug it off or you may have to unscrew a few screws.

    light

    This is the mess you will find under the center piece.

  3. Remove the caps from the wires and unravel them (the wires from the fixture will be twisted together with wires from the ceiling).

    Carefully untwist the wires

    Carefully untwist the wires

  4. After untwisting the wires, remove the screws holding the fixture shell on the ceiling.
  5. Make sure you have someone helping hold it up. Otherwise you will unscrew it and it may fall on you!

    Make sure you have someone helping hold it up. Otherwise you will unscrew it and it may fall on you!

    It's gone! Now the awkward hole in the ceiling with wires poking through....chic indeed.

    It’s gone! Now the awkward hole in the ceiling with wires poking through….chic indeed.

  6. We ended up finding that whoever put this light up originally, did not secure it with a ceiling electrical box. Usually lights are attached to a box placed between the ceiling joists for support. Ours, was not. Depending on your new light fixture and ceiling joists, that may or may not be a problem. After some measuring and knocking around, we just screwed the new light fixture’s supporting bracket straight into the joists (like hanging a picture on the wall using a wall stud.)

    Supporting bracket screwed directly into the joists- angled just right to hide the hole in the ceiling.

    Supporting bracket screwed directly into the joists- angled just right to hide the hole in the ceiling.

  7. Your new fixture probably came with a wiring diagram. As a standard, you a have a black or red coated wire (hot/live), a white coated wire (neutral) and a green coated or bare copper wire (ground wire). Connect the ground wire to the grounding screw (usually a green screw). Hook the wire around the screw and use a screwdriver to screw it in so that the screw is snug with the wire. Then, strip approximately a 1/2″ of the colored sheathes off the ends of the black and white wires from the light fixture with a pair or wire strippers. Twist the newly exposed ends of the fixture with the exposed ends of the corresponding black or white wires from the ceiling and secure the ends by twisting a plastic wire nut onto them. White wire with white wire, black wire with black wire.
  8. Tuck all wires into the ceiling hole. Then place the fixture on the supporting bracket on the ceiling and screw in the screws that came with the new fixture. Put the light bulbs in and position where you want the lights to point. Now you can turn the power back on and admire your new track light!

And behold! The beautiful new light! (Once the kitchen is cleared of all the crap on the counters, I will post pictures of the whole kitchen with the new light. Oh the joys of moving -_____- ) I know once we paint the cabinets white, the whole kitchen will come together so nicely!

tracklight

We used the same process to replace the light over the sink too! Replacing a dome light with a hanging, industrial cage light! We put one of the vintage looking Edison bulbs in it and it looks so cool in person!

cage cage2

Home Sweet Home

I am a little late on this post but I promise it is not my fault! As you may know, Jacob and I have been in the process of buying our first house! We were supposed to close on the 5th but a series of events on the owners side of things prevented that. Closing was delayed until the 12th and SUCCESS we finally got the house! Many of you have been waiting so patiently to see the place and I will finally allow some peaking!

**PHOTO DUMP**

Here is our new beauty. SO perfect!

Here is our new beauty. SO perfect!

Standing in the kitchen looking into the dining/living room combination. Prepped for painting.

Standing in the kitchen looking into the dining/living room combination. Prepped for painting.

In the far corner of the living room looking towards the dining and kitchen area.

In the far corner of the living room looking towards the dining and kitchen area.

Standing at the top of the stairs looking down to the first level. Visible door is coat closet, front door to the right of that.

Standing at the top of the stairs looking down to the first level. Visible door is coat closet, front door to the right of that.

I’d love to show you more pictures, but that will have to wait just a wee bit longer because as you can see there is still much to do and quite a bit to change as well. So Friday the 12th, we took possession and started making a to-do list. But it feels like there just isn’t enough time to get anything done. I’m sure many of you hard-working folks agree that weekends are just too short! We managed to paint part of the main room and moved a small load over Saturday but it was a long day of what feels like little progress. We wanted to move all the furniture and essentials Sunday and even had the volunteers to help….but this happened…

All of that blue on the radar is snow...

All of that blue on the radar is snow…

But for some weird reason, the news likes to LIE! It barely flurried until noon-ish but stayed dark and cloudy so we decided to just bite the bullet and delay moving. But around 330, it was clear and sunny with only some minor wind to inconvenience us. I was so anxious to get started but it was just too late to start moving anything important. We will have to move some Monday after work, a little more Tuesday after work, and hopefully the rest Wednesday after work because Jacob’s parents come for a visit on Thursday! I’m really excited to see them (unlike many spouses, I adore my in-laws lol) and I’m also really excited because they decided to drive here so they can bring our tools to our new house! Hopefully next weekend I can start on that project I showed y’all a sneak peak of last time!

I just have a bad feeling this is going to be the slowest process ever. Not only could we not move in this weekend but other things seem to be delaying the final “settling in” process. Example: because we couldn’t move anything serious today, we went to a few furniture stores to find a new living room set. We found a sectional, which surprised me because I really didn’t want one but I think I love it! However….part of it is backordered until the 26th and another part is backordered until January. *sigh*

We will just have to kind of go with the flow with all of this. Our apartment lease isn’t up until mid-January so there is time. Jacob’s dad is a general contractor who has built hundreds of houses so he is going to help with our to-do list items when he is here. Jacob’s mom did interior designing for the company so she can help me pick out rugs (it took me 4 months to choose lamps…I’m definitely going to need some help with rugs lol). We will get it all moved, fixed up and settled before too long.

I’ll be back next week to share about moving, my in-laws visit, our mini-renovations (with potential DIY directions!) and more.

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ps side note: if anyone in the Colorado Springs or Fountain area wants to learn more about buying a home or get the process started, contact Chuck Birger! He is an amazing realtor who made everything so easy to understand and really exhibited such patience with us. We really enjoyed working with him.