Tuesday, November 26, 2013

checking in

Today is my Friday, so I’m a pretty happy camper. There’s a rather daunting to-do list I have to accomplish before I leave work today, so I’m going to keep this short. Our 5 day break will include lots of family time, celebrating my sister’s 15th birthday (I am clearly getting old), shopping, finally seeing Catching Fire, and attending one of my very best friend’s weddings. This will leave little to no time for blogging, so I wish you all the happiest holiday. If I don’t pop in before next week, please know I am thankful for every single person who reads this blog (even though most of you are usually pretty silent!). My page views have really increased lately, but not so much followers or comments. It’s a mystery really. Either way, I am thankful for those who read, known or unknown. I am thankful for a place I can ramble on and share my story. I am thankful for nice comments and new recipes to try and semi experts to email about all things home and really life in general. I am thankful that the blogging community exists, and I get to be a part of it. Follow me on instagram if you want to keep up with what we're doing this lovely little break from reality.

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Friday, November 22, 2013

5 on Friday, Home + Holiday Edition

I almost never say this, but this week flew by. And I don't think I've ever said it after having a three day weekend, so I guess this has been a pretty crazy few days. I've managed to plan some things for the Christmas party, pull out the Christmas decorations, do a bit of gift shopping, and get plenty done at work. This week's 5 are all things home+holiday related!


I've come to the conclusion we need another piece of furniture in the dining area. Do I need to display my cake stands and dishes instead of storing them in the cabinets? I'm not sure, but I'm leaning toward a big fat yes. We have all windows and no wall space around the table, so anything too tall is really not an option.



While we're at it, I've been keeping my eyes open for another chair for the family room. Right now there's a Christmas tree in what was our empty corner. After the holiday's, I'd like to fill that space with another place to sit.



Have you heard of Grandin Road? Frontgate? I knew about the catalogues, but when Katie told me there was an outlet nearby, I had to check it out. I stopped by on my lunch break and Grandin Road had EVERYTHING (except holiday decor) 50% off the lowest price. It was music to my ears when the lady told me, and I managed to snag this baby (in a different color) for a mere $75 dollars.

There was a ton of other things I liked, but since I was on lunch (and this took up all the room in my car), I'll be taking Will back this weekend. We never go shopping in this part of town, so it will be a nice change of Saturday afternoon.


I have actually never been to an ugly sweater themed party. I also do NOT feel like trolling the thrift stores for something to wear to the one we're hosting. Or coordinating any type of fashionable outfit for that matter. Insert Etsy. I was surprised at the amount of campy yet still cute Christmas sweaters and shirts to pick from. I think I have it narrowed down to these few.


The Brighton Center. I've been meaning to volunteer somewhere for months, and the Thanksgiving + Christmas spirit has inspired me to make it happen. I promised myself once we moved and everything was settled after the wedding, I would do something to give back to the world. I truly believe that to consider yourself a "good" human being, you have to put something positive back into society. Take a pretty picture. Raise a polite child. Pick up a piece of trash off of the street once a year. Do something besides serve yourself. I heard something about this organization on the radio this morning, and I knew it was perfect.

Taken from their site:

Our mission - To create opportunities for individuals and families to reach self-sufficiency through support services, education and leadership. To us, self-sufficiency is taking responsibility to provide for yourself and your family using available resources. 

I think it's extremely important to give people knowledge about the resources available to them. To give them the encouragement and skills to get back on their feet, not just a hot meal because it's Christmas time. I am absolutely not qualified to decide what is good for others, but this theory sounds pretty good to me.

And that's 5. Linking up with Natasha. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

a christmas reminder

So. After putting up our tree last night, I was feeling a little bleh for a second. It just didn’t seem like enough. I of course have been imagining this moment for weeks. Our first Christmas in our new forever home, and I may have over glorified our little tree in my head. When I got it all decorated, it just didn’t meet my expectations. It was fine for last year. But it just looks inferior now in our new house. I immediately started pricing new trees, which are not cheap, and trying to figure out if it was worth splurging on. Of course it is, because I have to have a nice new tree, right? Still not sure of the answer to that questions.

What I do know is that after about 5 seconds of doing this. I felt like a huge jerk. I know so many people struggle every day, especially around the holidays, and here I am bitching up a storm because I don’t have an 8 or 9 foot tree. Not very Christmas spirit like of me, and I still feel pretty rotten about it. It’s always baffled me how easy it is to get caught up in the “I needs”. How intensely you can want something. How required it feels, when really, there are a bazillion people out there who survive with much less than I have ever had (and God willing will ever have) every single day. I definitely believe in working hard, making a nice life for yourself, and enjoying all of the nice things that are available to us middle class Americans. But it is easy to cross the line into enjoying what is available to you, and just being a spoiled brat.

I would like to type here that I decided to spend all the money I budgeted for Christmas on gifts for the poor, but I know I won’t do that. What I will do though is think long and hard about if I want certain things because I want them, or because the outside world makes me feel like I need them. One of my biggest goals for 2014 is to be less selfish. Spend money more wisely. And devote my time and resources to something besides myself. It probably wouldn’t hurt to start on that a little early.

Happy Wednesday pals. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

weekend + family pics

This weekend was full of friends, family, food, and more painting. Saturday we had Will's parents over, and then went to a friends for dinner Sunday. The major accomplishment was a few family pictures. Here are a few shots we took attempting to get a good something Christmas card worthy, and some nice "our new home" pictures. We didn't actually get the full house + family in one picture, but a few turned out pretty great. Happy Monday!


Linking up with Sami.

Friday, November 15, 2013

the best day of the week

The quote image for "I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers" or Novembers or whatever it is has been floating around lately. Where is the one that says "I'm so glad I live in a world where there are FRIDAY'S". No matter what kind of nonsense is going on, the fact that it's Friday is always a reason to celebrate.

It's time for 5 things that are going on in my head today. Linking up with NatashaDarci, and Christina.

1. Tomo is the Christmas Card photo session, and I have no clue what to wear. I think I'm just going to throw together some of my favorite things and hope it equals out to be a good outfit. So far I'm thinking  my chambray shirt + greenish cords from Madewell, Hunters, and this statement necklace or a scarf. Doesn't scream Winter, but I don't think it necessarily needs to.

2. Does anyone else watch Rehab Addict? I just discovered this show and I'm kind of obsessed. Not sure why, because I certainly won't be rehabbing anything any time soon. It's fascinating (and addicting) to watch how amazing these houses look after basically being garbage. I really like the idea of eventually adding old, refurbished pieces to contrast the newness of our house. I love anything that tells a story, and as much as I love Pottery Barn and the like, I don't want our house to look just like everyone else's.

3. For the first time ever, I walked into TJ Maxx, and walked out without buying a thing. I didn't even attempt to go into Home Goods next door either. I wanted clothes. I wanted to browse all the new Christmas decor. But I wanted to get home even more. I guess there's a reason I never try to shop or run errands after work. My brain was tired and I was way too overwhelmed. Looks like I'll be starting my Christmas shopping bright and early Saturday or Sunday. I love the lack of traffic and competition on weekend mornings. Definitely sticking to that for the rest of the holiday season.

4. We've finally decided where to go on our next vacation. Charleston, SC get ready for the Grubers. We won't be going until probably April, but I'm already excited as I've never been to Charleston and I've heard nothing but great things. I would love to hear recommendations on where to stay and what to do/see.

5. This Joss & Main canvas print says it all.

This weekend I'll be enjoying working on our home, seeing family, dinner with friends, and all the little things that are so great about life.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

home. husband. christmas. life.

Home. The painting continues. I'm pretty close to being over running to Ace Hardware to find Benjamin Moore paint on my lunch breaks. It's totally out of the way, and I deal with enough traffic in one day as it is. I was thrilled with the two samples I picked up today to finish off the downstairs, and the upstairs hall. With some leading in the right direction, Will picked "Blue Symphony" for his office, and I picked "Halo" for the foyers, hallway spaces, and laundry room (which will also be getting some kind of accent wall). I'm loving that all the colors we're picking have such serene names. Good karma + mojo in the house: check.
blue symphony

Husband. I created a Pinterest account for Will ages ago, but he never really saw the use of logging into it. Well, that's where I've been keeping my Christmas list, so he decided to do the same! Not sure why, but it is so amusing to see my husband who could care less about any social media on Pinterest. I can't wait to see if he gets as hooked as the rest of us. Also on husband note, this guy already made reservations for New Years Eve and Valentines Day 2014. Love that he is always thinking ahead, and making sure we get to to have dinner somewhere we can't wait to spend a special night, not just wherever we can get a table.

Christmas. This weekend we're going to attempt to take a picture for our cards. I was leaning toward professional pics, but I really want the dogs included since they are such  big part of my family. There's not way they'd behave out of the house, so I am going to recruit my Father in Law to come over and try and get a few shots. We have it narrowed down between these two designs from Minted… for now.

Life. Daylight Savings Time is screwing around with my internal clock. I'm exhausted by 9pm, and ready to take on the day at 5am. If I could manage to get out of bed at 5, we'd be in business. I end up sitting there for an hour, not wanting to leave my cozy bed, and just waisting an hour. Maybe tomorrow is the day I bite the bullet and find something productive to do before work.

And just because it's Wednesday and by the time this day is over it's basically the weekend. I am beyond guilty of this.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

and the worst wife award goes to...

Well,  I’m officially the worst wife ever. I was just about to type up a nice post about a few random things going on, and then it hit me. We’ve been married for 6 months… AND A DAY. I was all prepared to make a big deal about our 6 month anniversary. I was going to write a special post, make a special dinner, and make sure to tell my husband how wonderfully wonderful he is. And I just forgot.

But you know what? I tell him that almost every day. And I will let this serve as a reminder that every single day should be special. Not just anniversaries. And I think for us, most days are for one reason or another.

Never the less, I am still upset I forgot. Such is life I guess? I have always had the worst time remembering dates. I am that person who gives gift cards because I procrastinate shopping, or who gives you your present in the store’s gift wrapping because I don’t have any wrapping paper. I used to love when my Mom made a big deal out of the holidays, and I was (am) determined to do that for my family when I got married. Well, the first mini milestone has come and gone, and I obviously have a lot of work to do.

On to what I should have written approximately 18 hours ago. This has been the best six months (and one day) of my life. There have been some trying days. Some “my husband is traveling and I’m working and the dogs are diriving me nuts and I don’t have time to take care of the house and why don’t I have it all 100% together” moments. Some “why can’t you just agree with me” moments. But mostly, it has just been amazing.

I wake up every morning, and go to bed every night with a heart bursting of happiness. There is so much joy and amazement that comes from being married to your best friend. My husband would walk the earth 100 times over for me. And I would do the same for him. He makes me laugh, and grounds me. He is the perfect match for me, and I thank him and God every day for making my life the perfection that it is. Even the bad days are good days, because I know we learn from them. I know they make us stronger as people and as a couple.

Happy 6 months and 1 day to us!

Monday, November 11, 2013

the weekend + pins galore

This weekend was rather low key. Friday we were both exhausted from the work week, so we just took it easy on the couch and caught up on some of our shows. Saturday I cleaned a bit (not nearly enough) and Will went to the UC game with his Dad. Later in the afternoon I met up with some friends at Unwind. It was just as cute as I'd imagined and the drinks and food were excellent. I will definitely be back! I met up with Will and some friends to hang out for the rest of the night, and Sunday we did absolutely nothing.

Sometimes I feel guilty for "waisting" a day, but this week, it was just right. I did manage to make some chicken and rice soup, and pin at least 100 items. We're having a Christmas party, all the holiday sales are about to start, I will need to buy a lot of new christmas decorations this year, we need to plan a vacation, and I was glued to the couch all weekend = Pinterest crazy. Follow here to see the full extent of my damage. I also wanted to share a few of my favorites.

This fits my personality so well. I will be ordering it immediately.

Has anyone ever shopped on urbanog? I've had this pin saved for a while, but I'm afraid to buy anything because the prices are just too low for something not to be up. I am in desperate need for black boots, but I don't think I'd wear them that much, so I may just bite the bullet and order.

No explanation needed, this is just too cute not to own for someone like me who loves all things pink. Will broke his back pack toward the end of grad school and never replaced it. I would be happy to pass my all black North Face back pack along to him so I have an excuse to buy this. I may or may not have owned the black one for like 6 years… but it's still in good shape, and guys don't care? Right? right.

Again with the pink.

Victoria's Secret

Preface: this is not my hand, obviously. Random fact about my engagement ring and wedding bands: they're Tacori. My freshman year of college I saw THE most beautiful Tacori ring in a magazine. I ripped out the page, stuck it to my wall, and was determined to have one someday. I threw the page out after moving out of campus housing at the end of that year, and never gave is another thought. When Will and I started to look at rings together so he could get an idea of what I liked, the memory came back to me, and the rest is history. I looked at a few other jewelry designers and nothing compared. I'm not a big jewelry wearer, so I knew I wanted something delicate but still blingish for my wedding band. And that is just what I got. Anyhow, I've seen pictures like this floating around Pinterest and I'm in love.

My ring is very similar to the middle one on this girl's finger, IDK that I could rock 5 rings at a time, but I've already started eyeing some of these unique bands for our "big" anniversaries down the road. I can dream, right?! LOVE the stacked look. These are two of my favorites, both the same designer as my other rings.

And there you have it. My favorite pins from the week. There were a ton more Christmas decor ones I could share, but that may be a post on its own. How was your weekend? Happy Monday!

Friday, November 8, 2013

5 on Friday

TGIF. Seriously. Even though this was a fairly uneventful week, I'm still ready for some rest and relaxation. This week I'm liking up for 5 on Friday and it will be just as random as ever. Linking up with Natasha!


EBTH. This stands for Everything But The House, and I am dying to use it. It's basically a site where you can bid online on estate sales around the city. If you win, you go pick up the item, and it's a done deal. I have seen some amazing pieces on this site for a STEAL, but I always forget about my bid and then lose. I am determined to add some refurbished or vintage pieces to our house, so I may be spending some time this weekend making sure I follow through with a bid!


Tomorrow afternoon I am meeting a few girlfriends for snacks and drinks at a place in the city I've never been to called Unwind. Apparently it's cute and cozy and everything tastes great, so I'm pretty excited to try it out. It seems like there is always a fun new bar or restaurant coming out of the woodwork for me to try. One of the 573 reasons I love where we live.

both pics from here


I've been feeling extra appreciative lately of my husband. We are not perfect, but it is so comforting and surreal to know that I have my best friend and love of my life supporting me unconditionally. And knowing that said support is not going anywhere. Like ever. I know marriage is hard, and I know we are new to the game, but there are always people hating on marriage. Keep it to yourselves! Because for some of us it's awesome.


Veteran's Day Sales have me pumped for Black Friday shopping! I used to go out at 4am and brave the stores, but it's been a while. My sister Paige turns 15 the day before Thanksgiving, so if she wants to try to head out, I as the big sister will of course christen her into the most wonderfully crazy shopping day of the year. But the girl is a homebody so I have a feeling we will be online shopping.

That in mind, what Black Friday deals are you most looking forward to? In store or online. I don't have anything specific in mind that I need, but if I find any deals especially amazing, I will definitely partake in the economy stimulating.


That brings me to Christmas Shopping.

I'm determined to get that out of the way early this year. Normally we do gift cards for a lot of people, and I'm starting to feel like it's a cop out. But what do you get your Grandparents that they don't already have? Your pre teen/teenage nieces and nephews? I have no clue what's cool in the kid (or old person) world, and need some serious help. There's also what to get Will. I have a ton of ideas, but want to make sure I pick something really special for our first married Christmas.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

happy day

My Wednesday was kind of great. My boss took our department out to lunch, and it was a nice little break from the work day. Yummy pasta that I didn't have to prepare on a work day = happy Brittany. At the end of the day, Hoxworth came by our building, and I donated blood for the first time! I tried once in college (yes I was trying to make money. oohh college) but they told me my veins were too small. It took a while this time, but I was able to hang in there. It felt good to do something nice for someone in need.

I also realized this week that we're creeping up on six months of marriage has me pretty giddy. SIX MONTHS. I can't believe it. In some ways it seems like we were married just yesterday, and in some ways it seems like it's been forever. Either way, I'm excited to celebrate this little milestone.

IDK who made the decision to start playing marathons of Modern Family reruns at night, but I would like to personally thank them. One can only watch so much Investigation Discovery, and I haven't had that much time to sit down and devote to my DVR lately. And really, there is no such thing as too much Modern Family.

I've been making an effort lately to just do more. Spend less time on the couch. More time just doing something. And I try to make that something non internet or TV related. I know I spend too much time on my phone. That I should read more and watch TV less. I've made quite the list of positive changes over the past few years, and I can't wait to see what the next few bring me.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Clear Skies - Amateur Interior Painting

Not many things overwhelm me. I'm from the school of Google it, look it up on Pinterest, poll your Facebook followers for tips, then make it happen. Not sure how I would have survived adult life before the internet, but luckily I don't have to experience that. Anyway, this is the approach I took when deciding to begin painting our home.

I originally wanted to go with navy blue for these spaces. I LOVE all things navy, and I love how dramatic and rich it looks on walls. We have an abundant amount of windows and natural light, so I thought it would look great. But almost every person I knew told me I was insane. My next choice would have been a greige color, but the husband is totally against "drab" colors. I didn't feel like fighting the "grays can be bright" fight, so I finally settled for a light, bright, blue. Specifically, Clear Skies by Benjamin Moore. Some of my Pinterest inspiration included:

My first step was obviously supplies. We ended up purchasing:

4 gallons of paint (that included primer. and i still have 2 left!)
2 extendable rollers (about 10 inches? with removable poles to convert to handheld rollers. these also had splatter covers- LIFESAVER)
1 2 inch paint brush
1 3 inch paint brush
2 small rollers (maybe 4 inches?)
2 plastic drop cloths
1 edging tool
2 paint trays
1 roll painters tape (a friend told me frog tape works MUCH better, but i'd already bought the painters tape)

You will also need ladders to accommodate your ceiling height. Luckily we already had these.

I was really worried what the dogs would do during this whole experience. Luckily for me, they were angels. Now matter how well behaved, you may need to barricade your pets away from the panting area. And they may look at you like they're in prison.

But they will enjoy the finished results.

  Back to the painting. Friday after work I removed everything from the walls, removed the outlet and light switch panels, and taped off the necessary cabinets and molding.

Next I moved all the furniture to the middle of the room and covered it with old sheets. I used the drop cloths to protect the carpet, and the painters tape to keep them in place. Then my husband decided to take hideous pictures of me. I allowed it, because you can't win em all. I will never get over how much like a heart my giant head is shaped. Fun fact: my head is much larger than Will's.

Again, back to the painting. The edging tool I used worked pretty well, so I didn't necessarily need tape on the ceiling. It was about 5 dollars and looked basically like a piece of fabric with a red handle. Sadly, no picture. The only thing I'd change here is getting less paint on the fabric part. Or using a paint brush to immediately blend the paint that filled into the main part of the wall. We ended up with a couple of lines of heavy paint here and there. I'm not that meticulous, and they're pretty hard to notice, but obviously I will avoid that in the future.

To get the corners and tiny nooks and cranies, I used the paint brushes. To get around the mantle molding I could have really used an even smaller brush than the 2 inch, but I made it work.

left side = one coat of new color. right side = old color.

For the bulk of the painting we used the large rollers. The small ones did come in handy for above the cabinets and for a vaulted area in the morning room. That portion went by fairly quickly and was actually kind of fun. It took 2 coats for us, which I hear is the norm.

This color looks so different depending on the lighting, I am still trying to figure out how to decorate. I plant to add lots of white accents and white/cream linen curtains. Top tips we received include:

-Don't be afraid to get paint on your brush (but be sure to blend any lines)
-Look at any color options in light and dark settings, in different areas of your room. It took us a loooong time to choose colors, and I'm glad I took my time.
-When using the rollers, paint in a large W line, then fill in the blank spaces

The finished product.

Back to what I was saying at the beginning. Not much overwhelms me, but choosing paint colors may be up there. After brightening up this area of the house, I know I need to be careful with what we choose for the rest of the rooms. Especially the hallways and stairwell.

Stay tuned for other color choices, and a total great room + rest of the home tour.

Happy Wednesday!
© g squared. Made with love by The Dutch Lady Designs.