Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The State of My Living Room

At one point, this is what my living room looked like:


 


...like a dorm room full of hand-me-down furniture.

I kept saying I was going to refinish the side table, coffee table, and chair when the weather got warmer.  Well, time passed and I finally decided to get to gettin'.

I decided to start with the side table.   Let me tell you, I had a devil of a time finding a table to fit this area.  Our couch is very deep, the space between the couch and wall is not very wide and I needed storage, so I was looking for something very specific.  I had been scouring Craigslist and thrift stores to no avail.

One day I was paruzzing Target's website (like I do pretty much every day) and I stumbled upon this little gem



Even though it was technically a console table, if I turned it to the side, the length and width were basically exactly what I was looking for.  I showed it to JEGs, and at  first he was all "I can build that" and I said "...ok, but WILL you build it" and he bascially said "eeehhh... let's order it".

I love it when he lets me do what I want.

I used my Target RedCard and got an extra 5% off and free shipping so I knocked the price down to about $53 and some change shipped.  Boom.

Because of the price, we were hesitant about it, but we were pleasantly surprised that this table is 100% real wood, and it's pretty solid.  Our only beef was it was too tall, and we didn't like how low the shelf was.  JEGs took the saw to the legs and lobbed off a couple of inches to make it a better height for our couch.  Since the shelf was only held up with brackets, we moved it up to a little more



Like I said, this is made of legit wood, you guys!


For about six months we kept it the natural wood.  I liked the lightness of it, but my plans for the chair and the coffee table are to go lighter and I felt like something needed to balance out the darkness of the stairs and fireplace.  Andplusalso, the natural wood seemed to blend into the couch and rug.  I wanted it to pop some more.

The coffee table and chair were the same color, and  even though I didn't plan for them to stay that color, I did really like the tone of the stain.  I stopped at Lowes and snagged  a small can of Minwax stain.  I don't know what makes it sooooooo  much better than the other walnuts out there, but it's schuper schpecial.


After pouring myself the necessary glass of Cabernet, I got down to it.  Normally I would recommend doing this outside, but I am impatient and decided to stain in the kitchen on a Friday night.  Since we had been using it for about six months as is, I gave it a good sanding to scrub off all the gunk it had acquired.  I opened all the windows for ventilation and put the table on a piece of cardboard.


 The directions mention it can be left on between 5-15 minutes before wiping, but I opted for the lesser time to control the color.


It only took about two coats (three coats in some spots) but I am really happy with the outcome.


 The shelf is perfect for holding our "snuggle blanket" along with a pile of my magazines (that one day I will hopefully get to read).  We also have a little box that corrals all of our coasters and remotes.

Underneath we have enough space to tuck in three IKEA SAMLA containers of Hunter's cars, LEGOs and other various toys.



One down... two more to go...



Always & Forever,
  ME

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Christmas Tour 2015



Instagram: LifeThatIsGood



We have nothing coming up in the next two weeks, and I am totally ok with this.  We are  rounding out three weeks of insanity with me working at the chopper, holiday parties, my cousin visiting for a week, lots of drinking, more chopper work and the holidays. Not to mention Hunter, Tessa and I have been passing around a cold back and forth for two weeks.

We had a great holiday-  Hunter was totally spoiled by Santa and family, as was Tessa.  Christmas Eve was spent at my parents house for a big turkey dinner and gift exchange with my family.  JEGs made the most amazeballs cannolis from scratch.  When we got home, Hunter was super psyched to put out cookies and milk for Santa.



Tessa was trying to snatch the cookies for herself...


Christmas morning Hunter tore through his gifts and then we headed over to my in-laws where Hunter opened 29479274287 more gifts and I cooked my first Christmas dinner. It was also my turn to have the head cold, so that was awesome.

 Ya'll I am tired.  JEGs and I don't have anything planned for New Year's Eve except a steak dinner and maybe a bottle of red wine.  I can't even promise I'll make it to midnight.

This is me, firmly planted in my 30s.

Anyway, I thought I would do a quick holiday tour of the house.  We keep the decorations up until January 8th; my mom always did for Three Kings Day, but also JEGs' family celebrates Ukrainian Christmas on January 7th.

The outside got the usual garland strung from the porch and lights around the trees.  I took this picture the week before Christmas when our neighborhood did a luminaries night.


Mother Nature was brutal to my decorations this year.  We haven't had any snow, but it has been super windy, so I have been collecting my decorations from my neighbor's driveway daily.  

I added some seasonal throw pillows to our rocking chairs.  The HO HO HO pillow came from the Dollar Spot at Target a couple years ago and the buffalo plaid pillow came from Joann's this year.  The bigger pillows I made years ago from a table cloth.


I snagged a galvanized bucket from the Dollar Spot this year and added some burlap and satin ribbon.  My mom and I got clippings from a tree farm for free, so I arranged  them to the bucket.

My trusty vintage sled is propped up next to the mail box and I planted poinsettias in the pot with more free clippings to fill in.



The mantel got a little bit of a make under this year.  Instead of swagging the garland in the front, I sat it back behind everything. Some candle sticks and faux trees anchored the space.



This year I wanted it to be all about the stockings.  Since we got to add a fourth stocking this year for Tessa, I had to retire my JOY stocking holders.  


Pottery Barn had this really sweet Santa sleigh and reindeer set that I loved, but at $40 per stocking holder, I was having a hard time making the commitment.  Then I found these adorable reindeer holders at Target for $10 each and I was sold. 


The red ornaments from years past were retired and new gold (shatter proof) ornaments took their place on our tree along side our wood and felt (unbreakable ornaments).





I did add a new ornament to commemorate our family trip to Maine at the end of August





More garland up the banister.  I love me some twinkle lights.



When I was finished decorating the living room, I had a bunch of stuff left over that I really love but didn't have a place for; my twine trees, Justin's favorite Ark of the Covenant deer and my manger set.  The only answer was to set them all on the buffet with some more free clippings.


 I added the chalkboard behind it because I was feeling sassy.  That's just how I do.  Feelin' sassy, add a chalkboard. 

I hope your New Years is as eventful or uneventful as you hoped.  

From our family to yours, Happy New Year!

Always & Forever,
  ME

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Santa Babies 2015

It's that time of year again!  Time to shell out twenty-five bucks for a picture of your kids sitting on a stranger's lap.  

It's Mall Santa Time!!!




Ok, so there is Tessa.  But where is Hunter you ask?  Well, that's fun story, so settle in with a snack and I shall share with you.

One Friday afternoon, JEGs took a half day off work so we could take the chitlins to see Santa.  Hunter was super psyched.  When we told him what we were doing, he started jumping up and down with excitement.  

So we wait in line and talk about what he is going to ask Santa (the Stellosphere, in case you are wondering), but when it is our turn to sit on his lap, Hunter won't go up to him and walks away.  He isn't scared, he isn't crying, he just refuses.  We try to coax him, but he is not interested.  Thinking he is being is normal stubborn, 4-year-old self, we get Tessa's picture taken and call it a day.

Later that evening, JEGs is putting the monster to bed, and he asks him why he didn't want to sit on Santa's lap and the kid bursts out crying.  He starts saying Santa looked angry because the Elf on the Shelf told Santa that Hunter hasn't been a good listener and Hunter was scared Santa would be mad at him.

You guys.... we don't even have an Elf on the Shelf.  

Right after Thanksgiving we talked about getting one because Hunter has been mouthy lately.  (Oh 4.  What a fun fun age.  #sarcasmfont).  But being the super cheap skate that I am, I didn't want to shell out $30 for one.  So we mentioned a couple times that the Elf might show up, but that was it.  

Of course we are completely heart broken that he was this upset over something we didn't even have, so I took him back to a different Santa- with the explanation that Santa goes to different malls every day- so he could tell him he was going to work on being a good boy... and he would like the Stellosphere.

I asked him if he wanted to have his picture taken with Tessa, and he said no because she already had her own picture.  I figured that was fair enough.


  So for 2015 Hunter is getting is final singular picture with Santa, because I sure as hell am not spending $50 on pictures with Santa again.

Always & Forever,
  ME

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

DIY Burlap Bow

I had these two wreaths that hung in my kitchen windows over the buffet that I was procrastinating in putting up.  I felt like they needed a little something, but I didn't know what.  So they sat on my kitchen island for over a week.

This afternoon I was on a mission to clear off the counter tops, so it was decision time.

My first step was to give Tessa a teething biscuit to occupy her.  


I was in Target last week (you know, for a change, right?) and I snagged this burlap ribbon from the Dollar Spot.  


Six feet for a dollar?  I'll take three, thankyouverymuch.

I busted out my bow making skills from my cheerleading days and made two rustic burlap and twine bows for the wreaths.

First, I cut a section of the ribbon.  I used a 30 inch length, but you can do whatever size makes your heart happy.  

I folded one side over, maybe 10- 12 inches.


Then I folded the other side over about 10-12 inches.  Again, you can adjust if you want a bigger or smaller bow.  


I picked up my folded ribbon where it crossed over and pinched it shut.  You can start to see it taking the shape of a bow now


I still have twine laying around from this post, so I cut an 18 inch length to use for my middle.  I wrapped it around twice at first, so I could adjust as needed.  


 Once I was happy with the placement, I wrapped it around more times



I tied it in the back, leaving some extra twine to tie it onto the wreath.



 Tada!


It took me less than 15 minutes to create two bows  Super easy!

...and then I remembered I gave the baby a biscuit and now I had to clean up that holy mess.  


She is smiling because she knows I am about to find the soggy chunk of biscuit that fell on her lap.  Surprise Mom!


Always & forever,
ME

Monday, December 7, 2015

*Taps Mic* Anyone out there?

Well, hey.

Remember me?  I'm Lizzie AMY, and I used to write this blog.

I know, I know, it's been a while since I dusted off the old keyboard.  I've been wanting to come back, but I always felt I needed a big long explanation post, and a completely new look on the page.

Welps, I've got a new look, so that's something right?

As far as an explanation, I don't have much, except this:


That handsome monster of mine, and his sister.

Yup, that's right;  my little girl, Tessa Louise.

Long story short: my life has changed a lot in the past year and a half.  After dealing with fertility issues, we were finally blessed with our little girl born at 34 weeks on March 26, 2015.  She spent two weeks in the NICU and came home on April 10, 2015.

In the months during her pregnancy, JEGs and  I decided that once she was born I would leave my full time job as a camera operator  for a news helicopter and focus on my real estate career.  I still work at the helicopter here and there if a full time employee wants to take a day off.  I also picked up a part time gig as an event coordinator for a local distillery.

So here I am, a 34 year-old, work-from-home mom of two.  A far cry from the 27 year-old girl who started this blog.

Why am I back?  I missed blogging.  I missed having that creative outlet.  But also I realized that almost every moment of Hunter's first year was documented on this blog. I love being able to look back at his monthly posts and remember what he was like, and how I was feeling.  Tessa is about to turn 9 months old, and this has been the absolute fastest year of my life.  I am afraid that if I don't document it, I won't remember anything.  So mostly, I am doing this for Tessa.

No promises on how often I will post, mostly when the mood strikes me-- or when time allows me.  Which, let's be honest, is more likely.

Always and Forever,
  ME

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Identity Crisis.

 You guys, I am having a serious identity crisis.

As you can tell, the crickets and tumble weeds have taken over Lizzie in Progress. Some of it has come from general life stuff taking up my time, but a lot of it is coming from I have no idea what I want this blog to be anymore.

I read this fantastic post from Rambling Renovators that basically talks about the shift in the blog world in the past year or so.  When I started blogging in 2009, it was all about commenting on other blogs and creating friendships through following/followers.  Now its all about Pins, Tweets and Instagram.  A lot of my favorite bloggers have turned their blog into a business, and while I think that is fantastic for them,  I find myself weary of reading nearly every post is sponsored by so-and-so.  Give aways have become work too:  it used to be a comment on the post.  Now I have to follow this person on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest , Twitter along with the eight other blogs they've joined up with.  Truth gun to my head, I just don't have that kind of time! But I see these blogs and I start to feel like I can't compete with their amazing renovations or perfectly planned parties.  In the back of my mind, I start to think... why bother?  I'm never going to be a powerhouse on Pinterest.  I'll never have 15K followers on Instagram.  If no one is commenting, then is anyone out there?

So consider this my mission statement:  I am never going to make money from this blog.  I realize that.  This is basically my personal diary of what is going on in my life. If I don't get any blog traffic, that's fine- I enjoy looking back in my archives and remembering what I was thinking at a certain point in my life.  That's why I started this.

As far as topics go, I am going to keep the same variety it's always been: sometimes JEGs and I will renovate a room.  Sometimes Hunter will say something cute and I need to share it with the world (it happens a lot, let's be honest).  If a friend has a beautiful wedding, I want to share it with everyone.  I will probably break out the glue gun and get all crafty up in this bish.  Sometimes I just want to talk about this amazing pair of shoes I found at Target.  I am a suburban mom who loves pretty things, and I don't want to be pigeon holed into one specific topic.

My plan is to revamp this blog.  Lizzie has progressed as far as she's going to go, and I am coming back as Amy.  I am going to give the whole blog a face lift, and I am going to really try to not succumb to the pressure of Pinterest and just do what I love- write about the shit that's going on in my little corner of the world.

I'll see you on the flip side.

Always & Forever,
  ME.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 in Review

  I celebrated the New Year with some close friends in Cougarville, aka Michael's Cafe in Bensalem.  Never in my life did I have to worry about my husband being hit on by someone my mother's age.  Ew.   But we had a blast, got way too drunk a little tipsy and said hello to 2013.




Our little community grew by 4 pounds 10 oz when our neighbor and dear friends Jenny and Greg welcomed their son, Townes Edward into the world.  Six months later, Hunter would begin a rivalry that would quickly dissolve.


 Hunter celebrated his second Valentine's Day with his sweetheart, Jenna, and I blogged about my Toddler Friendly Valentine's Day Snacks


I was on the ball with the blog in February and blogged about giving up make up for Lent, our dresser turned buffet and did a review of our beloved HOVAS (still the most popular keyword for traffic)

At 17 months, Hunter became a full-fledge, climbing, ornery toddler.




After snagging a rug off Craigslist, I officially declared the nursery DONE

                                     

JEGs was able to sell his 2001 Jetta and purchased a much more reliable 2005 Subaru Legacy



and in the same weekend, Hunter got himself a new set of wheels, too.


 We quietly celebrated Easter with Hunter's first egg hunt around the house (he kind of understood the concept), but the highlight of the weekend is when he got to visit Mommy at work and see all the planes and helicopters.


and in an epic showdown, we invited some neighborhood friends over for a Pizza-Off to determine the best pizza place in the area.  I still say Dante's won.





March was also a rough month because my Uncle committed suicide in a very public manner on St. Patrick's Day.  It left me with a lot of unresolved anger towards him, but made me appreciate my family as we gathered around to support my mother and help settle his estate.

Our Bubbers turned 18 months old and I couldn't believe that he was no longer my baby, he was a little boy now.


...especially when our pediatrician gave the ok to make his car seat forward facing.  I died a little inside that day.


We realized around the beginning of the month that we weren't going on vacation this year, so I started taking random days off to use up my PTO.  JEGs and I took a random Monday off together and had, what we called, a "Pre-Baby Saturday"-- basically we did all the things that we would have done on a Saturday before Hunter was born.  We dropped him off at daycare, and went back to bed.  We slept until 10.  We grabbed lunch at a local Mexican joint.  I sipped margaritas with my quesadillas.  We came home and just leisurely laid around the house and were able to have an actual conversation.  The weather was unseasonably warm, and it was awesome.



I also spent a hilarious night in West Chester, PA to celebrate the bachelorette party of my friend Whitney.  The night began with a champagne toast and ended with me bumping into my high school crush in front of a pizza place and asking him to protect me while I ate.  Yeah.  


Three weeks later, Whitney married her gentleman caller, Max, in the most beautiful wedding I have ever attended.


We spent Memorial Day weekend with some close friends, where Hunter tried to make some moves on 2-year-old Cora


Later in the week we cleaned up the planting beds in the front yard and planted some hostas and impatiences with the help of my neighbor, Amy.



With half the year gone, June was a busy month.  I shared my plans for the bedroom and continued my birthday tradition of painting a room to celebrate my 32nd year.

Our little monster turned 20 months old, and was proving to be all boy

                                        

A memorial service was held in my uncle's honor and it helped me come to terms with my feelings.  Family I haven't seen in years came in to share moments of his life, and help spread his ashes.  My cousin Tara (Hunter's godmother) and her boyfriend came to stay with us, and we finally got a picture of the two.


I also checked out this awesome place called Painting With a Twist in Skippack, PA.  They set you up with a canvas to paint, and you can bring your own beverages and snacks to nosh on while you release your inner Monet!  So much fun, and I want to go back again!


I was so excited to host my first Fourth of July BBQ this year!


JEGs and I celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary by spending the weekend in Lancaster, PA to attend the wedding of our very dear friends, Mike and Kaitlin.  Actually, not only did we attend, but JEGs was the best man!  It was such a sweet, home-spun affair, and I swear, one of these days I am going to blog about the whole thing.


Hunter turned 21 months and reminded us that we are still  rookies at this whole parenting thing.  

             

After the craze that was May/June/July, we kind of kicked back and just enjoyed August.



We checked out a local Musikfest, and Hunter experienced his first bus ride.  He talked about it for DAYS.



This month I got a double dose of Shannanigans when we were invited to Gabe's birthday party, and then a week later, Kim from NewlyWoodwards came into to town!  It was so exciting to finally meet Kim after years of stalking her life reading her blog.
Hunter and the birthday boy, Gabe
                           
Such a horrendous picture of me.. but these things happen after copious amounts of wine
             
We started the month out with a perfect trip to Margate for Labor Day weekend.  Hunter behaved so well, we spend some quality family time together and it was just fantastic.  Best weekend ever.


We welcomed another member of the IKEA sofa family into our home as we made the guest room/play room a little more useful.


JEGs and I also discovered Smallville, and promptly became obsessed.  We spent many night with a glass of wine and Tom Welling.



Hunter turned two.  years.  old.  *sigh*

                         

For the special occasion, we threw a Cars themed  party for him, complete with outdoor race track and cardboard cars!



Hunter and JEGs share a birthday month, and it has become an unoffical tradition to go pumpkin picking on Justin's birthday.  This year we checked out our local farm market and Hunter picked out his own pumpkin.

                          

Hunter's Clark Kent costume was a huge hit on Halloween


 I started the Couch to 5K program in September, and to keep myself motivated I signed up for a local 5K the first week of November.  My friend Jenny and I ran together and we did much better than I anticipated!  We finished with a time of 38:34!  



The middle of the month I landed in the hospital with kidney stones two days before I was hosting out of town guests and helping to decorate for a baby shower.  I finished up last minute crafts in my hospital bed, and the day of the shower I popped two Percocets to get the job done!




the guest of honor, Cassie, is to my right

Hunter spends some quality time with our house guest, McKayla.

The first week of December, we traveled to Pittsburgh to celebrate the birthday of McKayla, our friends Amy and Tim's daughter.  They hosted a Winter ONEderland party with an enchanting candy buffet


Hunter and JEGs with the birthday girl and her proud papa

After the party was over, we popped over to my cousin Tara's apartment to spend the night.  We had planned to stay until after lunch, but the weather forecast was calling for a little snow, but it quickly turned into a fair amount of accumulation.  As we started out it looked like this


and by the time we were 30 miles from our exit, it looked like this.


Eight hours later, we got home.  We were all sick of being around each other.

The weekend before Christmas we hosted a small holiday party for our neighborhood.  We ate munchies, sipped on champagne punch and played the most hilarious game Quelf.




The week before Christmas we got to see my cousin Tara again as she came to stay with us.  We spend Christmas Eve with my family and Christmas morning my in laws came to our house with gifts and brunch bread.  Hunter was excited to receive a circus tent, helicopter and tugboat from Santa, and JEGs spoiled me with a rose gold watch and tickets to see Phantom of the Opera in April.  BOO YA!

if you need him, he'll be in his fortress
Of course, I can't do a full recap without mentioning that the Monday before Christmas I rear ended someone.


It was raining, and the guy in front of me stopped abruptly to avoid going through a just-turned yellow light.  I slammed on my brakes, but it was raining and there was not much I could do;  I slid into the back of him.  Now my precious Sasha is sitting in our driveway, waiting for the weather to warm up just enough for JEGs to try to fix her.

There is our year in a nutshell.  There have been some highs and lows, and I am ready for this year to come to a close.  Tonight we are just hanging in the house (I have to be at work at 5:30a tomorrow) but I am really looking forward to 2014-- I've got some goals in mind that I am really hoping to achieve.   Basically...
bring on 2014
source
 Wishing you all the happiest and safest of New Years!

Always & Forever,
  ME