{renovate: the kitchen} a floor vote

Happy friday friends! I thought it would be fun, since it's friday and all, if we put my kitchen floors up for a vote! 

As we talked about on Wednesday, we were trying hard to completely refinish our original hardwood floors. Above is where we left off. But, some of you might remember that I've actually been thinking about painting the hardwoods for awhile. In fact, I did a post about painting hardwoods a couple months ago. I LOVE the look of painted floors and so we decided to come to a compromise of the original vs. painted hardwood situation.

Here's how it breaks down:

Goal: To create one unified space between the kitchen and living room by keeping consistency in the hardwood floor finish.

Problem: Nasty horrible awful glue on the kitchen hardwood floors.

Solution: Create a template for paint + original hardwoods = best of both worlds. The hope if that having some hardwood showing will still create unity with the living room while giving the kitchen it's own {subtle} unique personality.

Here's where and why we vote. Friends, I have NO IDEA what color to paint floors! And it feels scary to even try and decide. Remember when you all voted on the color of my back doors? You were so incredibly helpful and we ended up with beautiful navy blue high gloss doors. I thought you might like to help again?!

As a reminder, here's the mood board for the room.
And here are the options, so far. The color on the wall, a greige, is the actual wall color.

OPTION 1: Grey

OPTION 2: Navy blue

OPTION 3: Turquoise

OPTION 4: Black
OPTION 5: Black racing stripe (aka, my husband made me to do it ;)

What do you guys think? Is black too harsh? Remember, there will be a lot of white cabinets breaking up the space. Is grey too subtle against the greige walls? Is a racing stripe over the top?! Haha! Is there another color completely you think would work well? You all have amazing taste and I would LOVE to know what you all think.

And, I hope you have a GREAT weekend!


{renovate: kitchen remodel} refinishing the wood floors

To date, the biggest headache of this kitchen remodel has been the refinishing the wood floors. When Chris moved into the house six years ago, he tore up half the carpet in the upstairs and refinished the original hardwoods. And last year we tore up the remaining carpet and refinished the hardwoods. So, all throughout our upstairs we have beautifully refinished original hardwoods. When it came to remodeling the kitchen, in an ideal world, we'd pull up the nasty 80's linoleum in the kitchen and .... refinish the hardwoods! Easy peasy!

And then we pulled up a sample spot. Wop, wop. There were two layers of linoleum glued to the hardwoods with the blackest gunkiest glue ever made. What was left with when we pulled everything up was black hardwoods with lots of remaining green paper (?) securely glued in place (see below). Our little jitterbug sander, which served us so well last year, wasn't even making a dent.

Nice. So these past couple weeks we've been brainstorming ways to deal with this, um, situation. We tore down the wall between the kitchen and the living room to open up the space (see above) and I am worried that treating the floors differently in each room will only create a boundary between the two spaces. Less noticeable than a wall, but still there none the less.

This weekend, when I was flying home from Haven, Chris rented a super duper huge floor sander. The goal was to break through the paper and the glue to salvage the hardwoods.

And hey look! I got off the plane and was put directly to work. Although it was kinda fun to use the huge sander :).

This is what we were left with. It smoothed everything out really well, but still left us with a splotchy floor. Gross. 

We were discussing this with our neighbor and he recommended a belt sander. He had the same problem in his house and it worked great. Have you guys used a belt sander?! I scoffed at first, because it's no bigger than my jitterbug. How could that little guy possible achieve what the super huge sander couldn't?

Well my friends, size apparently isn't everything ;). Look at how awesome this turned out! Oh, by the way, three days after the fact my arms are finally starting to not hurt. Belt sanders are powerful little tools. Four (4!) hours of sanding later, we had this:

So what exactly is the plan? Because our floor actually looks crazier now than before! I'm going to make you wait until friday, for two reasons. First, this post is getting really long. And second, I need your opinions!

I hope you all are having an awesome week! Anyone else have a frustrating renovation they're going through right now? Please share, I'd love to commiserate :).


{inspired} 17 Things I Learned at Haven

If you follow me on twitter or instagram (@jennmccormick), you may have noticed that I spent most of last week in Atlanta at the Haven Conference. Friends, it was such an amazing conference and I feel incredibly lucky that I was able to go. For those of you who haven't heard of it, Haven is a conference for home bloggers. This was the first year, but the response was so fantastic and I'd be very surprised if it wasn't back next year in an even bigger and better capacity. 

The Haven "living room"

I'm still digesting all the information. Honestly, I'll probably still be digesting in a month. There was so much good stuff and so many a-ha moments. The bloggers who led sessions were amazingly open and honest about what has worked for them and what hasn't. In an attempt to organize my thoughts I've made a list of things I learned at Haven. Hopefully you can glean some a-ha moments from the list as well.

1. Atlanta is HOT. Yeah, I haven't spent a lot of time in the south ;).

2. John and Sherry (above) from Young House Love are incredibly funny.
3. I don't need to have a super huge blog to think about advertising and work with brands. This was a lightbulb moment. I have a tendency to get really caught up in the numbers.
4. Tripod. Need to get one asap.
5. The four s's of styling, according to Layla: skooch it, scorch it, swap it and stamp it.
6. SEO is a complicated and crazy thing: use keywords, especially in headlines, section headers and in the first 150 words of text.
7. A blog header's size should be no bigger than 1000 pixels by 250 pixels.
8. Firebug is a Firefox extension that let's you view code on other people's websites. Brilliant.

Josh and Kevin from Shoot Fly Shoot teaching us about taking killer photos. See the slide?? ;)

9. When your shutter speed is above 60, the camera can be handheld. Under 60, and it should be on a tripod.
10. Steps for taking manual photos: set ISO and forget about it. Set aperature and forget about it. Adjust shutter speed to make image brighter or darkers.

11. Ashley (above) from Design Build Love was my roommate and is awesome! Seriously friends, go check out her blog :).
12. When layering a few different patterned fabrics in a room, repeat the fabrics: ottoman + a pillow or drapes + a pillow, etc. This helps it look cohesive.
13. Find 5-7 words that describe how you want a room to feel, to look and the purpose it serves. Be specific and honest.
14. Everyone has a "don't buy" word. Find yours and stick to it. For example, cute, pretty, good deal, etc. I had never thought about this, but it's SO TRUE!

15. Sarah, Beth, Chris, Rhoda, Kate, Marian, (pictured in order) Traci and Kristi are wonderful party planners and hosts.
16. There is an amazingly large amount of creativity and talent in the blog-o-sphere.
17. The Haven sponsors were incredibly generous, and I came home with everything from Annie Sloan chalk paint to a feather duster :). 

You'll hear more about Haven over the next few months as I implement the million + one ideas I have from attending. But in the meantime, if you have any questions about any of the 17 points, or would like me to expand on one, just let me know.


{renovate: kitchen remodel} drywalling

In the ongoing saga of the kitchen remodel, we moved a HUGE step forward this week. We have walls again! 

Even though we're really excited to be doing the majority of the kitchen remodel ourselves, we did hire a contractor to do the drywall. I firmly believe that even if you CAN do it, doesn't mean you should be doing. We weighed the cost vs. the amount of time it would take Chris and for us, it was worth it to pay the money. The contractors we hired sheet-rocked, taped and {lightly} textured both rooms in ONE DAY. Holy smokes! It was so fast! Chris and friends were worried it would take them a few weekends. Neither of us felt like holding the project up to save a little money.

Plus, the contractors did an AMAZING job! Seriously, I was so impressed. And even better, they were great to work with, responsive and clean. If anyone in Portland is looking for a recommendation, let me know and I'll send you their contact info.

See that hole in the wall? That's where our new oven is going! That spot was formerly an ex-ironing board that was collecting dust. Cute, but VERY nonfunctional.

In all the photos you can also see all our new can lights (!). With the white walls and the new lights, the kitchen is so much brighter all ready. I'm in love.

Next up, we'll be tackling the floors. I'm a little concerned, honestly, because that green paper all over the floor is super glued with the strongest super glue I've ever encountered. Hopefully we'll figure it out this weekend. I'll let you know what we come up with, but painting is quickly becoming my favorite option.

If you're just joining us and would like to catch up with our kitchen remodel, you can read all about it here: kitchen mood board here and here, kitchen issues, kitchen demo, opening up a wall and kitchen lighting plan.


{create} blackberry lemon cheesecake

It's kinda crazy, but I'm getting tons of new visitors for my {so incredibly tasty} almond-butter brownies? Remember those? So, welcome! :) If you'd like to check out more recipes, there's a whole recipe tab here. 

But, the timing is interesting because I actually have a new recipe to share with you today. This is most definitely not a baking blog, but when I do love to share recipe with you when I make a particularly awesome one.

Today, I'm sharing a recipe for a blackberry lemon cheesecake.


The thing is though, is that we don't have an oven right now. And, as I've talked about before, we have some crazy health issues in our house and dairy is a no-go. But, a dear friend of ours, who happened to be helping with our kitchen a couple weeks ago, was having a birthday! And, I wanted to do something special for her. So, raw cheesecake it is. Please don't click away :). Friends, keep reading. Not only was it SO EASY to put together, but it was SO AMAZINGLY good.

You start with a light sprinkling of coconut. It helps the cheesecake not to stick. Do you like my mini spring form pans? For some reason I couldn't find my big one, but I think mini-cheesecakes are adorable, so it's all good.

Pack the crust into the bottom of the pan(s).

Mmmmm. Lemon cheesecake filling.

And, the best part. Lemon blackberry topping. This stuff is amazing. And, also makes a really great drink mixer. Just sayin'. Make extra.

Here's the full recipe:
Blackberry-Lemon Raw Cheesecake.
Adapted from Roost.

- 2 cups raw almonds, soaked overnight
- 1/2 cup pitted dates
- 1/4 cup non-sweetened coconut flakes
- 3 cups raw cashews soaked for three hours
- 3/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 3/4 cup raw honey (regular honey works well too -- it just won't be raw then, if you're concerned about that)
- 3/4 cup coconut oil
- 1 tsp vanilla 
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 bag frozen blackberries
- 2 tbsp honey
-1/4 cup juice or water
- 2 tbsp lemon zest

For the crust:
Place almonds and dates in a food processor and mix until chopped and well incorporated. Cover the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan with coconut flakes and pour almond mixture on top. Spread out and mold into cake pan.

For the filling:
Blend the cashews, lemon juice, honey, coconut oil, vanilla and sea salt in a blender. Blend until smooth and adjust sweetness to taste. Pour the filling on top of the crust.

For the topping:
Place berries, honey and juice or water in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour over the filling.

Place the pan in the freezer for at least three hours or overnight. Before serving, let thaw a little. It's really good semi-frozen, which makes it an excellent summer treat!

By the way, these were the conditions that I was working in. HA! Good thing it was no-bake ;). But, see how nicely the light is streaming through our kitchen windows?

Hope you're all having a great week so far! 


{renovate} a behind the scenes look

Friends, I have a little behind-the-scenes and funny little video for you on this friday morning. 

Remember when we demoed our kitchen a few weeks ago? And by we, I mean Chris and his friend Jonathan? Well, it turns out they made a little video. I like to think of it as their audition for HGTV.

*If you're viewing this via reader, you need to click few to watch the video.
** Some people are having trouble viewing the video -- I apologize! It's really awesome and I'm not a savvy enough blogger to know WHY some people are seeing it and some aren't. For example, I can see it on every machine and program I've tried. Which makes it really hard to fix. But I'm sorry. Please come back and visit tomorrow for non-video stories :)

It's short and there might be a curse word or two. If you're at work, you've been warned :).

I think it's entertaining because it's my kitchen and my friend, but I hope you find it entertaining as well! Would YOU watch this show on TV?? :)

Happy friday! I hope you all have a FANTASTIC weekend!


{inspired} portland bloggers

As promised, I want to introduce you to the lovely ladies that attended the Portland Bloggers Summer Social last week.

1. Makaila from Distinctly M, Sarah from Mysterious Object, Amanda from Re-Do and Dorothy Jeane, and Lyn from Two Lovely Spaces
2. Andrea from Seek the Unique, Lydia, and Tate
3. Mandy from Ciao Darling and Mindy from Rindy Mae
4. Kristen from Inspired Whims, Tate from Tate Creates and Lydia from Lydia Lauer
5. Tate and Sarah
6. Katie, from Newcomb Home and Lydia
7. Kristen and Kirsten, from Restored Style
8. Lia from ellinee and Skye from Rose City Bungalow 1913

Sadly, not pictured, is Danielle from Storypiece. Hi Danielle! I know you were there! Clearly the photographer was off her game, ahem ... go check out Danielle's site! :)

Friends, you should definitely take a few minutes to check out each of these sites! This is a group of incredibly talented women.

After my original post, I had a few questions about how, exactly, you pull together a blogger meetup. I think Kirsten and I took planning for granted, in a way, because we both plan events for our jobs. But, I put together some tips and suggestions if your area doesn't have a blogger meetup and you'd like to pull one together. 

1. Partner with a friend or fellow blogger. I once read on another blogger's site that if you plan a meetup with another blogger and no one else shows, at least you have each other :). You also have a bigger reach then.

2. Pick a location. Kirsten and I were really lucky that we had access to a location that was happy to host us for no cost and has relationship with a {awesome} caterer. This is event planning gold, friends. 

3. Decide what type of event it will be: coffee? dinner? guest lecturer? We opted for dinner because of the caterer relationship.

4. Let people know! Kirsten and I combined our knowledge of Portland bloggers and about three weeks before the event sent out an invite via email. Then a couple days later we both posted the invite on the blog to capture Portland area readers/bloggers that we didn't know.

5. Decor. The fun part! Decide on a color scheme and how you want to decorate. 

6. Communicate. If you're have people rsvp, which I recommend, send them a reminder email the day before. And, make sure to keep in good communication with your event location so they know how many people to expect, what sort of rearranging you'll be doing on the day-of, etc.
I hope this helps! But, if you have questions about planning an event, let me know in the comments and I'll make sure they get answered.


{renovate: kitchen remodel} shedding light on the situation

Happy Monday friends! Are you all ready for a great week? It is sunny and beautiful here -- it actually feels like summer, which is a nice change of pace! :)

Our kitchen remodel is moving right along. We've had an electrician in the house for the last THREE days. It seems like a long time, but I know it's going to be worth it. So, today I thought we'd talk about lighting plans. We don't have cable at our house, but whenever we're at a house with cable, I LOVE to watch Candice Olson. Isn't she amazing? Have you ever noticed how much she talks about lighting plans and how important they are to a room? Well, when we sat down to plan out our kitchen, we decided it needed a lighting and electrical makeover.

Before, we had two lights. That's right, TWO. See, the yellow above. A ceiling light, which was pretty good size. And, a fluorescent light, below our upper cabinets/above our stove. I had a good chuckle after the post outlining everything that's wrong with our kitchen. Someone commented on how the fluorescent light should've been included. Which is so true -- it's hideous! I didn't even think about it, though, because it was such an essential part of the kitchen. When you only have two lights you just love them both! :)

The little orange boxes above are electrical outlets. That's right, only two of those also. And, one no where NEAR a "work" station, aka counter top. Let's just say that one little outlet on the far left has done it's duty and then some. Oh, and we're no where near up to code. There are actually two more outlets in the room -- one behind the fridge and one behind the stove, but I don't count those because I can't use them for other things.

Here's what our electrician has been busy working on. First, adding WAY more lighting! YAH! We opted to install four can lights to add tons more light to the space. A couple pendants over the (new!) island will add interest and task light and then a pendant over the sink will help us make sure the dishes actually get clean! ;) All the lights switches will be on dimmers, which will be sooooo nice.

We're also adding way more electrical outlets -- you know, so the house is up to code, which is something like every 12 (?) inches? I don't know, all I really care about is that my mixer and I won't be trapped in a dark corner anymore when I want to bake something! 

Want to see what lights we picked out? We spent a good chunk of Saturday out looking at lights. First, can anyone give me tips on how to pick out a can light? I have NO idea! And, my eyes started hurting from looking into so many lights! We did decide on pendants though and we stayed really close to my original mood board choices. And it only took one trip to Schoolhouse Electric .... shocking, I know ;). I know all their merchandise is online, but it's such a fun store to go in. All their fixtures are made to order and are mix and match with the shade. They make customizing incredibly easy, which made shopping super fun!

Above the island will be two of these pendants: the Union fixture, in polished chrome and this beautiful curvy Glass shade.

Above the sink will be this guy: a Satellite fixture, in polished chrome, with a Metal cage. LOVE.

I will probably say this about everything, but adding more lighting will probably make the biggest difference in the room. It was so dim before! It was even exciting to come home on friday night and have the can lights working -- it's making a huge difference already! So, have you guys ever designed a lighting plan? And, really, any advice on picking out can lights?! 

ps. My camera card read was making weird error messages this weekend! So, I'll be back Wednesday with the line-up of bloggers that attended last week's blogger summer social, and some tips on how to maybe plan one in your city! :)


{create} a blogger summer social

Kirsten and I hosted a Portland blogger summer social on Wednesday and I thought I'd share some photos!

Friends, I wish you all could've been there because the night was so much fun. Sixteen lovely local bloggers gathered at Seek the Unique, a fantastic store that features antiques, diy, reusing and refurbishing old furniture. The owner Andrea was not only gracious enough to let us host our event there, but she let us use anything we needed for the night! It was incredibly fun to "shop" the store for props :).

While Kirsten gathered up beautiful flowers, created menus and place cards (see below), I worked on sewing napkins and table runners.

We ate at a 16-foot farm table that was oozing with charm, and made all of our decor look that much more amazing. I want it for my house. Even though there's no way it would fit in my house - even if we had no walls! :)

The food was a work of art - seriously - created by Jamie of The Lamb's Table. Beautiful and so insanely delicious. I wish I'd taken more photos of the actual dinner -- I was way too busy eating and chatting though!

It's easy to tell by looking at the end-of-the-night table that a good time was had by all! 

Next week I'll be back with a quick profile of all the attendees. There was some serious talent in that room and I'd like to introduce you to them!

Until then, I hope you all have a great weekend! :)