life, lately

Friends! Do you feel forgotten? It's been TWO WEEKS since I posted. I thought it'd only been a week - February is flying by. I'm having a couple weeks where I just feel incredibly uninspired. I'm actively working on the kitchen, but it's really boring stuff -- painting trim! Grout! Straightening cabinets! Don't worry, I'll post photos soon, but I like you way too much to share with you trim process photos. It's boring me! I can't imagine how you'd feel. And because I just really need to get the kitchen done already, I'm obsessing and not working on anything else at the moment. To top it all off, work has been Cah-Razy lately, and not just in the normal working hours. I'm working on a special project that has me working a couple evenings a week.

I know! Enough with the whining :). Want to look at beautiful photos with me? Because at the moment that's what I can handle and I thought you might enjoy what I've been loving lately.

I want to go to this dinner party:

Maybe antlers are out? But I love them here, especially paired with the dark wall color:

Those paintings are killing me in the best way possible. So gorgeous:

Friends, thanks for hanging in there with me! I'll for sure be back to my regular posting schedule next week. With, a kitchen update. And, hopefully, kitchen trim finished! :)


{create} chocolate bowls

Have you guys ever made chocolate bowls? I used to make them all the time when I was younger - I'm pretty sure I found the recipe in a Martha Stewart .... back before the internet (gasp!). For some reason I was remembering that the other day, so I whipped up a batch to take to a friends house on Saturday night. They also happen to be a perfect treat if you're looking to make something super easy, and yet completely impressive, for Valentine's day! 
1. You start with a 12 oz bag of chocolate. I used dark and white and then got all wild and crazy at the end and combined them :). Melt the chocolate and let it cool off a little. Put a teaspoon-sized dollop of chocolate on parchment covered baking sheet.
2. Wash your balloons and blow them up to be 4-5 inches in diameter. The key here is to by small balloons -- they'll blow up thin and be easier to pop and pull out at the end. Dip your balloon in the bowl and rotate to get chocolate up the sides.
3. It won't be perfect - but I actually think that's part of the charm.
4. Set your chocolate-covered balloon on your dollop. The dollop give the balloon a place to sit.
5. Continue making your bowls until you're out of chocolate - or balloons :). Put them into the fridge for at least 30 minutes to harden up.
6. Very carefully, pop the balloon. If the pop is too harsh, you risk cracking the bowl.
7. Deflate the balloon and then very carefully peel out of the bowl.

We filled ours with chocolate hazelnut ice cream, whip cream and of course sprinkles - our friends kids LOVED them. But, they could be filled with anything -- I've filled them with pudding, used them to hold other candy at parties - get creative! 

Friends, what - if anything! - are you making for Valentine's day dessert??


{renovate} stove fan and the to-do list

Apparently we're in a very unglamorous stage of our kitchen remodel. Because much like finishing trim, today's update is about the nitty-gritty details. But, this detail is exciting! 

Our kitchen has never had a fan. It's kind of gross when you think about it, and I can't even count the number of times we've practically smoked ourselves out of the house. Before we'd even decided whether to do a full or partial remodel, we knew we needed two things to make our house more attractive to potential buyers (you know, down the line): a dishwasher and a fan. The dishwasher has been in for awhile and as of this week of have a functioning fan! :)

When we picked our stove top, we chose to have a downdraft fan, instead of an overhead fan.

But to make this bad boy work, many holes were cut and quite a bit of piping was laid. The perk of having an unfinished basement, as you'll see in the next photos, is that this was quite a bit easier to accomplish than it would've been if we actually had a ceiling downstairs. So, where exactly does that pipe go?
All the steam from our stove is now routed out the side of our house. How great is that?? I'm pretty sure cutting a hole through the house AND the siding was not one of my lovely husband's favorite activities to date, but we're both so glad it's done.

So where does that leave us? I keep hinting that we're close. And, we are. This weekend we sat down and made a VERY detailed list of everything we have left to complete. I haven't been sharing many lists with you here during the remodel because, quite frankly, lists were overwhelming me so I stopped making them. But now that we're finishing up, we want to make sure we don't miss any of the little details. Here's where we're at: 

- Install two remaining fronts
- Fix alignment
- Install hardware in the hallway
- Cover hole under range
- Install end cap next to fridge

- Caulk
- Fill holes
- Paint
- Windowsill extension
- Attached dishwasher trim

- Grout 
- Seal

- Install counter extension leg
- Paint under counter extension

- Fill three holes in wood floor
- Fix metal trim under oven

My goal this weekend is to make a major dent in that trim category. Chris' goal is to make a major dent in the cabinet category. Go team!

I hope you all have a super fantastic weekend! :)


{inspired} winter color palettes

Today feels like a great day to talk about color palettes, don't you agree? If you've been following along, I have blue on the mind lately. It's a very happy coincidence that there's so much blue in stores right now! It's such a nice cool-toned color for winter and I love that both of color palettes below would transition nicely into spring.

Winter color palette #1.

I love the layered blues in both this outfit and the room. A huge dose of white keep both really fresh and clean and the varied shades of a single color adds a ton of depth.

Winter color palette #2.

I actually own this top and it is so amazing in person. The colors are gorgeous. I love how both the table setting and the room take a different spin on the same color palette and are still both amazing. The table setting is a little more glam; the room is a little more preppy. I totally love them both.

Friends, which color palette is your favorite? What color are you completely digging right now?

**Each season I take a look at an outfit I'm loving and translate that outfit's color palette into a comfortable and stylish room. If you’d like to check out previous color palette posts see: fall color palettes, summer color palettesspring color palettes, winter color palettes, fall color palettes, summer color palettes, and spring color palettes.


{renovate} finishing trim, correctly

Happy Monday friends! Did you have a good weekend? We managed to escape to the beach for a couple nights and it was heavenly. Chris hasn't been down since the start of the kitchen remodel, so it was extra awesome because he was there!

And, we could not have asked for better whether - so beautiful. I actually wanted to include this photo because it's the only pretty one of this post. Today, we're going to discuss trim - and it isn't terribly glamorous.

A couple years ago when Chris and I were seriously looking at buying a new house, we visited a lot of open houses. What struck me as crazy and disappointing was just how many houses I could TELL were diy'd. Friends, you should not be able to tell when a house has been diy updated. The biggest tell-tale? Trim. When trim isn't finished correctly it is not only obvious, but quite frankly, just sloppy. 

Well with three doors in the kitchen and a window, plus all new crown and base trim, I feel like all I've been doing lately is finishing our trim! So, I thought I'd give you a quick lesson on how to correctly do finish trim.
See the newly installed trim at the top? So many nail gun holes! And, sometimes there will be seams. This is especially true when you live in a REALLY old house where NO walls are square and you have to cheat things a little :). Your tools for finishing the trim are paintable caulk, a caulking tool - so worth the couple bucks - and wood filler. 

First, I fill the nail holes. Yeah, I'm not neat about this - I want to make sure they're full of filler! Next, I caulk. I pretty much caulk anywhere you can see a space. You'll see a good example below, but here I simple used my finger to spread caulk into the seam. I don't want anyone to be able to ever tell we had two pieces of wood there. Once that's all dry, I sand the wood filler. The goal is to get as much of the filler off as possible - for this I used 150# grit. You don't want any filler left outside the hole - it causes a bump, but you want the hole filled - or you'll see a gap. Perfectly smooth is what you're aiming for. It's actually pretty easy to tell just by running your finger over the area. And, I often fill, sand and then fill and sand again before it's perfectly smooth. I painted a quick layer of primer to show you the finish when it's done correctly - you can't see where the seam or the holes are, which means it's ready to paint!

Does this process take forever? YES. Is it completely worth it? YES. Friends, please, please fill your holes! 

Here's a quick example of what a difference caulking makes:
Did I mention that none of our walls are straight? Um, yeah. It's obvious in that huge gap in the first photo. I simply ran a bead of caulk over the entire line. Then I took my handy tool and ran the point along the 90 degree angle where the trim meets the walls. See all the excess caulk? You definitely want that gone for a clean line. See? So much less caulk in that last photo - and no space. You can probably tell there's a little caulk on the wall. That's okay. Remember, it's paintable caulk and I'll be touching everything up. Once I'm done, you'll never be able to tell :).

The take away from today? Please remember, if you're tackling your own remodeling projects, it's the details - you know, those dreadful tasks that take FOREVER and you just want to give up on - that actually make the biggest impact. You don't want all your beautiful hard work taking a back seat to not finishing the details.

Friends, do you love working on the details? I know some people who love painting trim and caulking - they think it's relaxing. Is that you? Or do you dread the detail stuff?


{inspired} cheap and easy diy

Happy friday my friends! 

Today I thought I'd share with you some light and fun reading. Who needs a heavy blog post on a friday? Not me! Well, at least today :).

Remember when I made a capiz shell chandelier?

And remember when my nook walls were yellow and the ceiling was white? Seems like a million years ago! :) Well that lovely light was featured on iVillage slide show of "cheap and easy diy home decor ideas." I finally popped over to check out the entire slide show and it's good! You can find it here, and maybe you'll even be inspired to take on your own diy project this weekend!

I hope you all have a lovely weekend :)