Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sunday Best v.225

Great painting by Christopher Wool.

How late is too late to share some links? I've missed Sunday Best for two Sundays in a row (I'm the WORST) because I've been working on house stuff...can't wait to really settle in and blog more about the house plans! Needless to say, some of these links are on the older side, but they're still fun!

Friday, November 28, 2014

House Progress: Painting Wood Paneling

When we toured our house and saw the wood-paneled room, we both agreed there was no way we could live with the room being that dark. Every time we walked through the door, I said, "I cannot WAIT to paint that room white." So, with less that one week of homeownership under our belt, we settled in for what turned out to be a three-day endeavor (and still isn't completely over). I don't think it would take three days of solid work, but we had other stuff to do, so it had to be done in chunks.

I started the project by reading about 1,000 tutorials online, some of which recommended de-glossing the walls. It's definitely a stinky project, so make sure you can turn on fans, open windows and wear a mask.

Once the walls were deglossed, we started the tedious task of cutting in with Zinsser 1-2-3 primer. This includes the extremely necessary (and extremely annoying) step of painting inside every single paneling seam. We had a little help from our friend Ashleigh, which made the job go much faster.

Sean, surveying his kingdom.

After about 5 hours, we were fully primed! We left for the night and returned the next day to cut in, paint the seams and paint two coats with Benjamin Moore's White Dove.

White Dove has a little warmth to it and I can't wait to see it in daylight, with art on the walls and the trim painted. I think we're going to paint everything white except the beams and the mantel, for now. The next step is the installation of hardwood floors (!!!), after which we can paint the baseboards.

I feel so accomplished!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

More Before Pics!

I weirdly keep forgetting to take "before" pics of the rest of the house, but luckily I saved the original MLS listing pictures, so I'm sharing these with you today! That's almost more fun, right? This room is probably everyone's favorite: the finished room over the garage (FROG for those of you hip on the real estate slang). It was used as an office by the previous owner, but Sean will be getting his much-wished-for and long-awaited man space to play video games and generally hide from me.

I'm hoping he'll let me decorate the room like an old ship captain's quarters or an old British library. We'll see how much interference he'll tolerate. He said he wants bean bags; I, of course, want to paint it navy and fill it with tweeds and leather.

While we're enjoying the luxury of four bedrooms and no kids, I'm going to be making this bedroom my painting studio/sewing space/terrific lady room. I'm thinking about taking it to its max and even painting it pink, but that might be too much for me because I'm all about those neutrals.

 The master bedroom is a great size and funny enough, I'm pretty sure the best layout will be the one we have in our current master, so there won't be much change there. Except the paint color. Definitely the paint color.

The master bathroom is the most updated room in the house, with a new shower stall. We may or may not eventually add a nice glass door there, but the biggest priority for this room will be maximizing storage capabilities since it has a pedestal sink. The previous owners removed their shelves, so we're starting from scratch.

So that's our house! Many, many, many projects ahead, but we got very lucky because the important stuff (roof, AC, heat pump) were in great shape. That just leaves the aesthetics, which is what I wanted all along anyway!

Thursday, November 20, 2014


Sean's face says it all. On Monday, we became homeowners. We are now completely responsible for a 1981 ranch that certainly shows its age and while we're certainly thrilled, we're also realistic about the many, many, MANY projects on the horizon.

Like raking the yard! I haven't had a chance to take pictures of some rooms yet, but here's a first peek at what we're working with:

 The front door opens onto a little foyer with linoleum floor that will hopefully soon be red oak hardwood.

 Take a left and you'll venture into the living/dining room. The previous owners did everything they could to make it feel like two distinct spaces, but I say don't bother in a room of this size. So with that in mind, we plan on knocking out the railing, removing the wallpaper (although possibly keeping the chair rail) and making it feel more like a dining room with an area for after-dinner drinks, rather than a dining room shoehorned into a living room. I also can't wait to get a sexier hanging lamp!

 From the living room, you proceed straight into the 1981 kitchen, complete with floral wallpaper.

I'm not the biggest fan of the kitchen, but we're going to live with it for at least six months before we decide what we want to do in terms of upgrading it. I expect a lot of pennies will be pinched.

 The kitchen overlooks a cavernous wood-paneled den that is seriously dark even during daylight. We're planning on putting down wood floors in that room, painting the paneling a crisp white and making that our main hangout spot. I'm excited to have a working fireplace this winter!

 The hall bathroom is in decent shape, but I'm not the biggest fan of the brown-on-brown tile. But needless to say, I have bigger projects to tackle first.

And wrapping up today's tour is a shot of the guest room, currently stuck in a lighthouse theme, but soon to feature my silhouette collection. 

Our next tour will feature my future studio/office, the master bed and bath, and my favorite: the FROG (finished room over the garage for all those who don't speak realtor yet).

Sunday, November 16, 2014


Yesterday I passed into my third decade of living. I'm officially out of twenties, and to really drive it home, I'm closing on a house tomorrow! It's certainly surreal, but as I reflected yesterday I felt truly grateful.

When I was a kid, I envisioned certain things for myself: a beautiful house with the perfect yard for backyard movies or a glamorous job or lots of European travel. I wanted to have reasons to dress up, be able to pull off high heels and lipstick, and finally figure out how to do my hair. I wanted to be able to see shows, go to museums, eat at sidewalk cafes, go to outdoor movies or dancing events. All kinds of things that, frankly, I couldn't do in my tiny hometown. 

Sometimes you might feel a little sorry for yourself when you experience a setback, but on my 30th birthday, I was feeling the opposite. I've been so extraordinarily blessed, and it was surreal to look back and think about all the opportunities I've had. I realized that if 15-year-old me saw 30-year-old me's life, she would be envious. 

For my birthday, I drove to Richmond in the first car I bought with money I saved and met my dad for a swanky lunch at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. I had kimchi tater tots and crispy pork buns — foods I would've probably been too afraid to try 10 years ago. Dad and I looked at contemporary art, getting as close as we could and then walking across the room to have different vantage points, talking about the big ideas each artist was exploring. As I was leaving the museum, I sat down for a second and really took in my surroundings and thought: I've achieved almost everything I had hoped and I'm only 30. I feel so lucky.

Thank you so much for reading this blog of mine and I can't wait to show you my new adventures in domestication: home decoration and renovation!!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Let There Be LIGHT

 It's finally 30th birthday week! And of course, it's probably one of the busiest and most stressful weeks I've had in my life. In addition to a major fundraiser at work and a few nighttime events this week, I'm spending every spare moment packing and preparing to close on our house. I'm almost too busy to even acknowledge my birthday this year, but I decided to plan an outing after all and was so delighted that so many friends could join in.

My friends and I ventured to the Hermitage Museum in Norfolk to view its installation, LIGHT by Bruce Munro. The installation is only on view until January, so be sure to carve out some time to tromp through the gardens! Here are a few of the incredible installations we enjoyed:

 Each globe is made of glass!

 This "shower" was made of fiberoptic cable that blinked a message in Morse cool!

 A gorgeous installation inside the museum reminded me of the main hall in Harry Potter!

 Sean and I in the field of light.

Thank you to the whole gang for celebrating my birthday early! I feel super blessed...and almost ready to hit the big 3-0.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Hallowino 2014

Last week, Wine Club gathered for its sixth (SIXTH!!!) Hallowino, our favorite holiday! Lauren pulled out all the stops to create a perfect Halloween spread, and we busted out our costumes on a weeknight. Ashleigh and I went as Basic Bitches (complete with Starbucks cups), Jen had a perfect Flo the Progressive lady costume, Lauren was a sexy cat and Erica was Wonder Woman.

We munched on a delicious salad of spinach, walnuts, goat cheese and raspberries...

Admired Lauren's rebranded bottle display...

Marveled over her amazing cheese ball "pumpkin"...seriously, girl's got skills...

And I nearly had a sugar attack from pouncing on these delicious chocolate-covered Nilla wafers layered with jam. OMG they were like mini wedding cakes and I had way too many.

For our main course, we had "Witches' Brew," a chicken soup topped with bacon, green onions and sour cream. Delicious!

As per tradition, we each brought a "spooky" wine to sample...all reds, of course.

  • Harvester Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles: A fruity and smooth cab with notes of black cherry. I'm not sure if it was the label or what, but I was definitely getting a floral vibe, too.
  • Vino de los Muertos Rojo Dulce: This is a SWEET red wine, best for sipping after the meal. We were all a little surprised how sweet it was, especially for a wine with a skull on the label. 
  • Girl and the Dragon Malbec: I joked that my wine (purchased at Target, btw) is clearly "Game of Thrones" themed. I loved malbecs, so I was all about this red with strong notes of berries.
  • 6th Sense Syrah: This Michael David Winery syrah had notes of plum and blackberry. Extremely drinkable! 
  • Handsome Devil Malbec: Another Argentinian Malbec from Target! This Malbec had a touch of spice, along with notes of toasty vanilla.
And just for fun, here is another picture from a Halloween party where Ashleigh and I got our full Basic Bitch on! We wore Uggs, fake eyelashes, arm parties, Charming Charlie's necklaces and carried our Starbucks "Pumpkin Spice Latte" cups everywhere. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sunday Best v.224

I have a weakness for pictures of celebrity Halloween costumes. Two all-time favorites: Heidi Klum as the Hindu god Kali and Nicole Richie and a friend as "Twins." So good. I'll be sharing my Halloween updates tomorrow!