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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Break To-Do List

One of the best things about my job is that we get a paid Christmas/Winter Break…and it’s much needed. I had a crappy week at work last week, including an almost mental breakdown on Wednesday. Thankfully everything is better now, but I’m still beyond excited that our site is officially closed down from December 22nd – January 1st. I’m going to spend a couple days with my parents, a couple days in Las Vegas with my boyfriend, and then the rest of the time I’ll be working around the house.
Just like last year, I’m putting together a Christmas Break to-do list. I’ve come up with 6 projects (large and small) that I really want to finish during my time off. Of course we all know I’m not that productive, so let’s plan for 3 out of 6. Oh, and sorry for the crappy pictures...I didn't feel like taking new ones, so I just used what I could find.
Paint the China Hutch

Install Living Room and Master Bathroom Baseboards

Finish the Craft Room

Upholster Chairs
No picture =(

Raise the Guest Bathroom Mirror (it’s hung too low for my tall boyfriend)

Artwork for Above the Console Table

Wish me luck…

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Mantel

My Christmas decorations are out and the entire house is bursting with holiday cheer (I even got my boyfriend to hang lights outside).Today I’m sharing my mantel, which turned out to be my favorite decorated area. It’s simple, somewhat traditional, but still fun (glitter and white spray paint).

I love having a mantel to hang our stockings on. Last year I just used the cheap 98 cent stockings from Wal-Mart, but this year I upgraded…to the $1.99 ones…big spender! I also needed to buy an A for Abby to match the JSR glitter letters that I had from last Christmas. I lucked out and Wal-Mart had the same glitter letters as last year (less than $1 each). Yes, Ringo and Abby have their own stockings…and Ringo has already pulled his down once. 

The garland is from Hobby Lobby (50% off, so around $20) and it's absolutely gorgeous - it looks real. The poinsettia/berry/pine swag hanging on the mirror was on clearance at Michael's (around $5). The angel candleholders are from my Christmas décor stash (and were on my mantel last Christmas), but this year I spray painted them white. I think they look so much better in white than the cranberry/gold they used to be.

I love how it turned out! Honestly, the mantel looks a lot better than it usually does, so I might just keep these decorations up the whole year…just kidding!


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Red Front Door

As you can tell from the post title, I picked red. Actually, my boyfriend picked red. I went to Home Depot after work on Friday and grabbed paint cards in all the colors I was considering. I narrowed down all of the choices to one paint card per color. Then I couldn’t decide because I liked them all, so I let my boyfriend pick. The poor guy gets very little say in how the house is decorated, so I figured it was his turn…especially since he uses the front door more than I do (I park in the garage, so I come in through the laundry room).
Here’s what we started with – straight from the factory white:

As always, prep work is key. I taped off the window (which took for-ev-er) and removed the deadbolt and door knob. Yes, my drop cloth is an old bed sheet…

I’m not going to lie…I was freaking out a little bit after the first coat. I was super bright and almost hot pink-ish. But I just kept telling myself it would dry darker and look better after a couple more coats. Oh, and I should note that the paint is Geranium by Behr.

Three coats later, the door was bright red perfection (although, this picture looks almost exactly the same as the first picture)!

But you can’t paint your door all spiffy and then put your nasty old brass knobs back on, so I went out and bought all new deadbolts/door knobs. If you’re wondering why I didn’t just spray paint them, it’s because they weren’t worth saving. The deadbolt on the security door was one of those double key ones and we thought it was a pain (although I’m sure some people like them) and the door knob was finicky. Sometimes you could turn the lock just fine and then sometimes it would stick and you’d have to wiggle it a few times to get it to turn. The door knob on the front door was missing the lock piece, so it was pretty much just there for show. Sketchy…I know! (Don’t worry - we still had plenty of working locks and were safe…they were just inconvenient.)
Anyway, here’s the big finale – red paint and new deadbolt/door knob:

And just for fun, a before and after comparison:

The security door definitely helps tone down the color and hides the change from the HOA. From the street you can see the red, but it doesn’t stand out so I’m thinking I’m good. We’ll find out!

Oh, and not counting the new locks, this project was less than $20. So, if you’re thinking about painting your door, DO IT! It’s cheap and easy. You just have to start in the morning and plan on being home all day (since your door will be wide open for the paint to dry).

Friday, November 30, 2012

Front Door Plans

I’ve been talking about painting my front door for over a year now, but I just never got around to it. Since my other porch updates, I’ve been thinking about it more and more. And so yesterday I officially decided to paint my front door this weekend (weather permitting)! Now I just need to decide on a color!

I should note that the security door is staying. We like being able to open the front door for fresh air, but I’m mostly keeping it so *hopefully* the HOA won’t notice my new door color. I’m supposed to submit any front yard/house changes for approval beforehand, but I’m going to live life on the wild side and just paint. So there’s a possibility of an “I Painted My Front Door White Again Because the HOA Busted Me” post in the future.
Anyway, right now I’m torn between aqua, yellow, red, and navy. I love this aqua front door from Kammy’s Korner. It’s light and fun…and one of my favorite colors!

I’m also loving all of the yellow front doors that I’ve seen lately. Like Young House Love’s front door and this one from Quite Contrary. They look so cheerful!

Of course a red front door is always a good choice. Did you know that in most cultures red means welcome? I love the red front door (and lion knocker) from The Comforts of Home.

And last, but not least: navy! I think navy would look great with our current house colors (brown/off-white/brick) and it’s not as over-done as red or yellow.  I love the before and after navy door makeover from A Swell Place to Dwell

OK, opinions? What color are you voting for? I’m really undecided, so choosing a color will probably end up being more work than the actual painting!

Monday, November 26, 2012

New Toy!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I spent Thanksgiving at my parents’ house, but came back to Phoenix on Saturday for a wedding (Congrats Thanh & Christina!). I had a great time visiting family for a couple days and then celebrating on Saturday with my friends – it was definitely a good weekend!
And what weekend would be complete without a little shopping? The madness of Black Friday to be exact…well, actually it was more like Black Thursday this year. Anyway, I bought toys, movies, and something special for me…and that’s what this post is all about.
My new toy:

I’ve been saving up for a new camera for months and I knew that Black Friday would be the best time to buy. I searched all of the deals and ended up deciding on this Canon Rebel T3 package from Target. So I braved the cold and waited in line for Target to open on Thursday night. But they were sold out before I could get one…within the first 10 minutes of the sale. So, I rushed back to my parents’ house and ordered it online.
In all honesty, I only waited in line for about 15 minutes and only because I made it through Wal-Mart so quickly that I had time to spare. It was cold though!
If you’re wondering why I didn’t just order it online to begin with it’s because I wanted to play with it right away - I didn’t want to wait for it to ship. BUT I just checked the tracking info and my camera is supposed to be here tomorrow! It’s shipping from Tempe, AZ, so it’ll only take a day for delivery! Yay!
I’m sure it’ll take me awhile to figure out, but expect to see better pictures on here soon!
Anyone else hit the Black Friday sales? Did you buy presents for others or splurge on yourself like I did?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sunburst Mirror Makeover

I finally joined the sunburst mirror party...and I’m only about 2 years late. Better late than never?
After I finished the headboard in the master bedroom I knew I needed to find something to hang on the wall above it. I had sunburst on the brain, but those suckers are expensive. I was planning to DIY one, but then I saw this pin from Kate aka Centsational Girl:

A sunburst mirror for $30 and it’s available at my local Home Depot? SOLD!
Just for reference, Ballard Designs sells a similar mirror for $99 and it’s actually 9 inches smaller…

Anyway, the gold finish ain’t my thang, but before I changed anything I wanted to make sure that I really liked the mirror and that it fit the space. If it didn’t work out, it would be pretty impossible to return a spray painted mirror.

I loved it, so it was spray paint time! A couple coats of Rustoleum Metallic Paint/Primer in Satin Nickel later and I had a whole new mirror. I let it cure in the garage for a couple days so we wouldn’t have spray paint fumes in the bedroom. I hated having to wait, but now it’s hung and I love it!

I still need throw pillows and want new lamps, but the mirror makes the room look a lot more finished.

Let’s end this with a close up – the top and bottom sections reflect the new color the best. *swoon*

OK, who else has a sunburst mirror and how long have you had it for? I remember seeing them all over the blogs a couple years ago, so as usual, I’m way behind on a trend. Although, I think the sunburst can be classic and not just trendy.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Guest Post!

Hey strangers! Long time no talk! Sorry I’ve been MIA the past couple of weeks, but I’ve been crazy busy at work. Yep, when I’m not blogging I have this side gig called a full-time job (aka what pays the mortgage) and it’s been hectic the past few weeks. For those of you who don’t know, I’m a financial analyst…exciting stuff (NOT). I’ve been busy working on our 4th quarter financials and presenting it up the management chain. My last review is today, so things should be back to normal starting this week. *sighofrelief*
Anyway, I just wanted to let y’all know that I’m guest posting today at Christina’s Adventures!

I’m sharing a few of my favorite projects while Christina is away on a Caribbean cruise! You can read my guest post here.
So head on over there and say hello! And for those of you stopping by from Christina’s Adventures, WELCOME! I'll be back tomorrow with some mirror action!

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Last week I showed y’all my newly painted entry table and shared my plan to make my front entry a little more inviting. That’s great (and much needed) once people are inside the house, but what about the outside? What kind of impression is the front porch giving?

Yikes! That’s definitely NOT an inviting area! Lots of leaves, weeds, and even the welcome mat is askew (it’s been like that for weeks…I didn’t do it to make the before picture look worse). Needless to say, my front porch needed a little TLC.
I started by sweeping off the concrete, pulling weeds and picking up leaves…oh and straightening that mat! I added planters that I found at Garden Ridge ($9.99/each) and filled them with snap dragons. I want to add more to both of the planters, but this will do for now. The whole thing was kind of a last minute plan, so I ended up running into Lowe’s and grabbing the first flowers that were pretty and cheap ($3/each).

I also bought a new wreath for the front door. It’s from Michael’s and was priced $34.99. Of course I used a coupon (40% off), so I only paid $20.00. I thought that was a great deal plus the eucalyptus smells amazing.

Also in the front yard, my bougainvillea was due for a haircut. It’s the only plant in the front yard (besides a palm tree) and it’s a beast! I’ve never watered it, but it continues to grow like crazy. I have to trim it up almost every month!  

I usually butcher the poor thing, but this time it turned out pretty even. It’ll be looking crazy again in a few weeks. 

So the front makeover isn’t quite finished - I still want to add more flowers to the planters and I’d love to find a bench for the front entry, but I think we can all agree that it’s a lot more welcoming. It doesn’t look like a foreclosed and abandoned house anymore. And now that the weather is cooling down, you’ll probably see a lot more outdoor projects on here. Thank God the 100+ degree weather is over!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Pinterest Recipe Week 3 Review

Last Monday I announced that it was Pinterest Recipe Week – meaning that I was only going to cook dinner from recipes I’ve recently pinned. Everything turned out pretty good, but only a few of the recipes earned a spot in my recipe binder. Before I crap on any recipes I want to say that these are just our opinions. You might like something we didn’t like or vice versa. That’s what makes food fun; everyone is different.


I love pizza and I love garlic, so this was the perfect dish for me! I used meat from a rotisserie chicken and made the pizza dough with one of those pre-made mixes, so this was a really easy and quick dish to make. I really liked the idea of using Philadelphia Cooking Crème as the sauce.  The only sketchy part was that I forgot to add the cheese until the last 3 minutes of cooking time! Oops – I guess I was too eager to get back to my Sons of Anarchy marathon! Anyway, this was definitely a keeper!
Cooking Note: I followed the temperature and cooking time directions on my package of dough mix, not the recipe.


The steak skewers had a lot of flavor and were good, but I probably wouldn’t make them again. No particular reason…there just wasn’t anything special about them.
The broccoli was delicious! I really like how the oven cooks the broccoli – it’s crispy and not mushy. Plus the roasted garlic gives it such a good flavor.

Shrimp with Spicy Garlic Sauce and Rice

So, I didn’t follow this recipe very well…I ended up buying a bag of green beans that you cook in the microwave. They turn out perfect every time and I didn’t want to mess with steaming them. Also, I’m allergic (supposedly) to sesame seeds so I left out the sesame oil and sesame seeds. I used a Thai chili sauce that is amazing, but not very spicy so my Spicy Garlic Sauce wasn’t spicy at all. That being said, this was good, but I think I’ll stick was garlic butter or just the Thai chili sauce next time I need a quick shrimp dish.  

California Club Quesadilla

Good, but nothing special…I think it would be better if you used the avocado to make guacamole instead of stuffing it in the quesadilla – it would at least give it more flavor. I think I’ll stick to my usual quesadilla recipe – cheese, chicken, grilled onions, and bacon served with guacamole and sour cream.

I didn’t get a chance to make the Southwest Crispy Chicken Sliders and Baked French Fries this week. Last night we ended up having dinner with my boyfriend’s family to celebrate his grandma’s birthday. I still have all of the ingredients, so I’m going to make it this week. I’ll update this post later to include my review.


I have a confession to make: this was my first time trying Nutella…I know! I’m the last blogger on earth to eat Nutella. Anyway, I made these cookies to take to work and they were a hit! They had more of a brownie texture than cookie texture, but I wouldn’t say that’s a bad thing. I’ll definitely make these again!
Cooking Note: After reading some of the comments I decided to add 1 tbsp milk to my mixture and only use half of the sugar in the recipe. BUT I did sprinkle the top of the cookies with sugar before I baked them.

So, the recipes that earned a spot in my infamous binder are:
Roasted Garlic Chicken Pizza
Roasted Broccoli with Smashed Garlic
Nutella Cookies

Has anyone else tried a recipe they've pinned? Leave any recommendations in the comments section - I'm always looking for new dishes!


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Insta-16: Take Two

It’s time for another round of Instagram pictures! You can see the first round here
If you have an account, you can follow me at: SAMTJH22.  If not, this recap is for you! I’ve rounded up my last 16 Instagram pictures for you here today. Yes, it’s been 2 months since my last recap post. And yes, that means it took me 2 months to take 16 pictures on Instagram.
As I mentioned in the last post, my plan is to share a pretty collage of all the pictures and then pick my top 5 in different categories: Abby, Ringo, Cutest Couple (Ringo and Abby), Yummy (Food or Drink), and Wildcard (Non-Food and Non-Puppy).
OK, enough talk! Here’s the second round of Instagram pictures:

As usual, lots of puppy pictures. It was hard to pick favorites, but here they are:


Abby loves to cuddle and believes that she’s a little lap dog. As soon as I sit on the couch, she jumps into my lap. When I’m watching TV in bed, she crawls across my lap/chest or snuggles up next to me. This picture was taken one Saturday morning while I tried to watch TV in bed and she slept across my chest.  


“Destroying everything in the backyard is exhausting!”

Cutest Couple

Look at those faces! It’s hard to get a good picture of them together, looking at the camera without bribing them with treats – this must have been my lucky night!


Fondue! My boyfriend and I had a fondue date night at The Melting Pot courtesy of a Living Social deal. It was an expensive meal (even with the deal), but it was SOOOO good and so much fun.


Did you know I was at Disneyland exactly 2 weeks ago? Yep, we were in California for a wedding and decided to spend a day at Disneyland. I’ve never been there in October, so it was my first time seeing everything decorated for Halloween. This is the entrance to the Haunted Mansion in all its Halloween glory. And this was the last picture I took before my cell phone battery died…

OK, who else is on Instagram? Leave your username in the comments, so I can follow you.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pinterest Recipe Week 3

It’s ba-aaaack – Pinterest Recipe Week! You can see Pinterest Recipe Week 1 here and Week 2 here…I can’t believe it’s been 7 months since my last full week of food experiments!
As I’ve mentioned before, every Sunday I plan out dinners for the upcoming week and then do all my grocery shopping after work on Monday - it saves a lot of time and trips to the store. I plan out 5 dinners (we usually eat out Friday and Saturday) each week and I also add 1 dessert during Pinterest Recipe Week. Today I’m sharing my meal plan for the week and next Monday I’ll share my reviews.  Let’s hope we find some keepers in this list!



You can see these pins and other food related pins here

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Painted Console Table

Alternate Title: Pitiful Wall: Take Two

Say hello to the pop of color my living room has desperately been needing!

Yes, I painted my new console table and I'm finally making some progress on my pitiful wall. Last you saw, the large statement wall in my living room looked like this:

Nothing impressive, but better than the IKEA nightstand that's been there for the last year few months. 

OK, back to my newly painted console table - I ordered the table from Wayfair, but didn't love the black and cherry finish. Mostly because I already have a black dining room table and it's a beast to keep dusted and clean. I started by painting a coat of primer on the table. Then I painted two coats of Lagoon by Martha Stewart - I fell in love with the color after seeing a coat rack painted that color in HGTV magazine.  Finally, I rubbed the table down with some Minwax Wipe-On Poly and replaced the knob with a glass one from Hobby Lobby.

I love it, but I still need to hang artwork and style the table. You'll see that in Pitiful Wall: Take Three, but for now, here's my plan of attack:

So, I definitely have a lot more work to do, but I'm lovin' the progress. The blue table is a lot more welcoming than the nightstand that used to be there.