Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Home Reno: The Porch

For a year now, I have been saying that I would be posting updates on our house and all the work we have done since we moved into our fixer-upper last June, but that was a total fail. I kept saying to myself that I would post about this room or that room when another job was complete, but in reality I know there will always be something to do and if I wait until everything is perfect I will never post because let's be real that will never happen. 
I'm going to try (really hard) to post about a room each week. 

I figured let's start from the outside in with the house and front porch. 

When we moved in the front porch was a complete eyesore. I'm talking chipped paint covering the stairs and a dirty maroon rug was glued over the gorgeous hardwood on the porch.  I absolutely hated it, because it was the first thing you saw when you came over. I actually vacuumed the front porch just to get the dirt and leaves off of it. 

I also hated the red painted foundation which completely clashed with the brick in my opinion.  

In addition the landscaping or lack thereof was out of control and the porch swing wood looked gray and worn.  The first things we did were re-stain the porch swing and spray paint a bistro set that came with the house a bronze color.

Next DFH took on the porch floor. When we ripped out the porch rug we discovered a  perfectly maintained wood floor, however it was covered in glue. See the side of the porch that looks blue in the picture below?? Yeah that's all glue.  DFH hand sanded the entire front porch until it looked like the right side of the picture below.   It was a huge job.  I am so thankful for a handy husband.

Once the glue had been sanded off DFH and I stained and polyurethanes the deck  (see below).  What a difference that made!!

Our next project was to tackle the paint on the foundation and the stairs. We opted for a neutral tan, which I personally think looks great contrasted against the brick. DFH painted the foundation while I scraped the red paint from the steps and then painted the trim and steps tan. 

This spring DFH also mulched and landscaped the front yard and planted some additional flowers and plants.  Fingers crossed our hydrangeas survive. 

We still have several more projects we want to complete on the front yard and porch. My number 1 is the door. That "Threes Company" 1970's door and screen needs to go asap, I try to hide it with a wreath, but let's be honest we can all see what's going on, but alas everything takes time and money. Some other projects on our list are to paint the trim in our porch, paint or replace the white siding on the house with green siding, and to add another coat of paint on the steps and re-polyurethane the deck to give it more shine. I'd also love to replace the house number sign.  As I said there will always be something. 
Before and After
( Ignore my hanging plant on the step, I placed it outside to get some water and forgot to rehang it)

Next up: The mudroom. Stay tuned. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Weekend Happenings.

How is it already Monday friends?? I blinked and the weekend was over.  Let the countdown until Friday begin.

On Friday my friends LES and ALV and I saw Rascal Flatts at one of the outdoor music venues in Pittsburgh.  Surprisingly it was the first time I had seen them live.  Rascal Flatts is one of the first country bands I ever liked and their music brings back so many memories of driving around with my friends from college. They played a lot of their older songs which I loved because I knew all the words. 

It was such a warm summer night and perfect for sitting in the grass with a beer and listening to live music. 

On Saturday it was HOT like really hot.  We went to our friend Aaron's clam jam clam bake and boy was it good.  The mussels and clams were some of the largest I had ever seen and he cooked everything outside on a fire pit.   I wish I had done some documenting.  We also had a "corn-off." NJ corn v. Ohio corn.  Aaron is from Ohio and believed they had the best corn where DFH and I thought otherwise and brought some corn from NJ.  The judges said it was a draw but obviously I think NJ was the real winner. 

We did some shotgunning.   #keepingitclassy

Clearly our shotgunning game is not as strong at age 31. 

 Some cornhole was played- the losers got pegged by water balloons.
The event was so much fun. 

After the clam jam we had another party to attend for our friend Libby's birthday.  

Then on Sunday we had lazy day of errands and TV. 

DFH and I have a quasi tradition that we like to make fun Sunday dinners, a little ode to the weekend.  Sometimes we treat ourselves to seafood or specialty pasta and sometimes we just have appetizers.  
This weeks pick was designed around the new cocktail plates I picked up.  I was like a child and couldn't wait to try out my new plates and so decided  picked up some Brie and Spanish meats at Trader Joe's.  The perfect meal choice for small plates. haha.

I had picked up these plates at anthropologie over the weekend. Are they not the cutest?! 

 I can't think of a better way to end a weekend then with beer, cheese, meats, and Master Chef.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A Garden State Wedding 2 of 2

At the end of June we ventured back to NJ for another high school friend's wedding.   The bride also went to our high school and grew up on a gorgeous farm with a beautiful barn and chickens. ( I don't know why, but I have a secret dream to have chickens which is strange since I am not a huge animal lover.)  The wedding was held in her parent's backyard.     NJ gets such a bad reputation, but it really deserves its nickname "the garden state" as so much of NJ is covered in farms and is quite rural, especially where we grew up.

The wedding was super casual and laid back just like the bride and groom. I loved how they had the bridal party parade from the bride's house into the circle of guests. 

The bride looked stunning, not anyone can pull off a backless wedding dress.  The whole day it looked like it was about to pour down rain, but luckily it held out for the ceremony and reception.  

There was a lot of barn dancing. 

Aren't these origami chandeliers beautiful?  I wanted to take one home. They symbolize good luck. 

The bride's parents own a local restaurant and the food was cooked outside right at the reception. It was incredible.

It is always so great to get to hang out with friends back home. 

Kate, Jess, and I 

One is never too old to wear glow necklaces.  

And what is better than a best man speech in glow stick glasses?


Such a fun weekend spent back in NJ. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

A Garden State Weekend #1


    A couple weekends ago we went back to New Jersey for our friends Luke and Alaina's wedding. Minus the terribly boring drive I always love New Jersey weddings because we get to visit with so many high school friends and also get to see our family while we back in the garden state.

  I was really excited to go home this time because my sister had gotten engaged the weekend earlier and I couldn't wait to celebrate with her and her fiancé.  

Friday during the day we visited with family before heading an hour north to the venue for the rehearsal.  Both DFH and I were super close with the groom in high school and still are today.     DFH was a groomsmen and I was coordinating their ceremony. My job was to make sure the families and bridal party went down the aisle at the right time. ( no, I'm not a wedding coordinator, but I may just add that to my resume). 

After the rehearsal and dinner we went back to my sister's house to celebrate their engagement.  JLP surprised me with this glass.

I am so honored and can't wait to start planning for the big day.  Obviously, we immediately filled the glass with some bubbly to start the celebrating. 


We enjoyed too much champagne and spent the night celebrating the bride and groom-to-be and catching up.  

Saturday JLP, her fiancé and I went to check out a wedding venue before it was time for the wedding. 

Groomsmen looking dapper before the ceremony.

DFH and I before the ceremony started. 

The wedding was beautiful and they could not have asked for better weather.  Everyone made it down the aisle and the bride and groom got married so my coordinating duties were a success in my book.  I may start moonlighting as a coordinator. Haha. 

Almost all of the high school friends from the wedding.  It still blows my mind that I have known some of these kids for 26 years.  Crazy. 

The wedding was at a conservatory.  The outside around the gazebo was covered in beautiful gardens and waterfalls and the inside was all windows and chandeliers.  

How cute are the bride and groom? 

Hubs and I cutting a rug. 

The ice luge... Amazing, but deadly. 

With the bride and groom. 

Some of the ladies. 

Clearly this was after a few ice luge shots.... Green carpet posing.  

It was such a fun weekend at home and we had the best time celebrating the Bride and Groom.

Happy Friday.  Fingers crossed that we finally have a weekend with sunshine.  

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Wedding Invitation Ornament

       I had seen the wedding invitation ornament idea on Pinterest before I even got married and knew it was something I wanted to make for myself and maybe give to others for their wedding. I'm a sucker for keepsakes. 
I made our ornament back in December to hang on our Christmas tree, but I ended up leaving it out on an ornament stand all year round and I just love it.  The best part is it took about 12 minutes to make.  Easy Peasy, which is my favorite type of craft. 

1. Clear ornament- you can buys these at any craft store, they usually come in a pack of four. 
2. An invitation 

3. Dried flowers

4.  Ribbon

 5. Scissors 

First I took a few flower petals from both my bridal bouquet and a bridesmaid bouquet that I had dried out and stuck them in the clear ornament. 

Next, I cut my wedding invitation into strips about a 1/4 of inch thick so that the strips would fit into the ornament, and stuck the strips into the ornament.

  Last, I grabbed some ribbon from our wedding day that we used to tie on various décor at our reception and I tied a big bow around the ornament and looped it throw the hanger.   All done.  

Sorry I didn't take any pictures of the process, but it is so easy and self explanatory.  

I think this is the perfect gift for your favorite bride or yourself and you can customize it to add other trinkets from the wedding as well.