Bear with me, I was really hoping to get this up pre-2022, but alas, I had a lot of mixed feelings about 2021 when it came to writing this recap and a lot of mixed feelings with the new year coming. So I think I’ll keep it short and sweet.
2021 was sort of worse than 2020. Does anyone else agree? 2021 started off with a lot of loss. Most of it was expected, but there was one that wasn’t and it hit and hurt hard and still does. 2021 also brought on loss, not so much in the physical sense but relationship sense too – it’s hard to describe, but losing family can be one of a relationship even though they’re still physically on this earth. But there is also some healing in coming up with that resolution… as I said, 2021 brings on some dark feelings. Scroll for some positive.
As I was pushing myself this past week to not focus on the negative of 2021 – I did realize that there were definitely a few achievements and highlights even if they felt few and far between. My biggest I think was my gut health journey and lifestyle change for the better. Kicking off nearly 25-30lbs off of my body and completely changing my knowledge, learning about my body, seeing what works and what truly doesn’t work for my body from a food perspective has been life-changing – especially when I break away from it.
Other highlights included; celebrating miracle Mav, learning and connecting more with good friends and family, getting over grudges, learning to trust a bit better, getting on an airplane yet again in the midst of a pandemic, actually starting our kitchen renovation, not being afraid to use my voice in the moment and in tougher situations, creating boundaries and saying no.
So 2022, I’m trying not to have any expectations for you – not even finishing out kitchen, because the last few years bring on false hope and I’m honestly over it. So whatever you got 2022, let’s go.
Merry Christmas! B and I were really hoping to have a brand new kitchen for Christmas, but apparently, the Grinch is in charge of cabinet lead times.
But next Christmas we’re going to have a killer new space that I’ll be sure to bake too many cookies in, drink too much champagne in, deck the halls with, and even host a few get-togethers and dare I say get our annual Christmas party back in the books!? Oh, what joy that will bring!
I hope that your holiday is filled with the true meaning of Christmas, new memories, sweet treats, lots of love, health, and happiness. I hope the family drama can be ignored for at least one day, maybe two… and that we can just be thankful to be together. ♥️
My last kitchen reno update was from August with demo officially underway. Fast-forwarded to mid-September we confirmed our ‘contractor’ and got work started, as we finally got city permit approval – which was honestly such a pain in the butt and took way longer than anticipated. So to give an abbreviated update on a big project that has lasted over the last 3-4 months, I’m going to touch on a few of the roadblocks – but spare the gory deets – cause we are in such a better place.
OK, let’s get into it. One of the biggest outcomes of the permit process was the need to actually add and build a new foundation for the 2ft by 8ft area we were expanding as opposed to doing a cantilever. This added to the timeline and budget, but in the end, honestly a better solution. So this first part of the process was SLOW, waiting for the brick, cement, and all the layers to dry and settle.
Cabinet Drama & Delays. Another roadblock that we didn’t anticipate was our kitchen cabinets. We were confident and told that we would be able to get those measured and ordered (before our footprint was complete). WELL, that wasn’t the case. The original cabinet company we decided to go with seemed to have a lot of upfront misinformation and we had to wait over a month before we were even close to being able to order cabinets (aka half our timeline) – as they requested to have drywall up before measuring and working on any layouts. Needless to say, the deadline of making Thanksgiving… or even Christmas was shot especially as lead times increased on top of that. Long story short, we ended up finding another (local) cabinet company who worked with us a million times better, had great communication, great solutions for our space, and a fair price compared to the original company (and the cabinets have been ordered!)
Contractor* Be Gone. At the beginning of November, we kindly said thanks for all your work to our ‘contractors’ and took over the rest from there. We quickly realized as more of the aesthetic work was being done that the attention to detail was missing severely and B and I are way too picky, spending a ton of money and have a vision and like things the way we like them. *grins* We ended up having to finish cleaning up the mudding, all the painting, flooring, finishing electric fixtures, adding all the trim work, and will end up doing the backsplash once we have cabinets and counters in place. This was a little extra sticky because it was a family friend who we went with, and have worked with before – but it just wasn’t going to work out for the full project like we’d hoped.
*I’m using the word “contractor” because it’s the easiest way to say our family friends who were doing the work for us.
REAL TALK: Dealing with the workers day in and day out, and living in the construction was EXHAUSTING. It NEVER ended – this heightened once the workers were actually in the house. And B and I were not in a good space as a team – we were stressed, arguing, upset, and frustrated with the work, progress, communication, lack of communication, games, and everything else in between and we were just over it. The unfortunate best thing for us was to get as much done from them, give a firm cut-off date and cut ties for our sanity. The sanity still took a bit to get back to… but I think we are finally in a better place (until we have to install the backsplash I am sure). 🙃
Now What? Basically, we are in the ‘wait for cabinets’ stage – which we’re hoping come sometime in January?! We have a big open room just waiting for it to truly become a kitchen. We are also waiting for our stove to be delivered again, so hopefully no more delays from that end. We were able to finish the floor install over Thanksgiving with a huge help to my parents – and again, thank goodness, because the attention to detail my dad has doesn’t even compare to our ‘workers’ and I know B and I would’ve been pissed… but I’m digressing!
We cannot wait to host in our kitchen, I honestly just cannot wait to have a sink on the main floor… and for my dining room and rest of the house to get back in order with everything misplaced. So, until then, we wait!
As soon as I saw Anthropologie’s Monogram Ornaments, I was instantly in love, instantly inspired to create my own twist. So here is my easy Anthro ornament dupe. (I mean, I’m not saying mine are cuter than Anthro’s but they’re still cute!)
Since this was pretty similar to a Pottery Barn place setting dupe I did a few Christmas’ ago, I had a pretty good game plan of recreating these monogram ornaments.
Step-by-Step: 1. First things first, you’ll need to cut an opening in the bottom of your plastic ornaments. This was a bit tricky to figure out, and should be done very carefully! I used a sharp mini Philips head to poke a hole in the bottom. Once I had a hole, I used a Uline knife to cut a smaller circle for the opening, go slow and wear gloves to protect your hands. Repeat based on the number of ornaments you’re making – this is the least fun part of the whole project!
2. Before you get this started, you can start painting your letter. Make sure to paint both sides – pick fun colors that will coordinate with your metallic bottle brush trees. The bottle brush trees I recommend are also a bit too tall, so you’ll have to pull the bass off, cut about a half-inch off, and then reattach the base with some hot glue!
3. Using thicker paper, trace a circle using a drinking glass that is rounder than your ornament, trace, and repeat to cut the same number of circles as you have ornaments. These are your bases!
4. Once your letter is painted, and your tree is trimmed it’s time to hot glue your letter into your tree! You can try this out before committing with the glue, but just rest the letter in nicely. Then you can glue the tree to your base, pull apart a cotton ball and glue it down for your faux snow. Afterward, you can push this up into the ornament and glue it around the base at the seam.
5. With white paint, you can create a snow top, on your ornament – I needed to do about 3-4 coats of the white paint until it was thick and nice. You can then use pipe cleaner or ribbon to add a finishing touch around the base. Using ribbon and pom-poms you can dress your top however it works with your letter!
Gift to friends, family or trim your own tree with a fun keepsake ornament for the year! I may be making a few more of these – but for now, these are the finishing products.
Of course, I wanted to share this a week earlier – but I have been super behind on all things Christmas this year, we JUST got our tree and decorations up this past weekend. BUT – I have been crafting away and can’t wait to share my two latest Christmas crafts this week. The first one was inspired by social, and I just had to recreate my own – it’s using wooden birdhouses from Michaels and turning them into Christmas Village houses, the best part? Totally customizable to your Christmas decor and colors! Here is how I DIY’d a birdhouse in three different ways – because what started with a good normal idea, turned into some fun as the creative juices got flowing.
Anything else that might be festive or ‘Christmas Village’ related could be used as a finishing touch to your Christmas birdhouse – I definitely got created and created my own pieces from what I had.
a Retro Christmas Birdhouse
I had the Corner Lot Birdhouse for some time, as I had big ambitions a few summers ago to do some birdhouse crafts – so when I was inspired to create, I was trying to work with the birdhouses I already had. I started somewhat bold with the color choice for my Corner Lot Birdhouse… and I quickly was regretting it and going to scrap it since I was able to secure two Brownstones. But, as I started to dig through my craft supplies, I found my silver pipe cleaners, had a mini silver bottle brush tree a silver, green and blue jingle bells. I was instantly inspired to create a retro Christmas birdhouse. And, oh my gosh I’m obsessed. The silver bottle brush tree also fit perfectly in the little corner behind the fence.
Painting Tip: For clean lines, I used tape to create a clear line between the fence and each house, the back houses as well. There are also a lot of nooks and crannies so take your time and be prepared to paint!
GlamBrownstone CHRISTMAS birdhouses
My original plan for the Brownstone Birdhouse was to go white and gold, which goes perfectly with all of my other Christmas decorations. Painting this white, was definitely tedious, but also relaxing – I did have to do multiple coats with the white colors, at least 3 or 4. Darker colors only took about 2-coats. As I worked through my Gold Brownstone, I still wanted to do something colorful, but not so bold as the retro house, and something that would still fit into our decor – that’s when I was inspired to create a pink and gold Barbie Brownstone to go with my Barbie tree (she is definitely my favorite!).
Creating garland and the wreath’s for finishing touches was also fun and used with pipe cleaners. I wrapped at least 3-4 pipe cleaners to create fuller wreaths to hang on each of the houses. The garland was created with at least 3 pipe cleaners woven together and then I added some clear beads along for added detail and to look like lights. To finish off the pipe cleaners also really added a pop along the base and roof lines to really give these a finished look – and the mini bottle brush trees were extra that I had, that were a perfect finishing touch.
The last detail is adding some sparkly snow to your rooflines, stairs and landing – with modge podge I just went glitter crazy and added as a fun pop!
Which birdhouse is your favorite? B loves the white and gold one… I’m a fan of the pink one but also really love the retro birdhouse, since I was about to give up on it early on.
Today is our four year wedding anniversary! As if year three wasn’t weird enough – we had another year literally together practically every day working from home together. Since we conquered working from home together, we decided to try something else that was challenging, like conquer a major home renovation and make healthly lifestyle changes.
This year we grew a lot and went through a major health journey together – although it was primarily for me, B was an integral part in the success of my gut health journey and both of us getting back on track and into a healthier lifestyle. I don’t think I would’ve been as nearly as successful with it all, without him. He carried our team from grocery shopping to meal prep all the way to cooking. On top of the initial journey, we’ve been holding each other accountable ever since.
We also decided to take on a major home renovation that has definitely tested us. Dealing with contractors, having gigantic holes in your house, not having a kitchen for 6+ months, on top of spending a lot of money. We had our fair share of arguments, disagreements and also kismet moments. Our kitchen for the record, still is not finished – but hopefully we’re on the home stretch and just in the waiting game for cabinets, I think the contractors, headaches and major stresses are luckily behind us. What I cannot wait for is all the new memories that we are going to create in the new kitchen, all the parties were going to host and all the little moments we’ll have together there too.
I can’t believe we’re kicking off year five married together. Each year we continue to conquer new adventures, take on new challenges and grow together as a team. We are never short of having lots of big plans, from house projects, to more firsts and many, many more travel plans.
Are you ready for something Spookilicious? With Halloween weekend upon us, I couldn’t help but feel inspired to create a healthy and gut-friendly Halloween-themed charcuterie board for two! Especially with the forecast not looking so great, cozying up at home sounds like the perfect fix paired with some snacks and adult bevies.
Since our gut journey, we still enjoy snacks and sweets – we just look a little differently at what we pick out and snack on or opt to make things with fresh and healthier ingredients. We’ve been cutting back on processed snacks, but when we do, we’ve been really conscious at reading the ingredients and buying things without artificial flavors or hidden junk – the fewer ingredients listed…, the better!
My secret to creating the perfect charcuterie board is having an even mix of crunch, sweet, savory, veggies, and some fruit. Even if they’re good for you, having the perfect blend of all the right things can make for healthy snacking without the guilt. What’re your Halloween plans?
Ready for a fun reveal? As we’ve been in influx awaiting the official go ahead for our kitchen, we of course found another project to keep busy with. So why not build a wall in the basement and create a built in bar?
A few years ago, we created a‘finished/unfinished’ space in our basement for an additional living space with a TV, $60 DIY shiplap walland some deep couches. To help section this off from a storage area, we created a wall with a large drop cloth and piping, which worked great for an easy, temporary solution – but the plan was always to create an actual wall… eventually. Well, B had been itching to build the wall, and I told him I really wanted to add a built in bar and shared some inspiration, so together we worked to figure out the spacing and how we could pull it together – but not without a few disagreements of course.
To keep it somewhat simple, we bought prefab base kitchen cabinets from Lowe’s — we originally wanted to find something a bit more swallow, but everything was super expensive, so upon searching we found a taller wine fridge and compromised for deeper cabinets. From there we needed to figure out a counter top, all your typical counter tops at Lowe’s were either super basic and blah or a bit more than we wanted to spend, so upon doing some research B found this nicer plywood that we could stack, glue, stain and polyurethane to create our own counter top. It actually came out way better than expected.
Once we had our base all figured out, it was time for the fun part – decorating! We were able to utilize some left over gold handles from a previous project for our cabinets, that give it a modern and sleek look, pulling in the gold accents. I went with a simpler approach to two parallel photos vs. a gallery wall like I was initially thinking – it definitely keeps it cleaner with the two stacked shelves on the right side. We got the brackets off Amazon and then bought the shelves, that were a little more expensive but a nice sleek look that we were also able to stain and polyurethane. We also got the wine glass holder from Amazon, which fits perfectly and has ample counter space still underneath it.
A few other fun touches include the artwork, that B and I ended up hand painting ourselves – I did the fun Notorious B.I.G. quote and B did the champagne bottle! We also had to get oversized snack jars for some sweet and savory treats, although I can’t say they’ve been staying full. Moz also has her own filled with her favorite treats. Lastly, we finally have a place for the cocktail books we’ve received over the years – and the Fancy AF book inspired me to also make this an unofficial Bravo Books library – more to come as my collection grows! Some greenery and other fun bubble trinkets also helped finish off the space.
We are finishing up painting some french doors that will open and close also into our new basement space – which will make it perfect for any guests who may end up staying in the future. The space has seen a complete transformation – and we also now have an enclosed nice big storage closet on the opposite side of the wall too.
We can’t wait to host some friends, catch a football game and eat some snacks – because that counter is also big enough for plenty of food and we’re stocked with plenty of beverages!
National Prosecco Day was last month and I always first think holy sh** we’re half way through August and Summer is over… and then instantly like, oh but it’s National Prosecco Day. *pops open a bottle of bubbly* — I often joke that I try to live every day like it’s National Prosecco Day… but adulting and life sometimes interfere.
To commemorate a much delayed NPD, I’m sharing a few of my latest process-obsessions. We’re in the process of creating a built in bar in our basement to further complete our intimate basement space — and the best part about it all besides having a new space to decorate is the fact that we bought a champagne fridge! (I mean technically it’s a wine fridge, but we’ll be stocking up on the bubbles). So without further ado, here our my latest obsessions to help make our bar a bubbly sensation!
Prosecco Prints. I am playing around with a prosecco themed gallery wall – I love the idea of pulling in black and white to match our large painting we have in our basement. Fun illustrated bubbly bottle outlines, or even great champagne inspired quotes (ugh, there are so many good ones!) is what I keep coming back too – but can’t decide on.
Bubbly Quotes. OK, so there are like SO many good quotes about champagne (I know it’s NBD) and bubbles. And a lot of them are from the great F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Here are a few of my favorites: – “Too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald – “Among the whispering and the champagne and the stars.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald – “Now we sip champagne when we thirsty.” – The Notorious B.I.G. – “My only regret in life that I didn’t drink enough champagne.” – John Maynard Keynes
Champagne Fridge. We scored this fridge at almost 50% off – just by chance. We were going to do a bulk online order, and I just happen to just go into the store and saw it was discounted in store! Score – we just had to drive to another location that had the last one in stock. This Frigidaire 34-bottle wine fridge (is actually still discounted from $419 to $319) and fits better with the pre-fab cabinets we got as well. Even better, champagne bottles fit just as easily as the wine bottles. Now, we just need to keep it stocked!
DIY Cork Memories. Another fun little project I may tackle, is creating 3D art with champagne corks that we’ve saved and written on documenting special moments. We have one from our first Christmas married together and a few others – I think it’ll be a fun way to use those, while also creating a custom piece that is special and meaningful to us!
Life of course has been a little nuts, as I had full intensions on sharing this post a few weeks ago on National Prosecco Day, but that’s life! I cannot wait to share our DIY built in basement bar with all our fun bubbly pops and personal touches with you soon!