Latest Obsessions 05.20

The weather is finally starting to break and it’s been so nice to spend weekends, evenings and even a few working afternoon outside in the sunshine and warmth. With quarantine and remote work continuing, I’m starting to get transition my mindset a bit more to try and embrace all of this a bit more. It’s been a roller coaster of emotions and mental health strain which I’ll be sharing more about on my Fitness Friday this month. So, with trying to transition my mindset, I’m trying to stay busy by planning for a few projects and a few other things I love, while living in workout pants and sports bras.

Mini Office Makeover. Fun fact; our home office wasn’t ever intentionally set-up for designed to be an actual home office. I know typing that out makes it sounds really stupid – but it’s true! Up until recently, B and I only occasionally work from home and would just set-up shop in the dining room or living room. Our home office was designed to be a fun space that serves as another guest room and home to our sports memorabilia. So I’m brainstorming on some easy, cost-effective ways to make this a bit more inspirational, fun and creative for a more long term working space. I’m thinking pink, and I’ll leave it at that.
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Anything Bravo. I would just like to personally take a moment to thank Bravo (and bubbly), for giving me some sense of sanity and a mental escape throughout this super weird time that is quickly becoming the “new normal.” B and I have rewatched the entire series of Vanderpump Rules, even as this latest season wraps up. And my two favorite housewives series are now on, RHOBH and RHONY, along with Andy being back with his virtual WWHL which are still enjoyable.

Some Backyard Plans. Our back patio is pretty set and perfect, besides adding some seasonal plants around to spruce up the space a bit more. B and I have talked off and on about doing some additional privacy-scaping in the back area, but just haven’t gotten around to it. So I’m sketching up some plans to pitch to B, since he is jones-ing to get that project going. We’ve also chatted about adding a floating deck and hot tub… so we will see how that all fits in.

Travel Daydreaming. Flights are so cheap right now. It’s been really easy to daydream and want to plan and just book a flight. Airlines are also still offering no charge rebooking fees (at least Southwest still it!) so it’s eliminating some of the potential risk. It’s just so hard to plan right now, and it breaks my heart to think we might not travel on an airplane this year — but I’m still hoping.
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So you’ll be catching me this weekend making some plans, getting inspired and definitely watching some bravo while sipping some bubbles and daydreaming of the day that we feel safe to fly on an airplane again and explore the world. And I’m still obsessing over Target Drive-Up, it’s been well over two months since I’ve actually stepped foot in one.  What’ve you been obsessing over lately?

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DIY – Painted Front Doormat

This weekend was pretty great, and Saturday was pretty perfect. The sun was shining all day long and the temp was ideal to catch some rays. Meaning we were outside pretty much the entire day. B touched up the paint on the front porch, we got our patio furniture out, got a run in and I even got this fun DIY project done. This painted DIY doormat is an affordable and fun way to add a custom finishing touch to your front door decor.
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Project Supply List:
Plain Coco Coir Doormat
Outdoor Acrylic Paint
Foam Brush Variety Pack
Satin Polyurethane

Estimated Project Total: $30

Step-by-Step:
– Once you have your supplies secure – which pro-tip you can still order from Michael’s and they’ll bring it out to your car and throw it in the trunk, no human contact.
– Your rugs will most likely come rolled, so make sure you get them flattened out before you craft, I placed some heavy photo albums on the ends for a couple days.

Pro-Tip: If you’re painting the whole back drop of your rug, make sure to grab two of  your background color – I barely had enough pink! Also grab 3-4 bottles of the Polyurethane. Also the assorted foam brush packet had the perfect variety of sizes for the detail of my design, not the best quality but got the job done.
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– Now for the fun! Figure out your design. I found my inspiration from Gradin Road and thought it was totally perfect and a fun pop of spring to add to our front porch! If you’re opting for a phrase with letters you’ll want to get a stencil cut out – a Cricket would be perfect to help customize (I don’t have one of those yet!)

– I hand drew and cut out the body of my bee to help get me started and then free handed the rest of my bee with paint and brushes. But feel free to create stencils and paint as you feel comfortable. I did a lot of dabbing with my foam brushes to make sure the paint covered the mat properly.
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– Once you have your design painted, go over spots with painted to make sure it’s covered and pops as much as you’d like. From there I picked my background color and filled in the rest of the doormat it was a tough decision between pink or green. As I said above, make sure to grab at least two tubes of your background paint, I barely had enough with one of my pink and just barely enough to cover my 30″ x 18″ rug.

– Once you’re happy with your paint coverage and design, it’s time for the final step! Paint your polyurethane over top the entire piece to help seal in the paint. I used two full tubes, but could’ve definitely used at least one or two more – it dries clear so it doesn’t impact your design at all!

There is still time to see how this holds up in the weather — luckily it is on a covered front porch, but definitely gets full sun in the morning. I love how it turned out and layered with a colorful underlay rug to make sure it really pops on the front porch!  I still have another plain rug to paint and create a fun design — I can’t decide if I’ll safe it for the holidays or a funny saying, time will tell!

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House Tour: Spring Inspired Easter Table Decor

It’s April 1st! Flowers are starting to bloom and my peonies are budding out front — which means spring is coming! And the most spring filled holiday is just a few weeks away, Easter. So I wanted to share some inspiration for how you can create an easy, simple and sweet Easter tablescape with fresh blooms!  EasterDecor(4)-beelifeblog
This spring inspired tablescape is made possible because I finally made my first trip to Home Sense in February and instantly fell in love with this muted floral table runner and these fun woven Cynthia Rowley placemats. I opted to use the green to help finish my Easter table look, but also grabbed them in a bright yellow because I loved both of the colors so much and could see them easily transitioning into the Summer. Not to mention they came in 8-packs for an affordable $7.99 each, can’t beat it in my opinion!

Once you have your base pieces figured out — it’s time to top off with your centerpiece. Putting together this easy centerpiece can be accomplished with simple vases from the Dollar Store (which I use for a lot of different things) and springtime blooms that can be grabbed in a bunch and split up and cut to make these cute arrangements. Try to get flowers that are a bit sturdier and live a bit longer. I then sprinkled gold foil eggs around the vases (here are some similar gold foil eggs I found) — if you don’t have eggs or want it to be a little less-Easter you can nix completely or sprinkle in a spring garland throughout our vases.  Lastly, I finished off the centerpiece by adding in a few of my white porcelain bunnies with gold ears – these were found in Target’s dollar bins the last few years. EasterDecor(2)-beelifeblog
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To help complete the rest of the room with a touch of Easter, I hung my go-to boxwood leaf wreath in between the windows. Side note: I think everyone should have a boxwood wreath or two, it’s great for spring, summer or just pop of green when the world is a little extra grey – here is an affordable one I found on Amazon for $20. I also love hanging a wreath in a little bit more unconventional space as it helps pull in the focal point of the room. I then hung my pastel egg garland over the window for a little extra pop of Easter. With uncertainty of how Easter is going to be this year, I definitely kept this year’s centerpiece simple, bright and full of spring. Last year we were hosting, so I went a little more over the top and full on Easter. So if you’re looking for something to make a bigger statement, check out last year’s Easter table decor.
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I’m not really sure what our plan for Easter is this year, whether we’ll be with family or staying home — either way, we’ve got a bright and cheerful focal point to enjoy for the rest of April, and I’m sure the flowers will get refreshed along the way with some more pops of color! Are you planning for Easter yet, or still trying to go with the flow of social-distancing?

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Before & After: Fireplace Hearth Makeover

We did a thing! We finally checked off another house project… that oooohhhh has been on the to-do list for the last few years. It wasn’t a huge project, but it was a little one that makes a bit of impact in one of the most lived in rooms. We retiled our fireplace hearth and completely refreshed the dated red tile!
Tile-beelifeblog(2)Honestly the toughest part and reason this has been on the to-do list for so long was just deciding on and figuring out the right tile.  So I finally got smart and figured out my newest project hack, especially when it comes to projects like this! What is my little secret you may ask? I bought a few tile samples from Lowe’s to put them into my space to help envision the whole look.

The Tile Dilemma. I definitely wanted to go with something a bit more modern and pull in white tile into the space. I was initially thinking larger marble, then wanted to do a bit more of a hexagon pattern — but I just wasn’t sure! Then another part of me wanted to do something with a pattern or a bit more Spanish style. I grabbed four different styles that I liked and brought them home and saw how they worked with the rest of our patterns and textures and colors in our living room.
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The Decision. We ended up going with a off-white blue patterned tile that had a little bigger footprint, similar to the original red tile square. B even ended up finding a blue herringbone pattern that we ended up cutting to make a boarder, which helped keep the large tiles full all the way across without having lots of little pieces for an awkward boarder.

The Project. Demo took B all of an hour to get up the old red tiles, from there he bought some cement board to get the surface level and prepped for our new tiles! He did this over the course of the week, so we were queued up and ready to work on it come the weekend. We even ordered the remaining tile for in-store pick-up and it was in and out to keep our project time low.

We ended up renting a tile cutter from Home Depot and completed the cuts and project within a few hours. I am the tile worker, and B is my tile cutter! It worked out well and came together after some trial and error. The boarder tile was much thinner than the main tile, so we had to really build up with mortar. We also ended up using pre-mixed mortar and grout that we had left over for previous projects, I think we only needed to purchase an additional pre-mixed mortar to finish the project. So within a few hours we had our tile laid and cut into place in it’s new home.
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The Result. After giving the mortar time to dry, we were able to grout! We used the same left over grout we had from our Basement Bathroom Makeover.  The cool grey color really complimented the tile color and style we picked to make it a cohesive space. We also had to be a little smart with tile positioning and organic since we were working with an un-even 100 year old space that certainly was not perfect or level, no matter how hard we tried!

Shop our products: Elida Ceramica Porcelain Tile from Lowes | Boarder Midnight Satin Herringbone Tile from Lowes | Warm Color MAPEI Flexcolor Grout 

I must admit — when it was first finished I didn’t completely love how this turned out. But I did like it and was happy to get rid of the old red tile and gross grout. It’s grown on me some, I like the boarder because it helps break it up and keep the larger tiles even but it also throws me off! What do you bees think?

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DIY – Painted Valentine Table Runner

Ohhh, you guys!! This was a fun, easy and affordable craft and I just love how it turned out! This custom Valentine-inspired painted table runner is a spin on an everyday piece and not one that I really ever thought about making, at least one that didn’t involve buying fabric, sewing or investing a ton of time on. Read more to see my supply list, project cost and step-by-step for painting and creating your own X’s and O’s table runner, just in time for a Galentine’s brunch!
DIYTableRunner(3)Craft Supplies:
Off-white plain linen table runner from Amazon ($14.99)
All purpose craft paint: Pink / Rose from Michael’s ($0.79 each)
– Smaller paint brush – I have this 7ct Paint Brush set from Target

Project Cost: $17
(not including paint brushes)

Step-by-Step:
1. I order my linen table runner from Amazon, there was a brief though to try and make my own with buying fabric – but I quickly saw that being a disaster. Two-day shipping and $14.99 on Amazon, sounded way better! I compromised on the size (14″ x 72″), as I like a wider table runner since we have a larger dining room table, but found a off-white linen that looked to be perfect.
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2. Paint color was my toughest decision – I initially planned to do black, but thought red could be fun and then ultimately decided on a lighter pink as that worked better with dining home decor and I love how it turned out! Now to the fun stuff…
3. Before I got painted, I did have to iron my table runner to smooth out some of the fold marks! I didn’t get it as smooth as I would’ve liked, but it was much better than before – this was definitely needed before painting.
4. Get ready to paint! I put paper bags down in order to paint, and painted on my dining room table — which was a good feel for the space while I painted and scaling my X’s and O’s. Starting in the bottom corner I kept it simple and fit four across and repeated the pattern by alternating which letter I started with and worked my way towards the center.
Pro-tip: I eyed my spacing and letter size, but you could use a ruler to keep spacing even between lines and/or letter height!
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5. Keep going until you finish up the length of your runner! Keep in mind as you’re painting if you mess up, or have brush strokes showing, it’s OK — it’s suppose to look hand drawn and painted which gives it a unique look. Besides, from a distance you can’t really see any of the imperfections.

I let this dry overnight before styling this up! I had another pink table runner that was a little wider than mine, so I was able to layer underneath and the pinks complimented each other perfectly! I then added a few jars with conversation sweet heart candy, some fun colorful garland, this table was just needing a few finishing touches for a Galentine’s brunch!

Besides just completely loving how this came out (slightly obsessed!) — the price can’t be beat for a custom piece that fits EXACTLY what you were wanting.  $16 is about the going rate, if not more for you’re every day or holiday themed table runner, so I imagine I’ll be doing this in the future for more holidays or special occasions! Plus it only took me about 45-minutes to iron and paint.

What do you think!?

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House Tour: $30 Christmas Front Porch

With consistently colder days during the Christmas season, and the inside being the main event — the outside decor doesn’t get as much love as I’d like it too. We also string some oversized colored bulbs along the back fence line and I always have intentions to do more, but usually run out of time.  This year I finally added a little more umph and switched up some decor to make a little more of a statement for only $30 – plus I got a warm day to finally put everything up!

My Decorations: 
(2) 6ft Red, Green & White Ball Garland (I got mine for 50%, they’re even cheaper right now!)
(5) 16″ White Snowflake Ornaments (I got mine 50% off!)

The Garland. I mixed in the ornament garland with extra greenery garland I had around the house, this helped fill it in and make it more lush.  I opted to do the garland as a 3/4 quarter around the door, because of our Ring and not wanting to get in the way of that especially during holiday delivery season.

The Statement Door. I initially had plans to hang the larger snowflakes along the front of the house under the porch, but didn’t have enough and didn’t want too much going on especially with the garland around the door. I then got the idea of tying the oversized snowflakes together to create a falling wreath — they really pop with our blue door, and I love how this turned out.

Simple to Finish It Off. To finish off the look, but still keeping it simple, I stacked our lanterns underneath the main box. This helps fill the space by giving it the finishing touches it needs — plus these are the lanterns I usually have on our back patio, so they’re getting another season in use and not out in the elements under the covered porch. We added a spot light on the door, so it can be viewed day and night in all it’s glory!

After the Christmas holiday, the falling snowflake wreath will be perfect into the winter months especially with the lanterns! I grabbed these items earlier in November when the holiday decor was just getting out and still 50% off — not to mention I had a few 20-25% off entire purchase that I tacked on top of those. Making a statement can truly be affordable especially if you’re thinking ahead, like I finally was this year!

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DIY – Wooden Couch Sleeve

Ever have those pins that you saved at the beginning of Pinterest-time and have always wanted to make? I’ve wanted to make a wooden couch sleeve for a long time — it seems like an easy, practical solution without having side tables everywhere.  But our main living room furniture has rounded arms and these wooden couch sleeves definitely seem better suited for a squared off arm.
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I knew I would be able to make this fairly inexpensively as long as we had some scrap wood laying around — and luckily we did! I was able to utilize tools that we already had, so this project cost me $0.  And with our basement makeover, our furniture downstairs had squared off arms with a lower side table that only serves part of the seating, I thought this would be a perfect addition to our ‘finished-unfinished’ space especially with the natural rustic wood piece.

What You’ll Need:
– Scrap wood
– Table saw
– Sandpaper
– Satin/Gloss Clear Coat Spray Paint
– Nail gun
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Step-by-Step:
1. Determine the length of your main top piece based on your furniture. I decided on 13″ long and kept the original width of the board. You’ll want your sides to be the same length, width of sides can be all equal or shorter.

2. Using a tape measure and straight edge, draw a straight line for your top piece, then cut with table saw. For the sides because my scrap wood was older, I cut the same length and it pretty much split down the middle to make two smaller pieces.  I liked the more unfinished, raw edges as I wanted to keep the integrity of the older wood.

3. I then sanded the pieces on both sides and all of the edges.  Again, I liked the color of the wood – I just needed to work out a few rough spots and clean it up. After sanding, be sure to wipe down the pieces with a cloth to get rid of extra dust.
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4. I then did a top coat with Satin finished spray paint — that I happened to have at the house already.  Spray top coats are a little trickier to see full coverage until dry – so for that reason you may need to do a few coats depending on the finish and coverage you want (above picture before spray, bottom after spray).  I did two coats on the main top and sides, and one on the underneath part.

5. Once I was content with the top coat it was putting everything into place with the nail gun.  I opted NOT to use wood glue for two reasons (1) being lazy (2) we don’t have clamps, so we would’ve nailed in place shortly after gluing like we did for our floating shelf. This was a two person job to ensure the nails went in securely.  We put the sides in a bit so they would be snug against the couch, since I opted to keep the top the original width of the wood, avoiding too many cuts.

Pro-tip: I made sure all my cut edges were in the back of my piece, so the original rough edges would be facing out. I also determined my top early on when measuring and cutting pieces.
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This is the perfect addition to the space, and it’s sturdy for an afternoon cup of coffee, the remote or a glass of beer watching the game! Although we have a super cute trunk side table in this space, it’s much lower than the couch and chair so it isn’t exactly convenient for ongoing sipping. This couch sleeve is also portable, so it can move around depending on which spot you’re in or who needs it. I love how it turned out and it’s imperfections!  Plus — this could also be a sweet Christmas gift for just about anyone.

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House Tour: Our 5 Favorite Projects to Celebrate 5-Years in our Home

This week marks our 5-year house anniversary! It’s sort of funny and crazy to think we’ve lived in our house for 5-years, because when we were looking our realtor and even friends buying houses at the time were saying “this could be your 5-year house.” Well… when B and I were searching for homes, we were considering something that could live with us for awhile. So to have a little fun with this post, I sat down with B and we chatted through our favorite house projects!

His #1: Attic Renovation – This was a space that when we first moved in we weren’t using so when we finished it, it opened up so much space on our second floor. Not to mention we use this room everyday since it’s our master suite! This project was our first big project and took longer than we wanted but we did 90% of it so it was really cool.

Hers #1: Basement Living & Bathroom – This is my number one because it was a space that I never had any plans or expectations for, especially within the first 5-years. I basically wrote this space off as basement storage. But once the vision, planning and work started and we starting seeing the potential of this space it was a really incredible feeling. Especially creating two new function spaces on top of maintaing storage and laundry, this makeover just pushed everything over the top!

His #2: Back Patio (he thinks) … haha B said it’s fun to entertain and have a space outside especially in the spring/summer months. It’s the perfect spot for weekend afternoons, late nights with friends or family or even just the two of us.

Hers #2: Our Dining Room – this was the first room that really came together and we actually had furniture for.  Once we figured out paint and had the chandelier put in, it was like one of those moments like ‘Wow we have a dining room.’ We also designed and finished our dining room table, so it’s a custom piece for us. I wanted this room to be a space where everyone could gather around this huge table and when those moments come true I just want to pinch myself.

His #3: Basement Bathroom –  B said it was tough to nail down why but said he thinks it’s because it’s functional for when we have overnight and weekend guests are over. B said he also likes how I really took over with the design and vision of the space that we actually made happen.  This was also a project that we did 90% on our own, and the satisfaction after finishing one of those is indescribable.

Hers #3: Attic Renovation – This project will always be special to me, because it also holds a lot of memories around when B and I got engaged!  We had actually spent all afternoon working late to get a lot of it wrapped up before he proposed. This space was always planned to be our master and it definitely came out way better than I think both of us imagined and like B said it was our first big project that he really tackled and he really did like 90% of all of it – I was totally impressed!

His & Hers #4: Front Landscape – This project just gave our house a complete transformation and added so much curb appeal.  Our front was always pretty much a blank canvas that we always had plans for, but just never had the time or full commitment to figure out the design, plants and getting the job done.  It was also a project that was on our house project to-do list every year since we moved in and we finally finished it up last summer.  Once we finished we were both blown away, and our plants all came back year 2, wooo!

His #5: Floating Shelves in the Office – We were trying to remember, but this was definitely one of the first DIY projects we tackled together (without having any of the right tools or experience). So B said; “this was the start of everything and we’ve learned so much but also knew of all the bigger and better projects that were to come after this.”

Hers #5: Back Patio – This was a project that I didn’t have prioritized to get done when we did it, as it was definitely something B wanted done more than me.  So after some discussion, compromise and design considerations, we pulled the trigger.  It’s a massive space and it’s really like having another living and dining room outside during the warm months – we truly live back here in the summer! We also splurge on furniture that is modern, functional and classic that really makes the space.

We are lucky that we both enjoy working on house projects to transform and continually make this century home ours, while still enhancing all of it’s beautiful charm.  We still have a few other big projects that we want to do at the house, with the big one being our kitchen — although we talk about it every year, so we will see when we can actually turn it into fruition!

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Want to see more from our house? Check out these links: Office Tour | Our Living Room | Basement Bathroom | Basement Living Room | Our Sunroom | Guest Room Makeover

House Tour – Festive Fall Front Porch

There may be few things in life that I love more than drinking champagne and decorating our front porch for fall.  There is just something about fall and all the beautiful things that bring a bit more fun, pop of color and truly make a bright statement.  With gorgeous mums, classic orange pumpkins, gourds, lanterns and then even some Cinderella and pink pumpkins — the colors, shapes and sizes make up the perfect combination.

It took me a little longer this year to pull it all together as I’m a firm believer of no mums or pumpkins until at least October 1st, and with our warm weather lingering even into October it was still hard to pull the trigger. In addition to being a big pop of orange this year, our porch and steps are looking much nicer than last year as they got a paint at the beginning of spring so our porch is generally just looking a bit more polished since last year!FallPorch19-beelife(1)
Last year I a bit heavier on the mums and this year I went heavier on the pumpkins and gourds — I also bought larger mums this year, so they took up a lot of space without having to really bunch together while also helping fill in a few empty spaces like the big orange one next to the stairs.  I also love transitioning my lanterns from our back patio *tear face* to the front porch so they get more use and help make the front porch feel homey as the seasons transition.  Sadly the patio hangs are becoming fewer and farther in between.
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One investment I made a few years ago was buying these plain white plastic planters – they were fairly inexpensive and all matched — I use these over the summer for various plants around the front porch and back patio. They’re also perfect for placing the mums in them for a clean look, I’ve looked for more at the spot I got them but haven’t been able to find any, luckily I have a good variety of sizes and quantity so they work all year long!

Beyond the front porch, I even picked up a few extra pumpkins to help decorate inside — my goal for interior decor this fall season was minimizing! I’ll share a few easy tips for making a simple fall statement in a blog post coming soon.

So one last thing, are you more of a mum guy/gal or pumpkins?

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