Sunday, September 29, 2013

Confessions of a reformed yogurt hater

2 months ago I hated yogurt, HATED it! I gagged when I tried to choke it down in the mornings while at my desk because I had convinced myself that it was far more healthy than anything else I was going to eat for breakfast or a snack. 

About 2 weeks ago I decided to try something different, something very different than anything I even like. Honey flavored greek yogurt with chai spices.


I don't even like chai! I absolutely despise cloves and greek yogurt?! Come on...that's like regular yogurt that's more yogurty! Gross! Apparently the few times I got the yogurt I decided that I loved it and the following week went back to the grocery store to buy more, but, alas, none of the THREE grocery stores I went to had it.  It was a sad day.

What was a girl to do? I finally found a yogurt that I enjoyed thoroughly that I could substitute my normal 3 mini airheads and a sausage and egg cheese breakfast sandwich for but it was impossible to find!

Well, my friends, I decided to step outside my comfort zone and try something drastically different. Why? It was probably one of those days that I walked into Wegmans hungry and ended up with 20 different items to create some elaborate Food Network recipe I saw one lazy Saturday that will never end up being made.

The only other yogurt that seemed slightly worth it was Chobani's-Flips! Almond Coco Loco yogurt. It's basically a lightly coconut flavored yogurt (that tastes like real coconut not suntan lotion) with dark chocolate pieces and slivers of toasted almonds that you mix in. Can you say DELISH!?

I usually don't message companies until I have a problem, this time is different. So I messaged them on their website to let them know I am ADDICTED to the Greek coco loco yogurt!! Do you know how many coco loco yogurts I ate today? This is embarrassing4? 5? If I didn't have self control I would've eaten more.  When I got to the grocery store, the poor girl that was stocking watched me arm swipe all of her hard work into my basket, then with a horrified look on her face, I turned to her and asked, "Do you have any more in the back?". I am seriously obsessed with this yogurt and I have to thank Chobani. For not only taking my absolute loathing of yogurt and flipping it upside down, but allowing me to stuff my face with something other than ice cream while watching Game of Thrones and jumping up and down screaming "Go Khaleesi!"

So my point in all this I guess, is that you may hate something for the longest time and perhaps you just haven't had the right kind yet? Maybe try another variety or revisit something now that you're older and wiser. I know that if I hadn't, I'd probably be typing this to you whilst devouring a giant bowl of half baked ice cream.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Little Bears day at the lake

this is another blog post about my dog

A few weeks ago we decided to take Bear down to the lake and see if he would act like a retriever and jump into the water to catch a ball. Well, by the time we walked through the neighborhood his little nubbin legs were pretty tired and he kind of just sniffed around and sat on the picnic blanket.

I had placed Bear in various places in the woods to take pictures but I guess he was having one of those infamous model meltdowns and wouldn't sit still for anything. It was still a sweet little trip to the lake that ended with a fun little surprise for us, from Bear...

...thanks, Bear.

This is the last shot of a clean puppy. Apparently Bear still doesn't like the water (you'd think we were water-boarding him at bath time) but we discovered that what little Bear really enjoys, is mud.

This is after he splashed around in it with his paws and rolled over into it. By the end of the trip he was a two-toned Bear and looked like he had just jumped into a chocolate milkshake.

Here's a little video of the action for you:

The walk back home was interesting. What was even better was when we got home and gave him a bath. Did I mention Bear hates baths?

Before and After: School desk

I have been seriously slacking on yard sale-ing and thrifting lately.  I think I was a little overwhelmed by the 40 mile yard sale in the mountains I went to a couple months back and perhaps took a hiatus to rest and recover (or maybe just got lazy...yeah maybe that).  But I was determined to get back out there, and with Bear napping peacefully on a Saturday morning it afforded me the perfect opportunity to cruise through some neighborhoods for some fun thrifted and vintage finds.
 I started out at a community yard sale nearby that unfortunately was a letdown, so I decided to hit up Homegoods and Pier One for some Fall themed home decor before heading home to wake up the little one. On the way back into my neighborhood, I saw a sign for a yard sale and I went back and forth in my mind only about a hundred times before I saw the next sign whether I should go or not.  At the very last second I decided to go for it and turned off in search of my one last stop for the day.
 As I drove by the front yard, I almost passed it, there wasn't much left after what seemed like a successful day selling. But as I slowly creeped past I noticed a trunk. You know I'm a sucker for any color, shape, or size trunk that I find. So of course I parked and checked it out.
The 3 different things that I noticed were the trunk, some picture frames and a great old school desk. I approached the friendly face and inquired about the desk and trunk and decided I didn't need any frames (which is so dumb because that's actually exactly what I need) and went home with both for $9.

But wait! There's more!

The girl who sold me said trunk and desk is an absolute doll! Her name is Nicole and somehow is a similarly-minded 25 year old living just down the street from me with the same hobbies and interests.   Not only did I end up getting some pretty sweet scores at an unplanned stop but I had a quick drink and an (unfinished) home tour at my place the following day with Nicole, what an absolute sweetie! We made some tentative plans to do some yard sale-ing together and I am so ready to get out there and have someone to bounce ideas off of!

So I went home and was so excited from this great day that I immediately started working on the desk. First things first, the before:

To start, I was given a great piece to work with.  The desk was in surprisingly good condition, no major exterior scratches or dents and I am very happy to say I didn't find any wads of chewing gum on the underside of it. Hooray for minor victories!

Although it is certainly gorgeous enough in it's original state, I'm not a fan of the faux wood top and dark colored paint. I have enough dark colored furniture in the house and I'm trying to lighten it up a bit in here!

I decided I wanted to keep the two-tone by painting the top half white and the legs gold. I debated painting the legs a bright fire engine red for quite some time but then decided if I really wanted to later on I could always make a quick trip to Lowes to change it.

I started by sanding.

There was a small amount of rust around the rounded leg parts so I used a coarser grit sandpaper on those and then a finer one to scuff up all the surfaces to help the paint adhere properly.

Next I wiped it down with a wet paper towel and taped off the legs. Since this part didn't involve any dust or paint particles in the air I let my little helper assist.

he mainly just sniffed the drop cloth and peed on the lawn.

Then I started to paint!

I decided to use spray paint simply because there was less cleanup and I had it on hand. Next time I paint a piece of furniture, whether small or large, I will definitely be using a brush.

This is after about 2 coats of spray paint. You can see where I ran out of spray paint and had to go back to Lowes anyway to get another can.

I ended up doing about 4-5 coats total, the body wasn't too difficult but making sure the top had a nice even white coat was the trickiest part.

After a few days of drying I taped off the top part of the legs and painted the legs a "nickel" colored gold. Which isn't as strong and overpowering as a typical gilded color. I then sealed it with a clear Valspar spray to gloss it up and protect the paint from any scuff-marks or *ahem* puppy teeth.

and then...

it was complete! In less than a week too!

I bought the desk and trunk for $9 total, so if you round up and consider the desk to be $5 and my 2 cans of spray paint for $3 each, I spent $11 total on this little side table when I was looking for something to fill that space at Homegoods for around $60! I'd say I'm pretty happy with the results! 

See those two gorgeous frames? Well since I passed them up at the yard sale, and I was still totally dying for them, Nicole brought them over for me! Seriously, what a sweetheart!  Although I have plans for them in the future, I think they will stay here for the time being. 

Underneath is an old apple crate from Berryville, VA that I snagged at the 40 mile yard sale I went to months back. 

The legs definitely aren't perfect, you can see a little bit of the paint line where I was a little too overzealous with spray paint can but I kind of like it. It almost gives a marbled look to the legs.

The mason jar is part of the 8 gajillion mason jars I have upstairs in the craft room that I planned on doing something with that just ended up as containers for other things. This one I took out and spray painted the same color as the legs and added some dollar tree fake flowers. I'm totally not a fake flower person, but I make an exception when it comes to fall, for some reason or another...

The beautiful stained glass mirror above was made by my father and given to us last year for Christmas. I remember my dad always used to make stained glass mirrors and windows when I was young and he had stopped for probably over a decade so it was so incredibly special that he created this one for us. It's one of the first things you see to your left when you walk in the front door and I'm so happy I can show it off!

And this is what the foyer looks like so far. I will be adding a gallery wall on the opposite wall when I eventually acquire enough pictures to make it not look dinky. I'll also be adding something next to the front door to hold spare umbrellas and boots when the cold rainy season comes.

My little helper decided to admire our handywork whilst checking out the shoes in the crate below.

Then decided to take out one of mommas shoes to chew on happily. This was his sorry picture afterwards.

I can't wait to hit up more yard sales before winter to find some great items to upcycle into cool home stuff! How about you? Any fall projects you've started or finished lately?

Saturday, September 7, 2013

10 years old

I don't know how my baby brother became 10. It seems like he remained 6 for years and then all of a sudden BAM he's in the double digits!  His birthday is actually in July, but with conflicting schedules and busy lives we weren't able to throw him an "official" birthday party. Instead I took him to Five Below and let him pick out everything he wanted, then we came back home and he played Xbox with Shaun, the next day I took him to the pool. So, a pretty sweet birthday weekend either way.

     The thing is, I've been planning his birthdays since he was little and it didn't feel right to not have something for him, on this, the momentous occasion of turning double digits. So I decided last minute, 2 days before that I would throw him a surprise belated 10th birthday party/5th grade party. There really wasn't a theme except perhaps Star Wars and sugar. 

     The day before I tried desperately to make a T-rex cake out of fondant. Making the cake and the fondant alone was quite a task, trying to keep the T-rex looking like a T-rex was an entirely different thing. I should've remembered to make rice crispie treats before so I could mold the fondant around the head instead of one solid block of it...but you know me and last minute planning!   Next I made a little banner out of burlap and scrapbook paper, bought as much candy and Star Wars themed items from everywhere that I could and invited over his 2 favorite aunts and sister. The trickiest part was making sure he didn't know what was going on while it was going on! I told him that I needed to let Meatwad out and so he had to play with Bear downstairs in the basement. He gladly obliged of course. As one by one everyone showed up, I hurried around setting up cake and candy and getting the BBQ started to grill some chicken and corn and baked potatoes.  By the time everyone had arrived and took their places, Adam and Bear were literally clawing at the door to come upstairs and see what was going on. So I turned on the Star Wars theme song, opened the door and watched his surprised little face light up with all his favorite family members waiting for him around his candy and dinosaur cake filled table.

It was a good day.

I love you little brochacho, you are the kindest, sweetest, most thoughtful 10 year old I know.   You are funny and smart and not too shabby with a serrated blade on 5 pounds of fondant icing either! I am so excited to see you grow and learn and experience the world and turn into an extraordinary adult. 

Love, your big sister,