Happy Labor Day

Happy Labor Day everyone! I hope you had a chance to spend time with friends and family this weekend and to kick back and relax. We had a great time seeing family this weekend during a family reunion at a city park

As we take a break from home decor projects today, I thought it would be fun to share a picture I captured during our family picnic this weekend. It made me smile. I love the beautiful swans, but the duck in the background is too funny. He was obviously on a mission to find some food. I hope he was successful!

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Picture Perfect

So what have BJ and I been up to lately? Quite a lot actually.

First, we added some new furniture to our master bedroom.

Then we finally started adding pictures on the wall of our upstairs hallway.

I also bought a few more frames to add more photos to the walls of the upstairs hallway and continue into the loft. BJ and I also started planning out how we would like to design the space in the loft. Right now, it is a mix of furniture and not really usable. We have a projector that we would like to use for movies and we are thinking about turning the loft into a movie/game room. We both went to the same University, so we would like to incorporate our alma mater into the theme in a classy way.

Here’s where we stand now, it’s pretty empty. Just a few piece of furniture and no seating.

One of the challenges of this room is that it is the first thing you see when you come up the stairs. We’ve gone back and forth on the design of the loft. We’ve talked about putting a sectional couch and adding some bookshelves, and we’ve also discussed just putting some  chairs from Ikea with the ottomans and making it more of a place to relax and kick back. If we go with the Poang chairs, then we plan to add a few side tables and skip the coffee table. 

There are many options to choose from and I’m sure we will find something perfect for our space. In the meantime, we’re enjoying coming up with some over the top ideas and then of course, ruling those out. But if money were no object, we would have a pretty cool looking loft already! 🙂

Sweet Saratoga Springs

It’s wedding season! Time for fun dresses, shoes, gifts and travel. This past weekend, we attended our first wedding of the season.

The wedding was in the beautiful town of Saratoga Springs, New York. It’s an arts, culture and equestrian-centered community nestled about 30 minutes north of Albany. We loved it so much that we wanted to stay!

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Everything about Saratoga Springs is charming. There is a fun downtown area with lovely boutiques, a few mainstream stores and plenty of restaurants and bistros to suit every palette.

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While we were in town for the wedding, we ventured downtown and had coffee at Uncommon Grounds. We were even served by Capt. Dangerous!

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We stayed at a charming bed and breakfast that was close to downtown and we were able to walk back and forth between the B&B and the downtown area.

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On our way to downtown, we crossed through Congress Park. Several of the springs that give Saratoga Springs its name, are located in this park. It’s also home to a number of ducks and their ducklings.

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Friday night, the rehearsal dinner was held at an Italian restaurant called Chianti. We enjoyed an amazing meal and relaxed and laughed with family and friends before joining the rest of the group at the local watering hole: City Tavern.

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BJ was a groomsman in the wedding, so Saturday we arrived at the ceremony and reception venue a few hours early for pictures. Then we hopped a trolley and rode around town for more pictures with the wedding party. I tagged along and took some candid photos and also captured a few shots of the scenery.

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After we got back from pictures, it was time for the ceremony. The wedding and reception were beautiful. It was an amazing weekend!

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Congrats to Angelo and Ashley!

Wrapping up our floor project, coupon clipping and palm leaves

And we’re done! Well, almost. The floor has come along way since November and we are really in the home stretch now. The grouting is complete and now we need to seal the floor again and put in a new baseboard.

One important note to keep in mind when you are grouting a floor is to make sure you do not grout yourself in. Always grout toward a door so that you can get out when you’re finished. We started in the far right corner of our room and worked our way toward the kitchen door. This would’ve put us finishing out into the foyer entrance. But after we started, it made more sense to grout toward the foyer entrance and put ourselves out the kitchen door so that we could still access the sink for water buckets and the garage for clean up.

BJ grouted and I followed behind with the bucket of water and sponge to clean up the excess grout. (Obviously I wasn’t cleaning when I was taking pictures :))

Here are my buckets of water! Ready to clean!


Even though it has taken awhile to finish this project, it has been worth the wait. The floor looks so great with grout and it will look even better once we install the baseboard and finish off the edges. I’m looking forward to the return of our dining room furniture and seeing the complete look.

What else have we been up to lately? I started coupon clipping like crazy, but due to my lack of coupon organization, the first few trips to the grocery store did not go as well as I planned .  So to fix that, I made a trip to the Container Store to buy an inexpensive coupon organizer to help me in my coupon clipping endeavors.

You can see in the photo that my former carrying method was a ratty white envelope. It made it very difficult to find anything and the coupons kept spilling. It was a mess. Now our coupons are organized by date and hopefully this will allow future money-saving trips to the grocery store.

In the background of the coupon madness, you might have noticed our island center piece has a new look for the Easter season. Last Sunday, BJ and I attended Palm Sunday service and we brought home these palm leaves. I thought they would look nice in our center piece for the rest of Lent.

That’s all for tonight! Goodnight everyone!

The growing “to do” list

Our to do list is growing. In a recent post we shared our 2012 to do list. Since that post, the list has grown.

1. Cleaning/Organizing the garage
2. Cleaning/Organizing the laundry room and kitchen pantry
3. Towel rack projects for master and guest bathroom
4. Decorate the loft area
5. Continue decorating master bedroom
6. Design and create message center for the hallway by the garage
7. Build craft/sewing table
8. Organize computer cords

A few years ago, my grandmother gave me her old sewing machine and I haven’t had a chance to use it much. I would like to build a desk for our spare bedroom to work on sewing projects and put together crafts. A few months ago, an idea for the table popped into my head and I quickly jotted it down on a Post-it note.

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I’ve also started planning our hallway message center. I gathered a few ideas on Pinterest and added them to my New Year’s Resolution board.

I would like the center to be a way for BJ and I to write message to each other as well as post appointments, add items to grocery lists and store mail items to share such as cards and photos from family.

So as 2012 continues, we will keep adding to our to do list as we cross a few items off. And as a reader of this lovely blog, you will continue to see updates on our progress!

New Year’s Resolution Update: bathroom organization

I admit it. My resolution to blog more often is still a work in progress, but I am happy to report that we are going strong on the other two resolutions…

2012 New Year’s Resolutions:

1. Get organized (closets, bathrooms, laundry room and kitchen pantry)
2. Finish projects we started in 2011
3. Blog more often

My first resolution to get organized is under way. I started with my bathroom drawer and here is how it turned out:

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I took the blue flower pots I bought at Ikea and organized my bathroom items into groups. I’ve been using this method for about a week and it’s working really well. It’s easy to maintain and I think I can keep my drawer looking this good for awhile. Success!

I even organized the cabinet under my sink:

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I also started working on our master bedroom closet (pictures to come). After the holidays, our closet was a disaster zone. There were laundry baskets, bags and clothes everywhere. With a little cleaning, organizing and purging, it’s looking much better!

All this organizing and cleaning has made me a very busy, but happy girl. More details and photos to come.

BJ is also making progress on our crown molding. I will have more pictures of the closet and crown molding projects later this week!

Countdown to Thanksgiving: Last year’s lessons learned

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been busy organizing and preparing for Thanksgiving. This year, we are once again hosting a few of BJ’s family members for the holiday and weekend.

Last year was my first go at hosting Thanksgiving dinner for everyone and I learned a couple of valuable lessons. That is why I am keeping it simple this year. Simple menu, simple decorations, just simple. And aside from finishing up some of our home decor projects, I’ve been preparing the menu, getting ingredients together and making my lists.

Last Year’s Thanksgiving Dinner Lessons Learned:

1. Having someone else prepare the entire meal is not always a good idea.
We ordered our dinner from one of those grocery store specials where you pick everything up a day or two ahead of time and then it’s just heat and serve. It seemed perfect, but in the end, it left something to be desired. The turkey, gravy and apple pie were fantastic, but the other sides were awful. The stuffing was creamy (eww) and the green beans were in a casserole (not good for a girl who’s trying to eat better). Not to mention that the mashed potatoes weren’t that great either.

2. Heating and Serving + Cleaning = Running out of time
We were so busy last year that the cleaning was put off until right before everyone arrived. Thanksgiving morning, BJ and I got up early to start working on the food and finish cleaning the rest of the house (sweeping, mopping, cleaning bathrooms). Needless to say, we were still cleaning when our guests arrived. (And we missed most of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 😦 )

3. Pumpkin pies smell bad when you spill them on the oven and they burn.
Yep. That happened. For some reason, I thought that the pumpkin pie filling would be a little thicker than it was. When I went to slide the pies into the oven, I spilled one all over the oven door. Our house smelled like burnt marshmallow creme. Not to mention all this happened the morning of Thanksgiving. I was so relieved that it wasn’t super cold outside and we were able to open some windows and let the kitchen air out.

So after learning a few lessons last year, I’ve already started preparing for this year.

Since we had such great success with the turkey, we decided to take it one step further and let someone else prepare and heat the turkey for us! We are ordering a smoked turkey breast from one of the local barbecue places (leftover smoked turkey sandwiches anyone? Yum!).

I’m also keeping it simple with the sides and preparing my own. Since we are not having a large group of people, we can reduce the amount of leftovers that do not get eaten (as well as our cost) by making our own.

Here is our menu:

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Nothing too over the top. We are keeping it small and healthy. Also, someone else offered to make the pies and I graciously accepted their offer! No burnt pie smell! (insert happy dance)

Last year I didn’t have much time (I was working long hours) to decorate our table the way I wanted. But this year, since I’m getting a head start on my holiday preparations, I’m going to decorate our table for Thanksgiving. Like our menu, I’m going to keep it simple. I have some ideas in mind for how I would like it to look. Here are a few ideas I found on Pinterest:

If you want to see more of my Pinterest inspirations, visit my Pinterest boards at: http://pinterest.com/frmbyfrmstyle/

In addition to my Thanksgiving menu and table decorations, I’ve been putting together my Thanksgiving shopping list. That probably sounds overly organized, doesn’t it? But, remember my lessons learned? Another lesson I learned is, if you wait too close to Thanksgiving to buy cooking supplies, you will have to go from store to store to find all of your ingredients. Add that to the pumpkin pie fiasco from last year. So what better way to organize your list then with an App on your iPhone? Let’s just say, I love technology and I’m always looking for ways to incorporate its advances into my daily life. I found a really great App that lets you sort your list by category, email your list and the best part is that BJ and I each have the App on our phone and our own group name which allows us to share our grocery lists and update them from both of our phones. Very convenient.

Are you an iPhone User? Here is a link to the App on Apple’s Web site. Shopping List App. You can also download it straight to your phone. You want the full version for e-mailing, sharing and categorizing. If you happy with just adding a list to your phone, the free version would work for you.

Happy Thanksgiving planning everyone!