Another busy, yet accomplished weekend

These days it seems like every weekend is a busy one. However, this weekend was successful despite our busy schedule. So to catch you up on the past few days, I’ve spent most of the week calling home and working on projects around the house. Here are the highlights of this past week’s happenings:

1. The earthquake on the East Coast.

Since all of my family lives on the East Coast, I spent Tuesday evening sending text messages and calling home to my mom and dad to hear the stories of their experiences during the quake.

2. Hurricane Irene.

It’s been a crazy week for my friends and family on the East Coast. More phone calls home and watching the weather to see the path of the storm.

3. Despite the bad weather on the East Coast, it’s been a beautiful week here in the Midwest.

Although I hoped to get more work done outside in the beautiful weather, I’ve been spending some time indoors trying to get projects done and catch up on some cleaning, etc. Tonight is the first night we’ve opened up the windows since sometime in April or May. Zoey is so excited to see the windows open that she’s been running from room to room.


Yesterday, we got up in the morning, went to breakfast and then headed over to Borders’ going out of business sale. It’s sad to see places like Borders close. I’ve been frequenting the sale over the past few weeks buying up photography, decor and comic books.

In the realm of home decor, I found a couple of great buys for my mom on organizing and a few on home decor and Real Simple’s book on simple solutions:


After our trip to Borders, my husband and I hopped back in the car and headed to Ikea for the afternoon.

Earlier this week I signed up for Ikea Family and wanted to go pick up my new card and check out a few items that are on our project list. Our visit to Ikea was a successful one and we came home with a few new items for our home and even got to enjoy a few frozen yogurt for signing up for Ikea Family!

Our trips to Ikea not only end up with new stuff for our home, but we always leave with a better idea of what we might pick up on our next visit. This time we shopped for couches. Previously, we were set on the idea that we would be buying a different couch then the one we picked out this time. When we walked into the showroom on Saturday, this particular couch caught our eye:

We are looking for something that sits low to the floor (because our entertainment center, which is also from Ikea, has our TV sitting pretty low to the floor) and is large enough that when we have a guests over, everyone can find a place to sit to watch a football game, movie or play video games. Right now with one couch, most of our guest have to curl up on the floor with a pillow.
We really like the charcoal color they had in the showroom and since we have a palette of neutral colors in our home, my plan is to brighten up the couch with brightly colored throw pillows and blankets. I especially love this couch because it is so large and both BJ and I can curl up and watch a movie and be completely comfortable! Now we just need to do some measurements to see if it will fit in our living room. If not, there are plenty of configurations for this couch, so we can go with a smaller option.
And of course, a trip to Ikea isn’t complete without the adventure of figuring out how all of your purchases will fit in the trunk! This time, I thought for sure we would get everything in without a problem. Especially since we didn’t buy as much as we normally do. But, in perfect Ikea trip fashion, there we were standing at the car sweating it out because the shelves I picked out for my office didn’t fit even with the seats folded down. But no worries. We got it all in! And this is how we drove home:
Now that everything we bought is safely at home, here are the finished results of another successful trip to Ikea.
Hallway to garage and utility room before:
Hallway to garage and utility room after:
We also purchased a bench for shoes that we put in the kitchen which allows us to come in the garage door and have a place to sit down and take off our shoes. And it also serves as storage for our shoes. I can’t count the number of times I’ve tripped over my own shoes in that back hallway. I’m glad we now have a place to put them that is out of the path to the laundry room.
And lastly, coming soon will be a post on the finished project of adding shelves to the wall in my office! Look for that post in the future!

Home Decor Guilty Obsession #1: Crate and Barrel

It’s hasn’t been that long since I discovered Crate and Barrel and fell in love. After living in a small town for most of my life, I never came across a Crate and Barrel store. Not even in my trips to multiple big cities. Now I live only 45 minutes from Crate and Barrel and sometimes it takes serious willpower not to drive there and spend endless amounts of money. I love their modern yet comfortable furniture and their classic homewares. We have several accessories from there including vases, coasters, glass fish and picture frames. We also have kitchenwares such as beer mugs, champagne glasses, stemless martini glasses, pitcher and ice cube trays. BJ and I can go into a Crate and Barrel and spend hours just browsing the store. One of our favorite things to do is to look at all the fun toys on the kitchen gadget wall. We also browse the furniture upstairs and sit on nearly every couch in the store! Each time we go there, we usually come home with another decor piece or kitchen gadget. I would buy nearly everything in the Crate and Barrel store and that is why they made my list for Home Decor Guilty Obsessions.

Here are a few of my favorite Crate and Barrel finds:

These beautiful champagne glasses were given to us as a gift for our wedding.

The pitcher in the middle was also a wedding gift and the dark blue stemless martini glasses we found on sale during one of our visits to Crate and Barrel!

The heart-shaped bowl below was a gift from Crate and Barrel for creating our wedding registry there!
Crate and Barrel is also a great go-to place for wedding and Christmas gifts! I love buying gifts for friends and family. They also wrap the gifts in store in their fun white boxes.
There are Crate and Barrel stores all over, but my favorite one is definitely the store on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. One year, we went to Chicago to do some Christmas shopping and several of our gifts came from this very store! (It’s also down the street from where get got engaged! We went shopping there the same day BJ popped the question!)
Keep in an eye on future posts for more of my home decor guilty obsessions!

The kitchen island and a home for my wrapping paper photo frames

After we moved into our house and began unpacking all of our existing kitchen dishes and appliances and then added all of our wedding gifts on top of that, we quickly filled up every existing storage space in our kitchen. We had things crammed in our cabinets and we were constantly digging around and stuffing to get everything to fit. Most people would consider getting rid of some of their items, but not us. Our solution: build more storage so our appliances and dishes could be spread out around the kitchen. The result: our fabulous kitchen island, built by us! Well, all of the pieces are from Ikea and we designed and assembled the whole thing.

Our goal with the island was to not only increase our existing storage space, built also to have a big workspace for preparing meals and a place to entertain guests in our kitchen while we prepare meals. We also wanted a place where we could eat dinner in our kitchen, but we weren’t interested in the traditional dinette table. The unit is also freestanding which will allow us to take it with us if or when we move out (some disassembly required).

The color choice of the island, which is different from our existing cherry kitchen cabinets was to create a contrast between the dark wood and the white cabinets. We also wanted to brighten up the kitchen. The dark cabinet and dark floor needed something that would pop against them! We chose the butcher block counters for a couple of reasons. First, they look really nice with the white cabinets and second, they were much more cost effective then the granite countertops we originally picked out. Because the bar and the work surface were two different pieces, the cost of granite skyrocketed.

Here’s our progress as we put the island together:


Zoey was also very helpful during the assembly. She supervised the entire project.

Some of the other fun features of the island include, the hidden trash can…
The book shelve for cookbooks and decorations…
And the cabinets to display our drink ware (with lights installed!):
So lastly, you might have noticed the new home for my Beating the Heat DIY project. I was originally planning to hang the frames in the kitchen on the backsplash, but I changed my mind after tapping the frames up to see how they would look. I’m happy to report that they still look great in the kitchen. I placed them on a few of the counters and I really like how they look. I think they’ve found their new home… for awhile at least!
They really brighten up the kitchen!