Tuesday, November 22, 2011

DIY corkboard

Now hanging in my kitchen: This adorable wine cork board!

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I won't go through the tutorial since Newlyweds Next Door already provided a great one (<-- click that to see it) that I followed (Thanks K!).

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Just wanted to share my creation. I love it for this wall.

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I didn't have to buy anything but the glue sticks for the hot glue gun. The frame is from our wedding reception (I painted it gold for that - which I blogged about here):


The corks were mostly collected by me over several years... my mom also gave me about a dozen to complete the board.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

House tour: Hall bathroom

This is probably the room that's closest to being done, which is exciting. Reminder of "before" bathroom:

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Since moving in, we've:
  • Replaced the nasty old cracked toilet seat that actually pinched your bootie (this alone transformed the room)
  • Added a shower curtain and rod
  • Replaced the fug laminate countertop with marble, which included a new sink and faucet too
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Please excuse the awkward angle taken standing on the tub; it's a very small room!

We're almost done! All that we are planning to do in the near future is add cabinet hardware and replace the light fixture.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

House tour: Kitchen

Our kitchen has improved 100% in aesthetics and functionality in the past few months! As a reminder, here's the kitchen before we moved in:




And here she is today:








The changes I told you about a few months ago are coming along! So far, here's what we've done in the kitchen since moving in:
  • Added the fridge
  • Added the island
  • Installed an under cabinet wine rack and magnetic knife rack
  • Replaced the old blue horizontal blinds with bamboo roman shades
  • Installed hooks for storage by the door
  • Had granite countertop installed
  • Replaced the sink and faucet
  • Painted the walls
Here's what we plan to do next:
  • Add a backsplash
  • Replace the linoleum floor with tile
  • Replace the lighting fixtures

Thursday, October 27, 2011

House tour: Dining room

I owe this little blog some updates. I apologize - everything comes along so slowly and I wanted to have amazing "after" pictures to share... but that clearly won't be for a while! So my goal in the near future is to give you an "in progress" house tour. Starting with the dining room. First, here's a reminder of the dining room when we bought the house:




And here it is today:






What we've done so far:
  • Painted the walls
  • Added the bamboo roman shade to the window
  • Bought a new dining set
Upcoming plans for this room:
  • Add art on the walls
  • Buy a buffet/sideboard for under the window
  • Stain the supports under the granite bar to match the cabinets
  • Add curtains for both the window and the sliding glass door
  • Replace the carpet with tile flooring
  • I want to do something to make the back of the kitchen cabinets less of an eyesore - I just don't know what!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Meal Plan Monday 10/10

Monday: Chipotle-esque burrito bowls with cilantro lime rice, Cuban black beans and salsa chicken

Tuesday: Beer cheese soup

Wednesday: Pasta with meatballs left over from our housewarming party

Thursday: Pulled pork left over from our housewarming party

Friday: Chicken spaghetti

Saturday: Chili

Sunday: Out with friends

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Family photo wall

I've wanted a collage/family photo wall for years and I'm so happy that I now have one! Check out this fabulousness:


  1. Little husband as a baby, circa 1979/80
  2. The only frame left to fill...
  3. My family at Volcano National Park in Hawaii, 2008
  4. Wedding photo, 2010
  5. James and one of his nieces
  6. James and his other niece
  7. My dad (the youngest), aunts and uncle, circa 1957
  8. Baby husband and his mom, circa 1981
  9. Another of our favorite wedding photos, 2010
  10. Baby me, circa 1988
To find the arrangement I wanted, I laid out all the frames on the floor before beginning anything. It took a few days of changing things around (Actually the idea started out being a mix of black and white photography/art and B/W family photos. Then it evolved into a combo of B/W and color family photos only).


I got this little tip from Young House Love - cut out newspaper in the sizes of the frames and tape them to the wall to help gauge where things should be positioned.


That helped to avoid putting too many holes in the wall, deciding a frame was in the wrong place, and having to make another hole. There was at least one or two of those, but instances were severely limited thanks to this handy dandy idea! Many of them I actually nailed right through the newspaper that was still on the wall, then just tore it away.

Here's what the wall looked like at first. You can see that most of the frames were empty and some were mismatched.


I thought about painting all the frames one color, but it turned out that I didn't mind the variation. I just wanted them to be a little more unified, so it was decided that they'd all be black, metallic or very dark brown.

This only required me to paint three of the lighter wood tone ones black. I just spray painted out back, over a box so I didn't get the grass. Easy peasy :)

I had the remaining photos printed by Walgreens and Shutterfly. I still have one more small one to get enlarged so it can go in frame 2. Here's how the wall looks today...



It's in the hallway between all the bedrooms and bathrooms. Here's the view from the living room...


I love how this turned out! I spent very little money on it because I'd been collecting the frames for a while - most were gifts and some were repurposed. The biggest expense was getting the larger images printed (The most expensive was image 9, around $12. Number 4 was included in our wedding photography package).

Friday, October 7, 2011

Housewarming party menu

Our housewarming party was a success! Unfortch, I was too busy hosting and having fun to take any photos, but it was great. We had over 20 guests check out our casa, including my family, hubby's family, our friends and a neighbor! Here's what I served.

  • Pulled pork (in a crock pot) with buns. I made almost 8 lbs. and 2 or 3 lbs. were left over at the end of the night. I don't mind though - it freezes great and is still delish next time I want some :)
  • Meatballs (in a crock pot). I used this recipe but with 3 lbs. of frozen meatballs.
  • Cheese and meat tray with pepperoni, salami, chipotle jack, gouda and smoked cheeses.
  • Veggie tray with olives, broccoli, carrots, cucumber and hummus.
  • Spinach dip in a sourdough bread bowl.
  • Tortellini salad (the bag mix from Costco).
  • Mini cheesecakes - adorable with cherries on top! I made waaaay too many though.
  • Death by chocolate cookies - my mom provided these!
  • Soda, water bottles, red wine, beer and champagne punch.
I'm so glad that we held this celebration because I just love planning and hosting parties! Next one will be either Thanksgiving or our second annual tacky holiday sweater party!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Meal Plan Monday 9/26

I finally have time to plan meals around our Farm Fresh To You delivery, which is nice. I'm sad to say that some items have gone to waste in past weeks when I just didn't have time to cook a new meal, but I have plans for each item we received on Friday.

Sunday (Last night - I'm including it because it was super yummy): Goat cheese & arugula over penne

Monday: Homemade pizza


Wednesday: Tilapia & Moroccan carrots

Thursday: Out with friends at Chicago Fire

Friday: Not sure yet

Saturday: Family BBQ

Sunday: Housewarming party!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

In the past month...

1. James' sister and nieces came to visit from Washington. We had a lot of family visiting time with them and others from our area - very fun!


2. We had new counters installed in our kitchen and both bathrooms! I really, really need to get around to doing an updated house tour.
3. We went to two Giants games - one with my family and one with my coworkers.


4. I finally completed our wedding album and ordered it from Shutterfly, just in time for our anniversary! I'm a little disappointed in the quality, but not sure that I care enough to do anything about it.

5. We celebrated our first wedding anniversary in Santa Cruz. It was lovely - the best part was our sailing trip on the Chardonnay II. We saw a whale and dolphins, drank wine (chardonnay, naturally) and met another couple that was also celebrating their anniversary and also got married at Lighthouse Point - just a year earlier than us! I told the captain my name and he said I was the first passenger named Chardonnay that he'd had :)



Free anniversary cake from Hoffman's Bakery

The view from our private balcony at the Babbling Brook Inn
6. I've been busy planning our housewarming party, which is October 2. Should be a good time!

7. Finally, BIG NEWS: I quit my job!! This was a huge decision and something I had never done... I quit without having another job lined up (Other than the time I quit my high school job to move away to college, of course). I had not been unemployed for a single day since the age of 18. I'm lucky to have a husband with a job, so I was able to do this. It was the best decision for me. I didn't like the work, I didn't like the way I was treated, so what's the point? It's a strange position for me to be in - one that I'm not used to. But I know that it was the best decision for me.

I'm going to try to get a house tour put together in the near future, and pick up blogging in general. Trouble is that lately I do NOT feel like sitting in front of a computer, and have no motivation to blog about life... I hope I get inspired soon!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Anniversary plans

We're coming up on one year of marriage - wow! A lot has happened and on one hand it flew by, but on the other hand 9/18/10 seems like so long ago. We've been planning a weekend back in Santa Cruz for a few months and we're so excited to go back and celebrate one year of wedded bliss ♥

Our weekend getaway plans include...

Staying at the Babbling Brook Inn, where we have a room with a fireplace, private deck and hot tub (We've never been to this inn before. It's pricey but this is the perfect excuse!)



A picnic at Lighthouse Point, the beautiful location where we said our vows last year.



Heading to Hoffman's Bakery - the bakery that provided our wedding cake - for our free anniversary cake. Oh heck yes we're cashing in on that!


A lunch or dinner at Kianti's, which catered our rehearsal dinner.


Sailing on the Chardonnay charter sailboat - we planned to do this on our honeymoon last year but they cancelled it last minute. I'm super excited to step foot on my namesake boat, haha.


Dinner at Michael's on Main, the restaurant that hosted our reception (Hopefully we can eat on the back deck where our party was held).


Hmmm most of these seem to revolve around eating :P Our vacations are often go-go-go, see everything and walk many miles. For this trip we're going to try and take it easy and relax! Can't wait!

P.S. If you want to see lots and lots of photos from our wedding weekend, check out the "Our Wedding" tab at the top of the page.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Kitchen design inspiration

Our kitchen has a lot of changes coming to it!

Original kitchen before we moved in

Phase 1 has already begun - we added a fabulous island (this one if you're interested)!


Yep, we ordered it online, sight unseen. Nothing we could find in any store was the right size, colors or price. It came in boxes and we took an evening to assemble it. It's made our kitchen so much more functional!! Not to mention pretty.

Next we will be installing a new granite countertop (currently blue laminate - stylish, no?) and sink/faucet - we hate the current ones, especially the sink! It's so not functional because the side with the garbage disposal is teeny tiny. So inconvenient for rinsing dishes.


We've also replaced those blue blinds with bamboo roman shades (Purchased from Lowes, where they'll custom cut the width for you for free).


Once the counter is replaced, we'll be painting and getting new light fixtures as Phase 2.

And sometime after that, Phase 3 will entail a new tile floor (through to the dining room too, which currently has carpet) and a backsplash.

Here's a big picture look at the overall design of the room. It was really helpful to me in seeing how it will all come together and making sure that the materials complement each other! (Click the image to see it larger)

  1. Cabinet color (I can see someday painting the cabinets white, but that's not a priority any time soon)
  2. Faucet we're planning to order (Well actually we're not completely decided but we like this one and this one)
  3. Our range - all appliances are white
  4. The island we added
  5. The granite counter we've selected - "Persa Antique"
  6. The tile on the floor will be similar to this color and "hopscotch" pattern
  7. Paint color will be something like this green - the specific shade hasn't been narrowed down yet