Thursday, January 30, 2014

Kitchen Accessories

I've added a few tiny touches to our kitchen recently. What to see?
I picked up this cut little plant at the grocery store last week and was pleasantly surprised when it fit perfectly in opening of my white pitcher. Here's a helpful hint, stuff the bottom of the pitcher with plastic grocery sacks to "fill" the inside and give the flower pot a place to "sit."

Next up, the mercury glass candle. It's my all-time favorite! 
It's Volcano by Capri Blue and the above blue container is how it's best known. If you've ever step foot in the doors of Anthropologie then you know this amazing scent, "tropical fruits and sugared citrus" to be exact. Love it, love it! 

It was only recently that I realized it came in various other containers. This one's a cutie and would make a great hostess gift or "thinking of you" gift.
I burn mine every morning. I love the cozy atmosphere it creates while everyone in the house is starting to open their eyes.

In this next picture you'll notice my new favorite triad that sits happily next to the kitchen sink. This hand soap/dish soap/counter cleaner was a Christmas gift that quickly became a staple in my book after the first use.
 I so rudely asked the gift giver where she purchased it because I knew refills were a must. If you're like me and wash your hands a million constantly, then it should certainly be a product that pleases your sniffer too, right?
These goodies came from Target. I like the Citron Ginger but according to my friend, the Hibiscus Yuzu is a keeper too.

So friends, do you have any favorite smells in the kitchen (beside your delicious cooking of course)?

Friday, January 24, 2014

I was intimidated to walk in the store...

Since I'm the queen of trying to score a good deal, I often find myself intimidated to even walk in certain stores. If I judge the book by its cover and it doesn't look like it has a great sale section, then I simply don't go in. Why temp yourself right?

Last week I happened to notice a giant 80% off sign in a local rug store and immediately it was on my radar. This is one of those stores I typically avoid. It looked uppity and I was not wanting to deal with a high pressure salesman, but 80% off...

Just to show you what I'm talking about, here's the image from the store's homepage. Fancy. Totally looks like a place I'd shop, right? If you know me at all, you're saying "Yeah right, Dana!"

Anyway, I put my best defenses up and walked right into the store ready to see the 80% off steals. Ah, man, it's totally one of those places where the guys work their tails off lugging these super heavy rugs back and forth then you feel so guilty that you've given them their workout for the week that you're not sure what to do! 
Well, as I was helping build Ben's biceps (he's the owner) we began to chat. It turns out he's a ridiculously nice man who has a passion for selling rugs, good rugs. My defenses began to fall. Okay, yes, you can put that one into my car.  What?! It's not 80% off?! Wouldn't you know it, I fell for the trick! The 'ole bait and switch. 

Well, that's not entirely true. He never made me think the rug was 80% off, he was great at asking my price range, what I was looking for, then only showed me the ones I could afford. He didn't try to up-sale me once! No pressure at all.

So, the rug came to live in my dining room for a few days while I gave it a test run...
Then I decided it was time for the walk of shame back into the store for me to totally offend Ben and tell him I didn't like his rug. Okay, so that's not really how it went down. I returned the rug, told him how it's beautiful but not the one I have my heart set on. He questioned me further and I shared my sob story about seeing "the one" on craigslist, deciding to wait on it because it was Christmas time and I needed to buy presents instead of rugs. Then I promptly preceded to lose the guy's phone number and can't find the listing anymore. Darn!

The owner then shocked me by telling me he knew exactly who I was talking about (the CL seller), pulled out his phone and called the guy! Yes, he was calling his competitor for me to see if the rug was still available. Who does that?!

Well, I'd love to tell you that this story has a happy rug ending but it doesn't. "The" rug was/is still available but my frugal side kicked in before I actually made it to his house. I realized I was so wrapped up in "the look" that I was about to spend far more than I should and even though it's a high quality rug, it just doesn't make sense for me to buy at this time.

So, the moral of my story is very cliche...don't judge a book by its cover. Go ahead and walk into that store that looks intimidating. You never know what or who you may meet or find. I guarantee you I will be returning to Ben's store and hope to bring him lots of business through local clients. All because of some random kindness he was willing to shower down unexpectedly.

Look below at what Ben has to offer in his beautiful store. I, once again, made the wrong assumption and thought he only sold very traditional rugs. But, oh no, since I was brave enough to walk through the doors I quickly learned there are some contemporary beauties mixed in as well.

If you live in the Dallas/Ft.Worth area, make sure you put Shabahang Empire Rugs on your list of stores to visit. And, when you go, make sure you tell him Dana sent you!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Check out what I used as a rug pad...

This cute little rug came to live with us last week but its slippin' and a slidin' wasn't greeted with much enthusiasm from the feet that were passing through. I knew a rug pad was a must.

As I was standing in Homegoods with a rug pad in hand, it hit me that I still had a large roll of shelf liner left over. I began to wonder if it'd work since essentially I just needed something with a little grip. This rug is soft on it's own so padding wasn't a priority in this situation, only the non-slid part. I went home and tried it out...

I'm happy to report that it works like a charm! No more slippin' and slidin', just a rug that knows its place.

Now, rug pads aren't typically expensive but in my book if I can save a few pennies and reuse something I already own, then it's definitely the route to take. What about you? Have you found a non-traditional use for something lately? Do enlighten us please so we can all benefit from your thriftiness!

**Thanks for all the prayers in response to yesterday's post. I love your kind hearts! I'm happy to report that Alyssa's surgery went "beautifully," but the tumor was indeed malignant as suspected. She's currently in ICU but doing great according to her family. They have a long road ahead of them so please continue to keep them in your heart.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Random Act of Kindness...Will you join me?

I haven't done a RAK post in a long time, but today I'm asking you to join me in one for a sweet little girl. This morning at 7am, Alyssa went in for brain surgery to remove a tumor on her brain. She's a friend of Bryn's and this one is hitting awfully close to home.
Her sweet momma, also in the picture, has had the most difficult battle with cancer out of anyone I know. Not only has she fought off this monster of a disease personally, but she's lost her twin sister and both parents to it as well. She's now facing "her worst nightmare" as she's staring cancer in the face yet again.

So, even though you may not know them personally, you can still touch their lives by stopping what you're doing right this very second and pass on a RAK through prayer. Thank you, friends.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Graphic wall treatment (Before and Progress)

One wall down and one to go! I'll wait here while the impatient people go ahead and scroll through the pictures...go ahead...I'll wait.
Okay, now that you've (most of you anyway) scrolled to see the after shot, I'll fill you in on some of the details. ;) First of all, we used MDF because it's relatively inexpensive and it's paintable. The fact that it cuts clean and doesn't require sanding on the edges is a bonus too.

John used the nail gun to attach the pieces then I went back and filled the holes with DAP. You can find it here. This gives the pieces a smooth look by making the holes 'disappear' when you paint. I primed each piece with Kilz Latex Primer since mdf is porous and soaks up your paint pretty fast. This helped keep costs down since only one coat of paint is required after priming.

Then came the caulk. That's a tedious job, let me tell ya! It's necessary though. You can see in the above image the difference between using it and not. It gives a finished look that makes your project look like pros did it. Make sure you buy caulk that's paintable though!

I painted the pieces to blend with the wall so it became an architectural piece instead of a high contrast piece. With the busy pattern I figured matching the wall was the best option. I did switch to a high gloss finish though so there'd be a tiny bit of differentiation (only noticeable in person). 

Here you can see how it stands off the wall. We decided to go with 3/4" mdf to add a little depth. 

Here's where we started...
This shot was shortly after moving in and shows the previous owners' paint choices.

After (in progress):
If you're observant, you noticed the painters tape hanging out on the left hand side. That's part of John's measuring guide. We left it up so he can move onto the next side asap. (*wink, wink, honey, if you're reading*) Poor thing, he honestly tried to talk me into just one wall but his stubborn wife wasn't having any of it!

So, as you can see, the plan is to wrap the pattern around the edge and complete one more wall!

If you're wondering why were only covering 2 walls and not all 3, it's because the 3rd wall extends to all the way up to the second floor. I want to leave a place for your eye to rest as it transitions into the dining room. A colorful oversized piece of art would be awesome here...keeping my eye out.

Are you seeing a trend here? I loved our other diamond wall so much that I just had to incorporate something similar into this house. Couldn't do the same thing though, that'd be boring! It's all about keeping things fresh and new.

Feel free to leave John a word of encouragement to keep up the momentum and knock out that second wall sooner than later. ha!
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