Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Are you ready for this?

This is the biggest project we've done in a long time! We finally decided to tackle painting our master bedroom. Yes, we've lived in the house for about 9 months, but we've put this project off mostly because of the high ceiling (knowing it would be a pain in the booty). The other issue is that we are the most indecisive couple in the world, and we knew that whatever we did would be a huge commitment. If you would like to see some 'before' shots of this room, click here or here.

It all started with the vanity nook. I found this really cool birch tree wallpaper at Sherwin Williams a while back, and I thought it would be fun to hang the wallpaper behind the vanity. But, when I went back to buy it, it was almost $100 per roll! What? Oh my. Not only that, but I wanted to wallpaper like a 4' wide by 8' tall space, and would only need 32sf of paper. Not gonna happen.

It was then that I decided that we would take a different approach. We started thinking of possibly doing wood slats wrapping up to the ceiling, you may recall this nifty little sketch...

And then, after reading many blogs that have recently been in on this stencil craze, I found it. The Birch Forest Allover Stencil. It looked eerily similar to the wallpaper that I originally liked, and it was around $65 or so. It was at this point that I decided (as my friend Jennifer exclaimed this morning) GO BIG, OR GO HOME!

Next up, find a paint color that Brian and I could agree on. I turned to the room for inspiration on this, and with beige carpet, and cherry furniture, I knew I wanted something rich, but not brown. We have a single curtain panel that hangs in the room as well, and I love the mix of colors in it. I bought it a while back at World Market, and we are thinking we may need a second panel to fluff up the window a little..

Here's a swatch of it with the sun behind it. This may give you a better idea of the colors...

I have an app on my phone that is sponsored by PPG paints called The Voice of Color. Basically you open the app, choose 'select a color', take a photo of the colors you want to match, and voila! The app generates a list of paints that will match the colors of whatever it is that you want to match.

One of the colors that it generated for me was Polaris.

Funny enough, Brian and I agreed on the color right away! It was just the richness we were looking for.

And rather than just doing the wall behind the vanity (go big, or go home), we decided to do the largest wall in the room with the stencil, while painting the rest of the room with the solid blue-grey. The vanity nook would still be treated a little differently, just because we wanted to emphasize that wrapping wall. Therefore, since the trees were going to be China White, we decided to do the nook in China White as well.

After taping, caulking, and moving all the furniture to the center of the room, we started with the China White, since it needed time to dry before applying the stencil.

You can see the color difference from the white trim here.

Once that large wall and vanity nook was completed, we were able to move on to the other walls in Polaris.

The color looks pretty good with the curtain...

By the way, the color changes a bit in different lighting. Sometimes it looks really blue, sometimes really grey. 

The next day, we got started on the stencil, and while Brian helped me get it started, he moved on to the wall on the opposite side of the room, since we hadn't painted it the day before. This photo gives you an idea of the scale of the stencil. This is the first one...

You can see how we started at the bottom and worked our way up the wall.

There was a small register mark in each corner, so you were sure to align it perfectly.

At the edges, it required that I do some hand-painted fillers...

Also around the window frame...

Rudy even got in on the action...

Unfortunately, even after working on it ALL day Saturday and ALL day Sunday, we still didn't finish! So after work on Monday, we came home to do the last 5 sheets of the stencil. Only now we were at the most challenging (highest) point in the room AND we had to protect the white ceiling!

YES! We are done! Check it out in this morning's light shining in...

And here's the vanity nook...

One more shot of the accent wall...

Today, I emailed Cutting Edge Stencils to share some of the photos, and to let them know how happy I was with their product. Immediately I got a response, and they asked if they could post it to their Facebook contest. Depending on who gets the most 'likes', the winner gets a gift certificate for another stencil, so if you 'like' what you see, how about click on this Facebook Link and 'like' it! Thanks to Alicia who liked it even before I solicited everyone!

And if you want to order your own stencil (there are lots of patterns), please visit Cutting Edge Stencils (!

Monday, November 21, 2011


Hope you all had a great weekend! Ever have one of those Mondays that you feel like you didn't rest at all over the weekend? That's the kind of Monday I'm having. I'm exhausted! Brian and I spent pretty much the whole weekend working on something, and we still aren't finished with what we were doing, but hopefully tonight we'll finish it up! Once finished, I'll definitely be posting a big reveal!

I'll give you a hint, there were lots and lots of trees involved...

Otherwise, I finally got to see Moe's re-opened! Brian, Jeff, & Katie had all gone last weekend while I was out of town, but they were kind enough to go back with me. It looks awesome, and the BLT is still extraordinary. Saturday was depressing with the Tigers loss to NC State. Can't believe we dropped from #7 in the polls to #17, but hey, maybe we need to be the underdog going into this coming Saturday's game against those stinkin' Gamecocks. Fingers crossed that Columbia isn't a replay of Raleigh! And then, finally last night was the annual Friendsgiving at my friend Alicia's house, and it was great to catch up with everyone over delicious food and good wine. Always a good time!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Abby's birthday celebra[tion]

My stepsister Blair and her husband have been living in Albuquerque, New Mexico for what seemed like forever. She was doing her residency there, and a year ago they had a baby girl. Thankfully when her residency finished, they decided to move back to South Carolina, yay!

So for their daughter Abby's first birthday party, they went with a 'hot air balloon' theme in dedication of their old town of Albuquerque.

This is where the M&M's come in... my mom asked if I had any ideas for favors for the party, and I was so excited! This is totally my thing! I love creating any kind of invitation, or gift, or party favor, or really anything to do with parties, at all! So I set out to find the perfect idea for a favor. That is where I came across these awesome cups with a sticky rim, and my mind set to work on designing the card for them to go on!

I bought miniature M&M's, which were Brian's suggestion, and I spent what seemed like forever separating them out by color! Totally worth it.

The hot air balloon design came next, along with the saying... "Up, up, & away for Abby's 1st birthday!"

I was able to fit two cards on one 8-1/2x11 sheet of cardstock, and I had also purchased a hole punch that was the same size as the cups I'd bought. So once the cards were cut down to size, I punched the hole, stuck the cup through to the front (filled with candy), pulled off the protective film, and stuck the back to the inside of the card. 

They turned out really cute. I had big plans for them to stand up, but the candy was too heavy, so I decided to string a rope up, and hang them with clothespins, which made for a great decoration, as well.

The only problem, they were hanging in the sun, and some of them melted! There were lots of compliments, and all in all it was totally worth the effort!

Here are a few shots from the actual party...

The birthday girl!

And the cake... 

And the cutest hot air balloon decor, made from lanterns & take-out boxes...

Blair also made really cute table decorations that looked like hot air balloons with photos from each month of Abby's first year...

And of course, my sweet Ellie was there (& Allison too).

Here is one last look at the balloon favors. I must say that I'm looking forward to coming up with other fun things that I can do with the remainder of my cups! So fun!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


A few weeks ago, we were invited to dinner at a friend's house, and she proceeded to tell us about this 'meal plan' that she and her family had started on. That was our first taste of the recipes to come. The concept is basically a blog that you pay a subscription to (I think it's $5/month), and the girl will send you a month's worth of recipes to cook, complete with grocery lists and pairings.

The trick is that it is broken down by week. So the front side of the sheet is the grocery list for the week, as well as items that you should have in your pantry, and any bakeware that you may need. You then go to the store and get everything on the list! Once you are home with all your ingredients, you get right to work preparing the whole week's worth of meals.

I would like to say this is a quick process, but between assessing the cupboards, shopping, preparing, etc, it took a better part of a Sunday afternoon! We have only successfully attempted one full week so far, since we were out of town this past weekend, and didn't have the energy to move once we were home. But I have missed those meals this week! It is so nice to come home and know that I only have to pop something in the oven, or walk through the door to a crockpot meal!

I swear, the worst part about cooking for me, is having to think about what I'm going to prepare! Which is why this is such a great concept to me. Since all the meals were planned out already, and most of them were recipes I never would have attempted to make otherwise. I like the variety, and ease!

So what is this blog, you ask? Make 5 Dinners in One Hour

Genius, I tell ya!

Monday, November 14, 2011


Did you think I'd fallen off the face of the Earth? I guess I kind of did. It was a week like no other last week, which is why it has been a solid 7 days since I last wrote. And honestly, I should be working right now, since I have a deadline tomorrow, but I thought I'd take a little break and do some much needed blogging!

I'm not sure how many of you know about my love for Chris Robinson? He is the lead singer of the Black Crowes, and from the time I was 14 until some time in my 20's, I thought this was my soul mate, the man that I was meant to spend the rest of my life with. About the time Kate Hudson came on the scene, is when my dreams were crushed, and even though Kate gave up on him, I'm still here. He is one of those performers that was obviously born to be on stage. He has presence. He has attitude. He is a rock star.

Chris Robinson Brotherhood, which is the name of his new solo project, were in Charleston for a two-night stint at the Pour House, and we refrained and only bought tickets for the second night, which was this past Friday. It's probably a good thing that we limited ourselves, considering the week we had at work. But just knowing he was in my town, literally down the street from where I was, was satisfying in itself.

I can't recall how many times that I've seen him (too many to count), whether it be with the Black Crowes or New Earth Mud, and now the Brotherhood. But one thing's for sure, he never ever disappoints.

We learned through emails and Facebook that the show was sold out, and to get there early, and that they were even opening a third bar, which is rare. There would be no opening band, and doors open at 8pm. Normally, we don't show up to the Pour House until at least 10pm because no band ever starts any earlier than that. This time however, we arrived at 9:30 to a semi-packed house, we settled into a spot near the stage, and waited with the beers we'd grabbed. By the time the band started we had had another round, since it was probably 10:30 or so before they went on.

I think I smiled the entire show. The whole time. Perma-grin.

I was also trying to make mental notes the entire show, focusing on what he was wearing, the songs he was singing, and all the little details that I wanted to remember. The strange thing was that he sounded better than anyone else I've ever seen there. Coincidence? I think not. His voice was crystal clear, like listening to a cd. And the truly funny thing, was that I didn't know ANY of the songs in the first set, and only 1 song in the second set that was from New Earth Mud, called Sunday Sound. He also covered Elvis' Blue Suede Shoes, which was interesting!

I didn't care what he played, it was all good in his bluesy, soul searching, deep kind of way. After the first set, we made our way to the stage and were able to snag setlist from one of the band members. We stayed in that spot the remainder of the show. Right there, with our drinks sitting on the stage, and Chris not but about 5 to 8 feet from me. At one point the keyboardist (who was right next to us) played a solo, and at the end I actually high-fived him! Too hilarious!

Afterwards, I stole a show poster off the wall, and proceeded to try to get the bands autographs... I was only successful with the drummer George Sluppick and the bassist Mark Dutton. The others were off to the tour bus. I waited around outside for a while, but with no luck. Oh well, it was enough to be in their presence for a couple of hours!

Even though we are both happily married now, I like to imagine that this is the
moment where he discovers me there, in the audience... 

We left the Pour House and made our usual stop at the Waffle House for my smothered, covered, diced, and chunked hashbrowns. This is where I proceeded to write down a list of all the things I wanted to remember about the night. Yes, this is the dork that I am.

Are you a fan of the Black Crowes? Have a favorite song by them? Or album? Who is your favorite band?