Ho ho ho!

Wishing you a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year to you and yours :)

Finally, I am satisfied!

Have you ever had one of those rooms that you just can't figure out what to do with? The guest room has been that room for me for the past 4 years. First it was just a den with a futon, and I painted it yellow not long after we bought the house. Not pretty. Over the next few years, I painted it the blue/green that it is now, hung drapes that my mom got for us, brought in the vintage pink metal desk, and put an iron headboard on the bed. All seemingly good improvements, but the room still just felt like a sad mix of random things shoved in a room. I toyed with the idea of painting the walls for a 3rd time, but eventually decided that it wouldn't work with the drapes, and it wasn't an option to remove them because they had been such a generous gift from my mom.

So a couple months ago my friend Stacy was over and I was complaining about the guest room...telling her all my ideas and how none of them felt right. I had been obsessing over it for so long that I needed a fresh perspective. She said that the biggest problem in the room wasn't the wall color or the drapes - it was that the room had no focal point. DING DING! She hit the nail on the head. Because this is a guest room, she suggested that I make the bed the focal
point and really go all out on it, and that's what I did!

I already had the Missoni zig zag pillows from Target...something I bought on that frenzied day that the collection was released as a consolation for the zig zag throw I really wanted being sold out at both Target locations I went to. And now I'm happy I didn't get that throw because I like this so much more.

Then I ordered the chevron duvet cover from West Elm and had to wait 2 months for it to arrive because it was on backorder. Super frustrating but well worth the wait. The throw is something I got at a friend's yard sale last year. The funny thing about that is I bought a total of 7 throws trying to find the right one and it ended up being one I already had!

The next big change was the headboard. I painted the one I had I think 4 or 5 different colors, finally settling on oil rubbed bronze. After having it up in the room for a few weeks, I realized it didn't matter what color it was...it was too ornate for the room.

So off I went to find a new one. I ended up buying a brass headboard for $10 at the Habitat for Humanity thrift store and painting it charcoal grey.

I freaked out when I brought it in after priming and painting it only to realize that it didn't fit on the bed frame, but a few weeks later I rigged it with a piece of wood painted the same grey and it works great.

The lamps are vintage pink ceramic lamps I got on Ebay, and the shades were $9 each on clearance at Kirkland's.

I like how they are a subtle nod to the pink desk without being in your face pink (just like the desk). I discovered that its hard to find pink stuff that doesn't scream baby girl's room.

I also picked up another vintage lamp for the dresser and organized my jewelry in my grandmother's old jewelry box. I never posted pictures of that part of the room because my jewelry was all over the place and the lamp was ugly and sitting on a box because it was too short. It also had a binder clip on it to keep a piece of fabric over the shade. Classy! :)

Finally (and this happened yesterday), I found an awesome set of Syroco flower wall hangings from 1964 that are the cherry on top of the bed. I LOVE them. They add even more drama to the bed, and they tie in the color of the drapes.

And that's it! Again, a big thank you to Stacy for helping me figure this room out. I really don't think I could have done it without you! I'm so glad to finally feel content with the room, and now I'm ready to have a house guest over to enjoy it. So...who's it gonna be?? :)

Thanksgiving 2011

This year Seth and I hosted Thanksgiving at our house and it was so much fun! We had green bean almondine, whole wheat couscous with cranberries and pecans, and wine...

...deviled eggs, Parmesan crusted butternut squash, roasted broccoli with pine nuts, turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes...

...and of course a fake turkey for me and Seth (a Quorn Turk'y roasted in the oven with olive oil, sage, and s&p).

My sister Lana was a huge help in the kitchen, as was my sweet mom.

I was in the kitchen cooking from 9:30am until 2:30pm, and I loved every minute of it.

I love Christmas, but I might just have to pick Thanksgiving as my favorite holiday. Its just hard to beat a full day of cooking, eating, being together, and remembering all the people I have in my life to be thankful for!

Thoughts on stuff

Every day this week I have been day dreaming about going home and getting rid of a bunch of stuff, and every night I get home, cook dinner, and then realize that I just don't have the energy to start a project like that a few hours before its time to hit the sack. Its frustrating having to wait until the weekend to do a lot of things, and I worry that by the time the weekend arrives, I will have lost my motivation (which happens alllll the time). But I really hope I don't lose my motivation this time...I feel such a strong urge to purge! Not that I'm a pack rat or a dreaded hoarder, but I still want to have less. I want to open a closet or a drawer and see unused space, and I want to know that there is nothing under the bed. Wish me luck this weekend!

And on an unrelated note, the guest room redo is really coming together! The duvet cover should arrive in a few weeks (stupid back order), I found vintage lamps for the bedside tables and for my dresser, and the bed frame has been spray painted oil-rubbed bronze. One day I'd love to replace that bed with something simpler, but for now it works. Here's a (very small) sneak peek:

One of these lamps will go on my dresser in front of the mirror. It is the perfect size, the pale pink references the pink metal desk, but mostly I'm happy about the deal I got. I've had my eye on these lamps for almost 5 years but they were too pricey at $75, and they finally went on sale! Sometimes it pays to be patient :)

Basil Hummus

Its supposed to frost this weekend, so I figured I better use up the rest of the basil from the garden before it was too late. Since I'm trying to stay away from cheese these days, pesto wasn't an option, so I opted for basil hummus instead.

I didn't have the full 2 cups of basil that the recipe called for, plus my food processor is one of those crappy attachments for my blender, so it didn't turn out the way it was probably supposed to (not green and much thicker). But it sure does taste good!


Its no secret to my close friends that I became mildly obsessed with Beyonce's Single Ladies video. I'm not normally a get-obsessed-with-videos kind of person, nor am I a Beyonce freak. But come on, that video was amazing! And now I'm obsessed with her new one.

Can you blame me? :)

outdoor activities

Decided that I needed some dark brown on my toes for fall and some sparkles on my fingers just because.

yummy fall cooking

I am incapable of roasting a normal amount of veggies for two people.

Same goes for soup beans in the crock pot.

Good thing we love leftovers! :)

new project...gone awry

Today/tonight I painted the metal bed in the guest room 4 times. After all that work I am still not happy with it and I'm suuuuuper frustrated. I can't seem to come up with the right color combo! So I'm begging for some input. Here's what I've tried so far.

This is the "before"

1st attempt. Tried to pull in the pink/coral color from the zig zag pillows that you'll see later on in the post, and also tried to tie in the black from the rest of the room (inspired by this):

All I can say is...yuck.

2nd attempt. Decided to use a pale pink on the bottom and the coral that I previously used on the bottom on the top.

Better, but still not great.

3rd attempt. Left the pale pink on the bottom but tried a muddy version of that pink on the top.

Luckily I realized pretty quickly that this wasn't going to work so I stopped. Its not that it looked bad with the pale pink...it just didn't relate to anything else in the room. Felt random.

4th attempt. I tried to bring in the color of the drapes (sorry for the crappy picture...its night now and I didn't want to use a flash).

This reminds me of a fire hydrant and valentines day.

See what I mean? Arg.

So at this point I'm either hoping someone will come up with a brilliant color combo in the comments, or I'm just going to paint the bed 1 color and be done with it. In that case, I'm thinking it should either be pale pink or a much grey-er version of the red that's there now. I'm leaning towards pink. Or, maybe I'll just spray paint it oil rubbed bronze, which reads as black but has more dimension than just a straight black. There's already so much going on in the room..it might be nice if the bed is more neutral. Thoughts?

Oh, and in case you're new to the blog, I have a pale pink metal desk on the other side of the room (that's why I keep trying to tie it in with the bed).

UPDATE: Now that I see the painted bed in the daylight, its pretty clear to me that it doesn't need to be a color. It just competes too much with the wall color and everything else going on around it. I guess I'll be spray painting it oil rubbed bronze!

Exciting news

My kitchen is in the new book, Design*Sponge at Home!!

I've been reading the blog Design*Sponge for years now, so when the author, Grace Bonney, announced that she was publishing a book, I was so excited! I pre-ordered it months ago and yesterday it finally arrived in the mail (by the way, isn't the cover so pretty??). I was flipping through last night and there it was: Libby's Kitchen.

I can't believe it! The author had asked for before & after submissions on her blog maybe a year ago or something, and I sent in every DIY project I've ever done. She asked for better pictures of my kitchen, so my friend and photographer Mike came over for a photo shoot. I sent them to Grace and she thanked me for the pictures, and that was the end of it. She certainly didn't say anything about it being chosen for the book, so I just assumed it hadn't been chosen. So that's why I was so surprised to see my little yellow kitchen on page 347 in the Before & After section of the book!

YEA! So exciting :) And regardless of the fact that my kitchen is in it, you really should get this book. Its beautifully done and has almost 400 pages of homes, DIY projects and before and afters to inspire you.

the beach

aka. The Best Place On Earth

my happy place

last night on the beach...stayed from noon until 9pm

riding the wave, man

arr, matey!

I avoid the sun in my "hut"...

...Seth worships the sun

just chillin'

a fish out of water

couldn't be happier to be back at the beach together

my favorite picture, maybe ever.

Two projects, long overdue

Today I tackled two very easy projects that I should have done, oh, 4 years ago when we moved in. Especially the first one. This was the state of our mailbox this morning:

To say that it needed to be replaced is a staggering understatement. The red flag was pretty much impossible to lift up and down, and the thing wasn't even attached to the post!

I had originally intended to scrape the paint off and spray paint it to look new, but it was just too rotten. So I picked up a brand new metal mailbox at Lowe's for $17 and set to work. Because of the old post set up, I couldn't drill the piece of wood used to attach the mailbox to the base (it is meant for wood posts), so I had to rig it a little. I slathered the part of the post that touches the mailbox with epoxy and hoped for the best. I still don't know if it will work (it takes 24 hours to cure), so keep your fingers crossed for me! It sure does look a little nicer, though, and I KNOW the mail carrier will appreciate a mailbox that doesn't fall off the post every time s/he opens the door.

Next I tackled the really ugly house numbers above the breezeway door.

Yikes. I debated a few options, but ultimately decided to paint the wood plaque and attach new metal letters. I looked through all my half full cans of paint and decided on a light brown color. I really like different shades of brown together, plus I thought it would play off the color of the Crab Orchard stone that covers the house.

I picked up inexpensive numbers from Home Depot and that was it! Oh, and I put a coat of varnish on the wood before installing the numbers just to make it last longer. It not a huge change, but I do think it looks a whole lot nicer than it did before.

Note: Sorry about the weird pixelating of the house numbers...I just felt weird about posting them on the internet.