04/08/2013

Half-Bath Reveal

Finally after a couple months, our ‘weekend’ project is finally ready to reveal!  It was hard to take decent pictures in such a small space, but I wanted to make sure I shared the final results with all of you.  Without further ado, here is our completed half-bathroom remodel:

Before:

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Progress:

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back wall collage

Accessories:

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mirror and towels

After:

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There it is!  The only piece we are still missing is a picture or two for the wall, but I haven’t found anything I love yet and I do not want to settle on something that is just okay.  I also am going to make a Mason Jar soap pump to sit on the countertop.  As you can see, we made subtle and cost-effective changes, but I really think they made a world of difference.  A few of the biggest changes we made was painting the walls all Behr Linen White, painted the countertop using a restoration kit, created a rustic look on the cabinets using steel wool, spray painted the existing light fixture a stainless steel color, and purchased all new accessories from Home Goods.  I didn’t keep a tab of the total cost transformation, but it couldn’t have been much more than $300-$400 in total since we kept a lot of the large pieces like the vanity, toilet, and sink.  Big changes on a small budget is what we were shooting for and I think we met our goal well!

Talk to Me!

  • What room in your house are you wanting to remodel?  Or, what room have you recently remodeled?
  • Do you prefer to purchase fix-it-up homes that need a little TLC, or fully finished ones completed by the previous owner?
04/05/2013

Tips for Workplace Positivity

Whether you’re a teacher or a barista, a salesman, lawyer or even a full-time blogger, I am sure there are moments in every occupation when the job feels less than satisfying, or even downright stressful. During those times is when it is more important than ever to pull yourself up by your boot straps and keep moving forward. Questioning how or why you ended up in your current position will never resonate into a simple answer, but will only allow for second guessing and wishing for do-overs, which can be absolutely no good for anyone.

Whenever I get in a funk at work, I find that focusing on the following makes for a much more positive daily outcome:

  • Focus on financial goals. Whether it’s that new house you’ve been saving for, the big wedding being planned, or that long-awaited family vacation, focusing on an attainable financial goal makes getting up and going to work feel that much easier.

 

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  • Shut down. If possible, turning your phone off and not checking emails after quitting time will provide the space you need to refresh during off-the-clock hours. If you have a specific work time, it is much easier to give your all to the job when you know there is an end point set and in sight.
  • Remember what matters. Frame pictures of your family and loved ones, (even puppy dogs!), on your desk for when you need a reminder of why you get up and go to work every day. It may sounds corny, but seeing your husband or precious children smiling back at you from those photographs offers extra encouragement to work hard to provide for them and their needs.

 

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  • Imagine the possibilities. Just because your position today isn’t ideal doesn’t mean tomorrow you won’t get the job of your dreams. Stay focused on where you want to go and what actions will get you there rather than falling into the trap of thinking this is as good as it will ever get.
  • Make weekend plans…or don’t! Whatever brings you the most joy, whether it is a busy weekend schedule jam-packed with get-togethers, shopping, or dinners, or one that is more laid-back and filled with relaxation, naps and at-home pedicures, make sure you save a little bit of time every weekend to do something for yourself. I know this can be especially difficult for those with children, but it is very important for your own mental health, so find a way to take that morning walk, savor a cappuccino, or relax in a bubble bath with a good book. Knowing that the weekend ahead has some fun in it for you helps getting through the work week become that much easier.

 

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Happy Friday! Soak in your time off and make sure to enjoy a little something for yourself this weekend!

Talk to Me!

  • What gets you through the work day during tough times?
  • If you could pick anything to treat yourself with during the weekend, what would it be?
  • What is a financial goal you are working toward right now?
04/03/2013

WIAW: Easter Celebration

Our Easter celebration began Saturday as we packed up the car and headed north to have dinner with Tim’s family that evening. Since our families live close to one another, we spent the night at my parents’ house Saturday night so we could skip an extra round trip drive and could spend the whole day Sunday with them. I love going home to visit my parents and always have, whether I was living in a dorm during college or in my own home now. Just being back in a home filled with so many memories in a place where I always feel welcomed, safe and comforted are times that I look forward to and cherish. Plus, whenever I fall asleep in the twin bed from my youth that is still in my childhood room, I literally get the best night’s sleep ever and do not move the entire night. I know if I ever suffer from sleeping problems, a week in my old bed would be all I need to recover!

Today’s WIAW includes some, but not all of my eats from Easter Sunday.

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I know there were tiny chocolate bunnies that may have gone undocumented, along with appetizers like crackers spread with cheeseball and topped with roasted walnuts, and a bunch of pickles, celery, and carrots with ranch, so I did not document all of my eats, just a few of the main highlights.

No matter where I stay the night, the first thing I do when I roll out of bed is to head straight for the coffee pot to brew a steaming fresh pot. While my mom threw the ham in the oven, I went ahead and helped her make a little breakfast. Since we eat our ‘dinner’ between noon and one, we typically keep breakfast on the lighter, more snacky side. I took a mix of blueberry muffins and added a little vanilla extract and fresh sliced strawberries to freshen it up a bit. We baked them in the mini muffin pan to make them bite-and served them alongside bacon and sausage.

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After breakfast, I proceeded to open up my Easter basket. Yes, I still get an Easter basket from my mom…You can never be too old for a little chocolate!

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Also in there was a gift card to Panera and Kroger, and a few other necessities like nail polish remover, sunscreen for our upcoming trip, packs of gum, and an extra special gift from Victoria’s Secret!

Once everyone was finished going through their baskets, we got back to work in the kitchen preparing our Easter dinner of ham, which was slow roasted with cloves and made the whole house smell like holidays past. When the food was ready I tried a little of everything: ham and mashed potatoes with homemade gravy, a deviled egg, Brussels sprouts roasted in a little bacon grease (incredible!), kale salad lightly dressed with olive oil, lemon juice and white wine vinegar, and a center roll since those are always the doughiest.

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Everything was so good, but I really have to talk about the roasted walnuts we made for a second. I found excuses to include these with almost everything I ate Sunday, and they were especially good when paired with Cheeseball and Brussels sprouts.

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In a 350 degree oven, we baked the walnuts for 5 minutes after tossing them in a touch of bacon grease and sprinkling with a little salt. Obviously not low fat, but wow, were they tasty. Definitely worth the splurge.

During the month of March, we have two birthdays in my immediate family, both my dad’s and my brother’s so every year we celebrate with a birthday cake on Easter.

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This year though, my dad couldn’t even wait until the candles were lit to have a little chocolate snack. If you knew my dad, you would understand his need to fulfill his cravings!

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So yes, we added candles onto an already sliced cake, but I think it actually adds to the story by showing just how beautiful and rich this homemade chocolate cake with buttercream icing tasted. My mom did a great job, and she even made homemade ice cream to serve on the side.

 

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While the boys headed downstairs to watch basketball, my mom and I stayed upstairs and enjoyed our dessert while watching The Hunger Games since we are on the book series kick right now. And, oh yes. Tebow joined us too while napping on his Easter present, a new bed to keep at his grandma and grandpa’s house.

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Talk to Me!

  • During holiday gatherings, do you tend to stick to one main meal, or do you like to snack throughout the day?
  • What is your favorite type of birthday cake?
  • Who else loves sleeping in their childhood room?!