4.17.2014

Gold Gnome DIY


I have a really simple and fun DIY for you all today!

As I've mentioned here, Andrew loves gnomes. Or as he says, he "has an affinity for gnome culture" haha! It's almost embarrassing how many gnomes we have hiding around our house. 

I was so excited when I saw Danielle from Breakfast at Toast, apartment tour last year on The Everygirl. I spotted this cute little guy on her mantle, and knew that was a gnome I would happily add to our collection. BUT I wasn't about to spend  $50 on a little gnome, sorry Andrew. 

Lucky for us, shortly after Andrew moved to the city, Andrew's mom sent us a little house warming package. Inside was this cute little ceramic gnome from the craft store. It was just an unfinished white gnome, perfect for a simple DIY!  



First, he needed a coat of glossy white paint since he was currently just naked ceramic. I am a fan of Rust-Oleum spray paint, so I picked up a can of white gloss paint. I gave it two thin coast of paint and let it dry for a couple days. Since I would be taping off the hat, I wanted to make sure the white paint was really dry so it didn't peel off when I removed the tape after spraying the gold. 


Looking better already! Next, it was time to tape off the hat. I wanted to be sure it didn't bleed, so I spent a lot of time making sure there were not air pockets where gold paint would seep through. First, I did a layer of tape around the base of the hat. 


Next, I used a plastic produce bag, and taped the bottom of it to the gnome, directly on the first layer of tape I used. Once I made sure that was secure, I repeated the process with another grocery bag. This was probably excessive, but I didn't want to find drips of gold paint anywhere other than his hat. 


Once he was all taped up, it was time for paint! I went back and forth with which paint to use. But after looking at this review of gold spray paint I had pinned, I decided to stick with Rust-Oleum. Again, I did two thin coats, making sure to get an even distribution so there were no drips. I also let this dry overnight before removing the tape and bags to find the finished product. 


I LOVE the way this turned out! He is so cute, and for much less than $50 too! I'm not sure how much the gnome cost, but I'm sure it wasn't more than $20 or so. And the spray paint was less than $10 for both cans, so it's definitely an affordable project. 

He might not be a container like my inspiration, but I think he's just as cute, if not cuter! I'm definitely on board with the gnome thing now :) 


I'm still trying to figure out where is home should be. I don't love how our mantle is styled now, but I think he could look cute up there. After all, this was my original inspiration. I love how the little gnome looks on Danielle's mantle. I also put him over on our bar area, but I think he was a little cluttered there with all the bottles, too much going on. So for now, he's on the mantle, but his permanent residence has yet to be determined. 






4.16.2014

Dining Room Inspiration


Remember when I shared my longggg list of decorating updates I want to make in our apartment a few weeks ago? Well, I thought the best way to get started would be creating mood boards for each room. Something that I can go back to while shopping to make sure the finished look flows, and prevent myself from buying things I don't need! I'll be sharing a mood board for each space over the next few weeks, then update you along the way as I make progress!

I figured, why not start in the dining room. This is the room I will need to make the least amount of purchases, since we already have pretty much everything we need. We're lucky enough to have some pretty great hand me downs from both our parents. One of my favorite things in the house is our dining room table. It's Crate & Barrel, and something I definitely would have picked out and purchased on my own. I love combination of the distressed wood top and black legs with the simple black chairs. We also have the chairs I reupholstered, so we can seat 6 at the table comfortably.

I also have the most beautiful antique buffet that was my Gram's. However, it's currently up in the foothills in a storage container, just waiting to be transported! So the first order of business will be bringing the focal piece home with us! The tricky thing is that, it's about 2" too long for our car! So, we may be renting a trailer one weekend to make the trip.

As renters, we lucked out because our walls are a really pretty neutral grey, and the original wood floors and white crown molding are the perfect starting point for a lovely dining room. Our good friends also just gave us a neutral rug when they moved, it's almost identical to the one in the inspiration board, and works great for us right now. Someday, I'd love a vintage Persian or Afghan rug!

Since we already have the base for a neutral and traditional style dining room, there are just a few more pieces I want to add to make the room feel more complete. I know adding the buffet will make a huge impact. But I'd also like to get a few things up on the walls. Above the buffet, I want to create a gallery wall of maps. I've seen them at flea markets and online, and want to find some old San Francisco and San Diego maps to frame. I already have a ton of frames, so this shouldn't be a big expense. On the adjacent wall that opens to the living room, I'd like to hang a large mirror. I've found a few great contenders on Craigslist, so I think that might be my first purchase.

There isn't much room in the space for a bar cart, but I'd like to create a little bar area, possibly using a tray, on top of the buffet. We have a vintage whiskey decanter that will look perfect there.

I also want to get some simple, white curtains to hang. We have blinds, but I think hanging long curtains along the sides of our large windows will make the room feel a bit cozier. I think Ikea has a few options that will work, and affordable too.

Finally, I hope to add a little color with a small house plant. I've been researching plants that are hard to kill, any suggestions? I have a very black thumb!

Here is a "before" shot of the dining room so you get an idea what I'm working with. This was taken before Andrew moved; so we've since added a new table & chairs, area rug, and moved the wine rack (that's where the buffet will go). It's already looking better :)


Seeing the design board makes me more excited to start working on this space and helps me picture the final results. I think our house will be feeling more "homey" in no time! Do you have any other suggestions for the space? I'm always open to new ideas and suggestions!


4.14.2014

Vegas Style Challenge: Kendra's Night Out

Viva Las Vegas

I was so excited when travel expert Kendra Thorton asked me to participate in her Las Vegas style challenge.

I've been to Las Vegas a handful of times, and each time is different. Although, on my last trip, I decided I was going to break up with Vegas. However, this challenge made me realize, there really is something for everyone in Las Vegas. So I'm open to another trip to Sin City, although a little more toned down and along the lines of the trip Kendra is planning :)

Kendra is a mom of of three, who is planning a much needed getaway to Las Vegas with her girlfriends. One thing she is most looking forward to is visiting the Bellagio Hotel and Casino to see the famous fountain, gardens, and blown glass art display. I remember being awestruck by the gardens in the lobby, and I know she will love it also! They are also planning to either have dinner or brunch at the Jasmine restaurant in the Bellagio, which offers an amazing view of the fountains. Sounds pretty spectacular, if you ask me.

In addition to their plans at the Bellagio Hotel, they may see a show, do some shopping, and spend some time in the casino's of course. I decided to put together a variety of inspiration looks that will take her from the airport, all the way to Sunday brunch.


Vegas Airport Style
The first look I put together will take Kendra from the airport to the Vegas Strip. It's not only comfortable, but fashionable as well. Perfect for walking the strip and taking in the sights. And of course, stopping in for a cocktail and lunch along the way. 

After exploring the strip for the afternoon, I'm sure Kendra and her friends will want to come back to their rooms and freshen up for the evening. Especially since they're planning on going to a nice dinner and possibly a show like Cirque du Soleil! 

I thought that a simple black jumper would be the perfect base for a sexy outfit, that is still classy and appropriate for a mother of three. I love all the jumpers I've seen in stores lately, I think they are so sexy and chic. I think a simple strappy sandal and minimal gold jewelry is the best compliment to a jumper since it's a statement in itself. And paired with a fun, jeweled clutch and bold lip color. This look is not only stylish, but comfortable for walking around after dinner & a show. 

Girls Night in Vegas

The last look I put together is for brunch Sunday morning. I really hope Kendra and her friends decide to do Jasmine's Sunday Fountain Brunch. What a wonderful setting to enjoy brunch! Since it's at the Bellagio in one of the more formal restaurants, I did a classic and feminine look. I love the peplum top paired with a floral skirt pencil skirt. This spring I really love coral lipstick, and I think it pairs perfectly with this feminine outfit.


Brunch in Vegas

Below, I've included Kendra's plan for her weekend away in Las Vegas. Based on her travel plans, do you think I've selected appropriate looks for her trip?

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Fashionista: Las Vegas Style!
When I started planning my trip to Las Vegas, I did not give a lot of thought to what I might wear. However, now that I am leaving in just a couple of weeks to meet my friends in Vegas for some relaxation and fun, I am beginning to panic that I might not have the right clothes. As a mother of three, I do not usually spend a lot of time keeping up with the latest trends in fashion. For this reason, I have created the Kendra Fashion Challenge to get your help picking out some amazing outfits for my upcoming trip. One of the activities I am most looking forward to is a visit to the Bellagio Hotel and Casino. This stylish and elegant hotel is known for its famous fountain show that people line up along the strip to see.
While I am sure we will take some time out to watch the fountain show at the Bellagio, our intended destination is the fine dining restaurant, Jasmine. We are excited for the opportunity to breath in the exotics scents of Cantonese, Szechwan, and Hunan cuisines.  Jasmine is decorated with replicated Chinese art and features Nouvelle Hong Kong Cuisine. While we are planning to have diner there, we have the option of attending the Sunday Fountains Brunch in the Jasmine as an exciting option. The Jasmine’s Sunday brunch features several action stations where we can get food made to our taste. Also, the dessert selection is sure to be scrumptious and appealing, including a chocolate fondue. Whether we decide to do an elegant dinner or Sunday brunch, we will have an amazing view of the famous Bellagio fountains.
Now, you see why I am asking for your help with the latest fashion tips. Las Vegas might be the city where what happens there stays there but I do not want to be a fashion faux pas! This is a city with its own vibe and fashion sense.  I know that any evening out will be more enjoyable if I look and feel my best. Whether we are feeding quarters to a slot machine or seeing a glamorous show at one of the best casinos on the strip, I want to be complimented on my outfit and sense of style.  Having a fine dining experience at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino will be the highlight of our trip, so my outfit has to be just as special. 
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Thank you so much for asking me to participate in this Vegas Style Challenge! It was so fun thinking of outfit ideas that work with your itinerary. I hope you and your girlfriends have a wonderful trip to Vegas, and I hope you'll let us know what looks you decided to put together on your weekend away!


4.11.2014

SF Coffee Shop: The Village Market


One thing Andrew and I love to do on weekends, is explore new coffee shops in our area. There is this cute little bright green coffee shop I pass on my way to work each morning that I've always wanted to check it out, so we added it to our list of places to try sometime.

A few weeks ago, we decided it was time to give this place a try. As soon as we walked in, I knew I would like it. It has an eclectic vibe; offering not only coffee and espresso, but a small menu of homemade breakfast dishes as well. In addition to the cafe, it's also a neighborhood market with fresh produce, unique pastas and pantry items.

When you walk inside, it feels as though you're in a friends home. The tables and chairs are all mismatched and rustic, with a vintage buffet that houses water glasses, sugar, stevia & local honey. The decor creates a relaxed and comfortable setting, you could easily sit and enjoy coffee and read a book or work on your laptop all morning. If it was a little closer to our house, I know I'd frequent the little market for last minute dinner supplies often!

I decided to order a cappuccino and fresh fruit parfait with house made granola. The granola was so delicious, it reminded me I need to make some of my own. They serve Blue Bottle Coffee, a San Francisco favorite! And in addition to espresso, they also have slow drip coffee which is Andrew's favorite. It was so relaxing sipping my cappuccino and enjoying a light breakfast. I'll definitely be back! Next time I hope to try one of their breakfast crepes or another special.


4.09.2014

When Life Hands You Lemons...

When Life Hands You Lemons



...Go shopping at Kate Spade! I don't know what it is about this collection, but I want everything!! I simply love the cute, quirky lemon pieces from Kate Spade. Any of them would make a great addition to your spring and summer wardrobe. Nothing like a lemon clutch to add a pop of fun to your look.

I don't know if it's because yellow is such a fun and cheerful color or because the lemons remind me of sipping limoncello in Italy, but I'm tempted to buy each and every one of these items! I'll need to win the lotto first though...

What are you lusting over this spring? Any fun new pieces you're planning to purchase?



4.08.2014

Mendocino Camping Weekend

We had an awesome weekend camping in Mendocino! The weather could not have been more perfect!

We worked a half day on Friday and took our time driving up to the campground. We stopped for groceries, a couple beers at Anderson Valley Brewery, and for a quick dinner at a local pub. Once we made it to the campground, we spent the rest of the evening sitting around the campfire visiting. 

On Saturday, the girls spent the day lounging on the beach with the pups. Four of the guys went abalone diving, while the other part of the group ventured off to a lighthouse nearby. The divers were successful and ended up getting 10 abalone and a handful of sea urchin! We were all set for a feast later that night!

After lunch, a few of us went for a little walk along the coast up on the rocky bluffs. Andrew had done the same walk on this trip last year (I was in Vegas for a girls trip), and he wanted to go back with me. It was so beautiful! I couldn't believe the aqua blue color of the water, you don't see that very often in Northern California. 

Whaler, Kia, and Louis...the campsite mascots! 

After our walk, we headed back to the campground. It was time to prep all the abalone and sea urchin the guys caught that morning! I've eaten abalone before, but never been as involved in the prep that goes into it. It's a lot of work! But so worth the effort, and kind of fun too! Once the guys got the abalone out of the shell and cleaned, they cut it into smaller pieces. Then we all helped pounding it to tenderize the meat, which was a messy job but actually fun! There was a ton of meat, one of the abalone Corrie caught was over 10"!!


In college, I worked at a sushi restaurant and was always so grossed out when people ordered uni/sea urchin. But I figured, there was no time like the present to try it. I doubt I'd ever find it that fresh in a sushi restaurant! I only had one bite, and it was much better than I expected. Very salty, but the texture wasn't as bad as you'd think. You still won't catch me ordering it anytime soon, but at least I can say I've tried it now. It was also really interesting to see how they got the meat out, it was a labor of love, that's for sure! 

Once we were all finished with the messy part, it was time for our huge abalone feast! Corrie brought everything we'd need to deep fry them with both a panko and beer batter. It was so amazing! I think the panko was my favorite, but heck I'll take it any way you serve it! 

We spent the remainder of the night sitting around the fire hanging out. It was the perfect way to end our camping trip! 


The next morning we were up pretty early and got our campsite broken down and the cars loaded up. We decided to explore the Anderson Valley on our way home and hit up a few local wineries, grab lunch in Bonnville, then end with a session of Frisbee golf at Anderson Valley Brewing!

Our first stop was at Navarro Vineyards. I was really excited to go here, because I went to college and studied in Rome with the daughter in law of the owners. We actually had her baby shower there, and I remember loving the wine. They're also pretty well known for their grape juice, so that's fun if you don't drink or the designated driver gets thirsty! The grounds are beautiful and you can bring a picnic or purchase cheese and crackers to snack on. It's definitely a must if you're in the area! 


The next stop on our tour was at Goldeneye Winery. The grounds here were incredible, and the wines were equally as delicious. We sat outside for our tasting since it was such an amazing afternoon. The tasting was $15 and they served us 7 different wines! We all really enjoyed this location. Since Andrew was driving he just tasted a few sips from my pours, but we can't wait to go back. Next time I hope to order a cheese platter or bring some snacks and spend some time relaxing outside taking in the view. I also noticed a pizza oven outside, so maybe they fire that up sometimes and serve that as well? 

Incredible view from the tasting patio! 

The final stop on our Anderson Valley tour was back to the Anderson Valley Brewing Company. They have a Frisbee Golf Course, so the boys were eager to play. We started off inside with a beer, then headed out on the course to walk along with the guys. Another great part about this brewery is that it's dog friendly! Louis enjoyed sitting inside as we sipped our Brother David's Triple and even met a few puppy friends. It was great the dogs could walk along the frisbee golf course with us, too. Extra points for being dog friendly! 


Overall it was a great weekend! As always, it went by much too quickly. I'm already looking forward to our next trip up to Mendocino and the Anderson Valley. I'd like to camp along the coast again, but next time do more hiking and exploring during the day.

Andrew and I were also saying it'd be fun to go back to Boonville and spend some time at the brewery and nearby wineries! Not only did the Brewery have firsbee golf, but you could bring picnics and play horseshoes as well. One could easily spend an afternoon here.


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