Love is blind

And in this case I really, REALLY love my blinds! I finally did it.  After sending many pictures to Shanna and scouring the online world for the perfect bamboo blinds, I finally have them. 

Here was my concern and why it took me so long to buy them in the first place:

1.  I was afraid I would block the natural light that comes in those windows if I added something dark and all of the pictures online that I had seen did not show the blinds transparency that I was searching for.  I do not spend a lot of my time in this room (yet) so privacy is not a huge issue.  I was more concerned with the lighting.
2.  The price of course.  Was not thrilled with the prices because I wanted to spend $20 on each blind.  I came to terms with that not happening and spent about $27.00 on each.
3.  Last issue was how would it look with all the ideas in my head for this room.  Would the dark color weigh everything down? Would it match my decor?  I know it's wood so chances are it would match but I was still worried.

Anyway, after all this worrying and contemplation here are the blinds I went with:

Overstock Tuscan Roman Bamboo Shade:

And this is what they look like in my front sitting room.  Spoiler alert, just wait until Wednesday so you can see how this room is really starting to take shape!

These are all the same angle but with different lighting so you can see how they add a little privacy, a ton of texture and interest to the windows that wasn't there before, and still let the light flood in.  I am in love.

What did you all work on this weekend?  I know it is starting to get cold out there so your projects may be moving indoors, please share what you are working on!  For those of you who endured this lovely snow storm on OCTOBER 29th (all caps necessary because a snow storm in October is just insane) I hope you made it through with heat and power and are staying safe.

See you swoon,

Running [Wo]Man

That's me!

Actually, in that picture above, that's my friend Heather and I - we had just run the Ocean City Half Marathon back in early October.  It was her first half and my 5th or 6th (I confess I've kind of lost count).  That's us - all smiles after we crossed the finish line: goal attained!

I've been a runner for about 16 years.  The summer between my freshman and sophomore years of college I decided to pick it up. This was before the days of couch to 5k, and I started basically with the same concept: I'd run-walk-run-walk-run-walk and gradually increase the running intervals.  By the end of the summer, I was running 3-4 miles at a time.  I remember those runs so clearly: putting on my walkman and mix tape, running past open fields (which are now housing developments) and realizing that running is good for my soul.  It is a big step to go from saying "I jog" to "I am a runner." It's powerful!   

As time went on, I registered for races and set bigger goals: run a 5K, run a 5 mile race, run a half marathon, and finally run a full marathon.  I ran the 2004 Philadelphia Marathon and it remains one of my greatest accomplishments in life.  As a busy mom with an overly full plate (two kids, job, household to run, projects to do and this blog!), running is what keeps me sane.  I don't run with music.  I find it distracting and I crave the quiet time all to myself.  These days, the half marathon is my race of choice.  It's enough distance to be a challenge, but not so long that the training consumes my time.  By Thanksgiving, I will have run three half marathons: Ocean City with Heather, the half connected with the Philadelphia Marathon on Nov. 20 and a random local half just this past Sunday.  

Since I've met my distance goals, I've had an ever-present, ever-elusive time goal of running a half marathon in under two hours.  I came really close a few years ago, but it's proven to be a just out of reach goal for me.  To run 13.1 miles in under 2 hours, a runner has to do it averaging 9 minute miles or less.  My pace is a little slower than that: somewhere around 9.5 minutes per mile, but lately my training runs have been fast and strong.  Plus, race day is different -- always.

I was hopeful that I could make my goal at this Sunday's half, which was described as a course with "a couple of minor hills: short and steep."  Um, no.  There were three miles (yes, miles) of hill after hill, steep hill after steep hill.  So I got those three miles under my belt (running at a 8:30 pace mind you!) and ran the next 6 really strong, too.  My pace was great.  And then ... bam.  The hills I had to run for the first three miles were back. I struggled.  And then ... bam.  We had to run through the woods -- uphill.  I will repeat: after I had banked 10.5 miles, I then had to run uphill through a narrow rocky, leaf and rock and root covered path in.the.woods.  Blair Witch style, my friends.  It was insane.  I fell, but was OK. People were falling all around me (I saw about three other runners bite it).  For me at that point, the race changed from goal of less than two hours to goal of freaking making it out of there without injury.  I did not want to be runner roadkill (like fashion roadkill in Sex & the City), and trust me: it could have happened.

Needless to say, I didn't hit my goal and ran the race in just over 2 hours.  Given the extremely challenging course, I am as pleased as I could be with my time ... though, those who know me know I'm a bit meh about not making my goal.  No worries though: my next and final half for 2011 is the Philadelphia Half Marathon on Sunday Nov. 20.  I am confident I can make my time goal for that, because I know the course and it is flat and fast and not in the woods.  :)  I'll be sure to post my time here.

So ... are any of you guys runners? Care to swap worst race stories?  Truly: aside from the Philly Marathon, this was the most challenging race I have ever run.

See you swoon,

A sneak peak into the upcoming kitchen renovation

Now that the cabinets are done I have many things in store to complete the kitchen reno.  I will give you a hint into the projects I have on the horizon.  Part of this is so you can look forward to a whole new kitchen and lots of fun after pix and the other part is to keep me held accountable for completing this giant task.  Well, I am hoping it won't be that giant but it certainly isn't a small job!

Project 1:  Finding smaller cabinets to go above the range and then purchasing an over the range microwave. I was at the Habitat for Humanity Restore yesterday and found the perfect cabinets but they are still selling it with a huge set that is about $600 so I will wait, very impatiently.  I despise waiting.

This is the second part of project 1.  I am custom building some shelves above the fridge where I can display a wine rack or fun dishes.  I originally wanted to add another cabinet but the idea of keeping it open and showing off some accessories seemed really fun.

Project 2: Counters and backsplash.  I am doing this all DIY style.  I have never done this but I think having Shanna there to help will calm my nerves.  I am not going to last long with these counters now that the cabinets are so pretty and white.  Stay tuned, I promise there will be a tutorial on this project for anyone out there following in our footsteps.

Project 3: Almost goes along with #2 since I have to do this at the same time, purchase a new sink.  NOT.A.FAN of this double sink, it makes me nuts on a daily basis so I am going for a sink with one basin that I found here for a great price!

Project 4: This one is small but I am going to wait as long as possible.  I will admit this scares me more than ripping apart the counter.  Drilling new holes into my drawers for the hardware.  Making it even is a daunting task, they were completely crooked before so I had no choice but to patch up the holes and paint over the sanded putty.  This task makes me groan, can anyone help with this...or do it for me :)

Project 5: Order cabinet doors from  This new window seat are needs to be closed in for a little more storage and to be honest I do not think I will ever display anything that low to the floor so this will be a better use of the space.

This goes along with project 5 as well because these will be closed in up to the cookbooks for the same reason.  However, these doors are waaayyy more expensive than the window seat doors so they will just have to wait.

Project 6: Hopefully the last one, the floors.  Here they are now:

And the wood floor from the dining room is what I am looking to extend into the kitchen to match:

So there you have it!  This is going to keep me busy for a while, you know, in the middle of changing the front sitting room every other week!  Hope you enjoy this fun kitchen adventure.  Anyone working on a lengthy project that has an endless to do list?  You know I want to hear about it so don't be shy.

See you swoon,

I love Lamp.

If you got the Anchorman reference, yay.

Honestly, every time I see a lamp, I think of that phrase that Brick from the movie Anchorman so famously said.  And in this case, I really do love lamp.  My new lamp.  I love lamp all the more because it was super duper cheap: as in I paid just $14.00.

I lucked out because the sellers left behind a few cute lamps for us.  I wasn't crazy about them as is, but I could see the potential in each.  Up today is one of these free lamps!  This one:

As you can see, it's got a great line to it.  The pleated shade had to go (and it did). I was inspired by something I found on Pinterest way back when ... this adorable lamp.

But at $475, um, no.  First thing I did was get out my brushed nickel spraypaint (just like I used on my side table in the living room) and sprayed the lamp all over.

Then, I bought some gorgeous printed paper from Paper-Source.  I debated over what print to go with, and in the end I simply loved this one ... the Chartreuse Birds on Pool paper for $4.95 per sheet.

It's not as graphic as the inspiration lamp, but I think it fits better in my living room.  The room is and will continue to be very soft with lots of whites and creams and greys and soft pops of those colors in the paper: chartreuse and pool blue.  I felt introducing a more modern bold print wouldn't make sense, and I much preferred the idea of a pretty soft subdued lamp on the desk to a modern graphic one.  I got out my supplies and got to work.

First, I measured the space on the lamp where the paper would go, and then I cut my paper to fit that space.  Once the paper was cut down to size, I used some Mod Podge to glue the paper to the lamp base.  Once I did that, I used a few more (I think four) super light coats of Mod Podge on top of the paper to seal it. 

Finally, I bought a new shade for the top.  I wanted a drum shade but it was hard to find one for a lamp with a harp. I lucked out and I found this guy, which is a Christmas shade, for $9.00 at Lowe's.  

Luckily, I just had to peel off the holiday border at the edges.

The bottom had a few spots with a little red stain where the ribbon was, so I took a scrap of ribbon and wrapped it around the base of the shade.  The shade was still sticky from the adhesive used on the old holiday ribbon, so all I needed was a dab of hot glue to seal where the ribbon meets.

I'm so pleased with the finished product! Doesn't it look right at home on my desk?

I'm also really happy because I have a ton of the paper left over! I'm thinking I may frame it and put it somewhere in the space ... maybe over the sofa with two other equally pretty prints.  In fact, I'm working on some free ideas to do just that!

So, tell me - have you ever rehabbed a lamp? Do you love lamp, too? What did you do?

See you swoon,

Kitchen Reveal: Transformation Part 1

It has been a long week and a half of painting kitchen cabinets and waiting for paint to dry.  My patience has truly been tested.  Thank god I have a wonderful sister-in-law who loves DIYing as much as I do because we tore through this task fairly quickly.  We had a time limit to how long we could work on this so we weren't able finish everything in one day.  I found myself trying to squeeze in a coat here and there after work which was starting to make me nuts so Shanna came over last Thursday to help me finish off what was left. 

After the painting there is nothing left to do but wait for the paint to cure.  After all that work the last thing you want is your tacky doors sticking to the frames and screwing up your paint job.  I took my tips from Young House Love, they made it sound super easy and it really was!

I used Zinsser's oil based primer and then three coats of Sherwin Williams, self leveling, semi gloss white.  I chose semi-gloss because the backsplash I have decided on is pretty glossy so I didn't want everything to have that slick, super shiny appearance.

Check out the tips from YHL, I followed them pretty much to the letter...except for waiting five days for the paint to dry, I waited more like two and a half and everything is looking great!

Let's look at the before one more time:

Here we are in the process of painting, say hello to all my dishes and food.  I still have no idea how people can have glass doors on their cabinets.  They are gorgeous but I need a hiding place for everything!

Get ready because here comes the big finish!!!!!

Wait for it...

Wait for it...

TA DA!!!!!!!!!

Just a couple tips from me.  If your hinges and screws are brass like mine, grab a can of spray paint to match your handles and pulls.  Easy transformation that saved me about $85!

I decided to leave the insides of the cabinets and drawers the wood tone.  I was hesitant at first but besides the fact that this saved my sanity, the wood tone gives a warm feeling (you know when you open your cabinets and drawers), plus you don't always see it since these are supposed to stay closed.

I hope you love it just as much as I do!  I was chomping at the bit to show you the new cabinets today!!  Anyone else renovating a kitchen right now?  Send us some pictures so we can feature your transformations.

See you swoon,