Bookcase Backs: What Color to Paint?

A few weeks ago, I posted about the bookcases I bought for my dining room.  I am heading to IKEA soon to pick up doors for the bottom sections of them.  I also need to get to Lowe's to buy hardware to match the hardware on the desk and some crown molding for the top.

I know I want to paint the backs of these shelves, but I am torn on what color to use.  My space has yellow, pink, coral, seaglass green, and teal.  Like so:

So I could go with any of these colors.  What do you think I should do?


Image via Lamps Plus blog

Image via Centsational Girl

Image via Chinoiserie Chic
 Seaglass Green?

Image via Holly Mathis Interiors

Image via Laura Casey Interiors
I'd love to hear your vote!  Tell me, oh bloggie friends, what color would you paint?

See you swoon,

Mantle Mania

Brick wall painted, check.

My mantle is 8 feet long, yup, it's a doozie.  I have always had a few things up there but they always seemed to miss the mark somehow.  I tried many things and love, love, love candles but what Shanna helped me realize is that due to the size of my mantle and fireplace wall, my decor items were just too small.

See here, I love all of the pieces but it felt too cluttered but yet still not full enough. 

For the life of me I just couldn't figure this thing out.  Enter amazing sister-in-law with fantastic advice.  Shanna offered to go mantle shopping with me and I jumped at the chance so off to Home Goods, Marshall's, and Target we went.

When we were all done I hurried home with my treasures and sent Shanna lots of pictures so she could help me move things around and find the perfect fit for each piece. This is how it all went down (please excuse some of these pictures, working with an iphone here):

Testing different size frames:

After moving everything around for about thirty minutes I think we've finally got it!  My step-father is going to make over sized mats for those large frames so make sure to check back to see those soon. I am totally in love and the best part is that I get to stare at it every day : )

What do you think?  Do have any mantle stories or pictures to share?  We would love to see how you decorated yours!

See you swoon,

Resolutionary War: Mo Motivation

So, it's the end of January.  By this time of the month, the gym is a little less crowded than it was in early January, which I always find to be both a relief and a little sad.  Sure, on the one hand, it's nice to have more space and less crowds, but on the other hand, I kind of wish the Resolutionary Warriors would stick to those resolutions and keep moving it.  Motivation, especially in the doldrums of Winter, is so hard to maintain.  I have a few tips.    

1.  Register for Something Scary.

I am not talking about a zombie race (OMG no. never). I am talking about registering for a race of distance that you have never done before or for a race that you know requires training and lots of it.  For me, it's a half marathon in March.  I've run half marathons before, but I know they require training. And on the heels of that race, I'm signed up for a triathlon with longer distances (.8 mile swim, 40 mile bike, 8 mile run) -- all to challenge myself and, frankly, scare myself into getting off my bum.  

2.  Put Out Your Shoes or Gear So You Must See It.

I do this often.  If I am running in the morning, I put my sneakers out next to my chair so they are the first thing I see when I get up.  I cannot avoid them, and they taunt me if I try to escape the run.  Similarly, when I need to ride my bike on my trainer in the den, I put my bike shorts out on the chair in my bedroom.  I also keep my medicine ball and arm weights in sight of the couch.  I do workouts in front of the TV a few nights per week, and these are so easy to blow off.  I feel a twinge of guilt if I see those things while parked on the couch, which makes me get up and do my workout.  

3.  Buy Yourself Something New.

I am not talking a major purchase, but sometimes buying a new piece of workout gear can help get you out there.  Maybe a new headband, like the Sweaty Bands below. 

Another option is a new playlist for your iPod.  Maybe look for some new tunes to inspire you to get moving.

4.  Check In With A Friend.  Better Yet: Train With A Friend.

My friend Heather and I email every day.  Even though I know she isn't going to yell at or chastise me if I don't do a run or workout, I still feel accountable and tell her when I have done them.  She does the same.  I know she is interested to hear if I did my run or workout and how it was and for how long, just as I am interested in hers.  We keep each other motivated: cheer on the good runs, build each other up after not-so-good runs and just keep each other on track.  

Heather and I before the Ocean City Half Marathon - 2011
And, if you can commit to running or working out with someone, you won't slack off.  I sometimes run with my one work friend after work.  Knowing she is bringing in her running gear makes me do it too.  

5.  Put On Your Bathing Suit.

Desperate?  Oh go grab that bathing suit.  Put it on and stand in front of the mirror.  One of two things will happen: (1) you'll be inspired to move move move or (2) you'll be so happy with what you see, you will not want to stop.  

I'm lookin' at you, bad boy.  

I hope this is helpful!  I've really enjoyed blogging about the ways I love to stay in shape.  If you'd like to hear more about running, triathlons or anything else, let me know!

See you swoon,

I did it, I actually did it!!

The leap into painting my fireplace brick wall! 

Before I get into the details and the show you the juicy before and afters I just want to say HI!  It has been a while since I have posted and I can say that it really feels great to be back.  I missed you all and have missed blogging but have enjoyed taking some time off to get some much needed R&R from trying to balance home life, work life, and blogging life.  I plan on posting more often and showing you what I have been up to this past year.  Before and afters galore!!

You may remember my dilemma about whether to paint my brick wall or not.  There are so many mixed opinions on whether to leave your natural brick exposed or paint it.  Part of my indecision came from knowing that once the brick was painted there was no going back.  Shanna and a few other close friends of mine urged me to take the plunge and after a couple YEARS of hesitation I did, I actually did it (I have to give a lot of credit to my husband who paints super fast apparently, who knew, and finished most of this while I was at work).

Are you ready?  Wait until you see this (you will wonder why I ever waited to do this):


 I look back at these photos and my gut reaction is to cringe.  Second, I laugh at all the second guessing I did on whether to update this wall or not.

The point of no return:

You may be wondering why I have a dresser in my den, more on that to come :)  I told you I have a lot of fun before and afters coming your way so stay tuned!

The dated brass fireplace doors needed an update as well so after a few coats of high heat spray paint...VOILA! (Side note: I do not advise anyone to spray paint in the house, unfortunately, we had no choice because this sucker was stuck to the wall).

A little more romantic:

And there you have it.  One beautifully painted white brick wall, oh happy day :) 

Painting a brick wall is not for the faint of heart, it took some serious hand cramping and man hours to get all the nooks and crannies covered.  Some advice to those of you pondering this project: Prime first, dear lord, prime, prime, prime.  Use thick nap rollers, cheap brushes and strap your patience pants on.  Just know this will all be worth it in the end.  

Hope you all like it, have I changed anyone's mind about painting brick?

Oh how I have missed this part........

See you swoon,

Swoon-Worthy Eats: White Bean, Sausage & Kale Soup

Happy Almost Weekend!!  

I love soup in the Winter, and this Winter I have been all about kale.  I've bought it a bunch and using it in this soup is quite possibly my favorite thing.  I have made this White Bean, Sausage and Kale soup about three times since the weather got colder, and I plan to have it even more.  It is super easy to make, delicious and pretty healthy (especially if you go for lower fat sausage).  

I make my soup in a dutch oven like the one pictured above.  

Here's the delicious, wonderful recipe! 

1 can white beans - do not drain or rinse*
1 large bunch kale: rinsed, stemmed and chopped
1 TBSP olive oil
1 pound sausage, sliced into bite-sized pieces or cooked & crumbled (whatever your preference)
1 cup chopped shallots
4 cups chicken broth (or one of the big cartons)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp hot sauce or to taste (optional)

* if canned beans aren't your thing, you can also make with 1 cup of dry navy beans and follow the procedure for rinsing and cooking and all that.

(1) bring pot of salted water to boil. Add kale and simmer until kale is bright green & tender, about 2 minutes. Drain in strainer and cool under cold running water. Set aside.

(2) Heat olive oil over medium heat in soup pot. Brown sausage about 5 minutes. remove sausage from pot. Add shallots to pot and cook about 3 mins, until soft. Pour in splash of chicken broth to scrape up any browned bits of sausage.

(3) Return sausage to pot along with beans and liquid from can. Stir in chicken broth. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered 15 minutes. Add kale and cook 4 minutes longer. Season with salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste.

There you go!  Please give this one a try and let me know how you like it.  I bet you'll be turned on to this soup as much as I am.  

See you swoon,

Swoon-Worthy Space Thursday {the yellow cape cod}

It's the penultimate Thursday in January - can you believe it?  I confess that I love using the word "penultimate", which I learned back when I was a Latin major in college.  It is one of those words that I use every chance I get even when borderline appropriate.  

So Thursdays mean featuring swoon-worthy spaces here on Swoon.  Up today are some gorgeous rooms from Sarah's home at The Yellow Cape Cod.  Sarah provides design consulting, and with good reason.  Her home is seriously lovely with great, yet approachable, style.  Here is a round-up of some of my favorite spots in her place (all photos courtesy of The Yellow Cape Cod).

Gorgeous right?  And what about those striped drapes -- can we please talk about them?  They are show stoppers.  Happy almost-Friday to you! Hang on ... we are almost there. 

See you swoon,