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Grown Up Stuff: A New Fridge

24 Jan

I bought my first house when I was 24 years old and basically outfitted it in yard sale finds and Ikea furniture. Now that I’m on owned house number two and 15 years have passed… well, I still have a lot of Ikea furniture. However, I also occasionally buy something Nice.

Yes, with a capital N on that bad boy.

And let me tell you, most of the time it is not very fun to buy things for your house. Dropping  a bunch of money on a hot water heater or heat pump is certainly not as exciting as putting that money towards a trip to somewhere warm and beachy. Having hot water in your shower and heat in the winter IS pretty nice though. When I sold my townhouse a few years ago, I basically shined that turd as much as possible before listing it. One of those ‘needed improvements’ to get it sold was to replace all the kitchen appliances with new ones with stainless steel finishes.

I actually didn’t/don’t even like stainless steel appliances, but everyone else that was looking for a townhouse apparently did. So I spent a bunch of money and upgraded it all. Which SUCKED. Because after spending a bunch of moola, I didn’t even get to enjoy it.

So, one of the things that Travis and I decided when we bought our current home was that if we wanted to upgrade something, we’d do it while we still lived there… rather than doing it for the next owner. Within the first couple years, we started slowly buying new appliances for the kitchen. They were all old with mix-matched finishes, so we replaced them one at a time with new models with black finishes. The microwave was fine, but we ended up buying a new dishwasher and also a new stove.

I really, really wanted a new refrigerator too… but ours still worked fine and new fridges are SO EXPENSIVE. Every time I’d be tempted by one, I’d think about how that money could go towards a trip to Disney. Or just look really sexy sitting in our savings account.

Little things started to really bug me though. First off, our fridge was so old that we couldn’t get filters for the water/ice maker. Travis didn’t really notice it much, but I could not stand the smell and taste of our ice. Also, every time I’d go in the freezer to grab something the skinny door would try to shut on me and suck me in. One top of those issues, the width of the freezer was so small that when I’d make treats for the holidays I couldn’t even fit a tray in there to freeze up (a necessary step for chocolate pretzels and also for snickerdoodle dough). It was SO FRUSTRATING, but every time I looked at the beautiful French Door refrigerators of my dreams, my brain pretty much exploded at their prices.

We happened to be wandering through Home Depot after Thanksgiving when we saw it. A super cool French Door refrigerator with a ‘black stainless’ finish. There was a ton of space inside with all the bells and whistles, and it was the right height and width for our kitchen. It was exactly what we were looking for, if we had been purposefully looking for it. The best part was that the original price was over $2,000 but it was on sale for $989 and had hundreds of online reviews that rated it 4 ½ out of 5 stars.

And now, I have my dream refrigerator. Because that’s a grown up dream if I’ve ever heard of one.

Isn’t it pretty?!

Is there a grown up thing that you’ve been wanting forever? Share in the comments!

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Kid’s Play Area: Growing Up

22 Sep

Disclosure: This post was made possible by Lamps Plus.

It has finally happened. Jack FINALLY has started growing out of the ‘everything huge and plastic’ stage of toys. For years, it has been huge plastic baby jumper here and super-sized plastic ride-on item there. But now, I feel our house can start looking like adults live here!

When we originally moved into our house, I had the idea to set up a play area behind our couch in the living room. It was the perfect spot for all of Jack’s toys – I could see him from the kitchen while making dinner, he could go and play after meals while Travis and I finished up at the kitchen table, and it was mostly hidden behind the couch. Over the years it worked out really well, but lately I’ve been itching for a change.

Mostly because…this:

before-1-pocketful-of-joules

The toys just multiplied and this was what the area typically looked like. Of course, I’m a bit of a neat freak, so a few times a week I’d get it cleaned up. But it still looked like this when everything was “put away” properly.

before-2-pocketful-of-joules

BETTER, but not great. Although the tool bench was still really fun, I decided that it was time for it to go up to our designated playroom. We also needed to weed though some of the millions of toy cars and trucks, and donate a few (dozen) of them. But the biggest thing I REALLY wanted was a reading nook.

I had met a fabulous lady from Lamps Plus when I was at the BlogHer conference, so I did a little clicking around on their website when I got home. I didn’t realize that Lamps Plus has a million things other than lamps, including seating, tables, and home accessories. And, of course, all the floor lamps you could imagine!

I was pretty much salivating over all the amazing options. I basically clicked and pinned, clicked and pinned, and click and pinned some more. You can see my House Décor pinterest page here that was totally overrun with options for our living room space: Pocketful of Joules Home Decor.

After a ton of clicking (and pinning), I narrowed down my chair choice to the Tivoli Bella Ink Velvet Tufted Armchair. It looked like the perfect size for our spot, and I loved the blue velvet and silver nail-head trim. To me, it looked both classy and like something that I could cuddle up in. I also decided I needed this Forest Oaks Americana end table. You can’t see it in the pin, but the top of the table is super fabulous (spoiler alert…keep scrolling down to see it!). I finished up my order with a bronze torchiere floor lamp with a reader arm and a pretty bonsai plant that I can’t kill.

I posted a sneak peek on Instagram a week or so ago:

Ready for the big reveal?

First, a quick refresh of the “before”:

before-2-pocketful-of-joules

Now, the “after”:

after-1-pocketful-of-joules

So much better, right? By moving everything around and paring down Jack’s toys, I was able to keep it super kid friendly, but added in a little class too. The chair is super comfortable and so pretty too. Here are some closer looks of the new space:

after-2-pocketful-of-joules

after-3-pocketful-of-joules

after-4-pocketful-of-joules

I absolutely love the change and surprisingly Jack loves it too. In fact, the past few times I’ve gravitated to my new velvety chair with my Kindle in my hand… I found that Jack was already there with HIS Kindle.

A huge thank you to Lamps Plus for making this post possible!

What is your favorite part of the new reading nook? Are you like me and totally infatuated with that shade of blue velvet?

 

Disclosure: I received furniture from Lamps Plus in exchange for writing about it on my blog. All thoughts and opinions are my own and if I hated anything I would totally tell you guys. As it is, I really love the new look of my reading nook and hugely appreciate my friends at Lamps Plus for the opportunity to work with them on this!

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Stitch People Fun

26 Apr

I’ve always been an arts and crafts girl for as long as I remember. I’ve tried it all… knitting, embroidery, painting furniture, photography, home improvement DIY,etc.

Yeah, I’m quite crafty.

So, when I saw that there was a really cool embroidery book called Stitch People, I was interested. I love the adorable embroidered family portraits that I’ve seen popping up here and there and thought it would be really fun to make my own.

Stitch People is the creation of Lizzy Dabczynski-Bean and shows you step-by-step directions to creating your own customized cross-stitch designs. You can find her website here. Lizzy was super sweet and sent me her Do-It-Yourself Stitch People book and I was in crafty heaven.

There are so many cool ideas that I really didn’t even know where to start. I wanted to immediately do a family portrait for myself, my parents, my siblings, my girlfriends and um… pretty much everyone I ever met. Between hairstyles, outfits and accessories there are literally thousands of combinations of cross-stitch people!

I decided to start small though… with a portrait of Ollie.

Stitch People - supplies

Here are my supplies:

  • Fiddler’s Aida fabric in lite oatmeal, size 14 – $4.99
  • 3” crafting hoop- $1.99
  • Embroidery needles- $1.49
  • 4 colors of embroidery thread – $1.60

I bought everything at Joann’s for less than $10 and have plenty of leftovers for my next project.

I decided to do a hybrid design of the Yorkshire Terrier samples, since Ollie is a Yorkie crossed with a Chihuahua (aka a Chorkie). Here’s what Ollie looks like:

Here are his embroidered doppelgangers:

Stitch People - patterns

And here is my version of Ollie, the embroidered dog:

Stitch People - Ollie

I added him to a little art wall I have going on in my office and like him watching over me.

Stitch People - finished

I totally love how he turned out and I can’t wait to try making people next. I’m thinking I will do Travis in his work uniform, me in a top and big ol’ skirt (perhaps I can cross-stitch on some tattoos…) and Jack in his little school uniform. Okay, now I need to run back to Joann’s so I can start on my next one!

Had you heard of Stitch People? What would be your first project?

 

Disclosure: I received Stitch People for free for review purposes.

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In Between Weather & Spring Cleaning

11 Apr

{Pssst, I’m back from my cruise, but I wrote this post before I left to give me some breathing room before I need to write up a post about our vacation!}

I love it when the weather warms up, but this in-between kind of weather is kind of confusing. My calendar says SPRING, but my cold legs say PUT YOUR DAMN FLEECE-LINED TIGHTS BACK ON!

I usually do a full closet switch-over once the weather fully warms up, but for now I just do a mini-switch to let my closet breathe a little.

Organized-closet

Want to join me? It’s easy…

Step 1: Get rid of the wool and corduroy
Everyone has that pile of clothing that they only wear during the coldest of the cold months… the SUPER heavy wool sweaters, the corduroy pants, the long sleeved dresses that make you sweat 11 out of the 12 months of the year. Grab them out of your closet and throw them on your bed.

Now, take that pile o’ clothes and decide what to do with them:

Choice 1: If it has been worn to death, get rid of it and add the item to a list to keep an eye out for a replacement before next year.

Choice 2: If it needs to be fixed or altered, do it NOW so that it’s ready for when you need it again. This is also a great time to get that sweater shaver out and do a little touch up. (If you’ve never used a sweater shaver before, read this post and get ready for your world to change!)

Choice 3: If you never wore it, think about whether it’s time to let it go to a better home – a consignment shop, Facebook sale site, or thrift store. (Want some tips on how to sell your clothes on Facebook, check out this post!)

Choice 4: If you wore it and still love it, launder it (if needed) and pack it away.

I actually have an empty decorative trunk at the end of my bed that works great for storing all those in-between clothes until I pull out the big storage boxes with my summer stuff.

Step 2: Switch out the shoes
Big, heavy boots just feel like too much when it’s April, so get them out of your closet. You will open up some space so you can see other shoes that you’ve been neglecting.

For me, it’s bootie season. I can’t wear them in the dead of winter and I’m not going for them when it’s hot in the summer… so the time is now for booties, booties, booties rocking everywhere!

Step 3: Stand back and admire your pretty closet
Boom, you’re done! It took me about 15 minutes total and everything currently in my closet is seasonally appropriate so I can just grab and go in the morning. Even better, if you know what is in your closet you are more likely to actually WEAR those in-between weather pieces before it gets too hot for them. So yeah, it’s a win-win for you AND your closet.

Do you do an in-between weather closet clean out?

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