You Are My Sunshine

Today, in honor of all things love and Valentine’s Day week, I’m featuring the anniversary gift I purchased for Andrew this past October.

On October 22, 2012 we celebrated our one year anniversary. HOW did that happen so fast?! It’s been an amazing year and we celebrated by visiting Grand Cayman for a few days and exchanging the traditional one year anniversary gift of paper. Paper was actually a pretty versatile medium and it was easy to get creative. Andrew constructed an album through Shutterfly featuring some of our favorite photos taken in all corners of the world. It was super special and I love looking at it. Most of our photos are simply uploaded to our hard drive or posted to Facebook so it’s nice to have an album to curl up with and look through.

I decided that a small hallway that connects our bedroom to the master bath needed a little love and I figured what better way to remind Andrew how much he lights up my life but with a little artwork we can appreciate frequently as it’s a “high traffic” area.

So, you know that children’s lullaby, “you are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy, when skies are gray”…that’s sorta our song. Whenever I’m having a bad day, Andrew will just randomly belt that out and sing me out of my funk. It’s just one of those things that melts your heart and gives you the warm fuzzies…I live for hearing that song. Ok, you can stop rolling your eyes now. Mushy bit over.

I found this shop on Etsy, Heartsees, and absolutely fell in love with this print. What better gift of art than a Glicee print featuring this statement that is so meaningful to us.

il_570xN.375524793_tp8pYou Are My Sunshine Print

Here it is hanging in our Master wing hallway.


The seller was a pleasure to work with. Shipping was prompt and since the print was sold fully framed, I was extremely pleased with out carefully it was packaged for protection during shipment. I was so pleased with this purchase and Andrew loves it. We get a lot of joy walking by it every day.

I am not compensated for featuring this seller. This post expresses my own independent purchase and opinions.

Den Updates

So, this isn’t new. In fact, I’ve had this shot posted on Instagram and Facebook for a while but have yet to post it here.

We have a new sofa for the den!


Our den space is sort of odd…it’s not the largest space and based on the layout with the fireplace, built-ins, and the fact that it’s an open floor plan with the kitchen, I was left with few options for furniture arrangement. It was important to me to keep this space feeling open and not clutter it with furniture. While we entertain in this space frequently, we are blessed with Florida weather and the party often spills right onto the adjacent pool patio so we are rarely in dire need of seating in here. A sectional fit our needs perfectly allowing some extra space to kick back and lay out. Paired with an accent chair already in the room and some cozy floor cushions…I think it was all we needed.

This past Thanksgiving, we began our search. Of course, we were looking for a budget option. Honestly, this was going to be a high traffic sofa and while you may get more durability from a more expensive piece of furniture I firmly believe it’s all mostly the same crap at the end of the day….whether you pay $6,000 or $1,500. Our decision was to attempt to find a solid piece of furniture, that didn’t drain the bank account, and that I wouldn’t feel guilty replacing in 5-10 years when it inevitably starts to look shabby. They just don’t make furniture like they used to. Given that we don’t live in the most urban area, local furniture shopping pretty much revolves around one establishment. In Gainesville, that is Furniture Country. We purchased our living room furniture here and have been pleased. The best part, they have some GREAT sales so you can get even more of a bargain. Given that we shopped over Thanksgiving, we scored a Black Friday deal and received an additional 20% off of the price.

As we were walking the store, we had our eyes on different sectional sofas. We knew the dimensions we needed and my preference was for leather. We spend most of our down time in the den with the dogs and the cat and we wanted something durable and that would make fur clean up MUCH easier. I’m over the days of pet hair sticking to upholstery. UGH. Given that our dogs are on the small side and we are able to keep their nails trimmed to discourage punctures or scratches in the leather, we decided that this material was perfect for our needs.

The sofa we ended up purchasing was displayed on the showroom floor in a lime green fabric. My big tip is to look beyond the upholstery when purchasing furniture. Often, the retailer will have questionable choices when it comes to the fabric and color of the furniture they display. Look for the lines and proportion and explore options from there. Much to my delight, this sofa could be upholstered in leather and even more delightful, a shade of leather that I thought only existed in my head was available. I was shocked! I knew I wanted a taupe/gray color but most leather furniture you see is either black, brown, or gasp, white! I chose the leather based on this 4 x 8 inch swatch and was a little fearful it would look dated but once it was delivered I knew it was the right choice. We love it. The pillows you see on the sofa came with the purchase. I was asked to pick fabric and believe it or not, this was the least offensive of the choices. It’s a graphic floral print on twill in shades of taupe, burgundy, and navy. I actually sort of like the pillows but they won’t be permanent as it’s not the look or color scheme I’m going for in this room. Either way, free is free. I’ll either recover these in the future or replace them altogether. I suppose I should give you a few details on the sofa! We went with a right arm chaise sectional sofa made by England Furniture. We chose real leather in the color Salvador Mushroom. Final sale purchase price was $2,111.90. I call that a great value for a leather sectional!


This room still has a long way to go but just wanted to share this little update!

How about you? Any good furniture finds lately?

Schoolhouse Rock

I’m putting “Break It or Take It” to bed. See original post here if you’re new around here and you care at all about what that means. It seemed clever at the time but now…well, it sounds stupid. So, goodbye. It’s ok though because the thing I like most about this whole blogging thing is that it unfolds organically. There’s room to grow, find your voice, feel awfully clever, and then realize you may sound like a complete moron. It’s a place to try quirky titles, talk too much, or not enough…like, when you’re typing away only to look down at the bottom of your page and realize the word count is quickly approaching 500+ and then ask yourself who in the H would want to read all this crap and hit publish anyway. Speaking of I better move on to my point…

I still want to share mid to high end finds with it’s bargain basement match made in heaven but we’ll do so without painful titles. Unless “schoolhouse rock” is a painful title…but anything has to be better than the nonsense that was “break it or take it”…buh-bye. It may come back but for now, we’ll retire it.

I recently discovered Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co. through a project that was completed on the Bravo show Million Dollar Decorator. Guilty, guilty pleasure that network. Anyhow, Jeffery Alan Marks completed a project in Nantucket where the requirement was to furnish virtually all of the home through “catalog” resources. I was enamored with the lighting fixtures used throughout the house and quickly learned through some participation in the live tweets of that episode that many of the fixtures came from Schoolhouse Electric.


Ok, so let’s all get over the collective groan that I’m late to the party on this one. They aren’t new, they’ve been blogged to death, but they’re new to me…and fueling my lamp fetish fast. Seriously though, there are some amazing fixtures available and pictures of their showroom have justified a trip to Portland, Oregon. Seriously, I asked Andrew if we could go to Portland…to see a lamp store. My poor husband.

Anyway, remember the lamp I featured in this shopping post?…yes, the one the evil wallet gremlins at Target made me purchase? Well, I found it’s long lost relative on Schoolhouse Electric. Observe.


Schoolhouse Electric Lafayette Lamp…gorgeous at $339.00

14244326_121110063000Target Buff Beige Table Lamp Base…tolerable at $54.99

My wanna-be at home:


The navy ikat print shade is also from Target and was $22.99.

14246323_121025003000In closing, I wanted to share a blurb on why Schoolhouse Electric is so awesome…this is from their LinkedIn company overview.

Schoolhouse Electric Co. is a homegrown company started in Portland, Oregon in 2003.
The showroom and factory are located here with a showroom also in New York City.

American made vintage lighting fixtures and shades. Our shades are hand blown from original molds found in an old warehouse in upstate New York.

Too bad most of their selection doesn’t quite fit into the budget. While I can’t afford larger pieces such as table and floor lamps at the moment, I plan on giving them my business through smaller fixtures and finishes on offer.

So, how about you…any “look for less” finds this week?

PS: official word count is 545…new years resolution…shorter posts.

A Very Merry Christmas Mantel

So this post is actually sort of exciting because it reveals a portion of the family room, den…whatever you want to call it…that I haven’t shown you yet.


…sits directly across from this…


And until recently, we didn’t even have that mirror hanging. Instead, there was this random gaping hole with cables sticking out for mounting a television. We considered mounting the flat screen for a hot second but the width of our TV doesn’t exactly jive with the wonky studs behind the wall possibly resulting in a shattered plasma. No bueno. Besides, the room is actually a tad on the narrow side and the angle of the TV would have been too high for proper viewing. Instead, we’ve decided to keep the television where it is for now and I’m currently scheming, designing, and planning a project to complete the built-ins that you see in the photo above.

Anyway, the mirror is nothing fancy. In fact, it was something my husband had bought for above the mantel (he thinks it was from HomeGoods) in our first house (his bachelor pad) way before I’d even met him. It made the move with us and I’d been intending to take it to the local consignment shop but never got around to it. So there you have it, I guess it was meant to be. It’s amazing how that one simple addition made the area look more “finished”…wish I’d done it sooner.

On that note, here’s how I gussied up the mantel for Christmas. My general inspiration was Pottery Barn Holiday. Many of their decor ideas evoke this modern yet traditional cottage sensibility and I can’t get enough of mercury glass, red berries, and my glass pine trees.


Overall, my mantel isn’t the most creative and the extent of my crafting was purchasing some holly berries from the Michael’s floral department and sticking them in a mercury glass hurricane…but sometimes it’s not what you make, but how you use what you have and find bargains to fill in the gaps that make the difference.





Here’s the breakdown:

The mercury glass pillars with candles and hurricane are from Target this season. (PS, look for my post tomorrow on Break It or Take It: Mercury Glass…as promised). Pottery Barn styling on a dime for sure. The twig and berry garland and red berry spray in the hurricane are from Michael’s. As for my little forest of pines; the glittery gold tree is a $7 find from HomeGoods and my glass trees were a find at Ross a few seasons ago. My reindeer and sleigh stocking holders were from Target several seasons ago and the Christmas stockings  were an IKEA find, also several seasons ago. (PS: IKEA has awesome holiday decor for pennies.)

If you want to check out some more mantel inspiration, head over to Ten June where I’ve joined the link party to get down with some more merry mantels.


And check out some other festive holiday mantels and ideas at these blogs below! I’ve linked up this mantel with the Finding Silver Pennies link party…lot’s of inspiration over there…


… Holiday Vignettes party over at Southern Hospitality


…and, Christmas Mantel Decorating Ideas Link Party over at The Lettered Cottage…

The Lettered Cottage

And, in case you’re feeling left out…no fireplace is necessary to mount a mantel…find yo’self some space for a wall shelf and bling it out with festive finds. You’re welcome.

Garage Update

While I was nursing a wicked migraine yesterday, Andy tackled a shelving project in his man cave (AKA our garage). I have this thing about our garage…it NEEDS to be neat. I don’t mean like neat…I mean spic and span. It’s sick I know. I mean, it’s where we park our cars, and put the lawnmower, and take our shoes on and off…it’s bound to be a little dirty right??…SUPPOSED to be a little dirty even. But it DRIVES ME CRAZY. To add insult to injury, it gives me hives when not only is there a layer of grit in there but also when it’s a cluttered mess. (Gosh, reading back over this paragraph is making me realize I probably need to seek treatment…I swear I made myself sound more OCD than I am but still…). You see, growing up, my Dad (hiya Dad…I say the following with love) would clean the garage ALL THE TIME. And I don’t mean just tidy up. I mean empty the whole dang thing out, hose it out, wipe everything down, put everything back, and do it all again in a month. Ok, so maybe every month is an exaggeration but you seriously could eat off the floor in there. In his defense, it was probably much cleaner by default because they never parked the cars in the garage but nevertheless it was always very clean. I guess I’ve subconsciously set this precedent in my mind that my garage should in some way be up to the task of hosting dinner parties. I need a reality check.

Recently, I’ve decided to try to be a little more laid back about the garage sitch. It is, after all, the place where my handy husband keeps all his tools to work on our projects and fix stuff. Additionally, since we have an acre + of property to care for, and we’d rather not bleed green hiring someone to do the lawn, we need a home for our riding mower and other yard beautifying necessities. We were recently thisclose to purchasing a shed but those things are pricey and we realized we’d be spending an arm and a leg for a shed that wasn’t really the look we were going for on our property. But this post isn’t about a shed, more on that another time…back to the point.

Andrew had two of these bad boys lying around and decided to do a little organization of his man space.


A while back Andrew purchased these shelves for another project (I don’t recall what specifically) but decided to go in another direction so these have just been sitting around waiting for the right opportunity. In case you were wondering here are the specifics:

IKEA EKBY TRYGGVE SHELF 46 7/8 x 11″ $6.99/ea.

He decided that his workbench area was a cluttered mess (true story), and these shelves could be put to good use by bringing some organization and storage to the equation. After a quick trip to Home Depot for a few supplies he was ready to roll. And with the blink of an eye and the buzz of the cordless drill we went from this:

garage organization

to this:

garage shelves

Per the hubs, installation was simple. He used:

ClosetMaid SelfTrack Hang Track 40″ in White ($13.40)

ClosetMaid ShelfTrack Standard Hanging Track 60″ in White (2 @ $12.26/ea)


Rubbermaid 9″ D Twin Track Bracket in White (4 @ $2.95/ea)

closetmaid selftrack

rubbermaid shelf bracket

(be sure to secure the shelves with screws so they remain sturdy)

Finished product.

garage shelves

So, in case you were curious, this project isn’t technically complete. The next time we head down to IKEA, we’ll pick up a few more shelves add another two rows to this set up. It was good to get it started though! Based on what we will need to finish the project, including two more shelves and the brackets, here’s a quick breakdown of the cost:

IKEA EKBY TRYGGVE Shelves – 4 @ $6.99/ea.

ClosetMaid SelfTrack Hang Track 40″ in White – 1 @ $13.40

ClosetMaid ShelfTrack Standard Hanging Track 60″ in White – 2 @ $12.26/ea

Rubbermaid 9″ D Twin Track Bracket in White – 8 @ $2.95/ea

Total: $89.48

Here’s the deal. At the end of the day, I can’t claim that this was some earth shattering budget friendly project. To be honest, I was a little surprised when I saw that start to finish this project cost just about $90. But, a quick search of the major home improvement sites demonstrated that purchasing a shelving unit or cabinet would have set us back over $100 and we would have needed to put it together as well. So, I’ll call this one a win. It definitely created more space and organization in this nook of the garage and got things up off of the floor and work surfaces. Looking forward to getting the remaining shelves up and tackling a few other storage projects for the garage.

Speaking of garage storage…I’d love to hear about your storage solutions and ideas. I’m always looking for attractive a creative ways to organize this space! Maybe one day I’ll have a garage that looks like this!

Finally, we were not enticed or compensated by Home Depot, ClosetMaid, Rubbermaid, or IKEA in any way to feature these products. We chose them because we’ve used them in the past, had good experiences, and the price is right. 


Well folks, the day recently arrived where we were actually, in all seriousness, for real this time, PAINTING!

Here’s a quick run through on some of the steps we took and a little picture progression from out of the gate through to the finish line.

Prepping the walls and priming:

After we completed our wall texture repair (read all about it here, and here) we prepped the walls for priming and painting by first washing the walls with a solution of water and Trisodium Phosphate (TSP). Actually, I should clarify that we use a phosphate free TSP (there are several kinds available at your local hardware chain). We’re trying to do our part to be environmentally friendly and not dump phosphates into the water supply. Anyway, this cleaning solution is fantastic for cutting grease, dust, mold and mildew, etc, that builds up on your walls and helps give you a great foundation to put all that expensive paint on.

We then applied primer. We like Kilz 2 latex primer. Which begs…to use primer, not to use primer…that is the question. We acknowledge there are loads of opinions on this but we stand in the “prime the walls” camp. For us, this has historically provided the best result. Just as an aside, I do not use primer before repainting the trim.

Below, walls are primed!



First, awhile back we’d gone ahead and painted the ceiling. As above, we cleansed the ceiling with the TSP substitute solution and then just repainted it with your basic white ceiling flat. We like Behr Premium Plus Flat Interior Ceiling Paint available at Home Depot.

Anyhow, recall we chose Moonshine by Benjamin Moore (feel free to refresh your memory here). We had this color mixed in a Benjamin Moore base called Regal Select Waterborne Interior Paint in Eggshell.

I realized after the fact that this product is considered a paint and primer in one. However, a few years back we used a paint/primer product that we were so-not-pleased with. Oh well, we had already primed. BUT, this product was such a pleasure to work with I may go rogue and skip the priming step when we move onto painting the kitchen/den area with this same color and product. It provided great coverage and the application was so smooth.

As for trim, we chose to use the Benjamin Moore Ben line of latex paint.

This was a little cheaper than the paint we used for the walls. I figured since the trim wasn’t as gigantic in surface area as the walls, I’d go ahead and save a little green. You see, the Regal Select set us back $49.99/gallon and Ben was only $36.99/gallon. Given that we needed SO MUCH PAINT for the walls, saving some cash was definitely the way to go. By the way, we opted for the color Decorators White for the trim in a semi-gloss finish. It looks so crisp against Moonshine and really pops resulting in a serene, modern, yet classic look.

At this time, we have the crown molding and baseboards painted. Now, we only have to finish painting the trim around the doors and some doors themselves. Our bedroom door, the laundry room door, the coat closet door, and some pocket doors leading to the kitchen are visible when closed and definitely need a coat of paint to finish the look. We’ll plan on using Decorators White on those as well.

Here are some after shots (and another sneak peek at the very beginnings of tackling the decor in here…mind you, there’s a looong way to go on that).

Sneak Peek

Happy Easter! Hope everyone is enjoying a fabulous weekend with friends and family, whether you celebrate this holiday or not :). I’m super excited because my parents are visiting from New Jersey. My vowels are awlready sufferin’ becauwse I’m pickin’ up the accent again from listenin’ to my parents tawlk. Anyway, I’m also really happy because I get to have the whole week off, and then some, with my parents. I haven’t had this kind of time  off to visit with them in years so that’s really fun. I’ll have to get my GTL on. Actually, my husband, of all people, clued me in on what that means…Gym, Tan, Laundry. HAHA! Oh Jersey Shore…I don’t watch you, but I lived you a little bit (word up Seaside Heights for Prom after party!) I digress…

An update on my non-blog life…I took another job opportunity (I’m a Speech Pathologist and Rehabilitation Director by day) and I have the luxury of a few weeks off before I start my new job. I’ll have loads of time for working on some house projects, blogging, and traveling. We’ll be jetting off to Las Vegas and then spending two weeks overseas to visit some friends in Singapore. We’ll also hit up Vietnam and Dubai. Could you get anymore random than that?!

Ok, I did want to get around to sharing a few sneak peeks of some things we’ve been working on. I took these pictures with the Instagram app on my iPhone. I’ve never really used it before and it rocks.

(ps…these condescending wonka pictures get me every time).

First, my darling hubby put together my West Elm barstools mentioned awhile back. They look amazeballs. In fact, my Dad loved them so much that he declared I needed three of them so he was kind enough to purchase us a third as a gift. THANKS DAD! We agree you’re totally right that three at the counter will make all the difference. Good eye!


We also finished painting earlier this week (well, 90% of it…just a little door trim left) and we set up the living room/dining room a little bit. I’ll post again soon and take things back to the beginning for you so you can get the progression of former state of things to the current, but in the mean time, feast your eyes on this.

Texturized: Part Deux

So, yesterday we left off with our dry run of drywall texturizing. Today, we have some info on how we completed the final product and got our walls looking ravishingly rough once again…no more bald spackle patches!

We sort of took some liberties with the application of the spray texture. Based on the fact that we couldn’t ultimately determine exactly what “pattern” the original drywall texture was applied in, we sort of did a mash-up, of sorts, of different texture patterns to perfectly blend our patches with the existing wall.

Based on the results from our dry run, it appeared that the best method was to spray the texture onto the wall surface.

(excuse the fact that I look a hot mess…I had just come back from a run…er…jog…hey, it’s somethin’)

Then using the drywall trowel, VERY lightly use the knockdown technique to begin blending the texture onto the wall.

Finally, we used the drywall texture brush to sort of mottle and feather the edges for a more blended look.

The exciting news is that this patch job turned out great and you can’t even tell now that we have paint on the walls.

Wait! What’s that!? We have paint on the walls?!? Yes, folks you heard it here first…we’ve been busy bee’s all week priming and getting our first coat of paint up. Second coat goes up tonight. Can’t wait to post pics. It looks AMAZING!

Texturized: Part Un

So, I’m going to make a resolution to stop promising specific timelines regarding posts. I made a comment on my last post regarding an update on our wall texture project, however, “tomorrow” turned into “5 days later”. My B.

Ok, let’s dive right in.

As you saw in pictures from our last post, the wall had some damage that needed fixing. Here was the plan of attack.

First, apply spackle to smooth things out, let it dry, and then lightly sand with a fine grit sandpaper. Here’s a great tutorial if it’s your first rodeo with the spackle and sandpaper. PS, isn’t spackle a great word!? spackle, spackle, spackle…ok.

Next, fix the fact that you made smooth patches on a textured wall. To do this, we purchased a “wall texture in a can” product recommended to us by a contractor we’ve worked with in the past. However, practice makes perfect so we purchased the following materials to do a few experimental runs before actually applying it to our walls.

The Goods:

1. Small square of drywall

2. Homax wall texture in “orange peel and knockdown”

3. Drywall trowel, spackle knife, and drywall texture brush.

We then proceeded to follow the directions on the can and applied the texture to our practice drywall. Using the spackle knife, drywall trowel, and brush; we experimented with a variety of patterns and textures.

Once we were pleased with the results we held the drywall square up to our actual wall to determine the best method to use during actual application to achieve the desired effect.

Ok! Stay tuned for the final results!

To the Windooow, To the Wall

Here it is…the long await posted regarding our wall texture repair adventure. Actually this will likely involve two to three posts so check back to see how we completed this project. Which will be finished tomorrow! Finally! Yay!

In the formal living and dining space of our home, there were marks and damage from what appears to be the aftermath of chair rail. Here’s some back story to elaborate (and I’m actually oversimplifying a lot of this):

Our home was most recently owned by a corporation that basically “buys” residential home loans in bulk. Basically, the previous owner couldn’t afford their payments (which makes me sort of sad and really thankful for my circumstances all at the same time), and rather than go into foreclosure and destroy their credit, a company like this will swoop in and basically do a deed in lieu of foreclosure. I’m sure I have some of this wrong but nevertheless, because it wasn’t officially bank owned, the company came in and did some cosmetic (albeit piss poor) work on the place. Most notably, they ripped down what appears to have been chair rail as mentioned above and did an AWFUL repair job which left the walls, not really damaged, but unsightly in places. They also did a crappy “builders” job painting the entire house in the same color beige in a flat finish. Now, I’m being a little harsh, it wasn’t truly awful, but after a couple of months with it…gag, time to move on.

Here’s an example of what we were dealing with:

Unfortunately, we couldn’t just slap on some spackle and sand because the walls have drywall texture. Which, by the way, WHEN did this become popular? Perhaps I do just live under a rock but I grew up in a home with very smooth walls so as an adult, I am completely thrown by the apartments and homes I’ve lived in that have these textured walls. Needless to say, I did my research and got up to speed on drywall texture. Check out some info here and here. Then I was ready to plan our repair attack. You see, we ultimately need to spackle and sand this damage however, it will leave smooth patches on the wall not consistent with the undamaged texture. So, the second step is to repair the wall texture with joint compound or other pre-mixed drywall texture product on the market that comes in a can.

Stay tuned for a post tomorrow on what we chose to use and some steps we took to practice with the materials before we took it to the wall.