Friday, April 24, 2015

DVD Organization

Confession: My husband and I do not have cable television. We do not have Netflix, Direct TV, Hulu, or anything of the sort. We have not had television in our home for the entire span of our marriage, which is coming up on 8 years. What?!?!? Correct. AND WE LOVE IT.

Our main news provider/news anchor is my mother, and following that, the Internet and radio. If David wants to catch a sports game or enjoy the History Channel, he watches at a friends home or via Internet or his smartphone (free apps!). If I need an HGTV fix or have the desire to indulge in my irrational choice of Hoarders: Buried Alive, I also watch on my smartphone.

The positives of this decision are many. We find things to do other than sitting in front of the tube. Theres no extra monthly bill that’s not a necessity. No flipping through one hundred channels just to say, Theres nothing on TV. No bargaining over who gets the remote. No lost times of fellowship when friends or family visit. No thoughts of I just spent 4 hours watching back to back episodes of Hoarders, and I now need to throw out every item in my home besides soap and toilet paper. 

The negatives of our decision? We have none

So, why do we even own the big black tube?Because David and I do enjoy watching a good movie. This brings me to one of my latest home projects. We have a mirrored dresser in our living room that holds our DVDs. After years of acquiring movies that we’d enjoy watching more than once, the dresser began to overflow. Several years ago, I tried housing the DVDs in a large CD album, but cramming them into the plastic sleeves scratched the discs, so back into the cases they went. I recently searched the Internet to find another solution, and I have to tell you . . . we love the current setup. We have been using this system for about two months now because I wanted to truly test it out before writing about it. It’s been great for us. 

The drawers were beginning to overflow.

Supplies Needed:
I had everything on hand except the Memorex sleeves. I simply had to invest time, patience, about $20 for the sleeves (we ended up buying 3 packages), and it was worth it!

I chose to separate the DVDs into movie genres as the first step.

The Finished Project!
I labeled the dividers into our most-watched movie genres and labeled each individual sleeve with the movie it holds. I then alphabetized them in each category, so we know exactly where to go if wanting a specific movie. If we are unsure, we simply pull out the acrylic holder and flip through, which is fun!

Now all of our DVDs fit into one drawerwith room to spare! I had two empty dresser drawers afterward, which I used to house all of our games that had been crammed into a spare closet, making the dresser a true entertainment catch all (and now have an empty closet shelf!). I boxed up the DVD cases and have them stored in our basement. 

The back of the third container to the right holds about seventy-five empty sleeves for future DVD purchases (which should last us for years), as well as a few hard plastic DVD cases for the times someone wants to borrow a movie. 

I hope you enjoyed this organization project! How do you store your DVDs? Any others out there who don't have cable television? I'd love to hear from you!


Monday, April 20, 2015

2015 Spring Home Tour & a Husband Who Hates Painting

Ive been enjoying many spring home tours from design bloggers I admire, so I decided I would share my own. Forgive my amateur photos; I am learning and taking notes along the way!

My husband and I have lived in our small bungalow for just over three years, and we recently completed our last planned update, which was painting all the ceilings. You need to know that my husband detests painting . . . to the point where hed rather do ANY other possible jobor have any limb removed. I have learned to do one of three things regarding painting where David is concerned:

  1. Stay away completely while it is taking place. As in, be in another town. Or state.
  2. Disobey his orders that HE is the master painter and I am not to touch or look at the paint brushes/rollers, pretend I am asleep when he leaves for work at 7 a.m., and at 7:01 a.m. fly out of bed and paint like a madwoman until he arrives home at 6 p.m. (me with paint all over myself and a cheeky Im so precious grin), all day having found ways to technically not lie when responding to any texts or phone calls.
  3. Act ridiculously stupid while he is painting and turn his grumbles into hysterical laughter.

I have done all three multiple times now, and I havent yet decided which is the best choice. I can tell you that the day he came home to our living room completely painted by yours truly, he acted mad for about three seconds and then I was the best thing around. So, with all that, a heartfelt thank you to David for our lovely, freshly painted ceilings. Youre the only one Id want to go through home improvements withall the planning, dreading, fun times bargain shopping, returning, arguing, glaring, bribing, laughing until we cry, and, finally, relaxing and enjoying the fruits of our labor. Youre my favorite partner in home improvements and in life.


When I selected the fabric for our tufted sofas, I had gone to the furniture store in the early afternoon and spent hours narrowing the choices to three: a dark gray, a dark navy, and the tan fabric shown. David met me there after work, and I suggested that he choose. David does, after all, indulge the current girly-glam decor style going on, claiming he is man enough to be around pink and bling.

In my defense, I never had the glam decor style in mind until we had an opportunity to purchase our living room rug at a ridiculous discount. It had a retail of $1200, and we bought it at a steal-only $25 due to a small tear that David fixed with latex. Anyone who has shopped for a large, quality wool rug knows that they come with a high price tag. Please let it be known that purple is one of my LEAST favorite colors. I am a blue-and-green, black-and-white, modern-with-some-antiques-thrown-in gal at heart. But alas, we were in emergency rug-finding mode as we had just installed the new flooring. David had looked at me and said, Its such great quality . . . for $25, cant you figure out how to make it work??? So I did just thatembraced the navy-and-orchid-purple I love you, you love me, were a happy family rug.

So, back to sofa fabrics. I, of course, had a favorite, which was the very one David pointed to. A neutral tan but fun, very small animal print. I know our decor will change when we finally decide to get rid of Barney . . . I mean, the rug . . .and these sofas will stand the test of time and fit into any decor style.

Painting the cabinets white was one of the best home improvement decisions we made!

The beautiful teak credenza is one of my most cherished pieces, a gift from a very dear friend.




Please note MORE purple. I choose clearance stickers over favorite colors, so when we needed a duvet set and I found this one at Target marked from over $100 to just $19.99, I knew that purple was my destiny once again.


I hope you enjoyed my first spring home tour and had a laugh or two along the way. 
Let me know in the comments below what your favorite part of decorating is, as well as your least favorite! 


Monday, March 2, 2015

Beauty Is In the Eye of the Beholder...But Not Under Fluorescent Lighting

I have always enjoyed makeup and have fond memories of sitting in the bathrooms of both my mother and grandmother, a small blonde-haired girl, my round, green eyes watching with wonder as they applied their makeup (Mary Kay for Mom, Avon for Gram). I remember the day I turned thirteen, for it was the day I was "finally" allowed to wear makeup. My mother gifted me a few neutral eyeshadows and a light lipstick, and I thought I was in makeup heaven. Today, at age thirty-seven, I continue to enjoy makeup, beauty products, natural oils, and, more recently, simply taking care of my skin. On the days I choose to wear makeup (there are plenty that I don't), I find the quiet moments while applying it therapeutic. I use that time to reflect, pray for others, and listen or sing along to a few worship songs.

The photos above show my current setup, and I must say that I love it. I keep the area free of clutter, with just a few sentimental items that make me smile: silk flowers from a close friend, a white deer head ornament that I keep rings or hair ties on, and a small picture of my nieces. The dressing table is from IKEA (Malm Dressing Table), and the acrylic storage units are from MUJI USA. I am an extreme organizer (something else I find therapeutic), and these drawers keep everything wonderfully organized and accessible. I purposely house my makeup and statement jewelry in the clear drawers because I find that I rotate and use all of the items this way, as opposed to having things tucked away where I forget about them. I affixed some white hooks to the inside of the desk, where my hair dryer and curling iron are stored. I also have a small, pretty garbage can underneath, just like my grandmother did. I can clearly see her blotting her lipstick and tossing away her lip-marked tissue.

The runway lights. Well, these happened after David and I were in a store one day. I saw myself in a mirror under the fluorescent lights, gasped, and said, "Why didn't you tell me I looked like a CLOWN??" David laughed and exclaimed I did not look like a clown, but that did not comfort me, as I prefer a more "natural but nicely noticeable" makeup look . . . and that day I felt I could rival a drag queen. I had never noticed this issue before and immediately knew it was due to the lack of light in our master bedroom.

After researching different lighting options, I fell for a lovely but costly name brand Vanity Girl Hollywood setup that was unfortunately priced around $400. I asked my handy hubby if we could make something similar, and he happily took to the task. After one trip to Lowes, measuring around the large white mirror we already owned, and some drilling, (myself once again watching David like that little girl watching her mother and grandmother), I had my own custom setup that rivals the expensive name brand. David was really quite excited about making this for me, and he decided to make the lights dimmable, which is my favorite part. In one afternoon, for under $100 (bulbs included!), I no longer had to wonder if I was going to frighten people who glanced my way.

I'm looking forward to more frequent beauty posts, sharing some of my favorite low-cost alternatives to the more costly high-end brands. While I do enjoy luxury makeup items that were either gifts or purchased at a great discount, I get a tiny thrill from finding much less expensive products that deliver the same high-end result. Do you still "play" with makeup? Do you have any holy grail items in your beauty/skin/hair care routine? I'd love to hear from you!

"For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone." ~Audrey Hepburn


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Oh Dear, Oh Dear...Oh Deer.

WARNING: If you are greatly opposed to hunting, even for the sole purpose of feeding one’s family, you might not fully enjoy this post. However, know that this is coming from someone who has screamed at her husband in the car if even a mouse is running across the road. David has learned to shout “Close your eyes!!!” at any sighting of a deer or other animal lying on the side of the road, and he has also learned that tears are likely to flow if I spot any dead creature. We once had a day trip near ruined because two lovely Labradors had run from their (broken) fenced farm onto a major highway. I was sobbing for ten minutes and then crying for a good twenty; I simply could not shake the sight of those once-beautiful dogs or the thought of their owners’ heartache. That recollection can still bring tears to my eyes.

I have such a tender heart toward animals that it borders on nonsense. When I was a child, my mother brought home the movie Where the Red Fern Grows, and in my little girl voice, I very solemnly said to her “Great. Another dead dog movie.” If someone mentions the movie War Horse . . . get ready to console me. And if I ever knowingly meet someone who has mistreated an animal in any way? Well, you might not want to be around.

My love for animals began as a toddler. It’s nearly impossible not to develop that love after being raised on a horse farm that also (at different times) had calves, cows, kittens, cats, puppies, dogs, one lamb (so sorry, Brenda), one pig, and a donkey named Henry. My brother, Brian, hunted with my father from a very young age, and there was one rule. THE rule. I can still hear it being exclaimed by my mother: “Brian, ANYTHING you kill, you MUST eat.” The belief was that God created some animals as food provision but not for the simple sport of killing. Brian ate a few squirrels in his day (as well as chased after me and my childhood best friend, Lesa, with the detached squirell tails) and later provided our family with a 40 pound Thanksgiving turkey and, finally, venison prepared many different ways. Brian continued to provide food for his daughters until the day his life was taken in an automobile accident. It took me nearly two years after his death to allow one of his last bags of frozen venison meat to be thawed and eaten (the very last one is still in my parents freezer, and I know it will never be used). I can remember the day as if it were yesterday. I’ll now introduce my twenty-one-year-old stepson, David, (how I love that boy) who is obviously a Junior. We nicknamed him DJ, because while he lived with David and me, they both simultaneously answered every call of mine from “David” to “Honey” to “Sweetheart.” My husband David does not care for venison, so together DJ and I ate the last pieces of venison sausage through silence and tears. It may seem silly to others, but DJ and I shared something very special with that meal. 

With all that being explained, let’s move on to some decor. Decor?? Yes. About two years ago, David and I were wandering through HomeGoods, and I spotted a shiny white deer head. This white deer head is shown below. (And, yes, he is wearing a scarf for the winter months. It is quite cold in upstate NY, not to mention our home being drafty because we need new windows. Scarves offer warmth and style. Don’t judge.)

As I held this glossy, ten-point buck, my eyes welled up with thoughts of my brother, and I presented the deer in my shaking hands to David. He graciously said, “Of course.” This deer (I am accepting all suggestions for a name for him in the comments below) has been in many different places in our home, bearing his leopard scarf in the fall and winter and shedding it for the spring and summer. Unfortunately, the Christmas tree is blocking some of the collage wall, but you get the general idea (after the tree is down, I will take some photos of the house in its non-decorated state).

Shown without apparel.

This one deer began a, shall we say, slight problem? You see, I didn’t realize that home designers were placing antlers everywhere at the time. For me, it was sentimental; I had no idea that it was actually the beginning of a seemingly long-term design trend. And because of this design trend, deer/antlers in any form are easily accessible at TJ Maxx, HomeGoods, Target, boutiques, stores online . . . pretty much everywhere.

Before the onslaught (no pun intended) of photos are presented: be prepared. I have placed a . . . few more antler/deer items in our home. Some were gifts, but the rest have been proudly purchased (on clearance!!) by me. I will sum up this entire post in one thought: If a hunter walked into our home, he or she would very quickly discover any undiscovered ticks they might have. I can see facial twitches, bulging eyes, uncontrollable scratches, reaching for nonexistent guns or bows . . . you get the picture. Here we go.

This is a print by Charmaine Olivia titled “Deer Wearing Gym Socks” (Urban Outfitters). It makes me smile every time I look at it. Brian wore this exact type of gym socks in high school, and I know this is something he would have allowed me to decorate his home with.

White snow globe (TJ Maxx) and a genuine antler from one of Brians deer. I have a full box of these, and I am planning a very special, homemade antler project.

Antler candle snuffer (TJ Maxx)a gift from David last Christmas.

Large metal catch-all bowl by our main entry. I waited patiently for this to go on sale and purchased it for only $10 (reduced from the original TJ Maxx price of $59.99)

Cynthia Rowley teak candlestick holders (Marshalls). These are normally in the center of my dining room table, but I am still enjoying some birthday flowers!

My newest addition: a recent birthday gift selected by my brother-in-law (also named Brian, which is quite special to me). Remember, Brian (aka Hazel), the one concerned about my placing him on Craigslist? Hazel and my sister-in-law, Kay, found this treasure of a bottle stopper in a lovely home boutique in Skaneateles. Kay also gets the credit for this blog posts title.

In between our dining room and kitchenwhat girl doesnt need an awesome deer hook for her handbag? (TJ Maxx)

This has an oval metal base and is actually meant to be mounted to a wall, but we are currently enjoying it above our newly painted kitchen cabinets (HomeGoods).

This is my current favorite piece: a plate that my husband discovered and bought for me last month in Georgetown, D.C., at Anthropologie. We spent Thanksgiving in D.C. with my husbands niece, Nicole (who is also one of my best friends), and her handsome husband, Steve. We made many great memories over the holiday weekend, and they come to mind each time I look at this plate, which is placed over one of my and Davids wedding photos. I named her Georgette (Georgie for short).

This antler has been around! It doesnt stay in one place very long, but it is currently in the second bedroom/Rachels room/my office.

This little guy (from Lowes) is meant to be a Christmas ornament (which a second one is being used as), but I have turned it into a ring holder, and it sits on my vanity.

Finally, in Breannas room, we have this lovely guy that David bought at HomeGoods last spring, knowing Breanna would love it above a cherished photo of her and her dad. 

There we have it! For now (I am not denying the possibility of other deer entering through our front door). I hope you enjoyed the stroll through the woods . . . I mean house. Do you have any sentimental decor items? Let me know in the comments below, and don’t forget to give me some name suggestions for my very first, very special, scarf-bearing buck.