High Five for Friday!!!

Hey Hey!!! Happy Friday!! I have been anxiously awaiting this week to be “ovah”!!!

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1.  I ran to Target for necessities this week (3 times because I forgot something EVERY TIME) and ended up with this $4 “necessity”.  This Pumpkin Cheesecake candle is absolutely UH-MAZING!!! I can’t get enough of it. Totally got me pumped up and ready for Fall!

2.  I did some HomeGoods browsing last week and saw this little guy for $5.99.  I am not a dog person. Never owned one and never will, but I fell in love with this little guy. I keep going back and looking at his picture because he is so darn cute!!

3.  I bought an iMac 2 years ago……and I’m not sure why. Somehow I let myself be talked into wanting  a desktop more than a laptop. Bad move. I have someone who is buying my iMac, and before I can let it go I have to get myself a new computer to keep up with this here blog and other life necessities.  So I am computer shopping this weekend with my fella and I am pumped!!!! Especially because it WILL NOT break the bank with the sale of my old comp!  Excited like it’s Christmas!!

4.  This week I went out to dinner with some friends to restaurant week in Conshohocken (outside of Philly).  We went to a tappas restaurant and each got the tasting menu for restaurant week.  The 12 courses were delicious (except for the salt-laden squash soup and the mussels and shrimp which I didn’t eat).  Although there was a 15 minute lull between each tasting course, the night was fun.  My fave course of all? DESSERT!! I’m a sucker for dessert!

5.  I am always excited to try out new apps on my phone.  I heard about the Sleep Time Alarm Clock app and knew I wanted to check it out.  It’s an alarm clock you set at night before bed. You then put your phone face down on your bed (above your pillow) and it monitors your sleep levels during the night. It works with the sensor in your phone to be able to record when you are awake, in a light sleep or in a deep sleep.  It will also start your alarm in the morning when it senses your body is ready to wake up, rather than when you alarm is making you get up.  The first night, my alarm went off 20 minutes before my set wake-up. Today it didn’t go off until my set time.  Guess I wasn’t ready to get up!! Both nights I was around a 90% sleep efficiency meaning my body is in a nice, restful state of sleep for most of the night! It also has soothing ocean sounds to fall asleep to! So far I think its pretty spot on and awesome! Give it a try!

Hope you have an awesome weekend!!

Linking up with Lauren!

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High Five for Friday!!!

Hey Hey!!! Happy Friday!! I have been majorly slacking in finishing several outstanding projects, hence a lack of posts this week! I have an agenda to complete this weekend so hopefully I have some new things for you next week!

This week was slow, so I only rounded it out with a high four! Here goes!

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1. I did a little new purse shopping last weekend and took my fella along. I saw this Coach trench and fell in love. I have always wanted a trench but never found one that fit just perfect! I made the mistake of trying this on and it was UH-MAZING. I fell in love! I didn’t want to spend the money on this since I was getting a new purse so my “oh so sweet” fella bought me the trench as an early birthday present. Funnily enough, my birthday isn’t until January! Maybe he will forget about this and buy me something else! HOPEFUL!!

2. Last weekend I got together with two of my college roommates for a catch-up lunch. We had lunch on the river in our state’s capital city. It was a gorgeous day with lots of laughs, catching up, and celebrating D’s pregnancy announcement!!! Congrats!!

3. Speaking of gorgeous weather, I went for a long run last weekend and it was amazingly beautiful out. I snapped this picture while running. It’s like a hole into heaven! I love it!

4. And last but not least, I love this time of year for several reasons, one of which is Franken Berry cereal! Since I have been little, this is one of my all time faves!! I stock up on a few boxes since I can only get it one time a year! Yumm!

Any good plans for the weekend? I have some projects up on the schedule and some other odds and ends!!

Hope you have a fab weekend! Linking up with Lauren!

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High Five for Friday!!!

Happy Friday everyone!!!

This week went pretty fast but was pretty uneventful!  Here goes my top fives for the week!

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1.  I read online about an app called Slice.  It advertises that it keeps track of everything you buy online.  I buy a fair amount of things online. Clothes from J Crew Factory, some various home decor items, and books from Amazon.  I like to track my packages but hate scrolling through my email for the various tracking emails.  Slice will access your email account, identify shipping emails and keep track of all of your shipments in one place. It includes shipping estimates, delivery notifications, etc.  I love it!! Much handier than checking back through my emails all of the time.  And it’s free!

2.  I have been working out 4 times a week for the past year and a half.  If I don’t go to the gym on my normal days I feel grouchy and in need of some exercise.  However, the gym gets boring and tedious.  Flowers like this make running outside so much better than running at the gym!! And short breaks to snap pictures always helps too!

3.  I went to an “indoor” pool party (rain forced us to have the party away from the pool and inside) with a group of new friends.  I had heard about how AWESOME grilled angel food cake is and found this recipe on Pinterest.  I took angel food cake for grilling, key lime pudding and raspberries to the party.  This picture is NOT mine.  Me and everyone else ate our dessert too fast for me to snap a picture!! The grilled angel food cake was amazing and smelled even more amazing! I want to just grill some up to make my house smell heavenly!

4.  My fella lives in an area of Pennsylvania where produce stands are plentiful.  I stopped last weekend to stock up on tomatoes, zucchini and cucumbers.  I decided to make toasted cheese and tomato sandwiches.  My dad used to make these for me when I was very little and to this day I love them! A slice of bread, American cheese, tomatoes and pepper, toasted in the oven for 4-5 minutes. DE-LICIOUS!!! I have been craving more ever since I had these for lunch!

5.  And lastly, today is my last day of work!! I am on vacation next week and absolutely cannot wait! I will be spending a few of those days at the beach.  My soul is aching for the beach!! If I don’t get to the beach each summer my life is incomplete!!! Come on 4:00!!!

Hope you all have a fab weekend!!! Happy Friday!!!

Linking up with Lauren.
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Staining Ikea Veneer Furniture

We all love Ikea.  Why? Because it’s cheap.  But the downfall of Ikea? It’s cheap!! You won’t find high quality, solid-wood furniture in rich, dark tones that will last until your grandkids move out of their parents house and you can pass down the heirloom furniture. But for a young person furnishing their first apartment…….Ikea is perfect!

When I got my first apartment out of college, I needed some furniture. Cheap.  I bought this Ikea birch veneer tv stand.  It served me well and was even used in my first house in the bonus family room.

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Two months before I bought my house last year, my fella also bought a house for him and his daughter but he was short on furniture.  I was moving into a house that was half the size of my old house and I had furniture I didn’t need.  I volunteered to let him have my tv stand.   He wasn’t a fan of the color (neither was I really but when you’re a poor college graduate anything will work!) So I said my favorite words “I can paint/stain that!!!”  He decided he wanted it stained a darker wood tone so I got to work.

I did some research and read lots of different techniques for painting/staining Ikea veneer furniture.  Most reviews I read said it wouldn’t work, but I decided to give it a whirl anyway and see what happens.

1.  I sanded the entire piece with an electric sander and 100 grit sandpaper.  Because it is cheap veneer, you will never really get the “wood” roughed up enough to absorb the stain.  I sanded to get as much shine off of the wood as possible.

2.  I used a foam brush for even coverage and brushed the stain on relatively thick, but also as smooth as possible.

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3.  I let the stain sit for 30 seconds just to give it some time to HOPEFULLY soak into the veneer a little.  I wiped off the excess with a paper towel.  The key is to wipe lightly, removing excess stain but leaving as much color on as possible.

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I used Minwax Red Mahogany stain.

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4.   I gave each coat at least a day to dry in between.  If it is still tacky when the next coat is applied, the color will just get pushed around.  Because it is veneer, the stain is not absorbed into the wood.  It is actually just being painted on.  Adequate dry time is key to getting an even, long-lasting finish.

5.  After the last coat was fully dry, I applied a LIGHT coat of Minwax Clear Semi-Gloss Polycrylic.  This coat needs to be applied as lightly and evenly as possible to not cause the paint to smear.

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The stand was left in the garage for 4-5 days for the poly to dry and cure.  Since it was having a tv and other electronics put on it, I wanted it as hard and cured as possible.

Once we brought it in, I thought it looked amazing. And my fella loved it!! $10 for stain and poly and my fella had a “new” tv stand!!

I think it looks amazing!!!  So much better than its former life as a birch colored, new college graduate tv stand!  And its super easy to do!

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And since his house needs a bit of a woman’s touch, I cut these hydrangeas from his garden to spice up his tv stand and make it a little more homey!

Aren’t they gorgeous?!?!

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A girls gotta have her shoes….and a place to store them!

I love shoes….as most girls do.  I also have way too many…..as most girls do.  When I showed you my bedroom here I confessed my mess of shoes and no place to store them.

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I have officially been in my house for one year, and for one year my shoes have lived in the same moving boxes they arrived in.  I would just tear through the boxes each morning to find the shoes I wanted.  This has been getting old for, oh, I don’t know, about the past 9 months!! My shoes were starting to get beat up from being thrown in the boxes and I wasn’t even wearing half of the options I had because I didn’t feel like digging for a certain pair!

From the time I moved in I was researching shoe storage options. I knew I wanted to keep them in this cubby space in my bedroom but wasn’t sure what would work. Here were some of the options I considered.

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I had the wall space for this and plenty of heels, but what about my flats, massive amount of flip flops and boots?? It just wasn’t going to work.

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Shoe storage racks like this are plentiful and I knew I could get a big enough rack, but they just weren’t chic enough!!! (Hey, a girl CAN have it all, especially when it comes to shoe storage!)

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This Hemnes cabinet from IKEA has the look I wanted, but I wasn’t convinced I could fit all of my shoes in those two drawers. And what about my tall boots?

Strolling around Pinterest, there are always amazing closet systems that anyone would dream of having. Believe me, I have considered turning the spare bedroom into a giant walk-in closet. But that would just be silly……or would it?!?!  Images like these really stuck with me…..

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I knew that although I didn’t have a huge walk-in closet, I had to have this system.  I decided to bite the bullet and purchase a standard white book shelf as shoe storage in my bedroom.  I researched and was between an IKEA Billy bookcase and one from Target.  Target was having a sale on this 5 shelf Pasadena white book shelf….

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Normally $73.99, it was on sale for $66.59.  Using my Target REDcard debit card, I got another 5% discount, bringing it down to $60.26.  I googled for another coupon code and got another 3% off bringing my total down to $58.51 before tax.  Using my REDcard, I also got free shipping (saving me another $29.99).

The shelf was delivered to my door.  The directions recommend 2 people……….

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But I said “I got this” and got to work.  It was super easy to put together and probably only took me a half hour.

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The middle shelf is stationary, but the remaining three are adjustable.  I decided to get to work figuring out shoe placement before putting in the remaining shelves.

My boots have spent the past year getting smashed in the bottom of those boxes. I knew I wanted them to stand up to maintain their shape, so I rolled up magazines I no longer needed to hold them up!

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The rest of the shelves got layered in based on the height of the shoes I had and the placement of the preexisting holes in the shelves.

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I knew for my flats I only needed a small spaced shelf and I knew my heels needed more room.  This arrangement worked nicely with MOST of my heels and flats fitting in.

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I have a TON of flip flops and sandals. I knew I couldn’t line them up on the shelves without running out of room.  I got this basket for $12.99 at HomeGoods where I could store all of my summer flip flops and sandals and still have some additional room for my heel overflow!

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Out of those two large boxes I started with, I had 4 pairs of shoes/sandals that I no longer wear so I am going to get rid of them, and probably 6 more pairs of heels that are specifically fall/winter heels.  They will be nicely stored until the seasons change and I swap out all of my summer peep-toe heels for the fall!!!

Much more organized……and pretty too!! (I may be biased!)  It may not be high end or have a built-in look but my shoes are ready to be worn, not strewn about in a giant box, and my mess is corralled!  I also left the white card-board backing off of the shelf to keep the wall color flowing through and make it feel a little more seamless.

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It sort of makes me feel like I have my own little dressing area….for shoes!!  However, I am tapped out on space. I can’t buy any more shoes….or I just have to get another shelf to expand the space!!!!

And it definitely didn’t break the bank!

Total for the project?

  • Shelf – $62.03 (after discounts and tax)
  • Basket – $12.99

Total  $75.02

What do you think?!?! I love!