O' Christmas Tree!

I wanted our first Christmas tree to be warm, classic, traditional– and beautiful! There isn't really a theme... just ornaments that we love. My husband's favorites are the penguin (I got that one just for him) and the felt bird, and my favorites are the sparkly football and volleyball (so we can remember our glory days)! Luckily for us, we inherited a 9 ft tree that the previous owner left in the attic, so we needed lots of ornaments to fill it up. The tree, much like my house, is full of pears. I now have pears throughout my whole home's decor, but what can I say? I love their cute shape and perfect green color! The golden ones on the tree tie the whole thing together (and the whole box of them was quite affordable at Home Goods.

I collected ornaments throughout November, and I think our final result is perfectly us.

PS. The tree is halfway balanced on the hearth and halfway balanced on two plastic bins with phone books. It's quite a contraption, but that is where the ceiling is the highest so that the tree would actually fit! It looks very impressive now because the hearth gives it an added 1.5 feet, bringing it to 11 feet with the tree topper. So fun!


These beauties came from Crate & Barrel, Cracker Barrel (not to be confused with Crate & Barrel), Pottery Barn, Target, HomeGoods, Kirklands and the Neiman Marcus/Horchow outlet. I filled in the empty spots with tissue paper dahlias that I saved from our wedding decorations, and I made the ornaments on the bottom row with some vintage book pages and Modge Podge. 

I love our finished result, especially next to our cozy fire! 
Hope your house is feeling the Christmas spirit, too!

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Everyone who knows me knows how much I love to bargain shop. I take major pride in finding a good deal, so Black Friday is a day that I prepare for carefully. I do all my online research so that I can know which stores are offering the best deals and do what I can to take advantage of the discounts (even if it means braving some shopping mayhem).

I was pretty excited that so many stores were bringing their Black Friday deals online this year- including one of our usual haunts, Lowe's. I befriended Lowe's on Facebook so I could get a sneak peek at the deals, and sure enough they were offering some things we were definitely interested in!

Here are the deals we ended up with:

Tradesman 10" Table Saw for the hubby- $59 (60% off)
Apparently these sold out in 20 minutes at 5 a.m. in the store, so we were feeling pretty 
smart that we ordered ours online. We used the "free in-store pickup" option, and our table 
saw was sitting there waiting for us all by itself after the dust had cleared on Saturday.

Maglite Aluminum Flashlight- $15 (50% off)
We don't own a flashlight and hubby wanted a nice one, so this was a convenient purchase.

We bought those two items on Thanksgiving day through the Lowe's website, and I also had my eyes on this door hardware that was super-discounted. I wanted to replace our brass hardware with something more updated, and the price was definitely right. Unfortunately I could not find them in any of our DFW stores, so I had to wait until customer service was available on Black Friday.

Gatehouse Aged Bronze Entrance Handleset- $28 (75% off)

I called the Lowe's website on Friday. They were able to find the entrance handleset and 
the smaller entrance knobs for the back door, but not the 13 interior doorknobs I needed. 
They said I would have to work with my local store. 

It turned into a crazy treasure hunt- right up my alley!
Where, oh where, could these doorknobs be, oh where, oh where could they be?!
All in all, I probably had seven different phone conversations with Lowe's while I was trying to find what I needed. They were sold out nationwide. We ended up getting some interior knobs that weren't as discounted as these, but they were close. When I explained how much effort I had been through to find these knobs, our local Lowe's gave me 10% off as a consolation. Their customer service was really great throughout the process.

We ended up spending $200 to replace the doorknobs in the entire house. A regular priced entry doorknob for the front door normally costs $140 by itself, so we got quite a steal- 15 door handles for $200. Yay Black Friday!

The deals didn't stop there. We made an in-person visit to our local Lowe's on Friday to see what else they had, and hubby ended up buying himself a compressor/nail gun combo:

2 Gallon Air Compressor with Nailer & Accessory Kit- $59 (40% off)

As we always do, we found the Lowe's clearance section to see if there were any amazing deals. We didn't see anything, but a manager came up to us and asked if she could help. 

There was a cute storage shelf my mom wanted for her first grade classroom, but it was $55. 
The manager took out her Sharpie and wrote $5- "Take it!" 

The manager was on a roll. "What about this mirror?" I asked. It was $90- she marked it down to $8!
It wasn't until I took it out of the box that I realized how pretty it is! Check out that beading detail...

Last but not least, the manager marked this cute shelf from $30 to $5. I don't have a little girl, but my friend Amanda has two small daughters with a pink room, so I snatched it up for her.

Don't you love it when you go to a store and the manager is slashing prices by 90% and practically throwing them in your cart? I know I do! 

**Until we meet again, Black Friday!**
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My Studio/Office

When we bought the house, this little office nook was one of our favorite areas. I quickly claimed it as my own, and it started out like this:

To be fair, we had hardly unpacked anything.
 It quickly started to look like this:

The room became a dumping ground for our stuff, so I hung some pretty curtains so I could close off the mess from view. I recently got approved to work from home two days a week, so I needed a cheery, inspiring and functional workspace that wasn't filled with junk. We sold my tiny bookshelf in the garage sale and replaced it with a tall Ikea bookshelf that matched the office furniture we bought from the previous owner. Then we transferred the shelves from the guest room to the office to make almost an entire wall of storage (which I filled with my books, art supplies and scrapbooks).

Now the room is clean, organized and a happy place to be! I love having my own little space and being able to surround myself with photos and objects that inspire my creativity and make me smile. 

In case you are wondering, that awesome pencil (one of my favorite things I own) is from Pottery Barn and that super cool clear easel is from CB2 (a wedding gift from soon-to-be MRS. Angelle Rodriguez)!

My favorite photo of the hubby, my collection of Christian love stories by Janette Oke, some sports books and my Nicholas Sparks collection. What more could a girl need?!

I love a full bookshelf! 
I was captain of the Shady Hill Elementary Book Bowl Team. 
(Nerd power!)

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Curb Appeal Facelift

"Wow, that color really brings out your windows."

In the five months since we bought this house, we have focused on her internal beauty. Internal beauty is nice and all, but a little external beauty never hurt anything! We finally turned our focus to the curb appeal and decided to add some shutters to our windows.



We also took off the dark screens that were covering the windows, and that really changed the look of the house. I think it's similar to when a girl wears too much eyeliner or keeps her hair swept over her eyes- why hide your best feature?! Let those windows shine through!

 I feel like our curb appeal just improved dramatically with $160 worth of materials and one hour of work. NICE!
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Turkey Day Home Projects

I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving! We hosted our first Thanksgiving as a married couple at our new house, and it was wonderful! My mom and I survived some kitchen foolishness to produce some yummy food, and it was wonderful to have my grandpa in town from Tennessee. We ate a lot of food, took some naps, watched a lot of football and did a ton of work on the house!


Hubby has been off work for the entire Thanksgiving week, so he was hard at work on various home projects.
Project #1: He finished flooring the first half of the hallway, and it looks so good! We're going to knock it out little by little until the whole house has new floors. I can't wait to see it all come together, especially when it is uniform flooring throughout the living room, dining room and kitchen!

No more cement floors in our hallway! 

Project #2: Our two bathrooms both had the same problems: no vent and no lighting. It's not accurate to say there was no lighting at all, but the pot lights in the ceiling were the only light source and they were too dim for my taste (bad for putting on makeup, that's for sure). There are no lights in either shower area so it can be very dark when you are showing, and we use a clear shower curtain just so the light from the rest of the bathroom can filter through. And we all know that vents are an important and necessary part of the bathroom equation, so we needed to add those.

We bought some ceiling lights that double as vents, and the men in the family got right to work on their installation as soon as they arrived on Saturday. Scott had the idea of replacing the old pot light with the big new vent light and then reusing the pot light in the shower area, which saved us the $160 we had spent on new lights for the shower area. I love it when he has money-saving lightbulb moments like that!

We chose this model from Lowe's:
It was one of the cheapest and had the chrome finish to match the faucet. Here is a picture of the action:

The Hubs did all the wiring and was able to accomplish this whole project without having to go up in the attic, which thrilled my dad to no end (I guess he was dreading having to work in the dark attic). These aren't the best pictures, but take my word for it that the difference in the lighting is completely night and day. They added the shower light and the new overhead vent light in each bathroom in a matter of a few hours of work. Impressive!

And then there was light!

... and more light! 
(We still have to paint this ceiling where they took out the bulkhead, but adding the 
lights in the shower areas of the bathroom makes a huge difference.

Project #3: We had a garage sale last weekend in hopes of actually parking one of our cars in there, so this weekend the men tackled the garage organization/cleaning. Now my car is parked in the garage, just in time for the cold DFW weather.

The weekend isn't over yet! We hit the Black Friday sales today and got some good tools that I'm hoping hubby is going to put to use tomorrow and Sunday. I love holidays!

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