4.30.2012

Bargain Find: Horchow Chandelier

Do you have a Neiman Marcus/Horchow outlet in your area? It's usually out of my price range, but every once in a while you can find a great deal.

Our outlet has a little chip/dent warehouse section where they sell discounted items. These items have either been returned, chipped, dented or were used in a photo shoot. I saw this chandelier and immediately thought of my mom. It's totally her style– see exhibit A and exhibit B.


The Salento Six-Light Chandelier is priced at $375 on the Horchow website. Already a bargain by Horchow standards! The outlet version was priced at $142.

Horchow




You can't return items from the outlet area, so I decided to text a picture to my mom to make sure she'd like it. I figured my brother and I could chip in together to buy it for Mother's Day if she really loved it. Luckily she did love it, so this pretty chandelier came home with me!

Moral of the story? Sometimes really expensive stores do have sales and bargains that can actually bring the price down to a normal person's budget! 

What else did we do this weekend? This:



My job was to unload the sod from the truck. That, my friends, was a full body workout. My arms were exhausted. I skipped the gym that day, that's for sure.

I'll post pictures of the yard later this week. It looks much better already!


* Happy Monday *




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4.27.2012

Craigslisting & Weekend Plans

Once we decided we were going to change our patio into an outdoor living room, we knew we wanted to get a fire pit. We've actually been meaning to get one since last year, but we weren't sure where to put it so we kept delaying that decision.

I decided the ideal set up would be to have an outdoor coffee table between the sectional and chairs to serve as a landing spot for food, drinks and citronella candles. Even more ideal would be to have a coffee table that also contained a fire pit, right? Who doesn't like multitasking furniture?

Well, a simple online search showed me that these fire pit coffee tables weren't as easy to find as I thought. I didn't want the fire pits with a small ledge around them– I wanted the type where the entire pit could be covered to make a solid table surface when not lighting the fire. When you add that simple requirement, the cost goes up by a lot.

The best option I found was $300 on Amazon. We didn't really want to spend that much on a fire pit even though I know it's not an unreasonable price, so we did what all resourceful shoppers do– we checked Craigslist!

There were actually three or four available in the same price range, so it came down to which style I liked best. We had to judge by the pictures in the postings, which gave us no idea how sturdy or well made they were. I ended up picking this particular option because I loved the pedestal base. Pedestal tables have an elegant vibe, and I knew its round shape would be perfect to break up the geometric angles of our patio and existing furniture. Plus the pedestal table feels like it takes up less space and leaves more room for the feet of those sitting around the fire pit.

This table was $65 from a very nice Craigslist seller. Don't you love it when you go pick it up and the people are actually pleasant?





It's obviously been loved and used often, which is great. We'll clean her up a little bit and she'll be good as new! Sorry about these pictures... We just threw the table out there to see how it fits. Obviously no effort was taken to style this in a pretty way!

I can't wait to get the sectional and bring it all together. 

Our grass needs help, though. The husband is tackling a re-sodding project this weekend to replace the huge dead zones in our backyard. He has been obsessed with our yard's shortcomings lately. Some of his friends came over and pointed out how bad the yard looked, and then it became his mission to fix it. Can you imagine us ladies going over to our friend's homes and commenting on how terrible their decor was? Nope. MEN.



Scott and I have talked about the yard's issues a lot of times, and my philosophy has been that we have little destroyer nuggets in our backyard and it's not worth the money to put in new grass. You can imagine that Scott did not agree. Needless to say, he won. 

He even convinced me to sign up for Tru Green! It took a lot of effort on his part to convince me to fork over money to a company to help keep our grass healthy. In the end he sold me with the argument that our corner lot is one of the main selling points of our home and we need to protect and maintain our lawn in case we want to sell it one day. It turns out the previous owner had Tru Green because they already had our address on file when we called. When she lived there, the yard looked like this:


 Either she was the grass whisperer or Tru Green really does help. We'll see!

They have a good reputation and I hope they help our yard. They came over and explained to us that the Dallas/Fort Worth area had a terrible run of weather in 2011 that negatively affected our grass. Last year was both the worst winter and the worst summer we have ever had. The grass has definitely suffered, but they are confident they can turn it around. I'll definitely keep you posted on progress!

What are your weekend plans? Anything fun?

* Finally Friday *



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4.25.2012

Dreams & Plans: Outdoor Living Room

So, we took the plunge and bought an outdoor sectional for our patio. The outdoor living room is officially happening!

We went with the most affordable sectional option from Walmart, the Sandhill sectional:


Why did we pick that one? 

Well, we had a few reasons. First of all, it was the most affordable sectional we found. Seven pieces and cushions for $500? After some thorough searching, we realized that's a pretty good price. By comparison, this similar style from Pottery Barn would cost us more than $2,000, and that doesn't even include the cushions. Now don't get me wrong– I realize I won't get Pottery Barn quality when I buy from Walmart. When this set will be totally exposed to the elements, including frequent extreme weather, should we really invest in an expensive set? We don't think that would be a smart purchase or wise use of the money we received from insurance after the storm.We didn't want to use the entire check on one item because we still need to repair the fence, replace the mailbox, etc...

I also liked the style of the arms compared to the Ragan sectional. Ragan's arms felt a little too jailhouse for me. Plus this sectional has darker upholstery, which is appealing when you factor in puppy damage and stain resistance. 

Walmart offers free shipping from site to store, so we took advantage of that option and will be called by our local store whenever the sectional arrives. (I mention this because many reviews mention the high shipping cost, which is irrelevant when you use the free shipping option and pick it up yourself.) It's supposed to come in between May 1 and May 11. I can't wait to get it and put it together!

Naturally, this purchase set off more daydreams of how to best utilize our outdoor space. I got out my trusty graph paper and colored pencils to see how it would fit into our space:


Our patio is 13 ft by 13.5 feet, and the sectional is 8 ft by 8 ft. Each square represents a foot in the drawing, so everything is pretty much drawn to scale. Our dining chairs that we're going to reuse from our old set are 2 ft by 2 ft, so this is an accurate representation of how they will fit. 

That thing in the middle is a fire pit. I'm hoping to find or build a fire pit that doubles as a coffee table, but I'm finding that most options are pretty pricey. Scott says that he is willing to build it if it makes more sense financially, so we're pricing out the supplies to see if it would be worth the effort. 

Naturally my daydreams continued into the outdoor accessories, so I created an inspiration board with some of my favorite ideas.

Outdoor Living Room




It's shaping up to be a really neat space. We already have the lights (albeit some of the bulbs were broken in the hail storm, so they need replacements), the umbrella (super Pottery Barn clearance item after Christmas) and the chairs. I'm dying to create something like this succulent wreath, and I'm thinking some outdoor pillows would brighten up the brown/beige cushions we have going on. I'm not sure we need the rug, but what's a living space without a rug? It would cover up the hard work we did on the patio, so that may not make it into the space.

We're pretty excited about how it might look once we bring everything together. I can't wait to have my friends over to enjoy it! Both of our birthdays are coming up, so we're thinking we may host some alfresco dinners to celebrate.

Have you been working on your outdoor spaces lately? I'd love to hear about it!

* Patio Party! *


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4.24.2012

Shopping for Patio Furniture

A couple weeks ago, our house was hit with a pretty severe hail storm that beat up our patio furniture. We've been waiting to see what type of money we would get from insurance before we thought about replacing the furniture that was ruined. The patio table really took the worst of it:



Once we got the check from insurance, which was more or less what we expected, we set out to look at patio furniture. We started off looking for a replacement table because our chairs were still functional and we still really like them. 

We got distracted from the dining table hunt by the outdoor lounge furniture at World Market, like this gorgeous outdoor sectional:

World Market





Of course we had no intentions of getting a sectional. But then the wheels in my head started churning...

Inner thought process: What if we went for an outdoor living room instead of an outdoor dining room? People could still eat out there, but it would be more casual. There would be more space to hang out. It might actually be pretty nice– if we could afford some patio lounge seating. We could get one of those fire pits that doubles as a coffee table!

The husband and I talked it over while lounging on the patio furniture selection at Costco (gorgeous stuff by the way, just out of our budget), and we decided to do some online research to see if we could afford something like a loveseat or sofa to coordinate with our existing chairs. We're still on the hunt, but here are some affordable options we have found that we're considering:

Walmart may not be the most fun place to shop, but they sure do have low prices. The prices on their outdoor sectionals is way better than most.

This 7-piece Sandhill sectional is only $499. It's been reviewed by more than 250 people and has received 4.25 stars. Not bad. Reviews always make me feel more confident about an online purchase.

Walmart




The brown color is nice and neutral, plus it wouldn't show dirt from the dogs. (As soon as we leave for work and put the dogs out, I can guarantee they would hop on this thing with muddy paws.)

Other Walmart pieces in consideration:

Ragan Meadow 7-piece sectional, on sale for $599. It also has good reviews.


 Hometrends Urban Haven II 6-piece sectional, on sale for $649. I'm not crazy about the cushions, but it also has good reviews. 


Our original dining set is from Target, so of course I checked out the selection at Tar-jay. 




Cascadia 3-piece sectional, on sale for $419. Decent reviews but a lot of the owners complained about the poor quality and durability of the cushions. Plus it's only three pieces, not 5 like this picture.



During this patio hunt, we have been to Target, Home Depot, Lowes, World Market, The Great Indoors, Costco and The Dump. I've done some additional shopping online to rule out Big Lots and Kmart. If we decide to go back to buying just a dining table, I saw two that I liked at Lowes.

So, I need your opinions about what we should do. This is the patio in question:



Should we just buy a new dining table and call it a day, or should we add a sofa or sectional to make this an outdoor living room (and get rid of the table)? I wouldn't scrap the chairs with that second option– I would just use them for extra seating along with whatever sofa/bench we bought.

Decisions, decisions! What should we do? Do you have any suggestions? Did I miss a good place for shopping for affordable outdoor furniture? Just keep in mind that the key word is affordable!


* Happy Tuesday *
 
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4.17.2012

Chalkboard Door for Spring

I've been lazy about updating our chalkboard front door, I'll admit it. The hearts from Valentine's Day were still up two months later. Oops!

Now it's got a paisley/floral pattern for spring, along with a great poem I found online, "Spring" by Karla Kuskin. (I ran out of space for the entire poem, so I had to cut it a little bit.)




What have you been doing to update your home for spring? We haven't done much other than add fresh flowers and decorate our chalkboard door, but every little touch helps!

* Spring in my step! *
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4.15.2012

Randoms: Trees, Cars, Insurance and Pinterest

I'm sorry for my blog hiatus last week! It was a super busy week, both personally and professionally, so I needed to step away from the blog to keep my sanity. I'll be better about posting this week, I promise.

First of all, we now have a tree planted in the front yard. When we last left off, we had been attempting to plant the tree when we busted one of the sprinkler system pipes. Well, the husband repaired that pipe but the project was further delayed when the great hail/tornado storm system of 2012 swept through Dallas/Fort Worth.

Anyway, we finally got around to planting it last weekend with the help of my dad. We ended up choosing a Shantung Maple from the local Calloway's Nursery, which rang up for about $52 with our discount. (One of Scott's football players was working that day so he generously gave us his employee discount- woohoo!)



As you can see, there is still a pretty large hole remaining from where we had the other tree removed. We're not sure what we're going to do about that yet. Do you have any suggestions?

If you follow this blog regularly, you know that the hail storm caused some damage to our roof and our outdoor stuff, including our patio furniture, lights, mailbox, fence etc. The insurance adjuster came out to assess the damage, but we're not sure what we'll receive in terms of insurance money. What makes it an interesting situation is that they already gave us money to replace our roof after last summer's hail storm, and we haven't replaced it yet. (That money is still just sitting in savings.) Because of that, they aren't going to give us more money to replace the roof again. Without that, I'm not sure the rest of the damage is going to total out to more than our $1,700 deductible. I'm keeping my expectations very low while hoping for a good outcome. We'd really like to receive enough insurance money to be able to replace the table, lights and patio lounger that were ruined.

The hail storm also totaled my car, which was parked in the driveway when the weather came through. Fortunately we were already saving money to upgrade that car, so we went out and replaced my car with something nicer and newer– a 2011 Ford Edge. I feel so spoiled in my new ride! I'm also petrified that I'm going to ruin it somehow, so I'm driving super carefully. My favorite part is that I could put a picture of nugget #2 as my screen saver!



We were very blessed to receive a generous settlement from insurance for my totaled car. It was so nice to see how our insurance company really stepped up to the plate and gave us a fair deal after the storm totaled my Ford Escape. We have Farm Bureau insurance, by the way (auto, home and life). We're very pleased with Farm Bureau's pricing and fairness. We've actually had to deal with them several times in the past two years because of other big storms that caused hail damage to our roof and cars, and they have been extremely fair and responsive to our claims each time. 

This hail situation is just another example of God's ability to provide and care for us when we need it most. God is GREAT!

I've said many times that I love Pinterest, especially for food ideas. Today we tried out these no-bake energy bites.

Pinterest
 They're made with oats, ground flax seed, peanut butter, honey, chocolate chips and coconut flakes. Throw it all into a bowl and mix, then chill, then roll into little balls. Voila, instant healthy snack! They taste really great, too. Even the husband likes them, and that's saying a lot! I think they'll become a regular in our household to help us get through our long workdays. Maybe they'll be the perfect mid-afternoon boost I need each day right around 3 pm...

Lastly, a friend of mine is trying to find the perfect "greige" color to paint the walls of her new home. Does anyone have any suggestions? I'm already giving her my sample of Benjamin Moore's Revere Pewter to try out, but we'd love to here if you have any more ideas for great paint colors. Let me know in the comments!

I found this greige list on Pinterest. Oh Pinterest, you're so awesome...

Pinterest

I hope you have a GREAT week ahead!


* Soggy Sunday *

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4.05.2012

Flooring Update & The Man Closet

Hey, guess what we did a couple weeks ago before our guests arrived? We finished flooring the last room in our house!


That's right, the very last remnant of shag carpet is g-o-n-e gone!


Much better, right?


This is our nicest guest room (because it has the biggest bed) and is my husband's dressing room. He uses the closet in this space and claimed this room to be the "masculine" guest room. 

We started with the grey quilt and the Ikea painting above the bed, and the room went from there. All of Mr. Happy Homebody's football memories were plastered onto the wall and gave the room a sporty vibe that we both love. 




It's got some original artwork, too. That piece above the shelves is a painting I did for Scott as a birthday present several years ago (that's him in the painting) and the Lowenbrau stained glass piece was made by Scott's dad, who is a great artist. It goes perfectly with the colors in that room!

Check this out. Beautiful, bright white glossy door vs. yellowed, old and yucky door. Eek. The doors and trim inside all of the bedrooms will be painted as part of Phase II of the house-painting project. They need to go, stat. It's amazing how much better the bright white trim looks in this picture.


Let's take a peek inside that yucky off-white closet door, shall we? I've already shared my closet makeover on here, so let's see what Mr. Happy Homebody has going on in his closet. 

The closet is lined with cedar, just like mine. Because he is a rugged manly man, Scott likes the cedar and has chosen to keep it in its original, log cabin form. 


The flooring continues into the closet, too. It's one big wooden box in there!

My husband is way more organized than I am, and his closet system was important to him. He customized the existing closet to better suit his needs, just like he did with mine. 


He needed more shoe shelves (what can I say, the boy likes shoes) and he added those pant hangers from Ikea to store his shorts and pants. They pull out and are pretty cool for what he needs. I sort of wish I had some in my closet, but they aren't very pretty so I'll pass. 

Shorts on top...


Pants on the bottom...

(Grown men in baseball pants = HILARIOUS. Every time Scott comes homes in those after coaching a baseball game, I can't help but laugh.)


 What's a grown man closet without a rack for ties and belts? His is hidden right inside the closet by the door.


It's a pretty decent set up for a man closet, right? Who needs a man cave when you have a custom closet that looks like a log cabin?!

So there you have it, the husband's dressing room– now complete with floors that match the rest of the house. You're welcome, all future house guests! It's a much nicer place for you to rest your head now. 

Room Sources:

Quilt: Target
G Pillow: Urban Outfitters
Yellow pillow: Crate & Barrel via thrift store
Black & White Pillows: HomeGoods
NYC Art: Ikea
Yellow Lamp: HomeGoods
Dresser: Pottery Barn (hand me down from my parents that desperately needs a facelift)
Shelf: Ross
Curtains: Ikea
Closet pant hangers: Ikea


* Maundy Thursday *


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