Catching Up

Holy cow, how is it Friday already? This week literally flew by for me! We hosted company for the holiday last weekend, taking a little time to cruise our local lake on a sailboat...

I said goodbye to year #27 of my life...

And the husband had his spring game, which means spring football is over and his summer break (house project time!) is right around the corner.

So anyway, it's been busy in the best way. I've been a bad blogger, and I'm sorry. But I do have a few fun links I think you should read this lovely Friday!

• Yes, the Kimye wedding is one of the most over-the-top, ridiculous spectacles we've ever seen. But even I can applaud that GORGEOUS wall of flowers.

• Erin from House of Earnest teaches us how to have better handwriting.

• I know I'm late to the party, but I'm in love with the new show Fixer Upper on HGTV. (It just got picked up for Season 2!) The Gaines are lovely, adorable fellow Texans and they make me want to quit my day job and flip houses. Who's with me?!  You can check out their blog where they recap each episode if you're not into watching TV. We found the show on OnDemand and are catching up as we speak.Watching old houses come back to life is sooo gratifying.

Well, I have to go clean up my house because we have more house guests arriving tomorrow for the weekend. (I'm happy to report that everyone loves the new guest bathroom!) I am constantly fighting the never-ending battle against dog hair. Sigh.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Best Blog Tips


That One Time We Auditioned for HGTV

It was early last October when I got an email from a casting agency that was looking for some couples for a new HGTV show. They were looking for "dynamic friends, couples or family members with big dreams and a love for renovation and design. Handy teams of two who think they have a superior eye for design. Although home renovation experience is a plus, it is not required."

"Hey, I know a dynamic duo with home renovation experience!" I thought to myself. I emailed her back and indicated we would be interested, and before I knew it I was talking to the casting assistant on the phone.

During the phone interview, she asked me some basic questions about our lives, our home renovation backgrounds, the basics. She was super friendly and told me they needed to finalize the audition videos quickly: Would we be willing to do a Skype interview as a couple?

Of course!

It's important to note that at this point, we knew nothing about the show. I didn't know the rules, the requirements, how long we would have to be onsite, anything like that. I just figured that we don't get the chance to audition with HGTV every day, so what did we have to lose?

I did more digging and eventually found out it was a competition show where teams of two would battle for the big prize, $50,000. I still didn't know the timelines, which was a concern because we both have full time jobs. Though it may seem like a lot, $50,000 is not really enough to justify quitting your day job. It's probably only $30k-ish after taxes, right?

That being said, I was totally curious about the process so I wanted to see it through. I was hopeful that the timeline would magically fall into place and we'd be able to make it work if we were chosen for the show.

So, like the goobers that we are, we sat down in front of our laptop for a Skype session with a casting person from NYC. We promptly started making goofy faces because that's just what we do when we're uncomfortable. Are we the only ones?

Our interviewer was a young guy wearing a red hoodie and some facial scruff, and you could tell he did these Skype interviews all the time. The interview was scheduled to be exactly one hour, and they took the entire hour. The first 30 minutes were a joint interview, and then they quizzed us each separately for 15 minutes/piece.

I jotted down a few of the questions they asked us:

• How did you meet and fall in love?
• What's your day job?
• What type of home repair or renovation skills do you have?
• What's the most impressive home project you've completed?
• What do you love about your husband/wife?
• What makes you two the perfect team for our competition?
• What would you do with the prize money?
• What's the hardest thing you've ever been through? 
• What is it about your partner that would probably drive you crazy while on the show?

They probably asked us that last question right before we started making these faces. That's my
"Don't even get me started" face. Nonplussed.

Our pitch to the interviewer was somehting like, "We are your average couple. He's a teacher; I work for a non-profit. We have an average income and are incredibly normal. We represent the regular couples out there who want to have a nice home but don't have a ton of money to spend on furniture or extensive renovations."

Here we are with our "normal people" faces:

You could tell what the casting folks really wanted our story to be: the young couple who really needs this money to get off the ground. They kept trying to get us to act like we desperately needed the cash to live better lives, and I was not comfortable with that narrative at all. I mean, we have a perfectly nice life. We're middle class. We're not just starting out; we've been married a few years and are on our second home already.

I felt like it would be dishonest to paint us as a poor young couple who is just getting started. Those who read this blog and our friends who know us personally would eventually watch this on TV and feel like we were lying about our circumstances.

The funny part was, Scott and I did not prepare for this interview at all. We didn't think about what questions they might ask and how we might answer them. What would we do with the prize money? I have no idea – I just think it would be fun to be in an HGTV competition with my best friend/husband/personal handyman! We had to really scramble to come up with decent answers on some of the harder questions.

It was really sweet to sit in the kitchen and listen to him being interviewed individually. He said some adorable things about our relationship that I will cherish forever. That alone was worth going through the process! He's a keeper, that boy.

Once the interview was over, we both decided we were too boring for HGTV. Our story wasn't compelling enough. And I guess we were right – HGTV never called again!

I don't think they ever made that show. At least, not yet. I haven't seen any previews, and I can't find anything that resembles it on the website. They may be filming it right now– I guess we'll find out eventually! I actually emailed the casting people to make sure I could post about this, but they never wrote me back. I decided that silence = permission.

So, that's the story of the one time we auditioned for HGTV. Maybe we'll get the opportunity to try again one day, but who knows? It was still a pretty fascinating experience, and I'm glad we got the chance to sit through an interview. We'll be more prepared next time – if there is a next time!

Best Blog Tips


Paint Color Input Needed!

Remember this lovely splatter paint bamboo dresser I bought for $50 at the thrift store?

I know, you've never seen anything so beautiful. Me either. A stunning piece of modern art with a side of musty furniture smell. It's a masterpiece, I tell you. 

I bought it for our master bedroom. My clothes storage problem continues, and I wanted to get a bigger dresser to go underneath my beloved horse photo from HomeGoods. 

That dark brown dresser is a hand-me-down from my parents, and it has seen better days. I've been casually searching for a replacement project for a while now when the splatter paint console caught my eye. I liked the Hollywood Regency vibe of the bamboo details and thought it was begging for a makeover. 

She's calling out for a glossy paint job; the problem is, I can't decide what color would be best. We already have another painted dresser in the room on another wall:

I poked around on Pinterest and found some inspiration, but I'm not sure which would be best in our specific room:

DIY Painted Bamboo Dresser Inspiration

Ideally, I'd like to pull one of the colors from our area rug, although I am never opposed to a classic like black or white:

 It's probably important to know that the opposite wall is filled with my husband's DIY closets in a semi-gloss white. Here's a picture from before we upgraded our bed.

Now that you see the colors we have going on in this room, what do you think would be best?

Let me know what you would do in the comments!

Best Blog Tips


DIY Marni Jeweled Sandals

These Marni sandals have been setting Pinterest-loving hearts aflutter. Quite frankly, the ridiculous price makes me have a minor heart attack. Somehow the Marni version makes these
 J Crew beauties look mildly affordable, but I am still not the type to pay $200 for sandals. When I saw this awesome DIY knockoff by Grace over at Stripes & Sequins, and I knew I had to do it!

I recruited my best friend for a leisurely crafternoon, and we got started. Our canvas? These $20 Target sandals (currently on sale for $15 online).

We went for two separate looks; She used jewels from Michael's while I repurposed a turquoise necklace I already had. I happen to LOVE wearing turquoise jewelry in the summer, so I know I'll get a lot of wear out of these.

It's as simple as you think. Glue on your jewels with E6000® Craft Adhesive and wait for them to dry. I mean, how cute are our new sandals?!

Try it yourself! It's a fun, easy DIY that's perfect for summer. Your feet deserve to sparkle. :)

Best Blog Tips


New Kitchen Backsplash

When we shared our kitchen cabinet makeover a couple weeks ago, I was on the fence about keeping the old travertine backsplash. Well, I hopped off the fence and replaced it this weekend!

Hooray for extremely affordable penny tile! I am now fully in love with our kitchen. It doesn't feel pieced together anymore; it feels like we designed a custom kitchen for ourselves. 

Here's the old backsplash that we inherited from the previous owners. It's a perfectly nice backsplash, but it clashed with our newly painted white and grey cabinets. We put the new backsplash right on top of it, which made the whole project fairly simple. My dad helped us out with the backsplash – thanks Dad!

This is the same tile (grey penny porcelain mosaic from Floor & Decor) we used for the guest bathroom makeover. I loved it so much in that room, and I knew it would be perfect for the kitchen. Plus, it's darn near impossible to beat the $3/sq ft price tag. Our store was running out of the tile, so we bought every last bit. And we needed almost every little piece to finish this backsplash!

For the grout, we used "Bright White" sanded grout from Home Depot. The grout is so important with penny tile because the round shape leaves a lot of room between tiles.

It's becoming harder and harder to remember what this kitchen originally looked like when we bought the house. It was so much darker.Three shades of yellow on the walls? No thanks!



I think the kitchen is finally done. Until next week, that is! ;)

Best Blog Tips


Randoms & Happy Weekend

Sometimes I dream about being really wealthy– an heiress, preferably– so I wouldn't need to work. I would go to the gym every morning, dedicate my time to volunteering with charitable causes, treat myself to weekly blowouts and manicures, have a personal chef cook all my meals... It would be fabulously stress-free.

And then I wake up. And I make my own breakfast.

Anyway, weeks like the one I've had make me wish I were an heiress sipping on a skinny margarita at one of my seven vacation homes. But I'm not, and I'm so busy at the office that I've been working all sorts of overtime to stay afloat. May and June are our busiest months, and I will be grinding is out for the next six weeks. Wish me luck!

Gemma Correll

And please forgive me for being a less consistent blogger than I used to be. Blogging is a just a hobby for me, and my real job has to take priority. We have to be able to pay for these home projects, you know?!

Anyway, I wanted to pop in today to share a few links that have really caught my eye this week. I have some fun projects on tap this weekend, so I'll be back next week with new DIYs and a big home improvement reveal!

• Erin from House of Earnest shows us how to make alphabet pasta look chic.

• How to pull yourself out of a funk courtesy of Cup of Jo. I needed to read this today.

• I'm having a crafternoon with my bestie this weekend to DIY these JCrew sandals. You should, too!

I've been trying the oil pulling trend. The texture is bizarre, but I do feel like my teeth are cleaner and brighter. Which is convenient because my work situation has resulted in me drinking a lot more coffee. I like to think they are counteracting one another.

• Love this Entertainment Weekly interview between Mindy Kaling and Billy Crystal. I love the behind-the-scenes tidbits from When Harry Met Sally. Now I want to watch that movie again this weekend. Such a classic!

Best Blog Tips


My Latest Thrifting Adventures

It's been a while since I've shared my little bargain purchases, so I figured a thrifting post was overdue! Here's a little peek into what I see when I hit my local thrift stores (and what actually comes home with me).

One of my friends is looking for a dining table, so I spotted these two [very different] tables on one of my shopping adventures. I love the classic, graceful lines of the first one, and I love the chunky rustic nature of the second one. Can you tell I have eclectic taste?

Since I'm not in the market for a dining table, I had to leave those at the store. I'm doing a lot more of that lately now that our house is full of furniture.

I may not have room for much furniture, but I still have room for "smalls," as they call it on American Pickers! I always scour the kitchen area of my thrift store because practically all of my serveware is secondhand. I find the coolest stuff in the dishes! On this particular day, I came home with this adorable cararra marble cheese dome and a solid brass bowl.

Funny story about that brass bowl– it was inside a bigger bowl on the shelf at the store, and I went to pick it up. It wasn't coming off the shelf, so I picked up the bigger bowl, thinking it was a chip and dip set and the two were glued together. Turns out this little brass bowl was so heavy that my weak little hand couldn't lift it off the shelf. I had to put some oomph into it! It's the heaviest 8" bowl ever created. I love solid brass though, so I had to have it. I paid $4 for the brass bowl and $5 for the cheese dome.

Sometimes I look at the clothes, especially if I'm wanting something in particular. I've been wanting to find a Mexican fiesta-inspired summer dress, so this coral sundress caught my eye.

Kind of cute, right? Pardon the unfortunate thrift store dressing room lighting. It looked to be by sme tween-y brand like Forever 21, so I figured I would get it for a couple bucks. (I couldn't read the price on the tag.) Imagine my surprised when the cashier rang it up for $50! I'm pretty sure it was a mistake, but the manager stood by that price and wouldn't budge. Sadly, it went back to the rack. The hunt for a fiesta dress continues.

On the bright side, I did buy that Diane Von Furstenberg pencil skirt hanging behind me in that photo for only $5. Woohoo! Fits perfectly, no tailoring needed. Love it when that happens.

Next up, this adorable mid century chest. So sleek, right? At $50, it was a pretty good price for such an iconic style. I don't have a place for it, so I told my friend about it who really loves mid century style. Unfortunately it wasn't there when she swung by a few hours later. I'm sure it found a happy home.

Would you call this nightstand a campaign style, or is it more Asian? Whatever it is, I dig it. The brass hardware is awesome.

Once again I don't have a spot for it, so it had to stay. There wasn't a price tag on it, so I'm not sure what it was going for.

I did pull the trigger on this $40 bamboo dresser. I'm so excited to give it a glossy paint job! Can you tell it was in a little girl's room? I went through a splatter paint phase when I was a kid so this brought back good memories. Still debating what color to paint it!

Another item I'm always looking for at the thrift store are baskets. You can find a lot of super cheesy baskets, including pastel-colored Easter baskets, but you rarely find anything big and substantial enough to put blankets in (which is what I wanted).

 I was instantly smitten with the curvy shape and generous size of this particular one, $5. You could totally put a baby inside of it and take the cutest newborn pictures ever. Heck, you could put a 9 month old in there! However, I'm just planning to put towels in it and store it by our back door. Why do I need towels by the back door? Because our furbabies love to dig and I'm always using towels to wipe the mud off their paws before letting them back inside.

I found a couple more treasures that day and put them inside the basket. Denim shorts ($2) for a fashion DIY? Check. Adjustable task lamp for the husband's desk ($8)? Check. Shattered glass vase? Nope. Ended up putting that one back.

In the midst of the ugly lamp section (check out those pinecones), I spotted something pretty darn nice. Can you see it?

Here she is in her $18 glory, lighting up the reading spot on our sofa:

It's very similar to this $400 task floor lamp at Pottery Barn, so I feel like we got a great deal. I couldn't leave it at the store; it was too pretty!

Have you found any great deals lately? Do share!

Best Blog Tips