{Bathroom Renovation} Progress Update #3

A few quick updates on the bathroom!

• Here's a sneak peek at the vanity. Yes... we painted it!

• We will temporarily be using the mirror from our downstairs bathroom, as we wait for this one to arrive. I won't type its ETA, because it's depressing to see that date in print.


• The tub and tile have been purchased, and a grout color has been picked. Picking out a grout color was a lot less glamorous than I thought it would be.

• I'm still having a hard time figuring out window treatments, and a rug. My new philosophy is that it's OK if I still have decisions to make in a few weeks. Not everything has to be "done", Columbus Day Weekend.

• Dear Mom: remind me of this post when I'm venting next week that I don't have everything for the bathroom, and that my mirror won't be here for another 4 months.

The vanity is being removed this weekend! Goodbye, ugly vanity.

I've started a mental countdown of how many "showers" I have left in this bathroom. Columbus Day Weekend, get here soon!


Our Fall Mantel

When we were choosing new furniture for our living room, one of my top priorities was a space that could act like a 'mantle', without the fireplace. I always loved the idea of changing out one spot in your home every so often, and we lacked a space that would allow me to do that.

The shelf behind our couch serves as our little mantel, and has been changed several times over the last year.  This new arrangement for fall is one of my favorites so far!

If you read my Antique Shopping post back in August, you'll notice the new mirror making an appearance above the shelf. I had intended on painting it, but after seeing how it look sanded, I wanted to keep it just the way it was. It immediately reminded me of this mirror from Pottery Barn - right? Pretty good for $40!

Linking up with Centsational Girl for the Fall Mantel Link Party!


{Pallet Headboard}: Tutorial

Thank you all for your sweet comments & emails about our bedroom!

Today I'm sharing how we made our pallet headboard. Please know we did not take step by step pictures, but I've done my best to explain how we did it.

Let me also say something upfront about this project: our headboard is nailed directly into the wall. I know this isn't feasible for everyone, so before you keep reading this tutorial, I wanted to share that information upfront.

1) 2-3 pallets (depending on the size of your headboard)*
2) tape measure
3) level
4) table saw (or hand saw)
5) nail gun

* We chose to purchase our pallets from a business that had stored them inside. We didn't want to take any risks with rotting wood (or bugs!).

Prep Work:
1) remove each board from the pallet
2) remove nails from each board you plan to use
3) sand each piece
4) determine a rough size of the headboard

Once you've completed all of the prep work, installing this is quick & easy!

Step One: nail in two of the larger, end pieces to make up the sides of the headboard. These will be part of the frame, so be cognizant of how far they stick out on each side of the bed. To ensure that the two pieces are level, mark the wall with a ruler prior to nailing.

Step Two: nail in the two pieces that will make the top of the frame. Before nailing, make sure each piece is level.

Step Three: starting at the top, start nailing in the smaller pieces to fill in the rest of the headboard. You'll want to stagger the seams, so that you don't end up with a straight line down the the headboard. This part requires some patience, as you will most likely have to cut each piece as you go. Before you leave the room to cut, just make sure to re-measure the empty spot you are looking to fill.

Try to not over think the pattern of the headboard: it is meant to look rustic and imperfect. Here is a closeup of the headboard, so you can get a feeling for just how many gaps there many be between rows.

The spaces don't bother me at all (which says a lot, coming from a perfectionist). If we had to do it all over again, we would have painted the wall behind the headboard a darker color, so that the gaps would be less noticeable.

That's it!

Please don't hesitate to email if you have any questions!

Happy Monday, friends!

Linking up with
Uncommon Slice of Suburbia


{Home Tour Friday} - Master Bedroom

I gave a little sneak peek last week, but today I'm sharing our whole bedroom!

We've recently made some updates which have really changed the whole room. I've posted before about how much I loved Pottery Barn's Vanessa Duvet, but it was sold out online. I had found it on eBay, but was still hesitant to purchase it. On a whim, I called our local Pottery Barn store to see if they had any left, and they did - just one - and it was marked down from $129 to $50.99. Can you believe that?! I loved it even more in person (even C likes it :)! It has brightened the whole room!

These pillows were the other new addition, from Target. They too, were on clearance when I found them, and were $16 each.

Total bedroom update = $95 (with tax)!

Here are some pictures to understand the progression of our bedroom since we moved in. It's come a long way!!

after closing, but before we moved in

right after move in (and really, for the next 2 years!)

before painting & installing new trim

best "before" pictures of our old duvet
old bedding

It's come a long way, our little bedroom!

Before A was born, we did a major renovation of this room. We painted, changed all the trim and changed out the closet doors. I say we... but really, C did all the work. At 8 months pregnant, I would just sit on the bed and keep him company, while I folded tiny baby clothes!

While we absolutely love our bedroom now, the wall with the TV will need to change in the near future. Our cable company has decided to shut down analog cable, meaning every TV in our home will need a cable box. Clearly, there's not a lot of room over in this corner... so we've talked about making some built-ins, to house the cable box. The TV will stay mounted on the wall, and hopefully the new shelving will give me some more space to accessorize with my favorite pictures and artwork.

Oh, and check back next week for a tutorial on making the pallet headboard!
(update: tutorial can be found here)

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Linking up with
Debbie Doo's
It's Overflowing 
Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Savvy Southern Style
A Bowl Full of Lemons 
DIY by Design 
Kelly's Korner


Weekly Dose of Random

• I feel really guilty every time I judge a product based on customer reviews. Why? Because I never, ever review an item. Not because I don't want to, just because I don't have the time to. Amazon always sends me emails, asking "will you review your purchase of XYZ", and I feel so guilty. Maybe that's why I'm doing baby product reviews on the blog... to make me feel less guilty about not reviewing my purchases on Amazon!

• I bought these shoes from Sole Society right before my birthday, and I love them. They are a bear to break in, but so worth it. Aren't they cute?

• Speaking of birthdays, this was my gift from my sweet hubby. I love love love it, and wear it everyday.

And this was my gift from my parents. I think I screamed when I opened the box. I am SO excited to wear these flats!!

• I also did some birthday shopping for myself... I always run out of makeup at the same time every year, which just so happens to be in August. I'm loving all of this new makeup, and my new perfume. After 3 years with the same perfume, I was ready for a change.

• Maybe I've mentioned this before, but I'm a crazy perfectionist. I like things neat and tidy. So when I saw that my Erin Condren planner had a few pages that got smooshed in my purse last week, I was really sad. I know, it is absolutely ridiculous to be sad over something like that. But, I was. This planner is meant to last me through the end of next year. I'm contemplating not carrying it to work anymore, just so I can keep it in better shape. But then that would defeat the whole purpose of getting the planner in the first place. Would it be totally crazy if I bought a little makeup bag to keep it in? Maybe. But I might do it anyways.

• My white denim skinny jeans are still in rotation for fall. I was feeling like maybe it was time to put them away, but then Jennifer made me feel better about wearing them. Who says you can't wear white after Labor Day?!

• My mom showed up at my house last week with these pants on. She looked adorable in them! As soon as I got to work that morning, I had to order my own. They are the perfect leggings for fall, and are so flattering. She assures me they are also super comfy!


• I finished an amazing book last week. I Will Carry You, by Angie Smith. This book is not a casual read, at all. It is heart-wrenching and emotional... but it is also beautifully written and inspiring. Angie is an amazingly strong woman, and her story is truly incredible. I highly recommend it, but please be prepared with a box of tissues at your side. I had to wear my sunglasses on the train for a week straight to hide my tears!

• I am not doing a great job of writing my posts before the day I want to post them... which is how I end up writing posts like this! To be honest though, these posts are a very real look into my life.

Happy Thursday, friends!


Our Fall Table

I love everything about fall. The temperatures, the foliage, apple cider and pumpkin pie. Love it all!

I'm so excited to be participating in the Fall Link Party with some of my favorite bloggers. Today, The Lettered Cottage is featuring Fall Table Decorating Ideas. Layla is seriously one of the most talented bloggers out there... just take a look at this table she decorated for fall!


So perfect - simple, classic, and blue! Love all of it.

I don't go all out with decorating our dining room table. We don't use it all that often, and I like to save the fun touches for when we are having guests over. For those special occasions, I'll add flowers and light the candles, and add some small pumpkins at each place setting. In the meantime though, I keep it simple with fall place mats, brown striped napkins and our rattan chargers.

There are so many amazingly creative people sharing their fall tables on the Lettered Cottage, and I'm already looking forward to the rest of the Autumn Link Parties in the next few weeks.

Happy Wednesday!

The Lettered Cottage


Weekend Reading

Erin from Blue Eyed Bride has started a new weekly recap, where she shares her favorite blog posts from the week. This week she's hosting a link up, so I thought I'd share my favorites, too!

"Built-In" Bookshelves from The Macs: great inspiration for anyone looking for cute, affordable toy storage!

Dear Me: A letter to my teenage self from Erin: every twenty or thirty something girl can identify with this post. A wonderful reminder of where we've all come from.

Nursery Design Series from Honey + Fitz: 11 talented bloggers design nursery inspiration boards for Dina's second baby boy. I couldn't pick my favorite - each one was perfect!

the lazy gal's survival guide to better housekeeping from the Handmade Home: an honest post on the unattainable 'perfection' we feel we need... and Ashley's new series on how to find balance with all of it. Or, as she so perfectly said: "raising a family and surviving it all"


Baby Girl Nursery Inspiration

Over the summer, a dear friend of mine asked for my help in designing a nursery for her second little girl, due in the fall. She was looking for something different from her first nursery, and something that her baby girl could grow into.

The parameters were simple: lavender & green, simple and classic. So I sought to design a clean but romantic space, that could be achieved on a budget.

I think this is the perfect spot for baby girl #2, and hopefully a space that she'll love for many years to come!


{Home Tour Friday} - Toddler Room

Way back in June, I promised to share pictures of A's nursery-turned-toddler-room. The pictures included in his nursery post were taken before we went to the hospital... meaning we didn't know if we would be coming home with a little baby boy or baby girl!

Over the last year and a half, we've added some small touches to make it a room for a little boy, and I really love how it's turned out!

view from the hallway
view from doorway
mr. monkey & C's childhood rocking chair
view from the chair

Here are some more detail shots that our wonderful photographer, Bryan Avigne, took back in April.

favorite quote
Zoey the Zebra & A's first baseball glove
meaningful photos & leftover birthday party decorations
itty bitty baby shoes
books in vintage herb crate
knit hockey skates used in A's newborn pictures

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Linking up with
Savvy Southern Style
Live Laugh Rowe 
A Bowl Full of Lemons

{Bathroom Renovation} Progress Update #2

I know, I know...another bathroom post!

I can't really think of anything else these days. I felt like we were in really good shape, but now that we're 3 weeks away from this renovation, I'm realizing we still have some big decisions to make.

Here's the latest design board - I would call it an inspiration board, but in reality, most of these items have already been purchased. Maybe a reality board is a more accurate name?

For some reason, the tile is reading very yellow/tan on this board. I've compared the sample to the vanity (which, is a light grey), and the tile is definitely more-white than yellow. Since it's travertine, there will be a lot of variation in the color, but I'm hoping the white & light tan undertones will be the most evident.

Shower Curtain: Thomas O'Brien for Target (I ordered mine on eBay, but the one shown above is from here)
Vanity: Martha Stewart for Home Depot, Seal Harbor Collection
Mirror: Wisteria Rustic Finish Oval Mirror
Lighting: Outdoor Lighting via Joss & Main

Here's our to-do list. Feel free to weigh in on some questions we're asking!

1) Decide on tile pattern
• do we only use the subway size? with herringbone on the floor and a traditional subway pattern in the shower?
or... do we change up the tile size by doing a bigger tile in the shower?

Just one thing to note: we have cathedral ceilings in our bathroom. So while this rendering above is very tile-heavy, there will actually only be 100 square feet of tile in the bathroom.  Our walls will not be tiled (obviously the shower being the exception to that!)

2) Pick a paint color
• I don't even know where to start... and this needs to be decided soon. We're painting in 2 weeks!

3) Buy sink fixtures
• I have a pretty good idea of what I'm looking for, but now I have to find it!

4) Buy shower & tub fixtures
• This has been hard. We have a 3-handle tub system, which is a little rare these days. Rather than redo the plumbing, we're just looking for a fixture that will work. Fingers crossed that we find one we like!

5) Buy new hardware for vanity
• I'm hoping a trip to Hobby Lobby this weekend will take care of this item!

Now that we're in the home stretch, I'm questioning every decision I've made so far. I know I'm not alone in those feelings, especially since I've done that with every renovation in our home. One day, I'll share the funny store about how our hardwoods came to be :)

So, readers... anyone want to share their opinion on our tile pattern or possible paint colors? I'd love the input!

Happy Wednesday!


Baby Product Favorites: 6 - 12 months

Today I'm sharing our favorite baby items, from 6-12 months. While I may call them "essentials", all of these items are most certainly luxuries. It goes without saying that the most important item, isn't an item at all.

1. Dex Noise Machine
I discovered around 7 months that A needed white noise to sleep. Once we moved him out of the swing, and into the crib for naps, he needed a background noise to help settle him down and stay asleep. Because A was always a light sleeper, the noise machine also helped drown out the dogs barking at the mailman, or UPS man (or anyone else walking down the street!). My one complaint about this particular machine is that it is not loud enough, but it has definitely served its purpose.

2. Playtex Sippy Cups
I don't know about anyone else, but I found the world of sippy cups to be much more confusing than bottles! After testing a few others, these Playtex Sippy Cups were the easiest for A to use, and, they didn't leak. I can also say they're well-loved, and have survived multiple tosses and drops from the high-chair.

3. North State Baby Gate
I've mentioned before that we live in a split-level home. That means that we have 3 separate sets of stairs that need to be gated off from our little wild child. Selfishly, I wanted to find a gate that blended into our decor, and didn't scream "baby". Knowing that baby gates would be in our home for the foreseeable future, we decided to invest in gates that were hardware-mounted. I love these gates! The bronze color is perfect for our home, they are sturdy and were easy to install. Believe me - A has put these gates through the ringer, and they still look brand new.

4. Kalorik Baby Food Maker
I don't cook. I can bake, but I don't do it often. For some reason, it was really important to me to make homemade fruit and veggie purees for A when he starting eating solids. I seriously loved every second of making his baby food. I realize it isn't for everyone, but if you're interested in making your own food, I definitely suggest a baby food maker. The convenience of an all-in-one unit, that I could set up and walk away from, was perfect for me. While I will probably buy a new machine for our next baby, this one served its purpose and worked well.

5. Taggies Buddy Lovey
Oh Taggie Lovey, sometimes I can't believe what a big part of our lives you are! My parents gave A lovey for Christmas, and he was instantly smitten. I couldn't find a picture of the exact lovey that we have, but this one is pretty close. Lovey is a sleep association for A, and can instantly soothe him. He loves playing with the tags, and it warms my heart to know he has something that is so calming and comforting. Lovey is a very big part of our lives!

6. Bright Starts Walker After lots of research, I have to admit I was really skeptical about buying a walker. Some reports had shown that walkers had actually delayed the walking milestone in some children, and could promote poor foot placement and formation when learning to walk. For us, the walker had no impact on A's ability to hit his walking milestone - in fact, he was walking by 10 months! The walker was perfect for our kitchen: he could motor around while we got ready for work, and since our baby gates were installed, I knew he couldn't go far.

7. Safer Bather
When A started to outgrow his infant tub (the Puj), but was still too small to take a bath in the tub, we searched for something to help bridge that gap. This was the perfect solution: it allowed us to continue bathing him in the kitchen sink, and gave him something soft to sit on. The size of it was perfect, and the material was sturdy enough that it wouldn't move around the sink while it was wet. Of course, we still had to keep one hand on A until he was steady enough to sit on his own, but this product definitely helped during that transition stage.

8. Britax Boulevard 70CS
We had to purchase a new car seat when A was 10 months. While he was still below the weight limit for the infant car seat, he was clearly uncomfortable. Car rides became much more enjoyable once we switched to this seat! What I love (aside from the adorable cow print), is how easy it is to install. One downside to this car seat however, is that is difficult to clean. We had a little incident on a road trip to Burlington, which required that the entire seat cover be washed - in a washing machine. Hand-washing would not cut it for this mess, believe me. Unfortunately, the back of the cover tore a bit in the dryer. While it has no impact on the safety of the seat, I do wish that the covers could withstand both machine washing & drying.

9. Oxo Tot Baby Food Blocks
These are great storage containers for homemade baby food: they wash well, are BPA-free and dishwasher safe. Enough said!

10. Fischer Price ABC Train
A gift from my husband's parents, this toy provided endless hours of entertainment. The two pieces can detach, and A used the front part of the train to learn how to walk. It helped him gain his confidence, and he loved that as he continued to walk, the train would play music. Even at 17 months, A still plays with this toy on a daily basis. The ABC train is well loved, and still looks new! This is a great gift for infants to grow into.

You can see our favorite baby items, newborn - 6 months, here.

This post contains affiliate links.


Weekend Update

I'm very, very happy to report that I didn't need a new computer. I love Apple. I really, really do. The nice guy (boy, really... I could have been his mom!), told me that by Apple standards, my computer is "vintage", and sweetly gave me my new charger for free.

We had such a great weekend: it was the perfect mix of family time, projects & relaxing. I wish every weekend could be like that! Oh, and it didn't hurt that I had to put A in long-sleeved pajamas, either. This weekend was the perfect sleeping weather.

Last night I finally caught up on Real Housewives of New Jersey... oh my word, this show gets crazier every season. I know that 80% of this is for TV, but seriously?! Wow. These people are crazy!

Here are some snapshots of our weekend. I'll be back tomorrow with a real post!

shopping at Gap while waiting for my Apple appointment
our big boy pushing the new bathroom vanity
...and now riding on top of the new bathroom vanity
reading with daddy
new bedroom updates

Happy Monday! Hope everyone had a great weekend!