Mirror Update with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

I bit the bullet and bought my first sample pots of ASCP...
and now I'm a believer.

I thought all the reviews I read about how easy it was were all a bit exaggerated. They weren't. This paint is seriously the easiest thing ever, and it doesn't hurt that no matter how you apply it, it looks good.

I decided to try it on this mirror, which I just keep moving around the house. First it was in our bedroom, and most recently, our dining room (which of course I don't have a picture of). This thing has to weigh 50 pounds. It's solid and well made, and has been in C's family for almost 100 years. I love it - but it needed a little updating.

Prep work: none. I kind of dusted the mirror with my sleeve because I was too lazy to go find my Mrs. Meyers & a microfiber cloth. Nap time is precious, and once I was all set up to paint, I was.not.moving. 

This was after one haphazard coat of "Paris Grey". I did tape the mirror around the edges, but since I was going for a distressed look, didn't really feel the need to cover everything. I tore the tape up while the paint was still wet.

I waited a half hour, and then used "Simply White' over the grey, this time with a much lighter hand.

I loved it just like this, but had to try out the wax (because I bought it, and I'm impatient!). This is a close up of what the wax does to the paint. LOVE.

And that was it. I'm not kidding - 1 hour later, the mirror was done. And it didn't take a whole hour - there was about 15 minutes of work involved, the rest was drying time.

And here's the mirror on our buffet in the dining room. Don't worry, I'm sure it will move soon ;) I may have already measured to see how it would look in the living room. But for the sake of my marriage, I won't ask C to move it until after A's birthday party.

Love the finished product!

And ... now I have the painting bug. I already have one piece of furniture I'm thinking will be a great summer project for me, and I'm tempted to try some of the really bright ASCP colors!

What do you think?

Hope you all have a wonderful Easter weekend! I'll be back next week with A's finished art wall. I'm practically giddy for him to see it on Easter morning!

Linking up with
Miss Mustard Seed
Liz Marie Blog


Our Mommy Must Haves

Happy Wednesday, friends!

I'm excited to be linking up with some wonderful ladies today, to share our "mommy must haves". The items that you can't live without: fashion items, baby items or any other things that make you "tick"... the things that help you get through everyday.

 It goes without saying that my little guy is truly my one and only must have (besides his dad!) ...

taken almost a year ago!

 ... but all the other things do help make life a little easier.

First, my "momiform" - any combo of skinny jeans & flats will do. On the weekends, you can find me in my favorite leggings and sneakers (perfect attire for chasing my wild child).

This shampoo has totally changed my life. I now only wash my hair every other day, and as every mom on the universe will tell you, having an extra half hour every Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday is just amazing. Plus, it gives me more time to make smoothies and play cars before I leave for work!

My diaper bag is pretty non-traditional, as in, a super-old (from college!) Lowe Alpine messenger bag. But seriously, this thing is amazing! I did the super-cute diaper bag when A was little, but it was more of a purse and was always getting milk spilled in it and I found it hard to carry on my shoulder while also carrying him. I wish there was a link where you could buy this, because it is amazing!

Wipes. It may seem obvious, but these made the list because they are everywhere - in our car, in my purse, my desk at work and everywhere in between. Aside from wiping a little tooshie, I use them for spills, rogue mascara removal and getting crushed goldfish from in between the seats.

I've mentioned them before, but these bibs are my favorite. We bring one everywhere we go, and you just rinse them out afterwards and you are done. They have saved many a cute outfit from disaster.

Matchbox cars. Oh boy... these things run my life, but I could not live without them. We find them in the most interesting places (coat pockets, under baseboard heating, in my wellies... should I go on?). A's fascination with cars blows my mind, but I love them, too! They get us through church & meals out. And is there anything cuter than a little boy playing with matchbox cars?!

Coffee. There are few things in life I take more seriously than my coffee. It 100% gets me through my mornings (see previous posts related to our 20 months of no sleep!)

My planner and iPhone. My planner keeps my crazy life in check. Between being mommy, working full-time and running Bella Carta on the side, I need something to keep me organized. I'm never without it, ever. And my phone? As it relates to being a mommy? For pictures, of course! 4,000 pictures later, it lets me catch the "everyday" without taking out the big camera.

Our Maclaren stroller lives in the car, but I'm always amazed how much use we get out of it. And the best part? The cover is machine washable! The second best part is that we bought it with accumulated miles that were about to expire, so technically we didn't pay for it ;)

And last but not least, taggie. Not my "must have", but it is A's must have, so it's mine by association. Taggie rarely ever leaves his bed, but for any long traveling, taggie is a must have. He is the instant soother and ultimate comfort for A, and is like the 5th member of our family. Tell me I'm not the only one.


Go check out Emily, Lyndsey, Darci & Leah's must-haves, too! These ladies are all amazing mommies, and always willing to share experiences & advice. Making a cup of coffee now to sit down and catch up their must-haves, right now!


Follow Me!

If you are a big blog stalker reader like me, you already know that Google Reader will be going away this summer. Which means we all need to find a new way to follow our friends!

I posted a while back about gReader, but since then, I've found Feedly & Bloglovin', and think they're both great ways to organize your favorite reads!

Make sure you click the links below to save Earning Our Stripes to your favorites, or bookmark the homepage in your browser!



As always, I'm so thankful for all of you that stop by every day/week/month to see what we're up to!
Even this little guy is excited!



{Home Tour Friday} The Kitchen

I've never shared pictures of our kitchen before...
and since we repainted it last weekend, it's about time I did!

Our kitchen was remodeled before we bought our home in 2009, and aside from hardwoods, paint & new trim, hasn't been touched since. The cabinets aren't my favorite (if you follow me on Pinterest, you know I'm a white-kitchen girl), but they were seriously brand new when we moved it, so I feel like I can't paint them (yet).

A's "cheese" face, and the outlet with spackle on it. This was taken the day before we started painting. Just keeping it real ;)

Had to share one of my favorite IKEA purchases from a few weeks ago - these chair pads. So cute, and they are washable. For something to come in our home nowadays, that's pretty much a requirement.

Not long after we painted the living room & kitchen, I started to hate the paint color. It was too dark, and semi-gloss, and I couldn't stand the reflection the walls had. Fast forward 4 years, and my sweet hubby agreed to repaint before A's birthday party. Just waiting on some new artwork, but I'll be sharing the new kitchen, soon!

You can see all of our other Home Tour Friday's, here:
Dining Room
Gallery Wall
Living Room
Toddler Room
Master Bedroom
Laundry Room


{Project Playroom} Part IV: Progress

We are in full-on party planning mode, so the next few weeks we're racing to finish up some house projects. The playroom is at the top of the list, and while it won't be "complete", it will certainly be close.

I don't want to give everything away before we're finished, so instead here are a few sneak peeks at our progress from the weekend.

My new office.

A special project to add some personality to the walls, and honor my sports-crazed hubby.

A little art wall storage for A.

A special addition to the room, with lots of history & significance to our family.

And I can't forget world's cutest helper. I realize that I'm 100% biased, but this kids fascination with all things tool-related blows me away. He just picks up screwdrivers, drills, paint rollers, wrenches - you name it - and knows exactly what to do. We gave him this paint brush & a play paint container, and he was in heaven!

Can't wait to share some new pictures, soon. In the meantime, we'll be upstairs playing (and painting!).

You can see other Project Playroom posts, here:
Current Playroom
The New Rug


Spring Fashion

I can't believe I'm typing this post as the snow from Monday night's storm still covers our front lawn. But tomorrow is the first day of spring, and I'm so looking forward to some warmer weather and playing outside.

Here are some of the things I'm loving for spring! 

A lightweight hoodie for those cooler days, especially when we're playing outside after dusk.

A new iPhone case in a bright, fun pattern.

This adorable striped scarf that can go with pretty much anything.

It may be a diaper bag, but it's still adorable (and waterproof!)

An adorable dress for work or the weekends.

This fun necklace to dress up a solid top or a cute A-line dress.

A pair of gold aviators, because honestly, they make any outfit look cooler.

Not necessarily a fashion item, but this chevron throw would add a pop of color to my living room.

These bright earrings go with jeans or the dress I'm planning to wear for an upcoming baptism.

A pair of comfy sandals for commuting in and out of NYC.

Linking up with Leah for Hello Spring Link-Up!

My Everyday Love


DIY Fabric Covered Cork Board

I'm so excited to show you guys how the playroom is coming together! In the meantime, here's a quick little project I squeezed in last weekend.

I knew I wanted a place to keep our "fun" stuff - birthday invitations & baby announcements, fabric swatches and inspiration for Bella Carta. In my old office, I was just using a standard cork board from Staples from many years ago. It was time for an update, for the new office.

I started out with my very old cork board, adhesive spray, 1/2 a yard of fabric from Joann's ($2.99) and brass nail head trim. The nail head trim was also from Joann's, and with my 40% off coupon, was $12. But since I only used half of it, I'm just going to say it was $6. Ok? Good.

Please ignore the old spray-paint marks on the driveway ;)

 I lightly sprayed the cork board with the adhesive spray, and then lay the fabric on top, making sure to smooth it out as much as I could.

Then I started installing the nail head trim around the edges, until I made it around the inner portion of the frame.

Oh yeah, Otto wanted to help, too!

Once the trim was complete, and I knew the fabric was pulled as tight as it could be, I went ahead and used a staple gun to secure the fabric to the back of the board. Once it was all stapled, I cut all the excess fabric, so that this could sit flush against the wall.

And, that's it! Easy-peasy, right? 15 minutes from start to finish!

I'll be sure to show you where we put it in the new office, as soon as we're ready for the big reveal!

Linking up with 320 Sycamore for Under $10, Under and 1 Hour

And Liz Marie's Inspire Me Linky Party!


Going Green {A Guest Post}

I have an exciting guest post for you guys today!

Michelle Pinto, from SkA:nA, is here sharing her recipe for a DIY Body Scrub! It's super easy to make, and sounds like a perfect way to jump start a "green" beauty routing for spring!


I’d like to introduce myself to y’all, I’m Michelle! I work at SkA:nA, a luxurious spa in upstate new york. At SkA:nA we believe in using natural ingredients to revitalize the mind, body, and spirit. I enjoy sharing recipes and tips like these so all women can feel empowered and beautiful. I love meeting others, sharing ideas and exploring new opportunities!

Instead of just wearing green this St. Patrick’s Day, try going green as well. We hear the phrase “go green” quite often these days, having to do with anything from cleaning products to food, and from make-up to sustainable living. Almost any aspect of our lives can part of the ‘Go Green’ movement. Instead of just wearing green March 17th, use this day as inspiration to use green products on your skin as well.

Using ‘green’ products on your skin doesn’t actually have to mean you’re using something that is the color green. It simply means that it’s consists of natural products, is chemical free, is good for you and is good for the environment. There’s no need to spend a lot of money on a natural product for your skin either, a great skin exfoliation scrub can be made with ingredients that you might already be able to find in your kitchen.

Try making this all-natural Body Scrub to wash away winter skin and go green just in time for St. Patrick’s Day!

-Sea Salt
-Sweet Almond Oil
-Mint Essential Oil

Directions: A homemade body scrub is pretty simple to make, its 2 parts salt (or sugar) to 1 part oil. Typically, for one batch it’s recommended to use 1 cup of salt and ½ cup of almond oil. This body scrub can easily be stored however, so if you want to make a little extra and keep it to use later in the week you can! Add as few or as many drops of essential oil as you want, and mix the oil, salt and fragrance together in a small bowl.
** Use a mason jar for storage, and your body scrub will last for about a week.

To Apply: While in the shower, apply the body scrub to clean, warm skin. Use small circular motions to rub the body scrub on your arms, legs, hands, feet and torso. Wash the scrub off. Finish normal shower routine.

The sea salt will act as en exfoliant, washing away any dry flaky skin. As the new skin underneath is revealed, the almond oil will moisturize and revitalize your skin leaving you feeling fresh and clean! The mint scent will provide you with the extra “oomph” and fresh clean feeling.

For little to no cost, you can go green and feel clean this St. Patrick’s Day. Try making your own body scrub and have the peace of mind that knowing what you are using on your skin. Spring will be here faster than you can find the end of the rainbow and no one wants the embarrassment of dry flaky skin!


Easter Basket

I'm kind of the queen of procrastination. I work well under pressure, so why not wait until the last minute?
Well, I've grown up a little this past year, and realized that by planning ahead, I feel a lot less stress. And now, for the first time in years, I'm managing to get stuff done on time.

Easter and A's birthday are just a few weeks apart, so I started working on his Easter basket as soon as Valentine's Day was over. Oh, and I really wanted a Pottery Barn Kids basket this year... which I missed on last year. Why? Because I procrastinated. See? It really does pay to plan ahead ;)

For Easter, I knew we the Easter Bunny wanted to give A an art space in the playroom. We made so much progress on the magnet/chalk wall this weekend, and I can barely wait to see the look on A's face when he makes the connection that it is all for him!

Since the big reveal will be on Easter morning, A's Easter Basket is full of items he can use in his new space. And a few other things that his momma wanted, just for good measure.

And last but not least, the custom alphabet magnets from Crunchy Farm Baby! Leah was awesome to work with, and let me customize the entire order with a combination of fabrics that she already had and that I purchased. I love them, and I'm SO excited to play with these. Oops - I'm so excited for A to play with these!

Now all that's left is to hide some eggs and finish our art wall!

Linking up with Darci for the Easter Basket Blog Hop!


New Listings on Bella Carta

I feel so grateful that Bella Carta has been keeping me very busy the last few weeks. Here are some of the new listings I've recently added. I have a few more projects that I can't share just yet, but I'm loving working on them. These new projects are challenging me to try some new formats and print methods, and I am so excited to see where they lead!

I'm also excited to announce that Bella Carta is now offering envelopes & envelope liners! After some great feedback from clients this holiday season, we've decided to make our shop a one-stop-shop, rather than having to go elsewhere for coordinating envelopes & liners. I hope to share some pictures of the envelopes we're offering, along with some of the fun return-address printing we've done for clients the last few months.

nautical save-the-date
birthday invite (with one of the cutest boys I know!)
love at first sight birth announcement
ava's birth announcement, which her mom shared here

Happy Wednesday, friends!


Miscelleny Monday

I'm so sad the weekend is over.
I feel like I say this all the time - but we had the BEST weekend. One of those weekend where I realized I wasn't crossing anything off of my to-do list, but didn't care. Because we just had SO much fun.

I haven't done one of these posts in a while, so I think it's time!

• My new favorite breakfast? Greek yogurt and granola. I decided to give up bagels for lent... so yogurt is my new favorite (and necessary) breakfast. Bagels may not sound like a sacrifice, but for me, they are. A bagel in the morning is quick and easy, and so delicious toasted with cream cheese. I also expect that giving up bagels will help me lose 5 pounds by March 31st - we'll see if that really happens.

• Amazing. There are no words. I'm already on book #2!

• A sneak peek at the new desk. I'm so excited this is coming together exactly the way I envisioned.

• I ran out of memory on my iPhone. This is kind of becoming a trend. First my computer, and now my phone. I can't help it! How can you not take a million pictures and videos of this face? Gah - I love him so much, I can't stand it.

 • My mirror. THE mirror. It's here! And it's hanging in the bathroom. I promise to share soon. 

• I'm so proud of A; he's doing such an amazing job in his big-boy bed. Seeing him curl up with his lovey and his pillow, breaks my heart just a little bit. He is such a little boy, in a big, big bed. Knowing that he was ready for this change - no, that he needed this change - makes me realize he is truly a little boy, and not a baby anymore. Can't believe he'll be 2 next month.

• And because I need to distract myself from getting emotional about A starting nursery school in the fall, I'm shopping for backpacks. This is my favorite, so far.

Happy Monday!

Linking up with
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