February Superlatives


Note: This is a retroactive post that I cobbled together in December of 2011 so I could make this page full of monthly recaps for the entire year (our first in our new house!). Yup, I’m just a bit type A. So here’s what we tackled throughout the month of February – high school yearbook style. Coupon-lovingest: This post about how I try to save money by cutting coupons. Sneakiest: The use-tape-to-catch-drywall-dust trick that we outlined here for ya. Most Mischievous: Painting an old glass lamp shade turquoise while John was out for a run. Best Picture Ever Taken: This post about getting a resin ram at TJ Maxx which resulted in a photo of

Fab Freebie: Line Drawings


***This giveaway is no longer accepting entries –  see who won below!*** Thanks to random.org’s, our three winners are Jane (who considers herself an accomplished doodler – especially during a meeting), Molly T (who dubbed herself the least crafty person ever) and Lizz (who’s no artist, but is killer at Pictionary). Congrats ladies! You guys probably know Freshline Illustration from our monthly sponsor shout outs, but soon three of you will know them as the ones who hooked you up with some sweet art / pillows / stationery for your own home. And many of Freshline’s colorful and playful illustrations can be personalized with monograms, anniversary dates, or even your full family tree. PRIZE: A

One Night Stand


Okay, make that two night stands. Though technically they’re just the living room side tables… … that were displaced by the arrival of Karl. So even though they’re not technically nightstands, we love our Target tables (from the Victoria Hagan collection, purchased a few years back) and those seeded glass lamps (from the now sadly non-existent Nate Berkus collection at Linens N’ Things) too much to let them go unused. So they’ve now found a new home in the master bedroom. At least for now. Not only do they start to balance the room more, they’re a huge help in the function department. Sherry’s poor short arms couldn’t take storing her cell phone and magazines

Five Favorite Places To Eat, Shop, And See In Richmond Virginia


Today’s a cool day – it’s marks our 5th anniversary of living in Richmond. On this date in 2006, Sherry and I woke up on an air mattress in my Upper West Side apartment (she had already moved all of her stuff out of her Soho studio and turned in the keys) to greet my dad, who had driven up in the mini-van that would move us and all of our worldly belongings (hence the air mattress – we had sold our mattresses) to the River City. Seven hours and one stop at Ikea later we arrived at our new apartment in Richmond – unemployed, unwed, and uncontrollably excited about the life ahead of us.

The Guest Bath: Meh, But Functional.


How’s that for a title? Haha. We’re about 20% there with this room, but we’re sharing these pics in the name of the work-in-progress reality that is our new house. We definitely think some paint on the walls (we’re flip-flopping between soft gray and mocha) will tie things together and better integrate items like the shower curtain and the bathmat along with the sweet vintage yellow tile. And of course bringing in better art, fun window treatments (maybe a bright roman shade?), changing out the light fixture, and implementing other tweaks down the road will hopefully take it from “meh” to “how you doin’?” The good news is that it works and it’s clean. You

Our $297 Guest Room Makeover (& A Luggage Tray Side Table)


Sometimes, you just gotta let things “shake out” – haha. John kept rolling his eyes while I ran back and forth from the guest room to try “one more thing” all day yesterday, but I just love playing around, tweaking things, adding this, subtracting that, and seeing where we end up. It’s probably my favorite part of the whole process, all that final-hour-switcheroo business. And we’re so glad that we shared yesterday’s in-progress pics to show how just a few tweaks in the last 24 hours can really change things up. Not über dramatically, but enough to make a difference for sure. Sometimes it’s those last minute changes that make you step back and go:

Guest Bedroom Progress…


Update: We brought in a few of the items on our to-do list below and it changed everything! Well, not everything, but a few things came out (the brown blanket is history, at least in this room) and a few other things moved around. Gotta love those last minute tweaks. Check out the whole shebang here. Here’s what things are looking like right now (well, as of an hour ago when we snapped these pics and uploaded them): Which is definitely an improvement on Monday’s more spartan look… … but we still have lots to do (an quite a few things aren’t in their “final resting place”) but here’s what we’ve checked off so far:

Now Our Guests Can Shower


Progress has been made in the guest bathroom, folks. Which is good news since we’re less than 30 hours away from the arrival of Sherry’s mom and stepdad. Our first score was finding a shower curtain. Despite being burned by pattern in our last shower curtain attempt, we bought this guy at Target on Friday for about $20. It definitely still looks kinda rough in there (still have to paint the walls and hang art, but we don’t think we’ll get to that before the inlaws arrive, uh, tomorrow). But getting back to the shower curtain, we think the pattern works much better because it’s bigger when it comes to the scale. The large medallions

Our First Time Shopping For A Mattress: What We Learned


Believe it or not, the mattress we just purchased for our guest bedroom is the first one either of us have ever really “shopped” for in the traditional sense. Everything before was a hand-me-down from family or purchased for cheap from Goodwill (that’s actually where we got the two daybed mattresses, which were bought pre-bed bugs days – although they did claim to sanitize them before reselling ’em). Oh and of course there’s our organic mattress, which we bought online (amazingly enough, they helped us find the perfect “fit” without having to be there to test things out). So admittedly the task of in-person bed-shopping was a bit daunting at first. We wanted to do

Bold Teal Walls & A Handy How-We-Cut-In Video


We finished painting the guest room. And boy is it bold. Seriously, it’s like no room we’ve ever painted before. And we luuurve it. With a capital urv. This is probably the most accurate pic (well I guess it’s as accurate as your monitor) of the dark teal that we went with: The color was of course inspired by none other than Sue the Napkin. It’s kind of similar to Dragonfly (the color that we painted the backs of the built-ins in the future dining room) but when we held up a ton of swatches in the guest room we preferred this color (Dragonfly was darker and greener). It’s called Plumage by Martha Stewart, but

Guest Room Extra Credit


As scheduled, our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore picked up our donation items yesterday. That, combined with us moving tons of frames and accessories into the future playroom (for now), meant the guest bedroom went from this: To this: Not exactly ready for the inlaws (who are arriving on Thursday – yikes) but at least it’s no longer a junkyard. The reason that photo was taken after dark was because once Clara went to bed last night we decided to earn ourselves some brownie points and paint the room. Yup, we’re total suck ups who love extra credit. We figured it’d be easier to paint while it’s empty (the new bed is coming early next week-

The Dog House


Some of you have asked how Burger’s getting along in the new house. Short answer: great. Short answer with a fancy Mary-Poppins-ish twist: just splendidly. It only took him a day or two to figure out where his food bowl now lives and which door to wait at when he needs to go out. Other than that, he seems to be having fun discovering (and re-discovering) his favorite spots to hang. Here are some shots from the last two months to document his love for the new casa. This one was taken pretty much right after we moved in. He quickly identified this sun-warmed corner of the rug in the living room and loved to

12 Things (23 If You’re An Optimist)


And let’s just say I’m an eternal, unapologetic, and annoyingly chipper optimist. Anyway, we’re back to share the homely group of odd items that we picked up with our $100 shopping budget on our little end-of-winter beach vacay in Rehoboth. Since we were staying at John’s parents’ beach house for free (I have the best inlaws ever), we figured that a hundred dollars to put towards light fixtures and wall decor and other new house items sounded about right to two cheapskates like us who were happy to have saved at least three times that amount by avoiding hotel fees and driving to the beach in the winter instead. Hah. They’re not exactly a group

Beach Bums


Remember we mentioned on Monday that we were taking it easy and enjoying some family time? Well we were actually at the beach! We snuck away to John’s parents’ beach house in Rehoboth, Delaware for a nice long weekend of R&R (while the guest bedroom took care of itself- just kidding it was just as messy when we returned, darn). We had lots of fun going on long walks, eating seafood, getting our thrift on, and bringing Clara down to the beach on a particularly warm day (it was 65+ degrees on Monday!). So we thought we’d share some of our adventures with you guys. First, we hit up our favorite secondhand shop in Bethany,

She’s here…


First things first. We have a furniture name change to attend to. Our giant 70″ dining table arrived (you know, the one we blathered on and on about here), and he just can’t be called Woody. Because he’s obviously not a he, he’s a she. Given her elegant lines and curvy figure, I don’t know how we ever could have made that mistake. We finally landed on Stella as her new moniker because she’s definitely a stellar addition to the future dining room. Har har. And since we already have Ed (the bed) and Karl (the sectional), I felt like I needed a lady-friend to balance things out. Update: Everyone’s asking about the paint swatches



Our entry table from the old house naturally landed right next to the front door of the new house too. It has lived there since day one without much second thought. Until recently. Just for fun we moved it to a new spot and ended up liking it there more. It wasn’t a major relocation. It just sorta “drifted” down the hallway a bit. The new spot seems to suit it better for some reason. It’s probably a combination of these 3 things: It moved from an unpainted rough looking space to a painted area that feels more polished. Visions of the previous owners’ furniture linger in our minds (they had a console there too).

Fab Freebie: Oooh, Shiny!


***This giveaway is no longer accepting entries – scroll down to see who won!*** Thanks to V-Day, we’re straying from our usual home improvement & decor related prizes in favor of some customized and sentimental jewelry from Lisa Leonard Designs. Lisa brings a certain DIY spirit to her necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and other body bling – hand cutting, polishing, and assembling each piece carefully for that “made with love” feeling. She actually helped us celebrate V-day last year by giving away $100 gift cards to two winners – and this year she’s raising the stakes and giving away THREE benjamins worth of her meaningful designs to three random lucky winners. Happy Valentine’s Day indeed. PRIZE:

U R Sweet


Did you get that candy conversation heart reference in the title? Those things crack me up – especially the new-aged ones that say things like “Text Me” and “Tweet Me.” Hah. Anyway, the point of this post is just to wish everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day. And to share some gratuitous Clara pics. These are actually the same photos that we sent to our family & friends along with a funny little V-day card with a Burger-esque chihuahua on the front (gotta represent for both kids, you know). Heck you guys are friends too, so just pretend these showed up in your mailbox: Gotta love that $1 stuffed candy heart from Target’s dollar spot. Quite

Lookie What We Got


These. Are you surprised that we were thrifting again? I’m not. These were originally $90 a pop ($180 total). Marked down to $70 each ($140 total). With an additional 50% off. So we ended up paying just $35 a chair ($70 for both of them). Not bad considering Ballard sells semi similar metal versions for $199 a pop here and reminiscent-ish rattan ones for a whopping $249 a piece here. And they’re sturdy little buggers. I sat in them expecting a rickety mess with flat cushions (why else would they be so cheap?) and I was surprised. Not bad. Not bad at all. So I did that “wow, John, they’re really quite nice” thing and

Some Love


It’s time for our monthly shout out to thank our sponsors for making the other 35+ posts possible and keeping food (and little candy hearts) on the table. And instead of just listing everyone, we like to pick something from each of them that makes us smile/drool/inspired/happy. Not that we’ve been gifted any of these things ourselves (see our no-swag policy here) but we did have fun trolling their sites on a virtual v-day shopping spree of sorts. Here are all of our lovey-dovey finds. And as usual, there’s a little something extra in it for you (you know we heart you guys) so scroll down for some pretty sweet reader discounts. Here’s what we’re loving:

Updating An Old Cheese Plate For Christmas


Better Late Than Never? I tackled this project about two months ago before we moved (hence all the pics of our old kitchen counters). But I figured I might as well share it in case someone else comes across their own cheap-o cheese plate and wants to update it with some fun patterned paper. Let’s step into the DeLorean for a nice trip back in time… This little makeover idea was hatched when I laid eyes on this crazy old cheese plate at Goodwill for 40 cents in early December. Yes. Forty cents for the glass dome and the wood base with the ceramic cheese inscription (it was marked as 80 cents and they were



We just learned that our first overnight guests will be coming at the end of the month… and our guest room currently looks like this: Not acceptable. Especially since our end-of-the-month guests are my in-laws. Yep, Sherry’s mom and stepdad are headed from New York to Richmond for some much-anticipated Clara time so we officially have a deadline for making the guest room habitable. We don’t expect to make the room all that we want it to be in a mere two weeks, but we have some basic goals for it: Get all of the junk out of there (finally confirm the Habitat for Humanity ReStore pickup & move rest of stuff into the playroom)

Table Talk


Who doesn’t love 1,909 words about searching for a dining room table? Here we go. We’ve been on a big round table hunt pretty much ever since we first set foot in our house. See, as soon as we walked into the small-ish formal dining room that fateful night in late fall of 2010 while house-hunting, John said “this room should be the office- and we can add french doors for you.” Sold. Since we have a pretty huge family (there are at least 12 of us when we get together for birthdays and even casual movie nights or spaghetti dinners) we knew that room would never accommodate a table large enough for more than

Sherry’s Lamp-Watching Chair


Call me crazy, but I wasn’t really on board with Sherry’s latest “furniture arrangement” when I saw it in the corner of our living room. I know she enjoys lighting as much as the next gal, but a chair dedicated to staring at a lamp seemed like something straight out of Lovely Listing. Once I looked up I realized that my wife still has most of her marbles (key word: most). She just put the chair there so she could stand on it and tape some paint swatches to the ceiling. Whew. Not so weird after all. Well, she’s still über weird, but for a host of other reasons. We’ve been debating what to do