January 17, 2018

An Early Valentine's Day

I don't know what it was about this year, but it seems like I just never got my act together for Christmas. Maybe it's because we travel so much for the holidays - we had two week trips to visit family for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, plus Tony spent two weeks of December in China. With so much travel and time away from home, it never really felt like the holiday season to me. So much so that Tony and I didn't even bother to exchange presents!

January 12, 2018

Our First Major Home Renovation - The Powder Room

Well, 19 months after moving in to our "new" house, we are finally getting around to our first fully renovated room. We've painted most of the rooms, ripped up yards of carpet and installed flooring in a few rooms, but haven't given any a full makeover yet. We are starting small - literally - with our smallest and by far ugliest bathroom. If you've been following along on Instagram, you know this bathroom started out as a yellow and brown tiled monstrosity. Since we have three bathrooms that need to be fully redone and just started paying for daycare, we're doing this renovation on a budget. But that doesn't mean we're sacrificing on quality or style. We've trolled the internet for the best deals, including coupons and specials from major stores like Lowes and Home Depot and have managed to keep the total cost under $1500, including all the extras (subflooring, drywall, random hardware, paint, etc) and a few decorative pieces.

Preppy Printshop Eiffel Tower in Full Bloom Print - Love this print, as Paris is a special place for us (so basic). Framing it with a gold frame from Target.

Pinzon Heavy Weight Hand Towel in White - My husband loves white towels because you can bleach them infinitely and they always look crisp and clean.

Delta Windmere 24" Towel Bar -  I can't believe how expensive bathroom accessories are! Delta is a trusted brand and this was bar far on low end as far as prices go.

Enzo Rodi Widespread Bathroom Faucet - Faucets are also extremely expensive. We are not familiar with this brand, but it has great reviews on Amazon, a limited 3 year warranty, and the style matched our lighting fixture.

Kohler Highline Classic White Toilet -  Purchased separately with through a Lowes offer, so we saved 20%.

MS International Carrara Hexagon Porcelain Mosaic Tile - No deal on this, but Home Depot had the best price by over a $1 per square foot. On top of that, this tile has the look of marble without being cheesy but is only about 40% of the price of actual marble tile, plus it won't stain or discolor.

Allen + Roth Roveland Vanity with Marble Top - This vanity was already on sale, included a top, and we purchased it separately through a special Lowes was running, so we got an additional $100 off the sale price.

Voluspa Casa Pacifica 2 Wick Candle - I picked this candle based entirely on the fact that I love this shade of aqua! No regrets.

Progressive Lighting Victorian 3 Light Chrome Vanity Fixture - We saved money by finding this as a return on Amazon for only $50.

 All of the "major" items we purchased (vanity, toilet, flooring, lighting) came to just under $1000, leaving us with approximately $500 to purchase the less obvious items we needed (like redoing the flooring so it can support a tile floor and marble vanity) and accessories.

Here are a few tips on we we saved cash but still managed to create a gorgeous marble powder room
1. Be flexible with your design.
(consider other materials or colors, e.g. porcelain tile is half the price of marble and doesn't stain and is also less likely to crack than ceramic)

2. Look for store specials. Lowes often offers discounts on certain amounts of merchandise.
(e.g. 20% off of purchases of $250 or more)

3. Purchase coupons online.
(don’t have a coupon? check eBay. Many times you can buy a 10% off coupon for pennies. FYI, stores take them but they frown upon the practice). 

4. Consider lesser known brands, but make sure they have a lot of good reviews before you purchase.
(Amazon has been great for this and also has immediate use coupons)

5. Whatever you do, do not attempt to move the locations of your sink and toilet.
(you will *definitely* need a professional plumber for this and your budget will automatically need to double)

January 3, 2018

The Perfect Winter Morning

The past two weeks have been incredibly cold in Upstate New York. Temperatures are rarely above 15, and that's before windchill, and I can't remember the last time I saw the sun. If you're from the Northeast or have ever visited in the winter, you know that sunshine is pretty rare and the most you can usually hope for is a bright day as the sun bounces off of snowflakes. That's one of the reasons why I loved our brunch at The Blue Hen so much! The airy conservatory is so bright, it almost felt like a summer day instead of a blustery -7 degree morning, and the Parisian inspired decor was a visual treat and so unique for the area!

January 1, 2018

Keeping Cozy

I am the only one of my siblings and all of my cousins who does not downhill ski or snowboard. What can I say? The day my mother brought me to the mountain to watch and decide if I wanted to learn, someone had a horrific fall and had to be airlifted to the hospital. Needless to say, it made quite the impression and I decided that full-contact karate would be a much safer sport, ha! However, I did take up cross country skiing later and I am ALL about apr├Ęs-ski - the fun social activities that take place after a day of skiing! They generally involve, eating, drinking, hanging out in the sauna and some snow hot tub time. Even now, Tony and I join our friends (who, being from New England, of course all ski) on ski vacations just so we can get some cozy rest and relaxation in. Most of these fun activities take place outside or in the draft lodge, so you want to stay warm and cozy! This outfit is perfect for an afternoon on the slopes or some outdoor exploration.