A $75.00 Bathroom Update

Ever since we renovated our master bathroom late last year, I’ve been thrilled with the vanity and marble counter tops

But the outdated shower is still driving me crazy.  It’s in good condition and would cost thousands to renovate, plus there’s nothing greener than keeping the materials you already have rather than installing new ones, so the shower stays.

Oh how I would love a claw foot tub

Instead of builder grade square tiles and a rickety shower head

But cost+common sense+tired of renovations husband= stuck with existing shower and frosted glass sliding doors

What to do, what to do?

How about the extra long curtains that didn’t work in the study?  Instead of returning them which has none of the fun and excitement of buying them, I decided to use them as a grand floor-to-ceiling shower curtain.

Paired with a classically styled shower rod for less than $20.00

And matching, personalized hooks

And for an additional $75.00, our master bath suite is finally complete.


Getting Ready for Guests

Every week my husband and I alternate hosting dinner with my brother and his fiance.  They normally have a delicious meal planned days in advance, and usually I’m scrambling at the last minute to find a recipe that we all can enjoy.  Instead of racing through six cookbooks hours prior to dinner, I found a recipe for homemade pesto on Food Network.

Looks delicious, right?  The key is the basil.  My husband and I started an herb garden recently, but if you don’t have an herb garden, you can pick up beautiful basil at the grocery store or your local farmers market.  Just make sure you have enough to fill two cups!

Toss with some pasta and sauteed chicken and top with pecorino cheese.  The recipe is simple and flavorful.

Next, I wanted a summery, colorful table setting.  The plate, place mat, and napkin are all from IKEA, and I tied each place setting with a bit of twine.

I finished off the table setting with some lovely yellow lilies.

It only took a few minutes to set the table and about thirty minutes to prepare the meal, but I loved the end result.  I look forward to our weekly dinners, and hopefully this time the food and the atmosphere finally reflected that!

My Latest Obsession-House Hunters International

Every time I watch House Hunters International, I’m awed by all the beautiful places in the world.  Switzerland, Slovakia, Fiji!  The design elements, the architecture, the history!

What about Bolgona, Italy?

Or a country home in France?

An island home with a killer view?

There are so many places to go, so many countries to see.  I lie awake at night and dream of rolling hills cascading down the french countryside and stunning views in coastal Italy – I know where our next international vacation will be!

The Subtle Art of Avoidance

Today I was doing what I do best, practicing the subtle art of avoidance (i.e. perusing Etsy rather than returning emails).  How can I plan a work event when I have a gorgeous, handmade bed begging me to buy it?

I couldn’t help but stare at this relaxed painting.  It made me wish for a rainy day.

I stumbled upon this little table for less than a hundred dollars and for one millisecond wished I lived in Dallas so I could go pick it up.  Otherwise the seller could send it to me if I’d be willing to pick it up from a bus stop.  I have nothing further to say about that.

I love the simplicity of this driftwood shelf.  Perfect if you live in the mountains or at the beach.

I snapped back to reality when I saw this factory cart in California for $1800!  Tres cool.  Tres chic.  But for $1800?

I bought mine for $395 and you can buy them at Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware for less than a thousand.   Only a starving celebrity too hungry to think would pay that price for a used coffee table!  Now that I’m back to reality, I better get back to work.

Please tell me it’s almost time for happy hour.


Designing the Perfect Backyard Getaway

In a time where words like recession, foreclosure and dare I say, double dipped recession (no, no, no), dangle from the lips of every newscaster like honey from a beehive, it’s a better time than ever to take a vacation in your own backyard.  Midwest Living (it’s a real magazine, I promise) offers some great ideas for backyard getaways.

Like this tropical pink and lemon yellow outdoor space.  (Lake front status not required.)

For less than the price of a single plane ticket, you can have a alfresco meal fit for a queen.  Well maybe a distant relative of a queen.

If you want to lounge in the great outdoors, why not set up a cozy living room and invite the neighbors over for a drink?

While you’re at it, hire a college kid home for the summer to serve you drinks and appetizers.  For ten bucks an hour you can have table service at home!  It’s not exactly The Four Seasons, but it sure beats lying on the couch watching reruns of The Voice.

If you’re looking to relax sans kids and husband, set up a chaise for one.

A hammock is an inexpensive alternative to a pricey outdoor piece, plus it’s easier to toss an intrusive husband over the edge if he tries to hone in on your space.

Don’t have the cash for a pricey getaway?  What the hell, just spend what you have dressing up your own place!

To Be or Not to Be an All White Room

In beautiful lands far, far away, there live all white rooms

Where children bathe hourly and dogs never leave the house

Bathrooms scrub themselves

And wine never spills from unsteady glasses

Everyone eats colorless spaghetti sauce

And white bedrooms stay clean and crisp and bright

If you live in this land, send me your address.

I’m moving in with you.

Editors’ at Coastal Living Best Picks

The team over at Coastal Living chose their 50 favorite rooms, and though it wasn’t easy, I narrowed them down to my favorite five.  The Fab 5 starts with a Caribbean inspired bedroom in complementing shades of blue and white.  So crisp, so clean.  I love it.

Next up is a laid back neutral kitchen with plenty of natural fiber accents.  Maybe I’d actually stop stressing over cooking in a kitchen this tranquil.  Or not.

This gorgeous sun room overlooks an endless stretch of turquoise blue sea.  Need I say more?

This attic hideaway is the perfect escape from every day life.  I’d grab a book, flop down on the bed, pour a glass of wine and veg out all afternoon.

This final room is a bit of a stretch.  Not sure how much time I’d want to spend in it, but I am impressed by the courage it took to go this bold.

If you want to check out the other fantastic picks, head over to www.CoastalLiving.com

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