Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Do it yourself: Chalk paint & distress

I mentioned a couple of months ago about my trip to my grandmothers to rummage around in her house  and take things that I was interested in. Well, when my aunt pointed out the old, yet ornate mirror hanging on the wall I saw potential.

I took one look at it and knew it would be perfect if it was painted white. I also probably only saw that potential because I knew my mom possessed the ability to chalk paint furniture and make it beautiful again. So Fourth of July weekend, that's exactly what we did.

This was a pretty simple and inexpensive DIY project that we completed in a day. It would honestly have taken less time if it hadn't been raining and the paint would've been able to dry faster. The best part about this kind of project is that the supplies needed are minimal and easy to find.

You will need:

1. White paint to use as the base of the chalk paint recipe
2. Paintbrush(es)
3. Sandpaper
4. Paste finishing wax

My mom won't let me tell her secret recipe for the chalk paint, but you can find a similar one here.

Step one. Tape any area of the furniture that you don't want to paint. For me, it was the edges of the mirror, but if you are painting a dresser or something similar, you may want to remove handles or just cover them with tape.

Step two. Simply wipe down the furniture with a cloth to remove dirt and dust. If you have an air compressor, use it to blow away any particles on the surface.

Step three. After you have mixed together a chalk paint recipe, use it to paint the first coat with a larger paint brush, going in the direction of the wood grain. You will need to paint at least two coats.

Step four. Use a smaller brush to paint any crevice or open ornate piece.

Step five. Once your piece is dry, distress the painted furniture by using a piece of sandpaper to lightly scratch off paint, particularly on the top ridges.

Step six (photo not available). After you have distressed the furniture as much (or as little) as you would like, use a cloth to apply a finishing wax. Note: this will change the color of the paint slightly.

That's it! Now you've got a brand new piece of furniture that was easy and cheap to create.

(before and after photos, sadly taken with an iphone, so the quality isn't the best.)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Music Monday: Current obsessions

Artist: The Olms
Album: The Olms (listen here on Grooveshark)
Why I love it: It sounds like it came straight 
out of the 1970s. 
Favorite song(s): On the Line, Twice as Nice
For fans of: The Beatles, The Beach Boys

Artist: Hey Marseilles
Album: Lines We Trace (listen on spotify)
Why I love it: It sounds like something you 
would hear under a magical 'big top' tent. 
Yes, that sounds crazy, but just go with me on it. 
Favorite song(s): Tides, Dead of Night
For fans of: The Decemberists, Ivan & Alyosha

Artist: Johnnyswim
Album: Heart Beats (listen here)
Why I love it: It's like singer songwriter meets
sing-songy folksy band with a little bit of pop mixed
in. It's a beautiful, powerful blend.
Favorite song(s): Don't Let It Get You Down
For fans of: Florence & the Machine, Adele,
Of Monsters & Men

Artist: Pokey LaFarge
Album: Pokey LaFarge (listen on spotify)
Why I love it: It sends me back in time.
Like way back. Like Ali and Noah on
The Notebook way back. And you know
that's a great place to be. 
Favorite song(s): Won'tcha Please Don't Do It
For fans of: Justin Townes Earle,
Hank Williams, Sr. 

Album: Life Inside Body (listen on spotify)
Why I love it: I can't seem to get enough of
sisterly harmonies these days. 
Favorite song(s): Daniel Bloom
For fans of: Lily & Madeleine, The Secret Sisters

Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday funnies

Just a few out takes from my most recent photoshoots. Yeah, you're welcome! Happy Friday yall!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Faking sunshine

Yall, the weather here lately has been the worst....the WORST I tell you! Rain and storms almost everyday. Leslie and I got lucky and managed to sneak in a quick photoshoot yesterday between the clouds and seemingly constant drizzle.

I don't know about you guys, but sometimes when the weather is gross like that, I find myself wearing brighter colors to fake like it's sunny and pretty outside. Which is exactly why I'm in turquoise and yellow here. I mean what says summer beach fun more than a color combo of turquoise and yellow? Exactly...nothing!

Good news though, the sun is legitimately out today, so I'm not faking a thing. Woo!

Here's the cheapskate breakdown:

1. Turquoise skirt/dress, Parisians (?? - crazy old)
2. Cream lace vest, Banana Republic ($59.99)
3. Scarf/belt, gifted/passed down
4. Wedges, Charlotte Russe ($12.50) *buy one, get one half off deal
5. Clutch, Altar'd State ($9.99)
6. Sunglasses, Forever 21 ($5.80)
7. Heart pendant necklace, gifted/passed down
8. Circle necklace, Brooklyn Flea ($20.00)
9. Square ring, Brooklyn Flea ($5.00)
10. Leaf ring, gifted (thanks Em!)
11. Thumb ring, Charlotte Russe ($2.99)
12. Earrings, Charlotte Russe ($6.00 - set of 3)

Total: Under $125.00 

Photos: Leslie Evans

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Design project: Something Blue Events

I always love working on design projects, but I love them even more when they are in support of a friend. Especially when that friend is starting his or her own business. So I was beyond thrilled when Lauren reached out to me to design the logo and other collateral for her new special event planning company: Something Blue Events.

You might recall some of the other work that I designed for Lauren around this time last year for her own wedding. Knowing Lauren and her impeccable organization skills, I know she is going to rock it in the event planning business. Plus, I was a guest at her wedding so I know what a great job she does putting a big event together like that for a special day.

As I've mentioned before, Lauren's overall style is very traditional, classic and timeless. So when designing her logo I wanted to create something that reflected this. I think the fonts chosen and the damask image does that perfectly. And of course we had to use a shade of blue, so I chose one similar to that of Tiffany & Co., only more on the blue side of the color spectrum instead of green.

When Lauren told me she wanted a square business card, I was all on board for it. It just seemed to fit everything perfectly. A little fancy and avant garde, but not too much. And since we were going this route, I decided it would be a great accent to have a different pattern on the back of the card to add a pop of color and draw attention. Which of course meant that her website had to go on that side of the card. The end result was something that I thought turned out absolutely beautiful in print.

If you are in the southeastern region and looking for a wedding or event planner, look no further than Lauren Kelly at Something Blue Events. I have already witnessed her innate ability to coordinate some pretty incredible things and I know that she will make any bride unbelievably happy.

Something Blue Events business card

Monday, July 22, 2013

Life lately

I feel like I always say this, but it's been another busy couple of weeks. It seems like all of my social activities for the junior board I serve on has fallen in the month of July. Crazy how that happens, but we had a baseball game at the begining of the month and then a 5k run a couple of weeks ago, followed by a mix & minlge event with the governing board of Triumph–all of which were good times!

We also had a shower filled weekend a couple of weeks ago. Nicole's lingerie shower was Friday night and I loved this cute gift her sister put together with all types of lingerie—adorable. Then the next night was the couples shower at my house that I helped several of our other friends host. We had a retro theme with good food and fun games. Everything turned out fantastic and we all had a great time.

Last Tuesday J & I had date night at Bettola since he'd never been and I rarely go. Of course I couldn't branch out from my "usual" and ordered a pizza, even though he got pasta and I was eating a pizza by myself. I had leftovers for two days, which was pretty awesome.

This past weekend we went to the Alabama Outdoors party on the porch Friday night, followed by a Barons game with some friends of ours. It was the first time I'd ever sat out on the lawn at the stadium. And while it's a lot harder for me to follow the game in that area, it's definitely still a good time. Especially when the weather is nice!

Then Saturday I did my usual workout routine, followed by a hair appointment and then I made my first trip to the "new" Nordstrom Rack in town. I took Jill so we could find a dress for her upcoming high school reunion. We somehow made a great find with the very first dress she tried on, but you know us girls. We still ran around town just to "be sure" we had the perfect dress. Turns out we had it right the first time :)

Later that night, J & I had dinner with Luke, a friend of his that was in town for the weekend, and Luke's sister's family who actually live here in Bham. I am loving getting to meet all of his friends lately. I just wish they lived closer so we could hangout more often!

Sunday after church, J & I hit up the showing of To Kill a Mockingbird at the Alabama Theater with Joy and Justin. Such a great movie and I never get tired of going to the Alabama. It's just so beautiful and the organ that comes up from below the stage is always a great highlight.

Pretty soon we'll be in wedding mode for Nicole & Torry's upcoming nuptials. Excited about celebrating them and getting to see friends framily come back in town again...stay tuned for the fun!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Under the (fashion) influence: Solange Knowles

I don't know if it was it was Solange's bright smile or her colorful outfit, but either way I immediately fell in love with this ensemble of hers the second I saw it on Lucky magazine's website. It's so simple, yet so chic, which I think is because of the small details like the bright yellow belt.

It's also extremely easy to replicate. So I figured that's exactly what I would do. I realize that my skirt is more pink than red and it's also a bit longer than hers, but still the overall idea is there. Now if I could just get my hands on an amazing pair of sunnies similar to those she is rockin'!

Here's the cheapskate breakdown:

1. Top, Ann Taylor Loft, ($19.99)
2. Skirt, thrifted ($2.00)
3. Crossbody bag, thrifted ($5.99)
4. Sandals, Payless ($24.99)
5. Silver bracelet, c/o Oopsy Daisy (thanks mom!)
6. Earthy chevron bracelet, c/o Oopsy Daisy (thanks mom!)
7. Square ring, Brooklyn Flea ($5.00)
8. Leaf ring, gifted (thanks Em!)
9. Sunglasses, Venice Beach ($7.50)
10. Earrings, Stella & Dot ($34.00)
11. Yellow belt, Cato ($1.99)

Total: Under $100.00

Photos: Leslie Evans

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Buy this, not that: Black and gold sandals

I know that a $25 price difference isn't all that much, but I will take saving of several pennies any day! And technically these sandals were originally $69.00, so you can think of it like you are really saving more.

Anyhow, I had my eye on these sandals at Target about two months ago. But at the time I had no idea they were almost identical to this pair of shoes from Dolce Vita that I have seen a few celebrities rockin this summer.

So if you're looking for a great pair of versatile black flat sandals, look no further, this is the perfect (and most affordable!) pair.

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Monday, July 15, 2013

My latest obsession (in food): Granola cereal

I can't remember a time when I haven't loved cereal. But I realized recently that maybe it was time for me to start eating more "grown up" cereals instead of the Capt'n Crunch and Cinnamon Toast Crunch that I usually enjoy.

So one night while grocery shopping at Target I decided to start with a couple of granola cereals. Holy moses. Turns out, they are DELICIOUS. Now, granted, they probably aren't really considered "healthy" considering the amount of sugar in each serving, but I still figure it's better than a bowl of Cookie Crisp or a packet of pop tarts.

And another plus is that just one bowl of granola cereal keeps me full until lunchtime. That's something I have never experienced with any other cereal—or many other breakfast foods for that matter.

Here are a few of my favorite granola cereals in case you want to give them a whirl. They each cost about $3.99 a box, which sounds kind of pricey, but when you think about the multiple meals you get from that, it's really a pretty good deal.

• Archer Farms Strawberry Granola Cereal with Flax Seed
• Archer Farms Lemon Blueberry Crisp Granola Cereal
• Cascadian Farms Dark Chocolate Almond Granola Cereal
• Cascadian Farms French Vanilla Almond Cereal

Friday, July 12, 2013

Party in a box

A couple of weeks ago I had two friends with birthdays who live out of state. And while I always mail their presents, I had seen this idea from Elizabeth of Delightfully Tacky of a "party in a box" to make the arrival seem a bit more special. So I figured I'd give it a shot. And while my photos are not as cute or professional as those of Elizabeth's, hopefully the fun paper and confetti still put a smile on my friends faces when they opened their boxes.

Here's what I used:
• pretty, colorful tissue paper
• fun birthday themed confetti (& wedding themed for Casey for her recent engagement!)
• candy
• a special local item from Birmingham (since they both used to live here)
• a "real" gift

If I had more time, I would've a) remembered to also take a photo of Emily's box and not just Casey's and b) looked for better tissue paper since that is what I think makes the most significant impression when you first open the box. Instead I was shopping at Dollar Tree at 9 something before they closed and then putting these together at 10:00 pm the night before they needed to be mailed. That's just how life seems to be these days though.

I would still recommend buying the confetti and candy items from Dollar Tree because it's such a good deal. But if there is a paper or wrapping store in your area, I think really great tissue paper would be a nice splurge.

Once you line your box with the paper, then all you have to do next is sprinkle in some confetti and start placing your items in the box. I also added more on top once everything was in because you can seriously never have too much confetti (says the girl who didn't have to clean it up when the box was opened!).

After the box is taped up and ready to go, you could wrap the box in brown Kraft paper and then use stamps, stickers or your own marker creations to decorate the outside of the box as well. I thought I had this paper at home already, but was sad to learn later that I did not. I was bummed but figured that I'd rather get the boxes out in time than wait another day to get paper and decorate the outside. Next time ladies!

Basically this is an easy, fun and inexpensive way to brighten someone's day that you don't get to see as often as you'd like!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Mix it up Chris

As I mentioned yesterday, I am loving all kinds of printed fabric at the moment. Occasionally I even get really wild and decide to mix those prints.

Exhibit A: Today's ensemble. I mean, stripes and florals together—say what?! Yeah, I know. Real exciting right? I'm sure I just blew your mind.

Oh but wait for it...this outfit is actually a dress tucked into a skirt (you can see the full dress here in another post). I know, right?! You're acting like you can't see the bottom part of my dress and you're totally feeling like you just watched "Inception" for the first time aren't you?!

Ok, enough sarcasm. For real though, if you ever want to shake things up a bit with your wardrobe, just consider mixing a couple of different prints that you already own. Or think about how you could wear a dress tucked into a skirt. Both of these tricks will make your closet seem bigger than it really is.

Here's the cheapskate breakdown:

1. Floral print dress, Anthropologie ($39.99)
2. Striped skirt, ATL market ($35.00)
3. Heels, Nine West outlet ($29.99)
4. Clutch, c/o Oopsy Daisy (thanks mom!)
5. Sunglasses, Dollar Tree ($1.00)
6. Bar earrings, gifted (thanks Joy!)
7. Vintage cocktail ring, gifted
8. Square ring, Brooklyn Flea ($5.00)

Total: Under $125.00

**Also congrats to Sarah, Karen, Leslie, Andie & Logan of CarpeGlamour! They were the winners of my Firmoo Voucher Giveaway. Ladies, you should all have an e-mail from me with your voucher code inside. If not, check your spam :) Enjoy!**

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