Category Archives: Around the House/DIY


Our condo is on the market. Woo hoo! Fingers crossed for a fruitful sale. Here’s some photo evidence of the efficient and affordable work we did to prep our home.

Kitchen Update

We went with cabinet re-facing instead of replacement because it is so much more affordable. The doors are new, but the faces are not–they have a new plate over the old one to match the new color. We upgraded to a granite countertop, an under-mount, stainless steel sink and modern hardware, all of which the cabinet re-facing company helped us do on a budget. Danny did the backsplash himself with this peel and stick tile from Home Depot. It took him a few hours, it looks great and it is easy to replace if the new buyers don’t like it. Instead of spending $30,000 on a total kitchen re-do, we spent $8,000 on a pretty fantastic facelift (if I do say so myself).08597806_3_1

Master Closet

I have always loved our Elfa closets in the master bedroom. However, when we had them installed, The Container Store told us we would get more shelf, rack, drawer space if we removed the bi-fold doors. We said, “yes please” and lived with open closets. I think, when it is organized, it looks really nice, however to accommodate a pickier buyer, we purchased tension wire from Ikea and curtains from West Elm to add an optional “door” to the closets. (We splurged on the curtains because we plan to use these same four panels to cover the huge windows in our master bedroom at the new place). The tension wires were easy to install, however one is working perfectly that the other has required additional repairs. It even pulled out of the wall once. It was also the first one we did, so maybe that was just user error.


We waved goodbye to all of our personal photos and put them in storage. Then we hired some guys to fill all the holes (from all the photos) and paint the wall. Yes, we could have hopped on the struggle bus and done this ourselves, but we felt the $200 was totally worth it for saving hours of our time and potentially sanity. There were a lot of holes…

The paint is photographing greener than it really is. Actually it looks more blue/grey in person.

The paint is photographing greener than it really is. Actually it looks more blue/grey in person.


So far, we have sold two unnecessary pieces of Target furniture on Craigslist and gone through every closet and cabinet for items to sell, items to trash and reorganization. I also re-organized these bookshelves to make them a little less crowded.

Elphie, photo bomb!

Elphie, photo bomb!

Yes, I got rid of some books, but mostly I re-arranged everything. I put like colored books together, turned some things on their sids and tried to avoid long rows of just books. Honestly, I cannot wait to create styled vignettes throughout our new home, mostly using what I’ve learned from Young House Love and watching too much HGTV.

To Do

There are still some areas that need help. This mess, for one. Processed with VSCOcam with m5 presetAnd obviously we couldn’t update/paint/fix everything. I would love to replace the blue carpet in the bedrooms, replace bathroom floors and vanities and put new hardware on all of the closet doors (right now they are white plastic and I still may get to this one), change the light fixtures, and re-paint the entire apartment except for the newly painted hall and the two green walls that I love. Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset  Also, I pretend every day that this ceiling fan does not exist.Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

However, I believe that with the work we’ve done, we will find a buyer who will love this place like we did–and who maybe even loves a gold-plated ceiling fan.


Weekly Obsessions-April 6

This week I am totally obsessed with Spring Cleaning. I have been a madwoman. No closet, dresser, or counter top has been safe from me. This weekend, after cleaning the entire apartment, the hubs and I went through every storage space/surface in our bedroom (including the closet-yikes), the hall closet and both bathrooms. Everything is organized, pretty and clean.

I would like to think this is something we would do every spring to rid ourselves of that which we’ve accumulated over a long winter of hibernating. However, I know better. We are super motivated in preparation for listing the condo for sale. In fact, part of Saturday’s organizing included visiting with our realtor on the market, listing price, and some things to change/fix up before listing. We plan to fix all the holes in the hallway walls and then paint. And, of course, going through the living area and second bedroom with the same fervor for cleaning and organizing. That second bedroom in particular is going to be a doozy.

However, the weekend wasn’t all work. The hubs and I rewarded ourselves with a trip to a few furniture stores to pack away ideas for the new place. We are both totally obsessed with West Elm’s Mid Century Modern Collection, so we peeked into a few vintage shops to see if we could find anything similar at a lower price. We did find some similar pieces, however they were the about the same price…Not to worry, though, we will keep looking!


I mean, come on. Gorgeous.

I also took the hubs on his first visit to Bang Bang Pie Shop. Biscuits and vegetarian gravy topped with an egg. French silk pie. Need I say more? Just go.


The face of the happiest and most satisfied of campers.

Day 350: Chopped Challenge

The hubs loves him some Chopped. It’s on for like four hours every weeknight and I swear he could watch every episode every night. (If you don’t know the show, four chefs are presented with a mystery basket of ingredients. In the appetizer round, they are given 20 minutes to use all ingredients in one dish. One chef is chopped and they move on to the main course, and then dessert, leaving one champion. Each round had a new mystery basket. Simple yet satisfying). Also we are trying to do a better job of grocery shopping and cooking so we don’t spend all our money eating out every night.

Today I got home first, realized we had no food and gave myself a challenge. Rather than go to a grocery store, I would go right next door to the store that is more like the Kwik E Mart than a store and see if I could find enough ingredients to make a dinner. I was pleasantly surprised by the fresh jalapeno peppers, avocados and tomatoes-jackpot! I also grabbed some thin noodles and $3 later (yes $3!) I had an opaque bag of fresh veggies and noodles.

The opaque bag is important because it gave me the idea to present the hubs with the chopped challenge. Once home, I added Greek yogurt and our new favorite hot sauce-Cholula-to the bag.

When the hubs came home, he was excited about trying it. He was confused and challenged by my ingredients. (In fact he ended up cheating and not using the Greek yogurt that I had thrown in as both a challenge and a potential sauce base). He started with the noodles, boiling them, and chopping up the veggies. From here he started to heat and reduce the tomatoes to a sauce with Cholula and peppers. Where things go downhill is his treatment of the peppers. Including them in the sauce-great. Leaving a bunch of seeds in-no thank you.

He mixed everything together and put it right in the fridge, envisioning a sort of cold, spicy noodle “salad.” We gave it a few minutes then tasted it with the avocado. It would have been delicious if it wasn’t also burning our mouths. Take all the seeds out people. We don’t need em!

Really both challenges (corner store shopping and Chopped) were fun. A definite retry to (hopefully) better results.


Day 309: Prepare

I know it has been a while, that posts have been few and far between. But prepare. Today I printed eight pages of directions with nine exciting stops for our upcoming road trip. Year of Fun as travel blog is back!

I’m also prepping for a fun announcement. And for making up all those posts I’ve missed-notes on everything, posts just need to be written. Get ready for an onslaught of fun!

Day 287: Active Me

Life is different as an active person. I spent a little time reflecting upon the changes I’ve undergone from last summer to this summer. Last summer I walked with a cane. This summer I’ve been hiking, biking, and walked 3.1 miles to raise money and awareness for the Arthritis Foundation. Last summer, after a long day at work, I would most likely have sat on the couch watching tv all evening. Tonight, instead, the hubs and I cooked and ate dinner, picked up around the house and went through a couple “junk drawers” in preparation for our upcoming Iowa garage sale. Then I practiced the dulcimer. We did not turn the tv on all night. (Well, until 9:00 when reruns of How I Met Your Mother come on for an hour).

At the end of the day, I feel so much better having participated in and accomplished all of these things than I ever did “resting” on the couch. While it may still be necessary from time-to-time, resting on the couch is not actually all that restful when done in large doses. I’m loving what feels like a new life!

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