Awesome August

Welcome to Awesome August!  This month is going to be AWESOME!!!

I have to admit I’ve been in a bit of a slump lately.  Sometimes boredom does that.  It’s been hard to get the motivation to do anything, especially taking care of myself.  What’s the problem?  We’re in a new city, a new apartment, and we are starting to make new friends…  But sitting at home all day biting my nails hoping to a) get into a school so I can finish some sort of degree and b) trying unsuccessfully  to get a summer job have started to wear me down. (As an aside: I have been accepted into both schools I applied for, chosen which to attend, signed up for classes, and am waiting for school to begin — YAY!)

All this blah-ness has led me to this months projects.

Project 1: August’s Great Frump to Fabaganza

Awesome August-001
Part of the reason I feel so crappy and lazy is due in part to there being no need for me to get out of my pajamas unless I’m headed to my twice weekly volunteer job.  That’s two days out of seven that I actually need to be dressed in some semblance of real clothes.  That’s just ridiculous!

So, here are the guidelines for August’s Great Frump to Fabaganza:

  1. I will be totally ready for the day no later than 9:00 am.  This includes face (washed), hair (brushed), clothes (on), and accessories (fanceeeh).  Doesn’t need to be over the top, but at least put together.
  2. I will do this process 20/31 days in August.  Most likely Monday through Friday, maybe a weekend or two thrown in, starting August 4th.
  3. I will document this project in a weekly post (Friday Fabaganza! — except this week, post on Sunday), which will include pictures of what I wore and any tips, tricks, or products that seem pertinent.

Project 2: Tri-ing for 6 Weeks

Assateague Assault Tri 2011

Assateague Assault Tri 2011

Hubs and I signed up for a Sprint Triathlon this last week.  SUPER EXCITED!!! This tri takes place on September 13th, so we have exactly six weeks (technically five I s’pose, but we started training last Sunday, so six it is) to get ready.

Guidelines for Tri-ing for 6 Weeks:

  1. Train, obviously.
  2. Post training schedule by August 12th so those of you interested can follow along.
  3. Post 4 times about tri’s in the next 5 weeks (Tri-ing Tuesday):
    1. Tri Training Schedule (August 12th)
    2. Food for Tri-ing
    3. What You Need to Tri
    4. Post-Tri Awesomeness (Because finishing a triathlon is something to celebrate!)

Project 3: Motivated Maybes Reads

July Reads (still have some left in The Year of Living Biblically, but I started it in July so I’m counting it…)

July Reads

I have been obsessed with BookTube this summer!  What’s BookTube you ask?  It’s a channel on YouTube where they talk about books, books, and more books!  I love it.  I started my own channel at the end of June, but haven’t posted any videos yet.  August will change that.

Guidelines for Motivated Maybes Reads:

  1. Post intro video onto YouTube (and here) by August 9th.  I will include a link to the video and to my quote blog on Tumblr on Motivated Maybes.
  2. Read and stuff…
  3. Post BookTube vlog at least once a week for a total of (at least) 4 videos in August.

I’m really excited!  I think this month will be great!  And busy.  Busy is good.

What are your goals/projects for Awesome August?


Master Bath Reveal: Let’s Make This As Hard As Possible

Seriously.  Can we?  Make it as hard. As. Possible.  Because we can…

I know you are dying to find out how it turned out, so here ya go!



I think Hubs would agree with me that the Master Bath was the most frustrating of all of our DIY projects to date.

Part of that may be because neither of us had ever tiled a wall (which is EXTREMELY different from tiling a floor).  Part of it may be because we chose to do a niche.  Another part may be because we chose to do a “really cool” accent in the middle of the wall.  Part of it may be because we changed our minds half way through.  Regardless, this was the hardest project we’ve done and we couldn’t be more pleased with the way it turned out!

Welcome to the Home Spa!

Welcome to the Home Spa!

It’s a spa-like zen when taking a shower in there, I promise you!

Disclaimer:  The “After” photo in this post was taken by a photographer (not me) for The Hoffman-Terry Group, LLC, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. This image has been reproduced with permission from The Hoffman-Terry Group.  No Copyright infringement intended.

Vanity is a Sin… But Face-lifts Are Nice

Ha!  That title cracks me up.  Sometimes I am witty…


As you may know, Hubs and I started working on another bathroom update a while ago.  Our motto was “It’s not for us, just make a decision.”  Because, ya know, decisions are hard —  especially when you’re faced with living with them for the rest of your life (i.e. the powder room tile choice).  I have found, though, that makeover decisions were easier when the goal was “neutral, but interesting” in order to sell.

Hubs and I talked about getting a new vanity for the master bath, but after shopping around and not finding anything affordable we liked we decide to try out a “vanity face-lift.”  Read: paint.

If you have been following me at all, you have probably noticed that I have done a few old-to-new face-lifts (here and here) and that spray paint is my new best friend.  Unfortunately, I didn’t think spray paint would be the appropriate choice for this particular makeover.  So paint it was!

I was a little apprehensive at first.  I just really disliked the vanity we had.  It was white.  And boring.  And ugly.  And  old.  But after some Googling, and some inspiration from one of my favorite blogs, Young House Love, I decided maybe it was doable.  Besides “It’s not for us…”

Sanding Tools

Prep Tools

Preparation Tools:

Electric Sander with 100 grit sand paper (I used a finer grit since it wasn’t real wood and I didn’t want to destroy the finish; just rough it up a bit…)
Screw driver to remove pulls/door
Mask (sanding dust is no fun…)
rubber gloves

I used the same basic technique outlined in previous posts, with a few modifications.

First, I got a new toy.  🙂

New Toy!

New Toy!

After taking the door off, pulling the drawers out, and cleaning the inside out with some diluted Simple Green, I lightly sanded the entire outside surface of the vanity.  Then, I followed that with  TSP, and some left over deglosser from a previous project to ensure the surface was SUPER clean.  It is just builder grade white vinyl (?) — the cheapest of the cheap found on every home improvement stock floor everywhere and not even real wood.

Color Change: Behr Premium Plus in Roman Plaster

Color Change: Behr Premium Plus in Roman Plaster

Once the prep was done I was ready to paint!

Get your paint on!

Get your paint on!

Painting Tools:

Behr Premium Plus Ultra in Roman Plaster
paint brush
Foam rollers (as suggested by Young House Love; they worked like a charm!)

The second modification was deviating slightly from the How To’s I read in that I didn’t use a separate primer before I painted.  This is not a step I skipped when I painted the kitchen cabinets, but I felt that the bathroom vanity gets a little less wear-and-tear than a kitchen cabinet, so I made a judgement call.  I did, however, use a paint-and-primer-in-one (Behr is my all time favorite paint, and we pretty much use it exclusively in our house).


I was surprised by how pretty it turned out!  Roman Plaster is a beautiful, creamy neutral that is NOT WHITE.  It really looks spiffy now.  There was a spot I was particularly concerned about where the finished had chipped quite a lot, but after sanding and painting, it has completely disappeared!

Disappearing Act

Disappearing Act

Also, it’s really amazing what new hardware will do.  The new nobs bring this old builder-grade vanity to the next level.

Master Bath4-001

You can really see the color difference here, since I forgot to paint the kick plate (that has since been corrected).

Fin (sorta)

Fin (sorta)

Check out the upcoming Master Bath Update: Let’s Make This As Hard As Possible for the final-final product with the new counter top and pretty fixture.  🙂

Have you ever painted a piece of furniture?  What did you do?  What materials did you use?  Tell me all about it!

Where Have You Been Lately?

(Now that song is stuck in my head….)

Holy cow bell, y’all!  It’s be a lllloooooooonnnggg time.  Hope everything is going well with you and that you are getting Motivated for Spring!

Also, Happy Easter!

Image Credit Unknown

I know, I know.  It’s been forever and I’m sure you felt abandoned.  Fear not!  I have fun, juicy deets about the house renovations coming up.  And now that I have the kitchen back, I can start cooking again so I might even have a recipe.

First of all, I want to tie up some loose ends.  I’m sure you’ve been wondering about the Master Bath.  Well, that’s finished!  So I will be forthcoming with details, stories, and how to’s soon.  Second, we started and finished the kitchen with barely enough time to clean the house before putting on the market.  And finally, we’ve sold.  It’s all very bittersweet.

My goal this week is to get pictures ready for the above mentioned posts, and will probably have the first one out today or tomorrow.  I hope you’re as excited as I am!



Bathroom Renovations Part Deux: Master Bath

Hubs and I have embarked on another bathroom makeover (I know, we’re getting a little redundant with the content).  Our original plan was to somehow figure out a way to utilize the “dressing room” space between our closet and our teeny, tiny, itty, bitty master bathroom.  Well, with our current moving situation, we have decided to just do some updates instead of a bathroom overhaul.  I’m actually really excited to see how it turns out!

When we moved in, our master bath looked like this:

Who thought a blue toilet was a good idea?

Who thought a blue toilet was a good idea?

Things I particularly enjoyed about the old bathroom:

  • cracked shower tiles
  • bad caulk job (impossible to keep clean, and the mildew just spread further)
  • teeny, tiny floor tiles, also cracked
  • white EVERYTHING!
  • The lovely blue commode…

Let me tell you, going from a large vanity counter-top, full size tub, room-to-spare master bath, where we could both fit comfortably to this tiny little space (no room for products!) was a little rough at first.  But we wanted to live in it for a while to get a feel for how we used the space before ripping down walls and moving plumbing around.  Hence, we never actually got around to it.

I never realized how yellow the paint on the walls were until we ripped the cabinets out…

Master Bath1-001

As every DIY home improvement project goes, it has taken us triple the amount of time we thought it would.  However, choosing tile, hardware, and accents with the purpose of selling in mind definitely makes decision-making easier…

So, to start with, we ripped all of the old shower and floor tiles out (Hubs channeled The Hulk and ripped the floor out in three pieces); replaced the mildew-y, below grade insulation; put up a vapor barrier (there wasn’t one before); installed new cement board walls; laid the base of the floor (twice…); and installed a shower niche.

Master Bath2-002

We have finally come to a consensus on the shower tile layout and accents, bought all of our materials for the new toilet (just waiting for installation), a new “invisible” shower door, and have bought all of our hardware (faucet, towel racks, vanity nobs, shower head and nobs, etc).

To save ourselves a dime, we decided to keep the old shower basin — it just needs a good scrubbing so it’s sparkly and clean, and painted the old vanity (which I’m actually really excited about — it turned out beautifully!).

This weekend’s To Do List involves getting as far as we can with tile installation.  Once the grout has cured, I feel like everything else will go pretty smoothly.  We already have paint picked out and will probably do that before the toilet and vanity are installed.

Just a few details are left to figure out:

  • New mirror
  • Light fixture
  • What to do with the old medicine cabinet hole-in-the-wall (probably turn it into a little niche)
  • Pick out some pretty open shelving for above the toilet

It will be nice to have our bedroom back in order…

Master Bath3-001

Powder Room Mirror Makeover

Over the summer Hubs and I started our first REAL home improvement project (besides painting walls).  We updated our small, main floor powder room.  Quite the learning experience…

Anywho, I was on a mission to find a beautiful new mirror to go in our beautiful new powder room.  I wanted something oval, since everything else was square (i.e. the sink).  After going through three mirrors (the buy-it-return-it merry-go-round, shall we say), I was about to give up.  Then Hubs said “Why don’t you just buy a mirror the shape you like, then paint it like you did the [master bedroom] lamps?”

I thought about it for a millisecond and decided if I could FIND a mirror I liked, I would MAKE a mirror I kinda liked into something I LOVED.

Powder Room Mirror1-001

I succeeded.

I used the same technique as the lamp makeover I did in June.




Paper towels
Distilled white vinegar
220 grit sand paper
Painters tape
Produce bags (or plastic, or paper, whatever)
Krylon Primer in Gray
Rust-oleum Hammered Spray paint in Burnished Amber

First, I taped the produce bags to the mirror to protect what I didn’t want painted.  Then, I lightly sanded the frame to remove some of the varnish and to give the paint something to hold on to.

Powder Room Mirror

Plain black, boring mirror.

Once I was finished sanding, I rinsed the dust off with a paper towel soaked with white vinegar, then wiped it again with a paper towel soaked in plain water.

When the frame was completely dry, I primed it with the gray Krylon primer — the same I used for the lamps.



I did two coats of primer to make sure I had even coverage.  Once it was dry, I sprayed the mirror with three (very light) coats of Burnished Amber.  It was lovely!

Powder Room5-001

I am now a firm believer in spray paint.  It can transform A.N.Y.T.H.I.N.G.  Seriously.  You should try it.

Oh!  Hey there!

Oh! Hey there!

What about you?  Have you ever tried the (spray) paint makeover?  Lemme know what you did and how it turned out!

The Great Powder Room Makeover

Hey y’all!  It’s been a while!  I know, I know.  I made all these lofty claims that I would be better about posting updates and then mysteriously disappeared… again.  Well, mysterious to you.  Unfortunate for me: I started school.  Ugh.  What a time suck… and so not fun, nor worth posting about.

Moving on.  Over the summer, Hubs and I decided to take on a small home improvement project (or so we thought) to redo the powder room on the main floor of the house.  We mulled over floor tiles for about three weeks, paint for another two, and he seriously had to convince me of the sink he really wanted (and that I have now come to love).  To keep a long story short, it took us far longer than the weekend we thought it would.



The first problem we ran into (besides making decisions) was the plumbing.  The pipe literally crumbled when Hubs unhooked the sink from the wall.  Awesome.  Then it wouldn’t stop leaking.  I’m sure our water bill reflected the several gallons that slowly dripped from the damn thing as we moved forward.  Oi.

Once we tore up the floor, which was covered in a lovely laminate that runs into the kitchen as well, we discovered not the sub-floor we had expected, but ANOTHER layer of terrible [sticky] laminate tile.

IMAG0107-001 P1020432-001

After fighting with trying to pull it up we decided not to try to get to the sub-floor.  After consulting with the all-knowing Google, we just laid the new floor right on top of the old one.


Leaning against the door jam for balance… turned out to be a great leg and back workout…

We even got a shiny new toy!  Hooray for wet saws!  Hubs found a small wet saw online for a reasonable price and we snatched it right up.  Boy did that make our lives a gazillion times easier!


New Toy!

After laying and grouting the tile, we painted.  I was SO EXCITED about the paint colors we picked out.  I wanted to do the ceiling a beautiful stormy blue and the walls a light silver-blue.  In my mind, it was perfect.  We painted the ceiling and I was in love.  It was exactly what I had envisioned!  We painted the walls.  Lovely!  Ok.  Now for the new light fixture…

What. Have. We. DONE?!?!?!?!

With the new light fixture (but same bulbs as the old one) my beautiful stormy blue turned fuchsia, and the walls went from silver-blue to lavender.

Needless to say I quit for a while.  I was so upset.  It was not at all what I wanted.  It was down right ugly.

So, Lesson #1: ALWAYS check your paint color choice in the SAME EXACT light (and fixture) that it will be featured in.  I should have known better. But who knew simply changing the fixture and keeping the same bulbs would COMPLETELY change the colors.  (I have come to believe it is because the glass on the new light fixture casts a little bit of a warm glow.  That warm glow was enough to ruin my painted ceiling.)

Powder Room1-001

What were we to do?  In an effort to find an easy fix Hubs, bless his soul, went out and bought every temperature of light bulb to try to get the purple OUT without having to repaint everything.  Nothing worked.  We just had varying shades of pink in a bathroom that was supposed to be blue and grey.  Awesome.

Therefore, I did what any level-headed individual would do: I closed the door and completely ignored the powder room for a week.  Ok, so I couldn’t close the door because we had taken it down, but I never went in to that *expletive* bathroom for a whole WEEK.  (stupid bathroom…)

After calming down (and by calming down I mean getting irritated anytime I walked by the powder room… which I had to do every day, multiple times a day), we decided to bust out a can of white paint we had down in the basement from another project to see if getting the dark blue (oh, it was so beautiful when not in the bathroom) painted over would make a difference.  It did.  So with some daylight light bulbs and a white ceiling, the lavender all but disappeared.  Whew!

My stormy blue ceiling didn't work out so great...

My stormy blue ceiling didn’t work out so great…

After that, I believed we were home free.  The rest was just installing and “doing the pretty” (all the fluff stuff that makes things fun).  We managed to install the toilet with few curse words, and put up the trim.


Then we moved on to the sink.  Poor, poor Hubs.  His beautiful new sink did not like my lovely new faucet.  At all.  You see, the sink is open underneath; therefore, it does not have a water trap or overflow hole.  The drain pipe that came with the faucet did not fit with this open sink concept…


Open sink concept

I think at this point we were looking at  our Hubs’ eighth trip to Lowe’s/Home Depot.

Finally, he found a drain pipe that would work in the sink… it was not the right color, but damn it!  He was not. Going. Back.  (I have since looked and there aren’t any drain pipe plates that are the oil rubbed bronze, or even black…).

Finally, we were ACTUALLY home free.  We switched out the light plates, I re-finished a mirror to match the bronze fixtures, and decorated with our old over-the-toilet shelves, new filling for the flower vase (all of our favorite wine’s corks), and a pretty new towel.

Brass to Class

Brass to Class

Details (and seasonal decorations).

Details (and seasonal decorations).

So pretty!


Eventually, I would like to put some art or something on the wall next to the toilet, and a small, shallow shelf on the wall next to the light switch.  But overall, it turned out beautifully.  And after all of that trouble… we just started the master bathroom…  🙂

I'm a DIYer.

I’m a DIYer.


Also, I’m taking advantage of the opportunity to link up with Stacy over at Not JUST A Housewife for her “Show Me What Ya Got” link up.