Thursday, May 24, 2012

Camera 1 Camera 2: Thoughts on bedrooms' beforeses and afterses

The new furniture will be here soon! I've been kept awake waaay too late at night recently thinking of cool shit to do to/for the house. I often cannot correctly (even remotely) estimate distance (or size or time) and so in my mind the boys' rooms are shoe boxes and our room is the size of the freaking pentagon.

So yesterday as I unloaded another chunk of my belongings into our new together-home, I decided to snap a few pics (really, I just needed to get pics of the love seat and bed frame to list on good ol'craigslist and got carried away). But it's turned out to be quite beneficial because now I can kindasorta keep an idea of the space I'm (or am not) working with.

The house is in great shape, minus the random shit lying around because I haven't figured out where to put everything yet, or the piece of furniture that it belongs on/to hasn't yet arrived (i.e. bag of bedding for bunks, bags of sentimental quilts, random cool orange chair and antique trunk, etc.).

Here are a few snaps of each room (camera 1, camera 2!) and my thoughts:

camera 1
The office. A mess of a space, with so much unused wall real estate. My tv will hang above the computer monitor and this is also the room that we'll store the 2nd ps3 (apparently only men think the question "why do we need two ps3s?" is a dumb one). Stephen has a lot of nice framed military themed pictures around the house. I want to corral (all but one of) them and make one large wall collage here - but probably on the opposite wall that the tv is/will be on. I'd also like to see a new desk with a hutch and matching filing cabinet and a taller book shelf. Stephen also has many many military models he's put together over the years - we'll need some display places for those too - floating shelves would work nicely since the models aren't heavy (that's not a fact, I don't know how much they weigh) - I just don't know where to hang the shelves...

camera 2
Big Boys' Room. When Stephen moved in he got excited and put a queen bed in both boys' rooms. Even for one boy per room, it's slightly impractical, but especially now (smiles!) - we had to get bunk beds to accommodate two boys living in this room. I have a dresser I've been working on refinishing in a midnight blue color that will go under the window and the bunks will go along the right long wall - that should leave just enough room to utilize the closets and not feel all crammed in, I guess. Also, the small black dresser (there's a matching one in Russ' room) will be used in the master room as "nightstands"; I'll paint or decoupage the drawer fronts in some snazzy fabric or something else clever I find on Pinterest. Our family pictures turned out really nice and I plan to have a large one of just the three boys printed for each of their rooms. A giant map of the world is also a must, but I haven't decided yet how to hang it; Stephen wants to plaster it right to the wall, but I want it to more resemble "wall-art" than a poster Elmer's glued to the wall. Such a girl... Here's the space we're working with: 

 camera 1: "lamp purchased for new room"

camera 2: closet system is in! sort of... it's just leaning against the wall right now, hah!
Russ' Room + our guest bedroom. This room is, so Stephen says, the same size as the big boys' room - minus the extra space from the bump out. I can't believe the visual difference that extra rectangle of space makes. The first thing in this room - the bed will flipped to the opposite wall or under the window (then hanging curtains just-so to make the window appear wider and also to serve as a sort of headboard, if I don't make one) ...and then put the bed on a frame. I've also been toying with the idea of making his headboard by covering an old interior door (from my townhouse) with some batting & fabric - or however the easiest tutorial tells me to do it :) New curtains, extra storage/toy/sitting space and eventually a more useful closet system/space will be incorporated. We'll put Josh's current tall dresser in here somewhere, maybe the closet, and move the small black one to the master, as mentioned before. The quilt Stephen and I picked out a few months ago will stay and I'll be using it to work with the rest of the space (blues, browns, and natural textures like bamboo and linen). 

camera 1

camera 2

And now, our room :) It. is. massive. A massive empty canvas with which to drive me crazy trying to figure out how best to fill it. The natural light is to-die-for. I am often awoken by the indirect sunlight creeping into the room and gently waking me (unlike my better half who is generally jarred awake by "DADDDDYYYYY IT'S TIME TO GET UHHHUUUPP!" from the adjacent bedroom.) Sweet boys. So here's the master plan (har har) - bed in between two small windows, white linens and flowey white linen window dressings, with (and I haven't decided yet which, if not all of these to incorporate) turquoise, coral and gray. I like them all; Stephen likes color and so do I, but I also like clean and crisp. Because the turquoise and coral are so loud I think I can maintain the "crisp" by putting them against white, but ground them with gray. I haven't the foggiest how or where to put each of the colors, except the white, lol. I really like these fabrics from, and I think Stephen will too as he's requested a coastal feeling for our space:

But as I share them with you, I'm reminded of how quickly this could go wrong. So wrong. Here's the 360 of our room:

I'm really excited about the enclave (?) there, I've already claimed it as my "girl space" for some sort of make-up/jewelry hub + a reading chair to pile my "I hate this outfit, I'm changing!" articles of clothing.

imagine here: windows covered in a sheer/linen-y white curtain panel, each of which helps to frame a big beautiful  sleigh bed - a bed flanked by oversized nightstands and tall glass lamps that contrast with the white bed linens and a few fun colors! If/when a wall gets painted, it will be this one. For now, I like the beige blank canvas.

the room swallows this bed. I wonder if it would still seem small if it were not banished to the far end of the room?

Pretty standard but lots of space to screw up! Stephen might get color, but it might be more along this less-poppy color palette:

I guess I could still add in a coral colored throw to spice it up a bit; but maybe I really need to follow these paint can lids as guidance - otherwise I panic and bad things happen.

So what do you think? Take a chance with un-guided color choices or be safe with a Martha Stewart approved color palette?

Today I'm going after work to pick up our new craigslist find - a new kitchen table! It's purdy. Boat shaped, dark wood that seats 4 or 6. I'm really just excited to not have to use so much Windex now (glass table + 3 little boys = sucks.)

I knew this post would be lengthy so I intentionally only included the bedrooms - but the other rooms are just over the blog-orizon.

Friday, May 18, 2012

A stand-over-the-stove-for-your-third-portion kind of meal


Healthy? Nope.

But it is sort of low-carb friendly; so for me, right now - it is "healthy"! YAAY!

I first made this right after mother's day. I'd bought three packages of cream cheese with intentions of making a low(er) carb cheesecake but things just didn't pan out (har har) but literally - Stephen, nor the neighbors, had a springform pan and I couldn't bring myself to use the storebought graham crust (even though I did buy it - I'm not proud of at-some-point considering using it).

So I was left with lots of cream cheese and some chicken breast I'd bought at the same time as the cheese. I cannot specifically remember how I ended up on the Kraft Foods website, but there I was, checking out a recipe that I actually had plennnnty of ingredients with which to make the dish!

Here's a link to original recipe, although I made minor changes to mine: Creamy Lemon-Chicken Pasta.

And here is what I did to make it low-carb diet friendly, sort of.

2 cups of Dreamfield rotini pasta, uncooked
1 tbsp oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips (or smaller)
6 oz Philadelphia cream cheese, softened
1 packet of Swanson Flavor Boost concentrated broth (chchchcheck it out)
Some squirts of lemon
A few shakes of parsley (I've never found it to lend much flavor, anyways)
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
3/4 of a bag of steamfresh peas
  1. Toss the bag of frozen peas in the microwave to get them started while you do the important stuff.
  2. Cook pasta in large saucepan as directed on package. For Dreamfields, it's 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic; cook 1 min. Add half the chicken; cook 2 min. or until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Remove from skillet; cover to keep warm. Repeat with remaining chicken; return all chicken to skillet.  (**Editor's note: my skillet was big enough to cook two breasts that'd been cut into strips)
  4. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Mix reserved water with cream cheese and flavor boost chicken packet until well blended. Add to chicken and mix well. Cover; cook on low heat 5 min. or until chicken is done. Stir in pasta, lemon juice and parsley; cook; uncovered, 1 min. or until heated through, stirring frequently. Stir in cheese and peas.
  5. Stand over stove and eat, no point in dirtying a bowl and getting up and down for seconds and thirds - waste of energy. Just stand there and try not to eat it all because you're going to want this goodness again reeeealllll soon.
I loved this so much I made it again last night. I mean, I had alll that cream cheese - what else was I going to do with it since my craving for cheesecake disappeared?

Rhetorical question. I just gave you the answer.

Monday, May 14, 2012

A weekend worthy of a wrist brace

This weekend was so fantastic I have to start wearing my wrist brace again so my tendonitis doesn't make me feel like I'm dying.

I was super spoiled for mother's day, Stephen drawing the whole thing out into a great weekend, just the way he knew I'd love! Friday night he made me the ultimate Atkin's meal - grilled mushroom swiss cheeseburger, asparagus and sweet red pepper things stuffed with proscuitto and more cheese. Uhm, nom! I redressed the spare bathroom, as planned and I think it turned out nice! See (before is last photo):

Saturday morning I woke up and did some HITT running in my new kicks. LOVE these shoes; they're NB 890s in black and fuschia; I scored them on for $40!! After a little exercise I called and made a hair appt at Tresses Salon in Mt. P & then hopped in the shower to rinse off before my hot stone massage I had scheduled at 10 at I'On Health, of which I scored on Groupon for nearly half price! What!What!

Cathy, my massage therapist and the self-proclaimed - and I can confirm such - "Pain Whisperer" - was wonderful! She worked out some serious knots in my upper back/shoulder blade area via some deep tissue massage and then a hot stone treatment. My body was raging with toxins and hormones afterwards, apparently (I know because she said so, not because I was a raving lunatic). Massage by Cathy. Do it. I called Stephen afterwards and we decided to meet up for lunch at Uno Mas, a regular spot for us. He and Josh had been running errands since I left, of which I'll mention in a moment :) Lunch was great, as usual - simple, atkins diet friendly chicken fajitas (no shells, duh!) Stephen and Josh had their regular - serrano shrimp enchiladas and chicken fingers, respectively...

After lunch we headed to Lowe's - because I had that lovely dresser project to work on and Stephen wanted to get materials for his pull-up bar he's been talking about. I needed to try another shade of blue to match my dresser daydreams; turns out I was looking more for a midnight blue, not navy. I worked on the dresser while Stephen added the new toy to the yard fort. 

My hair appointment at Tresses was with Mara at 3. I'd been to this salon before, a few years before as the photographer for a fashion/hair type fun show they put on for their clients; I really liked the staff but have had a regular hair therapist for many years and didn't need their services. Unfortunately, but fortunately, an oversight by my regular "therapist" (who also happens to be the BFF) I had to go somewhere new/different and Tresses was the first place I thought of, especially since I was closer to them than usual (with my being in Mt. P instead of N. Chas.).

I was nervous. I've never had anyone take care of my hair the way Sarah does. Ever. But Mara. Well, Mara might be seeing me again; she was a great stand-in for my usual and I'm over the moon happy with my cut!! And was even more satisfied with my experience when, upon trying to check-out, the sweetheart at the front informed me that my services had been "taken care of" by my boyfriend. I argued with her, yes I did. "How? When? Whaaa? Mine? Are you sure?" And then she showed me a card and said "is this his phone number?" it was, and it was also written in his handwriting.

By golly.

What a freakin amazing man I have to love me! He and Josh stopped by the salon while I was getting de-tensioned and gave me yet another wonderful memory for this mother's day :) :) :)

The dresser and I mingled over paint and an orbital sander for a few hours; it was intense. Josh's grandmother offered to watch Josh for a few so Stephen took me to Wasabi's on Daniel Island for dinner. MMM! Sushiiiii! Stephen found a drink that he will never, ever ask for again - a jalapeno mojito! I licked a bit off the straw and it was some fresh hotness! The drink consisted of jalapeno simple syrup... + typical mojito ingredients, lol "it tastes like burrrning!"

shit, I'm really keeping you with all this blabbing (bragging?). Lucky you, I'm almost done...

The fun didn't stop there - I was awoken Sunday morning with breakfast (at the table, cause who really eats breakfast IN bed? not us.) Josh and Stephen had some fun greeting cards waiting for me alongside a plate of scrambled eggs, turkey sausage and a fresh, hot biscuit and perfectly prepared coffee.

the drawer closest is the winning shade of blue

I worked on the boys' dresser basically the remainder of the day and nearly finished it! I only need to sand one more time (i hope) and then add the varnish, or whatever to protect the paint job from boys.

Josh got to enjoy dinner at Queen Ann's Revenge with his Grandma (Pam) and Nana (Rae) and the other mothers and cousins on that side of his bloodline.

...That's basically it.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Deleting my cookies

I've been trying to sign on during the day to post something but my machine wasn't having it. I remembered yesterday the last time my computer just wouldn't load a page that deleting my cookies did the trick. After one more failed attempt this morning, I remembered to delete my cookies and tada!

That's your Computer 101 lesson for this week and I won't be mentioning cookies again. I understand if I've officially lost you because of that.

I've been shopping like a mad woman getting items for some fun face(room)lifts in our new home. I have the bathroom pinned (literally figuratively speaking, For the boys'/guest bathroom we're using navy, indigo, white and grass green (and hoping I can find some earthy - not dirt - texture to include, too). I'll post before and after pics after this weekend! I'm very excited about it!

I haven't shopped much for Russ' room yet as his will need to maintain a "guest" room feel (as we did with the boys' bathroom) without making him feel like it isn't his own space; I'm really into color and want to keep his room in more neutral natural palette (sky blues, browns, and some earthy texture besides the dirt they track in!) - being pulled in both directions will be creative brain overload.

Anyways, this particular double-duty need will likely translate into a room he can appreciate until he's 20ish, lol. We'll have to start his room by getting a full size bed as the queen size proves to be too large, significantly diminishing his play area. The dresser will have to find it's new home inside the closet, pushing the current toy storage somewhere else.

SO! for toy storage, I'm thinking of this from Target:

I played with this storage ottoman piece yesterday in the store and the top is light enough for a child to access the fun inside and the ottoman itself is rugged and adult enough to not make a guest feel like they're invading a 4yr old's puppy and train and truck heaven. It was fairly inexpensive ($80) and I hope they still have it when the time comes to tackle his bedroom!!

The big boys' rooms will be similar to the guest bath color palette with navy, apple green, and pops of orange and maybe black (chalkboard paint!). Here's kiiiinda what I'm thinking, in terms of colors, but not so many of them, and not necessarily themed, either as I'm not interested in decorating in dumb stuff that they'll outgrow 4 days from completion. I mean c'mon, how long can this Angry Birds craze actually last?!?

I'm working on ideas for wall art; I think I'll use this opportunity to put into motion some more of the wonderful ideas I've been pinning, like these:

I also want to include a poster size picture of all three boys into each boys' room.  Unfortunately I wont be able to actually incorporate much of anything into their room till closer to June, when we get the proper furniture in place and the room painted (neutral base with a few navy and orange horizontal variegated sized stripes). Ohhh, I love a blank canvas!!
The house has been de-pictured as I take bits and pieces of it to the new pad. It's strange going down an "empty" stairwell and hallways and it's feeling less and less like home. Strange to say that, but exciting as I know my new home impatiently awaits Josh and me!

This weekend I'll continue tackling the dresser reface. Two weekends ago I got it primed, painted, then last weekend I reprimed (because it wasn't the shade of blue I wanted), and repainted but I had some issues with the finish - a combination of impatience and inexperience. And, fingers crossies, the closet system in the big boys' room will also be installed *while* I'm painting :)

Oh, and something about a massage at I'On tomorrow morning and then I'll need to get these tresses trimmed before picture day with the family next week at Boone Hall with Hyer Images.

OH! OH! and I lost another few pounds; down to 166.8 this a.m.!! wooot! (I started at 172 a week ago!)

That is all.

Collett out.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sleepy Jessica Ruined My Title.

When I went to bed last night I had some witty title for this post; Blogger Jessica was all "write it down!" but Sleepy Jessica was all like "no way! that's too awesome to forget. go to sleep instead!" Sleepy me won and for now I remain titleless.

This past weekend in Litchfield (just outside of Myrtle Beach, SC) was dynamite! We beached, pooled, drank, ate like we wouldn't gain that 5lbs that inevitably DID show up on the scale, and enjoyed some quality time with our Anderson family. Also, I learned something about my future; as an official member of the Mommarazzi - it can be summed up in four pictures:

Jack Stephen Russ Josh

this is probably as good as it's gonna get.
I'm going to have to learn how to splice pictures together. A big shout out to Stephen however, he managed to maintain the same amused smile for each shot and then humored me with this:

I do adore him :)
I stepped on the scale yesterday morning out of sheer curiosity and with the solid notion that it would NOT ruin my day. It didn't. What it did do, however, is kick this ass back into overdrive and real-life diet mode. A little more than a year ago I went from 203 to 160 in about 6 months by sticking to a no / low carb diet. So no more of this "but i don't understaaaand" as I admit only to myself the crap I ate that day. The new guy at work brought in donuts last Friday; what, like we can control ourselves around here?! No. So, to show him, I took a small bite of four different donuts and threw the remainder of each away. God they were good. I'm wasteful, I know. shut up. I did it for everyone else.

...Anyways, Atkins and I are BFF's again after I doled out booku dollars at Sam's Club for "friendship supplies". As of this a.m. I weigh about 2lbs less than I did yesterday. I was feeling so psyched about it I did some yoga this morning to get the day started. I'm loving the 10minute series for beginners. I usually just do two of the sets but on days I'm feeling extra amazing I do all 5 of them. Yay me.

Only one month out until I haul my crap across the bridge to invade the Land o' Stephen. While I'm not worried anymore about getting my house ready to rent, now we've got to figure out bedroom / furniture situations for the boys and (fingers crossies) the dining room and living room; the last two being of the least importance but I am NOT in love with his dining room table and chairs (glass top, iron base, and some modern patterned parsons chairs). First world problems.

Annd a few (ok, a lot) more pics from our weekend on da beeeeach:

Jack (7) Josh (8) Russ (so-close-to 4)