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Saturday, August 30, 2014

My end table went to prison

I'm sure this is about the strangest post title you have ever seen but yes, it is completely true. My mom was given this very interesting end table/jewelry storage furniture piece by a friend of hers who didn't have a place for it (it previously belonged to her mother) and so my mom asked if I wanted it because she didn't have a place for it either. It was such a unique piece that I immediately said yes even though it was in need of some work. Plus who says no to free antique furniture!

At her suggestion, I had my mom take to the prison nearby Lakeland that has a work program where they refinish, reupholster and even build furniture. My mom had taken many pieces there in the past like her couch, end tables, and a chair from this post and their rates are extremely affordable. Not many people even know about the program since it's not widely advertised. I picked out the stain color from about 6 choices.

A few weeks and $80 later, and I had this gorgeous end table. Well it actually was longer than that until I received it since it had to travel up to Charlotte with my parents during one of their visits. They did such a great job! A better job than I could have done myself and I would have taken much longer to redo it. And such a deal!

You can see the neat storage when you open up the top. That part needed refinishing too but you can kind of see the stain color that it used to be. I think the stain color I picked out is very close to that.

I've actually had the end table now for over 6 months. At first it just sort of hung out in different rooms but not in any permanent place and at Christmastime it was in our kitchen and held my Clemson tree. It has now made a permanent home in between my two teal chairs in the family room. That wall isn't a big wall so I needed a small end table between the chairs and this was perfect.

It took 3 different tries at the right sized lamp since the end table is taller but still small so I finally found a winner in this short chunky white lamp from non-other than HomeGoods!

Anyone else have a prison work program that refinishes furniture and such near them? I haven't looked to see if there is something like that near Charlotte but with this area being such a big furniture market I kinda doubt it since that would compete with many businesses.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What I Wore: Leopard in the Summer

When I first started adding leopard pieces to my wardrobe I naturally wore them in the fall and winter because leopard just seems to fit in those seasons. I wanted to be able to wear some leopard pieces in the summer and figured out that that best way to do so and still look summery is in moderation and paired with bright color. I just don't see anyone in a leopard print skirt or dress in the summer.... too much leopard for the summer. Below are some examples of how to insert small amounts of leopard into your summer outfits with two being business casual outfits and one a casual outfit. Another great leopard accessory is a leopard scarf as long as it isn't too hot for this. Just pair it with a bright top or bright bottom to keep the summery look.

I finally found a pair of leopard flats I liked and that fit at the beginning of the summer. There are a lot of great options I found in the links below for cute affordable leopard flats. As you can see in the 2nd and 3rd outfits and imagine they will be a nice addition to many outfits and can be worn like a neutral but are a more fun neutral :)  Since I was already wearing a leopard top in the 1st outfit, I didn't overdo it by also wearing the leopard flats and opted instead for black.

Blue/purple blazer: Loft Outlet, very similarsimilar
Leopard top: Target, similar, similar, similar
Khaki skirt: Old Navy, similar, pencil skirt
Black flats: Aerosoles, similar, similar
Black pendant necklace: Towne & Reese, similarsimilar
Black earrings: Towne & Reese, similarsimilarsimilar

White sleeveless top: Loft Outlet, similar, similar, similar
Coral shorts: J.Crew (brilliant coral 3" chino shorts) - these often go on sale and you can get them for around $30
Leopard belt: Targetsimilar
Leopard flats: Sam Edelman, similar, similar, similar, similar
Teal earrings: Francesca's, similarsimilar
Teal necklace: Towne & Reese, similarsimilar
Gold ball bracelet: Towne & Reese, very similar
Aviator sunglasses: Loft Outlet, very similarsimilar

Light tan cropped jacket: Loft Outlet, similar
Coral red top: Loft Outlet, similar, similar
Black straight dress pants: Loft, similarsimilarsimilar
Leopard flats: Sam Edelmansimilarsimilarsimilarsimilar
Yellow bubble necklace: Amazon - $12 and free prime shipping
Yellow stud earrings: Amazon, similar

Linking up to: What I Wore WednesdayWhat I Wore to WorkBecause Shanna Said SoTucker UpPTMT Get Pin-spiredTip Junkie

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Eggplant "Meatballs"

We are not vegan or vegetarian although we sometimes make meatless meals. But we really liked this vegan dish. We both really like eggplant so when I saw this on Skinnytaste, I was intrigued and decided to give it a go once Eric gave me the nod that he would try it (or just eat cereal for dinner if he didn't like it... spoiler... no cereal was had).

Vegan Eggplant Meatballs
from: Skinnytaste, serves 4 (3 meatballs per serving - the meatballs are larger than normal), 260 calories


- cooking spray
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb unpeeled eggplant cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1/4 cup water
- salt and pepper
- 1 medium onion
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic
- 1 cup canned white beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs (or regular if you don't have whole wheat)
- pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
- approx 2 cups of marinara sauce (Trader Joes for the win!)

Heat oven to 375 degrees and spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Put 1/2 Tbsp of the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium high heat. Add eggplant, water, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir occasionally for 10-15 minutes. Transfer to food processor bowl.

Add remaining 1/2 Tbsp of olive oil to skillet and add onion and garlic. Cook for 3-5 minutes. Transfer to food processor bowl. Add beans and parsley to the food processor bowl. Pulse until well combined and chopped but not pureed. Combine food processor mixture with breadcrumbs and red pepper (if using) into a large bowl. Form 12 meatballs and place on baking sheet.

Cook for 25 to 30 minutes until browned. Warm the marinara sauce and serve meatballs over some pasta (or on a roll or whatever you prefer). Pretty sure I used wheat linguine noodles because that was what was in the pantry. Throw some parmesan on top if you want (or course this does make it no longer vegan) because who doesn't love cheese... can you tell I'd have a hard time being vegan?

The meatballs were really flavorful and not dry at all! Nobody wants a dry meatball (or non-meat ball in this case). They were great as leftovers too. I haven't tried to make them and freeze them but if anyone does that let me know. Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What I Wore: Woven Fedora

I wanted an every day type of summer hat to wear outside but that wasn't as wide brimmed as my amazing beach hat. I saw a few bloggers with this fedora from Target and decided to get it. I really like it and have worn it a couple of times already. Looks like they are sold out online of the exact one but there are a couple of similar ones I linked to below. I wore this outfit to go to a vintage/antique/collectible show at The Metrolina Tradeshow with my friend Ashley. We had a great time browsing and chatting. They do these once a month so if you're local you should check one out.

Woven fedora hat: Target, similar, similar
Blue striped top: Target, similar
Denim capris: Loft Outlet, similar, similar, similar - only $12
Sandals: rainbows
Pink earrings: Towne & Reese, similar
Pink pendant necklace: Towne & Reese, similarsimilar
Coral toe nail polish: Essie Sunday Funday - only $6 and free shipping

Here's the hat again at a baseball game with the 'rents. You can see it a lot better in this photo.

Linking up to: What I Wore WednesdayWhat I Wore to WorkBecause Shanna Said SoTucker UpPTMT Get Pin-spiredTip Junkie

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Recent Reads

Here are a few books I've read lately and some brief thoughts on them. No spoilers!

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

You have probably at least heard about this book by now since they are making a movie. It is about a young couple in a bit of an odd relationship where the clever wife disappears on their 5th wedding anniversary. Police and media surround the investigation and blood scene in their home in a small Missouri town and the husband is pretty quickly the main suspect. He definitely isn't a star husband and isn't doing anything to help his situation but could he have killed his wife?

Uncharted by Tracey Garvis Graves

I've talked about On The Island before so when a novella came out that crosses that story, I couldn't wait to read it. And it didn't disappoint! I read it all in one sitting. It's only $2.99 and only comes in Kindle version but you can get Kindle for PC and read it on your laptop if you don't have a Kindle. Of course, if you haven't read On The Island yet, read that first.

Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella

I've liked all the Sophie Kinsella books I've read because they are light and funny read. This one was good but not as good as I've Got Your Number... still worth reading if you like her novels. A woman wakes up in a hospital after an accident and has the perfect life but she remembers nothing from the past 3 years. She is not sure she likes the person she has become and has to try to piece things back together to try to remember anything she can.

Barefoot by Ellen Hilderbrand

This book had a decent number of reviews but it was just okay IMO. It is about three women who go on a summer vacation together (along with 2 kids) to Nantucket all escaping different issues from failed marriage to being fired from a job due to a scandal to needing cancer treatment and trying to still care for her two kids. The bright part of the novel was the college student who they hire to babysit who is intrigued by their stories, etc. Of course there were nice parts of them supporting each other and such but it was just a bit of a downer of a read for a summer read. It has 4 stars so there are definitely people that liked this one, it just wasn't a favorite of mine.

Read anything worth recommending lately? I'm currently reading Maze Runner and liking it a lot so far. Here are some other recent reads and the funniest book I've ever read.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Cilantro Lime Shrimp

Shrimp is always a great meal for dinner since it cooks in a few minutes. Of course it does take a little prep in peeling and such but you can always do this ahead of time. This dish was simple and refreshing and was great with a big salad and brown rice as sides. I keep it easy by using the Uncle Ben's brown rice in the pouch you can microwave. If you aren't going to have both of those as sides (or two equivalent sides), it probably won't be enough for 6 servings.

Cilantro Lime Shrimp
from Skinnytaste, serves 6, 119 calories per serving


- 1 1/2 lbs raw peeled and deveined large or jumbo shrimp
- cumin
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 teaspoons of olive oil
- 5 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice
- 3-4 tablespoons of chopped cilantro

Season shrimp with cumin, salt and pepper to taste.  Heat large skillet to medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon of the oil then add half of the shrimp. Cook for 2 minutes and then turn and cook through about another minute. Transfer to a plate.

Add remaining teaspoon of oil and repeat above process with remaining shrimp but when you turn this batch over add the garlic cloves. Return first batch to the skillet and mix well with the garlic cloves. Remove pan from heat. Squeeze lime juice into skillet and add cilantro. Mix well and serve.

Once the prep is done, the process is quick and easy! Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What I Wore: Coral Shorts and Riverjam

A few weeks ago we met up with friends at the USNWC (US National Whitewater Center) on a Saturday evening. During warm weather season, they do free concerts on Thursday and Saturday nights called Riverjam. They have food and drinks for purchase and it's a fun place to hang out. 

I've talked before about how much I like coral, cobalt and teal together and here I put two of those colors together (coral and cobalt). I just bought these short this summer and they are really comfortable and short enough (they also have 4 inch and 5 inch versions if you don't like short shorts). It was definitely warm out hence the shorts and tank (scored the tank for less than $5 on sale at the end of last summer!) but once the sun went down, the lightweight cardigan was really nice to have on hand. 

Coral shorts: J.Crew (brilliant coral 3" chino shorts) - these often go on sale and you can get them for around $30
Blue striped tank: Loft Outlet, similar - less than $4!, similar, similar
Cobalt cardigan: Gap Outlet, similar, similar
Sandals: rainbows
Tan pebble bead strand necklace: bought from a friend several years ago, similar
Big shell earrings: gift from like 10 years ago, similar, in pink, similar
Coral toe nail polish: Essie Sunday Funday - only $6 and free shipping

And a few shots from Riverjam. Looks pretty awesome doesn't it! Love having the USNWC here in Charlotte!

Linking up to: What I Wore Wednesday, What I Wore to Work, Because Shanna Said So, Tucker Up, PTMT Get Pin-spired, Tip Junkie

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Another HomeGoods Rug Purchase

Surprise surprise, I've been shopping at HomeGoods/Marshalls/TJMaxx again and I found another awesome rug! I've kept an eye out for a rug for our foyer area near the dining room. I thought I'd go with something neutral like a gray color but when I saw this rug I KNEW it would match the teal chairs we have in our family room and tie everything nicely together.

They had multiple size in this color and pattern. I couldn't decide on size so I brought home this 4x6 foot rug and also a 2.5x4 foot rug. Yes, I'm incredibly indecisive even after texting a photo to Eric to which he replied "Go big" but after further indecisiveness from me he said get both and take one back (which is also what my mom suggested). I'm no stranger to buying/ordering multiple things knowing I will be returning something or even most of it. Everyone does that right??

Of course after seeing it in the space, the larger 4x6 foot rug for $80 was the clear winner. Who knows how the color looks on your computer screen but I assure you it is a deep teal just like our chairs. It just brightens up the space so nicely!

So obviously we've been really happy with our first rug purchase for the family room and after about the first month of vacuuming it 1-2 times per week due to all the shedding, it is hardly shedding much at all now and we are just vacuuming it once ever 2 weeks or so. This new rug isn't wool so it won't be doing that. Since it is not wool, it's not as soft and cushy as the other rug but for using in a foyer and for a cheaper price (a 4x6 wool rug would be pricier and who wants to spend a lot of money on a rug that's not in an area they are hanging out in) that is just fine with me.

So after two great rug experiences, I'm all about HomeGoods rugs! Our small kitchen rug in front of the sink is also doing great in case you were curious. It vacuums up really nicely with our small vacuum or the attachment arm from our big vacuum..

Any other places you love to buy rugs?

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Charlotte Outdoor Vintage and Hand-Made Market

This Saturday August 9th, Reinvented Charlotte is hosting an Outdoor Vintage & Hand-Made Market. The event runs from 10am to 6pm and they are located in NoDa at 3224 Benard Ave Charlotte NC 28206

Since being a vendor is free (woohoo!) my mom and I are going to be a vendor at this awesome event! Very excited! It is also free to shop! Reinvented Charlotte is a furniture store with antiques and vintage and home decor. They reinvent (hence the name) quality timeless vintage furniture. They are always updating their facebook page with new items (a lot of time furniture) that arrives and that they are redoing.

Mom and I are going to be selling handmade...


Monster/Robot Pencil bags



Painted glassware (dusty candles not included)

And a few other items. Of course there are more choices of the above than I have in the photos.

Come on out Saturday and join in the fun! Remember there is no charge to come to shop at the event. I am really excited about checking out all the vendors and doing some browsing in the Reinvented shop.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

What I Wore: Shorts and Wedges

I wore this out to dinner in June when we took my parents out for a belated Father's Day. We were in Kiawah over Father's Day. We went to Chillfire in Denver, NC which has been there no more than 2 years. The place is spacious, menu and portions are large and everything we've had has been delicious. They also take reservations which is a plus!

Wearing wedges with shorts is a great way for those of us that are vertically challenged to look taller and our legs to look longer (or for anyone trying to achieve that).

Teal 3/4 sleeve top: Loft, similar, similar, similar
Tan striped shorts: Loft Outlet, similarsimilarsimilar
Brown wedges: Bandolino from Marshalls, similar, similar
Yellow and gray necklace: Towne & Reese, similar with different colors
Teal stud earrings: Towne & Reese, similar, similar
Bun tool: Amazon

Linking up to: What I Wore WednesdayWhat I Wore to WorkBecause Shanna Said SoTucker UpPTMT Get Pin-spiredTip Junkie

Friday, August 1, 2014

Our current master bedroom

I'm planning to do a complete redo of our master bedroom (or at least the major items in it) so I wanted to capture how it looks currently so there will be a great before and after. There is nothing really wrong with how it is now or the current pieces other than the builder beige really needing to go.  But after 5 years with this furniture, I've decided to go with a more mixed look and want some different sizes from what I picked out for our bedroom from our first home. I'm also ready for a new bedding look using a lot more white. I plan to sell the duvet cover and sham (they are organic pottery barn and in excellent condition).

Try to ignore that white spot of primer on the wall. We had a small crack fixed (normal part of the warranty period) and told them not to bother to put paint over the primer since we plan to change paint colors. Also try to ignore the wrinkles on the duvet.... I got lazy and didn't finish ironing it after I washed it. I lack the ironing patience my mom has.

These hydrangeas are one of my favorite parts of the room. I love love hydrangeas and we had blue ones just like this (only real) hanging on the pews for our wedding.

This full length lovely mirror is one of my most recent HomeGoods purchases (sure you can tell that by the stickers and cardboard still attached). I've been looking for one for awhile and the last one we got ended up having imperfections on it and had to be returned. I scoured this one just to be sure and it looked great and for only $100, it's a great addition.

You may also be wondering about all those paint swatches on the wall. Well we have finally picked a winner so I'll do a separate post on all the blues I sampled and what color the room will eventually be painted. I can't wait for it to be painted so we can hang things on the wall.

This vanity used to be in the master bathroom in our old house in this nook area where we opted not to have a garden tub. Since this house's master bath has a garden tub there wasn't a good spot for the vanity so this is a temporary place for it. It's not really the look I'm going for in any of our rooms but since it was my granny's I don't want to get rid of (not yet anyway). It will probably end up in one of the guest rooms when we redo this room.

Source List:

Duvet cover and shams: Pottery Barn Sausalito Stripe, similar
Other bed pillows: made by my mom and I
Bed skirt: Bed Bath and Beyond (I think), similar - only $14 from Amazon
Headboard: Furnitureland South
Leather storage bench: HomeGoods
Nightstands: Magnussen furniture from Furnitureland South
Nightstand lamps: HomeGoods
Frames: Marshalls/HomeGoods
Candle and glass candle holder: Homegoods
Rock mixture in candle holder (hard to see): Michael's
3 candles on bench tied with jute: Walmart
Woven tray: gift from Williams Sonoma, similar
Light fixture: Progressive lighting
Tall dresser: Magnussen furniture from Furnitureland South
Big white vase: Goodwill and spray painted antique white
Hydrangeas: Michael's
Blue/Brown candle holder: gift
Wall mirror: HomeGoods very recently
Media chest/dresser: Magnussen furniture by Furnitureland South
Bronze lantern thing:
Books: Habitat ReStore
Vintage mason jar: The Depot at Gibson Mill, similar
LAUGH glasses with small candles: dollar store and HomeGoods, easy tutorial for using paint pen on the glasses
Large glass vase with sticks: HomeGoods
Recliner: HomeGoods
Dream pillow: dollar store canvas bag turned into pillow
Vanity: from my granny

As you can see from this list, HomeGoods has been a wonderful source for furniture and decor!
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