January 18, 2013

A glance at 2012

It's January 18th. It seems like now is an appropriate time to review some posts from 2012. Shall we?

+ In 2012, I posted 83 times. Not as much as 2011, but that's okay. I accomplished almost all of my goals for 2012, which I am pretty proud of.

+ I experimented a bit in the kitchen, when I made chicken with leeks, homemade bread, and peanut butter chocolate cheesecake. There were also some classics like apple crisp pie, strawberry bread, crescent roll breakfast casserole, grasshopper pie, and turkey meatloaf.

+ I shared some ways to save money at some of my favorite places, like Starbucks and Target.

+ DIY ventures were not really on high priority this year. But I did do some little projects, like a hidden cabinet cork board, handmade valentines, our annual photo album, and laundry detergent. (Technically the bathroom wallpaper project was a 2012 endeavor, but I didn't blog it until 2013 so she gets the point. Sorry, 2012.)

+ I posted some things about life, like learning to serve my husband, some random facts about me, and being intentional.

+ We moved across town (still renting), and I've shown you a few rooms in our new place: kitchen, living room, & bedroom. I probably should show you more in 2013!

+ We traveled a lot in 2012. Our cruise was the big one! We also went to the beach in Carolina and Florida, Blacksburg, Beaufort, SC, and apple picking in Charlottesville.

I think I sort of took on a different blogging style this past year. I definitely shared more life stuff & day-to-day activities than I did in my first year of blogging. Less homey things, more me. I'm curious to see if this blog will grow in the next year and how it will change. I don't really have a set plan in my mind, so we'll see what happens.

And of course, thank you for following along with me, readers! I have loved getting to know you all in this little world of blogging. It truly has been so fun and I don't think I would still be blogging if it weren't for you! I love following along with your blogs, the comments you leave me, and the friendships we've started.

Here's to another year in the blogosphere!

January 15, 2013

The bathroom update that I forgot to show you

Back in the fall (I know! so long ago!), I took on a bit of an adventure in our guest bathroom. It had some dated wallpaper that was already peeling up a bit, so I decided to dabble in wallpaper removal. It can't be that hard, right? Here's what we started with:

Yeah, so do you get why I wanted to get rid of it? I started by simply peeling up the wallpaper all over the entire room. The paper itself was pretty thick, so it came up pretty well for the most part. This part probably took me half an hour.

In pulling it up, I found out that the room had never been painted! The wallpaper was placed directly onto the drywall, which I don't know if it was a good or bad thing. I had to use a putty knife and a spray bottle full of water to get the bottom layer of paper and adhesive off. It worked great in most areas, but some took some extra tedious work and it only came off in tiny pieces. This was the most time-consuming part, but I just did a few hours at a time on random week nights and some on a weekend. I was amazed at how much paper came off those walls in that small room!

Once I got that done, I gave it an overall sand and also filled in some uneven spots with putty, and then sanded those parts down. After that it was time to go buy myself some paint! The bare drywall made me feel like I needed to prime it first, just to seal out moisture (since it does have a shower in it) and help the paint to stick well and look polished. I know it's not my house, but I wanted to do it right. I was glad that I did this step!

Doesn't the paint make the white tile look so much "whiter" than before? I chose Behr's Mineral for the color, which is sort of a greige (gray + beige). I saw it on Michelle's blog in her kitchen makeover, and I knew it was the color I wanted. I'm so happy with it!

And here is the finished result...

It's not a huge difference color wise, but it getting rid of those... stripes? woven spirals? bamboo? whatever you call them... made such a difference to me. I think it was worth it! If it were my own place I would probably do some more things, but for now I am happy with these results that only cost me the price of the paint.

Both of our other two bathrooms have wallpaper, so we'll see if I get around to doing those too! I'll keep you posted :)

January 11, 2013

Georgetown + Jefferson

After the wedding weekend, Michael and I got the chance to explore Georgetown a bit. We had a day date of sorts, and it was wonderful! We brunched at a cute little place called Le Pain Quotidien, which was so authentically French. I loved it. They served us coffee in little pots, and it was easily the best coffee I've ever had in my life, not exaggerating. My spinach and goat cheese frittata was equally tasty. After walking around the neighborhoods a bit & picking up two Georgetown cupcakes to go, we hopped in the car and headed over to a monument that we haven't explored yet together: the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. It's on the other side of the tidal basin from the main stretch of monuments and the Smithsonian, so it's easily missed when you're doing a walking tour (you can see it from the highway though!). It was beautiful! We walked around taking pictures with the new SLR and enjoyed our cupcakes on the steps. Things like this make me miss living near DC. Although it's so nice to come home to Raleigh where everything is much less crowded and the drivers are nicer!

Until we meet again, DC. You'll always have a special place in my heart.

Note: Some of these photos look majorly edited, but I didn't really do much editing at all. The lighting was just really weird that day! Bright blue skies and gray clouds. Such a strange & unique contrast.

January 8, 2013

Wedding weekend!

I have known Blythe since we were 10. We met on the summer swim team and our friendship took off from there. We used to go play at each other's house all the time, but probably most of my younger memories are with her at the pool. Blythe's dad was in the military, so she moved away to Pennsylvania for our middle school years, but then she thankfully moved back for our junior year of high school! We picked right back up where we left off. From there we had homecoming dances, high school football games, weekend hang outs, prom, birthday celebrations, weekend visits to each other's colleges, and of course many, many sleepovers! We even worked at a driving range together during our summer and winter breaks (which conveniently was where she met her now husband!).

Blythe was in my wedding two and a half years ago, and this past weekend I had the honor to be in hers. Their fairy tale wedding was at a gorgeous church in Georgetown and the reception was at the Omni Shoreham (where Frank Sinatra has sang and where they host the inaugural balls, NO BIG DEAL). The whole weekend was fantastic and I'm so happy for her and Joe! Sadly she is now halfway across the country with her husband in their new home, but I know there will be visits soon, I just know it! Congrats Blythe & Joe! I love you, friend!

Photos by Katelyn James Photography

January 2, 2013


Twenty-thirteen, I'm not so sure what to make of you yet. I don't really know what my goals for you are, but I'm taking the month of January to figure them out (although we all know I'll still be doing that come December). I guess that's mainly because things are good. I feel settled, I feel like I'm where I'm supposed to be, and I feel like my life is full. I don't know if I necessarily want to make any changes, but I believe there's always room for growth and new opportunity. New experiences. I'm really looking forward to this year. I think I sort of felt the same way at the close of last year, and it's great to see that I've accomplished my goal of staying in the same company for one whole year! It feels good to have some longevity and history somewhere. I will say that at the end of this year I feel more grown up. I'm not sure why, but I just feel more comfortable being an adult. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I'm almost 25? Yikes, that feels really weird.

I also did pretty well on my resolutions this year. Not perfect, but pretty good. And that just feels nice. We paid off all of my student loans - hooray! I would say roughly 50% of the year I tried two new recipes a week, although I didn't do so well experimenting with new veggies and ethnic foods as I had hoped. And I worked on having patience with my husband, which is still a work in progress (obvi).

Poll: have you ever successfully completed all of your New Year's resolutions? I don't think I have ever finished all of mine.

On New Year's Day we had friends over for a brunch to welcome 2013, and we all decided that it needs to become a New Year's tradition. That's one of my resolutions this year: make some intentional family traditions with Michael. I'm excited about this one. My one faux pas - I forgot to take pictures of the food or the people! Guess I was having too much fun!

I'm also excited to learn how to use this. I've sewed before, but not with my own machine and I don't really know how to set up all the thread, bobbins, etc. I'm ready for some new pillows and curtains to come!

This is random, but remember our living room? We took down our tree and started brainstorming different arrangements to make it feel more open. Here's our latest. We kind of love it! Although it does kind of make me crave a larger area rug to fill the space more. I'll chew on that one for a bit before making any decisions.

Happy New Year! May your 2013 days be bright.


P.S. The calendar above is a gift from my mother-in-law. She is an amazing artist and every year she puts together a calendar showcasing her paintings and gives it out to friends and family. I just love it!