Sunday, August 29, 2010

Who Doesn't Love a Room Filled with Natural Light?

I can't believe that I haven't already shown a picture of the completed house, but here it is.

When I went to take this picture, I didn't realize how difficult it would be to shoot a house that's way up on a hill like that! This was the best I could do. I just love my place and I've been enjoying living here so much.

Now, my favorite spot in the house is unfinished at the moment. Actually, I don't even know what to call it.

I've been calling it the 'loft' because it's at the top of the stairs and is a bright, open and airy space. It gets so much natural light, but I don't know what I'm going to turn the room into yet. There are so many options! I could make it into an office, turn it into another living area, make it into a game room. I just don't know!

There are so many options, but what I do know is that this room is pretty low on my priority list right now, so maybe I'll have made up my mind by the time I get to it. =]

Love love love having these 4 windows pouring light into the room! Do you have a favorite spot in your house? Why is it your favorite? Do you have a room that's empty waiting to be turned into a masterpiece?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I Knew These Would Come in Handy!

If you have a memory like a steel trap, this post is not for you. However, for the people like me that can't remember everything, I give you this:

Don't understand? Well, it's simple. When I lived at my mom's house, I was always forgetting one thing or another on the way to work/school. The solution I came up with was, admittedly, rather silly. I had made these magnets with my best friend Kelly and I'm sure you've seen these all over the blog world and probably made some yourself.

We gave them as gifts to our friends and kept some for ourselves. For a while I didn't do anything with mine, but then one fateful evening I was thinking about some things I needed to take to work the next day and absolutely could not forget. I decided that if I was going to remember this I would just have to put it where I couldn't overlook it in my rush to leave in the morning. This led me to grab one of my cute little magnets and attach my documents to the door. Even in my frantic state, I saw the papers on the door and grabbed them as I fled for work. After that, I always would put my to-do lists and other important reminders on the door with a magnet or multiple magnets.

I had forgotten all about doing that at mom's, but recently I've been forgetting things on the way out in the morning again so I'm going back to my old habit of just sticking stuff on the door (things and stuff.... real technical terms here cause I do have a computer science degree and all). I found this to be a great system to remind me to bring coupons to the store, about an appointment the next day, to call someone, etc.

Now I know you're thinking, "Um, I don't want people coming over and seeing all that crap on my door..." Well, people don't see it on mine (except for you now). I put my papers on there at night and grab them in the morning on my way out. But what about the magnets? Well, remember these?

I stole one and stuck it in the tray on top of our shoe organizer.

That way I can pull off the magnet in the morning and toss it in there if I don't want to leave it on the door all the time.

It's not a cute bulletin board or amazing calendar system, but it gets the job done for me. =]

Do any of you guys do something out of the norm in order to remember things?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pottery Barn -- So Much Beauty, So Little Time...

Fortunately for me, I have a Pottery Barn store about 25-30 minutes from my house and tonight I decided to visit. I hadn't been there in quite a long time and was excited to go back and catch up on what I had missed.

Lamps galore!

The base of that table lamp is almost identical to the two table lamps I have in the living room. I love the modern look of the glass spheres.

I remember seeing that pretty outdoor sectional in the catalog. Even though it wasn't overlooking a beautiful wooded valley, I still thought it looked pretty. =] It was even on sale because obviously since it's August now, no one is going to need outdoor furniture anymore...

I love <3 love white couches and here is just one of the many that I got to swoon over. I also love that chocolate brown coffee table. Gorgeous.

I would like to have every basket on those shelves back there, but I actually made it out of the store with 0 baskets. I'm so proud of myself. I also would like to have 12 of those blue pillows. No, I don't have any idea where I would put 12 of them, but that is a beautiful color and they are cute.

More baskets that I didn't buy! I really do need some of those darker ones in my life though. I think that pretty much anytime I walk into a store like this, I want all of their baskets. Am I the only one that does that?

I wanted to take home two of these end tables. My love. But unfortunately, I am not made of money.

I love pillows and I love blue and green so this section made me pretty happy to look at.

Especially this shelf.

And most importantly, my dream desk. I don't want that hutch on top there, but other than that, I am in love. The crisp white color, the plethora of storage, the convenient shape. Ahhh..... But again, I'm not made of money. It's fun to visit though and look at all the beautiful things! I can dream, right?

Anyone have a Pottery Barn near them they love to visit occasionally? =]

Monday, August 16, 2010

This Might Seem Strange

*Note* I think I turned what was supposed to be a few sentences into several paragraphs, so if you want to skip right to the point, go down to the 5th paragraph. =]

In case I haven't already mentioned this a billion times, I'm vegetarian. Oh and I live in the south. You may ask how I get by each day with out being asked how I can live without bacon. Well, the answer is that I don't.

Ok, it's not that bad, but I do get many astonished looks down here. But, I digress. The reason for my none meat-eatingness is not about animals at all actually. I'm not in PETA. I'm not vegan. The fact is, I never liked meat that much in the first place.

One fateful day my junior year of high school, I just up and decided I wasn't going to eat meat anymore. I'd been wanting to try it for a long time so I finally took the chance. I never intended to keep it up, it was just supposed to be a 3 or 4 week deal. However, once I started I couldn't stop. You see, I'd been suffering several years with stomach pains and I had no idea what was causing them. I went to many doctors and none could figure out what the problem was. I had blood work done and several tests, but to no avail. I kept food journals and discovered it was not lactose-intolerance.

Well, after becoming vegetarian, those mysterious stomach pains completely vanished! Poof! Gone! I know that it seems odd, but that's the way it went down. So, I never ate meat again and I've been a pretty happy person. I know that it doesn't work for everyone and I actually don't usually recommend it to people because it's pretty hard to pick up at first. As in, I don't eat doritos all day and call myself vegetarian. I have to think about what I'm going to eat each day and make choices so that I can get all my vitamins in and get enough protein. But I do all that and it makes me happy.

I don't know why I felt compelled to give that whole backstory there, but I did... The real reason for this entry is to talk about a new cleaning method that I discovered and am amazed by. When people find out I'm vegetarian, they usually ask if I'm a hippie (or some question similar to that and yes, they are joking). No, I'm not a hippie, but in addition to my veggieness, I also recycle and I'm pretty into green cleaning products. Again, it works for me and it makes me happy. So for anyone up for a green cleaning tip, read on:

Ever since I got the house and therefore have been doing my own laundry, I have been using Seventh Generation laundry soap/detergent/whatever you want to call it. I absolutely love it and think it makes my clothes smell wonderful. I also use Seventh Generation products for cleaning my counters and Mrs. Meyers toilet cleaner for well, toilets. These products have served me very well, however, I hadn't found anything good for cleaning the tubs in the house. I'd tried one product and it worked ok. Actually it worked less than ok...

So today, I was fed up and just had to do something so I googled 'eco friendly tub cleaner' or something to that effect and I went to the first site that came up. The site told me that I could halve a lemon, put salt on it and rub it on the tub. I was kind of skeptical, but I always have lemons here and who doesn't have salt at their place? Soooo I gave it a go. And guess what guys.... It worked!!!

I rubbed the lemon around and everything came right off and then I just wiped it up afterward. I was pretty impressed by this revelation in cleaning and thought I would pass it on to you fine folks. If you already knew about this, then you should have already told me!

And I'm really not a hippie.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Quick Meal Idea

I wanted to share one of my favorite meals with you all.

It was so easy and pretty quick (less than 40 minutes).

First things first, the pasta is none other than Pioneer Woman's Baked Lemon Pasta, the green beans are a Sandra Lee recipe and the bread is just parmesan Texas Toast.

Pioneer Woman gives a really easy to follow tutorial on her site for the lemon pasta and it is so fun to make. For the green beans, I don't have a link for you. However, it's so easy a kindergartner could do it (but I don't recommend that). You need:

* a large can - 28 oz - of french-style green beans
* 1 tablespoon of butter
* 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese
* 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Put the butter in a saucepan and melt over medium heat. Toss in the green beans and heat about 5 minutes. Turn off heat and add in the parmesan cheese and pepper. Stir together and serve.

I told you it was simple! And seriously, the guys ate all of those green beans... I was impressed. Thanks Sandra!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Ikea Trip

After driving 4 and a half hours to Hotlanta, I was super stoked to see the giant yellow and blue building standing before me.

I honestly had no idea what to expect as this was my first trip to the big Swedish home store, but I felt so excited it was hard not to run all the way to the front door (although the sweltering heat did help me to slow down a bit).

One thing I certainly didn't know, was how HUGE this store is. I should have realized by the extensive website and catalog, but I was in the dark on that one. I walked in and I was confused and astounded.

After getting a snack, I managed to find the shopping carts and headed through the marketplace.

This handy map was my travel guide through aisle after aisle of low-priced goods and hordes of people. I had been viewing the website for quite a while before we made the trip and I knew mostly what I was looking for so thanks to the map I was able to find exactly what I wanted pretty quickly and also see similar items while I was in the section.

Next on to the showroom and boy oh boy oh boy was it pretty and boy oh boy was it crowded. I loved the showroom because:

 1) It gave me a lot of inspiration for the house. Each small "room" that I passed was fully decorated and there were many things I saw that planted ideas in my head for things I could do to decorate my own home that would be pretty easy. That was the most fun part to me.

2) Thinking about my home's layout, I could look at each mini room and see ways that our furniture could work and which ways definitely would not work. For a few weeks now I've been attempting to figure out how I would like certain rooms arranged and getting to see so many ideas in the showroom really helped out.

3) It was extremely well organized for walking through. Everything made sense and was well put together. I could see how the things I wanted would look and then after I picked out everything, I coasted on over to the self-serve area.

This part was the hardest. I had thought that I was going to leave with more than I did, but the truth is the car just wasn't big enough. Also, one of the items we wanted was unavailable! My heart was broken over that one, but I survived.

I loaded my purchases onto a flat cart and made my way to check out and that was the end of it. It was a positive experience and if there was one closer I would definitely go back more often, but alas a 4 and half hour trip cannot be made all the time...

So what did I get?

About a billion white Kassett boxes.

That awesome metal Emu box (with another box inside it).

These cute containers that I love.

This super cute and comfy green blanket that I've been cuddling up with every day since I got home.

And last but not least, several curtain rods also pictured with the box holding my new Expedit bookcase!

I can't wait to put that together, but for now I have some tips to hopefully make your Ikea shopping experience more pleasant.

The Ultimate's Ikea Tips:

1) Don't go on a Sunday like I did. I fortunately had plenty of time to cruise around and take things slow, but the experience would have been a lot more pleasant if I had gone on a weekday where there had been less people. Seriously, there were tons and tons of people everywhere and it was so difficult weaving through the crowds with the shopping cart and having to wait for people to move constantly. If I had been in a hurry, I know I would have been so stressed out by the trip. I still had a lot of fun and enjoyed the trip, but that's due to having an exorbitant amount of time to navigate the huge building and deal with the people.

2) Go with a teammate. It's so much easier and faster to have someone leading the way and picking up items while the other person pushes the shopping cart. Plus, when you get to the really heavy items you don't have to wait for an employee to come help you because you two can just do it yourselves. It's also just nice to have company while shopping, at least to me.

3) If there's a section you don't need to go through, look on the map and use the shortcut. Trust me, I ended up just walking through several areas "for fun" and it took forever because of all the people. After that I took a shortcut whenever I could and it was so worth it.

So now I have an awesome Expedit bookcase and I can check 'going to Ikea' off my life's to-do list.