Sitting Room Inspiration

A few months ago I realized that I had a desire to create a retreat within our home for me. Now that I work from home, I spend the majority of my time in our home’s office. I absolutely adore working from home, but sometimes I find myself craving a change of scenery. At first, I considered creating a backyard ‘she shed.’ But, then, that seemed overwhelming for a lot of reasons. First, I know I wouldn’t consistently use it if it wasn’t attached to the house. Secondly, a ‘she shed’ would be a tremendous expense and require more energy and time than I cared to give. Creating a backyard ‘she shed’ oasis simply wasn’t a good idea.

But then I realized that I have a perfectly suitable space already in my home: the back guest bedroom. The majority of our guests choose to sleep in the front guest bedroom because it has a larger bed, so it wasn’t being utilized very much at all. Plus, due its location, it feels pretty separate from the rest of the house. Which makes this room the perfect location for a quick escape.

blue-house_BackGuestBedrom at BetweenWeekdays.com

I spent a lot of time thinking about how I wanted my new sitting room to function, look, and feel. I knew it needed to work as a space where I could watch Netflix, read, and work on craft projects and gift wrapping on the floor. But the room also still needed to be able to function as a guest room when needed. I also needed to accomplish this on a small budget. In terms of the look and feel for this room, I knew I wanted it to not clash with the rest of our house but to still feel unique. Since this room’s purpose is to be an escape of sorts, I decided to decorate it with light pink accents throughout so it would stand out from the rest of our house. The first step in deciding how I wanted the room to look was creating a Pinterest board. From there I pulled the below images to create a mood board of sorts for my new sitting room. So, what are the plans?

1. Pink!

I plan to paint an accent wall Quartz Pink by Valspar. I’ve heard that designers are tired of the accent wall trend, but I still love an accent wall from time to time. The rest of the walls will stay Montpelier Madison White by Valspar keeping the walls all very soft in color. (Our front guest bedroom and the hallway connecting the two bedrooms is also painted Montpelier Madison White by Valspar, which helps the spaces feel cohesive.) I also plan to sprinkle pink accents throughout the room with decor.

2. Daybed

In order to keep the functionality of a guest bedroom while also providing a lounging space for me, a daybed is in order. I plan to keep the existing mattress and box springs and add them to a daybed frame. I really like the black metal frame on this particular daybed, because I think it will help the sitting room fit in with the rest of our house, which has a lot of black accents throughout.

3. Pillows

Daybed Pillows at BetweenWeekdays.com

In order for the daybed to feel like a couch, I plan to add a lot of pillows of various sizes. In the photo above, the first pillow is a euro sham, the second is a large decorative pillow, and the third is a smaller, faux fur accent pillow. I would also like to add in some purely decorative pillows like this or this.

4. New Lighting

I came thisclose to purchasing this light for my sitting room. It’s beautiful, but I’m on a budget with this room. I already own something that I think will look absolutely perfect in this room once it’s given a little makeover using the light above as inspiration.

Here’s hoping I can get this room pulled together before football season kicks off in earnest. I definitely need a retreat from my husband’s football viewing schedule.

Blue House Tour: Dining Room

Dining Room at BetweenWeekdays.com

When we bought our first house, a dining room was on the wish list, but it wasn’t meant to be. (I made the most of what we did have, though.) Before we even moved into our blue house, I was beyond excited to finally have a dining room and spent some time dreaming up a mood board. You can read about my intent with the mood board here. I actually did end up purchasing similar curtains and the buffet from the below mood board around the time we moved into our blue house, and I absolutely still adore both of them to this day.

Dining Mood Board at BetweenWeekdays.com

Our dining room has come a long way since we purchased our blue house back in December 2012. (Click here to see before photos of the entire house!)

Dining Room Before at BetweenWeekdays.com

One of the main reasons we fell in love with this house was the floor plan. The dining room is right off of the kitchen, but it still has easy access to the rest of the house. This has been a perfectly functional layout for us and all of the entertaining we do — especially around the holidays.

Dining Room at BetweenWeekdays.com

After we moved in, we made a few changes to the dining room. We moved the light fixture seen in the before photos above into the hallway leading to our master suite, added a new chandelier, painted, changed out the window treatments, added our furniture and called it done for a few years.

Dining Room Sneak Peek at BetweenWeekdays.com

We also replaced the large window within the first year of living here. The seal had broken, so it had begun collecting moisture between the panes of glass making it impossible to see outside. A family friend volunteered to replace it for free, so we only had to pay $150 for the new window itself. The new window lets in so much more light, plus it’s not a total eyesore anymore. I thanked our family friend with a tin of frozen cookie dough.

Window with Broken Seal at BetweenWeekdays.com

New Dining Light at BetweenWeekdays.com

Earlier this year, we made a big change to our dining room: we ordered a completely custom dining table and chairs! This has long been a dream of mine. When we were first married, we borrowed a table and six chairs from Travis’ parents. It was beautiful, and we were so fortunate to not have to make a major purchase early in our marriage. We used the borrowed table and chairs for about eight years. As seen in the above photo, the borrowed table and chairs were beautiful. However, they were not fitting in with the new style of our blue house.

Dining Room at BetweenWeekdays.com

We custom designed our new table and chairs at Braden’s Lifestyles to our exact preferences. Our dining set (excluding the two head chairs) was designed by us and built by Palettes by Winesburg. We love that this furniture is 100% American made and is solid wood. It should last a lifetime… at least. We have three, 12″ leaves we can add to the table, which means 12 people can sit comfortably in our dining room for holiday meals. For everyday use, we leave one leaf in the table and store four of the dining chairs, which were also custom made by the same company.

Braden’s Lifestyles made it so easy to design our table to exactly what we wanted and needed. We designed the furniture on Black Friday of last year, and it was delivered to us about four months later since each piece had to be built to our specifications. Since the table and chairs are natural products that are still living and breathing we had to let it acclimate to the conditions in our home for about a month before we could find places to store the extra chairs and leaves. We keep two of the extra chairs in the dining room corners most of the time for extra seating, the other two extra chairs in a closet, and the leaves are stored under our bed.

Dining Room at BetweenWeekdays.com

Decorating our dining room has been a lot of fun. I added a plate rail from a local store to one wall, and I enjoy changing out the decorative plates for different seasons. Currently, I have plates from The Pioneer Woman collection at Walmart. Pretty soon, I’ll change the plates out for a fall look.

Dining Room at BetweenWeekdays.com

Next to the plate rack, I have two black and white prints from one of our favorite cities: St. Augustine, Florida. We spent part of our honeymoon in St. Augustine. My grandparents also honeymooned there and brought back our entire family year after year. We purchased the prints during one of our many trips from a street artist. I added the prints to some simple black frames, and they’ve lived in our dining room for several years now.

In the above photo, you can also see the metallic sheen of the walls. We used Valspar’s Brilliant Metals product in a color the seems to no longer be available. This was a finicky product to use, and I’m not sure I would recommend it or ever use it again. However, we receive so many compliments on the wall in this room that the difficulty of using this product may have been worth it. After having this color on the walls for nearly four years, I’m still not tired of it.

Dining Room at BetweenWeekdays.com

The opposite wall displays a large-scale Ikea piece. Typically, I don’t like purchasing art from Ikea, but when I saw this canvas art piece a few years ago I immediately fell in love with it. I still love it, and I expect to love it for a very long time. One of the spoons looks like it has an “S” on top. Our last name begins with an S, so I enjoy sneaking in another “monogrammed” element to our home.

Dining Room at BetweenWeekdays.com

The buffet from the mood board sits in the corner by the door to the kitchen. I had glass cut for the top, and it’s definitely helped protect this little piece during the years. The sign on the top was purchased from a craft fair in Georgia and reads, “Bless the food before us, the family beside us, and the love between us. Amen.” I love the little reminder to be thankful for all that we have. The topiary is a preserved boxwood purchased 90 percent off after Christmas several years ago. It needed some minor repairs and a new ribbon. The boxwood leaves are dusted with a silver glitter that is so pretty in this room year around.

Our dining room is one of my most favorite rooms in the house, and I am so excited to dress up our new table for Christmas this year!

Source List:

Table and Chairs: Braden’s Lifestyles
Buffet: Amazon
Chandelier: Home Depot
Sheer Curtains: JCPenny, Aqua Dust
Gray Curtains: JCPenny, Techno Gray
Plant: Gifted
Plant Pot: IKEA
Table Runner: Target (no longer available)
Rooster Candle Holder: Yard Sale
Candles: Hobby Lobby
Dinner Plates on Display: Walmart
Salad Plates on Display: Walmart
St. Augustine Prints: Purchased from street vendor
Spoon Art: IKEA (no longer available)
Lamp: TJ Maxx
Sign on Buffet: Craft Fair
Topiary: Burkes Outlet, after Christmas sale
Art Above Buffet: Gifted

Paint Colors:

Above Chair Rail: Valspar’s Brilliant Metals
Below Chair Rail: Mark Twain House Ombra Gray, Valspar

To see some of the other posts from this room, click any of the links below:

Favorite Things Christmas Brunch

A Pretty Black Christmas Tree for the Dining Room

New Dining Room Art & A Fall Table

Navy and Orange Tablescape Celebrates the End of Summer

Happy Birthday Tablescape

A Pretty Spring Buffet Table

Thrift Shop Challenge, Part II: A Parisian-Inspired Tablescape

A Baby Shower Menu

The Great Lighting Shuffle of 2013, Part I: Dining Room

Dining Room Dreaming

Simple Update, Big Difference

Energy Bites Recipe

Energy bites have become quite the popular sweet snack lately. It seems that everyone has their favorite way to make these delicious morsels that actually taste more like a cookie than something that is actually good for you. Today, I thought I’d share my favorite way to make energy bites. My aunt texted me her recipe (which was given to her by someone, who received the recipe from someone else and so forth and so on) about a year ago, and after making my own adjustments to the recipe I haven’t grown tired of these delicious bites yet. I don’t know where the energy bite recipe originated, but I sure am glad it began somewhere.

Energy Bites

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon chia seeds

Energy Bites at BetweenWeekdays.com

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients in a bowl and combine.
  2. Refrigerate for at least thirty minutes. This allows the mixture to firm up a bit before the next step.
  3. Roll mixture into balls. I like to make the balls different sizes in case I want a smaller or larger portion.
  4. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

Energy Bites at BetweenWeekdays.com

Easiest recipe ever!

Grad School Survival Kit

I recently completed coursework for my master’s degree. During the last year and a half, I’ve been exhausted, overworked, and pushed to my breaking point, but I have proven to myself time and time again that I am far more capable than I give myself credit.

Along the way, I’ve relied on a few simple things to keep me motivated and productive. Since school is back in session for so many this month, it seemed like a good idea to share the products that helped me through my accelerated master’s program.

First up on my list is AdvoCare Spark Energy. Last fall, I relied on coffee to give me the extra boost of energy I needed in the morning. However, I crashed HARD every single afternoon, and I was gaining weight from the tasty additions (flavored creamers, sugar, etc.) to my morning brew. With Spark, I have lost weight while receiving not only a morning boost but also mental clarity that lasts all day long. I can’t imagine starting my day any other way now. Plus the flavors are absolutely delicious.

The next item on my list is tiny but crucial to my ability to focus: bobby pins. (These are my favorite!) I have spent countless hours at my desk every single day for the past year and a half hunched over textbooks, and bobby pins ensure I can focus on the task at hand by keeping my hair out of the way. It’s a simple thing, but it makes a big difference.

A good planner. It’s been said time and time again that one simply cannot be organized without some type of planner, whether digital or paper based. In my world, if I don’t write an engagement down, it doesn’t exist. I’ve used a leather Day-Timer planner with monthly and weekly calendars for the past two years, and I love it. On each week, I insert a to-do list for all of the assignments I must complete each week. The entire thing zips up so it’s professional enough when I need to travel for meetings, etc. Plus, the entire thing is customizable to my preferences. I can also stuff quite a few extras inside it (calculator, pens, notes, business cards, etc.)

School Survival at BetweenWeekdays.com2

Lots and lots of paper. As an MBA student, I find myself constantly scribbling formulas and notes. I really like larger notebooks with dividers as well as project planners for individual assignments. The larger notebooks were especially handy for the math required in my accounting and finance classes, while I preferred the project planners for the individual projects required for each class as well as work meetings and projects.

I also discovered that I definitely have a preference when it comes to highlighters as gel highlighters are so much better than their marker counterpoints. I prefer the Sharpie brand of highlighters. Gel highlighters are mess free, and honestly, they’re just more fun to use.

Felt pens are also one of my favorite office supplies at the moment. I liked to use different colors for different classes when taking notes or filling out my planner. I also liked to coordinate my pen colors to my highlighter colors for study sessions. Having that visual representation in color really helped me when studying and preparing for the week ahead. (Felt pens are also good for taking mental health breaks to color  in adult coloring books!)

Tabs make it easy for me to reference my textbooks for important information. I adore the Martha Stewart Home Office with Avery Tabs for several reasons:

  1. They’re large enough for me to write on.
  2. They’re pretty.
  3. The tabs remove easily when I’m done with the subject and it’s time to return my textbook.

I certainly am glad to not be heading back to the (virtual) classroom this semester, but I do hope some of these products may be beneficial to others who are. I still have one academic requirement left to complete before I can don a cap and gown again to earn my MBA this December, but, in the meantime, I’m glad to return to a slower pace for a few weeks and hopefully resume blogging on a more regular schedule soon.

16 Personal Fun Facts

I’ve been watching Food Network Star all summer. I was definitely team Damiano, but I was happy for season winner Tregaye Fraser. After her win, Food Network revealed some trivia regarding her favorite foods. I thought it would be fun to answer these questions, too! See my answers below.

Favorite Late-Night Snack: Popcorn

Favorite Smell: Tomato Plants

Guilty-Pleasure Food: Macaroni and Cheese

Best Advice You’ve Ever Been Given: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

Strangest Thing in Your Refrigerator Right Now: There’s a lot of butter in my fridge right now!

Favorite TV Show: Downton Abbey

One Dish You Always Order Out and Never Make at Home: Fried Rice, Eggplant Parmesan, and Tiramisu

Favorite Burger Toppings: Sweet Chili Thai Sauce and Asiago Cheese. Turkey burgers only, please.

Favorite Pizza Topping: Fresh Tomatoes

Favorite Food Location to Visit: Chattanooga, TN

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Mint Chocolate Chip

Best Meal I’ve Ever Had: This is an impossible question to answer, but I’d have to say tapas in Las Vegas.

Favorite Vacation Spot: Hands down my favorite vacation destination ever was St. Lucia.

Favorite Person to Cook For: I love cooking for my Dad. He loves everything!

Favorite Person to Cook With: I absolutely love cooking with my teenage cousins and teaching them cooking techniques and tricks in the kitchen.

Dish or Ingredient You’ll Never Eat: Beef

Read more at: http://blog.foodnetwork.com/star-talk/2016/08/02/16-things-you-didnt-know-about-tregaye-fraser-food-networks-newest-star/?soc=foodnetworkstarsocial_20160803_64456916&adbid=10153690592141727&adbpl=fb&adbpr=20534666726&oc=linkback

2016 Goal Check In

Back in January, I made a list of goals for the year ahead. Since the year is halfway over, I thought it might be a good idea to check in to see if I’ve made any progress and also to see if I need to make any adjustments to my goals for the remainder of the year.

House Goals

I hope to accomplish much around the house this year. There’s a slight chance we will need to consider moving after I complete graduate school, so as much as I do not enjoy the thought of moving again I would like to be prepared as much as possible. Also, it’s much easier to coordinate home improvements while I’m working from home, which also may change after I have that diploma in hand. June update: we are no longer considering moving. My future job situation is still very much TBD.

The Blue House at BetweenWeekdays.com

  • Finish painting all of the doors black throughout our home. There’s only three left!
  • Complete the kitchen cabinets. After months of working with a contractor, we are on schedule to complete the kitchen cabinets in the next few weeks. June update: thankfully this never-ending task is DONE. 
  • Tile kitchen backsplash. June update: this should probably move to 2017…possibly 2018.
  • Replace dining room table. We’ve ordered a custom dining set, and we’re just waiting for it to be delivered.
  • Continue to steadily reduce clutter. June: steadily making progress.
  • Update the guest bathroom.
  • Continue the master bedroom closet makeover. June update: see the finished space here!
  • Stain the front porch and deck. June update: we’ve stripped the old stain from the porch!
  • Add risers to front porch stairs and skirting below the porch.
  • Continue making improvements to the outside of our home. In 2015, we repaired our fence and began working in the landscaping. This year I hope to accomplish a few more items to continue adding curb appeal to our blue house.
  • June update: finish my new sitting room. Details to come. 😉 
  • June update: take some new photos of the outside of our blue house. The one above is very old. 

In addition to this list, there are several other home-related tasks we will consider adding depending on what our long-term plans look like in a few months.

Personal

graduation-995042_640

  • Graduate from my graduate program. I am on track to complete courses at the end of the summer and to graduate in December with my MBA. June update: I have five weeks left of classes, a field test, and an exit survey separating me from my MBA. 
  • Celebrate our 30th birthdays. We will both turn 30 in May this year.
  • Complete two Advocare 21 day challenges. June update: I’m down 15 pounds and feeling fabulous. Message me if you’re interested in learning more about Advocare. I plan to complete two more challenges this year.  
  • Blog one time per month. June update: so far, so good! I very nearly forgot to blog in May, though.
  • Apply for adjunct professor positions. There’s a new program in our home state of Tennessee that provides a scholarship for high school seniors for two years of free tuition at community and technical colleges. It’s a wonderful program, and I’m hoping the influx of students will create more adjunct professor positions in our area.

And that’s it! This year is really going to be about focusing on schoolwork for me. I may update these goals a bit as the year progresses, but as of right now, my focus is on continuing my education. June: at this point, I’m almost singularly focused on completing grad school. 

Summer Garden Update

I planted my garden back in March, and I promised to update on whether or not my new weed prevention methods work. So far, the new planting method is working absolutely perfectly! (Click here to find out how I protected my raised bed against weeds!) I hardly ever have to weed my small garden, and my veggies and herbs are growing spectacularly well.

Summer Garden Update at BetweenWeekdays.com

After my original planting post, I also added a cinnamon basil plant and a zucchini plant. My area was late to receive zucchini plants, so it didn’t go in the ground until about a month ago. Even though it got a late start, it’s grown extremely well and is already quite a bit larger now than it was when I took this photo merely a week ago. I will actually be able to harvest my first zucchini later this week. I don’t really know what I’m going to do with the cinnamon basil, but it was too lovely and fragrant not to add it to my small bed.

Summer Garden Update at BetweenWeekdays.com2

I chose to plant the cinnamon basil in a pot rather than directly in the garden bed for several reasons. First, I didn’t know a lot about this plant, and I didn’t have time to research it. I knew it would need to be transferred to some good soil before I would have the chance to properly research how to plant this herb. Second, I considered placing this plant on my back porch for decoration and easy access. However, after doing a small bit of research a few weeks later, I learned that cinnamon basil is a helper to tomato plants and can increase the taste of the tomatoes. So, I put the pot by the tomato cage. It receives better lighting there than it would on the porch anyway.

Speaking of tomato cages, my tomato plant has already completely outgrown its 5-foot cage! I’m sure to have more tomatoes than I know what to do with this summer, which is definitely a good problem to have.

Within the next week, I should start seeing veggies ready for harvest as I already have a red pepper waiting to turn red, a small zucchini, and several green and growing tomatoes. Happy gardening, friends!

Fake it Until You BECOME IT

If you’ve ever felt like a wallflower or as if you are powerless in your personal or professional life, I encourage you to take a moment to watch this TED Talk.

Body language not only shapes who you are but also how others perceive you. This is a lesson often hard learned by many introverts like myself in today’s society. Here’s to faking it until we make it!

 

Stripping is Hard Work

Here’s what I learned on Memorial Day: stripping stain off of an extremely weathered front porch is seriously hard work, ya’ll.

I wrote about my desire to tackle a front porch renovation more than a year ago. Since then, I bought a bench and a few other miscellaneous pieces for the porch, while the stain continued to deteriorate. It was seriously embarrassing. After pressure washing the layer of grime off the porch, we were left with this unsightly mess:

Stripping Stain from Porch at BetweenWeekdays.com

This is when we knew we’d need to use a stripper on the wood in order to totally clean it and rid it from its terrible stain. We chose to use Goof Off All Purpose Stripper, which we found at our local Lowe’s.

Stripping Stain from Porch at BetweenWeekdays.com2

There are two things you should note about this product:

  1. WEAR GLOVES. This stuff burns if it gets on your skin.
  2. It does not remove stain as well as it removes whatever is pictured on the can. However, it definitely will remove stain from wood with a bit of patience and elbow grease.

We found it was best to apply a thick layer of the stripper with an inexpensive paintbrush, wait a few minutes, and then apply another layer before even attempting to remove the stain. If the stain was still somewhat thick, we could scrape most of it off. However, the majority of the stain had to be scrubbed off by hand with a stripping pad. We found it was best to keep the stripping pad wet while scrubbing and to work in small sections so the stripping paste wouldn’t dry.

Stripping Stain from Porch at BetweenWeekdays.com3

After many, many hours of labor, we now have a front porch that is mostly stripped of its stain! However, we still need to remove the stain from our stairs before we can move on to the rest of our porch renovation plans.

The next step in the process is to choose a new stain color! Then we have quite a few other projects to tackle before we’ll be able to call this space complete. I’m hopeful removing this huge project from the list is just the motivation we need to finally get this space finished up!

Star Wars Meets Disney Wedding Shower

Recently I was fortunate enough to co-host a wedding shower for my cousin and his fiance. We loosely based the theme on their wedding colors, her love for all things Disney, and his love for all things Star Wars.

StarWars Disney Wedding Shower at BetweenWeekdays.com2

The photo backdrop was one of the easiest projects we made for the shower and easily one of the most fun details from their shower. All we did was hang Dollar Tree table clothes from a string wound through the ceiling tiles. Easy peasy! The bride liked this idea so much, she took all of the tablecloths with her to possibly use at their wedding reception.

StarWars Disney Wedding Shower at BetweenWeekdays.com3

We included a selfie station with photo props near the backdrop, and we all had a bunch of fun taking photos in front of the decorations.

StarWars Disney Wedding Shower at BetweenWeekdays.com4

We used rented black linens for the food and gift tables, which we positioned around the perimeter of the room. This really helped to define the different functional areas of the shower by grounding the perimeter with a dark color. Plus, the table decorations absolutely popped on top of the black! We placed rows of tables in the middle of the space for guests. These tables were covered with the same purple, Dollar Tree tablecloths used for the photo backdrop. I always prefer to use plastic tablecloths where people eat for easier cleanup.

StarWars Disney Wedding Shower at BetweenWeekdays.com5

We attempted to keep the decor simple and reflective of the bride and groom.

StarWars Disney Wedding Shower at BetweenWeekdays.com6

I custom ordered the invitations from Etsy, and I couldn’t be more pleased with how they turned out. We loved the custom design of the invitations so much that we added it to the cake!

StarWars Disney Wedding Shower at BetweenWeekdays.com

We had planned on 75 guests, and the menu we planned was definitely was fit for a crowd.

Menu:

Cake (half chocolate, half white)
Pulled Barbeque Chicken and Pork with Rolls (5 lbs of each meat from Buddy’s Bar-B-Q)
Chicken Tenders and Buffalo Chicken Tenders
Meatballs
Buffalo Chicken Dip, Sausage Dip, and Salsa with Tortilla Chips
Cream Cheese Pinwheels
Chicken Cheese Ball with Crackers
Cheese Platter
Pasta Salad
Marshmallow Pops
Chocolate-Covered Pretzel Rods
Sweet Tea and Bottled Water

We had planned on 75 guests, and this menu definitely was fit for a crowd.

StarWars Disney Wedding Shower at BetweenWeekdays.com7

This shower was definitely a labor of love for the future Mr. and Mrs., but I wouldn’t change a thing about it. Their wedding is now just a few, short weeks away!

(Click here to see a gender-neutral baby shower and here to see a pink and zebra baby shower!)

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