Thursday, November 12, 2015

One Room Challenge: Week 6 Reveal

It's finally time for the reveal week of the One Room Challenge!  If you haven't heard of the One Room Challenge before, it's a six week challenge where bloggers participate in a room renovation, providing weekly updates for the full six weeks.  I've been hard at work on the final touches for this room, and it's finally ready!

If you're just stopping by, here's a little glimpse of what the room looked like six weeks ago.  Covered from top to bottom with blue and white striped wallpaper and a coordinating border.  If you were in there for too long the stripes would start to give you a headache.

I chose to go more of a masculine route with the room.  Every other room in our house is bright, white, and feminine, so with this one I decided to go a little darker and more manly.  After all 50% of our house's inhabitants are male, so I guess it's only fair.  So without further ado, here's a look at our new guest bathroom.


Wall Color- Valspar color match for Ben Moore's Solitude
Hand Towel Bar- Home Depot
Light Fixture- Similar on Amazon
Faucet- Amazon
Vanity Knobs- Amazon
Switch Plate Cover- Amazon
Bath Towel Bar- Amazon
Shower Bar- Amazon
Shower Curtain- Pottery Barn
Monogrammed Towels- Wheaton & Whaley
DIY Shelving Brackets- Home Depot
Wooden Shelves- 2x8 wood cut and stained with Minwax Early American
Mini Topiary- Little Letter Shop
Apothecary Jars (used for flower vase and cotton balls)- Amazon 
Black and White Print- Minted

You can also see my progress along the way through the links below: 

Week 4- No post

Thursday, November 5, 2015

One Room Challenge- Week 5

It's week FIVE of Calling It Home's One Room Challenge!  In case you're just joining, the One Room Challenge is a link up with other bloggers where we take on a room to re-do in just six weeks.  Weekly updates are provided along the way.

There's no way to sugarcoat it, the week 4 update just didn't happen.  I contemplated bs-ing my way through a post making what little progress I made that week sound like more, but in the end I figured I'd just skip the post all together.  The good news is, we worked our little hineys off this week, and now there's some real progress to share.

The biggest progress: we finally tackled the beast of prepping the walls and painting.  I love the color, too. We went with a Valspar color match for Ben Moore's Solitude.  A very pretty dusty greyish blue. We also installed the shower rod, shower curtain and a few of the new knobs on the vanity.  And there's a little sneak peak at a very manly print that T picked for the space.

The most challenging part of this week was the lighting situation.  I had the bright idea to go ahead and take the existing fixture out so we could paint, and didn't even consider the fact that we'd have zero light in the room after that.  There is a small recessed light over the shower, but the bulb is out and the whole fixture will also need to be replaced.  So we worked in the room several nights after work with a spot light and a floor lamp in the room as makeshift lighting.

I'm really excited about this last week.  I really enjoy all the little details that go together to make a room look complete, and this week I'll finally get to focus on those.  I already have the majority of what we need to complete the space, it's just a matter of getting it installed.

  • Remove Wallpaper, Repair Walls, and Paint Room
  • Replace Mirror
  • Replace Light Fixtures 
  • Replace Hardware and Faucet
  • Hang Shelving for Storage
  • Clean and Repaint Tile Grout
  • Hang new shower curtain rod
  • Purchase New Towels and monogram
  • Purchase Items for Shelving

 You can see the before and during shots of our bathroom here: 

Week 4- no post, I got lazy

*affiliate links used

Monday, November 2, 2015

Sayonara, Nine to Five

Well, it’s been pretty quiet over here for the last few weeks.  I wish I was one of those bloggers that could consistently post great content, but when my life gets busy my blog always takes a back seat.  So, the reason life has been pretty busy for me lately is that I’m preparing for my last week at work.  It still feels weird to even write that. 

Photo Cred: Will Crooks

Am I leaving my job to be a stay at home wife?  Hell no.  I wish we could afford that, but that’s not even close to being in the cards for us.  I’m leaving my 9-5 to pursue my jewelry business and hopefully grow it into the well-oiled machine that I think it can be. 

A little over a year ago, I started a little jewelry business, making necklaces for friends and family, and over the last 8 months, it’s become much bigger than that.  My jewelry is now sold in stores in five different states, and I’m still continuing to grow.  It’s become more than just a little side business for me, and if I ever want it to grow into something bigger, I have to take the time to devote to it.

Am I scared?  Hell yes.  Terrified.  I’m worried that I’ve left a secure job that I love to pursue a risky business with nothing to fall back on.  Not to mention in an industry that’s already completely over-saturated with businesses that make products very similar to mine.  But, I’ve weighed my options and at this point it’s worth the risk.

T and I heavily rely on my salary to pay our bills.  I’m not the breadwinner, but my income is needed to make things work for us.   Several months ago, I set some goals for myself.  I figured out how many necklaces I’d need to sell per month to still bring in enough money for my end of the bargain.  Three months in a row I almost doubled my goal amount.  That made me realize that ready or not, it was time. 

I put in an 8 week notice at work, the last thing I wanted to do was screw them over.  After all, if people suddenly stop buying necklaces, I may be crawling back to them asking for my job back.  And, I also hope to help them with some freelance work on an as-needed basis in the future.  ( I’m an HR Generalist for a local advertising agency, so they may need occasional admin support that I’d be happy to come in and help with. ) 

So, what are the next steps from here?  Step number one is to just make it through the Holiday season.  This is my first true Holiday season, I was just ramping up this time last year.  I have goals to fully stock my Etsy shop, do a few Instagram flash sales, and attend several Holiday shows around town.  And after the Holidays are over, it’s time to really get down to business.  Setting yearly and monthly goals, finally having organized finances, creating a business plan, and developing a strategy for what I want my business to become. 

I assume we’ll have a few tight months here and there.  We’ll probably be eating PB&Js for dinners some nights.  But that’s nothing that we’re not used to.  T and I lived on very small salaries for a few years after graduation. Our combined income was still less than a lot of my friends’ starting salaries, and we somehow made it work.  We know how to scrimp, we know how to save, and we can do it again if we have to. 

I've always dreamed of being a stay at home mom once we have children, but since we rely on my salary now I know we'd definitely need it once we grow our family.  Being able to run a business from my house would give me the perfect combination of making money for the family while still being able to stay at home with children.  And getting a good head start on this makes it even more possible when I have a while before kiddos enter the picture. 

What does this mean for your blog?  I still plan to continue to blog, I actually hope to have more of a presence on here than I’ve had in years past.  Don’t worry, I won’t just use this as a platform to shill my goods.  I really don’t plan on doing that at all, actually.  I do plan on sharing some small business tips that I’ve learned along the way, as well as continue to share what’s going on in my life.  From a business perspective, I think it’s cool that customers get an inside peek at who I really am, and how that influences my brand.

So that’s all I’ve got for now.  I’m so excited for this season of my life, and can’t wait to share the good bad and ugly with you along the way.  Have a great week! 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

One Room Challenge- Week 3

Another week has come and gone, and it's time for Week 3 of Calling It Home's One Room Challenge Linkup. If you're just joining in, you can view weeks one and two of my bathroom reno here and here.   I had big plans for this week, but that didn't really happen.  I was hoping to get the walls prepped for paint, and maybe start on the painting too, but we're still hung up on the prepping the walls part.   I love a house project where I can see the immediate transformation, and prepping walls for painting is not that whatsoever.  Patching white walls with white putty is about as boring as it gets, and that's why I've been putting it off for several days.

I did however purchase some new towels for the room which is exciting.  One of my good friends Elizabeth has a custom pillow and embroidery business, so I hit her up for anything I need monogrammed.  She has a great eye for this kind of stuff.  I usually  just tell her what letters I want, and she goes to town.  You can visit Elizabeth's shop here.

I also picked up the paint that we'll be using.  I had Lowes do a paint match with Ben Moore's Solitude, and I can't wait to get it on the walls.  Here's what it looks like.

And I bought this new shower curtain rod as well.  I know, super exciting, right?

Here's what our to do list for the room currently looks like:

  • Remove Wallpaper, Repair Walls, and Paint Room
  • Replace Mirror
  • Replace Light Fixtures 
  • Replace Hardware and Faucet
  • Hang Shelving for Storage
  • Clean and Repaint Tile Grout
  • Purchase New Towels
  • Purchase Items for Shelving

And that's it for this week!  I hope to have some more interesting updates for next week.

If you missed my previous One Room Challenge posts you can find them here:

One Room Challenge Week 1
One Room Challenge Week 2

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Our Weekend- A Double Baby Shower

This weekend I got together with some of my girlfriends to host a double baby shower for my two good friends, Melanie and Sallie.  They're due about one month apart from each other, so we figured it would be fun to host one big shower for the two of them.

We kept it simple, and requested that each guest bring 2 packages of diapers, one for each baby, and we assigned each guest a size so that each couple received a good variety of diapers.  The shower was very laid back, the boys all drank beer and played yard games out back while the girls stood around chatting and rubbing baby bellies.

As a takeaway for each couple, we had everyone to write little notes in this Clemson themed children's book, Hello Tiger.

We served some dips, finger foods, and this tasty fall-themed apple cider punch.  The punch was a huge hit.  It was a non-alcoholic punch so that the guests of honor could indulge, and then we just served it with a bottle of champagne next to it, so anyone could top it off with champagne if they wished.

Apple Cider Punch

1/2 gal Apple Cider
1 qt. White Grape Juice
1 Bottle Sparking Apple Cider
8 oz. Orange Juice
2 Large Apples, Thinly Sliced (I used Gala)
Champagne (optional)

In a large bowl combine first five ingredients.  Serve champagne alongside the punch so guests can top their cups off with a little bubbly.

It was so great to see some of my close girlfriends that I don't get to see very often.  I just cherish every moment when we can all be together.  And I can't wait to meet those two sweet baby girls, they'll be here before we know it!

Hope y'all had a great weekend, too!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

One Room Challenge: Week 2

Week 2 of Calling It Home's One Room Challenge Linkup is here, and somehow I've managed to stay on schedule if not a wee bit ahead of schedule with the progress. The main task for this week was to remove all of the wallpaper, which is DONE! Thankfully the paper came down relatively easily.  We put probably a total of 4 hours of labor in, much less than I initially thought.

To remove the wallpaper, we used a combination of scoring the paper with a Paper Tiger, spraying it with a product called DIF, and scraping it with this scraper tool.  I think the combination of these three products made the process much faster.

I've also started the fun process of buying new things for the space.  I picked up new oiled bronze hardware (paper holder, towel ring, and tank lever) and purchased new knobs and bin pulls for the vanity. We removed the builder grade mirror hanging above the sink, and I plan on replacing it with a round wood mirror.  Originally, I fell in love with this one, but I can't justify spending almost $600 on a one piece. Luckily, I found this mirror through Wayfair this week, and I think it's perfect for the space.

We picked out the shower curtain too, masculine black and cream stripes with just a hint of femininity in the ruffle at the bottom.  

So we're now left with a complete blank slate.  A stark white room.  Here's what it currently looks like.

And here's what is still on our to do list:

  • Remove Wallpaper, Repair Walls, and Paint Room
  • Replace Mirror
  • Replace Light Fixtures 
  • Replace Hardware and Faucet
  • Hang Shelving for Storage
  • Clean and Repaint Tile Grout

This weekend we plan on repairing the damage done to the walls by removing the wallpaper, and hopefully beginning to paint.  Once the room is painted I can begin replacing the hardware on the vanity and purchase the new light fixture and faucet, and that's going to be the fun part. Come back next Thursday to see what progress we've made!

And if you didn't catch Week 1's post you can find it here.

(Affiliate links were used in this post) 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Barbacoa Beef Tostadas

I love the ease of a crockpot recipe, but so many of them taste the same to me.  They all just end up tasting like a bland pot roast.  Every once in a while I'll come across a winner, and when I do we usually eat it on repeat.    About a year ago I tried this Barbacoa Beef recipe from Designer Bags and Dirty Diapers and T and I both fell in love.  I've tweaked the recipe a bit, and this week we tried it on tostadas and it was a total hit.  Here's the recipe we used:

Barbacoa Beef Tostadas

For the Beef: 

3 lbs beef for stew (the kind that's already cut into cubes at the store)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 chipotles in adobo sauce, chopped
1 small white onion, chopped
1 lime, juiced
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 bay leaves
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp oregano
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 cup water

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and toss until the beef is evenly coated.  Cook on low for 8 hours. Remove the beef from the liquid with a slotted spoon, and shred with two forks.  Add the shredded beef back in to the liquid.  Let it sit in the liquid for an additional 10 or so minutes.

For the Tostadas:

Packaged tostada shells
1 can of refried beans
Shredded lettuce
Mexican shredded cheese
Sour Cream (optional)

Warm tostada shells in the oven on 375 for a few minutes until they're shiny. This will crisp them back up if they've gone a little stale.   Meanwhile microwave the refried beans until warm and spreadable, about 1 minute.

Spread 1 Tbsp of beans on each tostada.  Top with shredded beef, cheese, lettuce, salsa, and sour cream.

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