Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Let There Be Light!

Like Melissa, I made some lighting purchases over the weekend! However, my purchases were for the bathroom, not the bedroom, and sadly, no damask was involved. But, take a look at our upgrade! (all pictures from Lowes)
This isn't exactly what was in the bathroom, but it's pretty darn close.

I saw these beauties and thought they would look perfect in the bathroom. I love their shape and lines, plus they were less than $20 each! I've learned that's a complete steal when it comes to modern lighting.

I love them! I think they're going to look great next to the mirror with its newly painted black frame!

The bathroom is slowly taking shape. Last weekend, Josh, his dad, and his friend Brandon got the shower up and running, almost. There was a minor leak but Josh managed to fix it last night. I used the shower this morning and I have to recommend the curved shower rods! I feel like I can do jumping jacks and cartwheels in the shower! So. Much. Freaking. Room.

Josh's parents bought him an early birthday present, and I can safely say I've never been so excited for a power tool! Josh is now the proud owner of a table saw! This means that he can cut his own trim and make the new cabinet doors at his house instead of having to borrow someone else's saw. Plus, I have a feeling this table saw is going to come in handy as we redo the exterior of the house this summer.

I PROMISE I'll post some pictures soon of how the bathroom is progressing! It looks so big now that the vanity is ripped out. Hopefully, this weekend the pedestal sink will be installed and we'll be ready to get the painting done!

Friday, March 19, 2010

To Theme or Not to Theme...

...that is the question.

I'm not really into 'themes' for decorating; I'm more of a style/color palette/overall 'feel' girl (which I guess, you could argue, is kind of a theme in and of itself, but whatev). Apple-ish stuff all over the kitchen? Rubber duckies in the bathroom? Not my cuppa tea. At all. So... why is it that I feel like Josh and I are falling into a theme for the newly renovated bathroom? And why am I ok with it?

Let me back up for a minute and just say:  I love letters in all forms, and I love combining all different types. I was that girl who practiced her different types of handwriting, drew bubble letters, and pretty much tried to invent new, fun ways to write things.

When I saw this shower curtain at Target my heart rate increased and I fell a little bit in love:

But... then I figured Josh would be less-than-thrilled about all of these letters and numbers, so I didn't even show him my little find. Much to my surprise, last week, as we were emailing pictures of potential shower curtains to one another, he said he was surprised I didn't send him a picture of this one. I told him that I loved it but didn't think he'd be all that impressed, to which he replied, I was wrong. WHAT? Yeah. Josh likes this shower curtain! Cue the surprised look on my face!

So I bought it. (for only $17 at that!! HA! Take that Bed Bath & Beyond!)

Now, all the decorating ideas that are filling my mind are letter/typography related, and I continue to scour etsy for more inspiration. Is this too theme-y? Or, do you have any cheap-but-stylish DIY projects? I'm already considering some fun with canvases and Modge Podge a la Michelle but I'm open to new ideas!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

In Honor of St. Patrick's Day...

 ... let me share with you two of my favorite Irish songs from my elementary days. I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but my elementary school was a two-room rural school house that was built in the 1860s. It's tiny (but still up and running, and probably one of the best schools you could send your kids, in my not-biased-at-all opinion!). There were 6 kids in my grade, and about 40ish kids in the entire school in any given year. The grades were divided so that K-2 was in one room and 3-5 was in another. But, on Tuesdays, both rooms would come together, the little kids would pull a folding chair up to a big kid's desk, and we would have Music with Mrs. Ranger. Mrs. Ranger had songs for every season, holiday, and event you could think of. No, really. Wanna know when William Henry Harrison's birthday is? February 9th. How do I know? Because of a President's Day/Birthday song. Seriously. Sadly, Mrs. Ranger passed away last year, but her songs will never die. And that sounds corny, but really, my sister and I still remember way too many of her songs. So, I thought I would share some of them with you, enhanced with a little 'research' I've done on the 'net. (Amanda, feel free to interject anything I've forgotten!)

One of my favorites was Molly Malone. Wikipedia a statue of her that sits in Dublin. Apparently she was quite the buxom fishmonger! You can find the 2nd and 3rd verses of her song on Wikipedia, too.

In Dublin's fair city,

where the girls are so pretty,
I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone,
As she wheeled her wheel-barrow,
Through streets broad and narrow,
Crying, "Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh!"

"Alive, alive, oh,
Alive, alive, oh",
Crying "Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh".

Then there was the Irish conductor McNamara and his band. I just learned via Wikipedia (I KNOW it's not that legit of a place to learn things, but this is pretty stupid basic stuff, so cut me some slack, ok?) that this song was actually written by the one and only Bing Crosby. Huh. Who knew.
This was like, the BEST, song because we got to use musical instruments. Not like flutes and clarinets (we were not that talented) but more like triangles, rhythm sticks, tambourines, and the occasional drum (that only the 5th graders got because it was such a big deal. But then when I was in 5th grade I didn't get a drum, I got a stupid triangle. But I'm not bitter about it at all, really.)
The lyrics on Wikipedia are a little different than I remember, but I've copied the ones that sound the most right (how's that for some good grammar?). The best part was the Tra La La's that came after each verse because everyone got to go crazy with their instrument.
My name is McNamara, I'm the Leader of the Band,
And tho' we're small in number we're the best in all the land.
Oh! I am the Conductor, and we often have to play
With all the best musicianers you hear about to-day.
Tra La La free for all...
Oh! the drums go bang, and the cymbals clang, and the horns they blaze away,
McCarthy pumps the old bazoon while I the pipes do play;
And, Hennessey Tennessey tootles the flute, and the music 'tis somethin' grand,
A credit to old Ireland is McNamara's Band!

Another Tra La La free for all

So... does anyone else out there in the blog world have fun, crazy songs for holidays? No? I'm the only one? Hmmm...

My First Purchase and Some Discoveries

On etsy!

I just purchased this print that I've had my eye on for AGES! I talked to Josh and we think it's going to match the new bathroom perfectly, plus add a bit of color! (I didn't tell him it's lyrics from an Elton John song; I'm pretty sure that would be a deal breaker) I could not be more thrilled and I can't wait to have it matted and framed!
purchased from seller SuZanna Anna

Some things I discovered last weekend:
  • While at my friend Amanda's going away See You Later party, I found out that I have some blog-lurkers! I'm lookin' at you Terri and Adeline!! It's always fun to find out that someone reads your blog, but it's kind of terrifying at the same time...
  • Renovating a bathroom can be a very messy and wet job. Tubs can be crooked and pipe valves can break (drenching a bathroom in super powerful water spray). Oh - and puppies like to chew on drywall scraps which powders their little puppy noses with gypsum. How I WISH Josh had taken a picture when he discovered Diesel and the drywall scraps!
  • There is a whole other world of blogs out there that I have yet to immerself myself within - Craft Blogs! Thanks to Michelle at blissful musings, I have even more things to add to my list of Things I Want to Try but will Probably Never Have the Time or Patience to Do. But I'm still excited to read all of these new blogs I've found!
Oh- and Happy St. Patrick's Day to you all! Top O' the Mornin' to Ya!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Getting a little ahead of myself...

Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of attending GRunveiled - a wedding show for the modern bride. This fantastic event was the brainchild of Aletha from Pearls Events and Joy'l from Paper Nest Designs. Held in St. Cecelia Music Center in downtown Grand Rapids, the event was a feast for eyes, ears, and even lips! Check out the Pearls Events blog for some great photos of the night.

Ok, I know what you're all thinking: I don't even have a ring on that all important finger, yet! Well... I don't care! It's not like I was booking vendors and making wedding decisions - I merely wanted to get out and experience what I knew was going to be a fabulous event. And, truth be told, I was right! It was a delight to meet Aletha and chat with her for a few minutes; she is just as sweet and genuine in person as she is on her blog. The tablescape, invitation suite, and overall atmosphere she created in her booth were spectacular!

My sister, Lindsey, accompanied me, and we oooh-ed and ahhhh-ed over what seemed like every. single. vendor. From the bakeries to the photographers to the handmade accessories, each booth had something we liked. I was especially a fan of Crumbles Cupcakery's red velvet mini cupcake. Delish!! And Daisy at pixel & hank had me swooning over her goregous hair pins and shoe clips! I even made a little purchase - which I'll be blogging about shortly :)

Since I'm a wedding freak and purchased my tickets about a month in advance, I received a swag bag full of goodies from the vendors. Inside were two bridal magazines (I have proceeded to flip through and dog-ear just about every single page), a tote from Spark Creative Photography, countless business cards and special offers, a cute honeymoon-ready package with sunscreen, band-aids, and an emery board from Pearls Events, the cutest little gift tags from Paper Nest Designs, and loads of other fun items from the vendors.

Overall, I had a great time, and I think Lindsey did, as well. Actually, I know she did - she got her hands on those wedding magazines before I did and was already pointing things out to me that she thinks I need to do when I get married. Too funny! Thanks again, Aletha and Joy'l for such a fun event!

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Edited to Add: Ok, this was supposed to post after the post about GRunveiled, but because I'm not detail oriented, I didn't remember to change the posting date. I changed the time, but not the date. Oops! 

As promised, here are a few pics of my purchases from Daisy at pixel & hank, who I met at GRunveiled. Aren't these hair clips so adorable?! I'm becoming a little more daring with my hair accessories, (read: I've barely managed how to make a headband look age appropriate and not make me look like I'm in the fourth grade) and I thought these little cuties would be a welcome addition to my ever expanding accessory arsenal!

If you can't tell, one is purple and one is silver, and they're attached to silver bobby pins. They're just the right size for me to pin back my bangs. (and yes, because I'm such a classy photographer, these are sitting on a barstool right in front of a sliding glass door. I have a crappy camera so I have to make do with what I've got)

(please excuse the: horrible blurriness, awful hair color, and uncontrollable waves in my hair. k thanks)

Check out some of pixel & hank's other items:

KristenLee shoe clips - what a fantastic idea to give a facelift to a pair of shoes! $14.00

Zenna hair clip - $8.00

Leon boutonniere - I love this idea for bouts. No worries about a wilting flower pinned to the groomsmen by the time the reception rolls around! Plus, it can be saved forever! $8.00

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Winner winner!

Last Valentine's Day, Aletha at Pearls Events hosted a contest, and I won! Aletha has an amazing blog to accompany her successful West Michigan wedding planning business. The contest was a giveaway of an 18x24 portrait print by Kristine at Figment Studio. Check out Kristine's site - she lives in New York and does amazing pop-art portraits that are right up my alley. Here's the beauty she sent to me a few weeks ago:

My sister, Lindsey, is on the left, and I'm on the right. I think the colors are amazing and I'm SO excited to have it matted and framed!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Weekend Recap (minus pictures)

Josh and I went to a fish fry in Hubbardston, MI. Because it's Lent and Hubbardston is an Irish Catholic town, it was PACKED. Just to put it into perspective: The population of Hubbardston is 394 (yes, I'm a nerd and Wikipediaed it) and there were twice as many people there. We waited OUTSIDE for half an hour just to get in. Seriously. And the fish? Yeah, it was good. Was it worth waiting forever in front of half-drunk winos (clearly I'm jealous because I did not have any wine) for half an hour? Probably not. Oh well.

Then we went to Josh's parents' house so I could watch The Office - Jim and Pam had their baby and it was probably one of THE BEST episodes I've seen. I laughed out loud and even shed a small tear (Jim Halpert is my ideal. That's all...). It was great.

Josh and I went ring browsing again. This time it was in St. Johns at Harr's Jewelry, and we were much more impressed with them than Jared. They were so helpful and explained everything without any pressure to buy. It's a 3rd generation jewelry store and they had a great selection. I found 2 settings that I'm in love with :) so we'll see what happens...

Josh and I got groceries together and then his dad came over to help solve the toilet situation. Ugh. The Toilet. It has been giving us fits for the past month or so with no indication of what's wrong. About a month ago, Josh and his dad and some family friends dug a new septic tank, hoping that would solve the problem. Nope. Saturday, after a bunch of digging and dead ends, Josh and his dad decided to completely dig up the pipe leading from the house to the septic tank.What they found was a pipe that was crushed in 2 places and had a root growing up it. Lovely. So about $100 and 7 hours later, Josh has a working toilet. YAY! It's the simple things in life. Then I made dinner for Josh's parents and we had a nice little visit.

Josh and I went over to my mom's house for a hot second so I could check my email (remember, no internet at Josh's yet) and get my grade for my first English Theory paper. I wasn't expecting anything above a C based on my professor's comments on the grades as a whole. Tuesday, he was halfway done grading and said the best paper was a B-. Needless to say, I didn't expect to be the best in the class. Fast forward to Sunday when I open my email to see a big fat B staring me in the face. I literally squealed and did a little jump because I was so freaking happy/in shock. After an extensive rewrite I think I'll pull an A (which is very rare, according to my prof. Ha. I'll show him).

We had lunch at the Middleton Diner - a small restaurant in the middle of BFE run by Mennonites. They have a Sunday buffet with broasted chicken, mashed potatoes, biscuits... mmm pretty much all the fixins. Then Josh and I took in a matinee of Alice in Wonderland. We just watched in Ionia, so no 3-D or Imax or anything. I kind of wanted to see it since it was getting a lot of hype; I loved the 50's Disney version, and I wanted to see what they were going to do with it. Well... first of all, it wasn't what I expected at all. I was expecting a revision of the Disney cartoon version, and this isn't that at all. But in a good way. Second of all, it wasn't as weird as I expected. It was pretty tame, in my opinion, for a Tim Burton movie. I actually thought it had a good message. The costuming and set design was exquisite! It was bright at times, but dark and moody at others. Oh- and Alice wears a killer dress in the palace of the Queen of Hearts. I've looked for a picture of it but I can't find one. Oh well. You'll just have to go watch the movie!

The Oscars:

My favorite dress of the night was Elizabeth Bank's Versace. I love this color and the ruffles are beautiful! (followed closely by Vera Farminga and Penelope Cruz- I loved the deep red colors of their dresses)

Least favorite: Zoe Saldana. Wow... there is a lot of somethin goin' on down there. I loved the top, but unfortunately the camera panned out and revealed the rest...

More Oscar honesty: Sandra Bullock? Really? Don't get me wrong - I love her. But I didn't think her performance in The Blind Side was Oscar-worthy. Great movie, great actress, but I think one of the other ladies was more deserving. I loved Mo'nique's shout-out to Hattie McDaniels and the gardenia in her hair. I thought Kate Winslet's dress was boring. I hope now that people will stop referring to Kathryn Bigelow as James Cameron's ex-wife. I felt bad that everyone brought that up - hasn't she proven to the world that she's more than just his ex-wife? I LOVED Doogie's (ok, ok, Neil Patrick Harris) opening number, and I even loved Alec and Steve as hosts. I loved the John Hughes tribute, but Molly Ringwald... WTF with that hair and dress? I wish Meryl would have worn something a little more daring, but I thought she looked stellar. And Helen Mirren is pure class, in my opinion.

I'm now on "Spring Break" which consists of me working all day, every day for a week. Oh- and doing a ton of homework! Because everyone knows that Spring Break is the best time to pile on a bunch of work since students don't have to go to class. Naturally.

Josh and I are hoping to completely paint the bathroom this week, and hope to replace the tub and toilet by the weekend. I'll keep you posted (with pictures, of course) as we progress through our first renovation project!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

National Grammar Day!

This morning I woke up at 5:00 am, ended up leaving late, got stuck behind 3 different school buses, and forgot my oranges at home. Sounds like a bad day so far, right? Yeah... I thought so, too. That is, until I discovered that today is National Grammar Day! Seriously, I know you're just as excited as I am.

In honor of the holiday, here are a few refreshers of my favorite grammar mistakes. And by 'favorite' I mean most-hated-make-my-skin-crawl-OMG-why-are-people-stupid errors:

AHHHH!! If I had a dollar for every time I see these two words use incorrectly AT MY JOB I would be a millionaire. I don't understand why highly educated people still struggle with this concept.
YOUR = possessive, YOU'RE = you+are

Similarly, this mistake drives me just as crazy. (I am guilty of being lazy and omitting the apostrophe sometimes though, so don't hate me. I KNOW the difference)
ITS = possessive, IT'S = it is
I love Grammar Lady. She's the smartest person I know.
THERE = a place, THEIR = possessive, THEY'RE = they+are

You can find these posters and many more at Zazzle. I think they're delightful and just a tad bit snarky, which I love :)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Boondocks... or, Save Me From a Life of Dial-Up

Josh lives in a black hole more affectionately known as The Boondocks. His address doesn't even show up on Google Maps correctly. I'm convinced that there is an invisible wall of something that prevents us from communicating with the rest of the world.

Exhibit A: My Verizon phone only gets service if it's propped up in a specific window in Josh's kitchen. Sometimes I'll get a text message to send if I'm in the bedroom, but that's a rare occurrance. It's obnoxious. Verizon said that when the Alltel merger went through our service would improve. Well, to their credit, it did. Now I can get a full bar of a signal in the window as opposed to a half-bar. Wooot.

Exhibit B: We cannot get cable TV at Josh's house. The hicktown less than 3 miles down the road has a cable line running through it, but 'they' refuse to extend it to Josh's house. Honestly, we really don't care about TV. Neither one of us has that much time to sit down and watch something on a regular basis. But I have developed a love affair with PBS and Create. I'm convinced that I, too, can knit and crochet like a pro, tend a garden, cook with an Asian flair, and paint a kick-ass landscape. PBS is nothing if not inspiring. Josh just doesn't see it...

A simple solution to this problem would be to get satellite TV, right? Well, yes, that's true. However, like I said before, we don't really watch enough TV to justify paying for it. But I definitely would use the DVR if we had one... So, why am I bitching about not being able to have cable TV if we won't even watch it? That brings me to my next point.

Exhibit C: While the lack of cable TV is not a big deal, the lack of high speed cable internet is. We are completely disconnected from the rest of the world. I don't really mind that much at this point because I take advantage of the internet at work or at my parents' house, but when I move in with Josh I think it's going to become an issue. I've got needs that only the internet can fulfill: blogging, reading other people's blogs, looking at weddings... oh, and school related stuff, too. Plus, Josh has 2 online classes next semester (don't EVEN ask me why he scheduled himself 2 online classes when he knows he has no access to the internet... I got nothin'). But seriously, with both of us being in school, we kinda sorta need access to the internet.

Now, I'm sure you're saying to yourself, "Why, Ashley, if you get satellite TV you can get internet, too! Problem solved!" And I'm saying to you, "Thank you, my friend, for your wonderful suggestion that I thought of eons ago. If it were only that simple I wouldn't have a purpose for this here little post." Both Direct TV and Dish Network use internet providers that don't have availability in our area. So I just want to tell them both to kiss my ass and stop sending me promotional flyers in the mail. Also, because of the limited Verizon signal, we can't get a wireless card. We can't even get FiOS from Verizon! So, I'm beginning to think that I've exhausted my options. Please please please someone tell me something I've overlooked that will work in the Boondocks!! (and please don't suggest dial-up. I will shoot myself in the face if I have to listen to that awful high-pitched squeal and be transported back to 1996 every time I want to 'connect'.)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Josh and I decided together (well... it was more like I convinced him) that we need to paint his bathroom. Just a quick coat of paint, in my opinion, will do wonders to that room! Josh bought a fixer-upper in the sense that everything is very outdated, even though it works just fine. What this means is that all of the cosmetic elements need to be updated. I took pictures of his bathroom so you can see what I mean. We're talking avocado green bathtub and toilet with green paneling on the walls! We decided that a quick coat of paint over the paneling would be just the trick to update this room! I'm very fortunate to have a boyfriend that is so handy around the house! I swear he can do anything, which I love. He can fix a washer, install drywall, update electric wiring, and that's just the beginning! He's already talking about adding on and putting on a second story in the future so we can expand :)

We went to Lowe's and picked out 3 sample shades so we could see how they looked in the lighting of the room, and against the wood and toilet. (We may be getting a new, white toilet soon, along with a new shower surround and tub! YAY!)

After careful consideration, we've decided on the 1st shade. The 2nd one was too reddish, and the 3rd wasn't quite as warm as we wanted. The dark shade on the end is the color we're going to paint the mirror frame and sconces on the wall. Eventually we're going to install a dark chair rail and wainscotting along the bottom half of the room. Here are a few pics so you can see what I'm working with here...
Lovely green toilet, green paneling, and green linoleum. The radiator is green, too, but it doesn't really show. Sensing a theme here?

Oh look! It's a green bath tub too!

The mirror is amazing but I think I looove the frame in a darker shade :)

OH! And probably the best quote from Josh: "But the green paneling is the best out of all the paneling in the house!" (he's already tackled dark paneling in the living room, he's got blue paneling in his bedroom, and the spare room we're renovating has light brown paneling)
My reply: "The best of the ugly doesn't make it pretty..."

Monday, March 1, 2010

Diesel Update!

He is getting HUGE! See for yourself:
My mom and Jim's dog isn't too fond of Diesel because he's a little too hyper for her. But he really wants to be her friend anyway!

And then there's Frank the Pug, who is such a ham!

He fell asleep on my feet and I just thought it was adorable!! (pay no attention to my unpainted toes!!)