Lost In the Abyss of Dirty Diapers and Butterfly Kisses

So, I haven’t disappeared completely (although I feel like I have succumbed to being part of the walking dead). As my blog readers know, I was pregnant and eventually a baby will make his debut to the world. Well, I would like to introduce to you our precious new addition who was anxious to meet us two weeks early and we are over the moon with him:

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I have no luck with my kids. They both look just like my husband. I don’t mind so much because I am over the moon with him too. For the years that I’ve wondered how our kids would look like, I can stop wondering now. It’s surreal that they are my flesh and that they imbue such radiant light and energy. I feel blessed with such a gift from God and as tacky as it is, I’m going to refer to a quote I once heard from One Tree Hill that to be a parent is God’s sign that He still believes in us no matter how much we feel like we have failed (OTH fans, I know I’ve butchered it, so be kind).

My dear Ezra was born so quickly, that we didn’t really have a lot of time to process what happened. Two weeks later, we are just getting used to our new routine. I have to admit that I am scared to death on how I am going to do the following:

  • Homeschool Saffron
  • Take Saffron to her ballet and swimming lessons
  • Breastfeed Ezra every three-four hours
  • Doctor appointments for Saffron’s allergies
  • Constantly change diapers
  • Complete my Business Degree
  • Cook three meals a day for my highly allergic daughter
  • Remember to eat and shower
  • Housework
  • Remember to sleep
  • Avoid swigging a bottle of tequila from the stress of motherhood
  • Try not to forget my marriage
  • Fulfill custom orders from my Etsy shop (don’t worry, if you place an order, it will get done, I promise and pinky swear).

And, yes, I did just make a list because that is who I am…Type Anal. Even more so now that I have to battle my mommy brain from lack of sleep. Lists are lifesavers.

As for Saffron’s relationship with Ezra, it is amazing to watch how she interacts with a new baby in the house. For years, she has been the sole attention because of her eczema and allergies and  we have always been extremely protective of her. We have made too many trips to the ER in a year and have given her too many steroids to not be overprotective; hence, the homeschooling. It gives my husband and I a peace of mind and less isolation for her compared to her going to school and have to be left out of parties and crafts with food that she’s allergic to. We thought that because of all this attention she’s had, she would be jealous, but it has been the opposite. When we got home from the hospital, she was quite the lady. She grew up (literally, she seemed to grow a few inches taller during the three days we were in the hospital). She sings to her brother when he cries and caresses him. She picks things up for me when I am too busy. She graciously pretends to sleep through the night when her brother cries. I have been blessed with such an independent three year old. Although I don’t want her to grow up so fast, having a newborn will have to force her to take on responsibilities of being a big sister. I have such mommy guilt with the less time I spend with her and her routine has been out of whack lately. Fortunately, she doesn’t show a shred of jealousy and has been the perfect big sister.

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In response to this guilt I carry, I knew that I had to spend a whole day with her, just the two of us, doing special things and I had to do it before my amazing mother leaves us. She watched Ezra all day while Saffy and I first ran errands, then to the park, then lunch at Burger King (it’s a special treat for her to get her own french fries because BK has a separate fryer for fries and she hasn’t reacted to eating them). Her face lit up when she got her very own french fries and continued to thank me with so much gratitude (it was really sad because her response showed how deprived of normal food she has been). We then made it to the NC Art Museum and being that she’s a bit older than the last time we had gone, she actually appreciated the trip. We pointed out colors and had our own interpretations of sculptures and paintings. It was nice. No tantrums. No whining. Just love between a mother and her daughter. Nice.

Excuse the graininess in the following images from my Instagram. It was one of those days when I preferred to be more in the moment than focusing on taking pics with my bazooka camera. 

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Saffy’s Interpretation: “It’s too big to wash the dishes, Mama.”

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When you have multiple children, you’re pretty much split in two. My husband and I have been through a lot with our first child, which gives us a step ahead with this second one. However, we can’t be equally giving our attention to both children at the same time, so we have agreed that we would have more one on one dates with Saffron, so we don’t miss her growing up so quickly and that she understands that Mama and Papa still love her even with another child to share our love with. Days like the one she and I had at the Museum are humbly simple for us as adults, but extraordinary experiences for our little one.

Hence, our life in a nutshell right now- a bit hectic with less sleep and more to do. Once things start getting into full swing again, DIY Mondays, Thrifty Thursdays, Favorite Fridays, Scrumptious Saturdays, and random Motherhood posts will resume. For now, I’m hoping you are enjoying your summer with lots of fun activities planned and lots of lazy days ahead.

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Love,

Sophia

Scrumptious Saturdays: Filipino Atsara (Pickled Papaya)

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Just like a salsa, top your favorite fish or chicken with this yummy condiment.

Being a lifestyle blog, it can’t all be about design and style. Food is my lifestyle. Amazing decoration must come with amazing food to enjoy it with. A Saturday in our household is a slow, recovery day from the week. It is a time to recover or rejuvenate before Sunday starts preparing us for the upcoming week. I take this day as a day that is centered around food. We make visits to the Farmer’s Market, groceries, and new restaurants to really relish amazing food.

Today, as my first recipe post, I thought it appropriate since I am Filipino, to post an easy, unique, and refreshing recipe centered around Papaya. Atsara is such a delicious version of salsa from the Pacific. It is so versatile that it can be used on top of fish, chicken, or combined with tofu in a lettuce wrap if you are going the vegan/vegetarian route. Enjoy!

Ingredients: 

  • One medium sized green (unripe) papaya, shredded
  • 2 medium sized carrots, julienned
  • 1 medium sized red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 5 cloves of garlice, thinly sliced
  • 2 to 3 inches of ginger, cut into strips
  • 1 medium sized onion, sliced thinly lengthwise
  • 1 Tbsp whole peppercorn
  • 1/4 cup salt (for cleaning and dehydrating papaya)
  • Marinade:
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • Approximately 3 medium sized mason/canning jars for storage

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Directions: 

1. Place shredded papaya in a large bowl and mix it well with 1/4 cup salt. Scrub the papaya shreds together in order to really get the salt to soften them up. Do this thoroughly until all the shreds are covered in salt. Set aside.

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2. Bring the vinegar to a boil in a saucepan, then add the sugar, 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp turmeric. Stir well until everything is diluted. Add half of the sliced ginger, half of the sliced garlic, half of the whole peppercorns to the pot. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about ten minutes. Let it cool.

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3. Remember that papaya marinating in the salt? Place the shreds in a strainer and then rinse well under running water to wash all the salt off. Squeeze the papaya shreds until all the liquid comes out. There is a lot of squeezing involved. You may have to do it more than once until the shreds are dry.

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4. Put the papaya shreds back in the bowl and combine the carrots, red bell pepper, onions, and the remaining garlic, ginger, and peppercorn. Mix well.

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5. Pour the cooled marinade over the papaya mixture and mix well.

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6. Prepare your mason jars or some other airtight container you have available. Pour the Atsara in the containers and refrigerate at least 24 hours before consuming.

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My favorite way to prepare meals using this Atsara recipe is with fish, especially tilapia. Steamed, fried, or broiled, the neutral taste of tilapia absorbs the flavors and I serve it with a side of white jasmine rice. If you are having grilled chicken, this is also a winner to serve with the meat. Atsara usually lasts about two weeks in the fridge, but it usually disappears in two or three days in our house. If you have pretty jars, give them as gifts to friends. They would probably appreciate the refreshing taste of papaya during the Spring and Summer seasons.

I would love to know what you topped your Atsara with!

A special thank you to my lovely mom, who prepared this recipe, so I could document each loving step put into it. 

Thrifty Tuesdays: The Early Bird Gets the Worm

Thrift and estate shopping for vintage goodies is really like a job that I’ve come to warm up to. It’s about waking up before the tot and hubby are up, before breakfast is even made, and many times before the sun is even up. You would think that because it’s so early, that there wouldn’t be a bustle of shoppers. Apparently, others are seasoned to catching their treasures early and you are met with a crowd of like-minded vultures. Vultures in a good way. These people have eyes like hawks and snatch a potentially worthy item before your sleepy self can realize that that piece of glass is worth more than its handwritten tag of fifty cents. They are skilled and impulsive. They are business minded and have no mercy. Those are my competitors and I’ve come to know their ways very well. A word of advice to myself after last weekend: coffee. Lots of caffeine and maybe ten push ups before getting into the car.

I have found some awesome retro finds once I’ve learned the shopping skills needed to make my trips worthwhile. Last weekend, I drove to the countryside as early as seven a.m. for an estate sale and it changed my perspective on that buyer’s drought I spoke of in this post. Dusty and fragile, shiny and heavy, faded and full of history, this place was like finding a treasure trove. I scored amazing things from being an early bird, which will be posted in my Etsy shop very soon after they are polished and washed.

Flea market vendors are a different story. The prices are not priced as low as thrift shops and estate sales. However, you can find some neat things if you really look. Here’s the biggest flea market in Raleigh located at the NC Fairgrounds.

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I love how much history is embedded in each vintage object. You can tell how much meticulous work went into building furniture back then. The intricate paint jobs on ceramic figurines must have taken forever. One can only step back and really appreciate the workmanship that goes into such items. I’m an old soul and that ‘s perhaps the reason why I am so drawn to these things rather than going to a retail store. I like for objects in my home to have a voice. They resonate with energy from their makers and their previous owners.

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You can find this amazing bowl in my Etsy shop.

Part of having a successful vintage shopping experience is pure luck, but you can increase your chances of finding unexpected treasures if you follow these simple tips that I’ve acquired along the way (there is no order in these, just as long as you follow at least two you’ll be set):

  1. Scour classifieds and the internet a week to a few days before you plan on shopping for estate sales and auctions.
  2. Set your alarm at least an hour and a half before the sale is set to open.
  3. Caffeine and of course breakfast for brain fuel.
  4. Push ups. If you can. Or maybe a two minute jogging in place. That’ll wake you right up.
  5. Map out your trip (where will you go first, second, third)?
  6. Wear comfy clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty in. You’ll be doing a lot of kneeling and wiping off.
  7. Make sure you tell your loved ones where you’ll be. If they wake up and you are gone, they might worry. Just make sure to bring them back breakfast or lunch when you are done — at least to sugar up the pain when you tell the spouse how much you “accidentally” spent.
  8. Oh yes….bring cash.

If you have been discouraged with places that you shop at, try going once they open. You’ll be surprised with how different their stock is from morning to afternoon.

Tell me about your morning rituals before you go on an exciting bargain hunt!

DIY Mondays: Gold Splattered Vase Level: Easy

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Gold Splattered Succulent Vase

It’s Memorial Day and I am hoping that all of you had a long weekend full of adventure and laziness! I’d like to start posting Mondays with projects that I’ve come up with myself, links to other crafty bloggers, and of course, Pinterest with my trial and errors recorded. I chose Mondays because if you are interested in doing any of these projects, you have several days before the weekend to gather and prepare your materials before diving right in.

This week, I did a quick project because I have been searching for the perfect centerpiece for my dining table. My dining table is oblong and I wanted to break up its angular shape by putting a round object in the middle. Also, my lighting fixture hangs low and I didn’t want to place anything tall that would be too distracting. I love succulents and wanted to have something unique, modern, and eclectic to put one in.

This project is a bit more specific when it comes to choosing your vase. You will need a vase that has enough space on the top to design and curvy at the bottom. I found mine at a local thrift shop for $5. There are many variations that you can choose from if you keep your eyes peeled.

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Gather your paint supplies. I purchased mine from Walmart. You will need:

  • Krylon Paint and Primer Spray Paint in a White Gloss (or whatever hue you choose)
  • Folk Art Acrylic Paint in Antique Gold
  • Rustoleum Crystal Clear Enamel in a Glossy Finish (Krylon also offers a Glossy Clear Enamel, but I’ve been using Rustoleum for all my projects that need gloss)
  • Meal-size round paper plate
  • Pen or pencil
  • Newspapers or protective paper, to prevent paint from getting all over your table

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1. You must do this in a well-ventilated area, preferably outdoors or in an open garage. Spray the bottom of the vase with the Krylon Paint and Primer in a sweeping motion until the bottom is covered. Let your vase dry for 30 minutes and reapply. Repeat this step for the top of the vase and let it completely dry.

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2. Spread the newspaper on the table for protection and gather the Folk Art Acrylic Paint, paper plate, and a pen. Estimate or measure the diameter of the opening on the top of the vase and draw it on the paper plate.

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3. Pour the gold acrylic paint around the drawing and lightly pour some “rays” on it.

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4. Place your vase upside down onto the plate and then turn it right side up.

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5. Carefully remove the plate from the vase and avoid smudging it. You can now add more gold paint lines around the imprint to give it that drip look.

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6. For a speedier dry time, I placed my vase directly in the sun. Make sure that the acrylic paint is dried completely. If you have any areas that you want to touch up, the great thing about this paint is that it is water-based. Grab a Q-tip and a cotton ball and wet it. I like to go through some of the drippings on the bottom and clean it up a bit. It’s a lot easier when the paint is already dry, so you don’t accidentally smudge other areas of the vase.

7. Grab your Rustoleum Clear Enamel and start coating the bottom of the vase in a well-ventilated area. Repeat again after a few minutes then let it dry completely. Do the same for the top of the vase. One issue that I had with this step is that some parts of the white paint started to crack. I am not sure if it’s because I used Krylon and Rustoleum, instead of using the same Krylon brand for this step. If you happen to try using the same brand for the first and last coats, please let me know how yours turned out. The cracking was minimal on mine and gave it some vintage character, but I was still shocked as to why this happened.

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8. The vase is done, but I took it a step further and planted a succulent inside. If you would like to do this, purchase your succulent of choice, gather some pea gravel or small rocks, and pour it into the vase (about 1/4 of the the vase). I do this step because there are no drainage holes for the water to seep through, so the rocks help with that part.

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9. Put some dirt into the vase and plant your succulent. Then, top it off with some more small rocks.

10. Lastly, find a place to rock your creation!

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Happy Memorial Day!

Favorite Fridays: Top Five Ways to Incorporate Chevron in the Nursery

As some of you know, I am expecting a boy in July. After three years of pinks, ruffles, and lace, it’s time to transition our bedroom to something more us. We do not have a separate nursery for our kids…we like to keep them close, so we share a bedroom with our daughter and our new addition. For us, it just makes sleeping at night easier. My daughter is now three and we have gradually changed her area into a more hip/boho area. We got rid of the dainty nursery style theme and went for something more fun, mature, and bold with a lot of vintage elements into it. My son’s area is a perfectly sized nook in the master bedroom that fits a crib, changing table, and cubicle shelves. The only problem since we have both a girl and a boy is how to design this one master bedroom to accommodate our style, a toddler’s style, and a baby.

This was a challenge that my husband and I had to undertake and considering all the overabundance of baby blues, clouds, and bunnies, I knew that I had to customize his nook to completely avoid going that route. That’s when I had to search for patterns that were more modern, fun, and most importantly, cohesive to our own space. Chevron was the winner. Its repeating geometric pattern gives it a fun and modern design that has helped its popularity grow.

My top five favorite ways to incorporate Chevron in a nursery are listed, but first, here are some of my favorite designs that give the popular pattern a fresh twist:

Top Five Ways to Incorporate Chevron in a Nursery:

1. The walls. When adding Chevron to the walls, it’s already the biggest statement you can make. If you want to add drama to a space, this is a way to do it. I love this image, in which the design only has the pattern on the wall and straight lines for the wall art. Try not to incorporate it elsewhere in the nursery to avoid it looking too busy.

2. The rug. Taking it down a notch, but still making a beautiful statement, a Chevron rug in the nursery is perfect enough to give more leeway to add more art on the walls and still keep the whole room visually stimulating. I personally am in loooooove with this room. The vintage elements, the gold frames, the wall, and the rug are in a perfect affair with each other.

3. The chair. A Chevron printed chair is a more transitional piece that can be placed in the nursery and then relocated somewhere else in the home when the baby is all grown up. A lot of nursery chairs are huge and cumbersome, but this rocking chair  made by Alive and Kicking Design is brilliant! Lauren from Alive and Kicking shows the DIY project on her blog.

4. The bedding. Of course this is an obvious one. A crib will always need bedding. Chevron can be incorporated into this as well.

5. The artwork. If you tend to change your mind a lot like I do and have a hard time committing to a certain pattern, incorporating Chevron artwork in a nursery is the best way to test the waters. If you get sick of it, at least you didn’t spend a fortune and can change your design on a whim.

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Love this color scheme for a boy’s nursery! Made by Puffed Peonies on Etsy.

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Silhouette of a deer bust designed by Karl Machal Designs via Houzz.

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Designed by Tessyla on Etsy.

Of course if you are not expecting or have any kids, you can still apply the concepts mentioned above to your own space in your home. I have just done a lot of looking around for this pattern and how it would look for my little boy’s nursery nook. And, here is how I added it to his space:

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Ezra’s Nursery Nook. I made the anchor painting to give him something special from me and then I couldn’t resist yarn bombing the deer antlers I purchased second hand. The yellow Chevron throw balances the different patterns in the small space.

Who knows how long this Chevron trend will last, but it’s such a fun pattern that’s bound to stick around for awhile longer. Have you gone on the bandwagon and used this pattern in your home?

Please Excuse the Weeds

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Our sprouting plants! Click on the image to enlarge.

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Taken with my iPhone. Last year’s bounty. We had lots of beets, kale, carrots, and tomatoes.

I woke up this morning and after a few days of just rain, the sun was finally out, which meant that the money I paid to have our lawn mowed was just a complete waste. Our lawn went from groomed to jungle in a matter of days. I’ve noticed after years of dealing with our yard, our grass is the most temperamental that I have ever seen! It’s a mixture of weeds and bare patches and are not thick enough to even have a decent picnic with a blanket on. When I lived in California, the dirt was black and soft. My plants flourished wonderfully and I loved gardening on it. It’s probably because the soil in NC is really red clay that I have a hate-hate relationship with it here. Red clay, though full of minerals doesn’t like me back either. I hate it when it rains here because when you track in the mud and get even a patch of it on your clothes, you can say goodbye forever to your favorite pants or throw them in your scrap cloths for housecleaning. My daughter once wore her new pair of jeans out in the snow and slid on her knees as she was running to catch some snowflakes. My husband saw my expression, as if in slow motion, my eyes widened and I belted out a slow, “Noooooooooo!” Those jeans, those cute jeans, were history. Hence, I really detest the soil here. Yes, lots of trees and plants grow here in NC, but if not treated properly, your yard will look like a red mound of an anthill.

With such a huge backyard, we would need to till the whole land, put lime on it, then replant the right kind of grass. We’ve attempted to hire lawn care companies and they would seed the ground, but that’s all. No. Our yard is a far cry from that. It needs to be torn up and the soil needs to be tilled into submission. It discouraged me from doing any further work on it because it was always a waste of money. Then, I had a lightbulb moment. I delegated hubby to build raised beds in the backyard, so I can have good soil and compost for planting. Ding ding! I can ignore the weeds and focus on the plants inside the beds instead. I really have a keeper because he went straight to the hardware store for some lumber and built me three raised beds. I can tell he was really sick of looking at the bare backyard too, otherwise he would have taken his sweet time doing a project like this.

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One of my criteria of a man that I can spend the rest of my life with– that he build me a garden.

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Baby carrots! So cute!

I don’t have the best green thumb and I know that I have sooooo much to learn about plants, but my daughter is at an age that I feel it is important for her to be in touch where good, nutritious food comes from. We have since had success with herbs and tomatoes. This year, we planted some Napa cabbage, yellow squash, zucchini, eggplant, broccoli, and tomatoes. Apparently, lettuce is a self seeding plant because it just grew in rows by itself and we have a bunch of it growing without any of my help. We rebuilt our string bean teepee to give it one more chance. Last year, the vines started growing and then they stopped, but they are supposed to be runner beans, which left my teepee very bare and exposed. Our blueberries are back and this time, I will net that baby until they get ripe enough for picking instead of leaving them for the birds to feast on. They’ve had organic blueberries year after year and wipe out my bush each time. We also have the cutest baby apples growing. I don’t know why my trees do not grow taller or even wider. I have dug holes three times as large for them and they still remain the same size I purchased them four years ago. I throw my hands up gardening here.

Anyway, I’ll update as soon as things really start blooming. Most likely in July or August, our flowers will be in full bloom and they can distract you from staring at our weedy lawn.

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The flowering herbs Saffy picked for me while I was trimming the plants. Such a cute and unexpected bouquet from weeds!

Thrifty Tuesdays: Serendipity

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Local thrift shopping find

In the wake of the devastation in Oklahoma, I’d like to first acknowledge that people are in need of healing and relief. If you would like to help, please donate to the Red Cross. My thoughts and prayers go out to them.

So, vintage shopping here in the Raleigh area has come to a what I call a buyer’s drought. My days thrift shopping have become more of a job than an easy day of procurement of lots of cool stuff. My style has evolved through the years and I believe that’s what’s caused me to have a difficult time finding exactly what I need. I’ve found some pretty neat things along the years, but that’s just it– it’s taken me years to accumulate furniture and decorations that suit my taste without just going out to buy a brand new piece from a retail store. I’ve saved a ton of money that way, but tons of hours scavenging. Andy doesn’t understand that he’d be broke if he was with some other girl. I’ve managed to purchase/make furniture and home decor for under $100. He’s starting to understand now after we were looking for a quality dresser that doesn’t chip or fall apart after a year, that furniture is really expensive. I mean really expensive. I don’t know where he comes from thinking that a dresser should cost $50! So, with little funds that go to food and gas, I’m not left with much to make our home more stylishly homely.

And that’s when serendipity comes to play. After going through a buyer’s drought, I pretty much had no faith in bargain shopping here. Discouraged, I have pretty much given up. The pieces that are found in antique stores and flea markets here in NC are usually overly ornate and full of scroll work or shabby chic. My taste fits in neither category. Upon visiting a local thrift shop for some blankets, the hidden gem above was hiding from view and toppled with dusty lamps from the 90’s. Not paying too much attention to it, I looked at a chair right next to it contemplating if I even had the time to reupholster it. I placed my hand on the dresser whilst staring at the chair and my hand happened to rub on the price tag label, which said $20.00. $200.00! For this drab thing! Wait….$20.00?! I need to get my eyes checked. Confused and a bit dizzy like I was seeing things, I took a step back and took a good look at the junk that someone didn’t need anymore — a freaking Mid-century credenza for $20?! I think my husband was right when he said that furniture shouldn’t cost more than $50. I didn’t even thoroughly look at the furniture, before I was searching for an employee to ask for delivery. That baby was mine and I wasn’t letting go of it! The thrift store of course doesn’t deliver, but I begged the loading guys in the back to give me this one piece of happiness. Of course, it probably helped that I looked like I was about to pop anytime, so they probably felt obligated to help a preggo chick out. When it arrived to its rightful home, I inspected it and busted out my nail gun to secure the backing. I polished my new baby, vacuumed the drawers,  and added some bronze knobs like it was a Ferrari. Much to my surprise, this treasure was made by Lane. And I know Lane. They manufacture amazing quality furniture and much more, this is a Mid-century piece, which sells for $600 and up. Delivery and credenza = $40. That my friends, is serendipity. 

The moral of this post– when you feel like giving up on your thrifty searches, don’t be discouraged. All things have energy, even furniture. The right one will call to you when you least expect it. Have faith that it’s out there even if it takes months. Let me know about your most treasured thrift find in the comment section!

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iPhone shot. Saffy loves it too because she has more places to climb now.

DIY Mondays: Child’s Dresser Revamp on a Budget

A child’s environment is constantly evolving as well as our own. We get bored of the same surroundings in our home and as our kids get older and bored of theirs, that does not mean that we have to keep buying new furniture for them. If it was all pastels and muted colors for your baby, a simple furniture revamp is all that’s needed for your growing child’s furniture to grow with them. I decided to embark on a quick semi-DIY (I say semi because I didn’t build the dresser). I apologize that I do not have a before picture to show you because the dresser was purchased a couple years back on Craigslist for $25 and I was too impatient to get this project going. The dresser was all white with wooden drawer pulls. Simple, but it had no character.

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Funny how a little color can go a looooong way. I went straight to Home Depot where they carry the Behr line (my absolute favorite paint brand because it never fails me being a paint and primer in one). I already had the colors in my mind that would grow with a little toddler into her teens. Colors are listed at the end of this post. I didn’t want to purchase the quart sizes for four different colors because I only needed a small amount of paint for each drawer, so I purchased their sampler sizes with my color choices. I needed a glossy finish, but they only carry the flat finish in the samplers, so I purchased a clear, glossy paint finish, which happened to be on clearance also. I bought that in a quart size. I applied two coats on each drawer and when they dried, applied the glossy finish.

The wooden pulls were painted a light green with quaint daisies. Cute, but not my style. I purchased four gold pulls to give it a more grown up look. I spent about $30 altogether for the paint, gloss, and drawer pulls. There you go! Dresser revamp on a budget! You now have a customized dresser that didn’t cost you an arm and a leg and won’t take up your whole day! Happy painting! If you decided to embark on this project on your dressers, what colors did you choose?

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Behr colors in sample sizes from top to bottom:

  • Sweet Mandarin
  • Youthful Coral
  • Mint Majesty
  • Saffron Thread
  • Gloss: 1 qt of Rustoleum Painter’s Touch- Crystal Clear Gloss

Drawer pulls similar to the ones I used: Giagni 3″ Antique Brass Cup Pull

All purchased from Home Depot.

The South Has Tractor Parades

Being that we have done pretty much everything in NC as a family, there’s nothing more exciting than a carnival that comes to town. NC has its annual Fall State Fair in October, but there are usually smaller events that take place that’s family friendly. We went to the Got to be NC fair today, which is more of an agricultural fair. It was free to get in and you can’t beat that if you’re desperate enough to find something different to do around here. I’ve never seen so many farm equipment in my life.

Saffy is a bit older and I was curious about her being able to go on the kiddie rides. She got to ride the kiddie train by herself and much to my dismay, Andy took her on the Ferris Wheel. If there is a time that would cause me to go into early labor, it probably would have been the site of my tiny baby going on an open Ferris Wheel that swings and the image of her sliding right underneath the seat rails. I was having major hot flashes and seriously considering fake fainting, so they would get off that thing. What made me even more nervous was when I thought they were about to get off the ride and then the conductor let them go one more round while he unloaded the other lucky souls. Right when they were stopped at the top, a storm started brewing and the wind started to hiss like we were expecting a tornado to come through at that moment. I didn’t want an “I told you so” moment with my husband, so I just prayed that they get off that ride safely before that wind flipped their seat over. Everyone was safe and sound, but as for my husband, that’s a different story. At least Saffy had a blast.

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Vintage Aldo Cowboy Boots are perfect for this Agriculture Fest.

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You see that girl in the front photobombing? I couldn’t resist posting this. She looked like she wanted out.

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Love how they added flowers to make it more charming.

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I told you there’d be tractors.

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Making fun of me from the ride.

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See how she can easily slip underneath? I couldn’t take the stress.

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What exciting things have you done this weekend?

Strawberry Fields

Spring is here and this is our second year on our annual tradition of picking fresh strawberries. Saffy, as she grows older, has learned to appreciate learning where whole foods come from and likes to get dirty doing it. Her face brightens up when we plan our trip to the strawberry fields in the neighboring town. Andy also enjoys making sure we pick the juiciest ones and I enjoy just being out picking berries, so I can make a yummy strawberry chocolate pie! If you’ve never gone out to pick your own berries, I highly suggest you do. I know that it’s more work than just grabbing a small box from the produce aisle, but getting to pick food from the vine and not having to deal with the gigantic chore of gardening, you still feel rewarded at the end. We have a few crops growing in the back and my favorite is our blueberry bush I planted a few years back. It has produced so many plump blueberries, but I rarely get a chance to enjoy them before the birds do. At least our local wildlife is fed well. So, to feel like Spring has sprung, we’ve made it a tradition to go strawberry picking to kick off the season. Last year, I came more than once. The last time was late in May and the strawberries were overly ripe already; however, the whole berry patch smelled like chocolate dipped strawberries. It was divine and I have never experienced anything like it. Even a whiff would stimulate those happy endorphins!

Here was our last year’s harvest (I never bring out my DSLR to such an active event, so please excuse the not-so-crisp photos):

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Taken from my iPhone because I had to enjoy grabbing a bucket full too instead of lugging my bazooka DSLR around.

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She was my little helper in 2012.

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This was our recent trip to the strawberry fields. My growing bump probably enjoyed my berry samplings too!

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She picked them on her own this year. 2013

After harvesting, I immediately soak the berries in one part vinegar and ten parts water and thoroughly drain them to help them stay fresh and not get so moldy so quickly. They last a lot longer this way. You can also do this with other berries too.

If you are ever in Raleigh, NC, come stop by DJ’s Berry Patch in Apex. Such a pretty field with yummy berries!

How do you kick off Spring with your family?