The Friday Five

Friday, February 27, 2015

One – AZ Blogger Meetup

Photo Cred: Photography Hill
Last Saturday I went to an Arizona Blogger Meetup event and I had such a great time! I got to hang out with Carrie from 3595 again plus I met some other fun lady bloggers. We did a gift swap and Nadia from Nadia Thinks bought me a perfect gift! She even included treats for Ringo and Abby, so they were pretty happy too! Waffle Love served their famous liege waffles and they were absolutely delicious. I had mine topped with nutella, strawberries, and fresh whipped cream…it was the best waffle I’ve ever ate! Shari’s Berries sponsored the event, so we each got to take home a few chocolate dipped strawberries. They were so yummy that I didn’t even share them with my boyfriend! I had such a good time at the event and I can’t wait for the next one! Especially if waffles and/or chocolate are involved again!

Two – My Mom

France 2013

My mom is coming to visit next weekend and I’m so excited! I haven’t seen her since Christmas, so it’s long overdue. We have a full weekend of shopping, eating, and talking about our Italy trip planned, so it should be a blast! Yay! I’m so excited!

Three – Vikings

I took a sick day on Wednesday and spent the entire day on the couch streaming Vikings. I’d heard good things about the show and the first 2 seasons are available for free on Amazon Prime, so it seemed like a good way to spend the day. I ended up finishing the first season and I liked it, but I don’t love it. I’ll probably keep watching because the second season is only 10 episodes and I’m curious what happens with a couple storylines. Plus the main guy looks at lot like Charlie Hunnam (Jax from Sons of Anarchy) *swoon*
Have you ever watched Vikings?

Four – Hip 2 Save

Do any of you follow Hip 2 Save? It’s a coupon/deals blog and they share lot of deals from different stores and websites every day plus tips for couponing. I’ve been reading for a few months now and I’ve gotten some really great deals, especially during Christmas. It’s also how I found out about K-Mart’s $2.99 boots sale that I mentioned during my last Weekend Junk post. I definitely recommend checking it out!

Five – Fifty Shades of Grey

So I saw the movie over the weekend…and I honestly liked it. I wasn’t expecting much after all of the bad reviews, but I thought it was pretty good. I liked the book too though. I mean, it’s not Pulitzer Prize winning material, but it’s entertaining. That being said, Jamie Dornan was not who I pictured as Christian Grey. I thought he was kind of dull too. Too bad Charlie Hunnam dropped out...he would have been perfect. I did like Dakota Johnson as Anna though. I thought the Anna character was pretty annoying at times in the book, but she was such a better character in the movie. She was likeable and kind of funny. Anyway, it sounds like there’s some drama surrounding the actors, director, and author, so hopefully it doesn’t stop the next movie from being made.

Have you seen 50 Shades? What did you think? 

Insta-16: Take 11

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

It’s time for another round of Instagram pictures! You can see the previous ten recaps here

If you have an account, you can follow me at: sam_whit22.  If not, this recap is for you! I’ve rounded up my last 16 Instagram pictures for you here today. This roundup includes Halloween, Christmas, a trip to the zoo, and lots of Ringo and Abby pictures!

As usual, my plan is to share a pretty collage of all the pictures and then pick my top 5 in different categories: Abby, Ringo, Cutest Couple (Ringo and Abby), Yummy (Food or Drink), and Wildcard (Non-Food and Non-Puppy).

OK, enough talk! Here’s the 11th round of Instagram pictures:

And here are my favorites:


I had such a hard time choosing my favorite Abby picture this time! I love the picture of her sleeping next to me on the couch and the one of her wearing the reindeer antlers, but it’s hard to beat that bee picture! I bought both of the dogs’ costumes a few days before Halloween (they were 50%-off at Petsmart) and it was money well spent (I only made them wear them so I could take pictures). Abby didn’t really like wearing the costume, but she’s so sweet that she didn’t fight much. Have you ever seen a cuter, sadder looking bumble bee? I doubt it.


Sticking with the Halloween theme, check out my Ringo shark! He absolutely refused to wear the hoodie shark head part, but he actually didn’t mind the rest of the costume. He’s strange like that. Can we all agree that’s the cutest shark you’ve ever seen?

Cutest Couple

Ringo and Abby think that they are lap dogs, so this is usually how I watch TV. Abby always cuddles with me on the couch, but Ringo is usually off doing Ringo stuff (playing, getting into trouble, sleeping in our bed), so I don’t always get cuddles from him. As much as I jokingly complain about ~130 lbs of dogs on my chest, these are my favorite moments.


Chocolate covered strawberries! Yum! Shari’s Berries sponsored the Arizona Bloggers Meetup event last weekend (more details on Friday), so we each got to take home a few berries. I’ve made chocolate covered strawberries before and they are really good, but these are excellent. I had the best intentions of sharing with my boyfriend, but I ended up eating them all myself…and I don’t feel guilty at all =)


I finally got to meet my BBFF (blog BFF), Meaghan from This Messy Business, in person while she was in AZ visiting her boyfriend and family. We drank sangria and talked about our love of Taylor Swift’s new album and home décor. It was so much fun and I’m happy her parents moved to AZ, so hopefully we can do it again soon!

OK, who else is on Instagram? Leave your username in the comments, so I can follow you.

Flashback Friday: February

Friday, February 20, 2015

Happy February! Earlier this month I celebrated my 4 year blogiversary! I can’t believe I’ve actually kept up with this for so long, but I still really enjoy it and have no plans to quit anytime soon. Now let’s take a look back at Februarys past:

OK, let’s kick this off with a flashback to February 2014 –

I only wrote one post last February, so this post about my new medicine cabinets is my favorite one by default. That being said, changing out the old, rusted medicine cabinets was a huge upgrade in the bathroom. It was a fairly cheap change, but really helped kick off the bathroom makeover. 

Let’s rewind another year and look at February 2013 –

This is one of the best upgrades that I’ve done in the house. I didn’t think adding hardware to the cabinets would make that much of a difference, but as you can see in the pictures, it totally does. I was scared to drill into the cabinets, but it ended up being easier than I though. Check the post for my must-have tool! Two years later and I’m still really happy with my hardware choices and they all still look good as new!

A couple years ago I planted an herb garden… and I killed all of the plants. I ended up replacing all of them a couple more times, but right now I only have rosemary and oregano. Rosemary is by far the easiest to keep alive. The original plant only died because it didn’t get watered for 2 weeks while I was on vacation and I’ve only had to replace it that one time. I also replaced the painted pots with these chalkboard pots from West Elm. The light blue ones were on clearance when I bought them and I think I got the set of 5 for less than $20. I think I’m going to try one more new plant and just keep a set of 3 herbs instead of 5. Hopefully that’ll be easier to keep alive/cheaper to replace.

Time to go WAY back to February 2012 –

Three years ago I organized all of my DVDs into one box and it turned out to be my favorite organization project. I’ve been pretty good about keeping up with the system over the past few years and I even put together a second box to hold the discs from TV shows. I even got my mom to organize her DVDs this way and she loves it too!

I know I already mentioned baby Abby dog during the January Flashback, but two years ago we brought Abby home! And it was the best thing that’s ever happened to me! Look at that sweet little face! She’s bigger now, but she still thinks she’s this size. She’s my 80+ pound lap dog =)

And finally, let’s go back to February 2011 – my first year of blogging!

It’s hard to believe that I’ve already been in this house for four years! As you can see from the before pictures below, a lot has changed over those years. Both of the spare rooms were painted ridiculously bright colors when I bought the house. The purple room is now my striped office and the pink/blue room is the pale blue guest room/my boyfriend’s junk room. I still have a lot of work left to-do, but the house is slowly coming along.

Four years ago I shared 7 random facts about myself. If you were wondering, yes, I’m still scared of birds and I’m still obsessed with avocado. And thankfully, my eye socket is still the only bone I’ve broken…knock on wood…

So that’s what I’ve been up to in February for the past four years. It’s been fun looking back to the start of this blog and back to when I bought my house. Thank goodness those bright colored walls are long gone!

Dining Room Mood Board

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Despite the fact that one of my goals this year is to finish one of the many rooms I’ve already started, I’ve decided to start working on another room…I know! I just can’t help myself. That being said, I’m going to start working on my dining room!

As some of you know, I don’t have a separate dining room. There’s just a space between the living room and kitchen. This picture shows the space in relation to the other rooms. It’s actually bigger than it looks in the picture. 

When I moved into this house I brought along the counter-height dining room table from my apartment, but ended up replacing it with this black pedestal set a year later. It was from Wal-Mart and I have nothing but good things to say about it. It’s held up really well over the years. My only complaint is that black dining room tables are impossible to keep clean! They show every little crumb. Anyway, other than the table, I haven’t done much to the dining room space except add a couple pictures from Hobby Lobby (I painted the mats and frames).

I don’t dislike anything about this room, but I’m ready to change up a few things so it’s more my style. I think sometimes you can get so overwhelmed by ideas on blogs and Pinterest that you can end up with a room that you like, but isn’t really your style. I think that’s especially true if you are a new home owner and don’t really know your style yet…at least that’s all true for me.

Putting together a mood board always helps me pull together my ideas and set a clear plan. Of course all of the items and finishes are subject to change, but this is the general direction I’m heading:

I’ve always loved these farmhouse style tables, but I didn’t think I’d have room for a rectangular table in this space. I was wrong…that’s why you should always measure. So, my plan is to buy a farmhouse table and matching bench. The rest of the seating will be a mix of wood chairs and upholstered captain chairs. Right now our table only seats 4, so it’ll be nice to have the additional seating.

On the wall, I want to hang a cup rack for my ironstone tea cups. I’ve amassed quite a collection over the past couple years and would love to have somewhere to display them. I’m not sure if I’ll do a metal rack like the one pictured (which is impossible to find for sale) or DIY a wood one with hooks.

Right now we have a ceiling fan in the dining space, but I’d love to replace it with a beautiful fixture. I love the idea, but I also love ceiling fans in the summer. I know they are terrible design wise, but they are so practical…especially in hot climates like Phoenix. So I’m kind of undecided on replacing the fan or not…

Lastly, I want to sew either a faux roman shade or a valance for the window in the back door. Right now it just has a cheap mini blind that’s missing a few slats. I think that bright fabric will add some fun color to the space.

I can’t wait to get started on this space. I think I’ve already found the table and bench I want. I just need to re-measure the space. If you are curious, it’s this set from Wal-Mart. OK, let's take a look at the to-do list:

Buy dining table/bench
Buy 2 dining chairs
Buy 2 head chairs
Find cup rack
Sew window valance/roman shade
Update light fixture - maybe?
Styling/finishing touches

So, what do you think? Am I crazy for starting another room?

China Cabinet / Light Fixture / Cup Rack / Fabric / Dining Chairs / Striped Upholstered Chairs / Dining Table / Dining Bench / Faux Lavender Arrangement

The Friday Five

Friday, February 13, 2015

One – London and Paris Pillows

I bought the CUTEST pillows at HomeGoods over the weekend! One is a map of London and one is a map of Paris! It’s kind of hard to tell in pictures, but some of the details are embroidered. I seriously love these pillows! If you are interested, the brand is Feathers by Fashion, but I can’t find them online so you’ll have to check your local store. They also had a New York City one. The London one was $19.99 and the Paris one was $24.99.

Two – London Broil Marinade

I’m obsessed with this London broil marinade recipe. I’ve made it four times over the past couple months and it’s been delicious every time. It’s super simple and it’s paleo approved! I usually throw everything together the night before while I’m already in the kitchen, but I’ve also started marinating the meat in the morning and both ways are delicious. I can’t vouch for the grilling directions because I usually just hand it off to my boyfriend to grill and we use elk instead of beef, which cooks differently, but the marinade is definitely a keeper!

Three – An Updated Frame

Last week I switched out a picture frame in the hallway. If you remember, the original frame was a cheapo from Wal-Mart that I spray painted white. I’ve wanted to replace the frame for a while now and I finally found one that I liked at Kohl’s. It was only $8 (sale price + $5 rewards cash + 20%-off coupon)! I think the new frame looks so much better and it really shows off my Portobello Road artwork.

Four – Lip Sync Battle

Have you seen the Jimmy Fallon, Will Ferrell, and Kevin Hart lip sync battle video from The Tonight Show? If not, watch it immediately! It’s hilarious! I’ve seen it more times than I care to admit, but I still laugh out loud every time, especially at Will Ferrell. The Tonight Show’s lip sync battles are by far my late night skit. If you haven’t seen the other ones, look them up on YouTube! They are all great!

Five – Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day! Does anyone have anything planned for tomorrow? We don’t yet. We’ll probably just go somewhere casual for dinner so we can avoid the crowds. I’m excited to give my boyfriend his “I love you because…” present and see what he thinks. 

Weekend Junk #19

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

It’s time for another round of thrift store goodies! This post is a roundup of some of my favorite finds over the past few months – I don’t want anyone to think that I found all of this in one weekend! As you can see, most of my finds are from Goodwill and Savers. However, they recently opened an Epic Thrift within a mile of my house, so I’ve been stopping by pretty regularly and have had pretty decent luck there too.

OK, let’s start with clothes:

Kut from the Kloth Jeans (my favorite jeans brand) - Goodwill - $7.99 $3.99
Pink Lace-Back Shirt – Savers - $4.99 $2.50
Full Tilt Striped Sweater – Epic Thrift - $6.99
Banana Republic Cropped Jeans - Goodwill - $14.99 $7.48
LOFT Striped Shirt - Goodwill - $4.99 $2.49
DownEast Bird Shirt – Savers - $7.99 $6.00

Kut from the Kloth Jeans – Epic Thrift – $9.99 $7.49
Buffalo David Bitton Teal Shirt – Goodwill - $7.99 $3.99
Chambray Shirt – Epic Thrift - $5.99 $4.49

Navy/Coral Gap Shirt - Goodwill - $3.99 $1.99
Leopard Print Shirt – Epic Thrift – $5.99
Gray/White Striped GAP Blazer – Epic Thrift - $9.99 $4.99

Now let’s talk home good/wares! As usual, there’s ironstone…

Red Cliff  Ironstone Tureen – Savers - $7.99
Capiz Frame – Goodwill - $3.99 $1.99
Glass Corn Dishes – Goodwill - $0.99 $0.49/each
The Pioneer Woman Book – Goodwill - $3.99 $1.99

Blue and White Ironstone Set - Lutheran Thrift - $3.50_
Frame - Goodwill - $0.99 $0.49
Snow White Ironstone Sugar Jar - Lutheran Thrift - $2.00
Ironstone Platter – Goodwill – $2.49 $1.24

And these boots aren't a thrift store find, but they are the best deal I've gotten in a long time. Last week K-Mart had most of their boots on clearance online for $2.99! I was able to get 3 pairs and with shipping only paid about $16!

Boots - K-Mart - $2.99 each!

What have you found recently?

You can see my previous finds here

Quick and Easy Valentine’s Day Projects

Monday, February 9, 2015

Valentine’s Day is only a few days away, so today I’m sharing a few quick and easy projects that'll add a little holiday spirit to your house.

Valentine’s Bunting

I used my Silhouette and this bunting design to create easy bunting for my mantle. If you don’t have a Silhouette, you could make a template out of card board and use it to trace your design. The paper is from Michael’s. They had all of their Valentine’s Day stuff on sale, so I was able to get a whole pack of paper for $2.50.

Chalkboard Art

I updated the giant chalkboard in my living room with a love-themed quote. I used this design as inspiration. I just pulled up the picture on my Kindle and tried my best to copy the design. If you don’t feel comfortable free handing the design, she provides a template you can trace. Or if you don’t have a chalkboard, the design is available as a free printable!

Glitter Heart Sign

I made this sign at a Lolly Jane craft night last year. They provided all of the supplies, but you can easily recreate this project on your own. You can read the full tutorial here. For the craft night, they provided a vinyl stencil for the heart, but you could easily freehand this, as they did in the tutorial. Also, at the craft night they had those round foam dabbers that we used to make the polka dots. Just dab them with a little mod podge, then sprinkle with glitter.

Love Sign

Or you can make an even easier sign using just some scrap wood and paint.  I found this wood block at Michael’s for $1.99, but a scrap piece of a 2x4 would be perfect for this project. I used my Silhouette for the lettering, but if you have decent handwriting you could easily freehand this. You can use a piece of chalk to draw out your letters and then just paint right over it. Once the paint was dry I distressed it with a piece of sandpaper and that’s it! Quick and easy!

Free Printables

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

And lastly, if you don’t have time to create any of these projects, you can always just frame one of the many free printables available on various blogs. These are some of my favorites.

I Love You Because…Valentine’s Gift Idea

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Valentine’s Day is less than two weeks away, so today I’m sharing a quick, but thoughtful Valentine’s Day gift. I made this for my boyfriend, but it would be a fun gift for anyone you love.

I started by buying a few smaller gifts, just random things that he likes, such as Twix, sunflower seeds, and beef jerky. I also painted him a Gone Fishing sign. I thought it would look cute manly sitting on his desk at work. Then I made a list of things I love about him and things he does for me that makes me smile. I also wanted to include a couple funny ones, so the gift wouldn’t end up being too cheesy. I used my Epson Printable Ribbon Kit to print out my “I love you because…” notes and used the ribbons to wrap each gift.


I wrapped all of the "I love you because…" ribbon-wrapped gifts in a plain gift bag with a scrapbook paper heart. Oh, and isn't that glitter heart sign cute? I made it at a Lolly Jane craft night last year.

I love how it turned out. I know he’ll be surprised because we don’t usually do much for Valentine’s Day. He usually buys me flowers and we cook dinner at home, so I think he’ll be excited by his present.

*Disclaimer: I was provided an Epson LabelWorks Printable Ribbon Kit for review. All opinions, ideas, and cheesy sentiments are my own =)

Living Room Throw Pillows

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

It’s time for another project from the Christmas Break to-do list: throw pillows for the living room! This project is long overdue (I ordered the fabric in October 2013) and I’m so happy it’s finally done.

Once my craft room was finally clean enough to actually use the sewing machine, this was a pretty quick and easy project. I sewed three 20x20 envelope pillow covers. I only bought two yards of fabric so I had to sew a few scrap pieces together to cover the back of the last pillow, but it’s not really noticeable. I didn’t write up any instructions for this project because there are already plenty of envelope pillow cover tutorials out there. Just make sure you leave plenty of overlap in the back so the insert doesn’t show through the gap.

The fabric is P Kaufmann St. Thomas Pearl and I bought it on eBay for $26.75/yard. It looks like there’s a minimum 15-yard order now, but it can probably be found elsewhere if you are interested. As for the inserts, 2 of them are from IKEA and 1 is from Joann’s. I think I prefer the one from Joann’s. The IKEA ones smoosh down too much when you lay on them. Although they would be fine if the pillows were just decorative.

I love how the pillows bring a little color to the room. It was starting to look a little too neutral in there for my taste. I love how this room is turning out.

And now I think this would be the perfect time to review and update the living room to-do list:

Find sectional
Buy rug
DIY abstract art
Re-paint console table
Paint China Hutch
Sew curtains
Apothecary cabinet
Find coffee table
Buy new end table
Sew throw pillows

Replace missing baseboard
Style entertainment center shelves/top
Decorate fireplace mantle
Replace arm chair
Paint end table – newly added
Style coffee table – newly added
Style console table – newly added
Add lining to curtains – newly added
Buy/sew pillows for bench – newly added
Hang artwork above bench – newly added
Paint bench – maybe?
More throw pillows/add throw – maybe?
Buy large plant/pot – removed from list

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