Friday Five: Birthday Edition

Friday, June 30, 2017

One – Happy Birthday to Me!


Today’s my 31st birthday! Last weekend Adam and I went to Prescott to celebrate with my family. While we were there we took a day trip to Jerome and then all went out for Mexican food (my favorite). Tonight my friends and I are going to a Brazilian steakhouse to stuff ourselves with meat. 30 was one of the best years of my life, so I’m looking forward to seeing what the rest of this decade brings!



Two – Outlander


A couple weeks ago I had a really bad cold so I stayed home from work for two days. I spent those two days binge watching the first season of Outlander (16 episodes). It took me a little longer to finish the second season, but now I’m all caught up and can’t wait for season three! I bought the DVDs during Black Friday last year and have been meaning to watch them since then. With our trip to Scotland coming up in a few months, I figured now was the perfect time to watch. The scenery is so beautiful (as is Jamie Fraser amiright ladies) and now I can’t wait for our trip!


As for the show, I loved the first season except for the final two episodes (did it really need to be that graphic?) and the second season was pretty great once Jamie started to be a badass again. Have you seen the show or read the books? I’ve heard that for the most part the books are better…as usual.



Three – Model Homes


A few weekends ago Adam and I went to check out a couple new subdivisions in the area. Both had model homes available to view and we had so much fun checking them out. It was really interesting to see what styles Adam was into and how similar our tastes actually are.


The first subdivision is actually in our price range and we’ve been casually talking about moving there. It would save Adam about 10 minutes on his commute each way and my commute time wouldn’t change much, just a different direction. We still have a lot to talk about before we get serious about moving, but it’s a possibility.


The other subdivision is totally out of our price range. Actually, we could probably qualify for the loan, but I don’t think I’d be able to sleep at night with that kind of house payment. Both of the model homes were so beautiful and one was decorated totally my style. The kitchen above is from the first home we walked through and I’m obsessed. I seriously love that kitchen!



Four – thredUP


A couple months ago I cleaned out my closet and put together a bag of clothes to send to thredUP. I requested a clean-out bag months before so all I had to do was fill the bag and drop it off at the UPS Store. It took a few weeks for them to finally process my bag, but I ended up making $90 plus possibly an additional $17 for my consignment items. Over $100 for clothes I was just going to drop off at Goodwill!


If you’re planning on cleaning out your closet I highly recommend trying out thredUP. It’s easy and free! To make the most $, research the brands that they accept and only send items in good condition. If you want to sign up, use this link for $10 credit (I also get $10 credit). NOTE: This post is NOT sponsored. Everyone with an account can earn referral credit.



Five – Jalapenos


I mentioned in my last Friday Five post that Adam and I started a veggie garden. At that time the tomatoes were the only plants flowering and producing anything. BUT, over the past couple of weeks our jalapeno plants have really taken off. Look at those cute little peppers! I just hope they survive the extreme heat and we’re able to actually get a few full size peppers to eat!



Anyone have anything fun planned for the weekend or 4th of July? Tonight we’re going out for my birthday, but other than that we don’t have any set plans. I’m taking Monday off and we get Tuesday off for the holiday, so I’m just excited to have a 4 day weekend! 


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Exploring AZ: Jerome

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Last weekend my parents, Adam, and I took a day trip to Jerome, Arizona.


Founded in 1876, Jerome was once the fourth largest town in the Arizona Territory. At the time it was a booming copper mining town and known as the “wickedest town in the west”. After WWII the demand for copper dropped causing the mine to close and Jerome became a ghost town. A couple decades later artists re-discovered Jerome and people began trickling back to the town. Today Jerome is a thriving tourist and artist community.



The town sits on the top of Cleopatra Hill (5,200 feet) and much of its appearance hasn’t changed in the past 100 years. Although due to its location on a mountainside, gravity has claimed a few historical buildings, including the town’s jail.





We got there just before 11 a.m. so we explored some of the shops and then headed to The Haunted Hamburger for lunch. And yes, the building is believed to be haunted. You can read the full story of missing hammers, slamming doors, and photographs capturing the vague image of a woman here. Even if you don’t believe in ghosts, it’s still a fun place to visit and the burgers are delicious!



After lunch we walked around more of the shops and then stopped at the winery for a tasting. We sampled four of the local wines and enjoyed a glass of blackberry sangria. They also sell local artwork in the tasting room.



After we finished looking through the shops we headed to Gold King Mine & Ghost Town. It’s only about a mile outside of Jerome and it’s basically a ghost town/old mine/junk yard. The site was built by local man starting about 30 years ago (he passed away late last year). Originally there was only one building, but over the years he added other buildings and over 100 old trucks and other vehicles.


The entrance fee is based on age (the highest fee is $5) and you can also purchase a bag of feed for the animals for $1 (totally worth it). Once you pay the fee you’re free to walk around and explore. There’s seriously stuff everywhere!



My dad is a mechanic so he loved looking at some of the old cars and trucks. Most are in pretty rough shape, but we found a few that wouldn’t need much work to get them running. There’s also an old mine shaft on the property (closed for safety reasons). It’s really just a weird/random/interesting place.


 
 

More About Jerome:


We didn’t stay the night, but if you do, I’d suggest staying at the Jerome Grand Hotel. It used to be the United Verde Hospital and is one of the most haunted places in Arizona. If you’re feeling brave, ask for a room on the third floor. The operating room was on that floor and guests report hearing the sound of hospital gurney wheels. You can read more stories from the owners here. Would you stay in a haunted hotel?



If you want to explore the area further, the Jerome State Historic Park is just down the hill (building on the right). The building used to be the Douglas Mansion, built by the former owner of the Little Daisy Mine, and is now a museum of the history of Jerome and the Douglas family.



The town also hosts First Saturday Art Walks and an annual Historic Homes tour (in May). If you want to continue your journey, Jerome is less than an hour from Sedona or Prescott and only about 30 minutes to the Verde Valley Wine Trail.



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Living Room Refresh

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

It’s been such a long time since my last living room post! I think the last one was about my EKTORP thrift find. So, almost 2 years…although I did talk about the new curtains in a house update earlier this year. So let’s start where we left off:

 
 

Not much changed in this room until I replaced the curtains at the end of last year. I loved the yellow ticking curtains, but they didn’t have enough visual impact. They blended in with the walls too much. So I replaced them with a pair of woven panels (Nate Berkus – Target). We have the same curtains in the master bedroom and I love them. I love the texture and the color is perfect. Unfortunately they don’t come in a longer size so I had to take the hem out for them to hit the floor. I’m thinking that maybe I should switch out the rod with a darker one too? What do you guys think?



So other than that, nothing else really changed until I was vacuuming a few weeks ago and noticed how shabby our rug was starting to look. In general, I’d say that our rug has held up really well over the past 4 years. It’s held up to years of wear from two big dogs, plus a few foster dogs and our newest doggie addition. It’s starting to show it age now though. There’s some bare spots in high traffic areas and the white parts are not as bright as they used to be.



I started searching for a new rug a couple weeks ago during Rug USA’s Memorial Day sale. I’ve been obsessed with this Distressed Persian rug (in blue) for months, so I thought for sure that’s what I would end up buying. BUT, after a bit more searching I completely fell for the Chroma Faded Gothic Medallion rug (in grey, of course). I read tons of reviews and looked at all of the customer pictures before pushing the buy button. In the end I couldn’t resist the price and positive feedback.



It arrived a couple weeks ago and we finally unrolled it this weekend. I love it! I was nervous about how it would look in person, but the pattern and colors are perfect. It’s so pretty! And it’s not a loop rug, so it should hold up to doggie nails better than our last one and the color will definitely hide dirt better. 




Now that I have a new rug, I want a new coffee table. I think I’m going to get this metal and marble one from West Elm. I love the look of it and so does Adam. We also like how much sturdier it looks vs. our current table. The legs on our current table are getting a little wobbly and one of them won’t tighten anymore. I think the box shape will hold up to getting moved around more than our current table’s design. Although the price is a little high, so I'm looking around for alternatives...


Other than that, I need new pillows for the couch. Our current ones don’t match the rug and are getting a little worn too. I don’t change my pillows out every season and we actually use them when we watch TV, so they get a lot of wear all year long. With the busy design of the rug, I wanted to keep the pillows simple, so I ordered three of these navy covers. The pattern is subtle enough to not compete with the rug, but is more exciting than plain navy.



So that’s our living room refresh plan. Hopefully I can get everything pulled together soon so I can share an update within the next month or so. I can’t wait to see how it all looks together!



FabFitFun Summer 2017 Box

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Last year for my 30th birthday I wrote a list of 30 things I wanted to do in my 30th year (you can see the full list here). One of the items on my list was to “spoil myself with something lovely”. I intentionally left it vague because I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to buy for myself. I was originally thinking jewelry, but I have a lot of nice jewelry already and I don’t wear most of it.

So I kept thinking about it and couldn’t come up with the perfect thing. Then last month Adam’s sister-in-law and I started talking about the FabFitFun subscription box. Neither of us had tried it, but we talked about watching videos of people opening their box and how fun it would be to get our own (one of my friends has a subscription and really likes it too). And then I realized, this is how I could treat myself! So I signed up for a year subscription! It’s not exactly what I had in mind, but it’s been so much fun already. Plus I have three more boxes coming so it’s the gift that keeps on giving.


My summer box arrived over the weekend, so I thought it would be fun to share everything that was in this season’s box. The first item is a Michael Stars Ruana ($54 value). It can be worn a lot of different ways, but I’ll probably use it as a scarf or pool cover-up. I picked the black and white alligator print because I figured it would go with everything. Honestly, this is something that I would never buy myself, so getting it in this box was a fun surprise.


The next item is a Kris Nations Mystic Bar Necklace ($58 value). Isn’t the glass bottle packaging so cute! I picked the howlite in silver, which is supposed to enhance intuition and promote calmness. This necklace will look good with so many different outfits.


Also in the box was a BKR glass water bottle ($35 value). I picked this blue color, but it was also available in pink. These first three items listed were announced before the box shipped and if you’re an annual subscriber, you could pick your colors. Otherwise, they ship a random color/design. I would have been happy with either color water bottle, but I was relieved to pick my Ruana design (I didn’t like one of the colors).


The next three items were a surprise. The first item is Juice Beauty Smoothing Eye Concentrate ($29 value) and I’m really excited to try it. My under eye area could use some help (ugh, wrinkles) so hopefully this will help. The next item is Avene Eau Thermale Ultra-Light Hydrating Sunscreen ($24 value). I already use a SPF 45 moisturizer every day, so I don’t really need this item, but I’m willing to try it…maybe I’ll like it more than my current product. And finally, in the box was this Cargo HD Picture Perfect Highlighter in Bronze ($30 value). I don’t currently use a bronzer, but I’m trying to up my makeup game, so this will be fun to try.


Next up was a mystery choice item. Before our boxes shipped we could pick either a mystery fitness or beauty item. I picked fitness and was sent Way of Will Post Training Massage Oil ($29.50 value). It says that it provides a soothing and cooling sensation, so this will probably feel amazing on sore muscles…now I actually need to go to the gym.


The last item was another mystery choice. We had to pick between traveler, artist/DIY, or chef. I had such a hard time choosing, but I ended up picking artist/DIY. The item was an Amy Tangerine Art Kit ($22 value) and honestly, it was a pretty disappointing item for someone who is already crafty. It’s basically just a canvas and cheap letter stencil, plus paints and a brush/foam stamper. I wish I would have picked chef. I saw on another review post that it was a Himalayan Pink Salt Kit.


Overall I’m really happy with my box. I wouldn’t have picked most of the items out myself, but that’s kind of the point. My box included $280 worth of products for only $45 ($180 annual subscription/4 seasonal boxes). I also love that everything is full size. Years ago I subscribed to Birchbox, but that only includes sample sizes (for the most part) and I started collecting WAY too many of those. Of course it’s cheaper than FabFitFun, but I think it’s worth the extra money for full size items.

If you want to try FabFitFun, you can use this link to save $10 off your first box. You can always just sign up for one box using the code and get everything above for $40, then cancel if you don’t want to spend the money every quarter.

OK, who else subscribes to FabFitFun? Or what other subscription boxes do you like? We used to get Bark Box for the dogs, but it started to get too much (although it was fun while it lasted and now Ringo thinks every package is his Bark Box).


The Truth About DIY Epoxy Floors

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Our garage floor is finally done and I’m so relieved that this project is finally over! 

*This post contains affiliate links

I feel like this was the longest project ever, but most of the time was spent waiting for the epoxy kits to be delivered. As a quick refresher, we planned to makeover the garage for the spring One Room Challenge, but weren’t able to finish in time because of this floor project. The first pair of epoxy kits from Home Depot were damaged in transit and never made it to our doorstep. I reordered the kits from Wal-Mart and those actually got delivered…but one was damaged. So, we took that one back to the store and I reordered another kit. Eventually that one was delivered in one piece, but by then the challenge was over. We had family visiting the next weekend and were both sick the following weekend, so the floor project that was planned for the end of April didn’t get started until the end of May.


Before I start rambling about the process, let’s look at some before/after pictures. The before picture is where we left off at the end of the One Room Challenge and the after is as of two days ago.



Isn’t it a huge change! It looks (and is) so much cleaner in there now. We’re both really happy with how the floor turned out and we really hope it holds up well.

I’m not going to share a step by step tutorial for this project. There are already some really good videos and guides out there to watch/read if you want to epoxy your floors. Today I just want to share my honest opinion about taking on this project, plus share a few tips that we found to be helpful.


Oh, but first let’s talk about the products that we used and why we picked them. For the floor we used Rust-Oleum EpoxyShield Professional in Silver Gray plus the Rust-Oleum EpoxyShield Clear Finish. One of my friends did this project last summer and those were the products that he recommended. He’s had no issues with his floors for the past year, so we felt good about following his suggestions. We also did a lot of research/read a lot of reviews about the regular EpoxyShield kit (water based) vs. the professional one (solvent based). The professional kit is a little more expensive and not available in stores, but from what we read, it sounded like it would hold up better in the long run. For us, it was worth the extra money and time/effort getting the product shipped to us.


OK, now let’s get into the meat of this post. Going into the project I thought it was going to be fairly easy and inexpensive. I even pinned a few posts that say in big letters “Easy Garage Makeover” or “Easy Garage Floor Coating”. Once we started doing more research and pricing out all of the supplies…yeah, it’s not easy or inexpensive.


Truth: It’s Time Consuming

This is not a quick and easy project. You need one day to prep the floors and then you have to wait at least a day for them to fully dry. Then you paint the first coat, wait a day to paint the second coat, and then wait another day to put of the final gloss coat. Finally you have to wait three days for it to cure. You can walk on the floors after like 12-16 hours, but no heavy traffic or driving until it’s fully cured.


I’m glad that we ended up doing this project over a long holiday weekend. We spent Saturday prepping the floors (degreaser, chemical etch, and rinsing), Sunday we painted the first coat, and Monday we painted the second coat plus the decorative chips. By Tuesday we were exhausted and we didn’t end up doing the gloss coat until Friday night.


So make sure you set aside a full weekend plus a couple week days for this project. You can’t do it over two separate weekends. The instructions for the clear coat state that it must be applied within five days of the epoxy coat or you have to sand before applying. Sanding sucks, so do it within five days.

(first coat)


Truth: It’s Expensive

Before I really started researching this project I thought it was going to cost about $200. I figured the kit was about $100 plus maybe another $100 for the rest of the supplies. Yeah, I was WAY off. I haven’t added up all of my receipts, but I think it ended up costing over $400.


Most of the tutorials I read from bloggers did not mention needing to buy more than one kit or doing a second coat or clear coat. One of them has pictures of just one kit, but when you read through the comments they actually used 9 of them! Of course that’s more than your average garage would need, but if you have a 2 car garage, I would plan on buying two kits in order to do two coats. I would also recommend adding the clear coat. It’s an extra hundred dollars, but it’s totally worth it in my opinion. It makes everything smoother (easier to clean) and protects the color flakes from peeling and getting dirty. You can also mix in the anti-slip beads that’ll keep it from being so slippery when wet.

Each kit is about $100 plus another $100 for the clear coat, so we’re already at $300 for this project. You’ll also need to purchase degreaser, concrete etch, brushes/rollers/buckets that you can trash after each use, hard bristle brooms, and plus other supplies that will probably push your total over the $400 mark. I don’t say this to discourage you, I just don’t want anyone to be surprised how much it actually costs when you start pricing everything out.



(second coat)


And with that, let’s move on to tips/notes about this project. The biggest tip (actually it’s a must) is teamwork. If you are doing a two-car garage or larger, you need two people. Depending on the temperature, you only have a certain amount of time to use the epoxy once it’s mixed. We did our floors in late May (and we live in Phoenix), so as you can guess, it was really hot outside so we had less than 2 hours of epoxy pot life. Honestly, we cut it close on both coats and you could feel the difference in the epoxy as time went on. There’s no way we could have finished in time with just one of us.



Our second tip is all about prep. As much as we all hate prep work, it’s SO important for this project. To ensure proper adhesion and no hot tire pickup, you have to prep your concrete as instructed. We watched lots of videos and read the instructions carefully to make sure we properly prepped the surface. You’ll also want to fill in any cracks and caulk any gaps. The seams in our garage floor were really deep, so we caulked all of the seams. We didn’t fill them completely, but enough to make them easier to paint over. We have a couple small chunks missing in our floor and we didn’t fill them, but I wish we would have. I didn’t think they’d be that noticeable and they really aren’t, but it would have looked better overall. 

(after cleaning)

The next tip is all about the color flakes. They’re listed as optional, but I think that they’re a must. They hide a lot of imperfections in the floor and epoxy. The trick is to not obsess over making them look perfect - it’s not going to happen. Just try to sprinkle them as evenly as possible throughout. We used a drink shaker to sprinkle ours, but a lot of people just toss theirs into the air. The trick is to do small handfuls and throw them high so they have time to spread out and don’t just fall in a clump. We added quite a bit of chips and ended up with two full bags leftover, so don’t worry about not having enough.



Lastly, follow the instructions provided with the kit. All of the videos and tips online are helpful, but you should stick with the provided instructions for exact information. Like I said above, the instructions specify certain timeframes for each step and they need to be followed.


If you’ve been planning on trying this project, I hope I didn’t just scare you off. It’s totally doable and I’d encourage you to try it if you’ve been thinking about it. I just want to set realistic expectations. I mentioned above that it’s expensive, but it’s definitely not as expensive as hiring someone to do it for you. We saw a coupon in an ad that advertised $899 for one color for a 2-car garage, so we saved at least $500 doing it ourselves (I don’t think that add included the clear coat)!


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