Project Pantry: Day Two

According to my Twitter feed, a lot of people were doing the same thing as me this weekend - procrastinating and wasting time on the Internet instead of doing projects. So that's why I only spent one day on the pantry this weekend...and it happened to be Sunday night.

This is my progress after day two of stenciling. I'm hoping to finish at least this bottom section tonight. I have to tell you I almost quit. I don't know if it's my homemade stencil or what, but I'm having trouble with the stencil staying flush on the wall and everything lining up properly. The only reason I kept going is because I'm blogging about this project and didn't want to look like a failure. Jon pushed me to keep going too, saying "just keep at it, it'll look good and you'll be happy with it in the end." So that's what I did, and I hope he's right. After serious touch ups it better have been worth it!

In the meantime, let's look at this super successful project from Courtney at reckless glamour. She refinished  and added a union jack to this dresser. I just love it! The colors, the cup pulls, the union jack, the distressing that gives it an old weathered look. Fabulous job Courtney! Check out her blog for all the other amazing projects she's completed.

photo via reckless glamour


Review of Lolita Cocina & Tequila Bar

I have now been to Lolita cocina and tequila bar on two occasions and will most definitely be back for more.

A few weeks ago I met up with my good friend Nicole for happy hour. We weren't sure where we wanted to go, but we both love trying new places so we decided on Lolita in Boston's Back Bay on a recommendation. Wow. It did not disappoint!

I'm a sucker for interesting cocktails, especially if St. Germain is in the mix, so I had to try the white lie margarita. Holy! I have never had a better drink in my entire life. I already loved this place and I'd been there five minutes.

We sat down and were immediately served a heaping bowl of tortilla chips, a trio of salsas and a special sauce in a square glass bottle, which ended up being a fiery habanero version. It was H-O-T.

We decided to pick at a few things and ordered tres ceviches - three types of ceviche in case you don't speak Spanish. Sangrita - lobster and scallops with tomato, orange, chili oil and avocado; traditional - mahi mahi in fresh lime juice, diced serrano chili and red onion; and coco - ahi tuna in coconut milk with fresh lime, cilantro leaves and jalapeno chili. I thought the coco would be the best, but turns out the traditional was the most enjoyable. The fish was delicious and the flavors were fresh and meshed really well together. It was so good!

We also wanted to try something unique so we ordered the chorizo tacos with fried eggs. It also had these little crispy cubed potatoes. They reminded me of breakfast burritos. The chorizo was awesome! Tender, crumbly and full of flavor. It was a really tasty dish.

We each tried two more drinks to get a well rounded sampling of cocktails. They were all good, including the mezcal mistress with the candied bacon rim!

When we were ready for the check, our waiter brought it over accompanied by a massive cotton candy sprinkled with pop rocks! (Not sure why I didn't take a pic of this!) I'd never seen anything like that before at a restaurant. It made the experience unlike any other I've had, super memorable. To top it off, the waiter left us two temporary tattoos with the restaurant logo. Needless to say, we did not apply these to our bodies, but thought it was a cool idea.

I loved the entire experience of Lolita so much that I took J & my parents back this past weekend. It was packed at 9:00 & we had to wait outside in line just to put our names in for dinner. The wait was an hour & a half to two hours for a table. I was kind of deflated because I figured everyone would want to leave, but we headed to the bar for a round of drinks. Of course I got the white lie again, mojito for J & margs for my parents. Everything was delicious. We ended up having a few more at the bar and finally sat around 10:30. J & I split the butternut squash & chorizo soup. A creamy, spicy soup with tortilla strips. It was incredible! My mom can't eat anything spicy, which is almost everything on the menu, but she was able to order shrimp with a mixed greens salad and avocado slices. She raved about the greens and their silky, lemony dressing. I tried one of her shrimp and it was phenomenal. Everything else was great as well, but those two dishes took the cake.

J & my parents loved the restaurant, I was so glad because I'd hyped it up so much over the weekend that I was worried they might be disappointed. They weren't; and you won't be either.

As for the decor, the restaurant has a sexy vibe - dim lights, dark corners, reds and blacks, ornate chandeliers, even the bathrooms are unique. The entire toilet, including inside the bowl is decorated in a black and white pattern that reminds me of the pottery found all over the flea markets in Mexico. Lolita is worth your time to check out, even if it's only for one margarita - but I dare you to stop at just one.

Lolita cocina and tequila bar is located at 27 Dartmouth Street in the Back Bay, Boston.



Project Pantry: Day One

TGIF! Ok I wanted to share an update on my pantry closet stencil. This is how far I got in one night after work. It's looks really good!...from far away. I have a two small spots on the right that I couldn’t get to, but I will.

So it's not that bad, but it definitely needs touch ups because some of the gray seeped into the white area. Then there was the problem of the gray paint peeling in a few spots. I'm not sure if that's because the paint was too thick in those spots or what. I guess I'll read up on it a little & see if I can learn anything about the correct way to do this! In the meantime, lots of trial and error, possibly more error

Hopefully I'll get a lot further on it this weekend! Stay tuned for updates.



The Start of "Project Pantry"...and a Few Other Accomplishments

Hope everyone had a fab long weekend! We had a busy, action-packed Prez Weekend at the Green Bungalow. My parents came to visit from New Jersey. It was their first time seeing our new house so we were super excited for their arrival. And as I mentioned previously, my dad is very handy so we were eager to put him to work – thanks Dad! By the end of the weekend we:
  • ate and drank a ton - review on Lolita Cocina and Tequila Bar in Boston coming soon
  • put in a banister leading down the basement stairs (my Dad was all about this, so we let him run with it)
  • installed additional shelving in our pantry closet
  • hung curtains in the mudroom
  • capped off a scary electrical outlet
  • bolted in a safe
  • fixed a few pesky windows that were tough to open
  • measured, measured, measured for windows, new garage door and a new front porch – all projects for the spring/summer! 
And by we, I mean Jon and my dad. I was busy testing out new bedding and pillows for the master. We didn’t get to install cabinet hardware in the kitchen, mostly because we hadn’t picked anything out yet and partly because we ran out of time.

Oh! And I also got TOOLS! Some sweet hand-me-down saws to occupy the entire garage (sorry Jon!) and a brand-spanking-new sander so I can refurb this puppy:

It's hot, I know, but I think something a little more like the dresser below might look nicer. I can’t wait to get started on it…just trying to decide if I should put the dresser in the family room or the guest bedroom, which will determine what the final piece should look like. I’m really liking this idea though, which would make more sense for the guest bedroom. That was my initial plan for the dresser anyway, so I might just stick with that.

On Monday I finished off a few projects – painted the walls leading down to the basement…bye bye nasty handprints! I also covered up the plain switch plate with something a little more fun, using leftover paper from my corkboard revamp.

I also painted the banister a turquoise-y/baby blueish color that I’d considered for the pantry closet shelves. I’ve since re-considered that idea in favor of keeping the shelves white, and plan to repaint the banister gray. We have SO many gray samples from Home Depot that I should make use of.

I painted the entire pantry closet - walls, shelves and floor – that literally took me all day to complete (on and off) to get them ready for my stencil project! Pretty soon my pantry will look similar to this:


I’ll be starting the stenciling process tonight, which I’m sure will be a long, tedious project, but I’m determined for success! Last night was spent undertaking the arduous task of cutting out the stencil by hand – my finger is still numb from applying so much pressure when cutting – which was totally unnecessary as I used a thin sheet of plastic!! Here's a preview of my pattern:

If it wasn’t a pantry closet I would have splurged on the $50 stencil I liked, but I opted for the economical option of creating one myself. Being a perfectionist, I’m not sure I’m cut out (no pun intended!) for stenciling. We’ll see if I regret this!

Stay tuned for a pantry closet progress report (and wish me luck!)

Have you stenciled before? Any pointers so I don’t pull my hair out, or give up and just paint it all gray?



Creative Ways to Hide a Thermostat

After taking photos of my awesome HomeGoods find, I realized how unattractive the thermostat is in our family room. So I started searching for a creative way to disguise it. Here's what I found...

Option #1: Install shelves & lean large framed photos in front of the thermostat

Option #2: Create a photo gallery to hide the thermostat in plain site

Option #3: Another gallery wall, this time with thermostat in it's own frame as well

I'm leaning toward Option #2, but still going to think on it and see if I can come up with any other ideas. The wall is not very wide, so I don't it to be too overwhelming with tons of photos, however most of the wall space is take up with windows, so that would be a perfect place to display photos and art.

What do you think?

In other news, I'm super psyched that my 'rents are coming to town this weekend to finally see the house for the first time! I'm so excited for them to come hang out with us in our new place and to have my handyman father do a ton of work lend a hand with some home improvement projects that I've been too scared to do ourselves, including installing drawer pulls and knobs in the kitchen. We haven't actually picked anything out yet, so i don't know if that'll be doable in time. If not, I'm sure we can put him to work on some other things!



Mirrored Cabinet Love

I am completely and utterly in love with this mirrored cabinet I bought a few months back at HomeGoods. I love the mirrors, the swirly circle pattern and the shimmery silver paint. I am seriously enamored with that place - I also bought the two apothecary jars & the silver holiday ornaments (that yes, I still have on display - it's just cuz they match the room so well!) there. You can get the best deals and I always find something - which I guess sometimes isn't the best thing, at least not in my hubby's opinion.

I think I found a somewhat permanent home for the cabinet. We'll see once the sectional finally arrives, we buy a rug and put the finishing touches on this room! So for now it resides against the wall between the attic door and the entryway, below the hideous thermostat. Now I just need to figure out a cute way to cover up that thermostat! I'll be scouring Pinterest for ideas, and am open to suggestions!

Seriously, how awesome is this thing? The little knobs even match the handles on all the doors throughout our house.

Ok, suggest away - how do I cover up this thermostat? What have you bought at HomeGood recently that you can't get enough of?



Happy Valentine's Day!

I love the yarn-wrapped letters I've seen recently. Luckily I had some leftover yarn from scarves I've knitted the last couple years, so I decided to give it a shot. I really didn't have a clue what I was doing, but I figured I had nothing to lose.

I cut the letters X and O freehand from cardboard boxes I had leftover from the move. I definitely could have done better on the X because I tried to be all fancy with it, which made it harder to wrap.

I started by hot gluing one end of the yarn to the back of each letter and then just took my time wrapping the yarn in a way that I thought looked best. Like I said, I had no clue what I was doing so I made it up as I went along.

The O was pretty simple, aside from having to feed the yarn through the center a billion times.

The X was a bit more challenging and that required a lot more hot glue, but you can't see it cuz it's all in the back.

For now the letters are sitting on a shelf above our TV. I didn't take a full pic of the shelf because it doesn't look so hot as is, but wanted to get the pics of the letters up for V-Day.

I think the yarn wrapped letters are really pretty, but I definitely need some practice. You could do initials or spell out a short word, etc. I thought this would look really pretty with some sort of embellishment on the O. Either a knitted flower or something sparkly in the top right. I'll figure it out soon, if not, maybe in time for next Valentine's Day?! Although I think these could stick around through the season, don't you?

What Valentine projects have you done this year? Have you attempted yarn wrapped letters? Did yours come out better than mine? :-)

Happy Valentine's Day!



Cork Board Revamp

One of the projects I finally completed last weekend was revamping a plain, boring cork board. I wanted a place to hang important docs, save the dates, invitations, cards, etc. in the kitchen without looking sloppy plastered all over the fridge, so I thought a fun cork board would do the trick. I brought a cork board home from work and picked up some pretty scrap booking paper from Michael's. I settled on a blue pattern, even though it really doesn't go with my kitchen, just because I liked it. I of course did not document all of the steps taken to put this cork board together, but it's pretty straightforward.

This is pretty much what the cork board looked like when I started:

I sanded down the wooden frame a bit so that the spray paint would stick. Then I covered the cork part with recycled cardboard pieces and tape before spraying the frame with Krylon's Stainless Steel spray paint. I thought the stainless would look good because it would match our kitchen appliances. It actually looks more like a sparkly silver than stainless steel, but I really like it. After a few coats and some time to dry, I pulled all the tape off the cork and set the board in the office, where it sat for a few weeks while I procrastinated.

When I finally got my act together, I used rubber cement and coated both the cork and the backs of the scrap book pages I planned to use. Let the rubber cement dry, then positioned the pages where I wanted them and voila!

My nephews were over the day I hung the board and one of them drew me these Valentine's Day-inspired pictures! Is he good or what?!

Small project, but was still fun and will be a functional piece in the kitchen.



Our sectional is almost here!!

Got the shipment confirmation this morning! I cannot wait until it finally arrives in our living room & we can finish furnishing and decorating!!

I'm trying to post this from my phone so I can't save a good pic of the couch, but here it is! It's the Henry sectional from west elm. We upgraded the fabric to a linen blend in gravel. It's also one seat shorter on the right to fit nicely in our room. Can't wait!

I have some fun valentine projects & a cork board project I completed last weekend to show u, but photos are not handy so they'll have to wait until we're home from skiing this weekend! Oh & we finally hung a large custom framed photo from our engagement shoot in boston in the entry so I'll show u that & some before and "in progress" shots after our almost-entire-house paint job!

Until then, have a great weekend decorating, DIYing & blogging!



Recipe: Spicy, Roasted Chickpeas

I'm forcing myself to leave the kitchen...because I just made these & they're SO good!

I've been trying to eat healthier these days, but have found myself craving carbs, crunch & salt in the afternoons. I haven't given in, but have been searching for a healthier solution to satisfy all these cravings, in a healthy way.

Enter chickpeas. They're packed with nutrients, protein, good fats and are relatively low on the glycemic index. The dried variety are more nutritious than canned, but I used canned to make mine cuz that's all I had.

Here's how I did it (I didn't measure anything):
  • Can of chickpeas, rinsed & patted dry
  • Throw in a bowl & add olive oil, cayenne pepper, chili pepper, onion powder, garam masala, salt & pepper
  • Mix everything together so they're evenly coated with EVOO and spices, then spread on a cookie sheet
  • Stick in the oven at 450 for 30-40 minutes. (I checked it at 30 & took the really browned chickpeas out. Then cooked the rest for about another ten mins until they were slightly browned and crunchy)

Then I ate a handful :-)

They came out really good. They're super crunchy, spicy and just a tad salty.

Here's to hoping this will satisfy my 3pm carbohydrate craving tomorrow!