New House: Master Bed and Closet. Before and During

Here she is. In all of her 1961 glory.

Our plan for this house is to update everything but keep the charm of a 60s house. The rooms are fairly large and open, but we plan to open it up even more and add another bed and bath. We will add some much needed lighting throughout. The exterior will get a face lift and the back yard will get some hardscaping. The existing bathrooms will stay the same since they are incredibly 60s and currently updating the grout and caulk. It’s a dream and a vision that will keep us busy for years to come!

Although we’ve made quite a bit of headway, the After pictures won’t be appearing in the near future. The journey so far has been exhausting, frustrating, expensive, and at the same time, incredible and rewarding. I’ll start with all of the Before pictures from the listing and the floor plan.

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floor plan

The pre move-in checklist: Clean, rip out carpets, paint master, paint master closet (office), replace light fixtures, clean, get dryer, remove window treatments, install shelving unit in master closet, clean, get a room ready for the cat.

I started with the carpets and painting the master bedroom and closet.

Master Before:





Master During:

Master Currently:

We still need to add some decor but this room is the closest to being complete. In here we ripped out the carpet, updated electrical, updated light fixtures, replaced the wall vent, painted (Benjamin Moore Old Navy and Behr White) and added our old curtains. We need new curtains that are a little longer, closet system, area rug and eventually a new frame.

On to the master closet (what was the office).




In here we just added a temporary closet system and painted the builtins (Benjamin Moore Old Navy). The builtins took about 4 coats with one coat of primer. I should have had the primer tinted but they still came out amazing. I have some touch ups to do along the mouldings and side. I was going to get new gold hardware but I really like how the old hardware looks on blue.

I want to add a small island in here and add some shelves in the small closet. Closet within a closet… closetception… We still need a new light fixture, a makeup mirror, storage for shoes, and updated electical.

This will eventually have a door to the future bedroom, the washer and dryer, and a custom closet system.

I’ll keep this short(ish) and sweet with only two rooms. There is plenty more to share so come back soon to see some more before and durings!

Reducing Waste and Saving Money: Bath and Body Works

Who doesn’t like discount Bath and Body Works soap?? I do miss shopping there on the regular though! Here is how you can extend the life of those soaps and shower gels for months!

Some of my favorite scents: Method Minnie Mouse (Target), Honolulu Sun (BBW) and Italian Citrus Sun (BBW)

DIY Foaming Soap Recipe

Ingredients & Shopping List

  1. Fill your soap dispenser with water about 3/4 full
  2. Add 2 Tbs castile soap
  3. Add a pump or two of your favorite smelling soap
  4. Cover and shake to combine ingredients
  5. Add more water to fill if needed

Bath and Body Works Savings Tip: Subscribe online for coupons. When shopping in-stores, take the survey from the receipt to receive $$ off. Shop during the buy 3 get 3 free sales, use the $$ off coupons and shop through ebates online to get the best bang for your buck!

Bath and Body Works Candle DIY

UUgh and the candles… I have a Bath and Body Works candle problem. I’m actually in the process of trying to use all of my candles and almost at the point where I need more (it’s been a year and a half and I burn them every night). But what if they stop selling my favorite scent!?? That’s why I stock up!

Anyway… I like to have candles around the tub for relaxing soaks and stumbled upon a fun hack on accident. My 3 wick candle had burnt out but precious wax still resided on the bottom. I kept it on the bath ledge for a few days not really needing to move it and it collected some water.


I dumped the water and the wax just fell right out! The jar was clean to re-use and the wax pattie was ready for dissection! That accident took a few days so you could also heat in a foil lined pan on the stovetop on low until melted enough to pop out.

From here you can break the wax up and use in a tart burner or melt down and create mini candles for gifts!

DIY Mini Candles

Choose a receptacle of your choice. From a condiment cup to an almost empty mini jar or an empty tealight tin, you probably have something you can use to use as a candle. Here is what I scrounged up:


BUT, I also went to Hobby Lobby to get some more inspiration. So many ideas! Just make sure they are safe to house a candle. I also picked up some pre-waxed wicks for an easier craft.

After you’ve melted the wax down, remove as many little soot crumbs as you can as well as the burnt wicks. Pour into the jar of your choice and, place the wick in and prop the wick up until it sets.

And voila! Two new small candles ready for spring!


*FTC Disclosure: All links to Amazon products are affiliate links and I receive commission based on purchases.

Reducing Waste & Save Money! Paper Towel Purge


Image result for wall-e buy n large

Buy N Large from Wall-E! Photo credit:

After recently becoming a one income family, we had to change some things up. We used to buy paper towels by the bulk often. Too often. Below are two simple paper product changes that have made a positive impact on our budget and living green.

Paper Towels

We used more paper towels than a four person family (it’s just my husband and I). No joke. It wasn’t uncommon for us to use two rolls or more a week. A WEEK! I decided to break our habit cold turkey and switched to cloth. When I ordered the washcloths, or bar mops as they were categorized, I was surprised that they were really a decent quality cloth.

I keep them in a little basket next to the sink. One cloth goes a lot farther when drying your hands and wiping down a wet sink. They’ve retained their fluffiness since purchasing a few months ago and I’ve been very pleased! To clean, I use Oxy Clean and detergent and I haven’t noticed an increase in laundry since the switch.

I bought a lot… These are the extras. Purchasing the larger quantity was cheaper per cloth than the smaller bundle. AmazonBasics Cotton Washcloths, 60 – Pack $29.99

Wal-Mart has rag bundles of 18 for around $4 but they don’t compare in quality. The photo above is one next to the other, both have been used and washed. Left is the Wal-Mart rag and right is the AmazonBasics. The Wal-Mart rag bundles are still a great buy for rag use! They are available for in-store purchase only.


We used paper towels for napkins too. Cloth napkins to the rescue!

These are a little more appealing than face cloths and a little more linen-y.  I can toss them in with regular laundry and haven’t noticed an increase in laundering. They don’t take up much washer real estate.

These are a lot larger than I thought they were going to be measuring in at 16×24. These would be good place mats too since they are about the same size. If you sew, making them yourself is also a really good option! NewTrend 100% Cotton Gingham Checked Dinner Napkins 12pcs $12.99 on Amazon.

After switching to cloth, we put the current paper towels in the pantry and the half roll that was left lasted us over a month. This isn’t a huge money saving hack but it has drastically reduced waste along with saving just a little more on our grocery bills.

 Additional Savings

When I do need to purchase paper towels, I use ibotta to receive cash back after shopping in stores or ebates when purchasing online.

Check back next week for more money saving tips!



*FTC Disclosure: All links to Amazon products are affiliate links and I receive commission based on purchases.


Girl Scout Flowers


Here is the blog that I found the tutorial and template for these flowers to download and use on your own paper. Below is the template over vintage Girl Scout handbook pages. For the leaves, I traced the template onto pearl scrapbook paper. For the bottom of the leaves, I stained using coffee and a bristly paintbrush. Perfect for Girl Scout Week, bridging, appreciation and recognition gifts and events! Happy Birthday Girl Scouts!

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Here is a patterned image you could trace the template over for a more modern flower.

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The Queen of Hearts

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Today, you may find yourself a box of chocolates. For a seamless and sumptuous chocolate box pairing, look no further than the regal Queen herself, Rosa Regale. She’s  flirty, she’s sexy, she’s luscious. This made me want to eat the $3 bargain box, the Whitman’s classic, the Lindt, the Ghirardelli, the patisserie opera. And I did for this post.


One chocolate in particular was a memorable one. Ghirardelli Strawberry Bark was made for this wine.

If you can only get one bottle for your romantic dessert, Rosa Regale should be it.

Chocolates tested:

Lindor Red Velvet Chocolate White Chocolate Truffles

Ghirardelli Chocolate Squares in Strawberry Bark and Creme Brulee

$3 Heart box from Wal-Mart

Whitman’s Sampler

Ferarro Rocher Hazelnut Truffles

The Whitman’s Sampler Breakdown

Tomorrow I will introduce the wine that goes with everything. But if you are hosting a Sampler sample party, this can be a guide for a variety of varietals.


Coconut – tricky, but a velvety Malbec would be sufficient

Chocolate whip – Gewertztraminer, Sparkling Moscato, Banyuls

Pecan & English Walnut Chew – Pinot Noir, Reisling

Molasses Chew  – Gewertztraminer

Fruit Nut Caramel – Pinot Noir

Maple Fudge – Reisling

Toffee – Malbec

Cherry Cordial – Sparkling Moscato

Nuts – Merlot, Noir and tomorrow’s pick


Check back tomorrow for the wine that pairs with all of the above!!

The Whole Foods Cupcake

Like I had mentioned yesterday, I needed a cupcake to pair and picked an adorable little red velvet. I wanted a banyuls with this but couldn’t find a bottle. I decided to try it with an asti.

Less bubbly than the Barefoot or a sparkling wine or champagne, this Ruffino was a subtle bubble with the same sweetness you want from a sparkling Moscato d’asti. Sweet little pairing if your main event dessert is red velvet!

Well that simplifies things!

I was at Whole Foods picking up a cupcake to pair because their bakery is amazing. I also wanted to see what they had for wine and throughout the wine section, they had tags on certain wines that said “Great with Chocolate”! How cool! So I had to give it a go!


A Merlot! This actually went really well! It paired wonderfully and was also refreshing. I paired this with 70% dark Lindt Chocolate. The velvety chocolate lingers in your mouth while you sip and it’s just heaven. You can find this wine at Whole Foods for about $12 and many other wines that had the pairing tag on them as well.

I tried it…


I haven’t been brave enough to try this until this post series. My reaction? Why did I wait so long!? I was thinking chocolate wine would taste like a red wine with artificial chocolate flavors injected into it. This, however, is none of that. If you like Bailey’s or Godiva liqueurs,  you will enjoy this.

I tried it chilled and straight up but this would be fine on the rocks or even in a cocktail that would call for a creamy chocolaty liqueur. Maybe in a minty chocolate concoction… a spiked Shamrock Shake perhaps? I’ll test some recipes out.

If you’re still skeptical, don’t think of it as a wine. Think of it as a cream based liqueur and you’ll be fine. Now shall I taste Chocolate Box wine??


‘Tis the Season!

I was out to lunch at a new favorite, Abbey Road Tavern in Cary, and wanted to go to a wine shop afterwards to see if I could find some good things to pair with sweets. I mapped out the closest shop and there was a small tasting room up the street.


And what a ka-winky-dink, they were having a Girl Scout Cookie and wine pairing!! It’s definitely cookie time!

This time they were pairing up Shortbread, Caramel deLites and Thin Mints. I’m always excited when there are Thin Mints since it’s a tricky pairing.


This one was good. A little Chardonnay-y for me but maybe a little colder and I would like it. Chardonnay is becoming tricky for me lately and my husband is liking it more and more. Odd how much our tastes change year to year!


I like Tempranillo and I enjoyed this pairing. There was a bit of vanilla in the wine so it paired deLite-fully! Ha!


Tricky tricky… I could have tasted a few more to test it out but interesting to say the least. I liked the wine and they were having a special so I bought a bottle. I also have some Thin Mints on hand so I will be testing this out again! And maybe again after that. I will have to have my father test it out when he visits in a few days!

Chatham Street Market is a great shop and tasting room. If you’re in the area, definitely check them out. They have a lovely selection, beautiful seating areas both inside and out, and an amazing staff!


Find Girl Scout Cookies Here!