Thursday, April 27, 2017

The $150 ORC: Week 4

If you've landed here through Calling It Home's One Room Challenge linkup, welcome!  My name is Laura, and I live in Greenville, SC.  I'm a wife, a mother of a precious 10 month old boy, and a small business owner.  I'm so excited to complete my second one room challenge (check out my first here).  I'm working on giving our guest room a facelift on- get this- a $150 budget.  No fancy collabs, no interior designers, no $700 light fixtures, no frills.  Just consignment finds, DIY projects, and a whole lot of elbow grease. 

It's now week four of the One Room Challenge and things are, well, looking a whole lot like they did last week.  Womp womp.  I found two frames that I like for hanging above the bedside tables.  Snagged them this week at Target for $20 a piece.  Now I'm working on figuring out what exactly to put inside of them.  I originally planned on some kind of artwork or print, but now I'm leaning more towards getting two family photos printed.  

I also gave the pulls on the bedside tables another coat of paint.  I didn't love the look of the gold spraypaint I originally used, so I picked up a container of Martha Stewart Gold Gilding, and I love how it changed the look.  They're now a much richer metallic gold color, exactly what I was wanting. 

Here's a quick before and after of the pulls.  Before is on the left, after on the right. 

I also managed to get the window hung above the dresser, and I like how it fills up the wall.  I used a french cleat to hang the mirror, which I had never used before.  I was a little nervous hanging something so heavy on the wall, so I love how secure the french cleat is. 

Pillows are on order through Wheaton Whaley, and I should get them in next week! They were a little out of my budget (considering I now have less than $1 left, ha!), but I've bartered with Elizabeth. I have a jewelry business, and Elizabeth is one of my most loyal customers.  I've agreed to do a few custom pieces for her in return for the pillows.   

Here's a quick estimation of what I've spent so far:

  • IKEA Rast bedside tables: $70
  • Curtains: FREE
  • Chalk Paint for tables: $3.50
  • Two additional bin pulls: $7.00 (already owned the other 4)
  • Old Window: FREE
  • New white outlets, switches, and covers: $8.00
  • Old book for wreath: $.50
  • Liquid Gold Gilding: $5.00
  • Lamps- FREE (repurposed from another room in our house)
  • Bedding- FREE (using what we already had in there) 
  • Picture Frames for above bedside tables- $40
  • Curtain Rods- $11
  • French Cleat for hanging window- $4


Here's what I still need to do:

  • Hang curtains and blinds (I have both in my possession, I'm just dreading this part)
  • Throw pillows for the bed
  • Print pictures to put in gold frames
  • Sell something from the room so I have more money to spend! (I'm allowing myself to consign anything that's been in that room, and use that money to put back in the space)

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Almost every Sunday, as I'm planning our menu for the upcoming week, my conversation with T goes like this.  

ME: "Hey, what do you want for dinner this week?"
T: "Asian"
ME: "Okay, well, like what kind of Asian? That's very broad."
T: "Lettuce wraps."
ME: "Ugh, I hate making lettuce wraps, think of something else" 

But last week, I finally did it.   Made a lettuce wrap recipe that I liked.   I've always hated making these in the past.   It takes forever to cut up all that raw chicken in to itty bitty pieces, I can never get the sauce to reduce enough so they're drippy and make a huge soy sauce mess, and they're just not that good.   But then I stumbled upon Gwyneth Paltrow's recipe for lettuce wraps, and decided it was high time to give these another shot.  If anyone's going to have a good recipe for these, it's going to be Gwyn.  And guess what, she didn't disappoint!   These hit all the marks for me.  Easy to prep, they call for ground chicken so no dicing of raw meat involved, they have a nice thick sauce, so no drips, and they were absolutely delicious.   I did make several tweaks to the recipe though, simplifying it a bit. Ain't nobody got time for making their own Sriracha and Hoisin sauce. 

Chicken Lettuce Wraps
(Adapted from Gwyneth Paltrow's Lettuce Wraps)

Neutral oil (canola, grapeseed, or safflower)
1 lb. ground chicken
Coarse sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 yellow onion, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 tbsp ginger, finely minced
1/3 c. shredded carrots
1/2 c. hoisin sauce
1 head bibb or butter lettuce
2 scallions, thinly sliced

Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken along with a healthy pinch of salt and pepper. Cook stirring occasionally to break up the chicken. Cook until the liquid has released and then evaporated, about 10-15 minutes.
In another pan, heat some oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger. Cook and stir until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots and a pinch of salt, and cook until the carrot softens, about 10 minutes. Combine with the chicken. Add 1/2 cup hoisin and 1/2 cup water. Stir and cook for 1-2 more minutes until the sauce thickens. Serve in lettuce cups and top with Sriracha and scallions.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Weekend Recap

We spent this weekend at my parents' house at the lake.  They recently sold my childhood home and built a house on Lake Wateree to live in permanently.   This is the first spring that the house is finally complete, and it's been so nice to visit and take advantage of the house and boat.  Thompson was way too little last summer to know what was going on, so this is the first time he's really been able to enjoy a pontoon cruise, and boy did he love it.   The life preserver? Not so much.  So we broke the rules and just kept a really tight grip on him as we cruised to grab lunch.  

The lake house is almost equidistant from our house and my sister April's house in Charlotte, so it's really convenient for the both of us to meet their with our families.  I love how close in age Thompson, Charlotte, and Camille are.  Thompson and Charlotte are only six weeks apart, and Camille's just two years older.  Unfortunately it's not as convenient for our sister Sarah who's in NYC, and we missed her dearly!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The $150 ORC: Week 3

If you've landed here through Calling It Home's One Room Challenge linkup, welcome!  My name is Laura, and I live in Greenville, SC.  I'm a wife, a mother of a precious 10 month old boy, and a small business owner.  I'm so excited to complete my second one room challenge (check out my first here).  I'm working on giving our guest room a facelift on- get this- a $150 budget.  No fancy collabs, no interior designers, no $700 light fixtures, no frills.  Just consignment finds, DIY projects, and a whole lot of elbow grease. 

It's week three of the One Room Challenge, and things are finally starting to come together.  Furniture is moved around (most likely in its final position), ceiling fan installed, and new outlets and plates are installed. Last week I shared a peek at the Rast bedside tables that I chalk painted a milky blue color.  Those tables now have lamps on them (swapped out w/ the ones from our foyer) and I'm starting to brainstorm what will be going on the wall behind them.

I had originally planned for an old window to be hanging above the bed, but I changed my mind on that this week.  I love the look of a dahlia wreath, and I found a DIY tutorial for this one on Pinterest, and put it together in less than two hours.  I love how it turned out! The whole thing cost me about 50 cents to put together, the only thing I had to purchase was the old book.   Other than that it called for a piece of cardboard, glue gun, and a paper cutter.  The window will now most likely go above the dresser on the adjacent wall.

I'm able to use the bedding that's always been in the room.  It's a beautiful grey quilt with white pom pom trim that I got during the Nordstrom sale.  I love how oversized the quilt is (I ordered a king for a queen bed), and that pom pom detail is my favorite.  I've started the process of working with my girlfriend Elizabeth of Wheaton Whaley Designs for some pillows for the bed, too!  Everything in here is so neutral right now, so I can't wait to add a bit of color with some fun pillows.

Quick side note: I help her with a lot of the photos for her Etsy site, so you may recognize the bed and bedding in her listings, it's the very guest room I'm redoing!

These lamps are from Hobby Lobby, and are still available in the store.  They go 50% off pretty frequently, which I think brings the price down to $30 per lamp.  We've had them in our foyer for about a year, and I get compliments on them all the time. 

To be honest, I've hit a little bit of a rut with this room.  I'm afraid that it's turning out to be way too rustic.   I do love rustic accents, but it's more my taste to incorporate a few rustic details with some bright feminine touches.  As of now this room has none of that, so I'm trying to figure out what I can do to liven it up a bit.

For starters I don't love the color of gold that the drawer pulls are on the bedside tables.  (Well, I don't love the pulls in general, but it's probably too late to switch them out completely.)  So I'm going to try to hit them with a coat of a brighter shinier paint and hope that makes a difference.  I've ordered this liquid gold gilding, and I hope that I like the color of it better than what's currently on the pulls.  I'm also thinking that using bright fun throw pillows can add something to the space.   These Kate Spade dalmatian print pillows aren't necesarrily bright, but they are fun, and I'm thinking about pairing two of these with a brighter fabric for the pillow situation.

This photo was taken from Wheaton Whaley's site, I don't have these in my possession yet. 

I've had this gold sunburst mirror forever, and was considering selling it because it's been sitting under the guest bed for almost two years.  Now that I'm working on including more bright gold in the room, I'm considering using it on one of the walls.  I just propped it up for a quick photo, but I actually like how it looks layered on the window. We shall see!

Here's a quick estimation of what I've spent so far:

  • IKEA Rast bedside tables: $70
  • Curtains: FREE
  • Chalk Paint for tables: $3.50
  • Two additional bin pulls: $7.00 (already owned the other 4)
  • Old Window: FREE
  • New white outlets, switches, and covers: $8.00
  • Old book for wreath: $.50
  • Liquid Gold Gilding: $5.00
  • Lamps- FREE (repurposed from another room in our house)
  • Bedding- FREE (using what we already had in there) 


Here's what I still need to do:

  • Hang curtains and blinds
  • Buy curtain rods
  • Figure out where the old window will hang
  • Art/photos hung above the bedside tables
  • Throw pillows on the bed

Things are definitely starting to shape up, and I already feel better about it all after writing this post.  Funny how that happens.  Sometimes you just need to put to all out there! Let's hope Week 4 is a productive one. 

You can view progress from previous weeks through the links below. 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The $150 ORC: Week 2

How is ORC Week 2 already here?  I remember having the exact same feeling the last time I did a One Room Challenge.  Just as you round out Week 1, pinning like crazy and dreaming about what you want to do to the room, Week 2 enters forcing you to act on all of those ideas that have been bouncing around in your head.  Time to put your money where your mouth is.

I kicked off Week 2 with a vengeance, putting together the Ikea Rasts I'll be using for bedside tables and starting to get them chalk painted.  I really liked the color of paint that I chose in the container, but once it was on the tables and dry, it was way too bright.   I mixed the remaining paint that I had with some other off-white chalk paint I had laying around, and gave them one more coat with the much lighter shade.  They're now the perfect shade of milky blue that I was going for.   I had four of these bin pulls leftover from the first ORC that I did.  I never used them, but I waited too late to return them to Amazon.   So I hit them with a coat of gold spray paint, and installed them on the drawer fronts.  I also ordered two more because I needed a total of six.  Bedside tables done.  BAM.

This Sunday, painted the entire room all by myself, with no tape I might add.   I never want to do that again, but once I started, I just didn't want to stop until I was finished.   I used my trusty Purdy paint brush, which helps to edge without needing tape.  Cuts the prep time down to nothing, which is why I was able to knock it out in a single afternoon.  I chose to use Sherwin Williams Mega Greige for the room, because I had enough left over from painting our dining room a few weeks ago.  It's a tad bit darker that I would have chosen, but I just was determined to use what I had.  It turned out that I had exactly enough paint for the room, like to the point where I was scraping the inside of the can with the brush to touch up some last spots on the wall.  Thank goodness I had enough!

Sherwin Williams Mega Greige

I also picked up new white outlets, switches, and plates for the room.  Since our house was built in the early 90's all of the outlets were that terrible dated ivory color.  Switching these out makes the biggest difference, and for less than $8.00 it didn't break my budget.  You can definitely spend more money on the plates, my personal favorite are these mirrored ones, but since this room won't be used on a daily basis and we're on a tight budget the inexpensive plastic ones are still a major upgrade.

And don't let the electrical work of switching out the outlets intimidate you.  I've changed out almost every outlet and switch in our house now, and as long as you have the right tools its a piece of cake.  You can view this Youtube video for a tutorial on how to do it.  If you've ever paid an electrician to do this, your jaw might hit the floor when you realize how simple it is.

Caroline, the master writer behind Amanda Louise Interiors blog, and a virtual friend that I still have yet to meet IRL, hooked me up with some sheers that she no longer needed.  They're IKEA Matilda sheer curtains, and they're perfect for the big bay window. Major bonus because I budgeted $10 for curtains, which I can now use for something else!  Once we get our blinds in and installed, I'll be putting those up in the windows.

Here's a quick estimation of what I've spent so far:

  • IKEA Rast bedside tables: $70
  • Chalk Paint for tables: $3.50
  • Two additional bin pulls: $7.00
  • New white outlets, switches, and covers: $8.00

Here's what I still need to do:

  • Rearrange furniture in the room, possibly put my vanity in the bay window, possibly get rid of it
  • Hang curtains
  • Figure out a lamp situation
  • Install ceiling fan, let's hope it still works after sitting into our attic for 2 years
  • Hang old window over bed, I picked this up off someone who was about to throw them away
  • Find something cheap to hang over the dresser, possibly a DIY project
  • Find a wreath to hang on the window over the bed, contemplating a DIY cotton wreath

Stay tuned for next week with (hopefully) some exciting progress pictures! 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Thompson is 10 Months

My best boy is 10 months old.  My how time flies.  

Thompson now weighs about 20 lbs, has two teeth on the bottom, and the top two are just starting to emerge.  He's wearing size 12 month clothing, size three diapers during the day and size fours at night with a Sposie pad for extra absorbency.  He's pulling up on everything, and has even stood unassisted for a few seconds a time or two.  Each time he does, he squeals and looks so proud of himself.  It's adorable. 

It's really difficult to read books to him while in the nursery glider.  He wiggles and squirms until he's halfway off the chair.  I read to him, hanging on to one limb, the rest of his body dangling off the chair.  I usually just give up halfway into the book.  We've now started to read books to him after mealtimes while he's still in his highchair, and it's worked great.  I've been reading this book to him each day, and he loves it.   Every time I bring the book out his hands go up in the air and he gives me the biggest smile.  I think he just really likes to chew on it, but I like telling myself I'm raising a baby genius.   Think I'll be putting this book in his easter basket so we can get a little more variety.

I broke down this month and purchased a play yard for our den. I hesitated on this for a while because they're not cheap, and I felt weird at first about essentially caging our child in something.  He's so fast and in to everything when we're playing in the den.  It was hard for me to get up and run to the restroom or put a load of clothes in the washer without having to dash back into the room and pull him away from the dog toys or our brick hearth.  We've loaded the play yard with his toys and books, and its big enough for me to get in and play with him too.  This thing has been a game changer, it allows me to get things done around the house, while he safely plays with his toys.

Meal times are getting easier and easier.  He's trying new things and is fully transitioned to a sippy cup.  Last week I wrote a post about what he's currently eating.  (You can see it here if you're interested.)  I've also noticed as he's eating more and more solid foods, he's becoming much less reliant on his bottles.  He'll still take a 7 oz bottle in the morning, sippy cups with 2-4 ounces at snack and meal times, but doesn't really want much formula before bedtime. He used to take a full 8 ounces, but these days I usually offer him a 6 oz bottle and he'll take anywhere from 2-6 ounces.  If he doesn't take a lot of formula, I get concerned that he'll wake up hungry, but he's still sleeping until 7 am every morning.

I just can't believe how close we're getting to his first birthday.  In less than two months I will have a ONE year old.  It just seems too crazy to even type that.

See previous month updates for Thompson below. 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Weekend Recap + Weekly Meal Planning

This weekend was jam packed and so much fun.   Friday night we took it easy and got takeout from a sports bar down the street.  We knew that Saturday was going to be a big day, so we didn't want to overdo it.   Saturday morning we woke up and headed to Clemson for the Spring Game.  It's been years since I've been to a Spring Game, we always seem to be out of town when this weekend comes along.

Thompson was too young last year to bring into a game, but we decided this would be the perfect opportunity to bring him to Death Valley.  All three of us had a blast, but I quickly realized just how much work it is to have a baby in a game.  I was constantly reapplying sun screen to his face, terrified he'd get a burn.  And in a pinch, I changed his diaper on the floor of the stadium bathroom.  Not my proudest mom moment, but you do what you gotta do.  It was the perfect introduction to Clemson football, and T and I agreed we won't be bringing him to a real game for several years.  

Saturday night we went to a wedding shower for one of my college girlfriends.  I can't believe I didn't snap a single photo while I was there, but I think my girlfriends and I were all just to busy chatting and catching up with one another.

Sunday was Masters Sunday, so like most other guys T wanted to spend his afternoon on the couch in front of the TV.  I put him on Daddy duty while he watched the tournament,  and I knocked out repainting our guest room.  I'm doing a little redo of the room as part of the One Room Challenge.  You can read about my plan for the room here.

I managed to get the entire room painted Sunday afternoon, and by the time 5:00 rolled around I was exhausted.  The three of us spent the rest of the day lounging on the couch, and T and I treated ourselves to some margaritas.  I was in no mood to cook, so we pulled some chili from the freezer, and had that for a quick dinner.  Hope y'all had a great weekend!

And here's what's on the menu for this week: 

Sunday: Leftover chili from the freezer
Monday: Eggroll Bowls with Asian Cucumber Salad
Tuesday: Leftovers
Wednesday: Baked Chicken Tacos and roasted zucchini
Thursday: Leftovers

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