How to give your bathroom a face lift under $1000

This is my powder room.

Well, actually that was my powder room. This is the condition it was in when we first moved in after Ryan removed the tiny medicine cabinet and chair rail. How many walls need to be protected from chairs in the bathroom? Exactly. A lot of things in this house don’t make sense. The sink was …antique… to be nice. The linoleum flooring was constantly peeling up at the edges and the walls were in desperate need of repair. Ryan is the kind of husband who gets bored when he doesn’t have a project, so he was itching to redo this bathroom. (One of many things I love about that crazy man!)

Keep in mind that we don’t own this house. We’re renting it from family friends while we look for our dream house (or get way too comfortable here). Since it isn’t our house we weren’t going to even touch this bathroom, but it was starting to drive us crazy. Imagine that! An ugly outdated bathroom driving a designer crazy! :) It’s really teeny teeny tiny, but the photos below give you a good idea on what a huge transformation this is.

Here’s what we did to make this my new favorite room in the house:

  • Ryan removed the old flooring and repaired the sub-floor so it was able to support the weight of the new penny round tiles.
  • We reused the existing toilet since it was still in good shape and somewhat modern.
  • We chose this vanity, faucet and sink and they make a huge improvement!
  • If you haven’t noticed already, there’s a huge ugly pipe running through the bathroom that we can’t hide. I chose a dark bluish grey that does a good job of concealing the eye sore and adds some mood.
  • We installed this simple and inexpensive light fixture to add some warmth and texture to the room.
  • We removed the paint from the door hardware to give it a new life. I really love the quirky historic quality the knobs have so I definitely wanted to keep them.
  • We accessorized with a wall mirror (from target, not online), a watercolor painting of a sunset that I painted while camping, and two small vintage nude prints from Ryan’s mom.


I’ve never really considered myself a lucky person, but this weekend Ryan got an email saying that we won a weekend in California’s wine country! Technically I didn’t win, but what’s his is mine right? After all, I sent him the link at work and asked him to enter. :) When he told me he won I definitely screamed and did a strange happy dance! I’ve always wanted to go to California, and now that we’re getting more into wine I think we’ll appreciate it even more. The best part (as if there is only one) is that we’ll be going on a romantic picnic overlooking the vineyards! Now all we need to figure out is when we should go!

A huge thank you to Camille Styles for sharing such an amazing giveaway!

union beach

Yesterday I volunteered in Union Beach helping the fire department sort through TONS of donations at a local bar. Leave it to me and my friends to find a place that has a volunteer job inside of a bar. :) We brought boxes and boxes of goodies inside to prepare for another storm that supposed to hit today. Can you even believe that?! Union Beach, NJ is maybe 7 minutes from my sisters house, is where my nephews pre-school was, and where my nephew plays baseball in the Summer. They had 20 feet of water the night of the storm forcing families to seek refuge on their roof waiting for the EMT’s to rescue them.

This is so wild to me. That this tragedy happened so close to home. Being with other volunteers and my friends today made me feel like I was a part of something, and made me feel like the tiniest act of kindness can make a difference.

Volunteering in Union Beach, NJ - Hurricane Sandy

Look at all this stuff that still needs to be sorted through! You can check out this site to volunteer or donate through Amazon or directly to the Red Cross. I know first hand how amazing this organization is.

I also recently discovered Architecture for Humanity and sent in my resume to Restore the Shore. I’d love to be a part of a team that rebuilds the shore where I have so many amazing memories growing up including taking these photos with Ryan. :)

crazy cat lady

Since I’m on the topic of sharing personal photos, get ready for your daily dose of cuteness. I can’t believe I never shared photos of my new(ish) babies on my blog. If you follow me on instagram, you already know I’m a crazy cat lady. In July Ryan and I adopted two babies from a local animal shelter and they’ve won over my heart ever since! Shiloh (with the pink nose and white fur) won her name simply because she’s very shy. She has since warmed up to visitors but is much more timid than her lunatic brother. Jack just felt like a Jack.. especially because he often likes to hide in boxes and pop out unexpectedly, much like a jack-in-the-box. They both have such fun, unique personalities and it feels like a home again with crazy kittens running around. Don’t these photos just give you the warm fuzzies?!


Jack and Shiloh - Gray Tabby Cats

Jack - Gray Tabby Cat

Jack & Shiloh - Gray Tabby Cats Snuggling

Jack - Gray Tabby Cat Sleeping

Shiloh - Gray Tabby Kitten

pop art halloween costume

Before the craziness of last week, Ryan and I had our annual Halloween party. I dressed as a Roy Lichtenstein painting but no one knew who I  was and they were just creeped out by my makeup. I wasn’t going for a scary costume but I guess that worked! I look so silly but it was fun to dress up and be in a different character. Did you see any halloween costumes that were creative this year? I’m already thinking about next year and love this one, this one, this one and especially this one!

Roy Lichtenstein Pop Art DIY Homemade Halloween Costume



my week in candle light

Have you ever had an experience that was so humbling that it changed your view on life?

It’s been a week since Sandy hit my neighborhood in New Jersey… almost exactly a week since my family and I sat in the dark watching the sky light up as the neighborhood transformers exploded like it was the 4th of July. Sitting in my powerless home last Monday night, I had no idea what kind of destruction Sandy would endure on the Jersey shore and areas of New York. I am beyond grateful that my house did not have any damage, and that my family and friends are all safe. We didn’t have power for 6 days, but I can honestly say that it was a positive experience.

My best friend Kelsey said it best when describing her visit with her parents – Life gets busy, and this was a great opportunity to just sit and talk with people most important to you. Ryan’s sister and her family stayed with us for the majority of last week since they have an electric stove, no power, and no heat. Thankfully we have a gas stove that can be lit with a lighter, and a gas fireplace that really heats up the house. Everyone always teases me for being a candle hoarder, and for freezing everything like an old lady. But, I think they were eating their words when I was able to cook filet mignon, chili, spaghetti & meat sauce and homemade chicken noodle soup all from contents of my freezer. :)

We had guests every day last week, whether is was to come over for a hot meal, hot shower, or to get out of their house so they didn’t get stir crazy. We spent our evenings eating dinners and playing board games by candlelight (My favorite is Clue where I first developed my love of floor plans as a child!) or playing hide and seek with the kids in complete darkness. A few times I would just sit and look around at my family or friends chatting and get teary eyed because I know how incredibly luck I am. They say that the people you spend most of your time with are a refection of who you are and the people that are in my life are pretty amazing.

Candle Light Lanterns - Hurricane Sandy Power Outage

Candle Lanterns - Hurricane Sandy

Mancala by Candle Light - Hurricane Sandy

Salad and Champagne Lit by Lantern - Hurricane Sandy

Clue by Candle Light - Hurricane Sandy

Rummikub by Candle Light - Hurricane Sandy

Hide and Seek in the Dark - Hurricane Sandy

This last blurry iPhone picture makes me laugh. We decided to make the best of the situation and play hide and seek with the kids in the dark. My brother-in-law, John, hid behind the curtain in the most obvious of places and the kids couldn’t find him for the longest time. The flash on my phone was able to light up the scene just long enough to capture the moment and not reveal his hiding spot! :) I hope the kids will grow up remembering little things like this.