Backwards Reveal: Dining Room

So, I didn't really plan out the reveal of our current dining room too well.  After I posted the Happy 1st Birthday Condo it dawned on me that I should have posted the before pictures first…but shit happens.   So I'll do things a little backwards which is actually pretty common with me. Anyways, here's the before & I'm cheating & re-posting the photos I already shared for the after. To answer your questions now, yes, the walls were pink & that wood flooring is actually laminate. Also, check out that light fixture. That's all I'm going to say about that. I'd say we did a significant upgrade.


Duke wasn't sure what to make of this room.



{DIY} Orange is the New Black

So you may have already seen this table in my Happy 1st Birthday Condo post but the process from getting it from black to orange deserves its own post.  Tune in tomorrow to see the before photos of our dining roomyes, I've already revealed what it looks like now & you can see it 3 sentences up, BUT I wanted to show what the room looked like prior. So I'll just reveal things a bit backwards. It's all part of the chaos, what can I say?!

Now, on to the table. I was sitting on my couch this summer & it occurred to me, my black table needed to become orange. I don't really know where this thought came from, I just knew it NEEDED to happen.  I've had this table for 7 years & after moving 4 times (including once across the country) & surviving Duke's puppy years (yes, he liked to chew on my wood chairs) this table needed a face lift & it needed it bad. I've seen lots of DIY on Pinterest for painting tables & furniture, how hard could it possibly be? Famous. Last. Words.

There were 3 questions I needed answers to before I could begin:

1. Would J be OK with me doing this?
2. What color should I paint the chairs?
3. How the hell do you paint furniture?

Truthfully, I knew the answer to #1 wouldn't really matter, but luckily J is ALL about  color & was in support of this decision.  I do wonder while I was swearing/crying during this process if he regretted his decision to support my idea.   The 2nd question, however, was much more difficult to answer.  What color would look best with orange? White would make my table look like a creamsicle. Leaving the chairs black made it look like Halloween. Maybe purple? After polling my friends/Googling, blue was the winner.  I was pretty uncertain, but decided to go with it.  Now, on to #3.  My dear friend Lauren has painted many pieces of her furniture, so luckily she was on board to help me through this pain in the ass process.  She also turned me on to the blog, Centsational Girl for some tips & tricks to painting my table.

First things first, we needed supplies & paint (see below for a complete list of products used). After securing brushes, primer, sealant & sand wedges at Lowes, we headed to Sherwin Williams as Lauren has had success with their paint before.  I picked out the orange I wanted, but now came for the blue.  After looking at multiple shades, I just wasn't feeling any of them.

Then, Lauren came up with the brilliant idea of painting the chairs pink. I love the look of orange & pink, but wasn't sure if J would go for it.  After a heated internal debate, I said F it & bought the pink paint thinking it'd be a fun surprise for J.  Now lets get to it.

I didn't have any drop cloths at home, so I thought putting garbage bags down would suffice. Let's just say mid-way through this process, J bought me a drop cloth. Use a drop cloth.

First, my table folds down, so the easiest thing to do was take the leaves off & paint them separately. Thank you J for your help with this!

Using a sand wedge, Lauren & I gently sanded the chairs & table to get them ready for the primer. 

Once the table was sanded, using a lightly damp rag, wipe off the dust from sanding. 

Time to prime. I used one can for my entire table & chairs.

Also a word of advice, spend a little more & get nicer brushes. The cheap brushes will constantly lose bristles while you're painting & it is a pain in the ass. Yes, speaking from experience here.

Brush on your primer & keep as even as possible, BUT it's ok if it's thicker in some areas than others.

I only did one coat of primer, but when going from black furniture to something lighter, I'd recommend doing a 2nd coat.  The primer needs to dry for at least 4 hours before applying your first coat of paint. I let the primer dry overnight.

Once the primer is dry, using a sand wedge, gently run the wedge back over the primer smoothing out any areas that are thicker than the other.  Using a semi-damp rag, gently wipe away all the dust from sanding.

Now it is finally time to paint! If your furniture has lots of flat surfaces, I recommend using a roller brush for the large spaces. It is faster & your paint spreads more evenly.  Still use the angled brush for the edges.

After the first coat, let it dry for 8 hours before applying the next coat.

I ended up using 3-4 coats.  It was a long process.

Yep, that happened. Moving on…

After I painted 3 coats of orange to my table, taking me 3 separate days, I wanted to find a way to really tie in the orange chairs.  I decided to do just a simple pink stripe on the middle shelf.  After taping off the selected area, I added the pink & was THRILLED with how it looked...

Then I took the tape off…and saw how much the paint bled under the crappy tape. Fantastic. Insert a lot of four letter words & some tears.

My perfectionist side was beyond frustrated & refused to leave it as is, so I ended up just panting the entire shelf.

My apologies for the crappy photo, it was taken with my phone.

2 coats later, the middle shelf was done. 

After the chairs & table were dry, it was time to seal.  Using an angled brush, lightly brush on your protectant making sure to keep your strokes even & all going in the same direction. It is incredibly important to seal your furniture.

Let your sealant dry for a solid 48 hours before using your furniture. But then you should be good to go! Here's a closer look at my final product.

It wouldn't be a condo photo without a dog toy sneaking in

Supplies Used:
Medium (80-120 grit) sanding wedge
Primer - I used Zinnser Cover Stain Primer
Latex paint color of choice - I used Sherwin-Williams ProClassic
2” angled quality paintbrush - I used 4 different brushes
Water based polyurethane protectant - I used Minwax Polycrylic Protectant Finish


Roasted Corn

Delicious. Easy. Healthy.  What more could you want in a side dish?  I happen to love corn. I love it on the cob, off the cob, in salads, as its own salsa at Chipotle…I could keep going, but I'll stop now. I've had corn grilled, nuked in the microwave & boiled…but I've never thought to broil it on its own.  Screw the microwave, this is THE ONLY WAY next to grilling I will ever make corn again.  I kept this recipe simple just using a little garlic salt & pepper.  I definitely plan to try this again with some other seasonings.  Has anyone ever made it this way before? I'd love some more suggestions on how to try it!

Serves: 2-4
Cook Time: 7 mins
How difficult was this for me? SO easy!

1/2 bag frozen corn
Garlic Salt
    Olive Oil

Pre-heat oven to BROIL 

Spread kernels evenly on baking sheet

Drizzle with olive oil

Sprinkle garlic salt & pepper over corn.

Broil for 5 mins.

Remove & serve!


Lately Loving: Lucite Lucite Lucite!

I'm not sure what it is, but lately, I am OBSESSED with Lucite.  Everything from furniture to office supplies, I just can't get enough!! It goes with everything & really makes a space feel fresh.  It's great for small spaces because it doesn't feel like big bulky pieces of furniture. I haven't made any big Lucite purchases because truthfully, J might break up with me if I buy any new furniture (& Lucite furniture is freaking expensive). In J's defense, we have NO SPACE for anything large. BUT I do have my eye on a square trunk from CB2 (see below) to store my throw pillows in…if only it wasn't so pricey, it would already live in my home.  Anyways, here are some of my favorite uses of Lucite.

Same CB2 table, but stolen from Devon Rachel because she styled it SO well.
Tough to find the origin of these chairs, but these from Overstock are pretty cool too!

Since Lucite/Acrylic furniture can be really pricey, a fun & inexpensive way to incorporate the trend is with household accessories.

Anthropologie: Lucite Desk Collection (stapler & tape dispenser currently out of stock. Find similar here)

Have you incorporated Lucite into your home? I'd love to hear how!


Slow Cooker BBQ Baby Back Ribs

Sometimes, I really really crave a comforting, homemade meal. But sometimes, I am also really really lazy.  This is where my crock pot & recipes like this one are just pure genius.  When a slow cooker recipe has less than 5 steps & requires minimal prep, it is an automatic win for me.  I LOVE BBQ & I love ribs, but I RARELY eat them. In fact, I can't recall the last time I even had ribs.

This recipe is so simple, I promise you won't be able to screw it up. And the results? SO FREAKING GOOD.  The meat literally FALLS off the bones.  I've never made ribs any other way…& I don't ever intend to. My only word of advice, if your meat counter doesn't sell ribs, you can find them frozen in the meat dept. Make sure to thaw the ribs completely before placing in the slow cooker.  Thank you Country Cook for the simple yet super pleasing recipe!

Serves: 2-4 (depends on how many ribs you want to eat in one sitting)
Cook Time acc to me: 5.5 hours
How difficult was this for me? SO freaking easy

1 Rack baby back ribs (2-3lbs)
1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce
1 tbsp onion powder
salt & pepper

Season ribs with onion powder, salt & pepper.  Make sure to evenly rub on both sides of the meat. I used a little extra seasoning just to make sure.

Note, on the back of the ribs, you may see something smooth & shiny, that's a membrane (yeah, it kinda grosses me out to think about) but it can be removed by making a small incision into it & removing with your hands. However, most grocery stores sell ribs w/o said gross membrane.  But, some people apparently don't mind it on their ribs. I probably would mind.

OK, once your ribs are seasoned, place them standing up, meat side facing the wall of the slow cooker.
Pour BBQ sauce ALL over the ribs making sure to completely cover the meat side facing the wall. It is important that the ribs be completely covered.
Make sure to save 1/3 cup to serve with the ribs.

Cook ribs for 4-6 hours. The longer they cook, the more tender they will be.  Keep an eye for burning…a little burnt though never hurt anyone. 

Remove from the slow cooker & drizzle remaining BBQ sauce over the ribs.  I microwaved the remaining sauce for 30 seconds to warm it up before covering the ribs.

I'm really lucky to have such a wonderful supervisor.

Serve & Enjoy!


Happy 1st Birthday Condo!

Two months ago I hit the one year mark since becoming a homeowner. I had this great idea to post a look back at all my post-grad homes since my style has really changed over time. But, thanks to work being crazier than ever, the post (and many others) was put on the back burner.  However, today I am finally ready to share.

This was my first apartment after college in Chicago.  My  building was part apartments, part hotel. My unit was a former hotel room that was converted, hence the lovely blue carpet & beige walls. I wasn't allowed to paint, but I was OK with that.  When I first started picking out furniture/decor, I was REALLY into everything matching & looking like it came from the Pottery Barn catalogue.

Oh, hello white slip covers. This would be pre-Duke.

I loved this apartment & but I was living in Lincoln Park & I wanted a more "downtown" vibe. So, my furniture & I moved into a high-rise in River North & I was finally allowed to paint! I found these paisley pillows at Crate & Barrel that had tiny hints of teal in the pattern so I decided to go bold with a teal accent wall. I bribed called in my friends to help me transform my white box of an apartment.

 Oh the days of a bold accent wall.

After 3 amazing years living in the city, Duke & I packed our bags & headed for Los Angeles. When I arrived, my new apartment hadn't been repainted from the previous owner & everything was red & beige. I'm not opposed to red, but I'm not friends with beige. I called the management company & they said a painter could come in TWO hours if I could go get paint now. UM OK. Grey walls were just becoming a thing so I ran to Home Depot again & picked out 2 grey's for the living room, thinking I knew what would look good. 

And my apartment was now purple. It's kinda hard to tell in the photo, but trust me. Purple.  So much for just eying paint cards & thinking it will look great.  My couch did get a facelift with some Ikea slipcovers. White couch & dog do not mix.  This apartment had a tiny loft, which was great because my desk was massive & wouldn't fit anywhere else. It's also how I got this lovely birds eye view of my living room.

Then J moved to LA.  J moved in for what was supposed to be a temporary situation, but turned into he never left. While we loved being around each other all the freaking time, my apartment was just too damn small. So we moved to a rental house in Sherman Oaks.  
I can't even share a home photo with you because the house was so huge (#firstworldproblems) our furniture was swimming in it.  We couldn't do a lot to the space due to it being a rental & looking photos just depresses me because man, did that place have some major potential. After a year in what should have been more like 3-4 years, the owner passed away & left the house to his brother. His brother had no desire to be a landlord & decided to sell the house for way over we could afford.  
Instead of renting yet ANOTHER place, we decided it was time to be financially responsible & invest in a piece of property. After living in a house with a very private backyard, J & I were set on finding a single family home.  But looking at a few places FAR from where we wanted to live, we decided to go with our townhouse because the location was AWESOME.  Plus we had a 2nd floor, which really made the space perfect. 

Here's just a peak into our current home. I am still working on my picture taking, so for now, all you get to see is our dining room aka only place to put a table. 

This table is actually the same table from my very first apartment. Over hiatus it got a makeover that was the largest pain in my ass. A post on painting furniture is to come.

How fabulous is the Chicago skyline Starry Night style painting? That was a birthday gift from J a few months after I moved to LA while he was still living in Chicago.

Thinking the bookcase is going to get some type of makeover…but haven't decided what yet.  Feel free to send ideas!

This fish planter is possibly one of my most favorite things I've ever purchased for our home. It's from CB2.  Everyone should own a gold fish planter.

It's been a great year here. Can't wait for what's to come!