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Nora and Manny are a pair of pugs who have been together since birth. I adopted them about 3 years ago. I am 100% in love. And you will be too.

1. They cuddle as close as pugly possible.

2. The look as upset as you feel when it gets cold outside and you aren’t wearing a coat.

3. Sometimes they form a pug stack.


5. They actually form a pug stack ALL the time.


7. They understand your need to see pugs in costumes around Halloween.

8. They are great listeners.

9. Manny’s under-bite is out of control.

10. Almost as out of control as Nora’s tongue.

11. They just want to sleep in with you on Sunday mornings.

12.  And protect you from dangerous pigeons.

13. And be everything you ever needed in a pair of best friends.

14. The end.


Oh my, I have been neglecting the blog. But, all for good reason: My kitchen renovation is FINALLY complete and I have finished applied to graduate schools.  In other words, I am BACK!

As you remember, this was my kitchen BEFORE the renovation:


Giant peninsula taking up half the room, mismatched cabinets and counters. Not ideal.

So, after many, many months… is the result!


Ah, finally!  Let me know your thoughts!


So, we’ve worked hard this week and added the cabinet doors AND took up all the Ram Board so we can finally see the gorgeous floors!! (FREAK OUT!)


Are you just dying? I’m dying. And, let me show you a little secret on the other side of the cabinet: a built-in wine rack.  This was just a spur of the moment decision – we had a skinny opening that we were planning to just close off and not use for any purpose at all. And, well, that sort of waste of space just does not fly in a small older house like mine! So, I went into my closet and grabbed an empty bottle of wine (I’m not a wino who has empty wine bottles everywhere, I promise. I just use wine bottles to stuff my tall boots so they don’t fall over in the closet).  The empty cupboard was the perfect size for a wine cabinet – truly meant to be.  What do you think? Adorable, right?


Next post I will show you the new counter tops –  We are getting there!


We started the cabinet installs this week!  We chose to have our wonderful carpenters Ben and Ken build the cabinets for us, which honestly ended up being on par cost-wise with buying already done cabinets. And, this way, we were able to perfectly fit the cabinets into my unusually shaped kitchen. Next week – granite!

And, as far as the colors…Last weekend, my mom and I spent all day Saturday and Sunday painting the walls in Martha Stewart’s Endive – very pale green.


Then, we will paint the lower cabinets in Behr’s Arabian Veil:


And the top cabinets in Behr’s Moonrise:


I am pretty excited about the two-toned cabinet look – I think it will be modern and fresh, and I think that the dark lower cabinets will bring in some depth of color without making the entire room dark or closed-off.  The light walls and white upper cabinets will create that breezy, open feel we all want!

We installed the Acacia wood floors this week from Lumber Liquidators and promptly covered them up with Ram Board!  But, I managed to sneak a few photos of the floors before they disappeared.



Sadly, we weren’t able to save much of the old fireplace – once we pulled the mantle off, the rest started to crumble right before our eyes. But, our trusty carpenters are busily working on the new fireplace mantle as we speak! The plan is to use subway tile around the fireplace and have an unfinished-edge mantel above.


And we keep marching on!


I recently acquired an antique brass lamp, and it is in great condition and a beautiful shape. But, I wasn’t really feeling the brass finish. A little too brassy, pun intented (feel free to roll your eyes). But, in only an hour, I was able to give the lamp a great, oil-rubbed bronze look that I LOVE.  Here’s how:


Step 1: Gather your supplies. For this project I used Minwax Color Express in Walnut. This is a great, easy-to-use stain that adheres to all kinds of surfaces. I used a small plate as a palette and applied the stain using a small paintbrush.  I then used a stencil brush to get the faux-antiqued look.


Step 2: Messily apply one coat of the stain with a brush. It doesn’t have to be perfect because we are going to use the stencil brush to get the finish we want.  I did this step and the next step one section at a time so that the stain wouldn’t dry before I had a chance to use the stencil brush.


Step 3:  Using the stiff stencil brush, pat the stain to remove brush strokes and get that antiqued look. This step felt to me like I was a pointillist artist going to town on a canvas. The nice thing about this step is that you can’t really mess it up – if you accidentally rub off some stain or get a thumb print, just dot over that section again with the stencil brush.


Step 4: Let it dry and you’re done! Super easy project. This lamp took less than an hour to complete. You can use the same process for antiquing cabinet hardware or even an old mirror.

I’m selling this lamp on Etsy – Go check it out!

I recently put together a light and simple brunch tablescape for the Gatherings Magazine blog. And, well, I was too excited about the table to NOT share a couple of photos before it gets published over at Gatherings. What do you think?


Flipping a house is a challenging, exciting, and potentially very lucrative undertaking. I recently completed a big renovation on my current home, and I am looking for a new property to flip. I will be taking on this project with my fearless mother, designer and project manager extraordinaire. She has a lot of experience in real estate and really KNOWS the market and what will work and what won’t. She’s also amazingly accurate in her budget estimations – I’m pretty sure that is a skill that can only be acquired with time. But, no matter if you are looking for your first house to flip or your fiftieth, there are a few lessons my mom has taught me that are crucial when choosing the right property:

1. Structure – The very first thing you will want to know is: How structurally sound is the house?  Major repairs to the foundation or adjustments to the load-bearing walls require a structural engineer and are very expensive.  For example, we have looked at a house that was a great vintage, and that we thought had lots of potential until we found out it had been hit by a tree several and the foundation was cracked entirely in half. The repairs were only cosmetic and it would have taken a lot of money to truly fix that house. Enough money that flipping the house wouldn’t have made any profit. Pass!

2. Footprint – The next thing to take note of is the overall footprint of the house. How big is it? Can you add square footage without majorly changing the footprint?  Building up into an attic or finishing a basement can be a lot more cost-effective than a massive addition, which totally changes the house’s footprint.

3. Roof – Not only do you want to look at how old the roof is to see if it will need to be replaced, but also note how high the pitch of the roof is. My current home was a one-story, 1400 sq. ft. house when we bought it. But, the pitch of the roof was extremely tall – in fact, the tallest point of the attic was about 19 feet!!  So, we were able to build up into the attic and add about 900 sq. ft. – two bedrooms and two full bathrooms!

4. Neighborhood – This is one of the more obvious things to consider when buying a house. Particularly a house you plan to flip. Generally these houses will be in up-and-coming neighborhoods where real estate is still affordable enough to make the flip worthwhile. But, in these types of neighborhoods, you have to be very careful that 1) Your renovation does not price you out of the neighborhood. If you buy a house for say, $50k and then spend anywhere between $50-100k to renovate, then you need to make sure that similar houses in the area are selling for more than what you put into it. That seems like a “Duh” statement, but it is always so tempting to see a diamond-in-the-rough and think that the buyers will see it the way you do when you complete the renovation. But, even if it’s the most gorgeous house in the world, a buyer won’t want to have the most expensive house on the block.

Hope you find these helpful!!  Any other tips you would add?

Found these LOP (lots-o-potential) chairs at a yard sale recently, and I was so glad to have the long weekend to fix them up!


The first step was to clean the spider webs that had infiltrated the chairs, then I did a quick vacuum and OxyClean of the upholstery.  It was actually in great shape, it just had a couple of small stains that came out quite easily.

I then sanded down the varnish and prepped the chairs for painting by taping off the upholstery sections. I don’t always use painter’s tape, but when it comes to upholstery, I take no chances. An ill-timed sneeze could ruin everything.

I then painted the chairs using Annie Sloan’s Old White – two coats. I only did one coat on the cane side panels because I sort of loved the shabby chic look that gave. After the paint had dried, I sanded corners and edges for an even more cottage-shabby look, sealed the paint with clear wax and that was it!! So thrilled with how they turned out:



To purchase these or see more of my pieces – visit!