Friday, August 18, 2017

Kitchen Remodel - Two Years Later!

I am currently sitting here in a puppy chow coma... I can't move... I need water... and probably a treadmill.  It is hard to believe our kitchen remodel was finished almost 2 years ago!  I wanted to fill you in on how things are holding up because we DIYed most of it.  Remodeling a kitchen is no joke and I can see why most people hire the job out.  Every time we contemplated a project I would read every blog/article I could find.  It drove Tall Tan Man crazy that I couldn't make any rash fast decisions.   I absolutely LOVE our kitchen and it had set the bar high for future houses.  We only budgeted and spent about $5000 on our kitchen remodel. Pretty awesome, right?!

White Subway Tile!

We love, love, love our backsplash but two words.  Pasta Sauce.  I would do the white tile again but I would choose a darker grout.  Even a light gray would be better!  One insider tip is to use DAP 230 between the tile and countertops.  This caulk looks great and doesn't crack!

Ikea Farmhouse Sink!

A farm house sink for $313 is really hard to beat!  This sink is big, beautiful and is great for giving babies baths.  The only part about this sink that drives me crazy is the slats on the back of it.  They get so dirty ALL. THE. TIME.  I like things to be super low maintenance and the sink looks dirty way more than it looks clean.  The only problem is that there is no sink of a similar size that is even remotely they same price.  Dirty sink, it is!  

Butcher Block Countertops!

Oh I would of loved beautiful white marble or concrete counter tops, but neither of those were in our price range or DIY abilities.  These butcher block countertops ran us for about $600 and I love how they bring warmth to our room.  We got them from Ikea and refinished them ourselves.  Poor Tall Tan Man, I was supposed to do them myself but then I got pregnant... and couldn't be around stain or sealer.  I read 20+ articles on this DIY and I got polar opposite opinions on them.  My biggest concern was they are going to be super high maintenance.  I even read that I needed to buy special pads to go under our mixer and knife block?!  We don't do well with high maintenance and thankfully for us the countertops have held up well.  We have accidentally left water sitting on them for hours, cut sandwiches, and sat hot pots {on a oven mitt} on them.  With our budget, I'd do these countertops again in a heartbeat!  

Painting Kitchen Cabinets!

Benjamin Moore Advance, FOR! THE! WIN! This paint is self leveling and awesome! Our paint has held up really well and we are not easy on our kitchen.  We have had to do a couple touch ups, specifically on the trashcan cabinet. If you are going to do this I have two tips, 1) Prime Twice 2) Caulk Open Seams so you don't see any gaps!

Removing the Kitchen Island & Open Shelves!

These were both no brainers and great decisions.  Open shelves are an easy project you can totally handle and they really open up the space.

Ahhh I love a clean kitchen.  High five for it being Friday and Momma not cooking tonight! 

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Monday, August 14, 2017

DIY Painted Concrete Vase

I know I am not the only person that has gone into their closet {that is full of clothes} and thought, "I have NOTHING to wear..."  Well, this also happens to me when I try to change up my home decor.  Sometimes I get so tired of certain pieces and it make me want to trade it all in.  That probably makes me sound like a brat...  Instead of doing that I am going to give some of my decor items a new look.  First up is this vase from Ikea.

Right now I am leaning to more neutral colors and this blue is just too royal blue for me.  Rather than giving it to Goodwill I decided to try to make it look like concrete.  

DIY Painted Concrete Vase


Matte Dark Gray Spray Paint
Lite Gray Craft Paint
Natural Bristle Paint Brush
Paper Towels
Paper Plate


1.  Make sure your vase is clean then spray paint it.  If you have any extra rebar lying around {like a normal person...} or a stick you can paint the vase like this:

2.  Allow the paint to dry for an hour.  Squeeze some of your light gray paint onto a paper plate.  Lightly dab your brush into the paint and brush excess paint onto the paper towel.  Brush the light gray paint onto your vase with vertical and horizontal strokes.  If you think you have brushed too much paint on then continue to run the brush over the paint.  I did 3 rounds of lightly painting the vase until I got the look I wanted.  

Round 1:

Round 2:

Round 3:

This process definitely takes some practice but the paint is very forgiving.  I am already eyeing some other things in our house I can paint.  Watch out Tall Tan Man, I am fixin' to make our house look like a parking garage!  :)

Do you have any idea of things to paint like concrete?  I'd love to hear them! My favorite concrete project is still this one.  It feels pretty great to use something I already had to change up this space.  I did have to buy both the spray paint and light gray paint so this project cost me a little over $5.  Gotta love Hobby Lobby 40% off coupons!  

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Friday, August 11, 2017

Chocolate Chunk Cookies

The only time I like to hear the word chunky is when it comes to babies, table legs, and cookies.  Y'all, these CHUNKY cookies are SO GOOD!  When I was younger I never had nuts in any of my desserts, but something happened when I turned 25.  Pretty weird, right?  Now I love nuts in cookies, breads and cakes.  If you do also then this recipe is right up your alley.  I modified this recipe from my favorite market in Denver, Tony's.  They have the best twice baked potatos I've ever had!!!  

Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Adapted from Tony's


1 Cup Softened Butter
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla
2 Cups Flour
2.5 Cups Oatmeal
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
10 oz Milk Chocolate
10 oz Dark Chocolate
1/2 Cup Chopped Walnuts
1/2 Cup Chopped Almonds
1/2 Cup Pecans


1.  Cream together butter and both sugars.  Add eggs and vanilla.  

2.  In a new bowl, combine flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder and soda.  

3.  Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients.  

4.  In your dry ingredients bowl combine all the chocolate and nuts.  Stir together and add to cookie dough.  

5.  Using a 2 tbsp cookie scoop, scoop cookie dough onto cookie sheet.  Bake at 375 degrees for 6 - 10 minutes.  

I recommend going to get the chocolate and nuts from Sprouts or a grocery store that sells things in bulk bins.  This way you can buy just what you need and not spend a gazillion dollars.  These cookies are SO yummy and don't be afraid to take them out of the oven before you think they are ready!    

Happy Friday!

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Saturday, August 5, 2017

Why I put a mirror in our kitchen!

Hello!  I caught another change bug and have been changing things in a couple rooms.  Tall Tan Man was out of town all week and left me with too much time on my hands.  I shared our kitchen change on my instastories and I'll quickly recap this incase you missed it.  The wall use to look like this:

Before Tall Tan Man left for his trip he was playing catch with Mack {who is 1.5 yrs old} and knocked the window down.  Thankfully no children or home decor were injured during this incident.  After seeing the wall without the window frame I decided I wanted a less busy wall.  I am an over-decorator at heart and I have to make a major effort to tone down myself!  I never thought about putting a mirror in my kitchen until I saw it done on Home Town on HGTV.  Such a cute show btw.  

It is crazy to me that I have been on my own for 13 years now and I'm still finding my style.  Maybe when I'm 40 I'll have it figured out?  Am I the only one that struggles with this?  I searched and searched Marshalls/TJMaxx/Target/Craigslist for a new mirror and then I remember I had this mirror in our basement... Get it together, Leslie!  This mirror is a DIY from our first apartment and you can find the post {here}.  This mirror only ended up costing me about $25!!!  I still wanted a menu board because it helps me make a meal plan and stick to it.  It also helps TTM not eat Tacos for lunch and dinner.  I would never complain about too many tacos but to each their own.  I found this picture frame for only $2.50 at Michaels.

  This area of our kitchen use to be so dark and this mirror definitely helps lighten it up!  I hope you have a WONDERFUL weekend!  
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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Lite Strawberry Swirl Jars

 Uhhhhhhh what in the world happened to JULY?  Did we even have a July this year?  Seriously!  I vaguely remember the 4th, I think it happened. 

If you watched my insta stories this weekend then you already saw these Lite Strawberry Swirl Jars.  This is actually an old recipe I did {here} but I decided to change things up and use mason jars.  We BBQed with Tall Tan Man's family on Sunday and I ALWAYS NEED a dessert when we BBQ... #gimmieallthesugar #andatreadmill

Lite Strawberry Swirl Jars
Adapted from Skinny Taste


1.5 lbs of Strawberries
1/3 cup Agave nectar
Pinch of Salt 
1/2 tsp Lemon Zest
1 1/2 tsp Lemon Juice
12 oz Lite Cool Whip, softened
12 oz Vanilla Greek Yogurt


1.  Remove stem from the strawberries and cut them in half.  Take half of your strawberries and mash them with a potato masher.  

2.  In a medium skillet, bring strawberries and agave to a boil.  Add salt, zest, and juice to strawberries and boil for 5 minutes.  Pour strawberries into a bowl and refrigerate for one hour. 

3.    In a large bowl, stir together cool whip and yogurt.  Once combined, fold in strawberries.  Try to not over stir to keep the "swirl" look.  Grab 6 small mason jars and fill them with a small spoon.  Wipe away any mess and refrigerate for another 15+ minutes.  

How cute is my "helper"?


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