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Friday, November 23, 2012

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. What could be better than family and friends gathering to enjoy good food and great company? Throw in 60+ degree weather, sunshine, and homemade sangria and you've got the makings for an awesome holiday.

Spiced Cider Sangria
1 bottle Chianti
1/2 bottle Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
(what can I say? we like rum)
1/2 gallon apple cider
1/2 liter soda water
Mix in spice mix, cinnamon sticks and sliced fruit
We got crafty a few days before Thanksgiving and made up some cute place settings using pine cones from a local thrift store, craft paper, ribbon and leaf stickers. Total cost of this project: less than $10. And we have extra so we can add more names for next year ;)

Not to mention, they were a great addition to the fabulous table Nan decorated:

We started off the meal with some amazing squash and sweet potato soup. Trust me when I say it was even more delicious thank it looks.

Then it was grub time. Excuse the mismatched pink cup... I needed lots of water to go along with the heaping mountain of food I consumed.

Once the tryptophan set in we all scattered around the house for a nap, making sure to wake up in time for some football and dessert.

I have to say that overall, this is the best Thanksgiving I can remember. I have many, many fond memories of Thanksgivings past, but this one was very special being the first holiday spent with Evan as a married couple, and with my new family. There was no shortage of gratitude and happy bellies after our amazing meal, and it really set the tone as we look forward to entertaining even more family and friends next month. 


Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Room of Living (Progress)

Cue the holidays and suddenly my days seem to be getting away from me. Well, that and I've been making an effort to work extra shifts at work and lately Nan and I have been immersed in Operation: Finish the Living Room. When we first moved into our little bungalow, this was where we all gathered:

Nan's cute furniture from her previous apartment barely filled this new living space. It's not quite pictured, but the funky red leather-esque chaise made for a comfortable addition to the side of the couch for TV nights when all five of us would gather around for some of our favorite shows, like The Walking Dead and The X Factor. Yep, we're a zombies and bad reality TV kinda family.

Some things about this room that really bothered me/us:

Orange-y wood floors and trim. Once upon a time there was carpet in this room and the owner never quite got around to fixing the baseboard or the million little nails holes that surround the room. But it's not "our" home, so we're living with it.

The weird ceiling/molding that comes about 6-8 inches down the wall. I guess it's a Midwestern thing because I've never seen anything quite like it. Bungalows tend to have such small, cozy spaces to begin with, why make it feel smaller? If the place were ours, we would definitely push the ceiling back up high where it belongs. I'd say we have a good 10 ft. overall so this room could feel much larger.

Fast forward about a month and a half. We brought in the happy turquoise TV dresser, which drastically changed the vibe of the room if I do say so myself. Then we got rid of the sofa and brought in this guy:

Add some new curtains from World Market (one of Nan and I's favorite haunt) and the living room started to become a lot more comfortable and pulled together. Oh, and even though the TV dresser looks pretty junky, I have since purchased some 1x6 planks from Home Depot, had 'em cut to size, and created shelves for the baskets. I just need to stain and snap a new photo.

But first we decided to attack the other awkward side of the room:

The computer desk was a cheap Target buy that worked as a temporary solution when we were all cramped up in a 2-bedroom apartment. Now it's time to introduce a more impressive piece of furniture.

It wasn't a side if the road find, and I did have to slave over vague assembly instructions in a dimly lit room, but I think it was worth it. Looks expensive, huh? No? I thought so...

After browsing Craigslist like a pro to find an accent chair for a reading nook we envisioned for the other corner, I stumbled upon this resin wicker chair:

Yay for more bad iPhone photos. I'm still guilty of not taking out my "real" camera when I want a quick picture. I'm thinking there might be a more compact point-and-shoot in my future. But I figured the chair would be great for the space which we're trying to keep "natural". So far we have woven baskets in the TV dresser and our little burlap elephant that we scored from Home Goods. It's also perfect because Stella can't destroy the top of it with her claws like she's done with other upholstered chairs.

As far as the rest of the corner goes, the table is a $10 find from Thrift Nation (my new favorite place) as is the lamp. The too-small shade, which will be used elsewhere, and the seat cushion is from World Market. The fuzzy blanket is from Marshall's and the vase was a gift. The pillow was included with our couch, and is something we plan to cover with some new fabric or possibly a sweater.

I've officially decided that furnishing and decorating is fun... when I have time. And I'm slowly yet surely making sure to tackle at least one project, big or small, every week. Again I need to remind myself that we have only been living here for just about 2 months and we're feeling very prepared for the upcoming holidays. Let's see if we can stay on track!