Romantic Night Stands (DIY)

I wanted end tables with blue and white romantic print.
So I found some romantic print fabric at a consignment shop for $5.00 and decided to make them with decoupage.

I bought these night stands which look like they were attached to a mirror or to a headboard previously. The two together were about $30. Solid wood, with nice but subtle detail, these pieces were going to be our night stands.

 This sad end table had all the integrity but none of the flare… So I fixed that.  Admittedly they weren’t much to look at.

  1.  First I painted them 2 coats with behr oatmeal paint so it was a creamy antique look. 
  2. I painted the drawers as well and added knobs. There were no knobs originally, on the drawers. I just bought 4 individual knobs from Home Depot, in a nickel finish. They looked like hammered nickel which was the look I wanted, and they were about $5 each.
      As you can see there were a few cracks but I liked it that way. I wanted a romantic, distressed look. I even took a sanding block and gently sanded the trim peices and around the edges to give it more a more weathered look.
  3. Probably the most difficult part was getting the fabric attached. I say difficult because you have to be very particular when cutting it. So I started by painting a layer of decoupage on the top of the end table. I then placed the whole peice of fabric on top. I’m glad I did this, because had I cut it prior, I probably would have wasted a lot of fabric.

After placing the fabric on the decoupaged top I smoothed it down, making sure it was straight and also that it showed the peice of the fabric that I wanted.

Making sure there were no bubbles or creases I took the decoupage and painted a layer on top of the fabric. I waited (maybe) 10 minutes, then took an exact o knife and carefully followed the ridge at the top. I was very careful not to pull the fabric as this would cause bubbles etc.  After tracing out the fabric it looked perfect but a little tattered. Decoupage is like a glue that dries clear and instead of potentially compromising the fabric or pulling a thread, I decoupaged the corners and pushed down with the brush so as to guide these frays in line.

Then I added a second coat of decoupage and let it dry overnight.

Finally my end table was complete. I later added legs to the bottom because it was a bit short.

I was pleased with the final product it was exactly what I wanted…

I’ve come to realize that when you know what you want the only way to get it is to create it. When you build something, you give yourself exactly what you want. What is more satisfying?

Happy Building!

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A Kitchen Island (DIY)

When we moved into the new condo we had a god awful 80’s kitchen with the white particle board cabinets, yes it had the wood trim. It was hainus. After a full remodel I realized we had an L shaped kitchen which needed to be grounded. We  renovated the kitchen on a budget, and so the island wasn’t in it.
I found a 36 in tall dresser. It was a sad peice and unfortunately I didn’t take the before picture. It was your standard wood dresser it was 34 inches wide which was perfect! I wanted to put butcher block on top but unfortunately the cheapest version would be $200.

I bought the dresser for $25. I painted it with Benjamin Moore “storm”, which was a semi blue grey.

  I attached 2 peices of would I found in the garage and sanded them down so it had the look of butcher block without the price tag. I sanded them well and stained them with Minwax natural stain.

I then attached a peice of wood to the bottom of the dresser so that it was all flat. I needed to have a flat bottom to attach the wheels properly.

The wheels were $4.00. I would suggest wheels with built in stoppers so that when you pull out a drawer it doesn’t wiggle the whole peice.

  We had beedboard leftover from our bathroom update so I simply cut two peices to fit and nailed them into place. I later caulked the seem at the top and down the side where the two peices of beedboard meet so it looked seemless.

I painted the beedboard the same white as the cabinets, Benjamin Moore “chalk”. It was an eggshell finish.


Finally I attached these pretty knobs so it gave it a little Moroccan flare. I bought these at home goods for $4.00 for 4 so it was $8.00 total.

After it was completed:


It was perfect!!! It was a charming rustic touch and the total cost was $41.00, but I also had some of the materials. If I were to estimate the cost having none of the materials in advance. It would probably be closer to $100. I was pleased with the turn out. I later attached hooks to the side closest to the refrigerator for towels and spatulas and thing of that nature. I put the trash can below the longer wood end so when I cut up vegetables I sweep them right into the trash.

Another tip: make sure after a few days to polyurethane the top of the wood so that water marks and stains don’t compromise the wood.

It’s not butcher block but it’s still pretty!! A word of advice for those of you that don’t know, butcher block is not as susceptible water, germs etc because of the density of the wood. The propose of butcher block would be in lieu of a cutting board. This material is not meant for cutting directly on but it’s astetics make for a soft warm grounding in this L shaped kitchen.


Travel, Even if it’s nearby.


Something about being in a new place fills your soul and your core with this uneasy, excited, butterfly, poop feeling. It’s like you are going up a roller coaster and you know it’s going to be exciting and thrilling. Being in a place you have known and you are revisiting somehow gives us that same sentiment. It’s like Boston for me. I spent many many days and nights in Boston. When I return something inside me awakens. It’s as if my skin is on fire and my heart is awake. It’s a great feeling.

When you travel, even close by, you look carefully at things.  You see things differently, with rose colored glasses. The effects of stopping and smelling the roses my friends, is overall life satisfaction.

You start to see those familiar signs on the highway, and pay your final toll, then you see Fenway and suddenly it all comes back.” I remember why I love this place”.  When you finally arrive it’s like a rush of adrenaline and you can’t wait to explore the places you have been and try new ones as well.

I suppose traveling and love have the same general feeling. It’s exciting and new and always makes you feel kind of queasy, in a good way. There is something  about planning a trip that just fills you with new opportunity. The chance to explore is probably a fundamental human need. It’s on the same scale as creating something or leaving your mark on the world.

I have often wondered how people I know can simply drop their real life in exchange for a backpack and go to Europe with no plan. That idea sounds insane, that is not the kind of trip I could take. It’s too passé.

I would love to be able to travel, as most people would, but on my own terms and with certainty that when I return I have a schedule to get back to. It’s important to have balance in life and getting a backpack and going, indefinetly, is not my idea of a good time. I admit I’m too high maintenance for whimsical ideas like that. I need to know my hotel is clean/ has good reviews and I have a general itinerary so I don’t go totally crazy trying to organize myself.

Being free isn’t what I’m good at. I suppose those people have some kind of ingrained spirit that allows them to let go of reality and live in the moment. This is great, but when you go back home how can you settle down? Once you fly how can you go back to walking? I don’t think you can. It’s like caging a wild bird. They might stay in their cage but they will always try to escape. I’ve met many untamed people like this and they are often the most interesting and sad. They are restless and nothing makes them happy, unfortunately for their partners they have to constantly restrain them. It’s always a fight for freedom in their minds. I have known many free-birds and while I am envious of their “wing-it” attitude I am certain they will never find home, or be happy in one place for long.

It’s strange to feel at home in so many places. I feel at home in my condo, at my father’s house where I grew up, in Rhode Island in many places, parts of Boston, and in certain people’s homes. I don’t feel like traveling without knowing at some point I will sleep in my own bed. Travel is like a roller coaster, you go up while you get to where ever you are going you get to the top and you feel enlightened by the new-ness of it all and as you descend it’s exhilarating to have had all these experience and finally you get home with your feet on the ground. It’s a safe and comfortable feeling but you always want to do it again. It was awesome. You carry the experience with you at home and with those you encounter. You wait impatiently, until your next roller coaster ride. All the while knowing you still have home. Home is always my favorite place, no matter where I am going or where I have been.

Maybe I like feeling grounded, maybe it’s because I’ve made “home” a place of refuge surrounded by comfort. Or maybe traveling is better done in doses so you appreciate every moment. Being home we plan for the places we will go, being away makes us value our lives. It makes us humble and it keeps us human. The feeling of returning home is just as exciting as arriving in a new place or even a familiar place. That feeling is what we love about life. It’s taking that deep breath of fresh ocean air or smelling th burning fireplace in the living room. It’s a feeling like love.

Travel often in life, and remember where you came from, for both are worth the ride.

 


Buds: A TRUE love story.

Long ago in a far away land there lived a little girl who had a vcr and every Disney movie ever made. She knew then that she wanted a prince and wouldn’t be the damsel in distress, but she wanted to wear the dresses.

Fast forward after dating a few frogs that didn’t turn into prince charmings. It’s not easy finding love and true love nonetheless. True love is rare and I have seen a lot of friends and family members struggle on the course of life trying to find their copilot.

If ever there is a time to listen to your gut, it’s when you are two years into a relationship that sucks but you keep doing it anyway because it’s easier than breaking up and starting over.

Let’s just say that little voice in your head, the one that said “this isn’t going to work out” is always right. It’s not worth wasting your time if there is even a slight chance that there is no happily ever after in your future.

So when I met Joe, aka Prince Charming, I was not looking for a partner I wasn’t even looking for a friend at that point. I was just casually talking to him at work, and then all of a sudden we were on a date. (Actually that’s not true) I tricked him into the first date…

It was strange how easy it was to talk to him, he didn’t make me feel uncomfortable at all. I actually got so nervous getting ready for our first date I poked myself right in the eye and had a blood blister in that eye the whole night and next week, I looked like a crack head. I didn’t realize how easy it was to date someone….because all dates prior clearly weren’t prince charming.

It became very evident that he was the person that I had been looking for all my life. When you know, you know, and there aren’t any doubts. How do you know? Well, first of all, it’s easy. That’s the most important part. If it’s difficult to be with someone, and they make you feel anything but who you REALLY are, then it’s not “right”. People change and grow, of course, but you should never compromise your character, your values or your friends for a partner.


You never know how amazing love can be until you’ve found it.

People say you have to compromise, and you do a little. People say you will fight… Maybe, but not over petty issues, more like discussions. People say that you have to work at it, and you do… But you have to work on you not them. You can’t change people, but you can remind them who they started out as. Sometimes as life goes on people take each other for granted, knowing they will always be there, but that is what you DO NOT want to do. In fact, the only thing you need to do to is make sure that you appreciate the person you choose, and they appreciate you, and love is easy.

You have to be thoughtful, caring and understand of how your other person is feeling always, and so do they.  I can count on my beloved Joe to listen to me, after a bad day. To help me to solve life great problems, like what to wear when I’m feeling bloated. I can count on him answer the phone, anytime I call. I can be sure that he always has my back.

I am happy to be able to say I have a true best friend to go through life with who is everything I wanted from the time I was watching “The Little Mermaid” until when I solidified a retirement savings account. I know that I will have many more years of wonderful adventures and pure love. I am fortunate to have someone I can say this about. What I know for sure, is that many people struggle to find a partner in life. So many on looking for someone online,  or in real life, but when I found joe… I was working on myself. I wasn’t trying to find anything except to improve my character, and move forward in life. While I may not be perfect, and I certainly was NOT when I met Joe, what I do know, is that the love we have is perfect, and it’s because I knew myself, and so did he.

We know ourselves and so we value each other’s place in our own lives.


Small Town (pros and cons)

 

img_8257-1Growing up I always felt at home in my small town of Marlborough, CT. It was quaint in town, a grocery store, a bakery, a couple of pizza places, a Seven 11, and a full service gas station. It was small, it was quiet and it was home. There’s a lake in Marlborough where I learned how to swim and a playground where people had play dates with their kids. It’s peaceful and clean and everyone is nice. Everyone knows everyone. The ladies at the bank greet you by your first name, and entering the town hall is like a reunion. If you needed to pick something up at 7/11 or Pat’s Market you were sure to see at least 2 people you knew personally, or who knew your family.

It was a great asset to be in a town with good schools, low crime rate, low poverty rate and genuinely good people. Elementary school was filled with activities and the classes were maybe 20 kids each, 4-5 classrooms and you had to take a bus to get to school. No one walked, it’s too rural.  The people you started kindergarden with, were with you until the end of high school.

In middle and high school Marlborough joined two other towns in a regional forum school in Hebron. The purpose obviously was because the towns didn’t have the volume of kids to support individual high schools, (shared costs). It was also nice to meet new people.

Once in middle school and high school all the activities and small town vibes expand to the tri-towns. People have to travel 30 minutes from one town to the next to visit their friends, and a vehicle was always required.

I don’t know exactly why it changed so much in high school, but all of a sudden drugs became prevalent. Anything from cocain to LSD was available and in high demand. It was strange to see how many people were doing drugs. The football team, the cheerleaders, the geeks and the weirdos all. Maybe that’s why everyone got along so, seemingly well. There were never fights on school grounds. The worst thing was someone getting caught with illegal paraphernalia or drugs/ alcohol. The cliques all threw massive parties.

The high school parties shown on tv were real in my high school. We had dj’s, booze and hundreds of people would show up from high school classes 4 plus or minus classes to get wild. There was mud wrestling and jello wrestling and one or two parties included a prize for the best costumes. There were beer pong tournaments, dance parties, people hooking up and the cops always showing up to tell us to keep it down. It was reckless and free. It was awesome. The parties would be wild and the drugs were everywhere. It was funny, after looking back, other towns didn’t do that.

One of my best friends died, we had a friend- fall out before that. She was a tough person to get along with and she sold drugs. She smoked blunts and thought her body was just like a man’s. She thought she could do anything without punishment because she was smart. She wasn’t smart, when she started taking pain killers. Then she started snorting them. Then a year after our fall out I heard she died. I heard it was heroin but I still don’t know. She was smart, funny, and kind. She always rooted for the underdog. She loved fiercely and she was beautiful. She had long blonde hair, and green eyes. She drove me to school. She drove me crazy sometimes. She had a scholarship to Uconn’s Avery point, and she was so bright. Her family was smart, and she played the violin. She’s gone now, but she was a beautiful soul.

I had a love. Oh did I love him, he was my first love. He had red hair, and blue eyes, he was so smart and kind. The good news is that this story doesn’t end as tragically as the last.  My boyfriend in high school, was shot in the face with a bee bee gun, at a party. The kid who did it, didn’t know it was loaded. He was blinded in one eye from the stupid kid who shot him. The doctors gave him vicotin, then he moved up to Percocet, then oxicotin and yes next came the heroin.After high school he went to rehab, but not many people followed him. Many many people went down the same path… His best friends, and the whole circle around us.

It was at least one death a year, each time, a high school reunion.

When I moved to college I came home on weekends and nothing looked beautiful and like home anymore. It looked tainted and sad. People didn’t know eachother anymore, they hid in their addiction ridden holes and if you heard from them it meant they needed something. People still had parties and I attended a lot of them. People still did drugs even after high school and college, these guys owned homes now and had good jobs and yet still couldn’t stop. Some of them did. Those went out to have normal families, kids, and stopped. The rest of them, in AA, or onto their next addiction.

More people died.

Overdoses, car accidents and not one for a good reason.

Each wake and funeral people rallied for their friends, for the people they knew, for eachother. It was a beautiful reunion and never for a good reason. It is always at these funerals that people look back fondly on the departed and reminisce on how things were.

It isn’t that the towns fell apart, it’s that the people who started with drugs who let the drugs take over, stayed. They led the same life they did in high school 10-15 years later doing the same drugs and hanging out with the same people.  They went to the same gas station, and had the same circle of friends. Everyone else moved on. People in high school went on to leave the towns some stayed in CT some moved close some moved far. Everyone took with them the same good times, different memories but always the same gratitude and love for the place they came from.

There aren’t many people I know who grew up in the RHAM community who don’t respect and honor their days in the tri-town area. I don’t know anyone who had a “bad” high school experience, there were cliques but people were generally nice to each other. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t lost someone,  from this place we all call home. I know some have lost a friends due to suicide, others overdoses and some car accidents. Each tragic event built something inside of us all that is resilient and unified. We all know what it is to lose someone.

The pro is that people of RHAM had some of the best and most memorable days partying, going to games, skipping class, being young and careless. The con is that while we aren’t in high school any longer RHAM never leaves us. We are the class of 2007 and we all plus or minus 4 classes love and support eachother in life and in death.

The life we have had together is home. I can’t say with any certainty that it was a good experience but I know it wasn’t bad. In these towns I learned more about life than anywhere else. I still go home to my home town of Marlborough  and now it feels better. It feels like home again. I see people in town and we chit chat. It’s as if nothing has changed, and everything, at once.

The pro of the small towns is devotion, to the place you call home, and to those who spent years by your side, even if you weren’t close. It is a lesson on how to deal with the unexpected loss that life throws at us. It’s being a part of a whole. A small town is not the same as a city but you know if you leave you will see things change. Yet, they will always be the same.

To those wonderful people we lost:

Lija Brigga

David O’keef

Chris David

Greyson Minney

Josh Lejune

Kerry Williams

Brittany holland

Andrew Bartholomew

Eric Hunter

Ryan Kurley

To name a few…

We have known you well and loved you. We are united in spirit, the small town and community of RHAM. Together we rally for eachother and I can only hope that this terrible disease of addiction stops, so that people can stop gathering for funerals and start gathering for reunions.

Addiction has touched the lives of so many, if you or someone you know is struggling don’t feel like you’re alone. Call someone, they probably already know, and want to help!


Ignorance, and a Pyramid Scheme

 On most days you may be just playing the game of life. Showing up doing a job or school or whatever it is and then going home. Once you get into a rutine it seems obvious and comfortable to keep doing what you are doing.

I learned the hard way that sometimes people are right when they say the job, the boyfriend or whatever it is… Isn’t right for you.

Example.

Circa 2010, fresh out of college with no prospect of a decent job I started working at a company called pinnacle marketing. I wore a suit and worked in Hartford so that basically meant I was an adult. Nope!

1 month in I was walking the streets of new haven cold call selling b2b direct energy to business owners that had no interest in saving 30 cents a year on their electric bill. I ate fast food a lot because I was on the road, gained about 15  pounds and kept showing up making just about $200 a week if I was lucky. Sounds like a pretty stupid move on my, now educated self’s part. Well I had another job, thankfully. That was at an upscale Italian restaraunt so I supplemented my income or lack there of with tips.

To be fair, this job sold a pretty picture, that anyone could be an entrepreneur and run a fast paced marketing business just like my manager at the time. It sold me. When we went on a business trip to Nashville and saw thousands of people just like me getting sold the same bullshit. I mean it had to be legitamate if so many people did it. My parents couldn’t be right about the pyramid scheme or the fact that they prey on suckers like me who exhaust their friend-family- network signing up for the commission based pay and then quit. I was better than that, I was going to be a business owner and a successful one! Nope. I was a sucker.

On bad relationships… The beibs said it “My momma don’t like you and she likes every one”…. That’s it. Nothing more to say. Unless your mother is a half wit or a total snob you should probably listen to her instincts on bad relationships. Sad truth is she is usually right. 

If your gut tells you that you aren’t doing it right. Bail. It’s not worth wasting time trying to prove yourself and everyone else wrong if you know somewhere in your heart it’s wrong.

Of course sometimes you aren’t 100% sure that you are doing the right thing work, love or otherwise but if you even have the slightest feeling that it’s not going to be a future for you, don’t think for a second that feeling won’t grow into some life long regret if you keep it up.

Love taught me one thing, when it’s right, there aren’t doubts. You never wonder if you made the right choice to move in. You never question of the other person is who you think they are. The doubt level is always at 0 and no amount of external commentary changes that.

Everyone wants you to think a new relationship is short term and for a lot of people maybe it is, but when you find the right one the one that fills you with no doubt or hesitation you’ll learn that your gut knows better than them.

The moral, be careful what you give your energy to, so often the time we waste could have been better used on something that serves us. Think before you accept an offer and let your conscious be your guide.

Also don’t invest in pyramid schemes they don’t work.  ALL of them.

  Invest in yourself and you will do great things.


10 things to know when you start working in an office…

 

I’ll cut straight to the list…

1. Sick time is sick time for a reason. No you will not get in trouble for using your sick time when you are sick. Yes you should stay home instead of spreading your miserable germs around to all those innocent people here. If you are sick and coughing and sneezing all over the place, you are the reason that everyone else has to take sick time because you are selfish.  Yes this is harsh but no one likes a sick coworker getting their sickness all over… It’s rude.

2. Be tactful. Don’t tell the person who wants to know the truth the actual truth. You will make enemies quicker than high school with brutal honesty. Tell someone politely that they have something in their teeth, not by pointing and saying ” you have spinach in your teeth”. Instead, pull them aside and motion to the tooth and say “you have a little something”. Trust me, no one wants to be walking around with stuff in their teeth, but calling someone out in a crowd is embarrassing.  Emotional intelligence people.

3. Don’t be a kiss ass. No one likes a brown noser, a tattle tale or a teachers pet. No you are not proving yourself to your superior you are making enemies of people on your team. If you have the same interests as your boss, great. Keep it professional. It’s work. Volunteering is good to get your name out there. It’s important to do your best, but I assure you buying coffee for your boss every day isn’t going to get you far, only stepped on.

4. Keep your personal life personal. You don’t need to talk about your boyfriend drama, your family drama or any drama for that matter. If you disclose too much, you will soon find that people don’t care about you, they are simply nosey. People don’t want to hear about the problems you have in your life, they have their own. The best thing you can do it start by telling them about your weekend and quickly turn the conversation to them, they want to talk about themselves anyway. The person here is that aquaintence you say hi to everyday who you don’t talk to outside of work at all. Sure you can disclose information to people who have gained your trust but be careful because that’s a fine line. Bottom line: don’t broadcast your life drama show, it’s not cute.

5. Do add flare to your work and cubical. It’s important to show a little bit of yourself. Put up a cute calendar, a few photos and add one or two details. Don’t put your entire collection of minions on display… It’s fine if you do but… Don’t. If you keep a bunch of strange old bottles of Snapple or a collection of every card you’ve gotten from a coworker or friend on your wall, it’s too much. Keep it clean and keep it simple and remember this is not your home, it’s your office space. It should be a productive space and not a hoarders lair. Bonus- keeping a clean and organized work space will make you more productive. Your cubicle should reflect you, just enough.

6. Pull your weight. Don’t be that guy.. You know the one, the guy that volunteers for everything and can’t even finish his emails properly. The guy that’s always m.i.a and everyone has to make up for their slacker behavior. Do your job and you will be recognized. If you can be counted on, that will speak for itself. If you are a social butterfly but you have no trace of competence in your work, then this is it for you, get comfortable because there aren’t any promotions in your future. Just make sure you do enough so that the people on your team aren’t making up for you, and you aren’t making excuses for your shoddy performance.

7. Be nice, but don’t flirt with your married coworker it’s not cool. If you are polite and nice you will be fine. No, having drinks outside of work isn’t okay either. Don’t be a home wrecker, and don’t sully your reputation by surrounding yourself with inappropriate company. You are an adult. Act accordingly. Don’t seek unnecessary attention, there are plenty of venues for that outside of the office. Come to work and keep your flings outside of it. (Obviously, I didn’t take this advice with joe but… to be fair I did keep it polite and work appropriate in the office)

8. If you don’t know, just ask. Yes there is such a thing as a stupid question but if you have read the instructions, and you still don’t get it, don’t just do it and hope for the best. Ask. This is so important. You will save so much face if you get it right the first time. If you go in blind and fail you will set yourself up for an excuse and no one likes excuses. People aren’t perfect and mistakes happen but if you can avoid a mistake by swallowing your pride, do it. Just ask!

9. Think before you speak. This was such an important lesson for me. If you think before you speak you will be miles ahead of the game. Don’t blurt out the first thing on your mind during the meeting. Don’t send back an email without proof reading it. Do think about people’s reactions and do think about how you should deliver the message. Communication is tricky and especially in the work place because one misconstrued word you might be sitting in the office with HR. So just do yourself a favor and think first!

10. Be yourself. Be honest but careful. If you are phony people won’t like you. You have to be yourself and do your best. You will do great! Show up, be nice, don’t pick your nose, bake if you like baking, be friendly or funny or whatever you are because you are a peice of the puzzle. Without you the office would lack something. Your presence is important but only if you make the best of it. Just smile and nod if you can’t do anything else. If you are the quiet one be the quiet one. Don’t compromise your personality for the rest of them but be mindful and respectful. Everyone is different and comes from different history or background, so add to it with good conversation and little peices of yourself and you will go far. Try not to be negative, it’s never good.


Good luck… and just be you, you’re the best!

For more like this check out:The Law of “Fake it til you Make it” covers a good bit of  how to get the job done without fully knowing what the hell you’re doing…