weekend snaps

What a gorgeous weekend this last one was! Between family being in town, puppy sitting and wedding venue hunting up in New Hampshire, we certainly found plenty of opportunity to get outside and enjoy the perks of fall in New England.

Did someone say wedding venue hunting? Oh yes. It’s begun. Fun posts coming later this week with an update on our unique approach to wedding planning and how we’re setting the stage with untraditional venues during our search. EKK, I’m excited!

For now, posting up some memorable snaps – enjoy!


Omni Mt. Washington Resort

family time!

Mount Washington

Fall mums at the Omni Mt. Washington Resort

gorgeous Province Lake in New Hampshire

weekend snaps | cockapoo sitting


fall outdoor decor

Outdoor decor…say that three times fast ..

Fall is officially here with today’s forecast and that not only means suiting up with sweaters but also decorating with all of the outdoor essentials, like mums and lanterns. Now that we’re back in the abode, more decorating pics to come but thought I’d share a few finds from the weekend that help give us back some curb appeal (inexpensively too!!).

Lanterns – $13 each on clearance at TJ Maxx

Mums – $3.99 each at Market Basket (assorted colors to choose from!)

front step decor

decorating for fall

how to decorate with lanterns



#renolife: from terrifying tile to bathroom bliss

Hey thereeeeee,

Back with some more shares of our ongoing renovation…and by renovation, we should really be calling it an OVERHAUL when it comes to this next room.

With most of the ice dam damage occurring in the bathroom, this was the only room that was completely gutted and we were able to really transform it from top to bottom, which was a good thing because those pink marble tiles we had? TERRIBLE. Hard to be mad at water damage when it means you can build your room exactly the way you want it.

Here are some things we updated & upgraded:

  • Installed new porcelain tile flooring made to look like real wood planks
    • Find it HERE at Home Depot
  • Complete shower surround upgrade to trendy subway tiles with Pewter grout (just enough edge for us and it really became the focal point of our tiny bathroom)
    • Plus, subway tiles are around 22 cents per tile, so not only are the trendy but they’re also completely affordable for such big visual impact
  • Removed the wall tiles and applied a fresh coat of paint to the walls
    • Sherwin Williams’ Olympus White (AMAZING how much bigger it looks)
  • Bought a new custom vanity thanks to Home Depot
    • Note – custom is expensive but it’s the only way we could find EXACTLY what we wanted. No regrets from this gal!
  • Bought new fixtures thanks to Kohler & Pottery Barn
  • Installed a brand new soaker tub, by Mirabella
  • Picked up some fun accessories from Home Goods (i.e. glass containers, soap dish, towels)

Here’s our before pictures. As you can see, the bathroom was practically brand new when we bought the home in 2013, but it was 100% not our style. Wallpaper is not only a P.I.T.A to install but it’s also hard to do well in small spaces, where you’re pulling out every trick in the book to help the space look larger and brighter. So we opted out of wallpaper and tiles on the walls and instead went for a smooth, clean look with a fresh coat of paint. We tied the grey paint color in with our new marble vanity top and also the subway tile grout surrounding our shower. To us, it was the perfect balance of modern and trendy, helping us go from “tile terrified” to “clean and cool.”

Before pics…




After….(drumroll please)…the after! Including some WIP pictures so you can see the transformation from start to finish.
















More reno shares to come! Would love to know your thoughts.


friday finds

Today I took a personal day from work and needless to say, it was glorious. Sleeping in until 8am, going out for a cup of coffee and catching up on life – sometimes you just need those days to decompress and refocus.

And what better way to help do that than a trip to Home Goods, I say! It is great exercise….

While much of the focus of my blog to date has been around home finds and delicious recipes we’ve tried, I do want to document our wedding planning along the way. It’s such a big part of our lives as a couple and for someone who loves to plan & prep, it’s a really unique and exciting opportunity to really make this wedding feel like “us.” The best weddings I’ve been to have been the ones where the couples personality really shines through. There’s honestly nothing worse than bland food, bad music and an uncomfortable atmosphere so my aim is to make this wedding THE event to attend.

We’ll, here’s to hoping.

In the spirit of documenting some amazing Friday finds and contributing to some posts around wedding planning, today I bring you …… ring dishes!

Okay, it sounds really silly but for anyone who’s engaged and takes their ring off for things like washing your face, showering, working out, etc. a ring dish is actually the only sane and safe way to store your engagement ring. I did some hunting online just after we got engaged and everything I saw was either too big (like a full on jewelry dish), too pricey ($50 for two square inches?!) or just not my style. So when I’m walking through Home Goods today in the check out line and saw these, I knew the wait was worth it. Not to mention, they fulfill the checklist: just the right size (they only hold a ring and maybe some studs), reasonably priced ($4.99 each) and super cute. I threw those puppies into the cart faster than one could say “YAS!”

So you be the judge!






how to get a whitewashed fireplace look in 10 easy steps

Antiquing. Sounds like a scary word for a relatively new DIY-er. But one can’t deny how good those Pinterest posts look, so we set out to find an easy (and affordable) way to transform our fireplace amongst all of this renovation work going on in our house.

So let me back up and give you the skinny on what’s actually being done. After what seemed like the longest winter ever, we had some significant damage on the front and back sides of our house due to ice dams. Fun fun fun. Ice dams can be caused by a variety of things but net-net the results are UGLY. After meeting with the insurance company, adjusters, contractors and what seems like a dozen other people, we finally were able to start the repairs this summer, including but not limited to: replacing walls in most of our rooms, replacing our bedroom ceiling, fully insulating the walls and attic (barely anything there prior), replacing our wainscoting in our dining area, COMPLETELY gutting our bathroom (no more pink tile!!) and resanding/staining our hardwood floors. Yowza, right?

Ironically, the room that we spend the most time in, our living room, was one room that won’t be touched, but after the crew removed all of the furniture out of the house, we realized now was the perfect time to roll up our sleeves and give that room a mini makeover of our own. It’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint on the walls and ceiling can do to liven up a room, and finding an easy fireplace makeover so quickly became the cherry ontop for us.

I’ll touch more on the living room mini makeover in future posts but for now, wanted to give you a glimpse into our fireplace progress.

I found the following post from Trendy Thrifting and was super intrigued in the notion of antiquing via sponge painting after seeing her amazing ‘before and after’ pictures (go and check out her site!). Our fireplace was previously white painted brick, so this was one of the few plans we saw that started with an already-painted fireplace, versus starting with raw red/orange brick (and trust me, we weren’t stripping that sucker down). Her plan of attack seemed easy enough – buy some paint, buy some sponges, sponge until desired look is achieved. And it really was that easy.

Here’s what you’ll need (slightly modified from TT):

  • 1 quart of Sherwin Williams semigloss paint in Taupe Tone (I took her reco of using Smoked Oyster from Valspar and went to Sherwin Williams to match the color – just a personal preference on paint brand)
  • 1 quart of glaze (Sherwin Williams recommended this based on the effect we were going for)
  • 1 quart of interior ‘snow white’ paint (again, I used Sherwin Williams semigloss)
  • 2 large industrial sponges
    • some people cut their sponges to fit the size of your bricks but I actually preferred to have these a little larger as it helped to cover more area. For me, the look was really in the little imperfections, so I didn’t worry too much about getting it in the cracks of the brick.
  • A paint tray or cup / paint stirrers
  • Cardboard scraps or poster board (to test your sponging out on)
  • 1/3 cup for measuring (** get one from the dollar store that you’re OK with throwing out after)
  • Wet rags for clean-up as you go
  • Painters tape – gotta protect those floors/carpet!

Here’s how to do it:

If you need to do any touch-ups to your fireplace, like we had to, I recommend applying those at least 1 day prior to your sponge painting. For us, we had a lot of soot on our bricks, so we reapplied a coat of white and gave it a day to dry, so it felt like we were starting with a clean slate. You’ll see below where we started and even a fresh coat of white paint did a WORLD of difference.

repaint your brick fireplace white

white brick fireplace 2

Even if you’re not repainting your fireplace or touching it up, make sure to clean it prior to sponging! Hot water and a rag will do the trick.

Be sure to tape around your fireplace to protect your hardwood floors/carpet/walls. You have more control sponge painting, but you just never know…better not to risk it!

white brick fireplace

Mix 1/3 cup of your taupe paint with 2/3 cup of your glaze in a plastic paint cup. We used one of those handheld trim buckets with the plastic removable liners.

Using your sponge, lightly dab it into the paint and practice your sponging on your cardboard/poster board to get your desired look. The trick is to have VERY LITTLE paint on the sponge when you do it for real on the bricks, so make sure to get off as much excess paint as possible.

Taupe Tone by Sherwin Williams

Taupe Tone by Sherwin Williams

Helpful tip: The more paint, the less it’s going to look textured (brick is porous, so it’ll just look like you went to repaint it with a taupe layer). I messed this up in the beginning, so in my photos below you can see how heavy paint on the sponge translates (I also have a solve! so don’t fret if you mess this up…where there’s a will, there’s a way).

Going brick-by-brick, sponge the paint-glaze mix onto your fireplace. Don’t worry about each brick being “perfect” – it’s kind of nice and more realistic when you have a variety of depth and coloring.

how to antique a brick fireplace (DIY)

diy antique fireplace

Helpful tip: Just as Trendy Thrifting says, you need to do the entire thing in order to see the look in its entirety. You can’t just evaluate this based on a small section of the fireplace being done (it’s going to look fake and wonky), so just be patient and see the entire thing through.

Now, should you find that you had too much paint on your sponge (like I did at first – see below where you can really notice it in the top left) or it’s look darker than you expected, I have a solve. And to be honest, I’m glad I made this mistake because the final result was even better than expected and I found it added even more texture/depth to our bricks.

how to whitewash a brick fireplace

Using your second large sponge, dip the skinny end into your white paint. Similar to before, practice your sponging on some cardboard and be sure to get off as much of the paint as possible, so when you go to dab on the fireplace, it’s subtle.

add a layer of white paint to your fireplace

sponge painting a brick fireplace

You don’t need to go brick-by-brick, but depending on your desired whitewash look, dab the white onto the bricks overtop of your taupe paint. This part is really up to your discretion – I dabbed as I went and just evaluated where the white was needed and where it wasn’t.

Last step – sit back and let your paint dry and then….marvel in the results! It really is amazing how realistic the final result is and for such little money, our fireplace has now become a statement piece in our living room.

antique-looking whitewashed fireplace

how to whitewash brick fireplace

DIY fireplace whitewashing

whitewashed brick fireplace

More pictures to come as we decorate this but…what do you think?!


#renolife: shades of grey

I’ve been a bit behind in sharing our ongoing renovation journey (mostly because the stuff that’s been done so far has been fairly uneventful and unfun) BUT as we move forward with a lot of changes to our humble abode, I want to make sure we’re sharing along the way.

So up this next is….drumroll….picking the perfect paint palette for our rooms. While we’re young, we’re also very traditional when it comes to experimentation with paint colors. We like neutrals. And lucky for us, neutrals are VERY in right now (not to mention easy to accessorize against). We have a tendency to lean toward grey shades but a few helpful nudges got us to open up to the thought of different hues of neutrals – working in blues, greens and beiges.

Here’s where we landed:

We’ve completed one coat of paint in the living room and despite the semi heart attack around if it would dry correctly, it looks AMAZING. They’re not lying when they say Sherwin Williams is the best paint. Between rolling it on and how it dried smooth and even, I think we’ve quickly become brand loyalists.

Please note – home renos, picking out paint samples and doing trim work are FAR from glamorous experiences so the below aren’t pretty and polished but wanted to give you guys a good sense of what we’re dealing with along the way. I promise the final results will be pretty and polished🙂.

North Star by Sherwin Williams 4

Painting the living room

North Star by Sherwin Williams

North Star by Sherwin Williams 2

North Star by Sherwin Williams 3

North Star by Sherwin Williams 5

North Star by Sherwin Williams 6

….how it looks after 1 complete coat of paint (fully dry)

North Star by Sherwin Williams 7

The reno work is still in full swing but more fun updates to be shared soon (like how we picked our new bathroom adornments!) Ek!


5 things to do as soon as you get engaged

5 things to do.001 copy

Having been engaged for a little over a month (aka 5 minutes) now makes me absolutely no expert in the “to dos” BUT you’d be surprised at how quickly things begin to happen and the questions begin to pile up. And trust me, as exciting as it is, there’s no shortage of stress for the most calm bride to be. So having this blog as my outlet (and the month’s worth of experience in actually being engaged), I pulled together my top 5 tips for what to do when you’ve got that magical ring on your finger and I promise, they’re extremely easy and (hopefully) stress-free.

  1. Start sending those group texts – It sounds silly and self explanatory, but your closest friends and family are going to want to feel like they were among the first to know about the exciting news. Thank goodness for group texts, right? We sent out a few group texts with the announcement and just told them we’d fill them in on all of the deets soon – that way they felt like they knew before it hit Facebook and it held them off on asking too many questions (which can get overwhelming). Although the moment is and should be all about you, we all know the family and friend politics so best to make people feel like they’re included in the moment if you can.
  2.  Get that thang insured! People aren’t joking when they say to get your engagement ring insured immediately. We’re all human and things happen and it’s better to be covered than to wait. Like me, I’m sure you’ve heard a few horror stories from friends (ring being left at the gym, falling off at the beach/pool, etc.). Get it on your home insurance policy ASAP (takes practically no time) and then have a glass of wine.
  3.  Start a Pinterest board – Whether you’re obsessed with Pinterest or have been trying to avoid the platform all-together, you can’t deny that it’s an extremely useful tool to start saving ideas or at least get a sense of what the possibilities are. Take it from someone who loves Pinterest, a great pin can often get buried amongst the sea of ideas, so when you see something that peaks your interest, best to save it just in case. The best part about it is that you can create “secret boards” so you don’t come across as a bride/groom jumping right into planning mode (unless…you are in which case, hats off to you).
  4. Take a break – This is the one thing people don’t stress enough. Go off and celebrate the engagement! It’s a huge deal and it’s so important that you get to really celebrate that occasion with your significant other. Very quickly you’ll find yourself surrounding by friends/family/coworkers that want to know absolutely everything. For us, we got engaged at the PERFECT time – just before a week-long vacation, and it was the best planning move Ryan ever made. We were disconnected from reality for a week and really got to enjoy time together as a couple, which made it all the more special. Even if it’s an overnight trip or a long weekend, make sure you take a break from reality and live in your own little celebratory bubble for a hot second. Also, pop that champagne. One can never have enough champagne.
  5.  Have some answers prepped – This does not mean that you have to actually HAVE all of the answers sorted right away. A month later and we certainly don’t have anything figured out and that’s OK, just know you are going to get the same questions over and over again. “when are you thinking?” “do you know where you’ll have it?” “how can we help?” All valid responses from those close to you (trust me, they’re just as excited as you are), but my best advice is to communicate with your significant other and have answers prepped so you’re both on the same page. It’s 100% OK to say “we’re going to take our time and enjoy our engagement before we jump into planning mode” but just make sure you’re both feeling good about it. Can you tell this is currently our go-to answer?🙂
Hope these help those brides-to-be and looking forward to sharing more advice along the way…lord knows I’ll be tapping into others for theirs!