On a quick side note, I'm not totally sure how people install curtain rods without a ton of tools. On the instructions, it said that all you needed was a screwdriver and drill, but I call shenanigans. I had out my drill, hammer, bit set, level, measuring tape... I had serious gear. Then again, I like things to be precise. (I don't want un-level curtains after all!) So, after about an hour of futzing, they were up!
Perfection. They don't block out all of the sun, but they definitely make a serious dent, and I'm sleeping much better. (Perhaps partially due to the exhaustion of coming home from set at 6:30AM after working all night, but I won't account that into the awesomeness of our new curtains.)
My other splurge of that day was the curtain hardware. I really liked that this style didn't have any super fancy finals. It's very streamlined and contemporary, which I think goes really nicely in our soft grey bedroom. We like to keep our bedroom very minimal, and this fits into that.
Also, here's a quick close-up at how our shades and curtains fit together.
I'm kind of in love. After looking for the perfect curtains for months, I'm so thrilled with these. I'm even going to say they were totally worth the splurge. (My sleep is priceless, after all.)
On a totally different note, I also bought myself a little present that arrived on Friday:
Does anyone else have one? I'm pretty excited to play....
Ugh, just looking at my chubby picture makes me cringe. And, yes, I change my hair color probably about as often as I change my socks. As a side note, neither one of these pictures has been photoshopped, other than to format them. Anyway, lets get to it, shall we?
Step 1: I Changed My Mindset
Here's the industry secret that no one in Hollywood talks about. Everyone knows that magazine and promotional photos of celebrities are photoshopped. Yes, every single picture. I even photoshop all of my furniture pictures to give them a little extra "pop". (Adjust the brightness here, color correct there... you get the gist.) What they don't tell you, is that all of the actors and actresses have beauty work done in picture, too. I can't tell you how many "digital facelifts" the companies that I've worked for have done. We've cleaned up acne, made people thinner, removed "turkey necks"... the point is, even the people who are paid to be perfect, well... aren't.
So, instead of focusing on being "skinny", I focused on being "healthy". I will never be a size 0. It's not in my genes. I can only be the best, healthiest ME. I stopped focusing on the scale and the numbers and started focusing on what I was able to do. When I started working out again, after not going to the gym for about a year, doing 15 squats was hard. Now I'm doing 15 squats, 3 reps, while holding a 45 lb bar. I'm stronger and faster than I've ever been, and the more I keep at it, the better I'll be.
The other thing to keep in mind, is that between my "before" and "after" picture, it's only a difference of about 7 lbs. I've replaced muscle with fat, and since muscle weighs more, it makes the weight loss seem minor. I weigh more than I did when I got married, but I'm a size smaller. Bottom line, I haven't let the scale dictate my success.
Step 2: I Stopped Eating Crap
I'm a vegetarian, and there is a good and a bad way to be a vegetarian. You either eat a lot of vegetables, or you eat a lot of bread and sugar. Clearly, I used to be the "eat a lot of bread and sugar" kind. When I wasn't getting enough protein, I would replace protein with carbs to get energy. This was a bad idea. Here are the easy ways that I added more veggies to my diet:
- I bought a juicer and started juicing for breakfast. It seriously changed my life. Before I have even gotten to lunch I have already eaten multiple servings of fruits and vegetables. My favorite juice is 4 leaves of kale, 3 handfuls of spinach, half a cucumber, 2 apples, one lemon, and one lime. Nom nom nom.
- I eat one salad as a meal every day. Usually, it's dinner. The favorite is a ton of spinach, half an apple, and a Gardein Chick'n Scallopini. (It's basically a seasoned chicken breast, but for vegetarians.) I also make this salad dressing to go with it. It says to put it all in a blender, but I just put it in a ziplock container and shake it all up. Seems to work just fine and make less dishes.
Step 3: I Work OutI know that a lot of people have very little expendable income, but if there's one thing I can recommend, it's to get a trainer. I still would have no idea what I was doing if it weren't for my awesome trainer, Zabrina. She holds me accountable, punishes me when I don't log my food, and challenges me to constantly be better. What a lot of people don't know about a trainer, is that you don't necessarily have to go three times a week every week. Even if you go once a month, he/she will set up the rest of your work outs for you. I have a calendar that tells me 5 days a week what my work out needs to be. It's awesome. So, today, for example, I know that I have to go do 40 minutes on the bike, Alpine Pass level 9, and then i also have to do 20 minutes of elliptical at a level 6, 8, 10, 8, 7, changing the level every 4 minutes. It takes all of the thinking out of it, and all you have to do is... well... go do it. Bottom line... you can still get the benefit from a trainer and save a TON of money. And, in my opinion, an investment in yourself is always a good investment. My goal is always to work out 5 days a week. Sometimes I only make it 4, that's kind of the way it goes. But, I make time for it. I saw a pin on pinterest that quoted Gwyneth Paltrow saying: "The reason that I can be 38 and have two kids and wear a bikini is because I work my (expletive) ass off. It's not an accident, it's not luck, it's not fairy dust, it's not good genes. It's killing myself for an hour and a half five days a week, but what I get out of it is relative to what I put into it. That's what I try to do in all areas of my life." Makes a lot of sense, doesn't it? We put so much into being the perfect wife/mother/employee/child/everything that it doesn't add up not to put that much effort into our health. Anyway, take what I say with a grain of salt. I am not a health professional, just a girl who got fit with some great, professional advice. But, this is what worked for me. I've put in the effort in and kept a realistic attitude about my lifestyle. That's my big secret. I'm also hesitant to say my picture from the weekend is an "after" picture. I know that my health will be a work in progress forever. Once I say I'm "done" is when I'll let go and start sliding backwards. But, overall, I'm happy with myself right now, and that's what matters. PS - thank you for listening to my off-topic post. I realize that it's been a while since I've posted plans because Tubby has taken center stage, but I promise to post new plans for you later this week 🙂
So, I coated the feet with the gel using a paintbrush and let it sit.
While the feet were "soaking", the husband and I got started on the main part of the tub.
The biggest problem was the side that will eventually be facing us when the tub is installed. (Of course, right?) The previous owners had caulked it into the wall, so it had a thick layer of white mess all over it. When they pulled it out of the wall, it even took a baseboard with it that was still attached.
Luckily, once we scored the caulk with a box cutter, we were able to peel off most of it.
Once we peeled off all that we could get, we were left with this:
As you can see, there was still quite a bit of caulk left on the top of it, but it was too thin to peel. So, I took 80 grit sandpaper and started sanding until my hands went numb. Then I was left with this:
Vast improvement. Now, back to the feet.
After they had been sitting in the paint remover for a while, I took a Scotch scrubber pad and went at them. And, the results weren't that great. The next tactic was to sand the crap out of them. That was much more effective.
Once they were sanded down, I dumped them into a bucket of CLR to remove some of the extra rust that was on them.
I bet you guys can guess the next step.
More scrubbing! This time, cleaning off all of the CLR and the rust. We went through a rotation with the feet... CLR bucket, scrub, back to the CLR bucket, scrub some more... until we were finally convinced we had gotten all of the muck off of them and the surface was smooth.
Then, it was time for painting. I used two coats of Rustoleum's Metallic Spray Paint in Satin Nickel, making sure to spray really lightly to not get any dripping.
Here's a close-up so that you can better see the finish and the cute little claws.
So pretty, sparkly, and new (looking). It amazed me how much detail was in the feet once we were able to get through the mess. There is one foot that's not in amazing shape... it has a giant hole on one of the "toes", so we'll just put that one in the back corner when we're reassembling the tub.
With the feet done, we moved back to the tub. We've been rotating through almost the same process that we used on the feet on the outside of the tub. But, instead of CLR, we're using diluted bleach. So, we're sanding, then scrubbing down with bleach and steel wool, then sanding again, and then bleaching, and then... you get the point. We're just trying to get the smoothest possible surface so that we don't have any weird bumps or peeling paint in the future.
Here's where we ended up on Sunday night:
It's getting there... slowly. BTW, here are the before pictures one more time so that you don't have to scroll all the way back up:
When you look at the "before" and the "in progress", it definitely looks like we've made some headway... right? I had no idea what a big project this was going to be when we took it on - but I can't wait to see the final product once it's all painted with its pretty new claw toes on.
Side note, this thing is an amazing work out! I was sweating bullets scrubbing this sucker.
What did you guys do over the Cinco de Mayo weekend? Anyone else take on a project that turned out to be bigger than imagined? Anyone lucky spend it drinking Coronas by the pool? (If so, I am incredibly jealous.) Either way, hope it was a great one!
Yeah, I wasn't kidding. Granted, this was all taken pre-dresser-commencement, but still. You know what this means... I'd better get building.
Anyway, what this post is really about is all of the changes you will be continuing to see on the site. You may have noticed some weirdness going on from Friday through the weekend on the "projects" page. You were not imagining things, and no, your computer wasn't just not loading the images. It's me, not you. Really.
My #1 concern as OPD continues to grow is navigation. Being a project driven site, it's crucial that you guys are able to easily scan through the archives and pick out which project you'd like to work on. Pinterest is amazing in that you are able to "pin" what you'd like to come back to and save a post as you see it, but what if you are looking for something specific? Say that you want to build a bed this weekend. Where do you start? That's what I'm working on to make easier. And here is phase 1.
You'll see on the home page that I've added a "Building Plans" tab. This is where all of the plans will live now, no longer in "Projects".
If you click on "Building Plans", you'll see that the page has changed a little bit. There is now a gallery of images, so you can see all of the plans at once. If you hover your mouse over one of the plans, a pop-up will show up to tell you exactly what the plan is. Once you click on the image, it'll take you to the project plan.
Pretty cool, huh?
The "Projects" page still exists, and that will stick around for everything that's not a building plan. Home renovation stuff, general how-tos, crafts that aren't made of wood... that kind of thing.
What's great about this layout is that it leaves a ton of room for growth while maintaining organization. (And I'm planning for a TON of growth.) I hope this helps to better organize and categorize all of the information in one easy-to-use place for you guys!
Phase 2 of this overhaul is to create some kind of sorting feature, particularly for the plans page. I'm such a lucky girl to be friends with a super smart guy who knows a lot of code! (And, he lets me pay him in Hooters lunches and beer. How lucky am I?)
Anyway, I'll keep you guys posted as things continue to evolve. But, in the meantime, enjoy the new, better organization!
Brad and I have been looking for some relatively inexpensive solar shades for our atrium windows for a really long time. Like, since we replaced those windows last June. (Psst... for before/after pictures of the outdoor room in the center of our house, click here.) When we first started looking for custom sized solar shades, we were quoted about $200 per window for these beasts. Clearly, that was not happening. Where the major cost of them is coming from is the awkward size of these unusually large windows. (The ones in our bedroom and Brad's office are about 45" wide by 60" tall.) We found quite a few great options at Ikea and Bed Bath and Beyond, but none of them fit exactly to be an inside mount, which is what I really really wanted. Oh, and I also wanted a dark grey color to coordinate with all of the different interior rooms of the house and also the exterior atrium paint. Plus, I've been told that grey is kind of my color.
So, after months of searching, and many purchases and returns of said window treatments, we found something amazing at Lowes.
But... if you look closely... those mounting brackets are pretty ugly.
We all know that a custom window valance can be pretty expensive. Especially one made of solid wood like I wanted. So, why buy when you can build, right?
Centsational Girl posted her DIY Window Cornice a long time ago, and I really loved the simplicity of it. I wanted to do something similar to hers but with a shorter "body" and different mouldings. So, here's how I did my version.
The step stool is holding our Blue Ray player and cable box. So that means no functioning fireplace for the time being. And that's the only heat we've got in the house at the moment. Double womp womp. Clearly this is an issue that needs to get cleared up... and soon.
Here's my design dilemma. We were originally going to put the cable boxes directly underneath the TV, but once we hung it, we realized that it wouldn't leave much room for the mantle that my step father is building us. And, I don't want cable boxes sitting on top of the mantle. I want to be able to style it without working out the logistics of putting stuff around the super ugly boxes.
(PS- for anyone interested in the mantle he's building us, I've pinterested it on my "for the home" board. He's modeling it loosely off of this one from House of Fifty. And the current plan is that the brick is going to be painted a dark grey.)
So, once the "below the TV" idea was out, my next idea is to put the boxes ABOVE the TV. But, the husband has vetoed this idea, and rightfully so. We don't want to have to get onto a ladder every time we want to watch a movie. That's just plain silly.
Here are my current crazy ideas. (Of course, all of them involve bringing someone in to put the wires through the walls and studs of our house.) The first one is to build some kind of shelving like this on the short side of the wall to the right of the fireplace that holds said cable boxes:
There's also a giant open area to the left of the fireplace where nothing lives right now. Should I do something in there instead? Build some kind of freestanding somethin'? And, if so, what do you guys suggest? I'm seriously stumped.
I'm also contemplating framing the TV, depending on what we decide to do with the media boxes. I don't want it to look too busy, but I also don't want the first thing people say when they walk into our living room to be "Woa! TV!" I would build something like this or this if I decide to go for it. What do you guys think?
Anyway, clearly I'm not loving any of my ideas right now or else I'd be in the garage building up a storm. If it were your house, what would you do? Anyone out there have a similar predicament that found a great solution? Or any amazingly creative designers have any ideas for me?