Thursday, July 27, 2017

Finding the Best Deals When Buying for Your Reno

When we started this whole reno deal, I knew there were certain things we couldn't save on like the cost of the countertop.  Unfortunately, the place we went through actually had a minimum we had to meet for them to even do our vanity counter and we had to fork over $50 for nothing just to meet said minimum.  (We ended up getting it back when they whacked a huge scratch in our chair rail so I at least feel a little better about that.)

What I knew we COULD save on were things we got online like lighting.  Many people will see a light they like and add to cart no questions asked.  Not moi.  For example, here is our new vanity light:

(Minka Lavery Brushed Nickel 4 Light Vanity Light)

I think I originally found it on Lighting Direct.com and everywhere it was $293.90.  I felt compelled to click on every place that carried it and when I did, I saw on my second to the last click, Build.com was having a 15% off sale at the time.  I didn't expect it to qualify but it did!  So I got it for $249 and free shipping.  Actually, before I bought through Build.com, I went to Ebates.com to see if Build.com was on there and they were.  They gave 2% cash back which was another $5 in my pocket bringing my total to $244 for an almost $300 vanity light.

I did the same thing for our kitchen light that we just got yesterday.  The Mr and I scrolled through thousands of lights.  I'm not exaggerating.  It was three full days before we settled on two and as he talked about how the one looked like the robot head from Lost In Space, that basically sealed it for the other one.

(via 1StopLighting.com)

We currently have a 120W boob light in the kitchen and it's like a friggin' cave in there.  While we were entertaining the idea of adding can lighting in there, I should thank the contractor for pissing me off and we never pursued it.  So I found that bad boy on Wayfair and Overstock for $344 and we just weren't ready to shell out over $300 for a single kitchen light.  (Even though we probably would've spent double that for can lights, go figure.)

So I put the name of the light into Google and had their shopping do some comparison pricing and I saw several other outlets sold it for the same price.  I went on Ebates and saw of the people listed who participated and who had the most cash back.  That was 1StopLighting.com with 7.5% back.  That would make it $318.  Still not thrilled it was over $300 but close enough.  When I opened my Ebates shopping trip, a big banner popped up that said: "Welcome Ebates customers, you get 20% off!"  Hot diggity damn!  That would make it $275 which was under our thresh hold and something we could get excited about!  When I clicked on our light and the finish, the coupon changed to a 25% off coupon!!  If you do the math, we're getting it for $258!!!

(*bubbling with confetti inside*)

Then an hour after I ordered, I got my Ebates email that told me we got $19.35 back from the 7.5% cash back which makes the light $238.65!!!!

We saved $105.35 by taking an extra few minutes, literally four minutes, to do a little research instead of just assuming we couldn't do any better.  I think $105.35 is WAY better in our pocket than someone else's!

What money saving tips do you have to pass along?  We all can use every cent!

(This post contains an affiliate link and I may make a small commission should you purchase if you sign up for Ebates.  Ebates is free and they do not sell your information as posted in their TOS and you get the opportunity for tons of cash back for shopping you would've done anyway.)

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Food Review: Friendly Farms Tropical Fruit Greek Yogurt

We've been Trader Joe's yogurt peeps for a few years now.  When I kept hearing bloggers talk about Aldi's new organic section, we had to go check it out.  Well, I think ours is behind the times because I don't consider four veggies a vast array of organic.

What did catch our eye was this yogurt...




Pineapple and passion fruit?  I'm on it!

Here's a look at the nutritional info...


(Ignore the expiration date, I meant to do this post awhile ago but you know, life.)

Here's a peek at the rest of the info...



Looks like your usual yogurt.


But on the bottom is your hunks o' tropical paradise.  (The last batch was mixed though so they might've changed it to be premixed now.)


So how does it taste?


We LOVE it!  It has 6g less sugar than TJ's, 20 calories less, $.30 cheaper and 100% better flavor.  I have half of one every morning with other stuff and the Mr has it some mornings as well.  We never bought the same yogurt flavors but we both agree this is delicious.  With TJ's yogurt, I always had to force it down a little but I actually look forward to this and the little chunks of pineapple in there.  It's available at Aldi, which is part of the Trader Joe's family so how's that for a small yogurt world in our household?

What's your favorite flavor of yogurt or do you hate it?

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Bathroom Reno Reveal



It is FINALLY done.

The countertop guy came out yesterday and buffed out the scratches, repaired the nick and even buffed under the counter where the edge was sharper than it should've been.  So here's some pics of the refreshed lavatory.


The light bulbs are a warm white so the cast is a little more amber than true life.  We're still trying to get the right bulb for the look I want.  I'm NOT a cool white girl at all (that blue cast might as well be called zombie white) so I think today is when my next set arrives and we'll decide between the ones that are shown and ones from a different company that I liked but a bulb arrived broken.  Pfft.

I do love the way things look when you walk in though.


We had a semi-recessed vessel before and loved it.  Unfortunately we couldn't find the same vessel this time so this was the closest we could find.  We also switched from a standard faucet and two handles to an all in one.  Mainly because our faucet handles would sometimes show a wee bit of rust from the water because I'd forget to clean around the base regularly.  So now I only have one part to clean and not three but in a similar style to our last one.


Nothing like reminders of vacation to help relax you as you take care of business.  The art is a picture I took and the shells at the boat base are from shelling in Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard.


I have to admit that in the past week, the top of the counter has grown on me and I barely see the swirlies in it anymore so I do like it now.  I'm still not a huge fan of how shallow the sink is...it looks way deeper below.


You can see I added a header to the top of the door which I think looks really good.  The art pieces on this wall are also mine.


I did black and white with a hint of color.  We love the way they turned out.  The piece over the toilet was from Oak Bluffs, the private dock was in Edgartown and the kayak paddles were on Chappaquiddick.


This anchor shot was in Vineyard Haven and I love it.


 All four prints cost me $15.50 for 8x10 mattes from Shutterfly, with money back from Ebates, of course.  So I highly suggest if you have an eye for photography, use your own prints to save some major moolah when refreshing a space.

A side shot of the vanity.  I repainted it from a dingy cream to white with a linen pattern using dry brushing.  I put a huge felt pad under a huge shell from Chappaquiddick to rest our glass so if there was water on the bottom, it would collect there and not on our counter.  I also painted our old trashcan.


I absolutely love the vanity light.  Seeded glass wasn't my first choice but I love how bright the clear glass is over our previous frosted glass.


I wish the bulbs were as white as they appear in that photo!

Finally a pic of our little sailboat we picked up from the closing of our friends store over the weekend.  We thought it kind of went with the space.  If we decide it doesn't, then it'll go in our bedroom.


I really do love being done...err...how it all turned out.

The only thing I still hate with a passion are these damn swirls on the side of the counter.


I have to say that if you are looking at samples for counter tops, go to the place that will actually cut it and look at the slab there.  The samples in a big home improvement store are subjected to lights and the best possible sample.  If we'd paid more attention to the side of the sample, we would've seen this swirling was in our future so also, don't forget to look at the sides of a take home sample, not just the top.


OH!  I almost forgot one of my favorite finishing touches!  Derp!


I had a vintage picket fence slat leftover in the garage for just the right project and this was it.  One of our favorite lines from Mrs. Doubtfire is when she loses her teeth in the woody Chardonnay and Stu tries to help her form pinchers with fork and she (Robin Williams) says...


"Carpe Dentum...seize the teeth!"  We love the way it looks, it's a great way to start and end the day on a funny note and the perfect tribute to Robin Williams.

So there it is.  I'm so glad to be done!

Below is a source list if you like anything you see and are curious on prices.  I haven't bothered to add it all up because I don't want to know.  HA!


Floors- LifeProof Sterling Oak Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring
Countertop- Corian Natural Gray
Sink- Milforde Porcelain Semi-Recessed Sink from Signature Hardware
Faucet- Hiendure Contemporary Deck Mount Single Handle Bathroom Sink Faucet (affiliate)
Vanity Light- Minka Lavery Brushed Nickel 4 Light Vanity Light
Vanity Light Bulbs- 60W Warm White LED Edison Style Bulbs

Tools used:
Ryobi 10 Compound Miter Saw
Ryobi Brad Nailer  (This will make you feel like you can build an entire house from scratch)
Ryobi Cordless Drill
Ryobi Job Plus
Skil Jigsaw
Laminate Floor Installation Kit
Rubber Mallet
Safety Glasses 
Speed Square

(This post contains affiliate links.  Should you be kind enough to buy through them, I may receive a few cents commission to go toward blog costs at no additional cost to you.)

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Monday, July 24, 2017

Productive weekend recap

Howdy do all.

Is it Fall yet?  This whole walking into a wall of humidity has got to go!  My plans to go on a baking spree Friday and Saturday were thwarted on the level I wanted to do but still got a few things made.  We visited a friend of ours who is closing their business due to illness and I brought him some of the goodies I made with a card.  I thought he was going to cry at one point but I had to change the subject because he still had customers.  We ended up buying a cute little sailboat that will go perfectly in the bathroom and their Christmas tree!  No friggin' clue where we're putting that thing.  It's smaller and kind of thin but I've always wanted one that size to put our ornaments on to the places we travel to on vacation so this should come in handy.  I might be able to put it in my closet.  My heart breaks for them because I know this decision comes two years sooner than they planned.

We stopped by a vintage/repurpose store close to them and perused some items.


(Truth)


If I had the room, there were a couple of cute things I wouldn't have minded.

We stopped by my mom's house to drop some stuff off and to see her new flooring.  (We were doing reno's at the same time.)   She had a family member paint the inside walls and was pointing out all of his mistakes.  Luckily I found some things were easy to remedy.  We were horrified by the caulking job the guy who laid the floor did and there were some spots that needed spackled and a few things that needed tweaked so we rolled up our sleeves and got to it.  It was probably the easiest thing I'd done in a month but given the limited mobility she can have due to knee issues, what we did helped her quite a bit.

Sunday we got some organization stuff, did our grocery refill, did our strength workout on the Total Trainer and of course before we knew it, the day was gone.  Pfft.

What did you guys get into this weekend?

(This post contains an affiliate link.  Should you choose to buy through it, I may receive a few cents commission for blog costs at no extra cost to you.)

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Friday, July 21, 2017

What I'm Reading This Week #29

Happy Friday all!  Finally the weekend...woo hooooooooooooo!!!

It's time for me to provide some links for you to look at whilst scrolling on the phone in the bathroom (don't act like you don't do it) or dorking off at work to make the day go faster!  

It's a little thing I like to call...




6 Training Splits to Help You Conquer Your Workout Plateau  (I'm on it)

The 14 Best Foods for Your Heart  (Some yummy stuff)

50 Kitchen Mistakes You’re Probably Making—and How to Fix Them  (Good food safety info in here)

10 Common Foods That Are Completely Messing with Your Metabolism  (Don't mess with me!)

The 10 Grossest Things That the FDA Allows in Our Food  (Uh, I consider mold a little more than "Offensive to the senses!")

Dust in Your Home Could Be Making You Fat  (Holy crap, so THIS is my problem!  *runs for cleaning supplies* )

25 Things That Should Never Have Gone Out of Style  (Truth)

74 Tips To Extend the Life of Your Car  (Good tips)

13 Things You Need to Know About Sex in Your 40s  (Rawr)

Best side dish ever!  (Just made some to go with our steak the other night...drool!)

Someone please stop me from watching Property Brothers.  They've been playing them non stop and it's been the soundtrack of my life this week.  Today I'm doing some baking/filming of Christmas recipes then trying to find people to dump it all off on this weekend.  We've got some friends closing their business soon and we're going to go visit one last time.  We don't have too much else planned that I know of because it's supposed to be swamp ass hot.  I did see where the Mr replaced the hall lights that the ceiling is showing more and is of course discolored.  *facepalm...adds to list*

What are you getting into this weekend?


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Thursday, July 20, 2017

"What did I ever do to you?"

That was the question I asked as I looked skyward Tuesday.  That was the day our final piece of the puzzle in the bathroom was going to be installed.  It's been a long road...two years from the time we gave it our first passing thought and seven weeks since we'd bought the sink that started the ball rolling.  It felt like seven months, to be honest.  I'm pretty sure contractors new job descriptions are to break every human they come in contact with by either not responding (which according to online reviews from places like Home Advisor and Angie's List is an epidemic nationwide) or providing you with half-assed work that will leave you in tears or dead inside.  You find yourself thinking...



That was about how I felt come Tuesday night when the list of the things that needed to be finished/fixed was adding up.

1) They left a huge circular scratch from the WOODEN template they used to cut the sink on site.  Literally, they made a shim wreath and let the edges vibrate into the top of the counter as they cut.

2) The front of the countertop is nicked.

3)  Countertop looked nothing like the large sample in the store.

4)  They left caulk and greasy fingerprints all over the top that wouldn't easily come off.

5)  Juvenile caulking job around the sink that I will see every time I sit on the throne.

6)  Sink leaked.

7)  Plumber refused to call us back leading to me having to call Home Depot at 8 pm and having some dude who probably just happened to answer the phone as he was walking by, talk us through why our sink was leaking since no one with authority was there to do anything about it.  I will have to ask if they still give away plumbers licenses in Cracker Jack boxes because the effer didn't put any plumber's putty around the bottom of the drain (as the directions SPECIFICALLY stated that the Mr handed him) and he chose to ignore.

8) Yesterday morning as I was brushing my teeth, I discovered they took a huge chunk out of my brand new, freshly painted chair rail.  It was at this point as I slapped wood filler into it knowing it would never look as perfect and beautiful as it did, I went numb inside.

Did I mention it's hormonal week?

Basically, this whole piece is a nightmare.  I'd give anything for my old sink back.  I hate the way ours looks.  It's too shallow and wide.  The faucet had to be offset, which is fine, but not my ideal placement for it and when you turn it on, it's like Niagara Falls, Frankie Angel.  (Points if you got the reference.)  I know I'll get used to it but still.  The countertop looks fine from a distance but up close there are these swirls in it that were NOT present in the sample at the store that was about 11"x 6".  Certainly large enough to see if something like that was prominent.  It looks like PAAS egg dye floating on water.  Now, it doesn't look quite as bad on top to me as it did when I initially saw it and had to walk away before I started crying in front of the installers.  But yeah, it has this concrete look to it that was NOT part of my mental design.  The whole thing just looks way more modern than I anticipated.  On the upside, the Mr loves it and I'm wholly glad for him.  I guess I got what I wanted the past 12 years and now it's his turn.  But I will never be able to unsee the hideous swirls that are on the side of the counter that I have to see every time I'm in the bathroom for business purposes.

So yesterday, late morning the plumber came back and the Mr schooled him on his absence of plumbers putty and made him feel inadequate.  He's racing out the door as I type. Our job was to keep an eye on it all day to make sure that the putty, that the directions said was required to be there, kept things dry.  As suspected, we were good to go.  I will refrain from making jokes about men reading directions especially since mine does almost every time.

After several calls to both the plumber and countertop people with no response, we got Home Depot involved and we have an appointment Monday for them to come back out and fix the scratches and nick.  The Mr has sent an email to the HD liaison that mama ain't happy and we don't want them to touch the chair rail.  We had to pay $50 for nothing because they had a minimum cost to even do the job so our solution is to get that money refunded to us so that it's enough with having to work around yet ANOTHER appointment to get done what they screwed up.  Oh, and did anyone say they were sorry for the inconvenience?  Only the plumber after the Mr pointed out that the directions said putty was required.  Our sales rep and no other points of contact even bothered which makes us think this is pretty common.

I'll admit, I was tempted to just take pics and post the reveal like it all went smoothly but it's important that you know that even the smallest of renos don't always go as planned.  Also, given all of the BS we've put up with all contractors for the past 7 weeks, the only thing that got these two contractors to respond was once Home Depot was involved and quick.  If you get enough complaints then you have potential to lose that major contract so I would consider doing any kitchen/bath reno through a place where you have a "middleman" who can advocate for you.

I'm so done.  :-|

Any reno horror stories to share?

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

DIY Easy, Inexpensive Craftsman Headers- Two Ways

How many times have we watched a home show or gone to open houses in historic neighborhoods and ogled the craftsman details?  Those gorgeous window casings and headers are enough to make ya swoon.  I researched online and saw so many pins and posts that made me feel like "heck, why not?" I thought the perfect spot to make this happen would be the entrance and garage doors.


You can see, it's not bad but doesn't exactly wow you either.  So here's what you'll need if you want a traditional from scratch header that you can make to, as a friend put it, "put a hat on the door."

1x2's (you'll find it in the lumber section aka furring strips)
1x6's or 1x4's depending on how high you want to go (I used 1x6)
1 1/2" wood screws
Wood glue  (This is seriously the best stuff ever)
Measuring tape
Speed Square (in the shape of a triangle...wth?)
Pencil
Miter saw (or small hand saw if you please)
220 grit sandpaper
Brad Nailer or small finishing nails
Screwdriver
Paint or stain
Wood filler
Caulk

To quote Tone Loc..."let's do it."

1.  Measure the top of your door (or window) trim and mark your 1x6 or 1x4.
2.  Mark 1" more on your 1x2 if you want your top trim to be more traditional so it comes out by 1/2" on each side.  If you're in a tight space, just mark the same measurement.


3.  Grab your safety glasses and head out to the miter saw.  Line up your laser with your pencil mark and cut your 1x4/6.
4.  Do the same with your 1x2.

Make sure you sand the entire piece of wood especially the ends you just cut as they have a tendency to splinter when cut.  You want nice, smooth edges or else it's gonna show under the paint/stain.

Now it's time to assemble.

5.  Run a small bead of wood glue along the back of the 1x2 (the part that is 2".)
6.  Put your 1x4/6 on the glue strip of the 1x2 as a "topper."


7.  Wipe any excess glue from the back.
8.  Use the 1x2 on top and bottom of the header.  Assemble a few of them in batches.

Allow the glue to dry for at least 90 minutes.

9.  Time to grab the 1 1/2" wood screws!

10.  You can see that these will easily go through your 1x2 and well into the 1x4/6 to make a solid header.


11.  Match up your screw to the drill bit that is one size smaller.  If you select the same size, the screw will have nothing to grip to.

12.  Drill a pilot hole and secure each end.

Now we're cooking with gas!  (Said the frontier lady)

13.  Now it's time to fill in any gaps you may have between the two pieces of wood so they will look smooth when painted.

14.  In addition to making sure I sand the ends, sometimes you just have those rough wood cavities of the cut end so I fill those with the wood filler and use a drop of water to smooth the finish.

 Give the wood filler at least 15 minutes to dry.

15.  Sand any spots you used the filler.

16.  Then it's time to prime/paint!

When I was done applying my coats of paint, it looked so purty!  I was ready to hang it.


Then I had one of those sinking feelings and I had the Mr hold it up to its new home.


I hated it!

I mean I loved the header but I went against my judgment in the store to use the 1x4 and it was just too massive for our space.  It would look awesome in a regular house but in a squished entry like that?  Nope.

Balls.

So it was begrudgingly back to the plan I had for quite some time.  I've always wanted to do them and we've had some leftover baseboards from our flooring project 3 years ago just hanging out in the garage.  I unscrewed the wood screws,  grabbed my utility knife and scored off the wood glue and carefully pried off the 1x2's with my crowbar so I could reuse them.

I basically repeated the same steps but put a 3 1/2" stacked appearance baseboard in place of the 1x6.

I glued it down and let it dry.  You can see in the last pic that there would actually be a little more interest due to the curves and I have to say I really liked the look much better.

Since a test screw showed that the 1 1/2" wood screws were going to be too big and crack the baseboard, I used the brad nailer to pop a few in to stabilize it.


Then it was time to repeat the process with the wood filler and paint.  Didn't I just do this??

While we absolutely LOVED the way it looked, as you can see when it was held up that the bright new white paint made our trim and door look quite dingeworthy.

(Trust me, it looked much worse in person)

Well, shizzballs.

So I busted out the painter's tape and taped off the hinges and doorknobs, put on the disco channel and got to it.  As you can see in the second picture, painting the trim and door made all the difference in comparison.


You can see putting the header on makes a nice statement in comparison to just the plain old builder grade oak trim from the 90's.


I happily hung the other and my heart skipped a beat.

But hanging them isn't the last step.  As you can see on the left side because of the gap the molding has compared to the 1x6, I had to put in some wood filler to build something for the caulk to grab on to.

(Two different doors but you get the idea)

Then once that dried, I used a white caulk to smooth over that and give it a finished look on the right.

I loved it so much I made 12 more so now every doorway in our home has a header inside and out.  It really gives such a beautiful architectural touch and I only wish I'd done it sooner!  Total cost for all 12 headers was $93.  The wow factor if we ever sell this place will make it look like we spent WAY more and we're confident has added a ton of value!

Do you have headers in your home?  Do you think you'd take on this project?

(This post contains affiliate links and should you buy through them, I may receive a small commission for blog expenses at no additional cost to you. Thanks for your support!)

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