Thursday, March 31, 2011

Resolution Update

Around the time the year was changing from 2010 to 2011 I wrote this post about new year resolutions. I had some lofty ones that at times seemed unattainable. Five weeks ago I started a Master Swim class that starts at 5am (yes...that's AM) four mornings a week. I started getting up at 4am, I'm a breakfast kind of gal, so i could leave the house by 4:45 to make it to swim on time. What do you know...I really, really enjoy it. I guess one would have to in order to get up at that ungodly hour.

Last weekend, I ran in a 5k. I know it's not an incredibly long distance but one of my goals was to finish one in under 25 minutes. I have run three previous 5ks and my times have been 29:30, 27:27, and 26:12. I'm typically a turtle that putts along at about a ten minute pace. Turns out all this swimming I've been doing has put a little power in these legs. I finished the race in 24:23 and came in third overall!! It's kinda fun when you run faster than all the teenagers and twenty-somethings.

Here's a quote from one of my favorite running blogs:

Running the the 6.2 mile run of my first triathlon, I thought I was surely going to die. I am a not an athlete. What the hell am I doing out here? These are crazy 'fit people'. I am not one of them. I am the girl that drives 2 blocks to the convenience store to get a Hostess pie. Just as I thought, "Screw this! I need to walk again" I looked into the crowd and saw a girl holding a sign that said 'Run Bitch Run' and I laughed. I was running AND laughing. Hmmm, maybe these are my people after all. And so I did. I ran, bitch, I ran.


Rachel :)
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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Stairway to Heaven Part II

Mr. T and I have been thinking about having a garage sale (insert groan) for a while now. Things accumulate and while our house is generally neat and orderly, this is what I found when I got to the top of the dreaded attic stairs...

With the Smurfs at school, I figured there was no time like the present to get this sorted out. After a few hours, it was starting to take shape.

I moved all the must keep to the end of the attic. I tried to group similar items together: Fall, Christmas, Easter, baby stuff, etc... Hopefully this December when we need our holiday decorations it will be an easier job to find them than it was this past year. By the time I was finished the "keep" end looked liked this:

The Goodwill/Garage Sale/put by the side of the road part...well, I really don't need to post pictures of that. I'm just happy to know, that piles days here are limited. Sometimes, when you work hard and think your work is done, you find this:

How many empty boxes can one family have in their attic?

Rachel :)

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Stairway to Heaven Part I

Some people think that being a stay at home mom involves this:

not me

and that I have a personal trainer...

still not me

and that this nice lady comes a few times a week...

ok, this could be me...but she doesn't come here

and that I might have someone show up to do this...

i really like to do this myself

When today this is my reality...

I shouldn't complain...this is the first house we have ever lived in with pull down attic stairs. Unfortunately, easy access doesn't mean things stay organized and easy to find. Tomorrow you'll find out what's up top...

Rachel :)

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sneak Peak

I mentioned in this post that I've been working on Smurfettes room. You can see a little of the work here. Here are a few pictures of a wonderful treasure I found...

Yes...a diamond in the rough, it was super dirty. I thought I could get by using this:

But, I had to bring out Big Daddy...

That's all for today! Hopefully we will be done soon...

Rachel :) Pin It

Friday, March 25, 2011

DIY Lampshades

A few years ago I bought a pair of basic lamps at where else...TJ Maxx. Basic black post, neutral linen shade. Then I decided I wanted to them to "pop" a little bit. I went through my acrlyc paint container and picked out 3 neutral colors: white, ivory, and khaki. I cut a stencil from the bottom of a cup and traced circles all around the shade. After squirting various plops on paint on a paper plate I went to work. Not wanting every dot to look and same, I dipped and swirrled until all the circle were filled. Finished?...not really. When the shade was dry I put it back on the lamp and turned it on. The light flooded through the linen and all of my cute dots turned to dark...not good. So, I took the good old aluminum foil from the kitchen, a roll of scotch tape, and lined the inside of my shade. It was super easy and only took about 5 minutes. I tore the foil into several sections and folded each one to fit. I taped each section at the top, middle and bottom. If it's strong enough to withstand a hot oven, a 60 watt bulb should be no problem...

Here's the downside to lining the lamps...while it's great in the daytime and the dots really stand out, the lamps don't give out a lot of light. It's perfect for the bedroom, especially when one person is sleeping and the other turns their lamp on...light doesn't flood the room. I am happy with how they turned out, but wouldn't reccomend it for a living room.

Shine a little light on me!
Rachel :)

Somewhat Simple

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Monday, March 21, 2011

The Thrill of the Hunt

I was fortunate to have a few minutes of down time this morning so I headed over to my favorite thrift store. While I didn't find anything as cool as this, there was plenty to look at!

The lamps Marlene wanted last week...sometimes it's better to wait. These were $14 for the pair!

love, love, love antique sewing tables!
this one was marked down to $64

This sofa was so yummy and  beautiful! Great lines, legs and super cool fabric!
Unbelievable condition for $130! favorite! a vintage suitcase for $25...and they had 2!!

Brainy Smurf needs a new desk. He really wants one with shelves to display his lego models,
but at $65 this one might be in his future...

My favorite was the vintage suitcase. There are so many things you can do with these, how do you decide?

Elements of Style

Elements of Style

Elements of Style

Which suitcase project would you pick...?

Rachel :)

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Backyard Blues

I'm not exactly MIA...but what can i say? Spring is here and that means when it comes to matters of the home and yard, I have serious attention problems. I want to do so much...I want to do it all. I start a million of DIY projects and am generally going in ten million directions. These are a few of the things I've been working on the past few days:

1. still hunting for bedroom linens
2. refinishing a piece of furniture for Smurfettes room (stay tuned!)
3. working on another piece of furniture for her room
4. painting lamps and shades for the same room
5. sewing a tulle table skirt...for guess which room?
6. painting frames and hanging pictures for the above room
7. do we see a pattern here?
8. cleaned out my pantry
9. embellished a mirror
10. cleaned up tons of feathers from my naked bed linens

Add my project list to my daily activities such as cooking, cleaning, volunteering, swimming, running, play practice, dance class, baseball practice, baseball games, and... get the picture? My latest is trying to convince Mr. T that we need to remove the back storm doors, which are old and nasty, and paint our wooden doors to look like this:

compliments of Turquoise Shed

This could easily be my back door. I am so ready for the creeping fig to fill in. I want to hang Boston ferns and have potted plants everywhere. Add streams of twinkling lights, light a fire in the pit and I might stay outside all night. I have told myself no outside projects until after spring break. Hurry up April, hurry up...

Rachel :)
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Friday, March 18, 2011

Best Little Black Dress EVER!

We had a photo shoot at the office to get some shots for the new and improved Ascot Diamonds website.  Of course, the minute someone said the words "photos" and "dress up" I had to run out and buy a new outfit.  I went to my favorite store, Hand In Pocket, and said, "I need a black or blue dress-STAT!" They always have exactly what I need.  They totally outdid themselves this time.  This is the most fabulous black dress I've ever owned.  I can't think of an occasion that this dress wouldn't be right for (sorry about the grammar there, I re-wrote this sentence 5 times and couldn't get it right).  Without further ado...


I should have warned you that I would be in the picture looking not so great.  You really can't tell from this photo what makes this dress so fab.  Here is a close up of the sleeves:

Cute, right?

Here is the front...there are so many delish things to focus on.  Warning:  picture of me again.

And since I'm the author of this post, I get to add one picture that has been Photoshopped (for my vanity!)

I looked everywhere online for this dress in order to spare you the pictures of moi, but they don't exist!  The dress is by MM Couture, but it's not even on their website.  Guess I just got lucky!


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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Let there be light!

My lamps from JC Penney came in!  They are even more perfect in person...what a fantastic surprise.  I went to Ikea and got two white drum shades ($10 each) and then had to buy two lamp harps and finials (a total of $25).  So, all in, I am at $54.50 per lamp.  I plan on getting some light grey grosgrain ribbon for the bottom edge of each shade. Here are a couple of pictures of my newest bedroom accessories!

I can't express how satisfied I am with this purchase!  You may be able to tell from all of the exclamation points I've used in this post!!!

I'm no photographer.  Add in a broken flash and one naked toddler, it's not the world's greatest photo.  You can get a glimpse of my bed, though.  It's an upholstered headboard that has been recovered about 10 times (currently in a very basic natural linen) and a mantle that my dad had made for us. I still need a duvet cover and just won't pull the trigger and get one.  Also, I can't figure out what to do on either the mantle or the wall above it.  I am open for suggestions if you have some!


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Monday, March 14, 2011

Ooh La La!

I love espadrilles.  They are chic, timeless, and comfortable (for the most part).  They are everywhere this spring.  There is a Prada pair at Saks that I am totally coveting.  The unfortunate part is the $450 price tag (I'd buy 'em, I'd just feel guilty everytime I looked at my son in his he-capris because of his growth spurt) and the fact that it says "Prada" on the bow.  From my rant last month, you probably know my aversion for labels/logo on my clothing.  Not to mention that J. doesn't miss much and Lucy would have some serious 'splainin' to do to Ricky if he noticed the P-word.  Along the same lines of my JC Penney lamps, I have a solution I can live with!

                                                      EXHIBIT "A"                                                     

                                                          Prada Love-$450 smackers

                                                                  EXHIBIT "B"

This Apepazza "Tahiti" espadrille is very close to the Prada one I am lusting after.  It even has cute little studs on the bow!  It doesn't have the height of the Prada one, but my feet will probably thank me.  How do I plan on getting these for free you ask?  My Daddy Father has it at his store!  Yesterday I asked him if I could have a pair.  His response was, "Sure, pack up my grandchildren and come on down and pick them up"!  Okay, so maybe they aren't free but the $120 in gas it will take me to get to his house sure beats the $450 Saks wants!  What do you think?  Are they close enough?

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Lovin the Bedroom

When we moved into this old house, Mr. T and I bought new bedroom furniture...woohoo! Our old bedroom furniture my parents bought when I was 16 and I have been dragging it around ever since. It was time. Past time. I bought new white sheets and a cream matelasse. Then I stopped. I have been searching for the "right" linens since then. I don't know what I want...solids? print? neutral? color? duvet? blanket? bed scarf? standard sham? euro sham? bedskirt? Seriously, there are so many choices out there. I am constantly buying and returning. Buying and returning. Buying and returning... Here was my original inspiration photo:
Clearly, the linens here are solid white. A little too white for me. I want a little color...maybe...i think...I found a little more inspiration in this:
Pottery Barn
Diamond Matelassé King Euro Sham
Restoration Hardware
Athena Collection
Peacock Alley Athena Collection
Here is my before picture:

Don't laugh but all the pillows on the bed and the down comforter are naked...completely and utterly naked. They bleed feathers all over the place and I vacuum twice a day. It's a pain in my grrrrr. The walls are Silver Sage by Restoration Hardware, same as in the original inspiration photo. The window treatments are semi homemade. I bought them off the clearance rack at JC Penney and had to do some minor major alterations. You probably will not notice that I have a polka dot lamp shade and Mr. T does not, but now you do! The lamp shades are a DIY project that is in progress.

The Athena Collection by Peacock Alley might be my favorite. I love the mix of solids with a subtle geometric print. This would look great in our master bedroom. If I ordered 2 standard shams, a bed scarf, duvet cover, and one decorative pillow the total would be $1570...but, they would give me free shipping. Isn't that generous! There's a lot of white going on now, and I'm not crazy about it, but until I am 100% sure about what I want...also known as seeing something that is almost 100% on clearance...the bedroom will remain a work in progress. Here's the list of things until it is done:

1. bedding
2. rug
3. crown molding

After looking at the picture more, I have come to four conclusions:

1. i can't see my headboard
2. is my picture too low?
3. maybe I shouldn't go with euro shams
4. i am so indecisive

While I am not ready to fork over $1570 on bed linens, I am ready to get this project done. Updates soon!

Rachel :)
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