I spent a lot of time with T.J. (duh!) and Jeff. Most of the photos on my phone are either of the cats, my house or T.J. and Jeff doing stuff. So here are a few of my favorites from the last several weeks of life.
And how funny are these two photos of T.J. jumping? I’m surprised I moved so little in between jumps!
All photos shot with iPhone.
I’ve really been in the mood to photograph my meals lately. Not sure why though! I rarely take pictures of my food. I do like being able to look back and see what I ate over the last couple days thought – inspires me to eat healthier!
This past Monday evening T.J. and I hosted a birthday dinner for his Mom. She was totally surprised and I tried a bunch of new recipes, all of which were awesome. I gave everyone a cake pop at their table setting, which we used to toast to life and birthdays and family. “Life’s short, eat dessert first” they say. And that’s exactly what we did.
Once again T.J. and I hosted our annual Christmas Smilebooth party… with this years theme being Tacky Christmas Wedding. We super cleaned our house, which I always love, and the cats were obviously loving that we made our bed!
The party was incredibly fun. My favorite outfit was Tori, who came dressed as the flower girl. HA! You can see the blog of our photos HERE.
I’ve wanted to host a gift wrapping party for several years and I’m so glad I finally did it. It was SO MUCH FUN!! I invited my family and close friends over for an afternoon of snacking, gift wrapping and life story swapping. It was so enjoyable. And I loved that everyone went home with such beautifully wrapped gifts for their loved ones. Excited for next year’s party already!
I was so excited to use my 12 Days of Christmas cups. They were perfect for the party because no one got their drink cups confused!
Note: Bowdabra below. Craaazy.
Aren’t everyone’s gifts so lovely?!?
This past June I decided to conquer our back porch/deck just in time for T.J.’s birthday on the 17th. Long story short, it was a ton of work… but with the help of friends, family and even T.J. himself – it was completed (just barely) on time! We never spent any time on our deck. Like ever. It was dirty and kinda gross… and truthfully, there was nothing to do out there! I was determined to change that. Since everyone seems to end up at our house for hangouts anyway, I figured summer was the perfect time to complete the makeover.
We started by power washing and sanding the deck. Followed by ripping off all of the gross BROWN! lattice that was currently on our deck. T.J. and I purchased thin (and cheap!) slats of wood that we cut to size and made into our very own slated “fencing”. We were so proud of ourselves.
Die lattice, DIE!!!
Be the end of our first night the deck was washed and sanded. Our DIY slat walls were completed and had their first coat of white paint upon them. While T.J. was over at Jeff + Mike’s, I secretly added four tall wooden posts and strung lights that I purchased at Target weeks prior! I was so excited to show T.J. the lights too. They looked dreamy through our back door curtain all night long.
Once I decided upon a basic floor plan in my head, I set out to find the perfect pieces of furniture to make our deck feel cozy and inviting. I found an beautiful wooden round coffee table at a local auction and had to have it! Thankfully I won the bid at $30. It was perfect for my plans. I picked up a fantastic handmade pillow that said “Good Luck” on it (for $12) at a local antique warehouse and used it as my color palette foundation. Pinks, yellows, mints and of course, black and white. I found two matching, yet terribly ugly, chairs (for $3.00 each) at a thrift store that I knew would work for one side of the table. I sprayed those suckers gold and recovered the seat cushions with a bold IKEA fabric.
My favorite part of the makeover was the shipping palette couch I built all by myself. Four palettes ($13 total) plus one crib mattress ($6.00) covered in Ikea fabric ($7.99) made for a totally unique and custom couch to fill one end of the deck. You should have seen my mom and I, in what felt like the middle of the night, trying to figure out how to cover that crib mattress. We can both sew a straight line and basic items… but for some reason this crib-covering task was really hard. Ha!
My other favorite part of this makeover was that T.J. didn’t get to see any of the things I’d been purchasing, painting and creating until the big reveal just before his party. His main birthday gift from me (and his oldest sister) was a brand new grill. He loved it! And the style of the deck. It made his party so memorable.
I love the graphicness of the white slatted sides. It’s really modern compared to our 1929 brick house!
I gathered all sorts of magazines, books and candles to fill the extra end of the couch and coffee table.
I even got to use my Stones + Washi Tic-Tac-Toe DIY!!
The new grill is amazing. We used it a LOT this past season. Really made those warm evenings feel like summer time.
I’d been hoarding this old wooden ladder in our garage for months without any use for it… until this project! I found it one day while out on a run and carried it back with me (Papa Mousetis style) and it was the perfect addition to the deck. It held magazines and blankets — which are two perfect summer night ingredients in my book.
Fresh dahlias from a local farmer’s market, along with my all-time-favorite brass unicorn, were the perfect table toppers for my wooden coffee table. I also snagged several vintage beer coasters that have such beautiful typography on them I just couldn’t pass ‘em up!
I did a bad job at trying to take the “same photos” for before and after shots… but here are a few I can match up! Also, you can see a few images from T.J.’s actual party here!
Hope ya like what we did with the place! Now I must go check the banana bread that seems to be burning in my oven right now. Enjoy!
It’s such a blessing to have a team of people gather in our house several times a year for dinner. And Team Thanksgiving is probably my favorite. The weeks leading up to our meal I spent gathering silverware from six different thrift stores in Lancaster. I loved that all 14 of us had a different fork, spoon and knife. No two pieces matched! Nicole was super helpful getting all of the food prepped, cooked and on the table while still warm. T.J. carved the turkey and did a fabulous job. I think the hit dish of the night was my Grandma Courtney’s corn casserole recipe. Mike said about 30 times “THIS CORN IS SO GOOD.” And he was right. It really is amazing.
I made a “Give Thanks” banner to hang over the buffet. I simply printed out two letters to a page of cardstock, punched holes in them and strung the on a piece of twine. I then tied clumps of gold tinsel between each letter. It looked great on the wall!
I used my new-thrifted mint colored Jello mold. It was amazing. I borrowed a vintage picnic table from my parent’s, which my Mom purchased at an auction for $.50. Yea… $.50. Incredible! It was the perfect fit for 14 of us. We’ve left the table up for the holiday’s since it’s so useful to have loads of table space when wrapping gifts!