Friday, July 31, 2015

Craigslist Dresser Makeover




Today is a momentous day. We finally made-over a dresser we got when we first got married! {which is over 2 years ago, but no big deal}

But the story of the dresser is a classic tale. I'll give you the cliff notes:

"Young married couple with no money buys the least crappy craigslist dresser they could find."

Exciting huh? Well, I've wanted to update this dresser from the moment we decided to buy it. But it clearly took the back seat to other "more important" things like moving and real life. Whatever.

Now it has finally had its moment. And I love it. The most TLC this thing has had in over 2 years was the thorough cleaning I gave it when we first brought it home..it was a craigslist dresser after all, folks. But now, it looks like it's been loved again. It's happy, I'm happy, everyone's happy. 

The funny thing is that I really didn't have a clear vision for this dresser before I really decided to dig in and get it finished. So the inspiration came along the way and I'm happy I listened to my intuition. {So much happiness around here} 

Here's what I used: 

Valspar mint green shade, Caulk, Rubbing Alcohol, Ovation: Essential Shade, Wood Filler, Clear Coat Spray Paint

I got the mint green shade from the damaged table at Lowes. I LOVE the damaged table at Lowes, but that's a separate story and hoarding confession....

The "before" {but after the removal of the awful hardware - sorry no pic of those guys, but believe me, they weren't pretty}:






Step 1: We sanded everything down and cleaned it with some rubbing alcohol sprayed on a rag
{thankfully, this dresser was pretty much raw wood, so it didn't require the full-on sander}



Step 2: We slathered some wood filler on all the holes and deep cuts in the wood




Step 3: We sanded everything again and then caulked all the edges


Don't mind me - I was just admiring the handsome husband
Step 4: After waiting for the caulk to dry, drilled new holes for the hardware and then lightly sanded and cleaned everything again

Step 5: We finally got to paint something!





Step 6: We gave the inside of the drawers a pop of color {my favorite part of the whole makeover}



Step 7: After two coats, we waited for each piece to dry and then sprayed them with clear coat spray



Step 8: After the clear coat dried, we installed the new hardware and put the dresser back together






Dobby was just so happy about the new dresser, he decided to make an appearance

Whew, that was a long one. Thanks for sticking with me. So to recap:



Now excuse me while I go fill up this beauty with some displaced clothing.




Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Persistence

Can you think of some people in your life that are just so darn persistent? Aren't they the best?

They have the special ingredient to success and often times they are the most humble people. I have the privilege to know quite a few of these persistent people...although in some instances, it might just be pure stubbornness {which I know absolutely nothing about, I'll have you know ;) }

Anyways, these persistent people are the kinds of people we want as inspirational speakers, motivators, leaders and friends in general. And here's why I think that:

~They have empathy because they've been through tough times too~
~They have perspective because they've always seen it through to the other side~
AND 
~They have an undeniable optimism that's contagious~

I love being around them and just soaking in all of these traits. Because if I'm honest with myself, there are times that I feel like I lack some of these qualities. Yet once I'm inspired by amazing feats of endurance, it becomes easier to take just one more step in the right direction. I know that we are called to persevere and through perseverance, we are shaped and molded into who we are meant to be. I love the imagery of being molded; of being changed little by little through our experiences into something greater than which we started. One of the most powerful verses to me is Romans 5:3-5:

via

It's not always easy! In fact, I always think of contestants on shows or in competitors in real life that just keep trying. You've got to admire the strength and conviction it takes to get knocked down and get back up again {thanks Chumbawamba, you'll be in my head all day..my own fault}!

So for this week's #winspiration, we gotta give it up for the most persistent fish out there...DORY!



Do you struggle with persistence? What is your favorite way to get back in the game if you feel yourself sliding?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

First Followers

First Followers.

No, I don't mean in the blog-o-sphere {although it may apply}. But it IS this week's #winspiration!

I was introduced to this video this week and it has a really interesting/entertaining take on leadership and how ideas and movements can grow. We all have a voice {or some sweet moves to show off} and each little action we do matters. The first follower is the example of that - and something to strive for when you find a movement, action, or person you admire.


It may take a little courage to be the first to stand up next to the "crazy dancing guy" in your life, but look at the beauty that can come from choosing to become part of the movement and not caring if you look silly in order to do so.

Happy Wednesday Inspiration, y'all!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

I love pasta. Like LOVE it. I'll eat it covered in sauce, mixed with veggies, tossed with butter or oil or even plain! I also love experimenting with various ways to eat pasta. However, I was never on the spaghetti bandwagon. Perhaps because I thought it was bit overplayed or that it was the go-to "easy" dinner, but I think most likely it was because Dan and I HATE tomatoes. Like gather all the tomatoes in one place and set them on fire hate. Now, we aren't picky eaters, but we do have our trigger foods and tomatoes definitely make the list.

BUT all that was before I discovered the power of the homemade spaghetti sauce. I absolutely love this recipe and it is extremely easy to follow.

I split it up into 2 days because when we buy our meat we like to brown it up before we freeze it. So I did the first step the night before and then threw all the ingredients into the crockpot the next morning.

And 8 hours later...voila!







Just serve with some wine and nice toasty garlic bread for perfection! {not pictured: nice toasty garlic bread}

What's your favorite way to eat pasta?

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Gratitude

I want to take a second to thank you all out there! I am grateful for so many things, including this creative outlet, the support from so many friends and family, a million other tiny things throughout the day, Dobby, and especially for my main man!

As things start to get hectic for me, I love to take step back and remember all the things that go right, all the blessings we have in our lives, and all the possibilities that lay ahead for things to be better.




So let's all stop anxiety in its tracks this week. Let it go no further with a little help from our friend gratitude.

Here's to a joyful and peaceful life!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Renter's Solutions: Bedroom


So as pinterest and any number of google searches can tell you, decorating a rented living space can be both a treasure and a challenge. While I look forward to the day that Dan and I can DIY the heck out of a place we own, I've found the challenge of renters-DIY to be just as entertaining and inspiring, if not more so. I've been able to get creative in ways I didn't know I was capable, and I'm learning that this process is a slow and steady one. In a weird way, I think it has helped me grow in my patience {and anyone who knows me IRL is rooting for anything to help me grow a bit in that area}.

So today, I'm going to share one of the projects that I love dearly in our bedroom. Originally I envisioned this massive built-in headboard, but as I counted up the holes in the wall in my head, I opted for something a bit more subtle and practical for the space above our bed. 

It turns out, I've loved this so much, I may even keep it around long term wherever we might be. The best part was that the whole thing only took a few hours, a few dollars {cha-ching} and a few holes! I did the signage art and Dan did the mirror art. I love that it was created by both of us and that the space above our heads isn't oddly empty anymore. 

Supplies used:

For Signage:
2 canvases from Michaels {similar}
White glitter wooden letters from Michaels {similar}
Hot glue gun/hot glue sticks {on hand}

For Mirror Art:
Dollar store round mirror
Paint sticks {free from local hardware store}
Paint color of your choice {on hand}

All in, this project cost under $15 and that is something we can all give a "woot" for!

Steps:

For signage:
1. Center the letters on the canvas. Decide if you want a color theme or if you want to leave as is. I decided I liked the clean and simple look of white glitter on white canvas, so no painting was required!

2. Hot glue the center letter on {if more than 2 letters} and then space the rest as evenly as possible.

3. Let it dry on a flat surface overnight to be safe, and then hang finished product on the wall!

For mirror art:
1. Arrange the paint sticks on the back of the mirror and find the pattern that will work best for you. Cut any that do not touch the mirror back directly in order for them to fit properly. You can even have the paint sticks overlap each other for a more dimensional look, but just make sure they are symmetrically layered so it lays evenly against the wall.

2. Paint the wooden paint sticks the color that you desire and let dry overnight.

3. Hot glue the paint sticks in the pattern that you arranged earlier and let dry on a flat surface overnight to be safe.

4. While you wait for the hot glue from step 3 to dry, glue or attach a string or rope to the back in order to hang it on a nail on the wall after it is fully dry.

There you have it. Nice and simple! The best part about this is that you can combine any colors, letters, or patterns that you choose, so each project can look so vastly different. 

{Dobby inspecting this intriguing addition}

What are your favorite easy and cheap decor boosts?



Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Being Courageous

Being courageous is hard. And awesome. And hard.

Have you ever struggled with courage? I know it's been something that I've wished I had more of in the past and something I've recently discovered is not as hard as I might have made it! One definition of courage that I really relate to is the "mental strength to persevere in the face of pressure, opposition or adversity." I not only relate to this because I helped to create the definition {that's a story for another time}, but also because it lays out why courage can be so difficult in the first place, and reminds us of the reward of not succumbing to the easy path. If we choose the path of courage, strength awaits.

I have always wanted to be the person who says what is on my mind, talks to the people I want to talk to and doesn't back down once I have a thought. Well, recently, I had the chance to act on those wishes {or as I like to put it, have a little courage victory}. I attended an event in which I heard a speaker that I really enjoyed, and immediately had the urge to introduce myself afterward. It was a partial networking event and was, as oftentimes they are, a bit scary. But I had made up my mind and I was not going to turn back. I marched up to her afterward, introduced myself and chatted with her for a bit. And do you know what? It wasn't that scary after all {cue up the mini victory dance}. Since this first meeting, we have had a few more conversations and have even met for drinks. I wouldn't say that I've officially arrived at "courageous" because of this singular encounter, but I do think it has been a brushstroke in the creation of a mural.

Here are 3 of the ways I find courage daily:

1. Sometimes you just gotta do it.

Whether it's something you are dreading or not, I've found that acting on it and just doing it helps with both the anxiety of leading up to the action and the confident boost it gives you for the future. One of my favorite sayings from my mom growing up {although it wasn't at the time} was "mind over matter." This means that your head gets in the way of what is truly the reality of the situation. If you are happy, sad, scared, or whatever emotion you may be feeling inside, you {for the most part} have the ability to control how you react. While I am not diminishing the reality of feelings and very real situations, the mind is a powerful tool that can help to overcome these situations. {Except when it comes to dessert - the mind never wins that one. The stomach does.}

2. Listen to yourself.

This is something I seem to learn over and over. It's like it doesn't stick, but I've learned both the easy and hard ways that listening to your inner voice, your conscience, your intuition or whatever else you may call it, is usually the way to go. You know that flash of a thought or whisp of an idea that crosses your mind? Or even the nudging warning you may feel? That is what I mean. We all have it and it usually tells us the course we should take. I had a conversation about this with someone recently and one way they acknowledge this little voice is by writing everything down. I mean everything - a daily log of everything they've done/seen/thought/heard. No matter what method you use, use whatever fits you best!

3. Lean on the Lord.

This one is my favorite by far. When I cannot overcome my own fear or am stuck in a rut where I feel powerless, God never let's me down and He is that power that I lack. This verse has really stuck with me this week and is quickly becoming a favorite to turn to in those times of uncertainty. It also happens to be this Wednesday's #winspiration.



Ah. I just love that.

I recognize that not all acts of courage are as simple as choosing to take immediate action nor will all acts of courage result in a completely resolved outcome, but when facing a bigger dilemma or a more delicate one, I find it also helps to remember the little victories. Baby steps forward still can put you miles ahead if you just keep taking them. I believe every action has an impact and even if something currently feels futile, it can play a major role later on. So look for those little pieces of courage each day in yourself and others. I think you'll be happily surprised at what you find.

What courageous victories have you experienced recently? Any more tips on keeping up the courage?


Saturday, July 4, 2015

Patriotic Plans

Happy 4th of July weekend everyone!!

I celebrated with my family and friends this week back in New Mexico, and am looking forward to fireworks tonight at a Rapids soccer game in Denver! I hope everyone has a relaxing and refreshing weekend and that we can all take a little time to reflect on this awesome country. 

Lately, I've been rediscovering my love of traveling around the U.S. and appreciating what a beautiful country we live in! It's right in our backyard so go out and seize it! It wouldn't have been possible without the countless men and women who have served and still serve our country - I'm so grateful for those individuals, including both my grandfathers. 

{Sunset over the Robledo Mtns. in N.M.}

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Ready, Set, Blog...


I’m not a terribly impulsive person (read: after days, weeks, months of careful planning, maybe I might be ready to take one step) and as such, this journey to blog-hood was a long time coming – give or take 3 years. But now that I’ve arrived on the front stoop, I’m here to say hello and that I’m glad that I finally ran out of excuses to start this journey.

Hi everyone - I'm Andrea and I am so excited to share a little of my life with you all! So the first thing you've got to understand about me is that I LOVE lists. Remember the careful planning part from above? Well, a girl can't do some major planning without the involvement of at least 3-5 lists (simultaneous and non-overlapping I might add). What better way to share with you a little about who I am and why I'm here than through yet another {short} list?

Through this blog, I hope to:
1] Connect with friends, family and the blog community
2] Offer myself a creative outlet and see what happens from there
3] Inspire and perhaps even empower those around me to spread goodness in the world


As an avid blog reader myself, I have encountered many bloggers encouraging others to take up the hobby and professing the benefits to anyone who will listen [or read]. A special thanks to my friend, Lauren, for not giving up on me! I'm glad that my neighborhood is getting a bit larger.

So with that - I'll leave you with a little inspiration on this Wednesday...some #winspiration if you will ;) It's a thing now, guys.