Warren Cupboard White wash

After being more than irritated with my after-Christmas living room, I was inspired a couple weeks ago as I was walking through Home Goods. I LOVE shabby-chic distressed furniture. I coveted pretty much everything in the darn store, but left with just 3 small things that were on clearance and basically free (Thank you Chase rewards)... I will show you those at a later date. Ha!
Today is all about the Warren Cupboard. We call it that because our friend Warren gave it to us for a wedding gift, and Nana called it that once, and it stuck. :) Anyway, it was a very dark brown wood color, and worked great in our last living room. See:

But was not doing it for me in our new space.

See how it just blends in to the background? Not so cute.

I decided, after my Home Goods adventure, that I was going to take the plunge and just paint the darn thing. I got a kit from Micheal's called "Distressed Ivory" by American Accents. Following Papa's instructions, I "roughed it up a bit" then wiped it down and went crazy. I am not really impressed with the paint I got, it was VERY watery. And I mixed people! I mixed! I even kept mixing randomly as I was painting and it FINALLY thickened up a bit, after I finished the first coat. I was kind of worried after coat 1. Here's what it looked like.

Coat 2 did better though- full coverage! Yippee! I let it dry overnight and then after a failed sanding attempt (to "rough it up" some more) I just slapped on the stain, and wiped off with a dry cloth. It took me all of 10 min to do the staining and can I just say, I LOVE IT. It coordinates so much better with the entire living room now! Yay!

I also gave those old barn-wood frames the same treatment and hung them on removable hooks, since I had liked that look so much with the wreathes at Christmastime. :)

My next white-wash project will be our TV stand, but it will have to wait until I can recruit some help getting the darn TV off of it! haha, but stay tuned for a mantle-revamp! :)

Cupcake Confessions

Here we go with another fitness/health post. I am happy to report that my chiropractic sessions have been helping immensely with my lower back pain! We are still working on the headache issues, but major progress has been made!
Well, with all of that progress - I can go back to the gym! yay.... I no longer have a legitimate reason to not work out. boo. I know I should be more excited about it, but I have never gotten to that point were I enjoyed working out. I dislike sweating all together and would just rather curl up with a good book or Season 2 of Modern Family (a.maz.ing. show. If you haven't seen it go rent it now. right now. go.) Well my dear sissy Heather got me logged onto a new website. My Fitness Pal. It is like a social network for losing weight and being healthier. You can put on your profile your inspirations for losing weight and there is a little ticker that keeps track of your progress! The best feature of this website for me has definitely been the calorie counter. I input all of my food for the day and it totals up my calories, carbs, fats, and proteins for each day. Now, the first few days I went over my calorie goal without fail. My numbers were red and in my face bad. I have been logged onto it for about 2 weeks now, and I am much better at being aware of what I am putting into my body. I have been eating a more balanced diet, but I do struggle sometimes. I kind of have a giant sweet tooth. On Valentine's day I ate a piece of chocolate cake with lunch AND a huge cupcake (you know, the kind you get at the grocery store covered in frosting). The thing is, they didn't even taste that good!!! These were not quality sweets people... but I could not make myself put them down! Oh the shame... I am proud to report that I have been pretty good this past week (except for Sunday- Mom-in-law made shredded beef and mac and cheese).
This website has been a great way for me to be accountable to myself AND I can have friends on the site, so other people can encourage and support me (Ashb_86 is my username!)! I am probably irritating the heck out of the people around me, because I am forever yammering away about my "calorie goals" but that's how I remind myself that I really don't need that bagel or brownie or latte. So go ahead and get annoyed people- I am not shutting up!
My new, and probably really hard goal, is to stop drinking pop and more specifically caffeine. (eek!) Now, this can't go into full swing until next week (this week is crazy at work, can't give details), but I did theoretically drink my last Mountain Dew today. I had a 12 pack in my fridge and that last one is gone as of today, so I will not be buying anymore and I am going to grow some willpower to not drink them anywhere else. Wish me luck!
And just for fun:

Weekend Update

Oh dear- it has been an entire week since I blogged! Whoops. I have about 4 in-progress posts ready to go, but can't seem to build up enough steam to finish anything (including the book I am reading)! I have a cabinet re-vamp, a mantle spring update, and some new ceramic animals that have been recently added to the Derry Menagerie courtesy of HomeGoods.  I also have a great website to share that is helping me stay on track-ish with my fitness goals. Lots of stuff going on here, just not enough gumption to blog about it yet. Anyway, I had a fun weekend that I thought I would share. (No pics though- camera's dead)

I spent Friday night relaxing frantically cleaning while Brandon did some last minute cramming for his CPA exam he took Saturday morning. Anytime I know Nana and Papa will be visiting I have to clean, even if I just cleaned a couple days before. haha Nana is my biggest critic, and biggest fan :) I passed the test though because she said "Oh Ashlea, your house is so clean, I am impressed". Nana is a big fan of the old-school "cleanliness is next to godliness" philosophy. Then her and Papa went ahead a re-vacuumed my living room.... twice. *sigh*
Once my living room carpet had been vacuumed within an inch of it's life, we went shopping! I took Nana and Papa to World Market and Home Goods - two of my new favorite stores thanks to Mrs. Alliferg. Nana went bananas. She could have stayed in those stores for hours, but Papa got hungry. :) We tried a new restaurant, Eggsperience, and it was really good. We got a TON of food. (I am really shocked I didn't go over my calorie goals yesterday!)
After bidding adieu to Nana and Papa, I took advantage of the beautiful weather and took the pups to the dogs parks for a little hurrah before this impending freezing rain (gross). They had a lot of fun, but were not so white after we left. The dog park was basically a big mud-pit after the big Spring tease-thaw we had last week. We got home and they went straight into the tub.
The hubs finally made it home around 5 and we decided to go on our valentine's date to Claim Jumper. Delish! I had an amazing Parmesan-crusted shrimp pasta and Brandon got a huge cheeseburger. I am getting hungry just typing about it. I would definitely recommend this restaurant- food was excellent. My only complaint would be that it was a little loud, but hey - it was crowded because the food is so great!
Today I had a lazy day catching up on some Fashion Police while Brandon went to the Auto Show with his dad and brother for some male-bonding. :) (soooo glad I didn't have to go!:))
And, now, I will leave you with a little Justin Bieber Experience. haha Love Glee- Enjoy :)

Grammy - Red Carpet; Best. Worst, and Wtf?

Well, you all knew this was coming. I love me some red carpets. :) The Grammys are a little loco, and I am adding a new category - so here we go!
Julianne Hough. Love the dress, still pretty confused about you dating Ryan Seacrest.

Miranda Lambert : Representing Country Music!

Jennifer Hudson : Body = amazing!

Kim K. not sure why you were at the Grammys, but man you rock that dress.

Hostess with the mostess! Kelly Osbourne is my fav of the entire night. LOVE that dress.

And for Worst:
Amber Reilly. *sigh* It's not that I hate this dress or that crazy necklace attacking her shoulder... it is the horrible fit. From the side you can see a big belly bump - and I am NOT judging a belly bump (have one myself) but you need to be able to hide it in a red carpet dress.

Hey chick from Paramore: Your hair clashes with your trashy tutu.

Dear John Mayer, Last time I checked the only man in the world that could pull off a "Johnny Depp" look, was JOHNNY DEPP. Get a grip man.

Naya Rivera. Get. a. Stylist.

Ricky Martin. Love La Vida Loca. Hate your tight shiny pants. It's like business on top and party on the bottom. Not working.

Rihanna. In the words of my mother-in-law "You can almost see her vajayjay." Get some class. 
And for the new category (Only for the Grammy's people). Introducing: Wtf? Confusing and out-landish wardrobe choices.
Niki Minaj. I love leopard... I don't get this.

Cyndi Lauper. 'Nuff said.

We get it Lenny Kravitz. You are edgy. kind of.

India Arie. Um??

Willow Smith. Adorable, love Whip My Hair. Not sure what's going on here.


Summer Dreams

Well- as the world knows, the mid-west is in the middle of a deep freeze. Today's high temp. was 15. This morning, when I left my house, it was -6 with a windchill of -16. That. is. cold. So, in a sad attempt to warm up, I started dreaming about summer and making plans for my patio.

See- the poor thing never really blossomed this past summer. We were busy moving in and paying attention to the inside of our new lovely home and the patio was neglected: this year will be the year of the Patio.
It isn't a ton of space to work with, but here are some pictures I have found for what I would like to turn this little slab of concrete into.

I love the ambiance of the night photo and want to create that by hanging some solar power garden lights. (I bought some last summer from Target that never made it up). I also LOVE all of the plants in these pictures! I so want to incorporate more plant-life which will be a bit of a challenge. I am a big fan of the shabby-chic feeling in the last picture too, but am looking for a little more color for the patio to make it a fun and inviting atmosphere. I also need some comfy seating and would like to do away with one set of the chairs and that table. We inherited the table with the apartment. Its ugly and big and no good for the patio. We never use it for anything. (these are my arguments to Brandon so he lets me get rid of it) Anyone want a free table??? :)

 How is that for some color huh? I have been lusting over the idea of a hammock chair since last summer when it was so out of the budget and so low priority. Aren't those cute too?? I love the brightness! The bottle-chimes are actually from World Market and I pick them up every single time I go in that darn store, next time, they are coming home with me :)

Now, we will be facing some space issues on this patio because it is the only place we can store our bikes and we have a ginormous air conditioning unit living out there. Plus, because I am a wonderful and thoughtful wife we will have to make room for this:
Disclaimer: this prob isn't the exact grill I got the hubs for Christmas, but its close enough.
And while I am very excited at the prospect of grilled dinners this summer, it will probably take up as much room as the ginormous air conditioning unit.

Clearly, that ugly rod-iron table has to go. (not really doing a great job of selling that thing am I? lol)

Well, this made me warm on the inside at least for a little while. Now I am going to cuddle up with my pups under my electric blanket in my flannel pjs and slippers and dream about the summer. :)

Baby Got Back..... pain.

Well here is a health update for ya:
My back is all out of whack.

I told you a couple posts back about my fitness failure and back pain. I finally got to see a chiropractor (have been waiting about 4 years for some decent insurance) over the weekend and got a laundry list of things not quite right.

       - 2 vertebrae in my neck were/are rotated severely to the right causing
       - straining in the muscles in the left side of my neck
       - my right shoulder was out of alignment, causing
       - upper back pain and misalignment
       - my right hip was out of place (sitting a bit higher than the left one actually)
       - my lower back is hyper-extended and
       - I have really terrible posture
       - All of the above could be contributing to my very frequent headaches and chronic migraines. 

So I have been given some stretches and exercises to do at home in between adjustments and physical therapy for the next few weeks. I was also told to avoid the gym until my back is on its way to healing. Since the gym is off limits for awhile I need to be really careful about my food intake because I will not be able to burn off any extra calories. Superbowl Sunday didn't count. I started Monday (as all bad things should start on a Monday). My lunch was a salad and apple with some organic bunny-grams as a mid-afternoon snack. Breakfast was a fiber-filled bowl of chocolate (don't judge me) mini-wheats with organic skim milk. Dinner was some tuna casserole. Not TOO shabby (we don't need to talk about the 2 cans of pop I drank to get through my work day). The really hard part is going to be keeping this up. Wish me luck.


What will I be doing this summer?
Oh gosh- I am sooooooo glad you asked!

Since I have the world's best hubby, I will be going to see, not one, not two, but FIVE major country concerts!

First up, in June:

Then, in July:

Then, in August:

And also in August:

And finally, in September:

Oh my goodness. I am SO excited.

Also performing with the aforementioned artists are:
Eastin Corbin and Justin Moore
Luke Bryan and The Band Perry
Blake Shelton and Jarrod Nieman
Chris Young
Eric Church

My husband doesn't even like country music - He might be a saint! I am giddy. Gotta get out that cowboy hat! Yee-haw!

Deeper Than the Dead by Tami Hoag (A Review)

When three children stumble on a shallow grave in 1984, an idyllic California community is rocked to its core. The victim is a young woman, her eyes and lips sealed closed, a blind and silent witness to an unspeakable crime. The third victim in two years’ time, it’s clear that a serial killer has come calling.

As a member of the FBI’s fledgling criminal profiling unit, Special Agent Tony Mendez knows serial killers. It quickly becomes apparent that the See-No-Evil killer is no ordinary psychopath. The profile paints a portrait of a man easily trusted, well respected, and intelligent—a man no one would suspect.

Dr. Peter Crane fits the bill. A pillar of the community, he volunteers at a center for disadvantaged women—a center the victims had all attended. Crane is also a beloved husband and father to a ten-year-old son, Tommy, who was one of the three children to discover the grave. Needing insight into Peter Crane’s world, Mendez asks Anne Navarre, Tommy’s fifth-grade teacher, to find out what she can. It’s a request Anne finds both intriguing and unethical—much like Mendez himself.

Then a new victim leads to a different suspect—a man whose son was another of the three children to find the grave but a man whose position in the community is also above reproach, a sheriff’s deputy. As the connections between the two families become increasingly tangled, it seems clear that one of these children holds the key to a serial killer’s double life . . . and a revelation of evil so dark, so deep, no one may survive.

Usually Tami Hoag's books suck me in immediately. This one took me awhile to warm up too. I did have a hard time which the kids' points of view. Perhaps it was the child-like perceptions of the world and perhaps it was the immediate loss of innocence. I mean, these kids, from mostly idyllic homes, have their entire lives come crashing down on them because they fell on a dead body in a park. Immediately their families are under suspicion (by the cops in the books and the readers) and it causes stress at home and at one point a complete meltdown/psychotic break for one kid. That part of it was just so sad. Maybe it's because of my background in psych, or maybe its just human nature in wanting to protect kids from harsh reality, but none of those parts of the book sat well with me. It was also pretty frustrating that the book is set in 1984 - aka the stone-age of forensics. They keep talking about the "up and coming" technology, which has now been around for years...

I did really get into once the story took a more adult perspective. I loved the new character FBI agent Vince Leon. He was like a character from Criminal Minds (a show I love!) and I really liked his relationships with Detective Mendez and the young school teacher Anne. From about 100 pages in, I couldn't put the book down, even when I was cringing in disgust or wanting to cover my eyes! It gave me everything I expected - grisly murders, multiple plausible suspects, a little bit of romance, and on the edge of your seat suspense. I will definitely be picking up her next novel with these characters, Secrets to the Grave.
Overall I give it 4/5 - couldn't quite stomach the kid part, but other than that loved it.

SAG Best and Worst Dressed

This is a bit late, the SAG Awards were on Sunday night, but there were some FAB dresses. My Best and Worst of the night:

Sofia Vegura - Can this woman NOT look sexy? Wowza!

Did Tina Fey get a stylist? *gasp* She looks fantastic!

Now- people were split on this one- but I LOVE it. Way to take a risk Julie Bowen!

This picture does not do Hilary Swank's dress justice. She looked amazing!

Heather Morris - also working the nude tone. Love the flowy-ness

Mila Kunis - Well Done. 
 And, everyone's favorite part: WORST:
This dress is one part boring, one part boudoir, and all over bad. Naya Riviera

How can Christina Hendricks make herself look frumpy? This dress apparently.

Winona Ryder - not prom or a wedding. Sorry sweetie.

I don't even know who this chick is but its ALL wrong.

Love Jane Lynch - that said - A Sue Sylvester track suit may have been more flattering.

Also love Jenna Fisher, but she probably should have chosen a less-matronly, blah dress.

Bulletin Board Quickie

After my office re-arranging and organizing I did a super fast re-vamping of my bulletin board. This thing was previously a necklace holder and it had some craters in it and it's just not pretty or inspiring to look at plain cork.  I had some leftover material from my boxes for the bedroom project and pulled it out to use. I also used a stapler, fabric glue, and a round-cutter thingy (that is the technical term).
I stapled the fabric around the edges and trimmed off the excess using the cutter. I made sure the fabric was stretched pretty tight across the board. I wasn't too worried about the edges being neat (not too much of a perfectionist here)
Then, I used black ribbon to edge it. I stabled an end of the ribbon and used fabric glue to make it stick in the middle. And then- Voila!
Pretty cute huh? :)
My first craft at my newly organized desk! haha