1 Cakes & Louie: July 2012

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Say yes to the... granite

The week before last, I got sent on an out of the office excursion for a day, and managed to squeeze in a trip to a place I found on craigslist that claimed to have "TONS!!!!" of granite remnants.

They had two.

Shockingly though, one of them was literally straight out of my dreams. An insanely gorgeous, marbled gray piece with a ridiculous amount of character and swirls of pattern and color running through it. I'm not exaggerating when I say I wanted to hug it, and I may or may not have spent several minutes drooling over it.

Tell me this isn't stunning:

I left with a sample and my fingers crossed that when I got the quote it would be affordable. Seeing as it was the very first place I went looking for a deal (since Home Depot and even HOBO were well out of our non-existent budget), I did a decent job of not getting my hopes up. Eventually, the guy called me with a $775 quote. Ouch. Great price for granite that's usually upwards of $60 a square foot. Not a great price for cheapskates like Dan and I. Womp.

I told the guy we'd have to think about it and waited. He called me while we were in Kentucky and I turned on the charm and explained that (1) it wasn't in our budget, (2) I completely understand this is already a low price for a piece like this and (3) if I'm going to buy a remnant I was expecting to save a LOT of money over a typical store, not just $100 or so.

He texted me a few minutes later with a drop to $600. I literally didn't even ASK them to drop the price, and just like that I saved $175. That's my kind of bargaining. 

After some back and forth both with the granite guy and my favorite guy (that'd be Dan), and an early morning trip to check out another place that was WAY more expensive, we decided today to go for it. Eek!!! This kitchen update is getting more and more amazing every day, and now I really really can't wait to see how it all comes together.

Monday, July 30, 2012


I realized the other day that I didn't even mention here that I was going on my second service trip of the summer last week. Apologies to the three people that may have been wondering where I was! I spent my week in the gorgeous mountains of Louisa, Kentucky as an adult volunteer with our church and the Appalachia Service Project. I went on this trip once before with Dan several years ago and it was miserable, so I've avoided going back for quite some time. I am so so SO glad I changed my mind and decided to go again this year - the entire week was amazing and I was nowhere near ready to come home when Saturday morning rolled around. There's a ton of pictures floating around on facebook already and I'll try to post some here soon!

While we were gone, this was happening at home.

That, my friends, is my current disaster of a kitchen, sans-pantry! We decided to bite the bullet and get demo going with our contractor while we were out of town, knowing that Louie would already be at my Dad's and therefore out of the way. Being out of town also meant one less week of us having to eat every meal out since the kitchen is a mess and our dishes are stacked on every available surface in the living room and dining room. Needless to say, I am insanely excited about this project, and it was such a thrill to come home to a MUCH larger looking space! I can't wait to chop some veggies or whip up a batch of ice cream on all that extra counter space we're gaining. In the meantime, I'll continue taking lots of pictures to document the excitement here :).

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Ice Cream, You Scream

I've been pinning a ridiculous amount of fancypants ice cream concoctions lately, and I'm realizing that with July half over, I'd better get going on trying them out before summer is over! I keep my beloved Kitchenaid mixer right out on the counter (in the corner that's unusable anyways thanks to our current layout), so it's easily accessible when I do decide to whip up a batch of something sweet.

Now to just decide which flavor to try first...

Friday, July 13, 2012

It's my birthday and I'll wish if I want to

The most exciting day of the year (not really) is coming up in just a few short weeks my friends. That's right - I'm turning the big 3-0!! And honestly, I'm pretty darned excited about it. I'll be spending the weekend with my best friends in Dixon, IL at a camping musicfest with Mumford & Sons and several other bands and I. Can't. Wait. 

To pass the time before the birthday extravaganza, I decided to do one of my favorite things - online shopping. I didn't actually purchase anything (so proud of myself), but instead made myself a wish list of sorts to share on this little blog of mine. You know, for when the hubby starts thinking about what fabulous things to get me for the big day ;). So, enjoy. And don't ever tell me I'm hard to shop for.

1&2. Baggu bags (Duck Bag in sailor stripe - $24 and Zip Pouch in platinum - $20). Tell me that striped beauty doesn't look like the PERFECT take-anywhere bag. I'm pretty much positive it would go with every outfit and every season. And the little zip pouch is what one of my favorite bloggers refers to as "perfect for the essentials". Plus, it looks shiny and soft, so that's an added bonus.

3. Gold Star Edible Glitter - $8. Imagine a cupcake. With frosting. And EDIBLE GLITTERY STARS. Um, yes please. 

4. Tiffany Infinity Necklace - $250. I KNOW Dan is rolling his eyes at me right this second as he reads this (hi honey!) But let's just get real for a second. I have been looking for the perfect everyday necklace for, oh, about 10 years. And I am 110% sure that this is it. To start, it's gorgeous. And I absolutely love that it doesn't have a typical dangly charm since I think that style actually tends to look a little odd on me. I also love that the chain is slightly thicker than the norm, which to me means that this would look amazing with most any outfit - including dressing up my usual tshirt and jeans without even trying. The perfect gift for a milestone bday? I think so.

5. TOMS Classic Canvas Slip-On in Gray - $43.95. I'm pretty sure I'm the only girl I know without a pair of TOMS. And for every pair purchased, a pair is given to a kid in need. Cute shoes + a good deed? Win-win in my book.

6. Design*Sponge at Home - $22.43. This blog is bananas amazing. Pretty sure that means the book would be as well. (I've actually flipped through it several times in-store. It really does look phenomenal.)

7. Benefit Cosmetics Ooh La Lift - $22. People that actually know how to apply makeup (not me) rave about this stuff. And as much as I love my super simple 5-minute routine in the mornings, the area under my eyes literally skews purple when I'm sleepy (which is always), and could use some serious help.

8. Clarisonic Mia - $119. I've talked here about my obnoxiously sensitive acne-prone skin in the past, and I've heard nothing but amazing things about the Clarisonic for skincare in general, regardless of type. I hate how after I wash my face, my toner still swipes off a ton of dirt and makeup, which is proof that my fingers or a washcloth just don't cut it. A good friend swears the Clarisonic gets every little bit of every little thing off, and leaves your skin super soft in the end. 

What's on your wish list? Anyone else have a big birthday coming up yet this summer?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Dream Kitchen

If you follow me on Pinterest, you may already be well aware that I have a dream kitchen style. I tend to pin anything and everything I see that fits into this dream, with hopes of eventually making it all a reality.

When we first bought our house, I was dead-set on having a deep dark red kitchen. Don't ask me why, but I just had to have it, and so we painted half the walls dark when we did our initial remodel. For the most part, here's where the kitchen is at today:

And across the room (opposite the photo above):

Honestly, I'm pretty proud of this little bitty room, seeing as we did the entire makeover for about $3,000 INCLUDING all new appliances. What, you didn't know I was an insane deal-hunter?

But my tastes have changed (who's surprised?), and I've begun to regret the over-abundance of color I insisted on when we first bought our house. I partially blame thank Pinterest and blogs for my ever-changing ideas, but in all honesty the majority of my hopes for a kitchen update come from the fact that the layout of our space is the furthest thing from user-friendly and stresses me out nearly every single time I try to cook a meal. Look again at the photo above - see that chunk of counter space above the dishwasher? Yep - that's IT. The only useable counter space in our kitchen. Now try and picture one person at the stove cooking while another stands *thisclose* to them trying to chop vegetables, add in Louie who has this thing where he has to lay right under our feet no matter where we are... and you have chaos. There is additional countertop, but it's blocked by the fridge, which is also blocking the only 2 drawers and one and only base cabinet we have in the kitchen. Super convenient.

Behind the wall that the fridge sits on is a pantry, which for all intents and purposes is great to have and provides a great amount of storage. But its in the way, and we're ready to say goodbye to it, which is why the latest plan is to hire my sister's best friend's dad (follow that?) to knock out the pantry! The fridge will slide into place next to the currently-hidden counter, and a tall utility cabinet will be installed next to it to act as a pantry. We'll gain a small cabinet above the fridge, plus the base cabinet that's unusable right now, as well as counter space and an overall MUCH more open look and feel.

I. Can't. Wait.

Obviously we still have a lot of planning to do and logistics to figure out. Oh, and there's that little issue of cost that we're working on, seeing as we don't exactly trust ourselves to knock down a wall in our house and therefore need to hire it out (this will also include some plumbing and electrical work, as well as patching the floor and ceiling where the wall is being removed).

But that doesn't mean I don't already have exactly what I want all in my head. As I go through all of my favorite inspiration images, the same elements pop up again and again -

- WHITE cabinets
- Neutral walls (I'm planning on carrying the perfect-gray Dolphin Fin by Behr that's already in our hallway into the kitchen for consistency... and because we already have an extra gallon of it)
- Gray (granite?!) countertops
- White tile backsplashes
- Cabinets with glass-front doors or no doors at all
- Crisp hardware

Fingers and toes are all crossed with hopes that we can tackle this soon. Until then, I'll keep swooning on Pinterest.

Monday, July 9, 2012


Well. It's taken me quite some time to get back in the swing of things after my week in Detroit. This is kind of the norm for me after a service trip, seeing as my "real world" is so dramatically different than what we experience and learn about while we're gone. And this year, just when I think I'll probably feel back to "normal", I'll be leaving for a second trip!

My sister and I in Detroit, working in the urban garden.

Perhaps completely contradictory to the above, I have started to make a little progress on my summer projects list despite all the other craziness going on! Pictures are to come, but for now let's just say that once again, craigslist is my best friend.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Monday! Here's to me attempting to blog a little more regularly again :).