1 Cakes & Louie: November 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Guess what? I took advantage of a 75% off Cyber Monday sale and finally finally finally ordered two rugs I've been drooling over for a year!

Rugs are one of those things that just cost too much for me to talk myself (and the hubs) into more often than not. Currently, we have a 5x8 foot gorgeous rug from Pottery Barn in our living room, a big plain off-white one in our bedroom that we got at Target for less than $100, and $25 Ikea rugs in our extra bedroom and office. In other words, rugs aren't really something we've put a whole lot of time, thought or money into before. While I completely agree that a good rug could be something worth investing in for some people, we just don't have the money to drop on one from the places I usually see nice ones at - West Elm, Layla & Grace, Crate & Barrel, etc. And, knowing that we have a rowdy dog, lots of foot traffic and future kids that will spill, we're not willing to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a rug. 

So, I've been watching sales on RugsUSA.com for over a year since I fell in love with both of the patterns seen above. The site is pretty much always running a sale of some sort, but the percentage off varies week to week and holiday to holiday. I thought for awhile that Black Friday or Cyber Monday might be a good sale, and thankfully - I was right! The site provided a code for a whopping 75% off regular prices (which are already fairly reasonable compared to other sites), and last night I finally convinced myself and Dan to take the plunge and place an order!

Our new 7'6"x9'6" charcoal gray trellis rug will go in the living room, and I'm hoping the larger size will help to ground the room overall better than the 5x8 that's in there now. And, while the darker color will likely require more vacuuming up of Louie's hair, I'm also hoping it will help hide spots better than the current lighter pattern. I'm really excited for something that's a little more grown-up and modern in the space that we spend most of our time in.

And our new 7'10"x10'10" light blue chevron rug will go in our bedroom. I know some people are over the chevron trend, but to me it's a timeless yet fun pattern that's easily paired with other colors, patterns and pieces, so I continue to love it. With the discount code, this huge rug cost a measly $88! I'm insanely pumped about the crazy affordable price, and hope that this new piece will help kick us back into gear with our bedroom makeover. We've talked about tackling the painting over the holidays, I still want to DIY a big starburst mirror, and I'm itching to hang some of our favorite wedding photos on the walls.

Needless to say, I can't wait for either of our new rugs to ship. Photos to come when they arrive! Anyone else score any amazing Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

No More Cords!

I had a bit of what I like to call a spaz attack a couple weekends ago, and decided I had simply had enough of all the cords running across the walls in our living room. If you look in the background of this absolutely amazing photo of the hubs and Jeff, you can sort of see what I'm talking about -

Basically, because we don't have room for an entertainment center of any kind in our living room, the TV is on the mantle and everything else is on a shelf to the side - so all the cords ran back and forth to all the different electronics. And since the only outlet on that wall is to the OTHER side of the mantle, there were also power cords going from the TV to the outlet. It looked messy and frustrated me on a regular basis, and last week the wonderful hubs finally decided to humor me and do something about it. 

After lots of shopping around and going back and forth about what we wanted to do, we decided that mounting the TV over the mantle and adding a soundbar underneath it (instead of a stereo with speakers like we had before) would be our best bet overall. Thankfully, Black Friday was just a few days away so we were able to take advantage of great sales! Of course, I can't find a link to what we bought, but we got a Sony soundbar with subwoofer (this one is very similar but costs more) for $100 at Costco, and a $20 TV mount at Home Depot. 

I pulled out all of the Christmas decorations while Dan tackled the electronics, and within a couple of hours we had a pretty, clean, cordless mantle! 

Isn't it pretty?

You'll see we also moved the cable box and dvd player over from the shelves to underneath the TV, so every single cord is essentially hidden behind those two pieces. There's still a couple of power cords that run over to the outlet, but we were able to run them behind the molding on the mantle so you only see them on the sides of the fireplace but not on top. I am a happy happy camper.

Other things to note are the new super soft faux fur stockings I snagged at World Market, and the new birchwood logs in the (fake) fireplace! Manda and I found them at Jewel of all places and $10 later we were lugging them home. I thought about filling the entire space but like that this keeps it a little more open looking while still getting the effect. We still have to put our tree up but are waiting on a call back from a doctor to confirm if Dan is allergic to pine or not before we bust out the fake tree again. My fingers and toes are crossed that we can get a real one!

Monday, November 26, 2012

DIY Chalkboard

Our absolutely amazing kitchen makeover left us with a little nook in the wall that was just begging me to do something with it.

I've known since day 1 that I wanted to put a nice big DIY chalkboard in the space, to help make it look a little more intentional, but it wasn't exactly at the top of our priority list. Then last week I suddenly got the urge to do something productive, so I dragged Dan and Manda to Home Depot and in no time we were starting on it!

I learned on my beloved Pinterest awhile back that making your own chalkboard paint in any color is insanely easy - just mix 2 tablespoons of unsanded tile grout in with 1 cup of paint and mix well. That's IT! I honestly didn't even bother to actually measure, but figured the little sample pot of charcoal gray paint I got looked like about a cup, so I just threw a couple spoonfuls of the grout right in there and mixed it up.

As far as the actual process of putting together our chalkboard, we decided to make it as absolutely simple as possible, which is probably not the best route to go, but totally worked for us. Basically, I measured approximately how large I wanted the chalkboard to be, and we had Home Depot cut some super cheap pieces of molding to size. I think the wood cost us something ridiculous like $3 total. When we got home Dan drove a couple quick nails into the pieces to make a frame, and then it was time to paint! 

For the wall, we just held the frame up where we wanted it, made sure it was level, and then I used a pencil to outline where I should paint. I used a small foam roller and did a few quick coats of my paint + tile grout mixture, and didn't even bother to stay in the lines since I knew the frame would cover it.

Next up was two quick coats of paint on the frame with a sample pot of Wet Coral by Behr, which is officially my newest color obsession.

We sort of kind of waited for everything to dry, and then held the frame back up on the wall, made sure it was level and nailed it in with Dan's nail gun all around the edges. Then, I swooned over my beautiful bright chalkboard and smiled like an idiot at it before going to bed.

The following evening (when all the paint was actually dry), I used the side of a piece of chalk to cover the entire surface, which I learned is called "conditioning" and helps get the chalkboard ready to use.

Finally, the next night, I got to wipe it down and have some fun with it! I used one of my all-time favorite lyrics "Home is wherever I'm with you", which is from Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zereos' hit song Home... which happens to be the song we cut our wedding cake to!

Cute, isn't it?

Total, this project cost less than $10 and took about an hour (not including the 20 minutes I spent drawing up the song lyric). I'm sure there's plenty of ways to complicate it - like doing more precise measuring or making a fancier frame, but for us this was perfect and I'm loving the bright pop of color it brings into the room!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Beauty Must-Haves

I've seen lots of bloggers that post roundups of their all-time favorite beauty products, so I figured it's high-time I go ahead and do the same. What's funny is that I literally don't know the first thing about "beauty" in general, but I have gotten to a point where I love love love a handful of products and feel lost when one of them runs out... so I figured why not rave about it all in one place? What's even better is that in true Kelly form, all of these products are bananas cheap (with the exception of one, but it's amazing and it lasts for-EVER so per-use cost is still insanely reasonable).

Enjoy perusing my favorites!

From left to right:
Suave Dry Shampoo - Uh, it's less than $3 and eliminates that gross greasy look when I'm too lazy to wash my hair (which is more and more often lately. Don't judge.) Can't live without it. ($2.54)

Body Shop Olive Beautifying Oil - Bridget and I grabbed this on a whim during a big sale, and we're both in love. It's moisturizing without being oily, and it smells a.maz.ing. ($14)

Mario Badescu Seaweed Cleansing Soap - So, I've had acne for my entire adult life, and while it's manageable most of the time, I still have to be VERY careful about what I put on my face. This cleanser is mild and doesn't make me break out, which is just about all I need in a face wash. I also use Mario Badescu's Glycolic wash a few times a week, which I highly recommend for acne-prone skin. ($12)

Clinique Even Better Dark Spot Corrector - This is my one major beauty splurge, and totally worth every penny. Thanks to the aforementioned acne issues, I've got lots of dark spots and scars, mostly on my cheeks and jawline. I used this correcting serum religiously for several months before our wedding and it made a huge difference in the overall appearance of my skin. ($76 for the large size that will last a few months)

H2O Eye Makeup Remover - Bridget hosted a "Favorite Things: Beauty" party last year right before the holidays where each girl brought her favorite product ($10 each) for every other girl there. We chatted about why it was our favorite and then handed one out to everyone. So, everyone went home with a basket full of new products to try! I cannot WAIT for this year's party! Anyways, someone brought this makeup remover, and I have been cranky trying to remove my makeup ever since it ran out. It's oil-free, removes everything in an instant, and doesn't sting my eyes. Honestly, it's in my top 3 absolute favorites on this whole list. ($16, unless you find it at Nordstrom Rack for less, which I have not.)

Buxom Lash Mascara - My #1 Black Friday score from last year was this mascara, which was one of Sephora's $10 doorbusters. I've always been one for $4 drugstore mascara, but this stuff is totally worth the extra cost. I've had it a full year now and it hasn't dried out, and I've never had an issue with clumps. It's not super bold, so it's perfect for everyday! ($19)

Dr. Jart+ Beauty Balm - I reviewed this product back when I first bought it, and I'm still just as crazy about it as I was then. And, I've had it since June and I'm nowhere near finished with the tube. ($34)

Elf Waterproof Eyeliner Pen - Not kidding, this is the best eyeliner I have ever used. And it costs a whopping DOLLAR. One con - the cap almost always pops off when I travel with it, which can dry it out quickly. Thankfully, it costs next to nothing to replace. ($1)

Yes to Carrots Body Butter - I buy little purse-size tubs of this body butter from the travel size aisle at Target, and keep them everywhere - my desk, my purse, my nightstand. It has a super light scent and doesn't feel greasy, which is nice when you use it as often as I do (my skin is really dry - especially in the cooler weather). ($12.99 for a big tub)

Garnier Tinted Under-eye Concealer - I absolutely 100% will NOT leave the house without this. Even when I'm recovering from a night out and heading to breakfast at a diner with friends and my pajamas, I take 10 seconds to use this product first. And - it lasts forever! ($11.99) 

So there you have it! My top faves. What are yours??

Monday, November 19, 2012

Christmas Cards

I've said for years that I wanted to send out Christmas cards to family and friends, but it always felt a little weird since we weren't married yet. Last year, we had our wedding photos back in time to send out cards, and I was PUMPED about doing so. I printed the cards out on heavy paper and rounded the corners with a punch, and loved how they turned out. I especially loved the little play on words, which I thought was perfect for us as newlyweds.

I designed and printed the cards in a bit of a rush, and had a ton of trouble feeding the heavy paper through the printer, which resulted in us only ending up with a handful of cards to send out. I was bummed when we received cards from a ton of people and I wasn't able to send ours out to everyone. 

This year, I'm starting my planning now so I have plenty of time to print lots of cards and get them out to our extended families and our friends. I'm struggling with what to do since I don't have any new photos of us that I'm dying to print on a card for everyone, but I'm sure we'll come up with something and I'm excited for Christmas cards to be a new tradition for us (regardless of if the hubs loves it or not) ;)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Are you ready for a photo overload? Good. Because I am finally ready to post about the best night of the fall so far - Friendsgiving!

It was a major thrill for me to set the table using all of the goodies we got for our wedding last year. This was my first "real" dinner party, and setting up all the glasses and silverware made my heart happy.

I originally planned to keep the centerpiece simple with candlesticks, but we added on a second table at the end so I thought something small down the entire center would tie the two together. I ended up using four small lanterns that were outside decor from our wedding, and added little colorful gourds that I'd picked up when we went apple picking last month.

The little wreaths were 2/$1 at Target, and I used red and white bakers twine (also from the Target $1 Spot) to tie on the hand stamped place cards. The tablecloths are off white and had a bit of shimmer to them, so I used the wood texture and color of the wreaths and the mustard yellow place cards to keep the overall look from being too crisp and wintery.

I found a rubber stamp at Michael's awhile back that I knew would be perfect for Friendsgiving - it reads "Because you matter to me". I used it on the invitations and then stamped a little mini kraft paper bag for everyone with it. I used mini clothespins and the same letter stamps the place cards were made from to tag a bag for each person, and set out colored pencils and little slips of paper for people to write notes to each other with the cue "I'm thankful for you because..." The notes obviously got a little goofy after some wine, but they were also heartfelt and adorable, and I loved reading mine the next morning.

Bridget came over early to help keep me calm and to help keep Louie company while I got myself ready. It's the season to be thankful, and I am forever thankful for a friend like Bridget!

For the main event - I cooked a turkey! This was a major ordeal for me considering I can barely cook a piece of chicken in a pan without screwing it up, so I decided to use Alton Brown's famous recipe, which Food Network swears is totally foolproof. It required a few days of thawing in the fridge and then a sink full of ice water, brining overnight in a 5-gallon bucket on the cold porch, stuffing the cavity with aromatics (apple, onion. rosemary and sage) and a roasting. And, Food Network was right - It was amazing!! I freaked out a little when the meat probe showed the temperature right where it was supposed to be in under 2 hours, but from what I understand a 15 pound turkey is actually on the small side, so it wasn't too surprising that it cooked quickly.

Considering there were 12 of us and everyone brought at least one dish, we had a LOT of food. So good.

This guy (Jeff) came to town for the event, and I nearly cried I was so happy to see him. Jeff moved to DC at the end of the summer and we've all missed him tremendously. A party at our house just isn't the same without him, so it was really really wonderful to have him there for the weekend.

We ended up with an impromptu dance party in the living room, which has kind of become the norm for our group of friends. No complaints here - I LOVE dancing around and singing with my friends, and absolutely love late-night dancing with the hubs. Boy's got moves.

The men were men and treated us to a fire in the backyard later in the night. The weather was perfect for a little campfire, and Bridget's spiked cider was perfect to sip on while we all chatted.

All in all, I could not have asked for a better evening with friends. We celebrated Thanksgiving, a birthday and an engagement, ate a ridiculous amount of food and drank an even more ridiculous amount of wine. We are extremely blessed with such amazing friends, and I'm hoping Friendsgiving becomes an annual tradition for all of us in the future!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Go Vote

It's an important day, friends. Time to make your voice heard and help be sure our country continues to move forward in a positive way that supports the best interest of all of us. I was at my polling place for less than 20 minutes this morning, so time is no excuse! Get out and vote!