Nov 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope all of my readers are able to spend time with those they love the most and enjoy the spirit of the season. 

We had our Thanksgiving meal, yesterday to accommodate everyone's schedules.  I had the honor of hosting our celebration this year and while our group was small, they are definitely our most important people.  Our menu was as typical as they come:

Dressing (not stuffing)
Loaded mashed potatoes
Green Bean Casserole
Bourbon Turkey Gravy (from Oakley's Bistro)
Cranberry Chutney (from Oakley's Bistro)
Seven Layer Salad
Deviled Eggs
Pumpkin Pie
Apple Pie

Seven Layer Salad is always a requested side.  Here is my mom's Seven Layer Salad recipe:

Susan's Seven Layer Salad
Layer 1 (bottom layer) - lettuce (any kind, but my mom uses iceburg)
Then layer the following:
Layer 2 - Chopped fine green onions
Layer 3 - Chopped fine/diced celery
Layer 4 - 1 bag of frozen petite peas
Layer 5 - 8 oz bag of fine shredded sharp cheddar
Layer 6 - 1/2 pound diced crispy bacon
Layer 7 - Dressing:
Hellman's Mayo - 2 cups
3 TBSP of sugar
Little salt and pepper
1/4 cup or less of heavy cream

Then on top, just to add a little extra sprinkle a thin layer of cheese and crispy bacon on top. 
Chill and enjoy!

I also wanted to share with you some Black Friday Deals:
Neiman Marcus — Early Access take $50 off $200 with code THANKFUL, through 11/22 at 10pm CT.
Nike — Take an extra 25% off sale styles with code EPIC25. Valid through 11/28.
Saks: Get up to 60% off at the Thanksgiving Sale. Valid 11/22-11/24. 
Macy’s — Take 20% off Black Friday with code HURRY. Valid 11/22-11/25.
Nordstrom — Take an extra 20% off select sale items. Valid 11/24-11/27.
J.Crew — Take 40% off everything. Valid through 11/26.
TopShop — Get up to 50% off and free shipping. Valid 11/22-11/27.
Madewell — Take 25% off everything with code DONTSTRESS. Valid through 11/26.
Urban Outfitters — Buy one, get one 50% off, valid 11/22-11/24.

Beautycounter is going to have some amazing deals as well! DON'T MISS OUT! Word on the street is that things sell out very quickly. If you haven't tried Beautycounter, yet, this might just be the time! 

My Beautycounter favorites:
-Countermatch Collection - The serum and eye cream are my favorites, but I use them all.
-Rejuvenating Face Wash  - My morning face wash
-Cleansing Balm - My nighttime face wash and dry skin savior
-Shampoo and Conditioner 
-Tint Skin Foundation - I use linen.  It is great coverage without being cakey or weird
-All the lip sheers - I love Twig, Currant, and Plum
-The kid (Jack) uses the Kid Shampoo
-Justin uses the new Counterman Collection!  We just received the set and he loves it!

Shop Here: Beautycounter

Happy Thanksgiving!

Oct 20, 2017

{An Indy Area Photographer}

Justin and I recently attended a beautiful fall backyard wedding for two of our dearest friends.  No detail was overlooked by both the bride, and the groom!  A few days after the ceremony we received a link to view all of the pictures and they are lovely. I mean talk about a union...check out the cake!  The photographer, Emily Ann Photography, captured all of the beautiful details.  See for yourself!  They are stunning!

The cake was like a mullet - business in front and party in the back!  Genius!  He loved it!

And I would say the candids were pretty spectacular, too!  

I just love a wedding and this one did not disappoint.  A gorgeous bride (inside and out) and a wonderful groom, a beautiful venue, with a delicious menu and drinks, along the side of close friends and truly was a perfect evening!


This photographer allowed me to utilize the profile picture to the right for this reference post.   All pictures are property of the photographer.  Please contact to utilize.

Oct 16, 2017

{lake cottage kitchen} Part 1

We just spent the weekend at the lake and while it was cold and rainy, we had fun together as a family.  There isn't a day that goes by that I don't thank my lucky stars for that little place and after years of planning and saving, we were able to make it all come true. 

Our little cottage was not pretty on the inside.  It had a wood paneling overload, but I tried to look past the wood paneling and imagine the possibilities!  Justin kept saying it was extra insulation!   With his help, I looked past the wood paneling, and realized that we would slowly make changes, because waking up to this is not a bad thing...

Our little lake is connected to six other lakes so the cruising and water activities are limitless. It's a kid and adult paradise, and we've already made memories with our friends and families.

While remodeling our little kitchen, I tried to save at every turn: buying things at the goodwill (more on that later), using Facebook Marketplace, Craig's List, and of course DIYing, sewing, and fixing anything and everything ourselves. 

I am excited to share with you our little cottage kitchen!  This is Part 1 of the reveal as we still have a few projects on our TO DO list, but I thought I would share with you our progress. 

Lets start with the BEFORE:

I knew that the brass lighting had to go. The oven was not working and was rusted completely through. The fridge was in working order, but in bisque, we had plans to change.  While Justin loved that fish, the previous owners ended up taking it with them.  The kitchen table did stay and painting it is on our to do list.  The white cabinets were pretty stark and white against all of the wood, so I knew we had to do something...

We lived with it for a few months and then we started our renovations. 

First we removed the upper cabinets, the counters, and the rusted stove.  I found a GE stove on Facebook Marketplace for about $100 - SCORE!  We then changed the counters to IKEA's butcher block and replaced the upper cabinets with open shelving and brackets.  We also added a wall of open shelves and a white console from IKEA for a bar area and added storage. Then we swapped out the brass light for a wooden criss-cross hanging light from World Market.  Painted the walls Ben Moore's Gray Wisp and PRESTO - it was a cottage kitchen!

  • Shelves are pine 2x12 from Home Depot | Stained a mixture of Special Walnut and Early American.
  • Shelf Brackets are from Home Depot | Everbilt 10x8 inch Oil Rubbed Bronze Shelf Bracket
  • Countertops are from IKEA | Karlby Countertop
  • GE Stove | Facebook Marketplace
  • Wall Baskets | Amazon - Originally from IKEA but discontinued
  • Wall Rods and Hooks | Fintorp
  • Cross Wood Chandelier | World Market Cost Plus Gray and Wood Valencia Chandelier
  • CafĂ© Curtain - I sewed myself on my Singer sewing machine
  • Wall paint - Gray Wisp Ben Moore
  • Leaded Glass Window - Found on the side of the road!
  • Lake Sign - letters and arrow was purchased at Target. I had the wood in the garage and stained it (same mixture as shelves) and nailed the letters on!

Our new bar area has a new console and three open shelves above.  It add a huge amount of storage for us and lets us entertain easier as snacks and drinks are assessable for guests.
A little note about the Hemnes line of furniture from IKEA.  If you choose the "white stain" as your color option, it is solid pine furniture, not glued particle board.  I have found it to last longer and hold up better to wear and tear.  Plus, you can paint it Sherwin Williams Extra White if you ever need to touch it up!

Where there you have it!  Our cottage kitchen!  It's Our Happy Place!

  • This is Our Happy Place Sign | Hand Painted by me...using the cut off end of the countertop!  Reuse, reduce, and FREE!
What's next?
  • New Fridge!  Justin is working on that.  He gets rewards for his steps through his employer and Virgin Health Miles.  We're on our way to a free fridge.
  • New sink...This one works, so we'll wait. 
  • New floors...What we have works, so we'll wait for now!

FIY - IKEA and Home Depot do not pay me for these comments.  I just use what I use, and then share with you!

Oct 10, 2017

{our kitchen table}

I have to admit, I'm a sucker for all things found in barns.  The older and the dustier the better.  One of our bedroom dressers was found in a chicken coop and painted black.  My mom brought it home and refinished it, and now it lives in my home.  A few other dressers were found on the side of the road, with chipped paint, bird poop, and all sorts of issues.  We bring them home and clean them up, refinish if needed, and then find a spot for them.  I like that they have a story. 

One of my favorite items is my great-great grandma's table.  It still has the knife marks where she butchered her meat.  It lives in our morning room and is the perfect spot for my new orchid. 


I've been on the hunt for a new kitchen table.  The table I have now was my grandparent's hard rock maple table and I have plans to refinish it and give it to my brother.  He just recently moved into a new home and it would be perfect for his house, which is a historic home in Irvington (Indy neighborhood). 

Then I found this in a barn...

It was in rough shape and a little a lot dusty. The top needed some TLC.  But I loved it immediately.  Look at the wheels.  The base.  The feet.  It was perfect.  So, we brought it home...

And gave it some love.  We removed the top from the base and sanded the whole table.  We were careful not to sand too deeply, because we still wanted to retain some of the texture of the old wood. 

We mixed Special Walnut and Early American stains and stained the whole table.  Then we added two coats of satin finish polyurethane.  Justin polished up the wheels and re-installed the wheels.

I love the finished product. 


Oct 8, 2017

{better beauty}

Did you know that 28 countries in Europe have banned over 1,300 chemical ingredients commonly found in beauty products, compared to only 30 in the US?  Either did I! Even more surprisingly, the last year a federal law was passed governing personal care products was 1938; 79 years!  After learning these facts, I knew I had to get involved and needed share this information with the people I care about the most. 

Then a trusted friend introduced me to Beautycounter a little over month ago, and I am already a devotee. Beautycounter is a line of safe, clean, environmentally conscious and beautiful products; skincare, body products, kids products, and makeup. Beautycounter is on a mission educate consumers about safe ingredients in personal care products and as you know, education is my jam. So here I am...sharing their mission: To get safer products into the hands of everyone.  

It's a company I believe in.  It's a company that focuses on education and believes their company is a tool for positive change.  Beautycounter is a B Corp, which means they have committed to their consumers, not just their bottom line.  When making decisions, they may not do so at the expense of workers, public health, and/or the environment.  

After turning 40 I wanted to make a commitment to taking better care of myself.  I started working out at Orange Theory (more on that in a future post), switched to using safer cleaning products in my home, and changed what I use on my skin and hair.  I wouldn't consider myself a beauty expert, but I love the idea of using products that would be safer for me and my family and Beautycounter fits right in with my goals.  Beautycounter boasts The Never List™. This list includes more than 1,500 questionable or harmful chemicals that BC will never use as ingredients in  the products we sell.  

Not sure where to start or what to use?  I will definitely be recommending my favorite BC products on my blog, but I have a few that I think are must haves!  So, lets get started.  You won't be disappointed...

I love love love the Rejuvenating Face Cleanser.  It is a fresh and simple cleanser that lightly suds, but makes my skin feel so clean and fresh, and not dry at all.  It is by far the best facial cleanser I have ever used and I would recommend this as a must have BC product!  

Favorite Product #2 | Rejuvenating Face Cleanser
I have also really loved the No. 1 Brightening Spa Set.  I have acne prone skin, and facial oils used to scare me, but not any more!  My regimen starts with a clean face using the BC cleanswer, then I lightly rub two-three drops of the No. 1 Brightening Facial Oil all over my face.  I then I use the No. 1 Brightening Spray.  I. LOVE. THIS. STUFF.  Sometimes, it doesn't create a fine mist when spraying, so I just smooth on my face like a lotion. 
Favorite Product #1 | No. 1 Brightening Spa Set

They have two other spa sets for different types of skin.  If you are worried about aging and fine lines, try:

No. 2 Plumping Spa Set
 If you have oily skin and are prone to breakouts, you must try:
No. 3 Balancing Spa Set

I finish with the Rejuvenating Eye Cream and I would consider this another must have! I wake up with puffy eyes sometimes, and this as really become my go to remedy (Extra Tip: I place in the fridge to really soothe my tired and puffy eyes.)  Plus, it has helped diminish the look of my fine lines and wrinkles around my eyes, because turning 40 means those pesky fine lines are now becoming wrinkles.  This eye cream is a non-negotiable for my morning routine.  

Favorite #3 | Rejuvenating Eye Cream

You can check out all of Beautycounter products on my consultant page and read more about how Beautycounter is changing the beauty industry with safer ingredients and better beauty. 

Well, there you have it!  A few of my recommendations from Beautycounter!  Be Well!


Oct 5, 2017

{A Bed Knockoff} shhhh...

If you know me, you know that I love, love, love a good bargain.  I mean who doesn't?  I sometimes feel I am the queen of consignment and sales shopping.  My motto? "Never pay full retail for anything, and if you can't get it used, even better!"

Justin and I were looking to transition to a king sized mattress earlier this year, but I would not commit until I found the perfect headboard.  And then I found this beauty and it was love at first sight...

This absolutely gorgeous Aberdeen bed is from Pottery Barn!  It was perfect.  A little metal.  A little upholstery.  And it was named the Aberdeen, which coincidentally is where J and I were married 15 years ago!  It was perfect...

But at $1399 for the king + delivery there was no way I could afford this bed.  Plus, I still needed to purchase a mattress.  I truly mourn when these things happen.  

So the search continued for quite some time to find a replacement for the perfect bed (see above).  And one day, I was searching Target and found this...

What??? Could this be true?  And the price was significantly less.  At $529 with free shipping, I couldn't resist.  Plus, I had some gift cards I was hoarding!  SCORE!  This Kensington bed was a perfect knock off at about a third of the price.  

So, the wait was worth it and the scouring paid off.  The final verdict?  The bed is great, and sleeping on a king sized mattress is even better!


Oct 4, 2017

{Our Charming Lake Cottage}

Oh goodness.  The before.  Look around folks, she's a beaut.  We couldn't be happier.  Really.  We know this is a work in progress and a labor of love, but we are ready and so, so happy.

We do love it.  It is really a dream come true.  With all the dark paneling. Amond bath fixture. It's hard to believe, but this little lake place has potential.