Updating your Coffee Bar for Fall Entertaining

This post has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. This post was sponsored by Starbucks as part of an Influencer Activation. I received compensation and complimentary products to facilitate my review. #StarbucksCaffeLatte #MyStarbucksatHome #CollectiveBias

It's time to start entertaining for the fall season, and that means making sure your coffee bar is well-stocked for guests. Make it look super cute with this sign DIY and a little seasonal update! #ad #StarbucksCaffeLatte #MyStarbucksatHome

Now that fall is in full swing, it’s time to recognize the fact that Thanksgiving is approaching pretty rapidly. I know, I can hardly believe it either, but now that Zack and I have our Halloween costumes squared away, it’s pretty easy to think that guests will be arriving soon for the various fall and winter holidays… That’s why I couldn’t put it off any longer– it was time to update my coffee bar to prepare for fall guests.

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How to Save Money and Time on Your Bathroom Makeover!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CraftedExperience #CollectiveBias

Doing a major bathroom makeover but want to save time and money on your bathroom renovation? How about a fresh coat of paint to update your bathroom without the high price tag of new fixtures? Here's how to change the look of your bathroom for less. #CraftedExperience #Ad

A few months ago, my mom decided to change her guest bathroom completely. Keep in mind, this is my mom, who banished white walls from the house years ago, replacing everything with plenty of color. When she decided to do an updated black-and-white bathroom with white walls, we were all pretty stunned, but it didn’t take long to start transforming the bathroom with some white paint and a new shower curtain. However, that’s where the transformation ended… and it was time to finish the process, but the budget was just starting to run low with a million other home updates on the list (like a new patio and new shed). Luckily, we were able to complete the look of the bathroom by spending less than $20 more, and in less than 2 hours. Yes, really.

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Easy Fall Mantel Decor (Even if You Don’t Have a Mantel!)

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #LoveAmericanHome #CollectiveBias

Looking for the perfect fall decor ideas? See inspiring fall mantels on pinterest but don't know how to recreate them at home? Here are some tips-- even if you don't have a mantel of your own! This uses floating shelves, but you can use these tips for any mantel or shelving this fall! #LoveAmericanHome #ad

Okay, so I have to admit, I’ve had a lot of Pinterest Envy (Pinvy???) when it comes to mantel decorating. It seems like everyone has this gorgeous mantel that they update with the seasons, and I had just about had it. I was about ready to just quit Pinterest so I could stop feeling so desperate for a mantel space when I realized… hey! I have shelving that I could decorate just as easily! So, whether you have a mantel or not, I want to give you a few tips on the best fall decorating ideas for that space– from back to school to Halloween to Thanksgiving, I’ve got an idea that will transition throughout the fall, without a lot of crazy effort.

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DIY Glitter Traveling Lanterns for Nighttime Confidence

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ConfidentKids #CollectiveBias

These DIY glitter lamps are perfect for helping kids build nighttime confidence. It can be hard to get even potty trained kids to make it to the bathroom at night, or to stop kids from wetting the bed, but if going in the dark is part of the problem, these lamps are awesome!

 

My son is stubborn. Anyone who has met me has probably figured out where he gets it from, I’m sure, but it seemed like potty training took us a little longer than it did for many of his peers. It wasn’t like he didn’t know he needed to go– it’s that he just… didn’t want to take the time away from what he was doing. We tried timers. We tried bribery. We tried just about everything. When he finally started to get the hang of it, it was a serious celebration. We even had a potty party to celebrate NO MORE DIAPERS!

But then he continued to need one at night. We had made it during the day, finally broken the cycle of constant accidents, but night was a totally different story. And this time? It wasn’t stubbornness. He either didn’t wake fully to make it to the potty, or when he did, he struggled to get there in the dark without nervousness.

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Weekend DIY: Table and Chairs Makeover!

Looking for a quick renovation to totally upgrade your style? Check out this weekend DIY that was achieved with spray paint! It's like a whole new table!   | DIY Furniture Renovation | Table Makeover |

Sometimes, a little magic happens when you go to renovate. Take this table and chairs, for instance. A gift from friends several years ago when I got my first apartment, the table had been well-loved for years. It had been perfect for my apartment, but as my tastes and styles changed, I realized the table needed to change, too. I had purchased some spray paint for the project, and I had fabric I planned to use, but I wasn’t like… in love with it. It was more of a reflection of my tastes and a thought on what might look good. But then, fate intervened.

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1 Tray, 4 Ways for the Holidays

Put your favorite decorative tray to use this holiday season by checking out these great holiday ideas! From family time to girls' night in, this is the perfect Christmas idea for using those super cute trays you find in stores!  | christmas idea | holiday decoration | christmas party |

I’ll admit it, I’m obsessed with those adorable decorative serving trays you find in stores. Every time I go to Target, I lust after the newest one they’ve released, and every time, I pass it by. I mean, how will I use it, outside of breakfast in bed? I’d really love to use it, but I mean, is it practical? I ask myself every time. After passing up this particular tray all last season, when I saw it reappear at Target, I knew I had to have it! So, I sat down, determined to figure out ways I could use this tray before I spent the money. And trust me, I was not disappointed with the ways I’ve been able to use it. Are you longing for a beautiful serving tray?

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10 Can’t-Miss Places to Clean Before Guests Arrive

Yikes! Thanksgiving guests are coming. Think you've cleaned everywhere? Guess again-- here's 10 unconventional places you might have missed when cleaning house.

 

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and I’m going to guess that more than a few of you are hosting this year. I know how it is– you clean, and you clean, and you clean in places you think you’ve never cleaned before. But just when you think you’ve cleaned it all, sure enough, your Great Aunt Martha comes in and peeks in that one place you didn’t clean… yikes. Never fear– I’m listing out ten places you need to clean before guests arrive (but may have forgotten).

Front Closet

It’s November. Unless you live in Florida or Hawaii, you’re probably going to be taking a few coats. Beyond just cleaning it up a bit and making sure you have room for coats, now is a great time to purge any old, ill-fitting coats, make sure you have plenty of hangers for your guests, vacuum the floor inside in case any coats fall on the floor, and consider investing in a floormat for the closet if you live in an area where you may get some mucky, snowy, wintery boots.

Likewise, when you clean before guests arrive, you’ll want to consider cleaning a spare bedroom if you plan on keeping your coats in there instead of a hall closet. Wash the bedding both before and after you place coats on your bed (you never know what someone’s carrying on their clothing!) or consider just hanging the coats in a bedroom closet to keep them off of your bedding altogether.

Medicine Cabinet

Why the medicine cabinet, you might be asking? Because think about it… you know there’s going to be that one guest who snoops to see what you’ve got in there out of sheer curiosity. Go ahead and pack away any prescriptions, just for the day, and move anything you don’t want someone seeing out of sight. Better yet, stock your medicine cabinet with some extras just in case, like extra soap, mints, or feminine hygiene products, to help your snooping guests find what they may be looking for. Are you a family that likes having fun with each other? Stick a funny image that says you KNOW they’re snooping– like “Ha! Caught You!”

Refrigerator

Before your guests arrive, make sure you clean out your refrigerator. If you’re serving pot-luck style, there’s likely something that needs to be chilled until you sit down to the table, and how often does a guest end up helping themselves to something, even if you’ve set it all out where they need it? At the very minimum, cleaning it out allows you plenty of space for leftovers after the meal, so being proactive and getting it cleaned before guests come is a good way to have it done whether guests see it or not.

Couch Cusions

This is a MUST if you have pets or kids. For one, allergies are everywhere these days, so the last thing you want is a guest hacking and coughing because you missed some pet dander. You’ll remember to vacuum and sweep, but don’t overlook couch cushions. Further, make sure to check for any stray toys, and if you haven’t done it in awhile, pull the couch all the way out to sweep or vacuum underneath. You might be surprised!

Trash Can

On Thanksgiving, you’re bound to have a lot of trash getting tossed, from turkey carcasses to dinnerware (particularly if you go dish-free and serve on paper, because hey, we aren’t all Martha Stewart). The last thing you need is a smelly trashcan when guests go to toss something (even if it’s gum before the meal). Trust me, if you’re hosting, at least one person will use your trash– and that goes for the main trash and bathroom trash! Give your trash can a good rinse, air dry it, then either place a sachet under the liner, use a scented trashbag, or sprinkle in some baking soda to absorb the odor. Make sure your trash is empty (or close to it) when guests arrive and you shouldn’t have any issues!

Front Porch

It’s fall, and during the fall, you’re going to get some fall leaves. At a minimum, when you clean before guests arrive, you’ll want to sweep the porch free of debris. Not only does it make your house look prettier at a glance (because trust me, we all have that relative who will judge), it cuts down on what guests are tracking into your house, helping you beat some of that post-holiday cleanup before it starts.

Keurig or Coffeemaker

Is anything better than some coffee or cider after dinner? Well, coffee or cider from a clean Keurig, for one. When you use a Keurig, even if you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and brew an empty cup after each cup of coffee or cocoa. Check the coffeemaker section for special cleaners for your Keurig or Coffeemaker to keep them nice and cared for, or follow the manufacturer’s instructions (google your machine if you don’t know how to properly clean it) and get it spruced up so every cup on Thanksgiving tastes like the first cup.

Tupperware Cabinet

This is more for your own sanity and less for your guests seeing anything… but if you’re having leftovers, or think you might have some, check your tupperware cabinet in advance. Try pairing lids with containers and make sure you have matches in a variety of sizes. If yours are worn, broken, or missing, toss the old and get some new ones before the holiday– it’ll be a wise investment through Christmas and beyond. Planning on sending some leftovers home with your guests? Investing in some take-and-toss style tupperware is a nice touch. This way, if you get it back, great, but if you don’t, you didn’t send them home with your good stuff.

Microwave

This is particularly important if you happen to host a pot-luck style dinner, but even if you’re hosting a dinner where you plan to cook it all, something is bound to need reheating. Even if you keep a clean microwave, it never hurts to give it a good wipe down before your guests arrive.

Master bathroom (or another secondary bathroom)

I know, in a perfect world, you clean one bathroom and everyone uses that one and you can tuck clutter safely away in the other one, but it isn’t a perfect world. Someone is guaranteed to need to use the bathroom while someone else is, and you’re going to end up sending someone to a secondary bathroom. Save the embarrassment and clean up a second bathroom for guests to use. Oh, and don’t forget to clean out that medicine cabinet, too!

 

Did I miss any places you should definitely clean before you have guests arrive? Let me know in the comments below!

DIY String Art

 

Don't pay $24.99 at Target for String Art! Make it yourself with a few nails, some embroidery floss, and a corkboard! #diy #easy

I was walking through Target the other day, and, as much as I love the fact that there’s a million things inside I just have to have, there’s definitely a limit. You see, not long ago, I was looking for some new wall art. I came across some adorable animal string art at Target, and I was totally smitten! Then I saw the price tag. $24.99. Really? To me, I was looking at $25 for some nails, a bit of string, and some wood. I had to try it myself at home!

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A Look At Our Renovation Progress

Can you believe we’re almost a month into our apartment renovation? We took an old place, tore the guts out, and are rebuilding the insides from scratch to bring us a brand. new. apartment!

It seems like the renovations have gone so fast, especially since the first week took place while I was on vacation in Dauphin Island. That means when I came home, I came home to this progress:

Check out how great it looks! Natural light, open floorplan… this photo was taken in the kitchen looking into the living room side. The old building wasn’t quite up to code in the studs, which is part of why we had to tear it all out and restart– this way, we’d have an up-to-code space with some outlets all the way through (not a lot of outlets in the old building, either).

For the next several days, a lot of work went on behind the scenes– installing cable lines, working on electricity, and the plumbing– OH the plumbing! As they cut into the existing floors to find the plumbing, they found THIS:

Yes. That IS a boulder. Or rather, part of a car-sized boulder living under our place. Are you serious?! A CAR-SIZED boulder under our ground? Apparently, this sort of thing is only found in about 1% of jobs. Of course, this one was ours.

After the plumbing and our CRAZY boulder tale, we finally got started with more visible progress.

Week three started with insulation, which I liked, because it meant that week three could end with….

SHEETROCK! (This photo is a prime example as to why I shouldn’t photograph it at night– totally lost my natural light. Oh, well!)

Can you believe that progress?

Over the weekend, we picked out paint colors. I love the brights we chose to really add some POP to the place! I won’t tell you what colors are for what rooms quite yet, but I will let you know that I chose them so they’d all work together within the space.

Want a little hint, though? Check out my pinterest board, Apartment Life, with tons of great inspiration about decor! Follow it here: http://pinterest.com/jengerbread88/apartment-life/

Keep following and I’ll keep posting more photos of my progress! Don’t forget to follow my personal instagram– @jengerbread88– to see the latest updates and more personal photos from my life!

Weekend DIY: The Chair Project

As you all know, I’ve been counting the  minutes until spring, so when the temperatures arched up to the 70s last week, even getting nearer the 80s, you better believe I took full advantage of it, spending nearly every second outside.

It was perfect, though, because I needed some nice weather to finish up a project I had been meaning to tackle for quite awhile. About a year ago, you see, I had picked up this chair for $2.00 at a garage sale. And, honestly, it NEEDED a revamp.

It had all of these very cool details, like the back of the chair.

I love how it has those loops and ovals! They add quite a bit of character to the chair. But, while the chair had what I call “good bones,” it needed a lot of work. First off, there was no seat. A good chair needs a good, cushy seat. Particularly one that I planned to use for an office chair! I also didn’t like the color– it was not my style, and the stain was quite worn in many spots. I considered staining it, but realized that paint might be a little more fun, especially since I wanted color.

I let the chair sit for several months as I waited for inspiration to strike.

Then, I discovered fabric, on sale, for half price at my local Hobby Lobby. I am a HUGE fan of Hobby Lobby, by the way. I love how they stand for what they believe in, and it is always a pleasant experience shopping there, in my opinion.

After finding the fabric (around $3.00 half price for a yard) and purchasing a seat cushion (around $5.00), I decided that I would check out the paint selection at Ace Hardware and find the perfect paint to match my chair and fabric!

I got lucky, because I had been looking for the perfect paint for my home, and found out that Ace Hardware was offering a special offer with Clark and Kensington, where you could find your Soul Paint by getting a free quart in almost any color, to try it out and find out exactly what paint you wanted! That meant that, not only was I one step closer to finding my perfect color, my Soul Paint, I had a free quart to work with when renovating my chair!

I found that the blue in the fabric was an almost perfect match to the Benjamin Moore Color, Scuba Green!

Zach inspected the chair before I got started on it.

I asked if it needed a change…

He said, uh… duh mom, with excess disgust.

I just used a trim brush and set to work. Because this Clark and Kensington paint is primer and paint in one, there was no need to prime my chair before starting! I did a light sanding, and wiped off the sanding dust, then began painting.

You can see how big a change the new color is from the old one! Brighter, with a lot different personality.

 

The first coat left some of the original finish showing through, so there had to be a second coat.

It also helps to view what you’re working on from every possible angle. When I initially thought the first coat was done, I decided to check my piece from all angles, just to be certain. Turns out, I missed a few important spots!

 

By the second coat, all of the old finish was done peeking through. The chair was ready to dry overnight and get fitted for the seat!

While it was drying, I decided to go ahead and upholster the seat. I have a few tips to help you out if you’re looking at doing the same:

1) If your seat already has padding, you can go ahead and wrap your fabric over it. However, most padding that comes with chairs is only intended to last about 5-10 years, so if your chair is older, it is worth considering starting with new padding from scratch.

2) Doing a layer of batting between the fabric and the seat cover can really help with the support and help with wear and tear. I opted not to add any batting, but it is something to consider for the strength of the chair.

3) Upholstery or furniture fabric options are the best for longevity. You can use a duck or calico fabric, but if you use your chair often, those won’t be quite as strong as a fabric made specifically for furnishings. I chose to use calico because I like to change my mind quite a bit, so I’m sure I’ll be reupholstering this chair more than once. Consider your wear and tear when you select the fabric you’d like to use!

I layered my fabric, then the padding, and then the wood. If you were choosing to use batting, you would layer it between the padding and the fabric.

Pull it tight, then use a staplegun to staple your fabric on.

Take care of the corners by folding them neatly, like you would when giftwrapping a present.

When the chair had finished drying, and I had finished upholstering the seat, it was time to screw the seat onto the chair and make sure it was securely attached.

Viola! Done!

It is like it isn’t even the same chair anymore!

 

Today, I have two questions for you:

1) Did you pick out your Soul Paint at the Ace Hardware Clark and Kensington Event? Which color did you choose?

2) If you had a warm weekend, what DIY project would you tackle?

Let me know in the comments below, or tell me what else is on your mind!