• Fashion is about what you wear. Style is about how you live your life. ~Ralph Lauren

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Before & After

I came to the realization this week that I not only have a great adoration for nail polish, I've become a big fan of another kind of paint as well...spray paint.  This month I've spent a lot of time outside spray painting a variety of stuff.  I swear the neighbors probably think I've lost my mind. 

In my defense (not that I need one) I have been saving some of these projects since last year.  It's hard to spray paint with snow on the ground.  And sometimes I just need to change something up.  Either way, it's been spray paintingpalooza around here.

And since I've been sticking close to home this month and don't have much to blog about, I figure I'll share some of the stuff I've changed up with the magic of paint. 

This chalkboard was a picture frame (was black before) and the glass got a few coats of chalkboard paint.  It's in my guest room. 
 This chest was purchased last summer at a yard sale.  It sat out on my porch for the last year.  I finally decided to bring it inside.
 It's now a window bench.  The cats LOVE this.  I'm making a pillow or two out of that fabric soon.  It's on my summer project list.  The bench holds blankets that I use on the couch. 
 This old sewing bucket was $4.  My friend, Sabrina, has one similar and hers was so cute that I wanted one. 
 I decided on black.  I like the way it turned out with the stripes.  It currently lives in my living room in a corner near the couch.  I am going to use it for remote controls and coasters.  Or it's just gonna sit in the corner being a space filler.
 I got this birdcage a few weeks ago for the mantle in my bedroom.  I wasn't in love but for $5 I thought I could figure out what I could do with it.  (I'd like to paint the owl but I feel bad doing that because my Grandma gave him to me, but I wish he was white)
 Now I actually really like this birdcage.  It's way cuter this way.  And it goes better with my new black/white color scheme. 
Speaking of the bedroom redo, I just got this jar for the mantle too and used music sheets with ribbon for a little something different.
This is the new bedroom "look".  I just hung up this window above the bed this week. (Thanks, Dad!)  The wall isn't yellow, it was just bad lighting that day.  It's actually khaki.  I would love to paint, but I'm running out of summer.
It's been a busy month of of projects around here.  I have a few more things on my list before I go back to work next Tuesday.  I could get used to being at home all the time...but I'm not sure I can afford all the spray paint I'd have to buy to keep myself busy.   Ha!

I'm off to Memphis to go to St. Jude tomorrow for a few days!  I'm excited!

Have a wonderful weekend!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Merino Cool

I really have vacation/furlough brain.  I completely forgot to post on Monday night for Mani Monday.  It's okay, I didn't even have polish on that day because I decided I'd spray paint stuff AGAIN. 

I picked up this new color yesterday.  Merino Cool by Essie. 
I like it a lot.  It's probably going to be a regular (well, as regular as I get). I'm a big fan of Chinchilly by Essie and this is a few shades deeper than that.  It's got a purple tint to it so it's really creamy and pretty.  I think it's good for a year round wear.  I know it's traditional to wear bright colors in the summer but I don't really buy into that.  I've been wearing bright colors a lot lately and when I put this on I immediately loved it.  It's kind of neutral so it looks good with a tan and it will look good in the winter too.  The one thing I don't usually like about Essie (although it's my second favorite brand) is that it's pretty thin.  But this color is creamy enough that two coats covers great. 

All in all, I'd recommend this color as a staple in any nail polish collection. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Caves & Trains

I can't believe the weekend is over!  Not that I'm going to work tomorrow but I still can't believe the weekend went by so fast.  It was a nice weekend.  I'm actually really tired today so I'll be hitting the sheets right after I finish sharing.

After spending Friday night doing laundry, I got some good sleep and woke up early to hit up a few yard sales.  I didn't find any treasures, really.  I did find something fun for my Dad though.  I was home by 10 am and headed to "work" for the day.  And my work this summer is taking students on fun trips.  We were scheduled to go to Howe Caverns as a large group but we made the trip optional so only 3 students went with us.  Actually, it was nice to have only a few students.  They seemed to enjoy it.  So did Gillian and I.  (it's nice to have a friend to go do these things with in the name of work)  I have lived in this area for 14 years and never been to the Caverns.  It's been on my to do list for a long time so it has officially been checked off now.

Heading to the caverns. 
 The tour is about 80 minutes long.  We took the traditional tour with walking and a boat ride.  They also offer a lantern tour but we needed more people to do that. 
 Gillian and I before we headed in to go on the tour. I love the view.  This is part of the reason I put up with the snow in the winter.  Central NY is so pretty.
  It's 52 degrees year round so it was absolutely wonderful on such a hot day. And Saturday was HOT.  Here's a look at stalactites or stalagmites or whatever the tour guide told us.  I can't remember and you probably don't care.  It just looks cool.
 Here I am being a geek standing on the bridal alter.  I guess people have weddings down there. Interesting.  I wonder how they set up for that.  Dang, I should have asked.
 It was a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon. 
After the cave tour, we stopped at a BBQ place called Rubbin Butts.  It was delicious.
 We headed home after this to get ready (well, Gillian and I) to head out for the night to go to one of my favorite summer activities...the Blues Train.  I love this train and the band is the one that played at Jill's wedding so it's really fun.  The train was packed and it was HOT out.  It didn't even really get cool after it got dark.  Good thing for cool beverages.
The band doing their thing. 
 Me, Jill, Gillan and Luke (from the band) We were pretty sweaty.
We actually stayed out later than I expected after the train.  So today was a sleeping in, being lazy kind of day.  I got to see my Dad though, that was good. 

Next weekend I'll be going to Memphis.  Yay!

Hope you all had a great weekend!  Did you do anything  new and interesting?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Craft Cart

Today went by so quickly.  I went to see Harry Potter in 3D.  I saw it on the first night regular style but really wanted to check it out in 3D.  And since it's been so hot here I figured a cool theatre would be a good way to spend a few hours.  And after I got home from that I didn't do much else except lay in front of the air conditioner and did laundry.  I'm exciting, what can I say.

I did finish up a project that I started this week.  Last weekend I went to a few yard sales with my yard sale pals, Angie & Sabrina. We found a random treasure and after a little discussion Sabrina and I took home the below AV cart (there were two).  Now why would we need an AV cart?  No, it's not 1985 and we don't have overhead projectors to speak of.   But yes, we had a vision for it.

Doesn't this remind you of elementary school? 
 I spray painted mine a bright blue. 
 And turned it into a craft utility cart.  It's great because of the power outlet on the side.  Perfect for hot glue guns, irons, etc.  I have a craft closet but it's small and it's kind of annoying to always have to be digging out the basics for every time I want to be crafty.  And I hate messing up my tables and counters with messy projects. 

The bottom shelf has a big basket with things like an iron, a bow maker, paper cutter, rulers, etc.
The middle shelf has paint, ribbon and glue guns. 
The top houses a bucket of paint brushes and a little tote that has scissors, tape, glue, hole punch, etc.  All the essentials.  (I love this because it is portable so I can take this anywhere.  I even brought it to Jill's wedding in case we needed supplies.)
 And Sabrina and I found these great magnetic curtain rods to use for ribbon on the side.  I think I need a few more but I put my basic ribbons on these two. 
I'm still not sure where it will live but for now it's in the office (the "weird" room) in a corner.  I have a thing about having stuff like this visible but I don't think it's that much of an eye sore.  I really like that it's on wheels so I can move it around. 

I think it's a pretty good use of an old AV cart.  And it was only $8.  You gotta love a bargain like that.  And please go check out Sabrina's version.  She did a great job on hers and since she organized hers first, you'll see some of mine looks amazingly similar to hers.  :)  You know what they say about imitation...

What do you think?

And Happy Birthday to one of my favorite girls, Cristina!  xoxo

Thursday, July 21, 2011


  This morning, I read something about Pinterest somewhere and I'd heard the term enough times now that I had to see what this was all about. 

It seemed like a fun thing.  It's kind of like a virtual idea binder.  And you may remember how I feel about my idea binder.  (love) So I signed up to get an invitation.  I got it and I took a little look.  Seemed cute but I wasn't completely convinced.    Then tonight I came home (after spending the day at the office even though I'm technically off) and layed in bed with the AC pumping looking at pinterest..until I went out for ice cream. 

And while eating ice cream with Jill & Gillian, I got the app for Pinterest and spent a good amount of time looking at fun things (and showing them to the girls).   So far I think it's fun.  I think it'll be great to find new ideas for crafts, clothes, home stuff, events, etc. 

And I think it's kind of like eye candy.  I read blogs and look at magazines to be visually inspired to try something new or appreciate aesthetics so this will assist me with this.  I love google image search.  It's how I've found a lot of good ideas so this will be a place to gather all the fun things I find and be able to trace the source. 

And for the record, the iPhone has changed my life.  Besides organizing my world, I am constantly entertained with things like this and Words with Friends. 

It's a Brave New World, friends. 

Are you using Pinterest?  If so, how?  I've got to get back to pinning things.  This is going to be dangerous...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Decked Out

I know I have a lot of things I could have done to be productive today.  But I kind of took a day off of my time off.  Yes.  I meant that.  Instead of doing a project or running errands, or being social, I spent the entire day out on my deck.  Solo.

In the winter I glance wistfully at the deck and can't wait to sit out there in the warm sun.  And then it gets warm and I seem to be so busy running around that I don't utilize it as much as I would like.  That's what happened last summer. 
 The morning consisted of coffee (with my new Keurig) and the Kindle and some music.  It was so nice out.  I did send some work emails so I was semi-productive too.    At noon I went in to work out (Jillian Michaels) and eat some lunch.    I put on my bathing suit and was going to pack up a bag to go to the pool, but then I decided that I'd just stay home and sit outside.  Maybe it was being lazy, but it worked out.
I ended up spending the entire afternoon sitting outside reading and relaxing.  I got some sun and I finished a book.  And I felt really relaxed.  It was great.  I didn't feel guilty about not doing anything else.  There's always tomorrow right?

And my afternoon snack was cherries.  Yum.  I just discovered my fondness for them.  They look pretty, right?
Today was the kind of day that I will think of when there is 17 feet of snow on the ground and wish for. 

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sparrow Me The Drama

I forgot about Mani Monday last week.  So it's back.  And with a new polish.   It's called Sparrow Me The Drama from the Pirates of the Caribbean collection.   Although the flash makes it look a little different than it does in person.  But either way, I like it.  It's a nice pink and it goes on smoothly.  Many times pinks look streaky on me.  I think it's a keeper. 
Other than purchasing new polish,  things have been pretty quiet.  Spending time outside, cleaning out my kitchen cabinets and running errands.   I am still working a bit with a summer program but I haven't sat in my office for weeks.  I can do my work from home.  I have to make a priority list every day so I stay a little structured.  I have a fun project to work on tomorrow.  And I think I may try to work out again.  (My Achilles feels better.  I was able to wear flip flops this weekend yay!).  I would really like to be running again. Oh, and I want to see Harry Potter again too.   And spend some time at the pool.

As you can see, it's a rough life at Club Chestnut.

Happy Monday!  What color polish are you wearing?

Thursday, July 14, 2011


I'm an avid Today Show viewer.  I tune in every day.  Even the days I don't go to work (like today).  The first hour of the show is my favorite because it's the lead stories but I like the silly stories and magazine style the second hour too.  Anyway, I was happy to see that "Harry Potter" was going to be interviewed by Ann.  Great.  And then in the middle of the interview I  noticed Ann's shoes.  And I think I fell in love.  I immediately picked up my phone and took to twitter to express my feelings about these shoes.  

How great are these? 
(Photo courtesy of Twitter)

A few hours later, I saw another "tweet" about how much shoe love Ann was getting today.  I guess I wasn't alone in my shoe envy/lust.  Good work, Ann Curry (or whoever selects her on air outfits).  I always like Ann's style because it's simple and cute.  I wanted to share them here in case you missed it.  (and secretly because I want to have a record of these shoes in case I need to reference them again...ha ha)

And since we're speaking of Ann, I  thought I'd share my moment with her.  She spoke at Syracuse when I was a grad student and I got to meet her.  She was warm and lovely in person. In fact, I told her I'd someday sit on the couch at the Today Show.  HA!  She complimented my necklace--it was an "A" charm.  ;) 
I looked like a MESS that day.  I had some bad hair and was in the middle of a crazy graduate semester.  Yikes!   Eh, whatever, I still have this picture hanging in my office. 

Who knows, maybe I'll end up on the Today Show after all...

....talking about shoes....or nail polish...or something that doesn't belong in the first hour.

Happy Thursday! 

Who's seeing HP tonight?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

All Keyed Up

I took the last week of June off from work and did a lot of projects around the house.  I think I was feeling creative.  OR I am sick of my yard sale purchases sitting waiting to be done.  Either way, I got some stuff done.  I think my creativity is gone this week though.  I'm not working my normal hours so I have a lot of free time, but so far this week I've been laying on my couch feeling down.  Blah.  I need the creativity back....

Anyway, this project I was really excited about.  I have always wanted to do something with skeleton keys.  So I picked up three at my favorite "junk" store.  They were 2.50 each.  Which is fine but my Dad told me he has a box of them.  Damn!  (Dad, I'll still gladly accept a few for other projects)

The keys are sitting on my back porch (yes, the steps are weathered, but they look kind of cool with the keys)
I got a wooden frame for $1.25.  I painted it black and scuffed it up a bit. 
 Then I used burlap from a ripped sack that we used for the Greek Olympics.  (Resourceful, right?) I cut a piece and glue it on to a piece of cardboard to fit the frame.
 After the burlap dried, I glued the three keys directly on the burlap. 
I love how it turned out!  It's exactly how I envisioned it.  It's now hanging in my living room. 
And for the record, I need new lamps.  Like yesterday. 

What do you think of the key project?  It's totally pottery barn, right? 

I kid. I kid.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Little Lady Tea Party

After recovering from the wedding, I needed something new to look forward to.  And that came this past weekend.  For the past few years, I've taken a day trip to see one of my best girls to see her family and celebrate her darling little girl.  I always look forward to this day because I absolutely adore little Lucy.  And of course, I have adored her mother, Courtney, for many years.  :) 

The theme of the party was "tea party" so I figured that a hat was in order. (Note:  no one else wore a hat.  I'd really like to live in place that people wore hats and dresses to events.)

The drive is 2 hours and the weather was great for a drive. It was warm and sunny.  I love this particular drive.  It's so pretty.  I enjoy a few hours alone in a car.  I get a lot of thinking done.  Not to mention, the car concerts I put on.  This time I could have sworn Adele and I sound EXACTLY alike. 

Once I arrived, presents and cake were happening. 

This was the adorable cake.  Check out the tea cups on it.
Opening of the presents!
look at this little cutie!  He is so sweet.  He came up and threw his arms around my legs to hug me.  It melted my heart. 
Four generations of lovely women!
Guess who got a bike for her 4th birthday?
I love this little face!  She doesn't really know me (and neither does her brother) because I only really see them once a year, but both of them were so quick to give hugs and kisses to the strange "aunt" lady with red hair.  It makes my heart full!
Here is me with girl, Courtney.  I am blessed to have such amazing friends in my life.  The ones that stick are always the right ones.  And this girl has stuck with me through everything since 1995 when we met.  And I can't explain how supportive she's been in the last few months.  She's a part of my heart. 
I'm so glad I got to go down for a visit.  And to celebrate an adorable little lady as she turns 4!!  And once again, am reminded how lucky I am to have friends that feel like family.  And thanks to her, I get to be called "Aunt Allison".  I love that!

Happy Birthday, Lucy!  xoxo

Monday, July 11, 2011

Wedding Weekend

I'm FINALLY back.  And have LOTS to post about.  But the first one has to be dedicated to Jill & Vinny's wedding from last week.  It was a great weekend even with the rain that changed plans on the wedding day.  Jill did a fantastic job of planning for everything and it was a truly lovely day for everyone that attended and was involved.  But more importantly, I think Jill and Vinny had a great day.  They both looked incredible and so happy.  It's nice to watch your friend have one of the best days of their life.    I've only added a few pictures because the rest will be on FB. 

I wanted to commemorate the weekend at Club Chestnut.  We had some wedding guests stay here so it needs to be festive.
 Saturday night the rehearsal dinner was so nice.  It was at a local restaurant.  Here is the entire bridal party assembled.  Quite the crew.
 The ladies.
 Jill is the best gift giver in general.  But she outdid herself with the bridal party gifts.  Coach makeup bags and clutches.  Thanks, Jill!
 After the rehearsal dinner, the ladies went over to Jill's apt to hang out for a bit before we headed home to get some sleep (well, we got sleep.  Jill didn't get much). 

The morning of the wedding started off very rainy.  Considering the ceremony was scheduled to be outside, this was a little stressful.  We all headed over to Jill's apartment to get hair and makeup done.  It was a little stressful for the bride.  There were a lot of people, a lot of rain, a lot of emotions and a lack of sleep.  She was a champ though.  And we all got on to the bus to head over to the wedding site.  We had a 40 minute ride on a yellow school bus (how fun, right?)
We arrived at the plum tree where the everyone was hard at work getting everything set up.  This is the location.  It is so cute!
 The birdcage for the cards.
 The guest book.  So cute!
 The seating chart.  It was nice to see it in use after I saw it so much at my house. 
The garden that would have been the cocktail hour.  This was the view from the room where we got ready.  It looked so pretty even in the rain.
 Jill's bouquet.  So beautiful!
 I don't have any pictures from the ceremony. It's hard to walk down the isle with a camera and a bouquet.  Ha!!  It ended up being inside the reception hall with guests sitting at their seats.  It ended up being so beautiful and intimate inside.  I think everyone felt like they were able to see everything.  The ceremony was so Jill and Vinny.  It was funny and touching and so great.  They wrote their own vows to each other and Vinny's were probably the funniest and sweetest vows I've ever heard.  They even rhymed.   I definitely cried throughout the entire ceremony because I was so touched by the words and sentiments.  I think it's lovely to watch your friend marry their very best friend.   It was the kind of ceremony that I would want.  It was full of them.  Nothing fake.  The spirit of it was friends, family, laughter and fun.  I'd say that was pretty perfect.
After the ceremony, the cocktail hour commenced and pictures were taken...and then, after one more clap of thunder, the sun came out and shined for the rest of the night.  And the party started!

J & V and the girls from AFP.
 The crew from work (through the years)
 Tara and I
  Another shot.  We took about a million.
 The bridesmaid bouquets--so pretty!
 Vinny surrounded by all the ladies. 
 The wedding coordinator provided the bridal party a business card with the itinerary attached to the back.  So great!  Jill saw this at her BF's wedding a few weeks ago and asked her girl to do it for us.  Love it!
 My hair for the day.  I used the flower from my dress in my hair. 
 Caitlyn and I prior to the ceremony.
The reception was amazing!  Lots of dancing (and drinks).  I was sad when it was time to go home.  Although the ride home on a school bus was full of fun too.  ;) 

This wedding will go down as one of my most favorite weddings to have attended and I was honored to be a part of their day.   I wish them a lifetime of love, laughter, friends and family!