Lightened up look in the living room

I like making changes in my home decor and this spring I decided a lightened up look in the living room was in order.

We’ve been in our house about 10 years now and I figured it was time for a change. Actually, I’ve been making changes little by little over the past year but just last week decided I wanted to change up the color scheme a bit.

I bought a new sofa last spring, a new rug this past fall and switched out the mantle decor in the fall also. The new sofa had throw pillows with darker colors like brown, blue, gold and rust and my curtains were slim gold and brown stripes.

Mantel decor

Mantel decor

The first change I made was with the curtains – I bought these gray, blue and light blue floral print curtains at Kohl’s on sale. Once I got home and hung them, I realized the throw pillows on the sofa needed to be lighter also.

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New curtains in lightened up living room.

Close up of curtains.

Close up of curtains.

I like many different styles – I can go  from farmhouse to industrial to french country and even some things contemporary – and was originally thinking I would go with some type of burlap throw pillows for the sofa. I started my search on Etsy and changed my mind from the burlap to a French grain sack pillow cover eventually settling on these pictured here. I love the neutral colors and French writing on the one style as well as the toned down hues of blue and gold on the other. The pillows coordinated nicely with the new curtains and sort of pulled the lightened up look of the living room all together.

New throw pillows on sofa.

New throw pillows on sofa.

Earlier last month, I bought a new lamp with a  gray base and white shade, as well as a new gold and silver colored side table.

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New living room lamp

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Gold and silver side table

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Silver toned top of side table

I’m also thinking about switching out the lamps on each side of the sofa. I had found two contemporary looking lamps with gold bases and white lampshades at HomeGoods but when I went back for them they were gone. I may just change out the lampshades instead – haven’t made my mind up about that yet.

Lightened up living room look

Lightened up living room look

The only thing I’m not really liking now are the two chairs but they will have to do for now. I’m enjoying the lightened look of my living room!

On to my next project….

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Sparkling, bubbly cocktail packs a punch – French 75 recipe

To treat myself after my half marathon a couple weeks ago, I celebrated with a glass of champagne and a French 75. I never really drank champagne much until visiting the Chandon winery on a trip to Napa a few years ago. Since then I often keep a bottle chilled in my frig to sip on after a long day.  I  like drinking mimosas on holidays but my favorite champagne cocktail is the French 75.

It is a mixture of fresh lemon juice, simple syrup or sugar, and gin topped with champagne. It is so light, refreshing and crisp with the tangy taste of citrus from the lemon balanced with the earthy flavor of the gin then finished off with the bubbly champagne. Don’t drink too many of these though – they are quite powerful!

Simple ingredients for French 75.

Simple ingredients for French 75.

 

 

Here is my recipe for a French 75:

2 ounces gin

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon simple syrup or sugar

Shake these three ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a champagne glass or coupe glass then top with champagne.

French 75 cocktail.

French 75 cocktail.

I think it’s best for brunch but I drink French 75’s whenever I like!

Linking up this week: DIY by Design, Wake Up Wednesday, Wine’d Down Wednesday, Share With MeShare Your Cup Thursday, The Pin Junkie, You Link It-We Make It, Weekend Retreat Link Party, Friday Features Linky Party, What To Do Weekends,  Chain Linky Climb, Totally Terrific TuesdaysOver the Moon Link Party.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Zydeco Half Race Recap

My happy pace in the Zydeco half marathon.

My happy pace in the Zydeco half marathon.

I ran the Zydeco half marathon last Sunday and ended up finishing in 2:12 which happens to be my second best time for a half. This beat my time from last year by 5 minutes so all in all I’d say I had a good race. My PR for a half is 2:11 so not too far off from that.

It had been raining all week (especially Saturday) but thankfully the rains cleared out before Sunday morning. The temperatures were in the 70’s with humidity around 90 percent so not ideal weather but it worked for me! It also happened to be time to “spring forward” so I actually lost an hour of sleep. Normally I don’t get much sleep before the night before a race, but this time I did and felt well rested in the morning even with the time change.

For the first three miles I had shin splints but my legs eventually loosened up and I found a comfortable pace. Suprisingly, this pace remained around 10:10 consistently throughout the race which is a little quicker than the 10:30 I had been averaging during my training.

At the beginning of the race, I noticed my pace steady around 10:07 so I tried my best to stay around that time. A few miles I ended up slower but towards the end of the course I noticed that I was really close to my best time of 2:11 so stepped up the pace to 9:54 and 9:55 the last couple miles. My fastest pace was 8:45 for the final .2 – that does count right?! Didn’t make a PR but still happy with my results.

After a couple of beers, a bowl of jambalaya and visiting with a few friends, I headed home to rest and spend the rest of the day with my family!

After the race.

After the race.

The next thing on my racing calendar is the New York City Marathon in November! A friend of mine got her name selected in the lottery but I did not so I signed up to run the race through a charity. This seems like much fun and I’m so excited about running this marathon. Training begins in July – I’ll keep you posted!

 

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Week before Zydeco half marathon 2016

 

I had my last long run Saturday in preparation for the Zydeco half marathon I will be running Sunday. It was a beautiful day although it was a tad bit warm for running. I’m thinking I’m ready! I always get nervous about being well prepared before a race – no matter if it’s a 5k, 10k, half or a full.

Running Zydeco half marathon last year.

Running Zydeco half marathon last year.

I ran my 10 miles this past Saturday in 1:42. This is the breakdown:

Mile 1 – 10:18

Mile 2 – 10:05

Mile 3 – 10:04

Mile 4 – 10:04

Mile 5 – 10:01

Mile 6 – 10:06

Mile 7 – 10:27

Mile 8 – 10:05

Mile 9 – 10:21

Mile 10 – 10:13

 

This week will be a pretty easy week as far as training goes. When I train for a half, I use the Hal Higdon Half Marathon Novice 1 app and it’s always worked for me. I don’t always do the runs on the day of the week the app suggests and this week will be the same. I have to run 4 miles one day, 3 another and 2 on another day. I ran 4 Monday, and will do 3 Wednesday, 2 Thursday and get in two days of rest before running 13.1 Sunday.

I have my new Brooks Ghost running shoes, my favorite socks, my Garmin Forerunner watch and Jelly Belly sports beans all ready to go. I just need to decide on an outfit – running capris or shorts (depending on the temperature) – and get some vanilla flavored Clif gel shots then I’ll be all set.

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Looks like it will be a stormy week but supposed to be sunny Sunday for the Zydeco half marathon!

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Weekend in Biloxi

Whew, what a busy weekend! Kaitlin and I were in Biloxi for a dance convention/competition, and I managed to fit in a 10-mile run along the beach there also. We have gone to dance conventions every weekend this month. The first two weekends were in Houston, the third was in Baton Rouge, and this past weekend was Biloxi. My daughter loves it and I enjoy watching her do what she loves so in the end it is all worth it.

The competition/convention was at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum and we stayed in a 2 bedroom condo at Legacy Towers in Gulfport. This high-rise complex is along Beach Boulevard across the highway from the beach. It has a nice pool area and gym for guests to use. I like that fact that there is full kitchen so I can cook breakfast and a balcony with a beach view to sit out and relax. I much prefer this setup to a hotel room.

Legacy Towers condos in Biloxi

Legacy Towers condos in Biloxi

I will be running the Zydeco half-marathon in Lafayette on March 13 so after I dropped Kaitlin off at her convention classes Saturday morning, I ran along the beachside sidewalk.  The weather was perfect for running – sunny and in the 50s. The ocean was a nice change of scenery from my regular runs through neighborhoods and the 10 miles were not so tough. I had an average pace of 10:20 with my best miles being 3 at 10:07 and 4 at 10:16. My goal is to average right at 10 minute miles but it’s not happening – 10:20 is my norm.

Here is a breakdown:

Mile 1 – 10:37

Mile 2 – 10:17

Mile 3 – 10:07

Mile 4 – 10:16

Mile 5 – 10:18

Mile 6 – 10:19

Mile 7 – 10:25

Mile 8 – 10:20

Mile 9 – 10:23

Mile – 10:27

I bought a new pair of Brooks Ghost tennis shoes last week (the only kind I wear!) and it felt as if I was running on air. I had been having my older shoes since October and had run a half with them, done 3 months worth of bootcamp and several training runs for my upcoming half with them. They had zero cushioning left and were done. It’s amazing the difference a good pair of running shoes can make!

Beach view.

Beach view.

After my run, I needed to bring Kaitlin some lunch so I quickly did that.  I considered going to either the outlet mall right off I-10 or the Edgewater Mall but my feet ached so I stayed and watch her classes instead.

On Sunday, she performed her solo in the dance competition and received a platinum ranking! After that, we drove back home to get ready for the week ahead. We had a full yet fun weekend in Biloxi!

Kaitlin after her performance.

Kaitlin after her performance.

Kaitlin with her tap scholarship award.

Kaitlin with her tap scholarship award.

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Simple recipe for delicious banana nut bread

One of my favorite treats is banana nut bread. I enjoy it in the morning with a cup of coffee and I also enjoy it in the afternoon with a cup of coffee. So when I had a few overripe bananas lately I whipped up a tasty loaf.

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The first thing I did was peel 3-4 of the overripe bananas and mash them up.

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Next, I mixed together 1 1/4 cups sugar and 1/2 cup softened butter before adding 2 eggs and blending well. After this, I added the bananas, 1/2 cup buttermilk and 1 teaspoon vanilla and beat with a mixer until smooth. Once this was done, I combined 2 1/2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda and 1 teaspoon salt until well moistened. The final step involved  folding in 1 cup of chopped pecans. Pour batter into an 8 inch loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour.

Let cool then enjoy! Yum.

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P.S. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can make your own by adding 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to 1 cup of milk.

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Hello there!

Well, it’s been a long while since I’ve posted to my blog. Nine months to be exact! All I can say is that I’m going to try to post more regularly in 2016.

Lots of things have happened since May. We went on our summer vacation to Arizona, we bought a camp, Justin started his freshman year of high school, Kaitlin started her junior year and they both went to their school’s homecoming. Also Mike and I celebrated our 20th anniversary with a trip to St. John, and we celebrated Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. With the new year has come Kaitlin’s dance competitions/conventions and my training for the Zydeco half marathon in March.

Also, Kaitlin is beginning to look at colleges and decide on a major. She has ordered a graduation ring and bought a dress for prom, and it’s all beginning to move too fast. She will be a senior next year, then graduate and head to college. It seems like yesterday she was born. That brings to mind another thing I’m going to try to do in 2016 – slow down and enjoy these years of our lives. That also sounds like a good topic for a future blog post!

Here are a few photos from the events mentioned in this post. I will give more details about the trips to Arizona and St. John in future blog entries also.

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Homecoming 2015

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Kaitlin’s first day of school (junior year)

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Justin’s first day as freshman

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Summer in Arizona

Our view for the week in St. John

Our view for the week in St. John

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Kaitlin at dance competition

 

 

 

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Busy month of May

Well I haven’t written anything on here since the beginning of the month! May is a busy month for us. I have tried several new recipes as we had a challenge in our boot camp group to eat “clean” during May. I did not take photos of any of these new meals although several of them were very tasty. I also have not done any projects this month either. I guess you could say it was a month of celebrations!

We celebrated Mother’s Day.

Me and my kids for Mother's Day.

Me and my kids for Mother’s Day.

My mom, sister and I for Mother's Day.

My mom, sister and I for Mother’s Day.

We celebrated Justin’s 8th grade graduation.

Officially a freshman!!

Officially a freshman!!

Justin and I at his last school mass.

Justin and I at his last school mass.

And we celebrated Kaitlin’s 11th dance recital.

Beautiful dance to "Georgia" and my favorite costume.

Beautiful dance to “Georgia” and my favorite costume.

Here she is having fun with hip hop.

Here she is having fun with hip hop.

The month’s not over yet! We leave this weekend to drop Justin off at a week long summer camp. Kaitlin is on the dance team at her high school and they are having twice a day practices to get ready for their camp mid June. It’s gonna be a busy summer!!

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Decoupagging tiny table with liquor labels

I was so excited to see that my post last week, Making a new door look old, was featured at the Swing into Spring party at http://diybydesign.blogspot.com. This week, I finally got around to using some old liquor labels to decoupage the top of a tiny table I have.

The table was originally stained brown and I chalk painted it with CeCe Caldwell’s Middleton Mustard. It looked okay but I knew I wanted to do something more to it. I saw a few tabletops on Pinterest that had been decoupagged with a map. Since this table is in my dining room near a bar, I decided to use old liquor labels that I found on Etsy.

Liquor labels I found on Etsy.

Liquor labels I found on Etsy.

I don’t have a picture of the original table but this is what it looked like when it was only chalk painted.

Table when it was only chalk painted.

Table when it was only chalk painted.

 

The first thing I did was lay the labels out on the table. After I found a layout I liked, I used some spray adhesive to stick them onto the table. I let that dry and began applying layers of Modge Podge.

Layout of labels before applying Modge Podge.

Layout of labels before applying Modge Podge.

To apply the Modge Podge, I used a foam paint brush and just brushed it over the labels. I allowed it to dry before applying additional layers. It goes on milky but dries to clear. I applied five layers and this was the end result.

Finished project.

Finished project.

Close up of table top.

Close up of table top.

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Making new door look old

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Just recently, I was looking for an antique door to replace the plain white door I have leading to my pantry. I couldn’t find any with those exact measurements so I decided I was going to try making my new door look old using some Annie Sloan chalk paint.

This is what the door originally looked like.

 

Original pantry door

Original pantry door

 

First, I painted the entire door using Annie Sloan Florence. It’s an aqua blue color.

The door painted in Florence.

The door painted in Florence.

I let that dry for an hour before painting a coat of Annie Sloan Primer Red over that. I didn’t exactly paint entirely over the Florence, I let some of that show through the red.919 920

I let that coat dry and finished off the painting with some Annie Sloan Wrought Iron. With this color, I put a small amount onto my paint brush and applied it only to certain areas of the door to give it an old, weathered look.

Wrought Iron applied over the Primer Red and Florence.

Wrought Iron applied over the Primer Red and Florence.

I let that dry then used a coat of the Annie Sloan clear wax. This wasn’t quite glossy enough for my liking so I added a coat of Minwax polycrylic clear semi-gloss.

The molding around the door was white and I didn’t like that contrast so I used some dark brown gel wax to stain it. It took a few coats but I just kept adding stain until I got it like I wanted it.

Painted door but with white molding.

Painted door but with white molding.

Here’s what my door looks like now! What do you think?

 

Finished product.

Finished product.

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