Sunday, July 31, 2011

Twenty-Seven

Today marks my 27th year living this crazy wonderful life!  Pop the confetti...Hammers and High Fives all around!!! 

okay moment of honesty...
I have to admit, last week a crazy feeling suddenly struck me: I am leaving the "mid-twenties" and moving on the slope to the BIG 3-0.  I am sure some of you out there are laughing at me, but really, 27 all of a sudden felt SCARY.  I guess I am just stuck on the fact that I still think and feel like I am 22 and can't possibly identify myself as a real grown up (which is what people always are at 30, right?).  Maybe that is how the rest of life goes...maybe you always feel like that same young twenty-something even though you are a responsible grown up with a house, job, spouse, family, dogs, cars, bills, etc? Guess I'll just have to keep living and learning to get this all figured out, I'll let you know that answer once I hit 40 :) 

Also, I started to realize that I have spent the majority of my 20's here in Minnesota.  I guess I sometimes feel sad knowing that this time in my life hasn't been spent with my family and friends back in Michigan.  But, who knows if we will move back there in the future anyway? 

Okay, well, now all the SCARY is out there!
Moving on...

On this 27th birthday, I was inspired by my friend Amy (who also felt scared of 27) to write a list.  Not a to-do list, or a list of goals, or things that I want- but a positive list instead!  I know everyday life isn't completely perfect and I don't have everything figured out... But this is a list of the 27 things that I am happy about and thankful for in my life as it is right now- on this birthday.

At Twenty-Seven Years Old...

1. I am finally starting to feel like I am no longer a ‘newby’ in my career.  After almost five years in my field within the corporate world, I am realizing that I do have a lot of knowledge and experience, it is a pretty cool feeling. But I am always learning something new- and I love that!

2. I am a homeowner (even though sometimes I wish I wasn’t- ha!)

3. I travelled to China earlier this year, Europe is next! Then who knows….?
At the New Heights Restaurant looking over the Bund in Shanghai, China

4. I've always wanted to travel the world, I now feel like I am actually doing it.

5. I can now kill bugs on my own without screaming or asking Alex for help! Awww yea, that is what living in an old house does for your ‘bug killin’ courage!

6. I am getting much better and braver at saying what I really think and not what people want to hear.

7.  I don't have to cook very often, because my husband LOVES to cook and he is good at it (talk about a bonus).
Alex showing off his master chef skills this past Thanksgiving

8. I feel lucky to have the job I have- I will always remember that it didn’t come easy.  I took a lot of chances, but I am glad I never gave up on what I wanted, stopped believing in myself, or settled for something that wasn't what I dreamed of doing. Not everyday is perfect but I still think what I do everyday is pretty darn cool. (I know my coworkers might tease me about this).

9. I love babies, but I am happy that I have none of my own at this point in my life. This also may be because of #4 and #8. (Sorry Mom and Dad, no grandkids planned from us anytime soon.)

10.  My husband still makes me laugh everyday, I love our odd sense of humor- we're both weird, nothing ever gets old.

A few of my favorite Alex moments... hmmm, I might have to explain some of these in detail later :)

11. My Home has experienced a weather disaster (the tornado), now that we’ve checked that off the life lessons list I hope to never go through it again.

12.  I turned 22 five years ago, I am shocked at how shockingly different life was then and now, but that means I did a heck of a lot in five years!
Left: Alex and I on my birthday in 2006- Young, single, wild, crazy college kids (do we look a little tipsy or what?!?); Right: Alex and I in 2011- Older (wiser), married, settled 'grown-ups'

13. I know how to tile and grout a floor, install wood flooring, tuck-point brick work, sand and refinish wood floors, install beadboard, fix a tripped GFCI outlet, install a sink and faucet, sand and refinish cabinetry, and all sorts of other house related crap-ola, take that Bob Villa! 

14. I have mastered the use of chopsticks… but if you ask anyone in China that I dined with, my table setting was the messiest.

15. I have amazing in-laws and a wonderful sister and brother in law (who also made me a new auntie), they feel like they have always been apart of my life. 
Me with my little nephew Henri playing in the snow during their last visit to Minnesota

16. I know how to perfectly fold a fitted sheet- boo ya Better Homes and Garden!

17. I have a blog to capture our home renovation and DIY adventures- it is a hobby I LOVE!  Being able to capture and write about these life experiences is amazing.

18. I have found great new friends through blogging that share the same interests and passions that I have. Hey, not everyone gets super excited about sifting through salvage junk- but I have found a group of gals that love it just like I do!

19. My hair is finally long again (thank goodness), the short hair was indeed a poor look on me.
Seriously, BARF!  What was I thinking with that 'do?  Even Rocco has a bad haircut in that photo, I must have been making him suffer since I was, ha!

20.   I finally feel like Alex and I have real friends here in Minnesota and people that we can depend on when we need.  Might make it all the more harder to move again if we ever do?

21. I have two dogs and I love them like crazy (even though they do drive me crazy most of the time).

22.  Even though I live 3 states away from my sister and have for almost five years now, we can still pick up the phone and talk for an hour about anything.
My sister Holly and I cracking up in the backseat during a car ride with our husbands (I think they were annoyed with our constant giggling!)

23. I carpool to work, a small step to save money and the environment :) Plus, my carpooler and I usually crack each other up during our commute, which makes it fun.

24. Even though I miss Michigan and my family like crazy, I am thankful that it is only a 2 hour flight or 9 hour drive to get back there if we need.  Spur of the moment is still a possibility!  

25. My friends and family are all starting their own families. Even though I know I am not ready for kids, I love playing with theirs and watching my friends become mothers. It is an amazing and beautiful thing!
A couple of the gals I grew up with, Abby (left) and Lisa (right)- Abby's little guy Austin is in the car seat, Lisa's daughter Rylee is chatting with him :)  Lisa was pregnant with her 2nd in this photo, a few weeks later she gave birth to her daughter Reese!

26. I have a great relationship with my parents and see them as friends, but I know whenever I need help or advice I can still come to them (even at 27).

27. I believe life keeps getting better and better, and I know great things still lie ahead for me in this life.

***********
So there you have it, life at 27 isn't sounding so scary now :)  You were right Amy, that exercise does make you feel better!

Here's to starting 27 from where I am right now.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Head Over Heels Friday: 2011 National Night Out Party Ideas!

The 28th annual National Night Out is coming up on Tuesday, August 2nd, are you and your neighbors ready?!?!
I'm not going to lie, I really had no idea what National Night Out (NNO) was until I moved to Minneapolis. It wasn't something we ever did back in Michigan, but it is HUGE here! Just in case you don't know what National Night Out is, here is some background information...

National Night Out, 'America's Night Out Against Crime,' was introduced by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW) in 1984.  In an effort to heighten awareness and strengthen participation in local anticrime efforts, NATW felt that a high-profile, high-impact type of crime prevention event was needed nationally and the idea for National Night Out was born.   (You can read more info here on the offical NNO website).

The main focus for NNO is definitely crime prevention and awareness, but also, I see NNO as a chance to get to know neighbors, strengthen our community, and have some fun!  So I am Head Over Heels for NNO!  How awesome is it to have a scheduled event every year to strengthen your community?!?!

Last year, Minneapolis was ranked #2 in the nation for NNO events, with 968 confirmed events and 54,715 participants.  That is one HUGE event right?!?!  In most cases, you can register your event through the city's website in order to obtain a block permit.  Our block and the few around us have been doing NNO for years now, so it usually turns into a large, nicely organized event.  If you are in Minneapolis check this link to see if your block/ neighborhood has a NNO event planned.

Phew!  Okay, now let's get to the fun part- the NNO Party Ideas that I am Head Over Heels for! 
 
Food and Refreshments
(with vintage-inspired visual of course)
For any NNO gathering, I think it is best to keep the food summery and simple.  You will be sharing with lots different people so the usual picnic or backyard BBQ items are always winners with a crowd.  This year,  I'm loving the root beer float idea, I'm thinking that is what we will bring!  I am also hoping to get some fun cups/ mugs and straws for them!
 
Games and Activities
To keep things stay fun and interesting at your NNO event, here are a few of my favorite game and activity ideas...
Have a jump rope or hula hoop contest; organize a couple teams and play a game of volleyball or kick ball; bring along lawn games like horseshoes, bag toss, bocce ball or ladders (I get really competitive and loud about bag toss!);
Have a relay or sack race; make a neighborhood mural or banner; or even hold a neighborhood talent show!  For kids you can have a coloring contest, sidewalk chalk decorating, or have a artistic neighbor do some face painting. 
   
**********
I really think this year's NNO event in our neighborhood is going to be very special.  Our community went through a lot after the tornado and it really brought us all together.  I can't wait for a night of fun with all of our awesome neighbors and I hope to meet more!

What ideas were you Head Over Heels for?
Is National Night Out big in your town/ city like it is here in Minneapolis?  What are you favorite activities or memories from previous NNO events?

If you don't have an event organized this year, make sure to join the fun and start the tradition in your neighborhood in 2012! (All the info is right here).

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Name That Flower!

Well, you all know that this little Dutch Colonial is our first house right?  Along with our first house we got our first ever yard to care for.  When it comes to the inside of our house, we totally know what we are doing...  But when it comes to the outside, we still don't really know what we are doing (I'm sure our neighbors love that, JK!). 

Thankfully, the previous homeowners did do a lovely job landscaping the front yard.  Throughout the spring and summer we get to watch a variety of perennials bloom.  Now that we are in our third summer in our home, I thought I should find out what exactly is growing and make myself a little landscape plan for our front yard.  Maybe next spring I will be able to do a better job keeping an eye on these flowers and maybe even add a few more? 

Let's take a look at these beauties... and I hope some of you out there can help me figure out their names!  I know a few thanks to the help of my expert gardener pal Dean (Hammers and High Fives Dean!) but not all.   This is where "Name That Flower!" comes in!  Where you see a blank line with a number is where I need help with names- are you in?  Let's get started!

Earlier in the summer these ___(1)___ popped up.  Some type of Iris?

Just behind those were Baptista.  Love the color of these!

Along our walkway were these Peonies.  I love Peonies! They are so full and dreamy, I wish they lasted longer, I miss them!

Just recently, these Shasta Daisies bloomed on the opposite side of our yard.

Neighboring them are these Black Eyed Susans and....

Cone Flowers, they indeed attract a lot of birds, bugs, and butterflies as it says in their description!

Now that the Peonies are gone, nearby their old location are Bee Balm Is is just me or does they look like they could be a character on the Muppets? 

By our porch sit these ___(2)___.  I thought they might be Joe Pye Weed?  Or White Snakeroot Or is this just a weed that looks kind of pretty?  I really don't know!

All along our walkway are these ___(3)___, tons of them!  I feel like it might be Loosestrife

Lastly, I caught this Tiger Lily that was just starting to bloom.  I think we are going to have a whole bunch pretty soon!

So that is what's been 'growing' on in our front yard! (ha, get it?).  I'll be sure to share more images if we see more flowers pop up (if they do that this late in the summer?  See, I really know nothing about gardening!).

Were you able to recognize some of the flowers numbered 1-3?  I'd love any help with the names of these beautiful flowers (thought this would be way more fun that spending hours googling flower images)! 

Please help me Name That Flower!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Insurance and The Recovery Process

WARNING: Long and possibly boring post ahead with little to no pictures :)  But very informative! There, you have been warned!

We got some good news over the weekend regarding our home repairsFinally!!!! Since getting this news, I really wanted to shed some light on what we have been going through and what the recovery process with insurance is like. Also, this is all about/for our house- which is the whole reason we blog in the first place. I know this might be a boring post, but I like to write about our experiences with our home, good or bad (this being more on the bad side). We have learned a lot going through this process and I hope that writing about it can help someone else that goes through a similar situation.  Whether this post is to simply be used as a  guide or to help others dealing with the stress of home repairs to be able to read about someone else that has gone through it, knowing it will get better.

Just in case you aren’t up to speed on what the heck I am talking about, here is a short recap with links to posts that tell more detail:
On May 22nd an F2 tornado came through North Minneapolis. Thankfully Alex, myself, our 2 pups and most of our neighbors were safe. The tornado sent part of our large Silver Maple Tree through our roof and into our Guest Room- this was our biggest problem. There was a lot of other damage to our home’s exterior, our garage, and our property.  The neighborhood as a whole was a complete mess, but in a matter of weeks things were getting cleaned up and life slowly got back to normal- other than dealing with insurance and contractors.
Having a tree in your house isn't a good feeling at all

So let’s get into our experience with insurance from the beginning to where we are at today. Keep in mind this is all my own account of our experience and my own advice (I am no expert). Now, here we go…

After the tornado came through and we were able to take a look at what happened to our house and property then called our insurer’s 800 number to file a claim. If you don’t know the 800 number you can always call your insurance agent to get the number. Here is where I have advice to give: make sure you know the exact location of your insurance policy! You will want to review your coverage. When we called to get our claim # we gave them a brief summary of the damage we were dealing with. My assumption is that they try to gauge how quickly they need to get an adjuster out to see your home- say if our whole house was missing I think they would have been out a lot sooner. After giving them the information they needed, they gave us our claim number and said a field adjuster would call us to give us a time that they would come out to assess the damages. We inquired about a hotel since we were without power but they couldn’t tell us if we would be reimbursed since our house was still livable. So we decided to stick it out in our house.

With the amount of homes and people affected by the tornado we knew it would be a while until we saw an adjuster at our house even with their Catastrophe Response Team. The next thing to do was start cleaning and securing our property from further damage. When reviewing our policy we found that any trees that fell on our house were covered for removal but not the trees that fell on our property- so we were responsible for cleaning up and removing the giant pine tree that fell and the mega uprooted stump it left behind as an out of pocket expense (check out how we got rid of it the DIY way in this post and this post).  We had a crew come out to remove the tree from our roof (read details on that in this post).

After a couple days of clean up we got a call from our field adjuster giving us a day and time that he would be out to see us. In the meantime we still were cleaning up and were searching for a contractor that we felt comfortable with. After a weather related disaster like a tornado rolls through, contractors come out by the masses looking for business and they will tell you anything to get you to sign with them right away- don’t ever sign with anyone! The contractors looking for a quick signature just want to secure you into a contract that guarantees them some amount of money- whether or not you work with them in the end. So be careful and never sign anything! A good contractor will come out to meet with the adjuster and go over damages together, no contacts needed.

We ended up getting connected with a great contractor through one of my co-workers (thanks Andrea!). After meeting with this contractor he informed us of the process ahead with our insurance as well as several steps that have to happen before construction (estimates, permits, environmental testing)- all things we were unaware of, kind of scary, but I liked that he gave it to us pretty straightforward. He also sent someone up to further secure our tarp since he knew it would be a while until any work could start. Again, he didn’t make us sign anything and he said he would be out to meet with the adjuster to go over the damages and write up an estimate for repairs.

Five days after the tornado our field adjuster arrived to review damages to write up an estimate for a claim payment. Our contractor was present and they reviewed everything together to make sure they were including the same items in their estimates. Alex and I observed them as they went over damages just to understand a little more about what needed to be fixed and how. After they were done our insurance adjuster said our recovery packet would be mailed as soon as he finished the estimate. Our contractor informed us that he would call in a few days to let us know when his estimate would be ready.

A few days later our insurance recovery packet arrived in the mail which included an estimate with a list of items to be repaired and our claim check. Just as an FYI- most insurance companies will send you an initial check for the actual cash value (ACV) of what was damaged (less depreciation). Once all repairs are complete you will get a second check for the Replacement Cost Value (RCV) that covers the rest of the amount. These checks are made out to the homeowners and their mortgage lender, unless you own your house outright in which case it is just made out to the homeowner. Get these checks along with the insurance estimate to the bank ASAP! If it is a large amount it can take the bank a few weeks to start releasing the funds and it will go in stages. If your insurance company and your contractor agree on the dollar amount for all the work, they can get work started on your house right away.  You will want to have access to this money to start paying your contractor.

We faxed a copy of the insurance estimate to our contractor so he would know what insurance was covering and could compare to his own estimate. A couple days later our contractor called with a lot of concerns. He stressed that our adjuster had left out a few very specific repairs/ items our home needed due to its age. Like I said before, fixing a home built pre 1970’s is complicated (ours was built in 1924). Back then there were no building codes and scary things like lead and asbestos were normal. Today any home repairs must be up to current codes, so a simple repair could get very complicated and expensive. Our contractor sent us his estimate to send to our insurance adjuster to review the differences. This is where a second field adjuster got assigned to come back out to our house- and things got really sticky.

The second field adjuster came out to our house to meet with us and our contractor roughly 1 month after the tornado (which was around 3 weeks after the 1st adjuster). If an adjuster has to come out a second time, they will send a completely different person to review the first estimate along with our contractors estimate. I am not going to lie here, the second field adjuster was the brother of the first adjuster which I felt was a bit odd when you are hoping to get a fresh perspective. He also came with a very unfriendly and opinionated man that was his boss (although I think his role was to try and ‘spook’ our contractor…seriously)- it was completely bizarre and unprofessional. I’d say this was the only part of the process with our insurance that I was completely unhappy with. Trying to be patient with insurance was one thing (which we did just fine), but when someone comes out to your house to make the process more difficult and argue repairs that are required by the state of Minnesota is quite another. I am thankful our contractor held his ground, stayed calm, and explained our state’s code compliancy when it came to certain repairs that the grumpy insurance manager was arguing with him about. Ugggghhh, I was just speechless and uncomfortable that day, then cried after everyone left. I remember saying to Alex that I thought nothing got resolved that day.

Another few days later our revised recovery packet came- sure enough, NOTHING got resolved. I was pretty upset considering two adjusters came out to see specific damages that needed repair where we weren’t in agreement over costs and it was all overlooked. I just didn’t get it! Our contractor was a bit disappointed as well but reassured us that we would get to where we needed to be with the final dollar amount. He sent us his revised estimate where he had made changes after talking with the adjuster- I felt thankful and confident he was making an honest effort at this point to help us. He informed us that he would be in contact with the desk adjuster to discuss in detail the big differences and would send pictures as documentation.

Alex spoke with the desk adjuster about the differences a little bit, but Alex stressed to them that they just needed to talk to our contractor about it (Alex was also sick to death of talking with insurance). The desk adjuster did suggest a couple times that we get an estimate from a contractor that they have dealt with before, which made us all the more upset. I thought, “What, you mean start over with a whole new contractor just to make this easier on you??!?! Are you NUTS?!?!?” We kept saying no because we really liked who we were working with already and requested that they discuss the repairs with him.

Alex and I were cc’d on a few emails that flew between the two of them. They were scheduled to speak to each other on the phone last Thursday and we anxiously awaited to hear how it went.

Then, late on Friday night we got a message from our desk adjuster saying their conversation went well and he was glad to get us to a resolution and our supplement would arrive in Saturday’s mail. Alex and I thought, well, that sounds good, but we’ll believe it when we see it. The next morning we got a call from our contractor stating the same thing, that everything was squared away and we should be good to go and get work started. To me that sounded more final hearing it from our contractor since that is who we felt more trust with, but then finding the new check in the mail made it all the more real- finally the amount we needed! YAY!!!!

I still have no idea why we couldn’t get there after the second adjusters came out- I mean they were actually at our house. But whatever happened with our contractor and the desk adjuster (along with photos) seemed to do the trick. Although I am really happy that we can start work, I also know that this will likely not be the end of our storm damage woes. As soon as the work starts more damage could be discovered that might need additional work (and money). I really hope we don’t have to ask for supplements ($) as we go, but something tells me that we will since this whole project is quite complicated.

Our final estimate from our contractor had 93 line items in need of repair! Crazy pants! I am probably being very na├»ve to think that everything is going to be great now that we can start work, but for the first time in 2 months I feel optimistic about our situation with our little Dutch Colonial.
So there you have it, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Like I said, we only hit one really bad bump in the road with the 2nd adjusters, but in large part everyone else we dealt with were very nice. I hope I get to share the name of our contractor soon, but I don’t want to jump the gun until work starts- but he is pretty darn awesome! I know this post was boring, but I just wanted to let you all know what has been going on behind the scenes since we haven’t been doing a whole lot of projects lately.

I really hope once all this action starts I will have lots to share! Have a great week everyone!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Head Over Heels Friday: All Sorts of Repurposed Headboards!

Looking for a new headboard for a bedroom?  Instead of heading out to a store to pick up a brand new one, check out these repurposed headboards with a vintage flair that I am Head Over Heels for!  We're talking Mantels, Tin Tiles, Doors, Pallets, and Reclaimed Wood- all things you can make a fabulous headboard out of (also a conversation piece!).  In a few cases you could find some of these for free (like the door we found in our basement) or pretty cheap at a local salvage store. 

I have been researching some of these ideas because I am anxious to get started on our own Master Bedroom redo once our home repairs from the tornado are complete.  I really love the idea of ditching our plain ol' metal bedframe for a stylish Repurposed Headboard to add an interesting focal point to our room.

Here's a look at my favorite vintage styled objects turned Headboards...

 Fireplace Mantels
French By Design

Old Painted Cottage

Moss Eclectic
   Rustic Tin Tiles  
Apartment Therapy
  
Unskinny Boppy
 Vintage Doors
Dreamy Whites

A Prairie Farmgirl
  Salvaged Pallets
Recyclart
 Reclaimed Wood
aka Design

House Tweaking
*************************

What style are you Head Over Heels for?


When it comes to our master bedroom, I think I am really digging the fireplace mantels!  They are so grand and interesting, and since we do not have a fireplace in our master bedroom it would be a neat way to fit the look into the space.  However, I still really love the vintage door idea and we already have one we could use in our basement that is original to our house. 
Hmmmm, what do you think?

Do you have a repurposed headboard in your bedroom? I'd love to see it!
 Have a great weekend everybody, and STAY COOL! 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hello! Bonjour! Bok!

 I can't believe it, Alex and I will be going on a BIG vacation towards the end of this summer! 
Where will my high heels be headed to????

EUROPE
(subtle shrieking and squeals of delight)

Get ready for National Lampoon's Alex and Carla's European Vacation!
(if you have read our blog for a while you already know we love the Griswolds)

We will be heading to London, Paris, and Split!  Split is in Croatia in case you wondered about that one :)  Alex's family is Croatian so we thought it would be a great experience to soak up some of the Croatian culture (and their beautiful beaches along the Adriatic Sea).

I am soooo excited for this trip! It will be our first big trip out of the states together. Planning this trip was a bit tricky since we will be bouncing around to a few places.  Not gonna lie- it was a TON of work and a lot of research went in to this... I'm so glad we're finally done with that part!  Equally as tricky was lining up a house and dog sitter for Rocco and Sadie (not many people wanted to watch our crazy little kiddos). But thankfully we got that taken care of too.  Now our house and pups will be in good hands while we are on our trip!

Alex and I have been talking about this trip ever since we started dating, I am so happy that our dream is finally going to be real!  We are definitely due for a nice vacation after everything we have been through from the tornado damage and repairs.  We are still a while out from actually going on this trip, so I am still hopeful our house will be fixed before we go halfway around the world (ahem, insurance hurry the heck up).  I have to admit, I don't think I will be able to relax and enjoy myself if I am worried about that stupid tarp on our house.

I can't wait to start packing!!! Is it crazy to start packing for a trip that is a couple months away??? LOL!  

If you have traveled to London, Paris, or Split, we would love to hear your travel recommendations!  Of course we will be hitting all of the historic and tourist-y locations, but we'd love any tips you have or even restaurants we should hit!  Please, please, please comment away!

Monday, July 18, 2011

DIY Vintage Stool Refresh!

I finished up my little $10 vintage stool project over the weekend!  Here's how it turned out...
What do you think? 
Most of you voted for option #1 in my previous blog post.  I decided to go with that look but also painting the chair back white so that if it had to sit with my other vintage stool they would coordinate (this was also my mom's suggestion- thanks Moo!).
 Now, here is the rundown for this simple little DIY stool makeover:
 First, I picked up my spray paint from Home Depot.  Both were about $2.97 each. I highly recommend the Rustoluem Metallic Finish paint, it looks like metal but it isn't super shiny like most metallic paint.
Next was sanding the legs, seat, and chair back.  I covered the sanding is my last post, but here's a visual so I am covering all steps.
Then I had to cover the seat and chair back so I could paint the metal parts of the stool.  This of course was not the fun part, I hate prepping for paint (don't you?).
 Time to spray away!
 Woo-hoo!  The paint was looking pretty awesome on those legs, I was pretty pumped!
I let the paint on the legs and back support dry and set for a day.  Then I removed the covering from the seat and chair back and taped off the newly painted areas to safely allow for the painting of the seat and chair back.   Side note- I thought the stool looked pretty funny all covered up, like it had a skirt on.  I kind of reminded me of ET for some reason, weird I know :)
I then stepped out into the 100 degree heat (and full on humidity) to finish up spray painting.  Maybe that is why I thought the stool looked like ET?  The heat must have been getting to me, ha!
 Finally, I let the paint dry and then uncovered the stool.

Goodbye rough dirty stool...
Hello gorgeous refinished stool!
 I was happy that the stool still had a few rough spots so it still looks a bit vintage. 
 Here is a closer look at the metal chair back so you can see the paint a little better.  I really love how this color turned out, looks like an original metal finish.
The white and metal color also allow me to put it into whatever room we choose since it is pretty neutral.  For now it seems to have found a home in the corner of our dining room.  I thought it might be cute to set an old wooden crate or antique metal wire milk crate filled with my antique table cloths and napkins on top of it.... or maybe other vintage dining room accessories?
Something similar to one of these maybe?
Left: Anna White, Right: Etsy
Hmmm, must antique shop this weekend!

So, what do you think?  It was a pretty simple little project, I think figuring out what I wanted to do with it was really the hardest part, LOL!  But I did have fun with it, and thanks for the suggestions everybody!
Now what to do with those burlap sacks I got on Thrifting Day, hmmmm?

Have a great week and stay cool everybody (I am melting in this crazy odd Minnesota heat, ick!)