Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Awe Inspiring Paper Spring Decor

With March right around the corner (and no current house project... yet) I've been thinking a lot about freshening things up in our house with some Spring Decor. 

While searching around the internet for Spring-y ideas I found something that I'm totally inspired by- Paper!  Yes, who knew paper could look this fresh and pretty?  I love the how the cut paper and origami looks have a geometric edge to them, but in the form of florals they still look soft and spring-like.  Perhaps the best part is that it's all paper!  Makes it seem so DIY-able (at least I hope!).
Paper Flowers via in Decora Origami Rose via Bloom4ever  Mini Origami Flowers via Etsy-ppsblyss  Origami White Vase Centerpiece via Lovely Bride   Origami Birds via Etsy-Perpetumobile  Paper Flower Wreath via West Elm  Paper Flowers in White Porcelain via West Elm Paper Flower Centerpiece via Etsy-Balushka  Paper Flower Backdrop via Etsy-Balushka  Paper Flower Wreaths via West Elm & Etsy-DanaAndCarol  Paper Flower Wall via Ruche

With all this inspiration I'm ready to get started!  I've got paper, scissors, glue, and some craft wire ready to go, here's to hoping for no paper cuts!  Alex is excited too.... but mainly because "it sounds like this should be mostly cheap since it's paper right?!"  Maybe he'll get in on the action too?  You know, based on his strange obsession with those Paper Mache Moose Antlers, it could be a similar challenge for him :)

What Spring Decor do you feel inspired by lately?

Have you done some Spring decorating already?  What did you come up with?!?

Come on, show & tell!!!  I'd love to see what everyone is decorating their house with for Spring!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Head Over Heels DIY Friday: From DIY Caulk Lines- From Crud to Kitchen & Bath Glory

Hey everyone, it's Mr. H&HH here with a simple yet oh so essential DIY tip.  I decided to take over this DIY Friday since Carla left out an oh-so-simple and essential DIY tip from our faucet replacement yesterday...

How many of us have tackled a kitchen or bath project only to be disappointed with the caulk lines that result from those trusty orange “dripless” caulk guns? I know I have! So embarrassingly, I would try to keep everyone from seeing the lines or would hope to distract them with a subtle “HEY, LOOK OVER HERE!!”. Well, I will be filled with the shame of a bad (lumpy, pot holed, uneven, etc…) caulk line no more!

While researching install tips for our butcher’s block countertops, I stumbled across a tip on an IKEA fans forum that suggested the use of painters tape to prevent getting any epoxy or wood glue where you don’t want it. It seemed too simple. It seemed impossible. Could this technique be applied elsewhere? I knew I had to try.

Using a razor blade/utility knife I began to strip away the shame and regret from my bathroom sink.

Now, with the old caulk removed and the battle lines clearly defined in my favorite blue tape, I was ready to spread the caulk! I held my breath as I pulled the trigger on my orange weapon of choice. No matter how hard I tried, I still couldn’t keep an even, straight line. But it shouldn’t matter right? I had my magical blue friend ready to take care of me.

The next thing to do was wet my finger (spit worked fine and it drove the ladies wild, ha) and smooth out the caulk line in one smooth sweep…
Now, the moment of truth – Removing the painters tape. This is important to do when the caulk is still wet or you’ll have a whole new set of problems.

Ta-Dahhhh! Perfect, even smooth lines. Heck, I might even be sure to point them out to visitors now :-)

Oh before I go, Carla said I had to add this thing to the DIY Friday post...

Hope you enjoyed that DIY tip!  Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Faucet Refresh For Our Bathroom Sink

We're faucet caaa-razy lately!  Well maybe it just seems like it since we just got a brand-spankin' new one during our lovely kitchen uprade last month and now we're onto another.  While shopping at Home Depot for that faucet though, we ended up seeing Glacier Bay's Teapot Low Arc Faucet with traditional porcelian "hot" & "cold" handles and fell in love!  It was just $32.00 and we couldn't resist...

I know it's kind of a small change, but the new faucet goes really well with the overall look of our bathroom (scroll to the bottom for more photos).

This little upgrade was pretty easy.  Alex started by disconnecting the water lines then removing the old faucet and all the old icky caulk.

After that, he cleaned up the surface and put in a new line of caulk along the backsplash.

Then all he needed to do was connect the water lines back in and install the new faucet.  Not too bad right?

I'm totally loving the new look!  Those "hot" & "cold" porcelain handles seem perfectly coordinated with our black and white tile!

It felt really nice to replace that old one...  Especially when I looked back at our bathroom photos taken when we moved it.  That faucet was part of that old look and even though it's small, I'm glad it's been replaced with a fresh look.  Better yet, something that feels like it could have fit the original look of our home!

That faucet is a fun & elegant little change for our other little bathroom :)

What do you think of our new "hot" & "cold" porcelian faucet change up?

See you tomorrow for Head Over Heels DIY Friday!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Lie Reveal (How We REALLY Met) & 1,000 Reasons We're Excited Today!

I have exciting news to report (scroll to the end for that), but first some follow up on yesterday's  Two Truths and a Lie linky party!  I decided to tell the story about how Alex and I met... with one lie planted in there of course.  We only got a few guesses and none of them were right, but perhaps I made it too hard with a long story and all?  For those of you who missed it, here is the link to the whole story but this was the lie...

"Anyway, conversation was slow but eventually Alex grew comfortable and turned on the chatter along with his humor."

The truth is, Alex didn't talk to me, at all the day we met!  It even seemed like he was making an effort to be across the store from me the whole time.  He said it was because he just got out of a relationship and our manager told him he couldn't date me as it would violate the workplace dating policy (or something like that?)... but in the end that didn't matter :)  Also funny, that manager was a guest at our wedding and we're still friends to this day (I hope you see this Matt!).

Every other part was true!  Alex had mutton chops and indeed stuck a UPS shipping bag on his head for entertainment a couple months later (I still consider that a truth for the story).  I even have photographic evidence, much to Alex's dismay... sorry honey!  While I'm at it I might as well add another favorite old pic of him, he'd put on my coat and grabbed sunglasses from the nearby mall kiosk and told that people he was Willy Wonka.

It all provided a lot of entertainment during slow work days back then.  Oh, regarding his 'chops' I was able to convince him to ditch them and grow a full beard.  It made him so much cuter once we started dating,  ahhh the early days! 

I hope you enjoyed the funny pics and that trip down memory lane with me :)  Even though it's a little scary to reminsce, I still like to!

Now, onto the exciting news!!!!  Last night I saw this comment come through my email and couldn't believe it- thanks again Corin, word indeed

We hit our 1,000 Google Followers milestone!  Hammers and High Fives all around!!!

Now, I know it might sound big or small to some people, but 1,000 represents a big milestone to us and a reason to take a moment to be excited and thankful for our blog & all of you that read along with us!

To me, this blog means love- I love this little blog.  To me, it doesn't matter who reads it, what people think of it, if people love it, hate it, or if it ever makes it BIG time or whatever. I write this blog and every post because I have grown to love doing it- even on the days when writing a post sounds draining (some of you might relate)...  because sharing these stories with all of you has felt so rewarding!  Everything from project sucesses, project disasters, venting about a tornado, filming for local TV or with blog celebs, celebrating birthdays, or connecting with fellow Northsiders (and hopefully representing NOMI in a positive light). All of these experiences have been amazing and I'm thankful to have shared them here.

So if you are reading this, thank you!  If you've followed us since the very beginning, thank you!  I hope you'll continue to share in our adventures and see where our home journey takes us from here!  Cheers!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

How We Met.... Two Truths and a Lie

I can't think of anything more fun (and yes slightly random) than a little game action on this Tuesday morning.  Why?  Well, our good blog buddy Lauren over at Our Crazy Ever After thought it'd make for a fun kind of linky party for the blog world- yep, it's a big ol' Two Truths and a Lie Party!  So whether you are or aren't a blogger, you can play!  It'll be a fun way to get to know each other... ya know what I mean, we might find out some random connections :)

Now, if you read our blog you might now a wee-bit about Alex and I, but I know there's one story we haven't shared at all yet.  So if you are up for the challenge, can you spot the lie?  Game on, it's story time!

During college, Alex and I worked at a lovely jewelry store chain that is in almost every mall in America.  Yes, we sold mall jewels -but- at different mall locations. On an unsuspecting day, my store was short staffed and they called in Alex for help to cover breaks at my store location.  Upon meeting Alex, I was intrigued but also confused.  He was wearing a nice suit & tie combo (I love a sharp dressed man) but he had these big ol' mutton chops on his face.  It was like a southern gentleman/hillbilly kind of look.  Anyway, conversation was slow but eventually Alex grew comfortable and turned on the chatter along with his humor.  I thought maybe he was nervous and covered it with lots of jokes & silly behavior which included wearing a UPS shipping box on his head.  In the end, I guess I was curious about him after that day because I kept thinking about him. 

Yes, he was peculiar fellow but I guess that's why I liked him and still love him for that today.  We ended up working together in the same store for about a year after that until our manager realized we weren't getting much work done when we were together and had to separate us :) only at work though, we were kind of inseparable after that.

So, that's how Alex and I met and the rest is blog history, LOL!
Now, can you spot the lie in the story???  There is a lot of truth and only one lie... what is it?!?!? 

Be sure to play along too and link up a post here or just share something in the comments! Accept this silly game challenge, it'll be fun, promise!
I will follow up on the truth and lie tomorrow, after that I have pics of the new faucet we installed in our upper bath to share!!!  Hope you'll stop back by!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Head Over Heels DIY Friday: A Fab & Fashionable Cape/Poncho Tutorial

This week I took on a fashionable and oh-so-easy DIY!  I hope you'll be Head Over Heels for this trendy vintage inspired Cape Poncho (even though I hate the word poncho)!

Normally I think anything with the word poncho in the description has to be hideous, but when I saw this at the infamous Copy Mall in Shenzhen I began to think differently... 

It looked so stylish and pretty versatile, almost like a cape or beautifully draped scarf. At the time I almost thought about starting to negotiate a price for it but quickly realized I could easily make one at home- and thankfully I didn't forget!

All I used was 1.75 yards (roughly 60 inches) of wool blend fabric, scissors, sewing thread and a sewing machine to create the look.  Basically all you do is fold the fabric in half, stitch 3/4 of one side, then cut part of the fold open at the top and BOOM!  You're done! 

I included the tutorial below, it is so easy and even if you don't have a sewing machine you can tackle by hand (sewing is minimal).  Enjoy!

The end look is so casual yet chic!  I had to wear it out to dinner & drinks with friends tonight (hence the late post).  Made for a fun fashionable alternative to a giant winter coat!

Sorry for the cell phone pics!  But I really loved wearing it out and about tonight!
My friend Ally suggested a poncho disclaimer though and I totally agreed.  So here it is...

No one, again NO ONE shall wear a cape/poncho type garment with any sneaker/athletic type shoe, solid colored cotton-knit turtle neck, or big baggy lazy looking pants.  These items are so, so wrong for anyone of any age, size, height, etc. to wear with a cape/poncho type garment. 

Thank you  ~ ding, ding, ding, "the more you know"~

I know I love it, but are you Head Over Heels for this DIY Cape/ Poncho too (still shuttering slightly at that word)?

If you want another DIY (or a harder one) here's the link to my DIY Snap Scarf too!

Enjoy the weekend everybody!!!!  Alex is installing some new fixtures in our bathroom this weekend, hope to share with you next week!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Donut I Love You on Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day!  So, I didn't really intend to post anything today but the little gift I got for Alex was just so cute and funny I had to share!

Alex and I don't really get each other gifts on Valentine's Day but I found out that a local bakery made donuts that spelled out "I Love You" I couldn't help myself.  I thought it'd be a cute little surprise for my handy husband....

They came from Angel Food Bakery which is owned by the same folks that run Hell's Kitchen just downstairs from the bakery (ironic huh?).  It has a fun urban glam look and feel to it with unique treats to match! 

I think it has to be the silliest way I've told Alex "I Love You" on Valentine's Day... or maybe ever?

We both agreed it was delicious too though, haha! 

What do you think, do the "I Love You" donuts made you giggle too or am I just a nerd?!?

Enjoy the rest of your Valentine's Day!  Spread love where ever you go!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Love Is In the Air... Lumberjack Style

In celebration of Valentine's Day Alex & I decided to have wedding #2.....

Okay, before my mom calls me I am TOTALLY KIDDING!!!!!! I'm not that crazy :)
But we did get to play bride and groom again for a styled wedding photoshoot.  Before I show you more pretty pictures, let's back up so I can explain...

First, here's our real wedding- in case you were only going to look at the pictures and assume Alex and I just got married or something.  We got hitched in 2009 back in Michigan, small & pretty simple wedding style but totally perfect!
Our wedding photos were taken by Genevieve McKeiver Photography; she's the best you will find in Michigan!
Before that though, we had to get some engagement pictures taken and couldn't think of anyone better than our friend Amber Engfer!  Here's some more of Alex & I circa 2009 (I thought Alex looked so young when I looked at this, crazy!).

Since then Amber continued to grow her photography business with more gorgeous engagement, wedding, family, and other photos.  Recently, Amber's photos were also published in the Knot Magazine!  She's an amazingly talented & creative photographer and loves doing it.

Amber had been thinking about doing a themed wedding photoshoot for a while and wanted to come up with a unique concept to showcase her work.  She asked if Alex and I wanted to help bring her concept to life and naturally I said yes (who wouldn't want to be in pretty pictures?).   I never thought she'd say it was a Lumberjack theme but knowing Amber it would be fabulous!   

Sure enough, every glammed-out Lumberjack detail she envisioned turned out perfectly. The photos sure do tell a wonderful wedding story! 

Paper Goods/Labels by Kayd Roy Design

Vintage Rentals by On Solid Ground Vintage Rentals

Cake by Oven Lovin Sweets

Thank you Amber for allowing Alex and I to play bride & groom together again, it was a blast (even though Alex's Blue Steel was far better than mine- "Am I smiling, or no I'm not smiling now, do I look like I'm smiling?").

Here's the full list that brought the Lumberjack look together, quite the talented bunch of ladies!
Photography: Amber Engfer Photography
Vintage Goods: On Solid Ground Vintage Rentals
Cake: Oven Lovin Sweets
Paper Goods/Labels: Kayd Roy Design

Sunday, February 10, 2013

"Pig-Bunnies", "Squatters", & More in My China Trip Wrap Up!

Alright, we've been through India and Macau, so now it's time for the final stops from my trip!  I know my trip feels like it was so long ago, so it's time to wrap things up with a glimpse of China & Hong Kong!
The day after our wonderful and messy trip to Macau we headed from Hong Kong into Shenzhen, China for the busiest part of our business travels (it's pretty typical to fly into Hong Kong and drive into Shenzhen, China since that is the closest airport).  

Now, I know Shenzhen isn't as exciting as Hong Kong but I actually really like the city.  There's a lot of great restaurants, shopping, and I guess I just feel pretty comfortable there.  Even outside the city the landscape is very lush and beautiful, almost tropical. 

We usually spend long days in our overseas office or attend meetings while in Shenzhen but here's a few of the highlight from our time in China. 

First, our trip to the "World Famous" 678 International Club. You can get a fabulous massage, manicure, pedicure, or skin treatment for crazy low prices.  Last time I went I got a 30 minute foot massage for $12 and this time we did foot and shoulder massages for just $30 and it is amazing!!! 

Another highlight, our visit to the Luohu Shopping Plaza (aka the infamous Shenzhen Copy Mall).  The place is known for offering tons of copied/fake goods like handbags, wallets, shoes, electronics, and probably anything else you can think of.  You can also find lots of fun clothes, scarves and other accessories that aren't in the copied/fake realm. 
Whether or not you buy anything, the experience is pretty crazy.  The shop owners will follow you and try to lure you into their stores by saying "lady, lady, handbag? watch?"  Or when you are in a shop they might open what you thought was a wall and it is really a closet full of fake goods or a ladder leading to some secret storage.  The whole thing is just bizarre but I think any tourist/visitor has to experience it.

As for the food in China, it's kind of funny because I always know I can expect three things- Pizza Hut pizza shaped like a flower topped with shrimp & corn, traditional (and delicious!) Dim Sum, and last but not least KFC.  KFC is surprisingly very popular in China and when we get it, it always happens to be at a time when I just want some fried & greasy American food.

A new food highlight this time was "Pig Bunnies"- and it is not what you might be thinking.  My coworkers nicknamed these steamed buns "Pig Bunnies" since they look like a little piggy with bunny ears.  Our overseas coworkers always order them since they know we get a kick out of their cute look.  They even had teapots this time, ha!!!

Lastly, no trip to China is complete without a "squatter" encounter.  Toilets in public restrooms in China are not like Western toilets, they are on the floor and you have to pretty much squat down to use them- hence the nickname "squatters".  Thankfully at our hotels, offices, and nicer restaurants we have Western toilets but there's always a few times when you have to squat (while trying not to think about the gross floor or peeing on yourself).
Hmmm, Alex pointed out that the "squatter" shares a similar look to our new Domsjo sink... coincidence? Just hope I don't catch Alex ever using it for a bathroom in the morning...shutter.  That lovely visual wraps up the last of Shenzhen, let's move onto the last day of our trip!

When we finished up the last of our business meetings in China, we headed back to Hong Kong for one night before flying home in the morning.  Our drive to the hotel included getting pulled over by the Hong Kong police.  Our driver didn't have his seat belt on, tisk-tisk! 
Not gonna lie though, when the cop signaled us to pull over a scene from Taken or some kind of kidnap foreigners kind of movie came to mind... I blame my dad for making me paranoid while travelling internationally though (hope you like your shout out dad, hehe!).

Anyway, no kidnapping occurred and we settled into our hotel.  Finally with some downtime, we go to enjoy lunch outside with a beautiful view of Kowloon Bay.

After lunch, I did some wandering around so I could take in the sights around Hong Kong...

As the sunset and the lights came on across Kowloon Bay, I did some people watching and took a few more pics while sipping a Starbucks ...

I took one last video to share as well...

We ended the day with dinner at The Pawn and a visit to the Len Kwai Fong district which is a pedestrian street lined with restaurants and bars.  It seems like folks from all over the world come to Len Kwai Fong, it's awesome for people watching or listening (so many languages and accents!).
Our trip officially came to end end the next morning.  We got up bright and early to hop a flight to Tokyo then it was non-stop to Minneapolis. 

As always, I remain so, so, so thankful for these experiences. The trips go by in a flash, but I feel like I grow a lot from them, personally and professionally.  It's all in my behind me now, but these gals along with a few more teammates capture the people that make up a lot of my memories from this trip.

I can only hope I get to return to Hong Kong again to see the sunset over Kowloon Bay...

... Only because Alex finally promised that he would meet me at the end of a work trip so we can see Hong Kong & Macau together.  Keeping my fingers crossed!