All posts by Shelby

our living room:: before

I’ve written three posts since we moved into our house a month ago. THREE. I honestly didn’t even realize it was only three until I went back to read the last post I wrote about the house and realized it was from the weekend we moved in. Technically, it’s four posts if you include the rambling I did this morning about balancing the busy and the happy. I missed this place and kept writing in my head which is probably why I didn’t know I had only written THREE times. In my head, I wrote every day ;)

I swear I’m not completely insane. Anyways, I’m here to talk about our living room because, like the rest of the house when we moved in, it needed work. Below is the only before shot I have of it . 1-I’m forgetful and 2-the second we moved in, I started painting it and moving things around and then it was no longer a before and only then did I realize there were no before pictures. Was that English? Point being, here she is, in all of her iPhone quality before-ness.

photo 2

I first fell for the white brick fireplace. I later realized it wasn’t actually a real fireplace, which was kind of a bummer (probably more for Josh than for me), but we have since moved on. All of this furniture is the landlords, so just picture this, but empty. Yes, still green.

So first things first, our original goals were this:

1-paint walls-we chose Behr Manhattan Mist, and every day I love it more. I wanted to paint the whole house white, but Josh insisted (strong armed) that there be some color. So sometimes it’s grey, and sometimes it’s blue, and depending on the weather, it’s also occasionally purple. Had you told me that last hue, I wouldn’t have chosen the paint, but I’m actually pretty fond of it.

2-buy rug-I believe I touched on this in a previous post but that was probably 5 years ago at my current rate of writing. I love Moroccan rugs, but I don’t love Moroccan rug prices. I stalked RugsUSA who has confusing sales because they are all really the same (so maybe that means they aren’t confusing at all). I couldn’t justify $600 for the rug I really wanted, even though I’m well aware that’s still very low for a great rug. We landed on this pup from Overstock and accidentally got the Trellis vs the Diamond that I wanted, but rugs aren’t easy to return. Plus, in person, it’s more angular than in pictures, so there is the third thing that has grown on me. Maybe I should change the title of this post to “Our living room: It’s growing on me.”

Kidding. I LOVE MY LIVING ROOM. Ok it’s out there now.

3-buy couch-Hah! I almost forgot about this battle because there have been so many since. When your budget is minimal, your couch options are sooo slim. I mean, I get it every advice giver out there, “Don’t buy an Ikea couch. You need to invest in a great couch and save everywhere else.” Which, okay yes, I get, but  what about when you need to save EVERYWHERE. Including the couch. People told me “Rooms to Go,” “Costco,” Josh tried to sell me on Craigslist, which I was even open to, but there was just NOTHING that actually looked good. So, as I’m sure you can guess, we bought an Ikea couch. And I haven’t regretted it for a second. It didn’t even have to grow on me because I always kinda loved it. Terrible instructions manual and all.

We do want to do the typical Pinterest hacks for the Karlstad. We plan on switching out the legs and getting the pillows upholstered, so that’s a future to-d0.

Besides art and all that jazz, those were really the main goals for our living room, and that landed us here.

before after




The progress is pretty great, but we’re still a bit of a ways to go which is a little scary since this is probably our most complete room.

  • upholster couch and switch out legs
  • finish coffee table: Josh built this, but the legs need to be shortened and it still needs a good stain
  • build TV stand: another Josh project (see: I’m the luckiest)
  • buy TV: we don’t have a TV, which makes the room feel a little empty and that really makes me a child of my generation
  • buy shades: I don’t want curtains because of the current window treatments, so I’m thinking just privacy shades.
  • change mantle art: this was all so temporary for the party. I mean, two frames don’t even have art. And there is a book about sailing and neither one of us sail. I was really in love with the books in the fireplace, but now I’m torn. If you’re still with me, do you think I should keep them?
  • shorten entry table legs and add art to the wall above: I should caveat that this is still set up from the party hence being flanked by two large man cave speakers. Honestly, we were considering keeping that wall pretty blank but this picture bores me to tears.

One thing you may be able to tell from these photos is the trim and ceiling need work, but the thought of painting them myself is revolting. I know painting the ceiling would go terrible. This house is a rental though (2 year lease), so it’s really not worth the investment for professionals. Thoughts?? Do I suck it up and paint it? Do I ignore it? Embrace the off-white trim and dirty looking ceiling? Also-the books, do I keep them?

the balance of busy and happy


I feel so ungrateful when I complaining about being busy. There are moms out there who juggle children and full-time jobs and supporting their family, and that’s the norm. That doesn’t cover the men and women dealing with illness or single-parent homes or multiple full time jobs, etc etc.


It’s just me and Josh and our little old house that I love so much. We’re so so lucky, so I curse those moments that I’m screaming because I can’t scrub the paint off the floor. Or the times that I’m staring in disgust at my trim because it needs to be repainted and the floor needs grout cleaner and I STILL don’t have art on my walls. The worst are the moments of clarity, “I’m so happy, why am I acting like an insane person,??”  that are far too quickly followed by more acts of insanity, “I can’t be happy! Happy people have kitchen tables!” (spoiler: happy people don’t need kitchen tables)


I mean, I spent last night sitting on my couch writing, J was cleaning, we we’re listening to our old record player and drinking leftover IPAs from our housewarming party. LIFE IS GOOD DAMNIT. Yes, I struggle daily balancing my other full time job and this little place that I love so much. I fight to find time for my friends, for my family, for Josh. I plan my evenings down to the second to paint approximately 1.5 rooms (if I make it home at precisely 7:32 PM). I go to work with paint in my hair. We DO finally have a kitchen table, but we don’t have kitchen table chairs. Or a coffee table. Or a TV. We don’t have art, our guest bedroom is in shambles, and don’t get me started on the current state of my office.


But we have our perfect screened-in porch where we share our day over supper. We have these pictures from our housewarming party. These reminders of all of our family and friends who came to one place to see us. It was such a beautiful day, and each moment I was reminded how happy I am, how lucky I am, and how silly I have been for letting it all stress me out.

I’m still learning, I’m still trying to navigate these waters, I’m praying to find the balance between busy and happy. It’s a seemingly impossible balance to hold for long, but those small moments, where you’re completely overwhelmed, but you can’t stop smiling? Those are the good ones.


Thanks for letting me ramble today. Not that you had a choice ;) Doesn’t happen often around here, but to write it all out, it was everything. Grateful for all of you and this little place.

rifle paper co wallpaper

The world made a cruel joke out of my daytime separation anxiety for my new house by putting me on bed rest with a terrible chest/sinus/entire body virus. Few things are as tough as having a laundry list of things to do and not physically being able to do them. So, as I crawl to the kitchen to attempt to make myself tea, I may or may not be covering my eyes to avoid the unpacked boxes and unpainted walls.

Lucky for me, my computer screen holds some distracting eye candy in the form of Rifle Paper Co.’s new wallpaper line for Hygge & West. Gosh, I can remember when Rifle Paper Co. was popping up in wedding blogs and the like. Anna has grown that company to this amazing brand, I have never seen something of hers I don’t love instantly. It’s probably a good thing I can’t wallpaper in this rental because I’d go pretty broke decking out the house in these designs. So behold, a bit of eye candy for you:

HW_Rifle_CitiesToile_RobinsEgg_Details_Web_1024x1024 HW_Rifle_CitiesToile_White_Detail_Web_1024x1024 HW_Rifle_CityToile_Ebony_Room_Web_1024x1024 HW_Rifle_Peonies_Copper_Detail_Web_5f90fe6e-a46a-4ebe-960e-ef1a71ba15fa_1024x1024 HW_Rifle_Peonies_Mint_Detail_Web_1024x1024 HW_Rifle_Peonies_Yellow_Room_Web_1024x1024 HW_Rifle_Pineapple_Blue_Detail_Web_293b74eb-ce6b-40cb-82a1-b568efcd7c36_1024x1024 HW_Rifle_Pineapple_Ebony_Room_Web_1024x1024 HW_Rifle_Pineapple_Yellow_Detail_Web_1024x1024 HW_Rifle_QueenAnne_Blush_Room_Web_1024x1024 HW_Rifle_QueenAnne_Ebony_Detail_Web_3a3e5382-9ca8-4bcd-a428-58d8301126ce_1024x1024 HW_Rifle_QueenAnne_RobinsEgg_Detail_Web_09cb5ac0-f3a0-4d6d-81fd-d03d9e5a9614_1024x1024 HW_Rifle_Rosa_Hunter_Room_Web_1024x1024 HW_Rifle_Rosa_Indigo_Detail_Web_e80317cf-4e87-48df-b26e-63cae8aa56fc_1024x1024 HW_Rifle_Rosa_Persimmon_Detail_Web_1024x1024 HW_Rifle_Safari_Blush_Detail_Web_1024x1024 HW_Rifle_Safari_Hunter_Detail_Web_1024x1024 HW_Rifle_Safari_SkyBlue_Room_Web_1024x1024

You can purchase the wallpaper directly from Rifle Paper Co. or Hygge and West. H&W does allow purchase of samples for $5 which is extremely helpful when picking out wallpaper, especially investment styles like these.

I love that safari print for a nursery, and the city guide design would look so great in a snazzy bar, but my personal favorite is the blue pineapple print. What about you, any favorites? If you’re planning to purchase, please tell me so I can follow along and see pictures and be green with envy!

first weekend home



After weeks of Pinning, planning, and living in various guest rooms, we finally moved into our new house this weekend. Let me tell you, we had grand dreams of painting the whole place, buying a new couch, and making things “livable” over the four-day weekend. HAH! It’s laughable to think at the progress I thought we would have made. Here’s a mini update peppered in with some iPhone photos.



We did paint. Some rooms. I wanted the whole house white. Josh didn’t even want to paint. So we compromised. It’s not really that fair to say we compromised considering these “colors” are almost white. The grey is Behr Manhattan Mist, blue is Behr Mineral Water, and that pretty shade of white is Behr Ultra Pure White. We tackled our bedroom, living room, kitchen, and half the bathroom before we ran out of stamina and paint. Still left on our list is finishing up the bathroom, the hallway, my office, and sadly, the trim and ceiling really need a fresh coat too.


The only room that is actually livable is our bedroom, but oh boy it makes me so happy. This blue is so peaceful, I love waking up here. (Don’t mind my moving bruises…)



On Saturday we took a break from painting to explore the neighborhood. I can’t stop thinking about how lucky we got with this place. Our only hesitation about this house was the location, but unexpectedly, the location is one of it’s biggest perks! We discovered this awesome park walking distance away. Plus, we can easily walk to bars, restaurants, a wonderful coffee shop, AND Morelli’s ice cream (we walked there twice this weekend, a clear indication I will never be bikini ready this summer ;) )



Just in time for Memorial Day, we put up our pretty American flag. Even though we have laundry lists of things to do inside the house, little details like putting this flag up or planting a tomato plant made a huge difference in making it our “home.”

20140527-122825-44905515.jpgUgh I love this neighborhood so much. How great is this mural outside our coffee shop? Have I mentioned- I CAN WALK TO MY COFFEE SHOP!


We took a lot  of breaks out on this porch, it’s so beautiful out here. Last night, we ate dinner on the porch, and we listened to the cicadas and watched the fireflies out in the front yard.

I really feel like the luckiest.



fridays are for margaritas


Fridays are pretty great and deserve celebrations. Summer Fridays deserve parades and specialty cocktails and feasts in their honor. My contribution to said hooplah? The best and only margarita recipe you’ll ever need.


Not all margaritas are created equal. I try to avoid the super sweet mixes. My favorite NY friend, Erin, always orders her margaritas with ZERO sour mix, which essentially is lime juice and tequila. She’s brave. Brand of tequila is everything. I learned quickly freshman year of college that drinking cheap tequila never ever ends well. I am shuddering writing the words “cheap tequila.” Jose Cuervo is my go-to tequila every time, it was the first tequila after all. It’s smooth, it’s tasty, and it doesn’t leave you with regrets Sunday morning. Okay, that’s debatable. ;) I’m a big fan of Jose Cuervo Tradicional Silver-it’s 100% agave tequila, and oh so perfect for my margaritas.


So here it is folks. The margarita recipe that will turn your already amazing summer friday into the summer friday of all  summer fridays (or your manic monday into an acceptable day of the week).


As you’re enjoying your best-ever-summer-Friday, download the Jose Cuervo augmented reality app. You might say, isn’t drinking tequila on it’s own an augmented reality app? And I’ll say yes, but the Jose Cuervo History in a Bottle app is pretty darn cool. The video below introduces the app, but essentially you can point the app to your Tradicional bottle and see it come to life. If you’re four margaritas in, this might get trippy folks.




Pretty cool right? And you can be the coolest kid at your memorial day weekend parties and spew out trivia know one else knows like “Did you know Jose Cuervo invented the margarita (the most important invention ever obviously)??”


So check out the app, watch the video, and pour yourself a margarita or 3 because it’s only the beginning of summer fridays. Drink up friends! peach-margs-jose-cuervo

This post was sponsored by Jose Cuervo in celebration of Jose’s 219 year history, however my love for tequila, margaritas, and Jose Cuervo is completely on my own accord. Many thanks for supporting the wonderful sponsors who help this blog out. Without them, how would we know what to put in our margaritas??