Steals & Deals – At Home

Last weekend my mom and I spent almost 3 hours in At Home, and didn’t even make it through the entire store. At Home is the old Garden Ridge near Carolina Place Mall. I’ve heard mixed reviews, but if you have some time to do some searching, you can walk away with some great steals! Here’s just a few of the goodies we found, at a fraction of the price!

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1. Ginger JarGinger Jars

2. Round Back Dining Chairchairs3. Acrylic Ghost Chair 

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4. Bamboo Mirror

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Wedding Wednesday: Is it selfish to have an adult-only wedding?

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It’s a decision every couple planning a wedding has to make: Should we invite kids, too? Honestly, this wasn’t even a conversation when it came to our wedding. We knew from the beginning that we wanted an adult-only wedding. We have several reasons for this…

  • Weddings are EXPENSIVE and adding kids to the mix means more mouths to feed
  • Kids and crystal don’t mix
  • Have you ever been to a wedding where a baby starts crying in the middle of the ceremony or a kid blurts something out and totally distracts from the moment?
  • Our wedding is going to be a very classy, elegant affair and we want our guests to be able to fully enjoy it without having to worry about their kids running around
  • Every couple deserves a good date night (or weekend) away from the kids
  • None of our close family members have children so there won’t be a flower girl or ring bearer

Last week The Today Show featured an article written by an upset adult who was asked not to bring her children to their wedding. Her gripes include  she will “shell out over 100 bucks on a babysitter, plus the wedding gift. It’s a horrendously expensive date night and I’m sorry (and no offense to you and the love of your life), but that’s really asking a lot of your guests with young children.

So what do you think, is it selfish or not?

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http://www.today.com/video/are-weddings-for-adults-only-selfish-477946435903

$25 Upcycled Table

Perhaps one of the most exciting parts of registering for our wedding is the idea that one day we might actually have real, adult-like belongings. True story, Matt eats off of speckled camping plates and my version of ‘fine china’ is my Tervis Tumbler collection.  In my fairy tale of married life, we will have a well-balanced meal every night and eat off of matching plates and silverware that weren’t purchased from Wal-Mart while in college. This vision also includes a dining table and that’s where the fairy tale comes to a screeching halt.

I had a table and 4 chairs that I basically ruined (read that mishap here) and then later sold on CraigsList for $60. That left us with the coffee-table-while-watching-Wheel-Of-Fortune option, and that’s definitely nowhere in my fairy tale.

My sweet coworker Kristi let me know that her neighbor was selling a kitchen table. While the table had lived on a back porch and needed some TLC, it was still a very nice, substantial piece of furniture. Because I have a serious issue with making any type of decision, I sent my Interior Decorator (also known as “Mom”) to check it out. She agreed that it would be money well spent. Matt and I went later that week to pick up the table without knowing it weighed upwards of 200+ lbs.  Our engagement was definitively tested trying to carrying it off the porch ourselves, through the yard, and then lifting it into the bed of a truck. We were able to unload it and store it in the garage of our new place; which is where I was afraid it would stay forever after Matt declared he never wanted to see it again. Lucky for me, my fiance’s long-term memory isn’t the best, and after a week or so he was ready to tackle the table project.

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We had borrowed my Dad’s pressure washer for a few other projects, so we figured we might as well use that to clean off the pollen and dirt from the table.

We first thought we could use a sanding block to take off the finish, at least down to a layer where we could either re-stain or paint over. That lasted all of 10 minutes before we realized we needed the electric orbital sander.

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And just a word to the wise…after 3+ hours of sanding, you’ll think you’re done…but don’t forget you also have to sand the leaf…

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Although it required a lot of elbow grease, the end result was well worth all of the time it took to sand it down to nothing.

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The following day we began the fun part, which was painting the base. Mom and I spent about 25 minutes picking out the color. Who knew there were SO many shades of cream?! The table took three coats of the paint to cover the previous black paint but looked great afterwards.

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Matt’s dad was in town for work so before he treated us to dinner, we asked if he could kindly help us carry the table inside.

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Once inside, we put two coats of Minwax Provincial on just the top and then sealed it with a clear polyurethane.

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My mom scored these two cane back dining chairs from the Habitat Restore for $30/chair. They are Drexel Heritage chairs and great quality. Won’t they look great reupholstered in velvet or animal hide? The options are endless! More to come on this project…

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We are so impressed with the final product. Isn’t she a beaut? All in, we spent about $50 on paint and supplies and then of course $25 for the actual table.

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At the end of the day, I will always love this table because it was the first real project Matt and I worked on together and where we will share our meals together. Now I guess this means I need to learn how to cook….

Wedding Wednesday: Cohabitation and a Little Help from my Friends

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Matt and I have had to make a lot of big decisions lately, but I think the most important (and difficult) one that we’ve recently faced was to move in together before or after the wedding. This wasn’t just a one time conversation we had, but more like months and months of going back and forth.  The first factor we considered was the logical side of things. My lease was up in May, and Matt’s was up in July. We don’t get married until October so what would we do for those 4-6 months in between? Then of course the financial piece played a big role. This is one of the most expensive times of our life, and could we really afford to pay double rent and utilities until October? We went through every option possible, and then back and forth 30 more times, and once we thought we had our minds made up, it would change again. I think the turning point was when we brought this up during one of our pre-marital counseling session. Our therapist started off saying he didn’t care which decision we made one way or another, but only about how we came to the decision. In life, and marriage, there are going to be a lot more challenging decisions than this. And although it seemed like a life changing decision to make at the time, a year from now it will be a non-event.

We had ultimately decided I would rent a new place once my lease was up and that Matt would move in once his lease was up in July. Honestly, the financial factor drove that decision more than anything. Then, after our counseling session, as soon as we got back into the car we both looked at each other and said that deep down that is not what we wanted. We have been extremely intentional throughout our dating relationship about making defined decisions to make our marriage the best it can be, and both have a strong desire to have our marriage feel different than dating does. Our therapist told us that there are certainly activities we could do to make the marriage feel different if we did chose to move in together before the wedding (date nights, new traditions, etc.) but at the end of the day, we both wanted to wait. There is just something really cool about coming home after the honeymoon, as a new family, into a new place together.

All that being said, I definitely understand the other side of the coin. First and foremost, it completely makes financial sense to only pay one rent and one set of utilities. It also can be seen as a “try before you buy” situation and many are able to work out the “kinks” that living together brings before the big day.

Coming from someone who has to have the bed made perfectly every morning and who more often than not leaves the cap off the toothpaste, I am a bit nervous living with Matt. Are there habits of mine that will drive him crazy? Will I lose my marbles if he doesn’t fold the sheet down the perfect way or fluff the pillow exactly the way I like it?  Sooooo, I did what any girl would do: ask  my girlfriends to weigh in so we can all learn from their words of wisdom. I polled my closest girlfriends in the hopes of starting a larger conversation with all of you. If you’ve just moved in with your significant other (or are talking about living together in the future!), I hope this will be helpful!

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1. When did you know you were ready to live together?

“i knew i wanted to move in with him because it allowed me to “do life” with him more since we don’t get to spend a lot of time together. i guess i knew i was ready when i realized that calling the same place home would allow us to interact a lot more & share more even though we still work opposite schedules. ie. i can cook a meal for dinner and he can have it for lunch the next day, leaving notes in the morning, he grinds the coffee beans and gets it all set up for me for the morning, etc.” – Laura

“I didn’t know and I don’t think Jason did either. It made sense logistically and financially and as unromantic as that may sound we just decided to do it. I didn’t know we were ready until after we did it and it just seemed to work.” – Chelsea

“As cheesy as it sounds..we knew we were ready to live together when we knew we were going to spend forever together :)” – Kathleen

2. What was the best part about living together for the first time?

“sleeping next to him every night. it’s a comfort unlike i’ve ever known. and dance parties in our living room.” – Laura

“Not having to worry about what I forgot to pack in my overnight bag… Wooohooooooo!!!!!” – Chelsea

“The best part about living together is coming home to my favorite person. Unlike living apart when I would only be excited at the end of the workday when I had plans to see him, once we moved in together I started to realize that around 4:30 I’d catch a second wind knowing I got to go home and hear all about his day and tell him about mine! Also, cooking dinner together is super fun! Cooking is such a good bonding experience and a good way to get to know someone even better. B is a GREAT cook” – Kathleen

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3. What’s one thing you wish you had known before taking that next step?

“i honestly can’t think of anything. we really talked a lot about what the day to day would look like once we lived together so we had a good plan in place. it also helps that we both still get a lot of alone time with the way our schedules work.” – Laura

“Naturally I overthought the whole process and stressed about worst case scenario (he’ll get sick of me, I’ll get sick of him, when will I watch Real Housewives?). I wish I would have just relaxed and enjoyed the time leading up to moving in together.” – Chelsea

“I wish I had known that my husband was such a neat freak!! He cracks me up with how he cleans up behind me. He is always telling me how messy I am which is hysterical and so opposite of what I thought a traditional husband/wife role would be. Once I was cutting veggies with a pair of kitchen scissors and every time I would pick up a handful to put them in the bowl I’d turn around and find the scissors gone. He was picking them up as I was using him…three times in a row before I realized what was going on. I’ve noticed it happens a LOT and is definitely a habit he picked up from his own dad, which is actually pretty adorable.” – Kathleen

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4. Anything you didn’t know about your significant other until you cohabitated?

“the only thing i can think of is that he plays video games more than i realized – probably cause it’s during the day mostly when i am at work.” –Laura

“I’m really trying to rack my brain here but I can’t think of anything. We have been unusually open since day 1 so I don’t think there have been any surprises.  Boring, sorry!” – Chelsea

“I wish I knew B had no qualms over using someone else’s bath towel. People that know me well know our towel story from our first few weeks of living together… I do not share towels (I don’t think most people do..) but he doesn’t care AT ALL and grabs the first one he sees as he gets out of the shower. Interesting first fight!!” –Kathleen

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5. What advice would you give a couple who are about to move in together?

“prepare, plan, talk a lot, make sure you are clear on money & who will pay for what, give it a test run for a few weeks, be patient, be kind, be understanding, be assertive when needed, and enjoy it! it’s really fun to live with the person you love. things/habits will drive you crazy if you let them, so speak truth in love and forgive each other for the way our parents made us :)” – Laura

“Pick your battles and don’t sweat the small stuff. You may not love all of his decor but it’s about creating a place that you both feel at home in. Also.. You can buy throw pillows and say “ill return them if you don’t like it”. He won’t make you return them 😉 It’s the best feeling ever knowing that you get to go home and hang out with your bestie everynight.”  -Chelsea

 “I would say that while you have to let some things go you also HAVE to speak up about others! Can you imagine if I hadn’t told B to stop using my towel? Where would we be right now?” –Kathleen