10 Things that Made our Kitchen Cozy

Happy Saturday, All!

If you were with us earlier in the week, you watched our kitchen transform from a blank slate with colonial pineapple wallpaper to a warm, but vibrant space in just one day! Although that work took such a short amount of time, I cannot say that decorating and adding the finishing touches was the same experience.

Our experience with this house so far: the painting, re-carpeting, and renovating goes fairly quickly and the “making it our own” is a slow, evolving process.

This is okay with us because our taste in what we like also seems to be a slow, evolving process! For instance, at one point, we were loving the quirky layout of these large frames in the Master Bedroom… but as we continue to look at them, we’re thinking that we might want to try a different look. Although we knew it was not completely finished (please ignore the fake couple in the middle and the photo displayed in the wrong direction) even when we hung these, now we are looking into a completely different plan than our original intentions. See? Tastes change as the room evolves!

Master Bedroom Gallery Wall

We’ll save that project for a rainy day.

Back to the kitchen: Over time, we collected and added things to the room that have really upped its “cozy factor” and have taken it from a house to a home! My hope for today is that you can 1. gather some inspiration and 2. share what has worked for YOU and your space! So, without further ado, let me present…

10 Things that Made Our Kitchen Cozy

1. These New Curtains (from BBB). For the longest time, our sliding glass door “covering” was a shower curtain because it was the only thing we had for the job. Shabby chic, maybe, but not cozy. We replaced it with three curtain panels, installed side by side on a glider. It is tough to find a full length one anymore and this is what the employee at Bed, Bath, and Beyond (BBB from here on out because that is a ridiculous name to type over and over) recommended to us. Bonus Points: These curtains are double layered and have been a great source of insulation for this room in the winter months!

10 Things that Made Our Kitchen Cozy 10 Things that Made Our Kitchen Cozy 10 Things that Made Our Kitchen Cozy 2. This Teal Rug ($9.99 @ Target if you’re hunting). What you may or may not know about me already, is that teal and all things similar are my go-to. You will see that our kitchen is mostly yellows, with blue accents. Enter, the teal rug. Probably not a necessity, but we love it and it adds a bright pop of color to this side of the room! Negative Points: I still have yet to thoroughly rinse/wash this rug to get the excess dye out of it, so whenever something spills, we have to scrub at it in the sink for fear of ruining a whole load of laundry. 

10 Things that Made Our Kitchen Cozy 10 Things that Made Our Kitchen Cozy

3. A New Light Fixture (about $10 @ Home Depot). The original light fixture had good and bad to it. It was unique looking and added some flair to the room, but put off virtually NO LIGHT! Very frustrating to work in a dark kitchen. We changed it out for a standard looking, but more effective fixture. Bonus Points: Don’t worry- we’re not throwing the original away! I have big plans for it, come the spring…

10 Things that Made Our Kitchen Cozy

10 Things that Made Our Kitchen Cozy

4. These Bar Stools (sorry, folks- you’ll have to hunt for some of your own, as these came from a thrift store). This was a happy accident! The thought of having bar stools had briefly crossed our minds as we decorated the kitchen, but we dismissed it quickly upon figuring that we’d never be able to find anything small enough. On our way to somewhere else, we stopped (last minute) in one of the local Thrift Stores with no agenda or “to bring home” list. As it always tends to happen, that’s when we stumbled on these little beauties! They are compact, were in perfect working order, and fit in with the style of our kitchen nicely. We freshened them up with a quick coat of Behr Ultra White paint and called it a day! Definitely one of our favorite parts of the kitchen…

10 Things that Made Our Kitchen Cozy10 Things that Made Our Kitchen Cozy

5. These Canisters (from BBB). We LOVE these! They are an off-white, warm addition to the counters. We like how they contrast with the dark wood of the cabinets, but tie into the white (ish) accents that we have used throughout the room. Bonus Points: They are pretty AND functional. You will soon learn that NOTHING (well, not much, at least) comes into this house unless it can do more than one thing. 

10 Things that Made Our Kitchen Cozy

6. This Mirror (from Home Goods). For the longest time, we could not figure out what to do about the backside of our microwave/shelving/oven hood unit (which we love!). Although the one side is super functional, the back of it left something to be desired. It seemed to make the room feel small and create a barrier between the galley and dining area. We thought of painting it with chalkboard paint, but figured that that wouldn’t solve those problems. Adding shelving would make it stick out so no one could sit on the bar stools. We ended up choosing to go with a mirror. We started with one that had an off-white frame, but it stuck out like a sore thumb against the wood. This mirror fit the bill! It opens up the room, brings in light, and acts almost as a window from the dining area into the galley!

10 Things that Made Our Kitchen Cozy 10 Things that Made Our Kitchen Cozy

7. A Crock full of Accent Colors (crock from BBB). Again, we went with the white to tie into our theme here. We also have much of the same colored kitchen utensils and tools (thank you, wedding registry!) and have realized that they are just as much a part of our kitchen decor as anything else! We even ventured out of our yellow and blue comfort zone into the orange and purple family… although they’re different, they add some depth to the collection. Most of the blue tools are from BBB and Macy’s, orange and purple come from Home Goods, and the cute orangey patterned rolling pin can be found at Target. Bonus Points: Again, decorative (which I never thought kitchen tools could be so!) and functional.

10 Things that Made Our Kitchen Cozy

8. The Clock (from BBB). A necessity! We like how the colors of the border play along subtly with the rest of the kitchen. Not drastically the same, but close enough to tie the space together. It is in a prime location because you can see it from everywhere in the room and the hallway. Plus, shells remind us of the beach and we love the beach. Win!

10 Things that Made Our Kitchen Cozy 10 Things that Made Our Kitchen Cozy

9. This Valence Curtain (from BBB). The original curtain here was not too bad, but we got a fresh, crisp new white one because the original had been covered in soot. Mitch was at a meeting one night and I made it my own personal goal to get it installed before he came home. With the help of an electric drill and the Walt Disney Pandora station, I had that baby up in no time! Bonus Points: Although it is not exactly the same shade of white or style as the other curtain, the two still help to tie the room together into a cohesive space. I actually like that they are a bit different- it adds a twist!

10 Things that Made Our Kitchen Cozy 10 Things that Made Our Kitchen Cozy 10 Things that Made Our Kitchen Cozy

10. A Variety of Decorative Nick-Nacks. We’ve collected these from various places and at various times. You know what I’m talking about- everyone has a few special nick-nacks in their home. These are the things that really make our space our own (just like they do for you in your home/room/office!). I’ll give you just a few:

Ceramic Bird Salt ‘n Pepper Shakers (I believe they came from Pier 1). My mom has the same ones at her house and I love love love them, so she got me a set for my Bridal Shower. Thanks, Mom! Note: They are not the most consistent items in the way of dispensing said spices. Depending on the angle in which you use them, you could either end up with a grain of salt or a mound, but once you get the hang of it… not so bad. And anyway, their charm makes up for their lack of spice control!

10 Things that Made Our Kitchen Cozy

Olive Oil Dish Soap Dispenser (BBB). A super fun, easy way to keep dish soap on hand and not have the Dawn bottle out all of the time. Bonus Points: It matches our color scheme and almost acts as a form of “art” in this way! Double Bonus Points: I am a culprit of using too much dish soap (and that stuff is not cheap!). This method is AWESOME for regulating how much soap we use- turns out, a little bit goes a looooong way!

10 Things that Made Our Kitchen Cozy

Window Sill Art (Puerto Rico). We love collecting things from places we’ve been! This was an easy way to add some color to the window sill and help us remember the fun we had while we were there. The purple plaque has a funny/embarrassing story, but I’ll save that for when we’re in need of a good laugh around here… Bonus Points: This one is super easy to replicate (and I don’t mean going to PR to track them down!). Do you have any trinkets from adventures you’ve taken? Find a way to put them on display and you’ve instantly added personality to your space!

10 Things that Made Our Kitchen Cozy 10 Things that Made Our Kitchen Cozy

Hand-painted Bowl (Mexico). Same story here, folks. When traveling, we try to look for souvenirs to bring home that are functional so that we can use them in our house and enjoy them at the same time.

10 Things that Made Our Kitchen Cozy 10 Things that Made Our Kitchen Cozy

So there you have it- 10 (or so) easy ways to warm up a kitchen! The thing about this is that it works for ANY space! Living in a dorm? Apartment? Bedroom at home? No matter where you are, there are always things you can do to cozy up your space.

Leave a comment! What is the Number One thing that has aided in the coziness of your kitchen, house, or room? I’d love to hear from you!

See any images that inspired you? Pin ’em! And as always, enjoy “the fun of it”…


Orange Paper Packages, Wrapped Up in Tape…

These are a few of my favorite things!

Hey Everybody! Today’s post is an especially exciting one for me because it can apply to e.v.e.r.y.o.n.e. This is something anyone can do- even kids (with the help of a parent…)!

Still wondering what came in the mail for me today? Here she is!

ShutterflyShutterfly You may already be familiar with this, but for those of you just now tuning in, welcome to…. Shutterfly.

Shutterfly is an online tool that helps you upload, organize, and edit your photos into a beautiful, custom-made book… that will then be published and mailed directly to your house!  

Note: I am not being paid to advertise for Shutterfly, nor is that my intention here. Shutterfly does not know that I exist outside of the fact that I give them money every so often. 

Also Note: Shutterfly is not the only program available that does this. Read on for other options!

No matter which company you use, the idea is the same: 

Get those pictures off your camera/phone/computer and into your home!

Now, before I discovered the wonders of Shutterfly, I had my own way of displaying photos in albums… the good ‘ole “print and stuff” method. The end result? A wonderful, but heavy vault of life memories.


Above: An album I made of Mitch and I from when we first met, up until graduation.

Below: My own journey from freshman through senior year at Eastern!

Shutterfly Shutterfly

Below: Mitch and Leslie during freshman year…and graduating together in 2012.

Shutterfly Shutterfly Shutterfly  Above: Now these albums have a home in our spare bedroom/ office. Although they turned out great and were fun to make, they do tend to take up a lot of space.

In the end, as much as I loved putting these together, it became a bit more of a process than I could keep up with… enter, Shutterfly. I have done a few Shutterfly books so far and they have been some of our favorite additions to our house. Here’s why:

1. Our pictures don’t disappear. It’s no secret that we live in a digital age. This is all well and good because capturing photos and memories has become that much easier! However, I have SO MANY files on my computer filled with photos that I never look at because they are not available in an attractive or accessible way. After awhile, I forget that they’re even there! Our photo books have helped us to begin to reverse this:


2. They are versatile! I have made albums for all sorts of things (a few of them are featured below). The sky’s the limit, here folks! Trips or vacations, baby or childhood albums, albums of your years in school or college, wedding pictures, a project from start to finish, etc.

Below: An album of our trip to Disney World!

Shutterfly Shutterfly

Above and Below: The guest book we used at our wedding was an album of our Engagement Shots, mixed with a few blank pages and spaces for guests to sign. We wanted something that would allow our guests to get to know us a bit better AND be something that we could look at for years to come!

ShutterflyShutterflyShutterflyShutterflyAbove: To see our Engagement story and shoot, click here.

3. They make great gifts. We are currently working on a few smaller scale versions of our wedding album to give as gifts to our parents (Don’t worry, they already know about them, so no spoiled surprises here!).

4. The process is an easy one.  Shutterfly has step by step instructions available. They also have options so that you can choose how involved you want to be in the editing process. If you want Shutterfly to do the majority of the work, choose the “Simple Path” feature. You tell them which pictures to use and they will arrange them for you! If you’re obsessive over every detail like I tend to be, just select “Custom Path” when you begin and you will be able to do all of the editing yourself. Either way, once you get the hang of it, the process is not difficult.

5. We can make it our own. There are tons of different colors, backgrounds, themes, and symbols  (“stickers”) available to use! We are able to add our own personal touches to each book and have loved how they have turned out so far.

Below: Several different layouts and backgrounds to choose from.

Shutterfly Shutterfly ShutterflyBelow: Add your own frames and “stickers”!ShutterflyShutterflyBelow: Add a title to the spine to keep your books organized and easy to identify.

ShutterflyBelow: Use your photos as full page spreads or double page spreads (this is a favorite layout of mine and one we use often in our books).


5. There are ALWAYS discounts available. My general goal in life is to do everything as inexpensively as possible. Don’t even get me started on thrift stores- that is an entirely different post and we don’t have space/time for it here. While buying the photo albums is a bit of a splurge in itself, Shutterfly is always offering sales and shipping discounts. For example, we recently got over $100 worth of merchandise for about $35 total, including shipping (free shipping!) and tax. Although I may be thrifty, I am willing to pay for these albums because they are unique to us and we were spending the same amount of money doing it the other way anyway!

Trick of the trade: Make your album and let it sit, saved in your Account until a good deal comes along. You don’t have to purchase right away- get those discounts!

shutterfly discounts

6. Most importantly, They add a personal touch to our home. We have our albums on the shelf under our coffee table and pull them out every so often to look through them. Everyone who visits ends up picking them up to page through and we have found that they are great conversation starters! “Oh, you went there too! Did you do this? Or see that?” It’s a neat way for people to get to know us a bit better, in addition to helping us remember the memories ourselves!

sittin pretty

A quick list of a few other features I love about Shutterfly:

  • Your projects are always saved and backed up online, so there is no chance you could lose your work, should something happen to your computer.
  • It gives us another location to back up our photos (actually two- online and in a hard copy book!).
  • Shutterfly allows you to share your photos and projects with others online at anytime (I’ve had people look through mine to check for spelling errors, etc… thanks, Cheryl!)

Now, of course, there are many other programs that will do all of this for you as well, so shop around to see which you like best! A few off the top of my head are Snapfish, Mixbook, Blurb, etc. I can’t speak for the others because I have never used them, but I’m sure that they do a great job as well and have similar features to Shutterfly. (I am in the process of giving Blurb a try for a secret project I’ve been working on… to be revealed at another time. :) ) The main point of all of this is not to find who does what best, but rather, to recognize what potential there is for storing and enjoying our memories!

Want to dip your toes in before jumping all the way? Check out our Shutterfly Share Site to page through a book. Like what you see? Give it a shot yourself!

I’d love to hear from you! Have you used Shutterfly or another similar source? What has been your favorite photo creation so far? Or, maybe you’ve been inspired to give it a shot? Leave a comment below- I’d love to hear your thoughts and stories!

With that, I’ll leave you to your travels down Memory Lane (because I know you’re on your way to dig out the boxes/computer files with all of those old photos). Happy Reminiscing!


PS. Don’t forget to check back in on Saturday… we’ve got a big post all lined up!

10 Things that Made Our Kitchen Cozy

Update: See the 10 Cozy Things post here.

Fastest Reno Ever: Kitchen Edition

Our kitchen is one of my favorite rooms in our house. Thankfully so, because, like a lot of kitchens, it tends to be our Command Center. Before, we’d only be in there for what we needed to do. Now, we really enjoy spending time in the room, playing games, working from home, etc. I love having a space that fits us!

Fortunately, it did not take very long to make the room into what it is today… thanks to the help of many other people besides Mitch and I. Let’s get right to it- we all know that the pictures are the best part anyway!

Once upon a time, our kitchen looked like this:

BEFORE KitchenAnd this:

BEFORE Kitchen

Kitchen: BEFORE Kitchen: BEFORE Kitchen: BEFOREThings that stayed:

  • All original walls, ceiling, and closets. Well, closet.
  • All appliances (thank you, God, for blessing us with brand new appliances upon move in!)
  • Kitchen Cabinets and Counter tops
  • Chandelier (although this ends up getting its own makeover… keep an eye out for that post!)
  • Flooring
  • Back door leading to patio

Things that went:

  • Wallpaper
  • Chair rail
  • All original curtains
  • Light fixture in galley
  • Leftover layer of soot on all walls and cabinets from a previous neighbor smoker/past fire (This was my own personal place of misery… while everyone else got to do the fun painting, I was scrubbing soot off of all of the cabinets and fridge. Womp, womp. I just didn’t feel right about giving the job to someone else…)

Step 1: Remove all of the wallpaper and the chair rail! A big thanks to my cousin, Jess and my mom for their demolition skills and patience with removing wallpaper!

Kitchen: BEFORE

Also pictured above: Our very first kitchen table (it comes with its own story, so we’ll save that for another day) and the MASSIVE bag of rice off of which Mitch was living during those days.

Kitchen: BEFOREStep Two: PAINT! We chose a bright, cheery yellow for this room. We wanted it to be bold, but cozy. In the end, I think it was the perfect color choice for us.

Below: Getting ready to open the first can of paint, EVER USED in this house. Funny enough, it wasn’t even for the kitchen… that’s ceiling paint!

Kitchen: BEFOREKitchen: BEFORE Kitchen: BEFOREAbove and Left: This is where the S.W.A.T. team comes into play… on one Sunday afternoon, we had family members, church members, and Youth Group kids all over the house and in the backyard working on projects. They were AWESOME! The result: a finished kitchen in one day. Incredible.

Step Three: Installing Beadboard paneling in seating area and into galley. My dad and Rachel, a Youth Grouper, went to town on this project and had it almost completely installed before the end of the night.

Bead Board

Above: For this project, we used Cape Cod MDF Beadboard, purchased at The Home Depot. This product is awesome- easy to put together and gives an “instantly gratifying”, finished look to the project. Eventually, we put a coat of Behr Ultra White paint on it, but it looked great even before that. The baseboard and chair rail are sold separately, but should DEFINITELY be used with the beadboard, as the beadboard snaps into place in the grooves of both rails. This takes a ton of time off of the installation process!

Below: Right before we put the beadboard up! My sweet mother painted this for me to model next to. She made sure to give our house some character… some “mystery behind the walls”, so to speak.

Kitchen: BEFOREBelow: Installing the beadboard!

Bead Board Bead Board Bead BoardAbove: Halfway there!

Below: Finished!!! 

Beadboard in the KitchenBeadboard in the KitchenStep 4: Paint all trim and doors white. (This goes for the whole house, actually. The house had dark gray trim everywhere, which we quickly changed to white.)

Kitchen: BEFORE Kitchen: AFTERAfter all was said and done, the room felt so much more like us! A big THANK YOU to all who helped us make it so! Here are a few more Before and Afters to end with for today:

Kitchen: BEFORE
Kitchen: AFTER
BEFORE KitchenBead board in the KitchenAnd that’s a wrap!

Coming up this week…

10 Things that Made Our Kitchen CozyUntil then- Happy President’s Day, everyone!


Update: Want to see more progress on this room? Check out how we added the cozy factor, installed floating shelves for instant function and style, upgraded the chandelier in just four steps, and filled the empty wall!

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