Wednesday, June 21, 2017

FRONT PORCH MINI MAKEOVER- NEW BLUE FRONT DOOR


You might remember that several months ago we bought an old door to replace our front door.  It was quite a process getting to this point, but the new front door is in and our front porch mini makeover is complete!


(this post contains affiliate links)

As a reminder, here's what the door looked like when we bought it- one side painted with multiple colors and the back side stained.


After much patching and filling in, sanding, paint stripping, and re-painting, it's finally exactly what I had pictured.  Well, almost.  I wanted a brass door knocker too but it doesn't really work with this style of door.   That's ok, though.  I'm loving the simplicity of it.

After removing layers and layers of old paint,


(if you follow me on Instagram and saw my stories you know what I'm talking about!) I started off with a super glossy paint that I thought would look fantastic.  Strike one.  Once on the porch the color wasn't what I had in mind, and I was having trouble getting the glossy sheen to dry properly.  So, I darkened up the paint a little and it was better, actually a pretty blue/gray color, but it still wasn't the color I had in mind and the gloss was still a bit uneven.  And, I realized when we leaned the door up for a test run that the gloss didn't look right.  I've seen some beautiful lacquered front doors, but this one wasn't working for me.  Strike two.

Here are the first two attempts- it's hard to tell in the first one but the color was much brighter-almost turquoise- in real life.


I scrapped the glossy plan and started completely over with a new shade.  I chose Dignity Blue from Sherwin Williams and had it mixed in a satin finish, then held my breath as I painted the door for the third time (actually it seemed like about the 20th time counting all of the primer coats and mistake coats!).

The third time was the charm, because now the door was exactly what I had in mind.  The perfect shade!  Our porch is always shaded so I love how the pop of color brightens everything up.



A new brass handleset finished it off nicely.  We're debating adding a brass kick plate at some point, but we'll see.


I will let you know that changing out the door was not as easy as we had hoped.  It was a tad too tall so it needed to be trimmed, which was no big deal.  However, the handle and lock position did not match up to where the previous ones fit into the door frame (not even close), so we had to hire someone to replace the entire door jamb and refit things for the new door.  Even with that, we still came out much better than buying a new door would have been.  This old door still has a quirk or two and isn't perfect, but it's charming and we're happy with the change.

While we were at it we also switched out the exterior porch light.


I bought this light several years ago from a thrift store in Dallas for a whopping 89 cents I think.  I completely forgot to take a before shot (well I did, but I posted it on my IG Stories and forgot to save it, so it was gone in a day), but the finish was goldish and damaged and there was no glass.  I ended up with about $50 in it by the time I painted it and replaced the glass, candle sleeves, and bulbs.  Well worth it!  That scalloped detail across the top is what did me in and made it impossible for me to pass it up, even in it's sad condition.


I've had these urns for several years, but just added some gold detail like I did on my old concrete planters years ago.  This is my favorite gold paint to use for projects like this, it covers extremely well in just one coat and holds up well.


It's hard to tell in the photos unless you look closely, but I painted the trim around the door the same white as our patio trim.  We're planning to get the house painted soon and I wanted to test the color, and I also like the crisper warm white against the door than the tan trim.


I'm excited about using wreaths on my door now.  The oval glass on the old door made it a little difficult to hang a wreath, they always looked a bit odd.  As a reminder, here we were before:


And with a pretty new update!


I was definitely inspired by all of the beautiful front doors that we saw on our trip to London several years ago. This one makes me happy and reminds me of that wonderful trip every time we arrive home now!




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Monday, June 19, 2017

HOT CINNAMON SPICE ICED TEA


It's already been especially hot in Oklahoma for the past week or two.  I'm not a fan of hot tea, but I enjoy iced tea particularly in the summer.  My Mom discovered a flavored tea years ago that she does like to drink hot, and it smells so delicious that I thought I'd try it cold.  It's been a favorite ever since!


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1 family size regular iced tea bag
sugar or sweetener if desired



Boil about 4 cups of water, then remove from heat and brew all tea bags in the pot, covered, for 5 minutes. Pour into a gallon sized pitcher and fill with water. I don't like my tea very strong, if you do don't add as much water.  Optional- I like to boil another round of water and soak just the cinnamon bags again for a longer time (20-30 minutes), then add that to the pitcher before filling the rest with water. That might be a big brewing no-no, but I like to think I get a little more out of the cinnamon bags and it makes the flavor a little stronger.



Adding a sprig of mint in the summer makes it even more refreshing!



This tea is best kept in the fridge and served cold.  Do you prefer hot tea or iced tea?  What's your favorite flavor?


SOURCES:
Iced Tea Goblets  ||  Stemware Coasters- Vintage (similar here)  ||  Pitcher- vintage  ||  Yellow Tray- Homegoods  ||  Green Striped Tea Towel- Hobby Lobby  ||  Blue and White Pot- Ross  ||  White and Yellow Pot- Vintage  ||  Green Bird- Vintage with this spray paint  ||  Coffee Table- Vintage with this spray paint  ||  Black and White Rug  ||  Outdoor Sofa (on sale!)  ||  Pagoda Pillow- At Home  ||  Green Pillow Fabric- unknown



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Friday, June 16, 2017

DIMPLE WORTHY DELIGHTS- MY NEW SOURCE FOR AFFORDABLE FASHION


Hello there, Happy Friday!  We've been out of town this week and as much as I hoped to have a few posts ready for you before we left, that didn't happen.  And, although I took my computer, I chose to enjoy the moment and not to open it to try to get a post up while we were gone.  So, there's the reason it's been quiet here this week.

This is not turning into a fashion blog, but I share things here as they're happening and we've had several occasions lately that I've bought some new clothes for. With the busyness of the end of the school year, getting ready for our garage sale, and traveling, the projects have been a little slow lately but I'll have my new door and front porch makeover ready to show you next week!

(this post contains affiliate links)


I have a new website that I've beenordering some things from, and I wanted to share it with you all today. I've actually been aware of it for well over a year, but have always been hesitant to order because things obviously ship from overseas, I wasn't sure how easy returns would be, and ordering clothes online can be tricky for me if I don't know exactly what I'm getting or if I'm not familiar with how a brand's sizing works. So, after seeing a few big fashion bloggers post something here and there from this site, I finally decided to throw caution to the wind and try it out! And, I'm pleased to say, I'm happy with what I've found!

This clothing is not necessarily top quality to purchase as an investment piece to last years and years, but if you're wanting a trendy piece without spending a fortune, it might be for you. For a large majority of the pieces, they are VERY affordable and on trend. And surprisingly, I've been pleased with how good the quality is on several of the pieces I've purchased, especially on the ones with embroidered details. The pieces with extra details and embroidered stitching are well done.

We were in Phoenix last week and stopped by a big mall before heading out of town, and imagine my surprise when I popped into Zara (we don't have one in OKC) and saw several of the IDENTICAL pieces that I've seen on this website, and a few of the exact pieces that I had already ordered, at a price that was at least double of what I had paid. Score!

(Zara carried this in red, too, I just snapped a pic of the blue.)






Convinced to take a chance and give it a try?  Here are some tips I've learned for ordering from this website:

*Pay attention to the measurements and general customer reviews. When I found a piece I was interested in, I compared the measurements to a similar item from my closet that I knew fit. Sometimes a certain measurement (like waist) isn't included, so you just have to take a chance and guess based on the style of the garment you're ordering.

*Consider the fabric content. I try to stick with cotton or cotton blends for the blouses I look at, but it's totally personal preference. I got one blouse that was polyester and I didn't really like the feel of the fabric, but then again I got a polyester dress and it's fine.

*GET THE 1.99 RETURN INSURANCE. I always add the extra fee on to be able to return what might not work. You're not paying tax (or shipping in most cases), so it's well worth it for peace of mind should your items not work. You can make one round of returns from each order for no charge and free return postage. If you decide later on to return something else from an order you've already returned things from you'll have to pay an extra charge.

*Don't be in a hurry to get your items. Let's face it, these things are shipping from China most likely, and they're usually on a slow boat. ;)  I've waited as long as 3 weeks when my order has been delayed for whatever reason. I think the quickest I've ever received something was probably 10 days-2 weeks. Even if you order enough to qualify for free expedited shipping, that doesn't mean it's going to be fast (I think one of my “expedited” orders took 3 weeks-probably customs delays or something).

*Your items will ship in a plastic bag mailer, and each piece will be in a labeled plastic sleeve. I always cut mine open carefully and keep it to send my items back in should I need to return anything. In case of return, I slip it back in the plastic sleeve it came in with the item # on it to make the process easier, then put it all back in the original mailer. As long as the original shipping information is covered up, you can tape it back up, tape your return shipping label to it, and send it on it's way-no need to go to the hassle of finding something to pack it back up in.

There are SO many selections to wade through on the site.  Next week I'll show you some pieces that I've kept and how I styled them, but for now here are a few that I ordered that just came in yesterday.  They're fresh out of the package so they're wrinkled and rumpled, but I wanted to tell you what I thought about them.  In general, I think any of the more fitted type pieces tend to run a bit small.  I have broad shoulders and long arms so I sized up in almost everything.  For reference, I'm usually an 8/10 and M shirt (sometimes Large depending on style and brand).  I'll make notations about sizing if needed.

I really like this blouse for a lightweight summer top that can carry over into Fall as well.  The embroidered detail is very nicely done and I really like the bell sleeves and lace detail.  I sized up one, but honestly it was a little tight in the upper arms and across the bust- and I NEVER have that problem!  ;)  I would recommend sizing up on this one, possible even 2 sizes especially if you would need a little more room in the chest.  



Here's another top with very nicely done embroidered details.  It's a simple cotton fabric and is lightweight without being too thin.  The peplum waist is cute.  Sizing up one was a good fit for me.


Another pinstripe with cute embroidered detail and ruffled 3/4 sleeves.  The hem is rounded and I really liked this one when I tried it on.  Sized up one for the shoulders and it was a good fit.  It will be cute with jean shorts, white skinnies or slacks, or distressed denim in the Fall.


I had high hopes for this dress, but it was a big disappointment.  I expected the white body to be a t-shirt knit type fabric, but it was a thin, sheer polyester type fabric.  Love the style, but the fabric is bad.


This dress is quite cute.  I love the puffed, ruffled sleeves and the elastic neckline can be worn on or off the shoulder.  I sized up and it had a generous fit without feeling like there was too much fabric.  My normal size might have worked, although with this style I don't think there would have been a big difference between sizes.

Note:  On the "dresses", pay attention to the length in the measurements.  I'm 5'7" and I would be uncomfortable wearing most of them without something on the bottom, so I treat most of the dresses like a tunic and wear them with skinny jeans or pencil cropped pants.  They'll be great with leggings in the Fall, too.


This skirt is darling.  The fabric is fairly thick (no slip needed) and it hits below the knee.   I ordered a size up and the waist is still a little small, so I'm undecided if I'll keep it.  It's a nice piece though and a great deal, so it might be worth keeping in anticipation of losing a few pounds (working on that!).   ;)  It would be cute with a button up white or chambray shirt- tucked in or tied at the waist, or even a casual t-shirt.  It also comes in black and white!


This dress is super cute and the knit fabric is a nice weight. However, it only comes in one size fits all.  I decided to try it anyway and ummm.... no.  My daughter wears a 2 and it would have fit her.  Cute if you're petite and thin (or for your tweenager!).  Both of us also thought the two brass grommets in the front were a little strange.


I wanted to like this dress but the cut wasn't quite right for me.  I sized up and the upper sleeve and back of shoulders were still a little tight on me.  Love the ruffle sleeves and hem and the embroidery is really nice, though.


This red and black checked dress was one of my favorite things from my order!  It's a steal and the fabric is a nice weight for Fall/Winter.  It will be perfect to wear with leggings and tall boots or cuffed jeans and booties when it gets cooler.   I sized up for my shoulders but it's a loose babydoll type fit, so I might have been able to get away with my regular size.  It's not too big that it's worth returning, though.  You'll be seeing this one again!


I hope these reviews were helpful, and mainly that the general review of this website helps answer questions you might have and ease any uncertainty about ordering from a foreign site- or this one at least!  I've been nothing but pleased so far with the process and their customer service.  I've placed 4 orders with them in the past few months, kept and returned things from each one, and my account has always been credited in a timely manner after a return.  I'm a new repeat customer for sure!  Let me know if you try anything, and next week I'll show you a few of my favorite pieces not shown here that I kept and wore on our recent trip.



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