Mega Millionaire

I’m not generally one to daydream about what could be. I don’t spend much time wishing I was rich or wishing I was famous or planning how I’d spend my lottery winnings (I don’t play the lottery so the latter would be particularly silly). My mom is a dreamer like that and to me, it seems to breed discontent to spend much time thinking about things that aren’t likely going to happen.

But, I saw on this morning that the lottery is up to $540 million. Which is apparently the biggest lottery amount ever up for grabs. And just this once I couldn’t help my mind from wandering.

What if I did buy a ticket? What if I won?!

The total pay-out if a person were to select the lump-sum option is $389 million. Figure half for taxes and you’re looking at about $195 million. Cash. Holy cow. What on earth would I do with $195 million?

Let’s see.

$2 million – pay off all of our debt, all of our parents’ debt, and all of our siblings’ debt
$5 million – buy new houses, in cash, for us and our parents. New cars all around.
$3 million – give a million to each set of parents just to blow on fun stuff.
$10 million – split into two accounts for B and I to blow on whatever we felt like
$50 million – give to charity
$10 million – set aside just for taking the most kick-ass vacations ever with our friends and family
$15 million – split between three sets of parents for retirement living expenses
$20 million – retirement account for B and I
$80 million – invested to live off of

Yep. I think we could put that money to good use. How would you spend $195 million if you had it?


New Bedding!

After painting the furniture in the guest room last week, I was just itching to make another big change in there. I hit my favorite mall (i.e my computer for online shopping) and was surprised how quickly I found a bedding set I really liked! I ordered it immediately and it just came in today.

It is still a bit wrinkly from shipping (how does one get wrinkles out of something that is dry-clean only?) but I couldn’t resist throwing it on the bed immediately to show it off.

The bed before… boring white with a dark green dust ruffle.

And after!

I really love it, it is totally unlike my normal style… but it fits the neutrals/glam vibe I’m going for in the guest room. I think the shiny fabric makes it a bit hard to get a photo of, but its mostly a taupe-y color (not grey) with ice blue.

The question now is…. curtains? As you can see… I’ve taped some fabric to the wall to get an idea of whether or not I want to use that fabric as curtains. I bought it originally to do curtains in the great room, but then decided that satin didn’t really go with the casualness of the room. I definitely like the idea of satin for the guest room, and I think the texture of the fabric is super fun.

The question is, is it too boring to have curtains that almost match the cream wall color? Or is it okay because they have so much fun texture and the bed has color in it? I would be doing a (DIY’d) brushed silver curtain rod extending the length of the wall up near the ceiling.


My advice is: buy new furniture

Okay maybe not really… but wow was this more of a pain in the ass than I thought it would be! I think that the problem with painting furniture is that it seems pretty small. And I know I can paint an entire room in an afternoon, or at most a day. So it seems like painting something like say… a dresser and two night stands would be cake.

What I didn’t think about is all the edges. A wall is a nice, big, flat surface. It’s also relatively porous and takes paint well. Furniture is all curves and legs and tiny pieces that all need to be painted perfectly, and its smooth which makes painting it a lot harder.

In the end, I spent about 9 hours on this project. It took me about an hour to take each piece apart (remove all the drawers and knobs), wipe everything down (it must be clean!) and lightly sand any damaged areas (like where there were big scratches on the top of the dresser).Then, it took about 2 hours to apply each coat of paint. One coat of primer, three coats of white.

I have to say that, in the end, I’m thrilled with this project. It is one of those things that I kind of hated while I was doing it because painting is not my favorite thing, but I think that the transformation is huge and bought me at least a few more years’ life out of these pieces of furniture. And, the grand total for this project was about $40 including having to buy a new paint brush.

The supplies?

1 paint tray – $2.50
sand paper- already owned
1 4-inch roller – $4
2-pack extra rollers – $4
masking tape (to tape off mirror)- already owned
primer- $6
white paint- $9
paint brush- $9
9 new knobs- $9

Total: $41.50

The cost for this project would have been even lower except I ruined my last 2″ paint brush doing the chalkboard paint project. Also, I bought new hardware for the dresser to make it match the silver knobs on the night stands and to update the look a bit. Additionally, I used less than 1/4th of the primer and only about half of the paint, so I have those for future projects.

But, let’s get down to brass tacks. I started this project by going to lowes and talking to the guy in the paint section about what I wanted to do. I got his advice and he picked my paint, primer, and roller for me. When in doubt, trust the guy that looks like Bob Vila. He said that the great thing about the primer he was suggesting was that it did NOT require you to sand your finished wood pieces first, unlike most primers. Nevertheless, I still sanded the top of my dresser because it was pretty damaged from years of use and abuse. This dresser was actually my great grandmother’s so I have no idea how old it might be or what happened to it before.

And here is the set prior to doing anything (I’m kicking myself for not getting a photo of the dresser with the drawers in it, but trust me… it wasn’t good).

Once I had that sanded and I had taped off the mirror, I primed everything.

The point of priming is not to get a nice even finish, but rather to get a first layer on there that paint will stick to. From what I’m told, it is supposed to look that bad. Next up came three coats of white paint. I did each coat at least 24 hours apart to make sure that the paint had fully dried between coats. There really is no magic to painting except to try to get the paint on in thin and even coats so that it doesn’t end up running or smudged.

Fast forward 6 hours (over the course of about a week), and I was able to install my new hardware! Since I had removed the old knobs, there were already holes ready and I was able to just pop on the knobs I bought from Lowes without haven’t to bust out my drill or tape measure. And at about $1 each, I think these definitely were worth the extra time to pick out.

And that’s it! Here are the before and afters.

The room obviously still needs a ton of work, but I feel like just this one relatively cheap step has made it feel a lot lighter and more cohesive already. Once I get some curtains up, a few things on the wall, and some new bedding, I think it will really start to feel a lot more like a planned room and less like a depository of left over furniture from other rooms (which okay… it is. But we all have to work with what we have, right?).

Anyone else undertake some furniture painting projects? Did you find it to be as tedious as I did?

Weekend Update

I was hoping that today I would have shiny new pictures of our furniture all finished and white and replaced in its’ spots in the guest room.

But I don’t.

For two reasons, really. The first is that I was sick for the entirety of last week. Allergy/sinus issues that kept me up nights and make most of last week kind of a hazy blur for me. I only missed one day work but I wasn’t really up to doing a lot after work. The second reason is that I was hoping (desperately) that the furniture would only require two coats of paint (on top of the primer).

Unfortunately, I got the second coat of white on last night it’s just not going to cut it. It looks pretty good. In a pinch I guess I could call it done. But when you already have 8 hours in a project and it would only take 2 more to go from “pretty good” to “perfect” it seems like you should just finish it right. So, progress:

But it will be a few more days before it is really done (maybe even until next weekend because I’m in trial this week). Boo.

In other news, we had a terrible storm here last night complete with tornado sirens for about 45 minutes. The pets were not amused. The cats insisted on hiding under the couch even though we told them their usual spot in the basement was much safer (silly cats didn’t want to listen) and Stew was panting/drooling/shaking like a leaf. It was really sad. Although B trying to calm him down was pretty much the cutest thing ever.

Eventually the sirens went off and it was “just” a bad thunderstorm with hail rather than a bad thunderstorm with hail and tornado sirens, and Stew calmed down enough to hide himself under my legs for the remainder of the night. Which I have to admit was actually pretty comfortable!

But, overall it was a great weekend. I was still not really feeling too great so we just hunkered down for an entire weekend in (hermit-ish even by our standards, we usually at least go out for food or a movie). Friday night I had photos to edit from a 6 month shoot I’d done Friday morning and then I started the third Harry Potter book. Saturday was filled with Dexter on demand, basketball, ordered-in pizza, and me finishing the third book. Yesterday was more Dexter, some painting, lots of basketball, and me starting the fourth book (I’m 200 pages in already!). And, of course, capping our evening off with Walking Dead (sooo sad its over but excited for Season 3 in the prison!).

So, there is my weekend update. Anyone do something more interesting than us for St. Pat’s?

Lameness loves company

As I’ve mentioned a time or ten, B and I are kind of lame. We really like staying home for the most part, and we’re not really out-on-the-town type people. Which I’ve come to love about us and have (mostly) stopped feeling self-conscious about.

Last night, though, we were watching our latest Netflix series— How I Met Your Mother. I’d never seen it before and B had only ever seen one or two episodes, so we started from the beginning. In the middle of the first season there is an episode called Zip, Zip, Zip. Two of the main characters, the engaged Marshall and Lily, have plans to spend their 9 year anniversary at a bed and breakfast upstate and go to some sort of Maple Festival.

Just as they’re getting ready to leave, they’re obviously trying to get pumped about it. But as they go back and forth talking about the weekend (the drive, the having to get up early to get breakfast, the middle aged couples that always infest bed and breakfasts), it becomes clear neither of them want to go. And so they blow off their anniversary weekend to stay home in sweats and watch a Quantum Leap marathon.

I have to admit, it made my heart happy. Because that is exactly the kind of thing that B and I have done– and will probably continue to do (like for example nixing our anniversary weekend away in favor of doing a staycation). And sometimes, it’s nice to have confirmation (even in sitcom form) that our homebody lameness is not so unusual.

My travel bucket lists.

When I was 11 I decided that I wanted to visit all 50 states before I was 50. Made sense at the time because I was 11 and I had been to 11 states. I’ve fallen a bit behind now… although I’m not quite sure visiting all 50 states is a goal of mine. For example… I’m not sure if I really need to see Alabama. No offense to anyone who lives in Alabama… but it’s not really on my to-do list.

Regardless, I found this fun map tool online and I thought I’d see where I’d been. Here’s a map of states I’ve actually spent more than an hour or two in (i.e. visiting or driven through).

If you count states I have just had lay-overs in, the map expands just a bit.

And just for fun, I did a map of all the states I have been to PLUS all the states I actually would like to go to, for comparison’s sake.

The website to make your own map is here:

This got me thinking about how many countries I (haven’t) visited. So I googled to find a map maker for that. here is where I’ve been:

Here are the places that are on my bucket list to go (plus the ones I’ve already been to):

And here is where I have some interest in going, although most of these I’d be fine either way.

World map making tool here:


Guest Bedroom in Progress

As I said yesterday, one thing I really struggle with in terms of decorating is balancing my desire to make things pretty with my feeling badly about spending money to accomplish that. This really comes into play with the guest bedroom since it is a room that is so rarely used. It seems somewhat pointless to spend money on it when it is only used maybe 6-10 nights per year and its perfectly comfortable as is.

And yet, comfortable just doesn’t seem like enough. Whenever I’m staying at someone else’s house it’s always a bit uncomfortable because it’s not MY bed. And I think that feeling is probably multiplied when you’re in an essentially bare room. I really want people to feel comfortable when they stay there, and I’ve decided this is going to be the next room I work on.

I’ve gone through a lot of ideas for this room. First I thought yellow walls, they seemed so sunny and happy. Then I thought about doing the same aqua-y blue we have throughout most of the rest of the house, and doing either yellow or red highlights throughout the room. But then? I saw this room in a blog post.

It is everything my style usually isn’t. Neutral tones and somewhat traditional, whereas the rest of our house is modern and filled with color. But, I really loved the photo and I figure that a guest room is a great place to try out a style that doesn’t exactly jive with the rest of the house. And the neutrals do seem really soothing, don’t they?

So, this is my inspiration. To remind you of what I’m working with, this is the guest bedroom. This is an old photo, but the room looks essentially the same except I switched the green blanket for a white one and added a red chaise to the nook by the closet (relocated from the man cave when we redecorated).

Big. Empty. Boring.

So, to transform this room into something a bit comfier, here are my plans:
1. Paint the night stands and dresser white.
2. Consider a new headboard (maybe upholstered? DIY’d?) or paint current one white if I can’t find another I like better (on a budget).
3. Hang curtains along the whole area behind the bed. I’m thinking silver? Or maybe a soft blue or green.
4. Make slipcover for chaise
5. Get new bedding in a soft neutral pattern (this might be last since bedding can be expensive!)
6. Hang a chandelier over the bed
7. Consider doing a tone-on-tone stencil in the nook by the closet.
8. Hang some art on the walls (the easiest and yet probably the last thing I do since hanging things on the wall is always my hardest/least favorite thing).
9. Finishing touches (lamps, something on the dresser? etc)

I think this might be a work in progress over a bit of time because spreading out the cost will make me feel better about the overall cost of it.

But for today at least– I’ve gotten started! Guess what I did? Here’s a hint…

**3.5 hrs later**

Yep, I started on painting the furniture! I got everything primed today (yes, it is supposed to look that terrible and uneven. Gets worse before it gets better!). I plan to do two coats of white paint at least 24 hours apart, but since I’m not sure of my schedule this coming week my goal is just to get it done by next Friday so we can give them 48 hrs to fully dry and get everything moved back to where it should be next Sunday.


Also, I bought a chandelier! This was DEFINITELY a splurge item, but since I plan to do everything else in the room on a budget, and since I reallyreallyreally love it, AND since I feel like this will really be a focal point of the room— I just went for it.


It’s on back-order until June which kind of sucks, but maybe that will give me a goal to work towards (have everything else done in time for the chandelier to be the final touch?). We’ll see how it goes.

Anyone else tackling a whole room? How do you keep from getting overwhelmed with all there is to do?