Staying Stylish in Suburbia

DIY Gold-Dipped Side Table Before and After

Thursday, September 18, 2014

I've been meaning to do this post for a while now. It's one of those projects that I wish I had better side by side before and after pictures for. If you scroll down through the photos though, you'll definitely see the dramatic difference. 

Okay, so here's the back story. I had my eyes peeled for a pair of side tables that we could use in our family room. I spotted these two ugly ducklings during a drop-off at the thrift store. They were actually in the Goodwill parking lot, and hadn't even been priced yet. I asked them how much I could get for the pair and they told me forty dollars. I didn't want to pay that much, especially since I could see they were going to take a lot of work. I pointed out all the flaws, yellow, nasty discoloration and all, and told them I would pay 20 for the both. They agreed. 

Even though they were nasty and dirty and yellowed with age, I could see the diamond in the rough. The shape and size was perfect for our space, and so I went to work fixing them up...

The first thing I had to do was sand them both down completely. This meant going over them once with a rough paper to get all the old paint off and then afterwards with a finer grit to get them smooth again. 

Next, came the priming and painting with one coat of primer and two coats of white paint each.

I knew that I wanted to do a gold dipped leg on these tables so the next thing I did was measure the same amount on each leg and tape it off with painter's tape.

I then covered the rest of the table in paper. You could also use newspaper for this part. 

Next, I spray-painted the legs with gold spray-paint I bought at Michael's. 

Finally, I removed the painter's tape before painting both tables in a clear coat for protection. And...

Ta-da!!! Two beautiful custom-made gold-dipped side tables for twenty bucks, plus paint so maybe thirty bucks total. 

I love how they fit into into our house both functionally and aesthetically. Score!!!

Lifestyle Shoot with Four Wishes Photography

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I'm not sure what it is about me, but I tend to make friends with family photographers. Not that I'm complaining. As far as friends go, they're a good bunch to have around. I have a deep love for photography and anything that captures these fleeting moments with my family. 

When my friend Sandi Farrell from Four Wishes Photography offered to do a family photo shoot with us, I jumped at the opportunity. Before our session, Sandi let me know that her work leans towards something called "Lifestyle Photography." The definition for this style of photo documentation varies but Wickapedia explains it as, "...a style of portrait/people photography which aims to capture and document real-life events, situations, or milestones in an artistic manner." In other words, it is the art of the everyday.

I love that idea. First of all, instead of placing us in a more posed setting, we were able to be in the comfort of our home, which was great for the kids and much more relaxing for us as well. Not to mention, the years go by so quickly. The little daily rituals and routines we have as a family today will be gone tomorrow. So why not capture some of those smaller, precious moments to keep forever? 

Sandi came over one Saturday afternoon and followed us around as we played in the yard, read with the girls, got Mazzy up from her nap, ate lunch etc... It was a fairly typical Saturday in the Briggs household, and now we have it to look back upon in the years to come. 

If you are in the NOVA area I highly recommend, Four Wishes Photography. Sandi is easy to work with and a talented photographer with a wonderful eye. You can check out her website and portfolio in link above. 

Here are a few favorites from our shoot...

There Goes My Heart...

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Today was her first day back at preschool. This year I didn't full out cry but my throat got tight and my eyes were misty as I watched her walk away. Letting go, even in the smallest of ways, is such a bittersweet part of parenthood. She has grown and changed so much in the past year. Lately, when I tell her that I love her she will respond by saying, "I like you mama. I love you and I like you." She says this almost every time now.  I'm not sure where she picked it up but I share the feeling. Love is one thing. Love feels inevitable and binding, even if you wish it wasn't at times. But liking someone, that's something all together different. You get to choose who you like, which makes it that much more significant somehow. There are times when she drives me nuts, of course, but that girl is so damn likable.

Sometimes I can't believe my luck. I literally sit back in awe of the little delightful, stubborn, smart, independent, quirky, funny, creative, sparkly eyed creature that I have the privilege of raising. She is seriously a little bit magic, that one.

It's terrifying though. I see her sweet innocent spirit and I don't want the world to change her. I don't want her to hurt or stop believing that she beautiful or brilliant. I watch her walk away and for those three hours what happens to her is out of my control. And I know that this is just the beginning. Preschool is like the training wheels for letting her go more and more in the years to come. It's like that Elizabeth Stone quote, "Making the decision to have a child- it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body."

I know she has to have her own experiences. I want that for her. All I can do is be there for her whenever she needs me, always and forever. xo

Goodness knows what I'll do when the littlest starts school though...

Writing and Online Curation for Wellness Warrior

Monday, September 8, 2014

Happy Monday everyone! I know that's an oxymoron to most but I'm actually really happy today. That's because after taking a break from the working world for a while, (to be with my girls) I am officially back to the grindstone. Why, you might ask, is this cause for celebration? Well, besides the obvious benefits of having work, I'm really excited about the website I'll be writing for and what it stands for in general. In fact it hardly feels like work at all. I get to do what I love, while working from home for a cause I wholeheartedly believe in. Somebody pinch me! 

Wellness Warrior was founded by the legendary Deborah Szekely. Deborah is a 92 year old activist, entrepreneur, James Beard-nominated author, former diplomat, and a leader in the modern organic garden movement. 

Wellness Warrior was born out of her vision to create a space where people could go to get the latest curated news in health and wellness information, along with advocacy, and petitions, as stated on the website itself.

"By curating, gathering, and sharing news from top reporters, experts, and researchers all across the front lines of health research and advocacy, Wellness Warrior provides you with a literate, engaging one-stop gateway to the many battles being fought today to PREVENT illness BEFORE it ruins the lives of us, our children...and all future generations."

My job as an online curator and writer includes scouring the web for the latest and most interesting health and wellness news and then writing it up for our readers. Whether it is an article on the new "Digital Detox Movement", the most delicious, "End of Summer Recipes",  how "Corn Could be the New Gluten", or the breaking news that Perdue plans to, "Stop Pumping it's Baby Chicks Full of Antibiotics", Wellness Warrior has got you covered. 

Check it out and consider signing up for their weekly newsletter, The Well, or liking them on Facebook to stay connected with the Wellness Warrior community. 

Image Source

The Pleasure of Painting

Thursday, September 4, 2014

I have begun painting more regularly. It makes me really happy. I've always loved to paint but I'm taking it more seriously these days, although it feels anything but serious. It feels like a release. The more I paint, the more I want to paint. I literally close my eyes at night and see colors and compositions I can't wait to try. I've been sneaking in my garage/studio time while the girls nap. Either that or Esmae and I will paint together while the baby sleeps. She loves making art too and it's been a blessing to share that time with her. My hubby built a beautiful easel, along with the custom paint box below, out of recycled wood from our old couch. He's kinda amazing.  

As it turns towards autumn, I feel like I'm in a new season within myself as well. I have a lot going on but all good things. Life feels busy but sweet, which is just the way I like it! xoxo