Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love oatmeal cookies, especially old fashioned gooey oatmeal cookies! I know the world loves oatmeal raisin cookies but I'm sorry, I prefer chocolate chips in mine. #SorryNotSorry 

In the midst of an oatmeal cookie craving recently I panicked.  I had everything I needed except brown sugar and I wasn't at all interested in going to the store to get some. Ugh, I was pretty emotionally invested in having oatmeal cookies. I needed to focus. 

I did a quick google search and realized I could make brown sugar if I happened to have molasses. Why would I have molasses? Holy crap, I have molasses and it's never been opened! When did I buy this? Wait. OMG I can make brown sugar and have oatmeal cookies to munch on while I watch ALL the episodes of Criminal Minds on A&E.  

Seriously, 1 1/2 tsp of molasses mixed with a cup granulated sugar and bam  =  brown sugar for my oatmeal chocolate chip cookies! 
Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 2 sticks margarine or butter, softened
3/4 Cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 Cup(s) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 Teaspoon(s) vanilla
1 1/2 Cup(s) all-purpose flour
1 Teaspoon(s) Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon(s) salt (optional)
3 Cup(s) Oatmeal (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)

1.) Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

2.)  In large bowl, beat together butter and sugars with electric mixer until creamy. 
    3.) Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. 
    4.) Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. 
    5.) Add oats and chocolate chips, mix well.
    6.) Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until light golden brown.
    7.) Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely.

    Hump Day Confessions: Daily Commute #TheStruggleIsReal

    Vodka and Soda

    For my Hump Day Confessions post I’m focusing on things that infuriate me during the daily commute to/from work. I think this is appropriate because this is my last week at this job and I’m hoping I don’t have to deal with this daily torture ever again (ha! good luck, right?!). 

    1.) I confess, I hate people that don’t abide by the zipper rule on the interstate. Seriously people, if you just let the next person in front of you into the lane, we wouldn’t have to come to a dead stop. Stop being a total jerk and insisting that the person who is simply trying to merge into traffic is personally offending you, you don’t need to speed up or block them from getting in, you’re just ruining it for everyone!! 
    2.) I confess, I cringe inside when someone cuts me off right before a stop light, just so that they can be the first person in line, when I was actually going to make a right turn at that light and now I’m stuck sitting behind this asshat for 2 minutes! 
    3.) I confess, I detest people who slow down to a crawl when driving on brick roads. I have to navigate miles of brick roads (they are great for adding historical charm to urban areas so I’m a fan) for no less than 10 minutes to get out of my neighborhood and onto main roads and it kills me when someone ahead of me is too concerned about their precious ridiculously expensive SUV to drive a normal speed. Driving over bricks at 5mph is NOT HELPING! 
    4.) And finally, I confess, I loathe when people brake to slow down on the interstate rather than simply taking the foot off the accelerator and slowing down. People breaking causes those behind them to panic and slam on their brakes which causes a chain reaction of epic proportions. This is generally the reason you end up in congestion, stop and go traffic only to finally get to the “front” of the mess and see no destruction, no roadblocks, nothing - just all the sudden traffic is moving again. It’s because a couple jerks braked causing the whole world to crumble behind them. 

    What are your biggest pet peeves when driving to/from work?!

    Coffee Table Makeover

    My parents recently downsized which meant they had all sorts of stuff to get rid of! Much to my delight, they had plenty of pieces I was more than happy to take. All the items we ended up with we quality pieces worth holding onto, but thier appearance just didn't work with our current design. So, I've been slowly restoring each piece and working them into our rooms. 

    One piece I completed recently is our living/family room coffee table. I actually grew up with this table. It was in the living room and I remember it fondly, it was still in great shape but the wood had faded and didn't stand out next to our wood floors. Plus, it was a much too formal looking piece than I thought the room needed. Here it is in our garage before I painted it:
    I knew I wanted to have a casual, nautical-vibe type look, but I didn't want to use plain white. We have an awesome built-in feature directly across from where the coffee table is and I wasn't sure I would be able to match that exact white and I wasn't sure I actually even wanted that much bright white in the room. So I went with "almost aqua", a super soft blue. It's such a soft bluen that once I added in my homemade chalk paint ingredients it definitely passes as white in the right lighting. 
    Of course I had to beat it up a little. I just sanded off the paint layer to reveal the darker wood below in random spots. I also used a wet brush to apply the paint on the top so that brush marks would show up and there would be an uneven, more natural look. To finish, I sealed the entire piece with polyuthene. 
    I love how it came out! Being a nostalgia freak I adore the fact that this table was in all our homes growing up and that now it's getting a new life in mine! 

    For a little side-by-side comparison: 

    Sunday Social

    Today’s Sunday Social is a fun little mix of random questions and answers about yours truly!

     Social Sunday
    1. What’s your favorite scary movie?Probably, Carrie - "they're all gonna laugh at you!!". Completely terrifying! 
    2. What is your favorite weird TV show you think no one else watches? True Tori - omg, I can't get enough. It's actually incredibly hard to watch, but I can't stop myself. 
    3. What is the song you can sing all the words to without any music?Wilson Phillips: Hold On - Stop judging
    4. What is your favorite book to re read?Little Women
    5. The one website you visit more times a day than others?QVC.com - I'm obsessed with everything, again, stop judging ;)

    Bacon, Egg And Cheese Breakfast Ring Recipe

    For us, during the summer, Sundays mean breakfast!! During the winter months both of our parents are down here (snowbirds!) and we see them for an early lunch/brunch every Sunday, but during the summer I get to indulge in my love of breakfast!!

    Today, I made the bacon, egg and cheese crescent roll ring that is so popular on Pinterest. It's super easy, which wins major points in my book as cooking is not one of my best talents - baking, yes, but cooking,  not so much. And it's delicious! What's not to love about bacon, egg, cheese and crescent rolls?!
    4 Slices bacon, cut in half
    1/3 cup milk (plus 1 tablespoon)
    4 eggs, slightly beaten
    1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury™ refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
    1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (4 oz)
    Salt and Pepper (if desired)

    1.) Heat oven to 375°F. Line large cookie sheet with cooking parchment paper or silicon baking mat (I used one I received as a wedding gift because I'm obsessed with them!)
    2.) In medium bowl, beat 1/3 cup of the milk, the eggs, salt and pepper with fork or whisk until well mixed. Pour egg mixture into skillet. Cook 5 to 6 minutes or until eggs are thickened throughout but still moist. 

    3.) Unroll dough; separate into 8 triangles. On parchment (or silicon baking mat)-lined cookie sheet, arrange triangles with shortest sides toward center, overlapping in star shape and leaving 4-inch round circle open in center (see diagram). Crescent dough points may hang over edge of cookie sheet. Press overlapping dough to flatten.
    4.) Place bacon on each of the triangles. I recommend using pre-cooked microwavable bacon as it's thiner and cooks better in the oven during the short cooking time.
    5.) Sprinkle 1/3 cup of the cheese onto widest part of dough. 
    6.) Spoon eggs over cheese. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup of the cheese. 
    7.) Pull points of triangles over eggs and cheese, and tuck under dough to form ring (filling will be visible). 
    8.) Carefully brush dough with remaining 1 tablespoon milk; sprinkle with remaining 1/3 cup cheese.

    9.) Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until deep golden brown. Cool 2 minutes. 

    Housewarming Gift (DIY Art Project)

    A friend of mine and her husband recently moved into their very first home and invited us to their housewarming party. When Matt & I first moved in, she was so sweet and gave us a basket filled with home decor magazines and a bottle of champagne. And for our "I Do BBQ" she made me an adorable hostess gift (she even wrote a blog post about it here)! So, I knew I wanted to make her something personal and unique, something that she would always remember I made for her (even if she didn’t like it - she’d still remember it, LOL). I asked her, in a not so sly manner, if she could send me a picture of the outside of their house and of course, no questions asked, she obliged. And from that one picture, I came up with a plan to create a unique DIY art project. 

    - Multiple copies of the photo you wish to use canvas
    - Acrylic paint in your choice of colors 
    - ShapeTape (I selected their Chevron pattern)
    - Mod Podge (Matte finish)
    - Wood stain/finish 
    - Vinyl alphabet letters
    - Sponge paint brush (3)

    1.) Glue the images you want to use to create the desired message (I had 11 images printed from Walgreens.com for $6) on the canvas with Mod Podge (I used the Matte finish so that there wouldn’t be a glare or shiny appearance). Let the Mod Podge dry for at least 2 hours before moving on to the next step.
    2.) Use the vinyl adhesive letters to spell your desired message. I knew I wanted to go with “home sweet home”, but believe me, this isn’t as easy as it appears. Those letters are super sticky and because the canvas was covered in Mod Podge it’s sticky too, so moving letters for spacing issues was a major pain, but not impossible. 
    3.) Paint over the vinyl letters (covering the entire canvas) with one of your two selected colors. I let the blue paint dry for at least an hour before I moved on to the next step.
    *This is where I strayed from the instructions on the ShapeTape box, you really shouldn’t start the ShapeTape process until your paint has been dry for at least 24 hours, but I knew I was going to distress the entire piece before finishing, so I wasn’t worried about the ShapeTape working perfectly. If you want a perfectly finished look, I definitely recommend waiting 24 hours before starting the ShapeTape step.*

    4.) I applied the ShapeTape chevron pattern tape and tried my best to adhere it properly. However, because I wasn’t using a totally smooth surface, it didn’t adhere as well as it could’ve (again, I was okay with this because the overall look of the finished project was going to be more rustic).
    5.) Next, I used the brown paint to cover up the blue areas and create my chevron pattern. I let the paint dry for only a few minutes before removing the ShapeTape (that’s the recommended procedure). Then I went to bed. Seriously, it was past 11pm on a Wednesday night and I was spent. Also, I’m old - so it was way past my bedtime. 
    6.) The next day I was ready to pull off the vinyl letters to reveal the “home sweet home” message (through images of their house below). Slowly peal the letters up to reveal the image below - it’s like the game Operation, it’s super stressful and exciting at the same time! This process is honestly the most important in the entire project. Don’t rush yourself! If I hadn’t known that I was going for a rustic look, so rips and imperfections didn’t matter, I would’ve dropped the F-bomb no less than 10 times while going through this step. Cause I’m classy like that. 
    7.) Once all the vinyl letters have been removed the images are now revealed to spell “home sweet home”. 
    8.) I wanted to give a quick aged/rustic touch to the piece because I don’t like things to look too “perfect”. I have some leftover wood stain from my entertainment stand project so I just brushed a really thin layer of stain over the entire canvas and rubbed it off with an old towel and then let everything dry. 
    9.) Finally, I sealed the entire piece with one last coat of Mod Podge. 

    Done and done! 

    What do you think?

    Dining Room Makeover: Before And After

    When we bought our house our current dining room was actually a pool table room.  It had some nasty beige berber carpeting and taupe and tan walls. There also was no actual wall separating the living/family room which is a full step higher, they were using a couch as the divider.
    Since moving in, I've had a hard time fighting in many "this space should be a dining room" battles. And I've seen a few pool tables (with covers that could double as a dining room table), some pretty decent options - but they are hella expensive, more expensive than my table - so, for now, I get my dining room.
    We added in a half-wall to separate the living/family room space up above from the dining/sunroom space down below. It seemed strange to be adding a wall when everyone is so obsessed with tearing down walls and creating open floor plans, but I wanted the dining room space to have a finished feel. Without the half-wall, we'd be staring at the back of our couch when sitting at the dining room table and I didn't like that idea.
    I love our dining room now. What about you?

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    Bedroom dresser turned dining room buffet/sideboard

    We were in the market for a buffet table, sideboard or something similar for the dining room but I just couldn't find anything that I could justify purchasing. Everything I liked looked like a project I could take on myself and since I love painting furniture I decided to take on the project. 

    When we moved in together Matt and I had a lot of pieces we didn't really need and a lot of duplicate items (who really needs 2 of everything?!). Matt had a dresser that was "mountain cabin" light oak in color and quite large (remember the early 2000's when furniture got really big because everyone had to fill up their McMansions in the 'burbs?). It was never going to work into our current home design style so it had been sitting in the garage since we moved in. Being that it was huge, I decided it would work well in the dining room as a sideboard or buffet type table.

    I'm terrible at remembering to take "before" shots but it seems I remembered to snap a quick one before I got too far into painting: 
    First things first, I didn't bother with much prep before I jumped into the painting process. I used my own, homemade Chalk Paint recipe (blog post coming soon!) and just painted 2-3 coats of navy blue (the same paint I used in the bookshelf knock in the adjoining family/living room) paint before I started the sanding/distressing phase. I like to use a chisel to chip away pieces of the paint in spots that aren't easily reached via my husband's electric sander. I like to scuff/beat the piece up enough to add character and take away the "furniture store" look, I usually spend several days applying light coats of dark wood stain/sealer. Once I'm happy with the overall look I just apply a final thin coat of polyurethane to finish. 
    I swapped out the existing hardware with mix-matched knobs from World Market. I selected knobs with complimentary color schemes to match the rest of the room. 
    The center console area has an adorable turtle knob, which I am HAD to get because we had a turtle lay eggs right outside the dining room window. So now I call this the "Turtle Table".

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    #TBT My First Table Restoration Project

    I have some strange obsession with my kitchen table. I bought it over 8 years ago because it fit into my budget (which means it was cheap) and it was totally boring. Just your standard white/wood farmhouse style table from a basic furniture store that is no longer in business (which says a lot for the boringness of the furniture they sold). It looked just like this:
    It was the perfect size for the tiny kitchen nook that I had at the time and being able to fold down the sides made it even more practical. However, it was definitely a blank slate that was crying for me to personalize it! 

    For my first attempt at renovating the table I painted the white areas black and re-stained the light wood areas a darker stain. It looked pretty good, a definite improvement and it stayed black and dark wood for about 3 years. This is a terrible picture, I know, but it’s the only picture I still have of it in this state, so it will have to do:

    The table stayed black for a couple years. Until I got bored with it again and decided it needed another makeover. This time, I decided to go with robin’s egg blue, which turned into an obsession. I buy things in varying shades of turquoise without even knowing it these days. 

    Since I was going for a distressed, vintage-inspired look, I didn't bother sanding the table before I painted. Once it dried I used a screwdriver to scrape away some of the blue paint to expose the black paint beneath. I sanded off the shiny varnish and then sanded certain areas to expose the older, lighter wood. Then, I had fun beating the table up with some chains, a crowbar and a hammer. Seriously, it was so.much.fun!!! Finally, I sealed the finished table with a clear, matte polyurethane. I was stoked with the results! Here it is in my old apartment:
    I still love this freaking table! We thought about getting a newer, higher quality table for the new house, but I'm just not ready to let it go yet. This boring, cheap table has evolved, it has character and a story now and I love it even more because of that. Here it is in our current kitchen:

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