Erika + Collin

Its back to Grey Towers in Milford PA!  It has become my go to spot to photograph beautiful young couples.  I had so much fun with Erika and Collin and and honestly say we laughed the entire shoot.  They are young, in love and ready to take on this world.  Congratulations you two and I can’t wait for the wedding!

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Family Fun at the Zoo

I have so many exciting things planned in my mind for us as a family to do together.  Taking Liam to the zoo was definitely on the list! I know he is only 4 months old and he will have no recollection of this day later on but the moment I heard him start giggling at the deer as Chad was feeding them made the entire trip worth it! I think that Chad and I found our inner child and became more excited about seeing the animals more than watching Liam see the animals…..(even after he fell asleep half way through!) I can’t wait to take him back when he gets older! One of the cutest was seeing a house cat snuggle up to two raccoons for a little norming nap!

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80 Miles Closer To A Cure

I work full time at a local insurance company and one of the perks it offers is a free gym located on our property for all employees and their spouses.  It’s actually a very large and up to date gym and offers a lot of group exercising classes throughout the week.  Since my dad also works at the company my mom and I will usually meet up when I get out of work for one of the classes.

In early 2013 we met for our regular evening spin class we had been taking.  The class was normal, nothing we did was really that new to our bodies but the next day my mom started complaining about her arm hurting.  She said from her neck down to her finger tips was sore and felt numb…almost like when you hit your “funny bone” on the table and it sends those pins and needles up and down your forearm.

My brother is an athletic trainer for the local community college and told her it sounds like her had a pinched nerve.  She was icing and heating and treating it like a sports injury since none of us really had an idea of what it could be.  As time went on the numbness never went away and we figured it must be some kind of pinched nerve.

 Finally it was time to go to the doctor and figure out what this mysterious sensation was.  After many tests including a spinal tap, it was decided….my mother had multiple sclerosis.  If you have never heard of it, it is an autoimmune, progressive disease where the sheath around the nerve cells in your brain and spinal cord are damaged.

We were all shocked at the news, especially since what little we knew of the disease, it happens mostly in younger ages.  She is over 50.

 Her doctor discussed how “episodes” of MS  such as her tingling in her arm could be brought on by getting over heated which could have resulted from the spin class we were taking.  She was put a new medication that recently came out and showed some promises and is regularly monitored for new or lessening symptoms.  So far she has had no new episodes but continues to live with the constant tingling in her arm down to her fingertips.  I sometimes catch her shaking her hands and opening and closing her fists.  She was told the feeling may never go away.

 She continues to exercise regularly with walks and yoga, and eat lots of kale thanks to the wonderful world of the internet, and lives life as normally as she can.

 Two years ago my sister Meghan (God bless that little ball of energy) signed up for a City of Shore bike ride to help raise money and awareness for those living with MS.  She road over 75 miles on her bike and raised over $2,000 for the cause.  This is her 3rd time participating in the race and has set her goal at $3,000. She has committed to riding 80 miles in just 1 day! Liam and I hope to meet her at the finish line!

 The money she raises helps with so many things such as providing round-trip transportation to a medical appointment, purchasing walkers or shower chairs, much needed research or a scholarship fund for a high school student living with the disease.

This blog post is a tribute to both my mom for her courage that she shows on a day to day basis and to my sister who has committed herself to partake in such a physically and mentally demanding event to raise awareness and valuable resources that will help so many people around the country.

If you would like to support my sister in her race I have posted a link to her donation page below.  Go get em’ Meg! I’ll see ya at the finish line!  (My sister in on the right 🙂  )

Copy and past the link in your browser bar to see Meg’s personal site!

https://secure3.convio.net/nmss/site/Donation2?idb=2139474467&df_id=51834&FR_ID=25223&PROXY_ID=11497022&51834.donation=form1&PROXY_TYPE=20&s_subsrc=bfDskFbPfMsg&s_src=boundlessfundraising

MS city to shore 2014

Getting Creative with Thrifty Decor

It’s been made pretty clear that during the summer time I thoroughly enjoy traveling around the county to various garage sales and thrift stores on my Saturday mornings, picking up unique, pretty, and CHEAP items for my home.  Here are a few more!

These glass bottles looked like a miniature version of the glass milk bottles that my family used for favors at my baby shower so it was instant love at first sight!  At $2 there was no way I was going to pass it up either.  I intend on using these for several uses such as storing dried herbs from our garden, holding candy during Halloween or Valentines day, but for now it is going to be a home for my scallions.  I love to use scallions in almost everything I cook.  And if you put them in just a little bit of water they will continue to regrow as you cut them!  This fits perfectly in the window in my kitchen and looks completely adorable! 🙂

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One of the newest obsessions that my husband as gotten into are old wooden crates, preferably explosive crates.  In a short amount of time he has started up a small collection.  I knew I had to come up with something clever to use these crates with before I went absolutely bonkers looking at them scattered around the house serving no purpose….  my answer….. Our new shoe cubby.  Because they are so old and have “weathered many storms” if you will, I don’t feel bad about putting our dirty shoes and boots in them.  I was surprised at how cute they actually looked in them and the best part was… Chad even liked the idea! Victory!

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I guess I have to thank my husband for deciding to collect random objects because it forces me to get creative with my decorating… it also keeps me from losing my mind with him 🙂

He loves the look of old pharmaceutical bottles as well.  I struck gold at a local barn sale where the owner had shelves and sheaves of them.  I only had a few bucks on me left from a successful day so I picked out 4 of my favorite looking ones and got them for $1 each.  I was able to get an old glass Listerine bottle, Halls Sore Throat Remedy, and a medicine bottle from Montclair NJ. I have to admit they are the cutest little things and a great part of history that make a wonderful conversation piece when people visit your home.  I, myself, am guilty of collecting old bottles at garage sales so I gathered up a few of them and decided to make a nice centerpiece for our dining table.  My inspiration was from Joanna Gaines from the HGTV show Fixer Upper.  I see her put various greens in each bottle to and normally put it on a fireplace mantel.  I found bunches of greenery at Weis on sale so I picked them up, cut to size and placed them in varying heights on the table.  I think it came out pretty well!

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Thrifty Children’s Art Station

The idea for a little art station started when my mom came across this adorable wooden children’s desk at a local consignment shop.  It has been painted numerous colors before landing the most recent classic white and was made out of solid wood.  She was so excited, as any eager grandma is when they find something for their grandkids, and at $8 who could blame her?!  She sent me a picture asking if I would want it for Liam and of course I couldn’t pass it up.  We went the next day to purchase this little gem and bring it home.  I could have given it a fresh coat of paint to spruce it up but I liked the weather and worn look, showing its many years of service to little boys and girls.  It then became my mission to find a chair to go with it.  The season of garage sales had just begun so I added it to my list of “must have’s” and set out on our usual Saturday morning search.

I wasn’t expecting us to find it so quickly but a week later there was a community sale within a section of town homes not far from us that we decided to check out.  Sure enough, one of the homes had a little wooden chair sitting off to the side (as if just waiting for me to bring it home) with a yellow sticker reading $5.  It was old, built solid, and beautiful.  I measured to make sure it was the right size for the desk and as fate would have it, it was.  The older woman selling it saw my eyes light up as I ran from the edge of the driveway to get a closer look (a small rush that happens when you look for something specific and actually see it for the first time).  She told me it was an old school chair from one of our local elementary schools which made it even more worth while.  I had recognized this woman and have actually bought things from her sales in the past.  She always had fun things that were right up my ally…old, weathered and worn, with stories to go with them.  The last time I was at her sale I bought a box of old mason jars that my husband and I used for decorations at our wedding.

I grabbed the chair and without question paid the owner.  Liam’s future art station was coming together!  Now I know I may be getting ahead of myself as he is only 9 weeks old…. but seriously, how can you pass up an $8 desk and $5 chair that will hold up and look so perfect in his playroom?!

To complete his station I used a rustic candle holder that I had bought a while from Home Goods and was using in the bathroom to hold cue tips, cotton balls and bath salts, and switched it out for crayons, paint brushes and colored pencils.  I used a wooden painted banner my sister in law made for my baby shower as a finishing touch to tie his little creative corner together.  It is both exciting and sad to know that I will blink and all of the sudden Liam will be sitting at that desk coloring pictures all day long.  And all for just $13….  Gotta love thrifty treasures!

childrensdesk

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Care For A Spot Of Tea?

Chad loves his tea…I mean LOVES it! He knows all the different kinds and what they are good for, has special tea pots that look like they should be in a lab and a collection of class jars housing all of his favorite loose leaves.

Needless to say this little obsession took up some space in the cabinets of our very teeny tiny kitchen.  When I was pregnant with Liam I knew we had to make room in the cabinets for bottles, cups, bibs, and what ever else comes with feeding an infant.  Not really sure how we would squeeze everything together I went into the adjoining sunroom and looked around for some unused or underdeveloped space.  Since our kitchen is so small we couldn’t actually fit our garage cans in that room so we kept them just outside in the sunroom.  I hated the look of it and it really brought the whole room down.  I asked Chad to build a cabinet to house both the garbage can and the recycling can so it wasn’t so …. in your face….

After the cabinet was finish and I painted and stained it, it really worked well in the space.  I thought, why don’t we take this one step further and make Chads one Tea/Coffee bar to use up the space above the cabinet in a unique way that will display his glass jars and tea pot as well as free some some cabinet space in the kitchen.  I saw this idea of course on Pinterest and also on the HGTV show Fixer Upper.  We used chalk board paint to write on and scrap wood from other projects we did around the house.  It costed us almost no money at all and now is a great conversation piece and gives the sunroom a much needed homey look.

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coffeebar

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New Life!

It’s true when they say one’s trash is another’s treasure.  It’s summer time, which means I have my list ready and every weekend I’m off searching the many garage sales and flea markets around the county to find the perfect pieces for my home.  There is something so satisfying when you find a tired and worn down item, big or small, and with a little tender loving care, it breathes new life and serves new purposes for years to come.

Last year I found an out dated sewing table and had this idea I wanted to flip it into an outdoor bar table.  I had seen it done before and thought the idea was genius!  The sewing machine is housed inside the table and when the top is closed it looks like a regular night stand.  I found it at an estate sale and bought it for $20, more then I wanted to spend, but I had dreams of up-cycling it and then selling it for a profit. I took out the sewing machine and placed a roasting pan in its place.  This is where the bottles and ice can be held for the out door bar.  The top door of the table then becomes a countertop to hold glasses and napkins.

My cousin’s wife had just done a large painting project with this beautiful light blue color and I thought it would be perfect to use on the table.  It’s bright and cheery for summer and I thought it would really make the piece pop.  I should mention that all this came about after I watched a marathon of Flea Market Flip with Lara Spencer.  I promise the same will happen to you if you watch the show 🙂 They make it look so easy!

Well, I tried selling the table at a local garage sale and with no luck….

Everyone loved the idea and thought it was really clever but just not enough to take home.  However, as time went one I was happy I didn’t sell it.  A small part of me wanted to keep it for my own home but felt guilty doing so because I had made my mind up that this was going to be my first successful flip!  But that guilt quickly went away when I found the perfect spot for it in my living room!  Now it holds a few books and some flowers and is one of the first things you see when you enter the room.  In the end I am happy I didn’t sell it and can continue to tell it’s story for some years to come.

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sewing machine flip

sewing machine upcycle

Letting Your Home Breathe

It’s finally spring! Which means it’s time for cleansing your home and decluttering all that you have collected over the past year.  And for my family that means garage sale time! Anyone who knows me well knows that I love garage sales! Ever since I was a kid my family had a huge garage sale every year.  It was always held at either my parents house or my grandmothers.  It was always my family, my two Aunts, with my cousins and my grandparents.  We spent weeks before the sale collecting, cleaning and pricing all of our stuff we wanted to sell.  For us kids it was exciting because whatever money we made from selling our old toys or clothes was ours to spend how we wanted.  This was a great incentive my parents encouraged so we would be more willing to help out cleaning the house.  We loved it! We would sell lemonade and constantly ask my mom (who was always keeper of the “books”) to see what our running tally was.  Most of our stuff was priced under $1 and some anywhere from $5 to $10.  My mom always told us it was not about who could make the most money, it was who had the least amount of stuff to BRING HOME at the end of the day!  That was always the worst part of the day….cleaning up and boxing up all the things that didn’t sell and trying to find a place for it back in the house….. No kid wanted to do that after just helping to haul it all out, clean it up, and individually price every item.  So we priced cheap!

There is something so nice about doing a complete purge of your home.  You really get the sense of your house taking a deep breath and saying….” AHH Thank You!”

Over the years I developed rules for myself when it comes to choosing whether something stays or goes.  For the most part, if I have not worn the item of clothing or played with a toy for a year then, in my eyes, I wouldn’t miss it if I got rid of it and there is surely someone else out there that will find it, appreciate it, and use it much more than me.  I know when I go out to sales and I find that special something I have been looking for whether just to have or to repurpose it is a rush of excitement because you felt you have searched high and low for it and, of course, you got it for a great price!

I have been going to sales every Saturday with my mom, Aunt, and when she was alive, my grandmother ever since I was a kid.  We loved it! my siblings and I all had a little change bag we would bring of our coins and dollar bills we have collected from chores or saved up from birthday money and we were ready to find our treasures.  Even now at 28 years old, I still get excited to go out every Saturday morning to see what I can find.  My friends are always in awe to see what I have bought or repurposed and now give me lists of things to find for them since I have such good “Luck”.  But the truth is, there are many weekends we go out all morning, and drive all over the county and come back with nothing.  Which is fine with us, it’s more of the chase that we enjoy; the people you meet, who are doing them same thing you have always done. Clean out their buried treasures that they have no more use for and allow someone else to find, create and enjoy them.  Allowing there homes to breathe fresh air again.

 

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Stephanie and Don: Maternity Shoot Part 2

The weather was much better this time around! The snow has melted, the ground as thawed and the sun was shining.  It was time for part two of my in laws Steph and Don’s maternity shoot.  With just 4 weeks to go we are all anxiously waiting the arrival our their little girl Eleni.  I had these visions of using an old trail in a wooded area behind my parents house where I grew up however with the beginning of warm spring weather finally here, comes with it an enormous about of TICKS! We decided not to risk getting Lyme’s Disease and improvise with the shoot in my parents back yard.  Congrats to Don and Steph! We can’t wait to meet your little miracle!

 

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