Friday, May 31, 2013

The $5 End Table

When shopping Goodwill/Salvation Army it truly is a hit or miss opportunity. 

Awhile back I found a unique looking end table. It was the perfect size and shape

that I needed and I liked the way that the front angled out. I didn't like that it was a

mash-up of wood and laminate in 2 places. But at $5, what did I have to lose?!



In true Lauren form I let it sit in the garage for 6 months (and I wonder why John

hates when I bring new "treasures" home to work on). At the 6 month mark I got

inspired and started sanding. Not wanting to overdue myself, I waited another

month before busting out a brown primer.  I took the drawer out, the hideous knob

off and primed the drawer and base separately.  So far so good!!!


 Until I ran out of primer, go figure. While at the store I found this little gem.

It looked like the $6 version I had read about in a magazine. However, the

Rustoleum version was $2.50!!! It fits right on your spray can like so...

It made round 2 of prime-ing much easier.  Less spots a more even finish and less

pressure on my trigger finger!


Onto painting and a valuable lesson learned. DO NOT prime and then spray paint

laminate! Something nagged at me to try the drawer first Just in case something

happened and it did. The paint bubbled up and crackled. I waited a few minutes and

finally touched the paint and both the paint and primer smeared off like a sheet of

paper.  After a 5 second freak out I smeared all of the paint and primer off of the

drawer and tried spray painting the drawer from scratch.  It looked awful. Then I

had a genius thought, ditch the spray paint and use some good old old fashioned

paint and a paintbrush. And I just so happened to have some laying around from my

 nightstand re-vamp (we'll get to that grand story later).It worked like a charm. I

managed to save the primer on the rest of the table and the white was a prettier

shade too! I did two coats of paint and then started sanding by hand little by little.

After 2 sheets of sandpaper I had had enough and got out my trusty

 sander. It definitely did the trick!

see all of the pretty lines!



and here


The drawer ended up having a bit of an issue with the paint but instead of having a

"meltdown" I just went with it. It adds character.  When I was done sanding

everything I got out my wax

and placed it on the top of the table, I went to grab it and realized I had left a big

grey smudge all over the top of the table. I LOVED it.


So I took my can of wax and scraped it all over the piece. It gave it that last little bit

 of something I knew it needed. Then I got to waxing! Here's how it turned out with

 the addition of this new knob from Hobby Lobby




It did get an unintentional line through the front drawer, but again character!  It

far exceeded what I ever hoped this little table could be and I love it! I plan to put

my orchid on it in my downstairs entryway.












go visit some friends :

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Confessions of pretzel salad

"Don't spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door. ”
Coco Chanel

This sums up how I feel about this weeks pretzel salad disaster. I have always loved going

to a picnic and realizing someone has had the good sense to bring strawberry pretzel

salad. My mom never made it and despite what she now says, never used to like it. A few

 months ago I had the realization that I no longer had to wait for pretzel salad to find

me, I could make my own! Off to pinterest I went, and that's where I found

it...RASPBERRY pretzel salad. The mecca of all pretzel salads. I HAD to have it.

Ingredients purchased, The Bachelorette on and I was ready to go. Step1, crush

pretzels, I did this while watching the men vie for des' attention. A magician and a suite

of Armor, really? Bringing your child? WHAT a ploy (although I do kind of like that guy)!

John wanted to know where I stood on a guy being shirtless for the entire night, would I

give him a rose? I think I'd give him a shirt. Ooops, I just flung crushed pretzels across the

living room. Maybe making this while watching the bachelorette wasn't my best idea

ever. So the Bachelorette went on and the pretzel base was made. The cream  cheese,

sugar and cool whip middle was completed and pretty yummy if I do say so myself ( the

cook has to taste test, right?!?) Next the recipe told me to place it on the hot pretzel

 crust. I had my doubts about this but I did as I was told. Mistake #1, always go with your

 gut. Then I made the jello. The recipe told me to take my 9x13 out of the fridge and put

the boiling jello/raspberry mix onto my "now cooling" cream cheese mixture. Again I

thought," this doesn't seem like a good idea." The cream cheese bubbled up the jello

went under, over and around and I stood there staring at what was supposed to be my

blue ribbon dessert.Hoping to save it by some miracle I threw it in the fridge just in time

to see bachelor #20 beg  Des to go into the fantasy suite with him for the 3rd

time...SECURITY. This all leads me to confession #1...while some of the jello set and I

had a disaster of a dessert on my hands, that did not stop me from single handedly

eating 3/4 of it myself, for breakfast and/or a midnight snack. It didn't turn out quite

right, but I worked with what I was dealt. I hope Des can do the same.

Aside from the above story, I actually do quite a bit of cooking. With that being said my

cutting board gets a lot of use. confession #2  It's with much shame that I actually

learned the proper way to "cut" an onion from a reality tv show. "well, that's not so bad" 

 you're thinking, assuming by reality tv I mean something like "Chopped" or "Top Chef".

No, I mean "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills".  I told you it was shameful. New

castmate Lydia was  being shown how to make lasagna and told her mom she learned how

to chop an onion from her husband. There I am thinking," oh, so that's how it's supposed

to be done. THAT makes MUCH more sense!" Well I may chop an onion the wrong way but

at least I know how to make lasagna!!!! Or at least that's what I told myself : (

Monday, May 27, 2013

"brought to you courtesy of the red, white and blue"- Toby Keith

                          Because It's Not National BBQ Day  Because It's Not National BBQ Day

"I thank God for my life and for the stars and stripes,

 may freedom forever fly,

  let it ring,

 salute the ones who died,

  the ones who give their lives so we don't have to sacrifice all the thing we love"

  - Zac Brown Band


Thursday, May 23, 2013


" Say your prayers and wash your hands, cause Jesus and germs are everywhere"


It's funny the things we carry with us from our childhood, the

good, the bad and the neurotic. I come from a large, Italian family

 filled with their share of  anxious and superstitious tendencies.

My grandma is the oldest of eleven children, six girls and five

boys.  More importantly she is the most anxiety/OCD ridden

person that I have met in my entire life, bless her heart. I

grew up six blocks away from my grandparents and they were a

constant, wonderful  presence in my life. They were like an extra

set of parents who loved and nagged about the threat of germs.   I

didn't realize until  years later that anxiety and fear over

EVERYTHING is not normal. One such little gem that has haunted

me my entire life has to do with mayo, or in Gram's house Miracle

Whip. Making a sandwich at Gram's was always an ordeal. If you

let her make it, you'd watch in complete and utter awe as she

delicately touched the knife to the mayo and then flung it onto the

bread from 5 inches away. God forbid that the knife would touch

the bread!  Because you're going in for another scoop of mayo, you

would think, right? WRONG! Whether you had  touched the knife

to the bread or not was moot, you needed a NEW knife for more

 mayo.  If anyone else was making a sandwich an interrogation

proceeded, "did you put the knife back into the mayo?"  We all

knew better but the drill remained the same. No one questioned

what would happen by re-dipping the mayo knife, we had seen it

go down one to many times before by unsuspecting guests. The

mayo would reach it's untimely death to the trash can, but better

to waste money and mayo than risk our health in Gram's

view. Besides, we all knew what happened to people who ate mayo

 that had been touched by bread and then dipped BACK into the

jar!!!  You would most certainly get food poisoning and die.  No

doubt about it. 


Even today when I see John re-dip that knife I internally

cringe and pray for his good health. I didn't realize how

 much this had affected us all until 3 weeks ago when we were all

together for the first time in 15 1/2 years . It was the three of us

once again. My sister(who I actually do see all of the time), my

cousin (who was like a big brother to us growing up) and myself .

  Someone brought up mayo and we all screamed "don't double dip

 the mayo!" I'm pretty sure my 90 year old gram told us all to

shutup. My sister confessed that when anyone at work double dips

 a knife into mayo she shakes her head and knows something bad

 is going to happen to them. My cousin and I agreed that you just

can't do it.  I live by the rule of, "when in doubt throw it out" and have

never questioned some of my families "beliefs".


Until I got home that is, I was making E a turkey sandwich as he

requested for lunch and decided I would have the same. I took out

the mayo and stared at it. I smoothed the mayo on the bread and

counted to three, I contemplated things. I've led a good life, I

rarely do anything crazy, I don't do drugs, I don't smoke, I rarely

if ever drink and so help me I was going to re-dip that knife back in

 the mayo!!!!  I dipped the knife in the jar, held my breathe and

put it on the bread.  Time stopped. I looked behind me as if my

Gram had magically teleported to VA from Pittsburgh to yell at

me.  Nothing happened. I got giddy, it was the BEST sandwich

ever. For the next two days E wanted turkey sandwiches for lunch

and for the next two days I too had a turkey sandwich with cheese,

 tomato, pepper, mayo and a side of bad ass. I was living the wild

life. Maybe I'd get a tattoo of a jar of mayo on my side to remind

me to live a more carefree existence (jk of course). And then it

happened, I got instantly and violently ill out of nowhere.  Now  I

have been on azithromycin for 4 days and it does upset my

stomach. But how coincidental  that I have been re-dipping the

knife? I know if I relay this story to Gram she'll claim it's the mayo

and beg me to throw it away. I can hear her now," Lauren, just

throw it away and buy a new one, I'll send you the money for a

new jar!"  If I tell my mom or anyone else this story they will of

course blame the antibiotic, the scientific and obvious answer. But

 as my cousin said as a child, "Gram is the smartest one in the


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Midweek confessions



I fell in love with the blog E, Myself and I this week  and her "Midweek Confessions" is my

 absolute fav. part of the blog.  So when she  offered a LINKUP I jumped up and took it!

Time for my very own little version of "midweek confessions" dum dum dum ( that was

 my drum roll folks). Saturday I came down with my 2nd sinus infection pretty much 

 exactly 1 month to the day of the 1st one, this time with the lovely add on of bronchitis.

At the same time John's gma was taken to the ER, 3.5 hours away down in  Norfolk, VA. 

So John rushed down to be with her and I stayed with E. I told him we were having our

very own Lauren and E sleepover. Confession #1, Sat.morning was raining and disgusting

out. E's tball game was supposed to be cancelled so I  stayed in bed and slept instead of

 going to team pictures. When I woke up I had not only missed the pictures but the game

 had somehow managed to go on despite the wet field, great. Last year I missed every

game due to work, this year I'm at 95% of practices and almost every game( unless we are

 out of state/town visiting family.) 

Confession #2 I spent a large portion of Saturday reading blogs on the Ipad. Like a

ridiculous amount of time.  I pretended to watch JAKE and the neverland pirates and

DocMcStuffins but really I was finding a ton of new blog addictions. I made dinner and

played and all the while, I was thinking of those blogs. I was obsessed on a Saturday.

Moving on in the week to  Confession #3  I gave a time out in the middle of CVS, yes you

 read me right. I threatened it, three to five times, I was ignored over and over and was

even growled at and I gave a time out right then and the chip aisle. He's

smarter than I thought. I wasn't even buying chips, how we ended up in his fav. place, I'll

never know. He can't read but I heard his tiny whispers of, "nacho cheese, cheetos, fritos

and bbq." He started to move down the aisle and I made him go back to the start of the

aisle and so we went.

Monday was a rush, It was our first day without daycare. I woke up feeling muuuuuch

worse and could barely get out of bed. I scheduled a dr. apt and took a steaming hot

shower. I had 5 min. left to get ready before I had to pick E up from pre-k. I grabbed  the

Ipad, a book for him and a granola bar as a snack until I could get him lunch after my dr.

apt and ran for the door. The doctors with a 4yr old lets not even talk about that! oh and

the ipad is only helpful if the games are saved on the desktop b/c they wont give you the

password for the internet btw, way to go medical practice!

Confession #4 it wasn't until 6pm that night that I realized my underwear was on inside

out. I can't even say I had on a solid color and it was any easy mix up, these were brightly

colored, pretty floral, with a bow on the front, a freakin BOW and I still managed to wear

them and not notice all day  : ( way to go lauren.

confession #5 I wear yoga pants,  a lot, sometimes I wonder if this means people will

actually think I worked out. Then I think, they prob wonder why I haven't lost any

weight : / 

 confession #6 I gave E a smore Saturday night as an extra special surprise for our Lauren

and E sleepover. We try not to give him a lot of unhealthy snacks/ sugar and It was his

first ever smore. I was soooo excited to share such a childhood love of mine with him. I've

 been wanting to make him a smore for awhile now and this seemed like a great chance!

Last 4th of July I bought stuff to make them and he left too early to go to his mom's. So

when I saw the smore display at the store on Friday I was so excited.  His eyes lit up as

we toasted the marshmallows and then disaster struck, kid couldn't deal and I have to

admit I was disappointed. He hates getting messy and wanted THREE paper towels to wipe

 his hands as he ate...all THREE bites!!!! I'm an adult and I felt guilty for feeling

disappointed. He enjoyed his three bites and that's all that matters, I guess. I enjoyed the

 remaining bites and that counts for something I suppose.

Monday, May 20, 2013

My new obsession...Rub N Buff !!!

 Today marks the 1st of many blissful days with my new love, let me introduce you to him;

his name is Rub N Buff!

I've read numerous blogs raving about this stuff but had yet to try it out for myself. I finally

 stopped at Michaels to make my purchase. I was pleasantly surprised at the price $4.49

plus I of course had my 40% off coupon! I knew from my blog reading that this little amount

would last me a long time too.But , I was not prepared for the fact that it came in so many

 colors? Antique Gold or Grecian do I know which gold is the right gold?! I like

antiques, does that mean I'll like the look of antique gold? I guess we'll find out!
rub N buff

As I was perusing through the $2 aisle I noticed these cute little keys!

gold key

silver key

How adorable are they?! I've been looking for keys everywhere to dress up a table or do a

little project with but just can't seem to find the right ones. I liked the shape of both of these

and the price, but the brassiness of the gold and the silver were a no-no. The perfect excuse

 to use my new Rub N Buff! I literally skipped to the register! I just need to find 1 more key to

 make a perfect 3! I guess I'll have to go to a different Michaels later this week :p .

 A little goes a long way with this stuff! I used the above amount and just a smidge more for

1 entire key (and yes I did the entire project on my dining room table on a trusty paper




                    * TADA*

So I must admit, I didn't actually Buff like I

should have with the keys. I liked how it

looked without taking toooo much off and it

dries quick! They are definitely much cuter

than before.  But then I started looking

around my house wondering what else

I could add gold too. there are endless possibilities but I was looking for a good, quick fix.

 Enter the $2 cake stand from the Salvation Army that I have a love/hate relationship with.
I loved him for my  valentines day table display and have either loved or hated him every

day since. I bought him with the intention of somehow painting the bottom red part a fun

color and instead left him smack dab on mah counter for the next 5 months to taunt me!

Enter the Rub N Buff and my trusty paper plate!
I flipped that bad boy over and started to rub AND actually  buff this time! The 1st coat let

most of the red shine through, the 2nd coat was starting to get a little bit better and the 3rd
coat was just right!  No I'm not just getting back from reading Goldilocks and the 3 bears,

but thanks for asking! ok so it's not perfect and you can totally see the lines in this picture,

but in person it looks pretty durn good if I do say so myself! Plus, who's going to be looking

that closely at my sweet lil ole' cake stand anyways!!! AND I love it! I keep staring at it and I

may even do a little display with the keys on top!