A New Year’s Mimosa Bar

We celebrated New Year’s Eve with a few friends at our place. We drank mimosas, ate lots of cheese, and played Cards Against Humanity. Oh and we also dressed the dogs up in party hats.

I kept seeing Mimosa bars on Pinterest, and decided it was the perfect thing for New Year’s Eve. I know that mimosas are traditionally a brunch item, but I highly recommend these for your next late-night party. It looks great, everyone has fun mixing their own drinks, and it cuts the amount of alcohol in each glass.



We used three orange juices; regular orange, orange peach mango, and orange strawberry banana (all from Trader Joe’s) and set out black berries and strawberries. (I had meant to also set out clementine wedges, but ran out of time to peel the clementines). As you can see from the picture below, the Orange Peach Mango was by far the most popular juice. I found the carafes at Ross for $3.99 making this an affordable last-minute addition. The tags are wooden gift tags from Michaels – I tied them to each carafe with bakers twine (left over from the tassel garland) and wrote on them with simple black sharpie.  We didn’t end up using the cute paper straws for anything (they’re also from Michaels btw) but I love how they look and will put them away to decorate with / use in the future.SONY DSC


As you know, I also made some party hats and noisemakers. The noisemakers went largely unused (which was for the best as it sent both dogs under the dining table) but both the dogs and the humans liked the party hats. Here’s Penelope and her friend Piper modeling the party hats.



How did you spend New Year’s Eve?  Here’s to a happy and healthy 2015!

Sarah Signature


Get it done in 2015!

With the new year comes new resolutions. This year, I have a few things on my “get it done!” list. I tried to keep the list reasonable. I work a lot of hours every week, and I need to spend some time on weekends to recharge as well. We did well in 2014 when we took on one reasonable task per month. We hit a bit of a wall when it came to updating the basement  – first with the wallpaper and then with the sheet vinyl on the floors. So the plan is to take on 10 projects this year – each of which can be reasonably completed within 1 month, with 2 months of flexibility for surprise projects and/or unforeseen circumstances that cause projects to run over.

So here’s our list for 2015

To Do in 2015


The list isn’t in any particular order! Here’s the details:

  1. Finish the Basement
    • We need to finish painting the walls and the trim we’ve already installed. Then lay the floors, add some baseboards, and paint those baseboards. Once all of that is done, we can move in the furniture and start using the space. We’ll need to add some window coverings, art, and look into storage options.Basement Progress - Support Post Bumpout - #thissarahloves
  2. Install a Basement Desk
    • One of the biggest storage needs in the basement is having a work space. We plan on installing a desk using kitchen cabinets, counter-top material (probably butcher block), and adding open storage shelves overhead. We’ll need some cute storage solutions and some counter-height bar stools to finish it up.
  3. Paint and Organize the Study
    • Our third bedroom is an embarrassing mess. We plan on moving a fair amount of things into the basement when that’s done, but we want the room to be functional and not just a storage space. So we plan on painting the walls and trim, hanging some curtains, upgrading the closet, adding a closet curtain instead of closet door, and hanging some art. Oh and then watching a few episodes of Hoarders to convince us to purge and shred.
  4. Finish updating the Master Bath
    • We removed our nasty 1980s shower doors and replace them with a cute curtain. But stopped there. We want to replace the toilet, light, and mirror and paint the vanity. Although we’d eventually like the replace the shower and vanity, we think these smaller upgrades will allow us to get another couple of years out of the bathroom.DSC04886
  5. Master Bedroom
    • Our master bedroom still has paint swatches on the wall & our curtains are hanging from the rods that were there when we moved in. So the goal is to get the walls painted, replacing the too-small dresser with a bigger one, upgrading the window treatments, and adding some art. In the long run our closet needs a serious make-0ver, but that will take a visit from an electrician and a drywall guy, so maybe in 2016?Dresser Top - Progress - #thissarahloves
  6. Basement Storage
    • Once we have the basement family room ready to go, we need to address the storage down there. There’s tons of space, but we’re not using it well.  So the goal will be to create smarter storage systems for the utility room and the under-the-stairs closet.
  7. Backyard
    • In 2014 we got rid of the approximately 75 over-grown shrubs filling up our back yard. We also had the rotting shed demolished and removed. This year we need to fence the backyard (definitely something we’ll be hiring out), figure out how to deal with the hole left by the world’s largest shed, and plant a few things. I also want to add some white river-rocks to the drainage bed outside the house.Backyard - New Bed from Back Door
  8. Re-finish the Basement Stairs
    • We got rid of the last of the blue carpet months ago, but now we have raw pine stairs leading into the basement. The plan is to sand and patch the wood & then paint them in the same color scheme as the stairs leading to the upper level.Closed Stairs
  9. Living Room
    • Our living room has been half-done for far too long. I want to sew cushion covers to go on the new couch, update the window treatments, and add a console table behind the couch. We also need another lamp or two. Once the extra couch gets moved into the basement, this will be a lot easier to accomplish.SONY DSC
  10. Kitchen
    • Other than wrapping up the basement remodel, this is the biggest project on the list. Or rather, potentially, the biggest project. The MUST dos are removing the last of the wallpaper border and painting the walls. All of our appliances need updating, the dishwasher and microwave are at the top of the list, and the fridge is not far behind. The counters absolutely MUST go and we need at least new cabinet doors, but probably entirely new cabinets. Basically, we need to figure out how much it’s all going to cost, and what the timeline is on that. Once we have the timeline, we can figure out what we want to do to in 2015.Kitchen - Drawer Cabinet Hardware Upgrade

What do you have on your “Get it Done!” list for 2015?

Sarah Signature

The Current State of Our Living Room

Our living room finally has a clock! When my in-laws were visiting, they peeked at my wish list and surprised me with this gorgeous wooden clock off my list.  Thanks guys! It looks even better in the room than I hoped or thought it would.Big Clock - Birthday PresentWhile that side of the living room is looking pretty good, we’ve got a bit of a mess on our hands between the couch and the bar.  I decided, more than a few months ago, that I’d like a big L-shaped sectional in the living room when we finish the basement and move the current living room couch (which is a sleeper sofa) down stairs. After measuring everything out multiple times, the Karlstad in Isunda Gray had the right dimensions, look, and price tag, so we knew we’d be getting it eventually. But then Ikea had to go and put it on the friends and family sale this month.  At 15% off, we couldn’t leave it at the store, so now we’re storing it behind the couch until the floors are down. (Andy didn’t think my idea of setting it up an having a giant square of living room furniture was a good one. He’s kind of lame, no?)

Don’t worry, we can still get to the wine! Hopefully this mess is the kick in the pants we need to get the basement DONE!

The Current State of our Living Room - Karlstad Boxes


And while we’re on the theme of turning the living room into a mess, Target ALSO had to go and put some gorgeous lamps on sale.  I think these will be perfect in the basement space (white wood plank walls, dark wood floors, lots of green and blue accents).  At half price, I couldn’t leave these at the store, so I grabbed two which are now sitting on the dining room buffet.

Three lamps are totally normal in that amount of space, right? (Maybe if I actually cut off the tags, removed the cellophane, and unwrapped the cords.)

Target Lamps for the Basement Target Lamps for the Basement - Price Tag


Any big renovating-in-progress messes in your house? Please tell me I’m not the only one!

Sarah Signature


Independence Day Photo Update

Since we had family from overseas in town over 4th of July, we decided that we should take them to see the DC fireworks. (After we put them to work sorting out our backyard, of course!)

Not wanting to brave the crowds downtown, we instead decided to brave the crowds at Gravelly Point  – the park usually known as a great spot for watching airplanes take-off and land is also a great spot from which to view the National Mall fireworks.

We had an early dinner and then headed out to the park with picnic blankets and snacks in tow. The weather was absolutely gorgeous – a light breeze keeping the mosquitoes away and cool enough to be outside without melting.

Independence Day 2014 at Gravelly Point
Independence Day 2014 at Gravelly Point - Cousins
Independence Day 2014 at Gravelly Point - Cousins II

We had a great view of the fireworks (both the earlier ones on the hills overlooking the park and the main event). Taking pictures of the fireworks are never as great as actually viewing them, but here are a couple of my best shots.

Independence Day 2014 at Gravelly Point - Fireworks IIIndependence Day 2014 at Gravelly Point - Fireworks I
Did you do anything fun for the 4th?

Just a few things

My parents and cousins came to visit over Easter and we had a great time being tourists in DC, working in the garden, showing off all the work we’ve done in the house, and in general, just having a nice visit!

Although most of the cherry blossoms got rained off right before my parents arrived, we found a couple of trees at the Tidal Basin that still had blossoms and we took tons of pictures.  I’ll spare you the vacation picture slide show, but here’ my favorite one.

CherryBlossoms in DC

We also visited the tulip garden again, and I think they were even prettier this year!  Tulips on the Mall


Back home, we ripped out some old shrubs and lots of weeds.  We also transplanted hostas into the garden bed on the side of our walkway.  I can’t believe how much the plants have grown in about a week!

Here they are a few days after we moved them:
Hostas in the Garden I


And here they are yesterday (about a week later!):

Hostas in the Garden II


Oh and instead of DIYing this weekend, we bought a new car.  My 10-year old Civic did not do so well this past winter and it was time for an upgrade!  I can’t wait to go thrift shopping with all the trunk space!



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Entry Organization

Not a very productive weekend around here. I was much too annoyed at the unexpected snow/sleet on Sunday to bother with any actual DIY projects! Luckily today the snow has melted, the sun is out, and I at least have a sketch to share with you.

April’s project is the entry. There is a long list of things to do in there, but the big project will be fixing up the closet.

Here’s my high-tech rendering of the plan.

Obviously that’s not to scale….
The thing on the left is a 1×5 expedit which we already own. To the right we’ll install a short closet rod, and above that a deep shelf.

We need a space for bags/purses. Penny’s sweaters. Winter gear like scarves and gloves. Penny’s leash and harness also need an easy to reach spot. What am I forgetting? What storage do you like in your entry closet?

Oh and here’s the color I am {now} considering for the entry/stairs/kitchen. It is a nice greige in the south-facing rooms and I think it will work well with the green in the living area and the blue on the stairs. Do you have a favorite greige?


Tulips and Roses for Spring Cheer

(even if Mother Nature insists on dumping 6″ of snow on us)

Tulip Close-Up #thissarahloves
I absolutely love how a bright bunch of flowers can cheer up a grey day or even make me forget about a crazy week at work!  Last week was a long week at the office so on Friday afternoon I stopped at the store to pick up some flowers.

I came home with a bunch of soft apricot colored African roses and a bunch of bright red tulips.  If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen these two bunches hanging out in the same vase on Friday evening.  I wasn’t loving the look though (although I LOVE both types of flowers) so on Saturday morning I grabbed an inexpensive glass vase for the tulips and separated out the flowers.

Roses #thissarahloves

I love vases that flare open at the top.  It means I can be lazy and don’t have to do too much arranging of flowers.  And when you’re buying flowers because you had a long week, well that’s what I call a win!

Tulips #thissarahloves

I wish these guys could last forever!  Sadly, they’re not loving the weather fluctuations and central heating and have started to droop already.  Time to cut the stems again and change out the weather and see if that gives them another few days of life.

What’s your favorite flower? What about your current favorite floral trend?  Proflowers recently asked me about my favorite floral trend (they did a whole blog post about it) and mine is definitely “single serving bouquets” where all the flowers in the bunch are the same type (although they definitely don’t have to be the same color!)

I also like my flowers to be loose arrangements – nothing too stiff and formal!  I do love arranging flowers more formally too – for special occasions – at some point I’ll have to dig up some pictures and show you guys.  Or maybe I’ll find an excuse to create a new arrangement sometime soon!

What’s your favorite flower / flower arrangement?

Roses in Focus #thissarahloves

Did you buy any flowers for this weekend?  I’m so glad I did, since we’re under about 6″ of snow again this morning.  (Will Winter never end?)

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