Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Labor Day Project: Outdoor Furniture Makeover

While the rest of the world prepares for the arrival of fall, California is firmly in it's indian summer. We can look forward to weeks of high temperatures, making summer feel like it's going to last forever. What I like best about living on the Central Coast is outdoor living. You can practically do it year round- which I have to admit is a little bit of a double edged sword because we are desperate for cooler days and lots of rain.

I have had my outdoor couch and ottoman for about 6 years now and I find it seriously perplexing that after about 2 years it started to get really worn and gross from being exposed to the elements. I thought the whole point of outdoor furniture was for it to be outdoors? The paint faded and peeled off and the cushions- yuck! Both were growing moss- I'm not kidding! We pulled it around the corner of our deck where no one ever went and tried to block it out. I couldn't bear to look at my not inexpensive furniture and it's serious deterioration. In a moment of craziness, which I can only blame on stress,  I was actually going to just toss it and take it to the dump.

Thank goodness inspiration struck! I did not want to drop more money on furniture that would probably go the same way as the first so I decided to revamp what I already had. The cushions are toast- originally I was going to recover them with waterproof fabric (or an ingenious Pinterest idea of shower curtains!!) but after looking at them I realized they were too far gone- they had lost their shape and I'm pretty sure there's mildew or mold on them and I just don't want to chance it. So out those are going.  The couch itself is really more like a bench with deep seats. I decided I only wanted seat cushions and would use the pillows that normally reside on my couch that I am completely over for back support and comfort. They are good Pottery Barn pillows and I didn't want to get rid of them but I'm also incredibly tired of looking at them- solution: outdoor couch here they come!!!

Here's how I spent my Labor Day:

Outdoor Furniture Makeover


1. Tarp or drop cloth. Protect the area that you are painting in.
2. Paintbrushes- these cheapies came from The Home Depot. $1 each.
3. Rag for wiping down the couch.
4. Paint stiring sticks.
5. Sandpaper
6. Paint**
7. (not pictured) flat head screwdriver to open paint cans.
8. an essential in my book: tunes. NO project is complete without music.

** paint used: For couch and ottoman- Behr Premium Plus Ultra, Exterior Satin Enamel medium base in PPU13-5 Bali Bliss. For card table turned outdoor table- Behr Premium Plus Ultra, Exterior Semi-Gloss medium base in PPU6-13 Hawaiian Pineapple. (can of paint and painting of table not pictured)

Behr PPU13-5 Bali Bliss

A note about color choices: I was originally going to paint the couch and ottoman either a dark red like THIS or a deep but bright blue like THIS, but my mom handed me the swatch chart for the Behr colors and inside the brochure there is a photo of a house painted the Bali Bliss and I just knew that that was the color. It also happens to be both mine and my husband's favorite color, the decision was easy peasy. Also, the table was going to just be an espresso brown like it started originally but my husband decided that a pop of color was necessary there too, so out with the brown and in with yellow!

The couch before. This photo does not show the extent of the damage. There were also plenty of cobwebs and dead bugs hanging all over it too. 

The faded paint on the arms. I did not sand this, this is what it deteriorated to. 
The slats on the back and seat area are actually in good shape because the cushions were protecting them.

Doing a little sanding in the areas where the paint was flaky.

It begins!

Sometimes you just have to use your knees to hold a couch in the air. ( I was sitting on a low stool)

The ottoman before. I did no sanding to this. As you can see from this photo it was in bad shape. 

The Final Product:

The sweet little yellow table. This is about 3-4 coats of paint. 

The ottoman has 2 coats of paint. The couch has 2-3 depending on the area of the couch. The areas that will be exposed more have 3 coats. 

A word about the cushion: I purchased this on sale from The Home Depot. It is a cushion for an outdoor chair. I needed to stay within budget and this was the only way to do it. If I'm out there on my own then I can put the cushions up like this but if my husband and I are out there or I have guests then I'll lay it flat. Gotta think outside of the box when trying to stick to a tight budget. A cushion for the ottoman will have to come later- but honestly it works just fine without one too.

There was nothing better than eating dinner al fresco tonight, with a breeze to cool the 93 degree + day we had today. I sat with a sense of satisfaction and a smile on my face as I enjoyed the fruits of today's labors. 

Pillows: Pottery Barn purchased 6 years ago. Table: collapsing card/dinner tray table, also purchased about 5 years ago. I believe I got it at Target. Planter: The Home Depot (cupcake trio planter) Coasters: DIY project how-to found HERE. Glasses: stemless wine glasses (I just love the shape, they are my everyday glasses) from World Market Cost Plus. I can't remember the brand but they were made in Germany. Couch and Ottoman purchased 6 years ago from Target.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Ireland Getaway 2014- Post 12- Our Final Days...

Our final days in Ireland were spent exclusively in Dublin. We had turned in our rental car with a huge sigh of relief- Dublin is not a city to drive in if it can be helped and I know after 2 weeks of being the sole driver my husband was ready to turn in the keys. As much as we love road trips (and we LOVE road trips) I think we were both eager to just walk out the front door of our hotel and have everything easily accessible.

The Budget car rental office is located quite a ways from Dublin city center but lucky for us there was a bus stop right in front of it. The bus route didn't take us exactly where we wanted to go but it got us close enough and allowed us to wander the city on foot, taking in things you just miss if you're zooming by in a car.

We wandered by the River Liffey to the Old Jameson Distillery in the Northside of Dublin in Smithfield. This area was completely rejuvenated in the late 90's- the 120 year old cobblestones were lifted, cleaned and re-layed by hand. We chose not to take a tour of the distillery, trying to watch our budget at this point but we did walk around the foyer and of course the gift shop. A few goodies made their way into our luggage from that gift shop, we just couldn't leave empty handed!

After the Old Jameson Distillery we stayed on the alcohol trail and walked to the Guinness Storehouse. This is quite a walk and it started to drizzle. Even though we didn't have a definite route marked out my husband, once again proving that he's as good as a GPS most days, found our way to the storehouse. We came at it from a direction that didn't have many signs so I'm guessing he found it by smell. By now the drizzle turned into a sprinkle and the umbrella came out. Once again we chose to forgo the tour- I have done it before and my husband wasn't interested enough to pay the ticket price so we wandered back towards Christchurch Cathedral after lingering outside and taking in the large storehouse. I'm glad we took the time to walk all the way to the Storehouse, with the drizzle it was so atmospheric to walk along the shiny, wet cobblestones. With no one else around you could easily be transported to it's 1902 heyday. 

Once again we didn't consult a map so we meandered and took our time finding our way back go our hotel.  It was such a lovely way to end our time in Ireland. Personally I'm so horrible with my sense of direction ( as I've mentioned many times previously) I would never have done that on my own but being with my husband I could just relax, take it all in and trust that we'd get where we needed to be with maybe an adventure or two along the way. 

Ireland will always be a place I will want to return to.  It is firmly lodged in my heart and any chance I get to return, I will. I have agreed that our next overseas trip will be somewhere other than Ireland but I do know that there is a lot of life left to live and hopefully many, many more opportunies to travel and that someday I will be on the shores of Eire again. With that thought I said a bittersweet goodbye to my old friend and we flew back upwards and onwards, where unbeknownst to me I was set to embark on the next journey in my life. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Pommes Frites Candle Co.

What's an unexpected perk of working in a salon that is also a boutique? Being introduced to amazing products!! The latest thing on my list that may just break the bank?- Pommes Frites Candle Co.

Pommes Frites is a small Los Angeles based company that makes small batch, high quality candles from domestically grown soy wax. Besides the amazing apothecary style packaging, the unique scents are what really piqued my interest in this brand. Campfire? For reals? Aw yeah- now that is a candle scent! There is something to tickle everyone's olfactory nerve- florals, fruits, woods, seasonal aromatics. 

The one I chose to go home with first was No. 15 Gardenia & Coconut. The scent reminds me of something but I can't put my finger on it. It smells of something from my past and that something must be happy because I chose it over campfire (trust me, that will be next).

The Campfire seems to be in the lead for everyone's favorite but I think that Sweet Grapefruit is a close second. They also carry some of their scents in mini candles, which I fully intend to take advantage of! I just might already have a few in my cart on their Etsy store (psst, Eucalyptus and Neroli, anyone?! Oh yes!)

For those of you in the San Luis Obispo area Hive Natural Beauty Collective is carrying a select group of scents* so come on in!! For everyone else that it outside the San Luis Obispo area these candles can be purchased from their Etsy store.

*Scents currently available at Hive: Gardenia and Coconut, Campfire, Teakwood and Tobacco, Sweet Grapefruit, Amber and Moss. 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

4 Current Lip Obsessions

I have some new lip obsessions at the moment. It doesn't matter what reason I enter Sephora for I always come out with a lip product it seems. I'm a lipgloss, lipstick, lip balm queen. As I mentioned in my previous lip post (HERE) I'm forever obsessed with Bite Beauty. I swoon each time they come out with their seasonal limited lip items. 3 of my latest obsessions are from Bite Beauty and one is from Marc Jacobs Beauty.  Here's the breakdown of my current faves!

BB for Lips in Tawny

This sheer tinted lip balm feels heavenly. If there's one thing I hate it's sticky lipgloss. This glides on and just gives you a hint of color. This is my current go-to when I don't want to go full on lipstick or bright color, but I still want a hint of something on my lips. SPF 15.

Deconstructed Rose Lipstick in Centifolia
*limited edition (still available on the Sephora website as of 8/3/14)

Oh my goodness if you like the smell of roses then this is for you. Inspired by the ever changing colors of a rose the 4 limited edition colors smell both heavenly and are ultra hydrating. This color is described as muted peach but in person I would say it's a bright coral. 

Matte Creme Lip Crayon in Sucré

I'm in love. This is the one I want to grab the most. It is the newest addition to my lip bag and the one I'm currently planning outfits around! This matte lip crayon is not dry at all- it glides on evenly and has enough viscosity that I can rub my lips together to spread the product with no problem. What I like about this heavily pigmented crayon is that it stains my lips so even an hour after application I have some color to my lips. I also like the versatility- if applied directly from the tube you get more color saturation but if I just want a hint or a wee bit lighter I'll use my finger to apply it from the crayon. For an example of what it looks like applied with my fingers see THIS photo from my Instagram feed. (cheerupoldbean)

Lust for Lacquer Lip Vinyl- Full in Fame

This is a high maintenance product. I have to use a flesh toned waxy lip pencil to line the edges of my lips or this product bleeds. Nothing to make you feel old like a lip product that bleeds!! I don't wear this that often because of that but when I do it's like a party on my lips! It's minty tingle-y and whoa does it shine! They're not kidding when they call it Lip Vinyl! If you don't have a problem with colors bleeding passed your lip lines then this highly pigmented minty gloss is for you. (for a better pic of what this looks like on see THIS pic from my Instagram feed.

*to view swatches of these colors see THIS photo from my instagram feed @cheerupoldbean

So there's my current lip favorites! I'm back in the posting saddle again so expect more to come- lots of product reviews and the final Ireland post coming (cue tears- there's a reason I've procrastinated on that one)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Ireland Getaway 2014- Post 11- Happy Birthday to me, Dublin style

I chose to spend my birthday back in the heart of Dublin. Dublin quickly shot up the list of my favorite cities while on this trip. My previous experience with the city did not leave me impressed, I didn't dislike it but I wasn't in love. I now know it is because we didn't stay in the city but at a B&B on the outskirts. To truly love Dublin you need to stay in the heart of the city. You want to step out the door and find yourself on a busy sidewalk, minutes from Grafton Street or Trinity Colllege.

Dublin is a truly walkable city that is easy to navigate and that is one reason I loved it. I am not good with directions. I will be the first to admit that I competely suck at navigation and maps. I have no sense of direction whatsoever!! GPS is my best friend. Dublin is a place that even I could navigate! I even ventured out on my own while my husband slept off his cold. I would never had attempted that if I didn't feel completely comfortable.

What I was most excited about was spending my birthday in Dublin. With Grafton Street close by and a bit of money set aside for birthday shopping, it was a really special and relaxing day.  I never thought I'd be able to say that I went to a foreign country for my birthday- we're just not jetsetters like that so this birthday will go down in the books as amazing just for the sheer fact that we were in Ireland. 

The morning of my birthday started with our very first time sleeping in during the whole trip! It was the first day that we didn't need to be somewhere by a specific time or be on the road as early as possible to make the most of the short amount of daylight that winter in a Northern European country provides. What a wonderful way to start the day! No alarm, no early morning breakfast calls and NO pb&j to make and pack for our picnic on the road! We lived off of pb&j! I'm not kidding! Our first day out of Dublin at the beginning of the trip we went in search of a Tesco and loaded up on the best sliced loaf of bread I've ever had, quality peanut butter and Bonne Maman jam that was half the cost of what it is in the States! We ate that every.single.day we were in Ireland- except my birthday- my birthday was reserved for the most sinful bagel and egg breakfast sandwich I've ever had, fancy fish & chips and of course: dessert!

The moment we arrived in Dublin all of those days earlier, I was drawn to a place called Queen of Tarts. I knew that my birthday treat would come from this little place with the cheeky name.  I have a serious sweet tooth, so no special ocassion goes by without some sort of sweet treat- it's mandatory! Normally birthdays for me equal cake or a cupcake but as soon as we stepped into Queen of Tarts my eyes fell on the lemon meringue tart and I just knew that this was the treat of all treats to end my Dublin birthday extravaganza with! But I'm getting ahead of myself- the tart will have to wait!

The first thing on the agenda for my Dublin birthday was shopping! We had both resisted buying too many things. The only souvenirs we bought were from the Giant's Causeway (a tin whistle which quickly became the soundtrack to the latter half of the trip) and a few books from Trinity College (traditional Irish baking and Celtic lettering- can I get a nerdy woot?!), otherwise our main purchases had been food and admission to a few places. We were trying to be frugal with money as well as space in our suitcases. I desperately wanted to find a pair of shoes- my first trip to Dublin I found an amazing, avant garde pair of clunkers that I wore until they literally fell apart around my feet, and I was hoping to start a tradition.

In a city the size of Dublin you'd think that would be an easy feat- no pun intended. Unfortuantely for me, I had a specific type of shoe that I wanted. I saw them all over the feet of the stylish ladies of Dublin and yet I couldn't find them in a single store. Trust me, I looked. My poor husband had to go into every single store that sold footwear. Nope, none, zilch. The only thing I could think was that they were from a previous season and I was out of luck. So, since I am stubborn and refused to broaden my horizons I had no success in the shoe departement. I did however manage to find things to buy, in case you were worried. I don't regret not finding shoes but I do regret very much walking away from the Benetton jacket that I was eyeing. At the time I had just had a mini shopping spree at a different store so in my mind I couldn't justify buying the jacket even though it was on sale. A word of advice- if you find yourself loving an article of clothing in a foreign country and said purchase isn't going to make you homeless upon your return then BUY IT! I walked away from it, decided I could just order it online if I regretted it and left it at that. But I thought about that damn jacket every day before we left. And guess what?! You CAN'T order it online because it was only available in European stores and you won't find that out until you are sitting thousands of miles away having NON-buyers remorse. Sheesh- I might still be a teensy weensy bit upset that I walked away from it...

The one and only time we had fish & chips on this trip was my birthday night. We chose the Copper Alley Bistro because it had a small, intimate setting and a view of bustling Dame Street. The food was delicious but the restaurant was dead quiet- we were the only customers due to our habit of eating dinner early so that made it all feel a bit awkward. At least my husband and I enjoy each other's company and never lack for conversation- althought the rare times we do, we can sit in companionable silence and just be together. 

The day ended with the aforementioned visit to Queen of Tarts. We ended up going twice before we left Ireland and our first venture was at their Cows Lane location in the Temple Bar area of Dublin, very near to our hotel. Something I've learned about Dublin (and London for that matter) is that places tend to close early (unless it's a pub of course). We walked in just before 7pm and were informed that they were closing- but the hostess immediately offered to put in a to-go order for us. We had intended to get our treats to go anyway so we didn't feel inconvenienced, just surprised that a cafe serves dinner and desserts was closing so early in the city center. Do yourself a favor and get something to go even if you plan to acutally eat there- the to-go box is the cutest thing ever- it reminds me of the Mendl's box from The Grand Budapest Hotel.

It was such a wonderful birthday in a place that is very dear to my heart. I wish I could make it a tradition and go every year, but alas it's too far away and not realistic financially. Everyone should be able to celebrate their birthday with people they love in a place that renews their spirits and fills their heart. I know how very lucky I was to be able to do just that.