5 Ways To Use Chalk Paint

Many of you have seen some of my chalk projects and asked questions about how to use, when to use it and more. I wanted to share some different ways you can use the paint as well as some of the ways I have used it in my own home. I hope this gives you all some inspiration to knock out any of the paint projects you've been dreading or holding out on.

I use Annie Sloan Chalk paint and Annie Sloan wax for my projects. You can usually find them at a local stockist, such as Thrill of the Hunt in Ashland, Virginia or Knot Too Shabby in Beacon, NY. Find your nearest stockist by searching the Annie Sloan site here, or if you don't have stockist near you, you can shop her products through my affiliate links below:

SHOP ANNIE SLOAN PRODUCTS

Buy Pure White Chalk Paint (use on kitchen cabinets below)

Buy Graphite Chalk Paint (used on stair railings below)

Buy Provence Chalk Paint (used on hutch below)

Clear Wax

Dark Wax

White Wax

Paint & Wax Brush

Alt. Brush Set of 3

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STAIR RAILINGS

Most of you probably saw that we had our floors redone, but usually, contractors leave out the railings because you're better off just replacing them since they are nearly impossible and too intricate to sand - so I opted to chalk paint ours! It was in perfectly fine shape but just needed to match the rest of the house. I got the idea from my mother-in-law, who has her stair railing painted black and it looks gorgeous! I went with Annie Sloan Graphite chalk paint and used black wax to get it nearly black.

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KITCHEN CABINETS

If you've been following my blog for a while, then you know I recently redid our kitchen cabinets using chalk paint. Before knocking out this big project, I did tons of research on latex paint vs. chalk paint and ultimately ended up going with the chalk paint because it takes WAY less prep, it's easy to work with, and it fills in the grooves of the oak without having to sand everything down. You can read more on how I redid the cabinets here and here.

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TRIM/FIREPLACE MANTEL

When we first moved into our house, the mantle and trim of the fireplace was a blonde colored wood - very 90's/early 2000's and we knew we had to change it since we were having the floors redone. First, I tried painting it white and several months later after having the floors refinished, I switched it up and went with black. That's how easy chalk paint is to use AND the brush makes getting in all of the grooves of the wood so easy.

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FURNITURE

Furniture is SO easy to refresh with chalk paint. You can see my tutorial on this upcycled hutch here where I completely transformed this piece with chalk paint and some new hardware. 

LAMPS

I actually first heard about chalk paint from my mom, who refinished furniture and designs light fixtures over at Suzanne Parr Home. She's the chalk paint pro and even came to New York to help me finish painting and clear wax the kitchen cabinets. She primarily uses chalk paint on metal for light fixtures! Another reason why chalk paint is so amazing - it's very versatile!

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10 Shows You Need To Watch Now

Top 10 Shows via Chaos With Coffee

We've been working on the kitchen remodel and refinishing the floors, which inspired us to remodel our master closet as well. I was up all night researching and designing plans for the closet that I hope to build someday. This morning I woke up and revisited my plans to start working on Chance's side and pricing out the lumber we'd need and while doing this I discovered a great Hulu Original decided to share my top 10 "must see" shows as of lately. Enjoy this list and get to watching! 

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1. The Sinner (Netflix & USA)

2. Castle Rock (Hulu, currently watching)

3. Pose (FX)

4. Mindhunter (Netflix)

5. Wild Wild Country (Netflix)

6. The People vs. O.J. Simpson (Netflix)

7. The Killing (Netflix, my all time fave!)

8. Bloodline (Netflix)

9. Rosedale (Netflix)

10. Slasher

 
 
 

Why You Shouldn't Buy Your Appliances Directly From Samsung

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**CONSUMER ALERT** I never post reviews like this, but wow, I don't remember the last time I was so exhausted I could hardly think by 6pm. I spent 6 hours today installing appliances - including basically taking apart the entire range and converting it with orifices...yes, orifices...who even knows what those are unless you do this for a living.

I was very excited and please with my big appliance purchase from Samsung's mobile app because they were very friendly when I spoke to them on the phone after I placed the order and they even had the delivery scheduled in less than a week - it seemed to good to be true, and trust me IT WAS. Let me be clear, Samsung's appliances are super nice and flashy, but NEVER and I repeat NEVER order any of their products directly from their website, mobile app, etc.!!!!! I'd heard horror stories from my best friend and co-worker, but lighting can't strike three times right?? WRONG, ohhh man was I wrong. Let's begin...

Several years ago, my very good friend and co-worker told me the story about how he purchased a Samsung TV from their website on Black Friday and when it arrived the screen was broken and it didn't work. He called customer support, but to his surprise they were useless and made it extremely difficult to return the item - SO extremely difficult that he ended up having to go through his credit card company to get a refund since Samsung refused to return the product - FYI this is because they use third-party shipping companies to deliver everything, which is a HUGE catastrophe...don't worry, if you aren't sold on their terrible customer service yet, it gets better.

About 3 years ago, my best friend ordered a TV from Samsung's website and guess what, they lost it! She too called their customer support and found them to be equally useless and they once again made it extremely difficult for her to get a refund or even a new TV shipped so she too had to go through her credit card company.

Fast forward to a few days ago. Samsung scheduled my delivery, they even emailed a checklist - YES, they emailed me a checklist that states, and I quote, "Our team will not leave until we've installed and tested each appliance. So, the delivery dudes show up and to my surprise, they tell me they can't disconnect my stuff and even if it I already had it disconnected, they wouldn't even install the appliances because they aren't licensed! EXCUSE ME?????? I'm sorry, do you think I know how to hook up my gas range and dishwasher??? I'm not a plumber nor do I know anything about how to hook up my gas range, which is why I carefully followed the checklist to make sure everything was in place and ready so YOU could take care of this for me...I mean Samsung appliances ARE NOT CHEAP, but they can't even help their customers out by ensuring they hire licensed professionals to install their appliances?? What a freaking joke.

I won't continue to keep ranting, but needless to say, it took us 6+ hours to install everything including multiple trips to Lowe's and YouTube tutorials. You can see below where we began installing everything, where I had to take a photo of the old range piece in order to have Lowe's provide me with new pieces for the range and at the very bottom, other pissed off people who have tried to order through Samsung. Someone needs to get in touch with them and inform them of their AWFUL customer service.

Rant over. Highly recommend going to Lowe's or Home Depot or anywhere else if you want Samsung appliances.

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Refinishing The Hardwood Floors

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Hey everyone! If you've been following along on Instagram then you are WELL aware that we have been under renovation for about 2 weeks now having all of the hardwood in our home refinished and we've even had them replace some of the carpet upstairs with hardwood in our master bedroom and one of the guest rooms.

I'm not going to lie, living in this type of renovation sucks because we've had to move everything out of the house - furniture, shoes, beds, etc. We don't have a single chair in our house right now and have been living out of hotels and Airbnbs, but it will be worth it when it's all said and done! For now, we only had them do 2 rooms upstairs so that we could at least stay partially in the house when we were able too, but we're going to have them come back in October (hopefully) to do the remaining 2 rooms upstairs (guest room + my office). I'm sure I've shared with you the awful carpet selection that the previous owners chose, literally every single room has different COLORED carpet except for the master - blue, green & red - it's hideous and not to mention quite disgusting since they weren't the cleanest.

Since this is the biggest project we’ve tackled since the kitchen renovation (learn how to chalk paint your cabinets here), I thought it would share the progress we’ve made and eventually I will actually share my pros, cons and tips/advice if your considering having your floors refinished or doing them yourself! For now, enjoy the before, during and current photos of our home under renovation.

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And since the staining starts tomorrow, Winston and I have checked ourselves into the most adorable Airbnb in Montgomery, NY for the rest of the week! Stay tuned for the end result y’all!

 

Update: Kitchen Progress

Kitchen Update vis Chaos With Coffee

I realized the last time I shared a FULL kitchen update it was still in pretty rough shape - the cabinets needed more painting, hardware wasn't installed, tile wasn't finished etc. It really was more of a progress post vs. fully finished post. We still have a bit more work to do, but it's mostly just installing new appliances and then adding any other finishing touches we want, but the tile is done, the hardware has been installed and the paint is finally finished and sealed!

Check out the most recent progress we've made and stay tuned for another update coming soon when we get the new appliances next week! I literally went to Lowe's the other day just to play the floor model of the new fridge we ordered haha - can you tell I'm excited? Let me know what you think in the comments below!

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Kitchen Update via Chaos With Coffee
Kitchen Update via Chaos With Coffee
Kitchen Update via Chaos With Coffee
 
 

How To Keep Cool & Stay On Track With Your Health Goals

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

Nestle Outshine via Chaos With Coffee

If you know me, you know that I kind of have an obsession with ice cream, but Chance and I are so dedicated to staying healthy and fit this year that I’ve had to re-think the ways I incorporate frozen snacks into my diet. Not only are we dedicated to staying healthy and fit, but since moving to upstate New York back in February, you can imagine we’ve continuously had friends and family visiting at least once a month, so we’re dedicated to staying on track throughout each visit.

I thought I would share my secret weapon for staying on track, while also entertaining guests, Nestle’s OUTSHINE® and Skinny Cow® frozen snack products, which I regularly keep in stock - especially now that it’s summer!  

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We’re hosting Chance’s parents this weekend for his mom’s birthday since we won’t be able to make it back down to Virginia for the river trip they planned, but I wanted to celebrate with them so we stocked up in preparation!

I love the Skinny Cow® ice cream sandwiches and always serve those as an after dinner snack because they are full of protein, irresistible and totally guilt-free! The vanilla ice cream inside is so creamy and always satisfies my sweet tooth, plus who doesn’t love ice cream sandwiches - especially when they are low-fat. I’m so excited to serve them this weekend because after a long day and hitting all of our favorite restaurants, it’s the perfect finale.

Now, the OUTSHINE® Fruit Bars are something else. I don’t keep these hidden away just for after-dinner snacks. I use them in my banana smoothies as a replacement for regular ice cubes, plus they give my boring bananas a little extra sweetness and variety since I’m huge on adding peanut butter or other ingredients - remember we’re thinking light and refreshing! To be honest, even after my evening workout, when I’m all sweaty and out of breath, instead of going straight for water with no subsistence, I’ll whip out fruit bar to get some calories back into my body and help cool me off before settling into the evening.

You’ll regularly find Winston and I sitting on the front porch after a long day cooling off with a refreshing fruit bar. Even though I work from home, it’s challenging getting him outside to run through all of his energy, so each evening we’ll sit outside and cool off OUTSHINE® as a healthy snack and toss the ball around before heading in for the night.


You can find OUTSHINE® and Skinny Cow® at your local Hannaford’s grocery store - FYI if you’re in Orange County there’s one in Middletown! Enjoy these refreshing frozen snacks and stick to your goals! 

#CollectiveBias
#AnIceCreamForThat !

 

 

Billie: Is It Worth The Hype?

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I can't be the only one who never seems to have a fresh razor when I need I most, right? As someone who does digital marketing for a living (a.k.a. building and analyzing Instagram/Facebook ads) I pay attention to almost every single that comes across my feeds, but almost never buy into anything - I pretty much just monitor to see what my competitors - but Billie totally sold me. 

An Instagram ad popped up on my feed and I literally bought it that instant. I wasn't even retargeted and served the ad multiple times, I saw it for the first time and thought, "Wow, finally a woman's razor subscription made by women, for women, AND with fun colors," so I clicked that CTA button to subscribe.

So, is it worth the $9.73/month? Absolutely, Billie is SO worth it! If you're like me, then before Billie came along, you would go to Target or Walmart or wherever and buy the non-brand "compare to Venus" razors that made your legs feel all silky smooth, those usually cost somewhere around $8 and you usually get maybe 3 razors, right? It's been so long I don't even remember anymore (haha), but anyways, so you would go to the store and then try to make your razors last as long as possible and then by the time you actually need a new razor you realize you don't have the time to run to the store or you keep forgetting or whatever, right? Well, that's how it was for me so subscribing to Billie has been a LIFE saver. 

First of all, the razors work great and make your legs feel super silky smooth - this is coming from a girl who shaves with soap and water you know they must be good if I'm not using shaving cream. I get 4 cartridges enough, and honestly during the first month I thought it wasn't going to be enough blades, but now I actually have a nice little repository of blades saved up in my bathroom - and I'm not even being sparing with them either! Plus, the send you this cool little "magic" holder to stick to the wall in your shower so your blade and the nice smooth lotion part doesn't get all gross and messed up - a.k.a. it lasts longer.

So, if you're like me then you should sign up for Billie. I don't have a promotion code to share with you all because I really just wanted to write this review and let you know my honest opinion so sorry, but this isn't sponsored and I can't help you get 10% off, but now you are super informed (right?!) and go off and make your own decision on whether or not you want to try it. The good news is that you can skip certain months or pause the subscription whenever you want!

Hope you all enjoyed this post! Cheers!

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5 Travel Tips For Pet Owners

5 Travel Tips For Pet Owners via Chaos With Coffee

Stress-Free Travel Tips For Pet Owners


Now that summer is here, travel plans are in full swing! I've been so inspired by my BFF's crazy summer with her new job AND 2 moves that I've been writing more blog posts recently offering tips and advice. Between the two of us, we have 3 dogs, travel frequently across state lines, and have moved at least 5 times in the past year. There are SO many details to think about when lining up a trip, especially if your furry friend will be along for the ride. Whether it’s a leisurely vacation or moving to a new place, you can do prep work to make the journey easier for you and your pets. Enjoy these tips below, adapted from Boo Larsen, General Manager & Vice President of Veterinary Profession, CareCredit.


1. Prepare Your Pet

Practice taking rides or spending time in a carrier will help your pet feel more comfortable when the trip actually takes place. Consider microchipping your pet and make sure their contact information is current. A collar with contact information is also a necessity. We opted for a tagless dog collar when we moved to New York, which can purchase from Etsy here. If your pet is traveling in a crate, consider taping the information on the collar to lessen the chance of tags getting caught.


2. Plan Ahead

Research the pet rules for your destination. If you’re traveling by air be sure to check the specific airline policy. Hotels and campsites may also have certain restrictions or accommodations for your pet. We usually choose to stay in Marriotts because both Courtyards and Residence Inns allow pets - plus the staff is always more than friendly to Winston and they usually have treats!

When it comes to meals, make sure you have enough food and fresh water to last the duration of the trip as well as serving bowls, like these portable travel bowls. Winston usually doesn't eat a lot when we travel because of all the excitement, but he's always thirsty so these bowls are awesome to have handy - and they are collapsible!

Make sure the medications your pet is taking will last the entire trip as it may be difficult to get refills on the road. Pets also might be frightened or confused during travel. Bringing items such as blankets and toys that remind him/her of home may help ease anxiety. We always keep at least one of Winston's blankets in the car even though he never gets anxiety, but I think it helps him sleep and it gives me peace of mind knowing he is comfortable. Here are soome great options for travel blankets:

3. Know The Regulations

Traveling across state or international borders requires a health certificate. Some locations require more information, which may take time to accomplish. Be sure to check with your veterinarian well in advance of the trip to know what to expect. A check-up is always a good idea because there may be vaccinations or preventive medications that are needed before traveling.


4. Safety First 

The safest way for your dog or cat to travel via car is in a crate that has been
anchored to the vehicle using a seatbelt or other secure means. Seat belts for dogs keep
the dog from roaming but do not reliably protect them in a crash. Airlines also have
guidelines on what carriers are allowed both in the cabin and in the cargo hold. Cargo
holds are especially dangerous for pets due to variations in temperature so check with
your veterinarian about any safety precautions to consider.

Winston is really good about sleeping when we go on road trips, but if you have a nervous dog or a dog that likes to roam around a lot, check out these great travel crates to ensure your dog stays safe during the ride.

 

5. Have A First Aid Kit 

Along with your pet’s regular medications, and a brief medical history, it’s a good idea to have a kit packed for emergency situations. There are many items that can be included but you should at least have some gauze (can be used as a muzzle if necessary), non-stick bandages or towels and adhesive bandages. Make sure your veterinarian’s phone number is save in your phone in case of emergencies. No matter how much you prepare, there is always the possibility that your pet will become accidentally injured or develop an unexpected illness, prompting an unplanned trip to
the vet.


You can shop more of our favorite pet travel gear using the carousel below. Leave us some feedback in the comments below and feel free to share your own travel tips that work!

 

 

To Stay or Not to Stay? 3 Signs You Should Keep (or Leave) Your Job

Keep or Leave?

My BFF has been a constant source of inspiration throughout my years of blogging and has inspired yet another blog post today! Being that we are both in our mid/late 20's and navigating adult life, our careers are so important to us and we're constantly "hustling" and being girl bosses looking for the next move so we can achieve our dreams. 

Recently, she was faced with a tough challenge because she just started a new job several weeks ago, but received an offer out of the blue from her dream job! To stay or not to stay? Career coach and workplace issues expert Holly Caplan shares the answers in her article, "Should I Stay or Should I Go? Three signs you should keep your job and three signs you shouldn’t.


SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO?

3 Signs You Should Keep Your Job & 3 Signs You Shouldn’t
By Holly Caplan

How employees view their current companies & jobs:

• 71% of workers said they are looking to change employers
• 37% of engaged employees are looking for jobs or watching for opportunities, as are 56% of not engaged and 73% of actively disengaged employees
• 47% of people actively looking for new positions say company culture is the main reason

So if you are feeling like you need a job change, you are not alone. Here are three signs that maybe it is time to take the leap, and three signs that you should tough it out a bit longer:

 

3 Signs You Should Quit Your Job:

1.    Deficit in Development:

If you notice that your company isn’t doing anything to develop, train, or promote you, it is a sign that it may be time to go.  This is two-fold. First, it shows they have little interest in your future and how you contribute to the organization. Second, your professional growth can be hindered if the company does not actively develop or promote. This deficit can create frustration on the employee’s behalf and it shows that the company is not invested in their people.

2.    Getting Out of Bed:

 We all go through periods where our jobs are miserable, or we are just flat bored. Getting out of bed can feel like a chore itself.  If you are not mentally engaged in what you are doing for a living, don’t wait too long to make a change. Staying in a role you find completely uninspiring will do a number on your self-worth will and will be detected by your manager. When you feel this stagnancy or boredom linger, it is a sign that it is time to go. Give yourself the chance to find something new that will interest and inspire you!           

3.    High turnover:

Employees stay in their jobs if they actually like their work environment. If they have a good boss, work-life balance and consistency, they will stay for a while. But, if these components are not present, most people will jump ship. If you see your respected colleagues leaving right and left, know the issues are most likely systemic. This is a signal that it is time to find a new ship that is sailing in the right direction.

 

3 Signs You Shouldn’t Quit Your job:

1.    If you are under 12 months of employment:

This is the sweet spot, 12 months. Say you get involved in a job that you don’t feel is a right fit or you wish you didn’t take, do your best to make it last one year. Leaving at 6-9 months can look questionable to your next employer. Staying 12-18 months, even if you want to go, will show stability and that you were dedicated to this period of your career journey.

2.    Leadership change is coming:

When you see that the people above you are moving on or moving out, hold tight. This could mean a positive change for you. Their movement makes room for perhaps your advancement, a role change or maybe even just a better work culture. This type of transition can yield professional growth, so watch what happens and then figure out what this can mean for you!

3.    Look for a job while you have one:

It has been said, again and again, it is best to look for a new job while you have a job. Even if you know you want to quit, stick with your current position (barring horrible circumstances) while you are in the new job search. Clearly, by doing this, you are maintaining your current income, while at the same time you appear more marketable and desirable to your potential employer.

In today’s environment, there is a lot more freedom of choice based on social acceptance of job hops, which can work in your favor. If you find you are in disengaged or perhaps indifferent, don’t waste any more time. Assess your current professional situation and don’t be afraid to ask yourself if you should stay or if you should go.

Holly Caplan is a workplace issues expert, career coach and author of Surviving the Dick Clique: A Girl's Guide to Surviving the Male-Dominated Corporate World. For more information, please visit,www.hollycaplan.com and connect with her on Twitter, @hollymcaplan.


Everyone's career path is different, but keeping the above in mind can come in handy if you're unsure of what to do. What did my BFF do? She took her dream job is officially moving to Naples! I'm so proud of her for following her dreams and working hard to get where she is today. I can't wait to visit her so please send us recommendations for things to do in her new city!

 

Meal Prep: Week 2 & The Best Steak Marinade

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I know this is late, BUT I wanted to share what I made for the second week of our meal prep. I try to prep twice a week because we go through meals really quick and I only have 12 containers right now - need to buy more ASAP!

PROTEIN

Marinated Flank Steak
Using the marinade above, let the steak marinate for at least 24 hours (48 is best) and then cook over medium-low heat with the lid until cooked through. You don't want to dry it out since flank steak is so thin so definitely keep the lid on and the heat low.

 

GRAINS/LEGUMES

We went with black beans and refried black beans this week - Chance's favorite! 

 

VEGGIES

Riced Cauliflower & Carrots
Using one head of cauliflower, I chopped it in the food processor in small batches. I repeated this for the carrots as well. Then, as I did with the riced broccoli last week, I sauteed over medium-low heat with some water in small batches until cooked to my liking.

 

Hope you enjoy this week's meal prep! Let me know what your favorite meal prep meals are in the comments below or if you have any questions/feedback! Thanks!