DIY Dinosaur Succulent Planters

DIY Dinosaur Succulent Planters

Back when I lived in Virginia during college, I used to work on a lot of DIY projects in my apartment to make it feel more like my own home. I've been going through a lot of my archives since we've been in the hotel and I have had more free time and I came across a really fun project that I did for my succulents a few years ago - DIY Dinosaur Succulent Planters! This is a super simple, easy-to-make project that you can finish in a few hours as long as you have the right materials. Read below and make your own!

DIY Dinosaur Succulent Planters
DIY Dinosaur Succulent Planters
DIY Dinosaur Succulent Planters
DIY Dinosaur Succulent Planters
DIY Dinosaur Succulent Planters
DIY Dinosaur Succulent Planters
DIY Dinosaur Succulent Planters
DIY Dinosaur Succulent Planters

MATERIALS NEEDED
• Foam dinosaurs (we found ours at the local flea market in Fort Green)
• White spray paint for plastic
• Succulents
• Exacto Knife
• Soil for planters
• Drill

DIRECTIONS
1. Spray paint your foam dinosaurs - they may need more than one coat of paint. Let them sit outside to dry.

2. Cut out a small, circular portion of the top with the exacto knife, this is where the plant will sit. Make sure it's deep enough to allow room for the plant to grow.

3. Drill 2-3 small holes in the bottom (on the belly) of the dinosaur - this will allow the planter to drain so that the soil doesn't get moldy after you water it.

4. Fill up your dinosaur with soil and add the plant! Now you're done and ready to enjoy these awesome planters!

We hope you'll try out this project and share your own versions of these planters with us! Let us know what you think in the comments below and don't forget to follow us on InstagramPinterestTwitter and Facebook!

 

 

 

 

How To Propagate Succulents

How To Propagate Succulents

Although, I am not exactly sure where spring is, I thought I would show you how to propagate succulents from cuttings and leaves. Sometimes succulents can get leggy (growing up instead of out), which happens when a plant isn’t getting enough light and it starts to stretch out causing the stem to grow long and the leaves to become widely spaced - this is the perfect time to propagate! It's super easy and fun to do as a weekend project.

How To Propagate Succulents
How To Propagate Succulents
How To Propagate Succulents
How To Propagate Succulents
How To Propagate Succulents
How To Propagate Succulents

Start by clipping off a piece of your succulent that has the fewest leaves and then gently remove each leaf from the stem. At this point, you should have a small pile of leaves. Place them on a paper towel and gently pat them dry to remove any moisture. Grab a cookie sheet and line it with foil or parchment paper then add a layer of soil and place the succulent leaves on top. Make sure you place the cookie sheet in a place where they will get a lot of indirect sunlight.

After a few weeks, you'll notice little roots sprouting from the ends of the leaves and then teeny tiny baby plants will begin to sprout. You don't need to water the leaves, but you can use a spray bottle to mist them once a week or bi-weekly once the plants at the end of each leaf start to grow. Let them grow like this until the original leaf starts to wither, then remove the plant from the original stem and place in it's own pot of soil. You may notice that not every leaf starts a new plant, some will just end up withering away, but most will do just fine. I'll try to post an update once ours are ready to be planted! 

 

 

How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets With Chalk Paint

How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets With Chalk Paint

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen a glimpse of our kitchen remodel here and there. When we first saw the house, I knew the first thing I wanted to change was the kitchen because I hated the oak cabinets. It took us more than 60 days to close so I had a lot of time to do research - at first, I thought we would completely redo the kitchen with new cabinets, but then quickly realized I could save a ton of money by painting them myself.

Now, I want to start by saying that our kitchen is nowhere done yet, but several of you have been asking for some tips so I thought I would start with a phase one and then post updates as we go! We still have to finish the tile (I'll share a tutorial for tiling later on) - our main hold up on this is that we are waiting for the rest of our copper wall plates to come in so we can measure and cut the right sizes around our light switched and outlets.

After doing all of my research I found a great article on A Beautiful Mess comparing chalk paint to latex paint for kitchen cabinets, which convinced me to go with chalk paint 100% and I am SO happy that I did. All of the cabinets have been painted, which took me about a week, but I will share more on this as we go.

How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets With Chalk Paint
How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets With Chalk Paint
How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets With Chalk Paint

The above photos show what our kitchen looked like completely untouched by us. It's a HUGE kitchen with tons of space and natural light. I love that island is big enough to basically dance on too, but I have always dreamed of a white kitchen so the cabinets needed to be fixed. Using chalk paint was SO easy and anyone can do it as long as you have the time and patience. I am slightly OCD so I ended up using 3 cans of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and giving them probably a total of 4 coats of paints because I needed to get the brush strokes perfect, but the average person probably only needs to do 2-3 coats depending on the coverage you want. Most of the articles I read stressed the importance of cleaning and I do too, however we got really lucky and the previous homeowners were very clean so I didn't spend a ton of time prepping and basically just started painting after a quick wash of the cabinets.

How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets With Chalk Paint
How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets With Chalk Paint
How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets With Chalk Paint

You can really see in this picture how well the chalk paint covers the oak grain. That was another huge reason why I chose to go this route because I knew I wanted the grain gone and everything I read said that chalk paint would do the job without me having to remove all of the doors and sand everything down. I am a little impatient so I don't think I would have gotten through all of that work - I wanted my new kitchen ASAP lol.

How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets With Chalk Paint
How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets With Chalk Paint

Here you can see more of the progress. Chalk paint works so well on wood cabinets, but if you look at the side of my top cabinet, you'll notice that the paint started peel - this is when I realized the sizes (parts that most people don't focus on) weren't actual wood so I have to go back and sand those down in order to get the paint to stick.

When you order the chalk paint, you can also order a special chalk paint brush, which basically (in my opinion) just allows you to hold onto more paint, but because I had so many corners I felt that a regular paint brush worked better for me and I liked the brush strokes better, but I'll leave that up to you to decide. Honestly, I would just buy the chalk paint brush and a small all-purpose paint brush and test out the strokes - even though I didn't like using the chalk paint brush on the cabinets, I have used it several times to redo large pieces of furniture and it was great!

How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets With Chalk Paint
How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets With Chalk Paint
How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets With Chalk Paint
How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets With Chalk Paint

So now you've seen what my kitchen looks like with several coats of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. I chose to go with Pure White because it doesn't have any hints of warmth or blue - I just wanted straight up white on those bad boys and I am very happy with the color! I haven't finished painting the insides of the cabinets or the base boards so that will come next. I started sealing the cabinets that we are using the most with Minwax Polycrylic - it's water-based and won't yellow as time goes on. It's worked great so far and has prevented the paint from chipping, I think it's especially important to call out that our cabinets don't have knobs or pulls yet so the faces of each drawer and cabinet see a lot of traffic and have still held up using this top coat!

I'll continue to update you guys as we make progress, but in the meantime feel free to reach out with questions or tips on how to update your kitchen easily with chalk paint!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Upcycled Hutch With Chalk Paint

Upcycled Hutch via Chaos With Coffee

In lieu of becoming a new homeowner next week, this kitchen hutch serves as the first of many DIY projects on the blog! I revamped this hutch a few years ago when I was still in college, but it was my first big project and has become a staple in my old apartment.

Being a poor college student, I wanted a chic apartment, but I couldn't afford new furniture so I had to get creative. I was inspired by this beautiful green farmhouse hutch (pictured below) that I stumbled upon on Pinterest and was determined to recreate my own somehow. After searching on Craigslist for weeks, I finally found the one for just under $100 - most were going for upwards of $500. Apparently, I didn't take a before picture, so the one from craigslist will have to do.

The Original

The Original

Craigslist Hutch

Craigslist Hutch

You can see the hutch was naturally gorgeous, but it wasn't my style so I took my inspiration picture and got to work making it my own. My mom upcycles a lot of furniture and has used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint for years so I opted to try it for this project. The downside to this paint is that is it very pricey for the amount you get, but it is easy to use and you do not have to do any prep work beforehand other than cleaning the furniture. The brush you see in the photo is an Annie Sloan paint brush and it is also pricey, but I was told it worked best with the chalk paint. Honestly, you can probably use any brush and save some money. Overall, I thought the paint was good for this project. It covers easily and hardly requires more than one coat. Annie Sloan also has good color choices.

Upcycled Hutch via Chaos With Coffee

Here you can see what the bottom of the hutch looked like during/after the first coat of chalk paint. I applied a thin layer of paint for this coat, which is why you can still see the wood through the it, but generally the paint will cover more. 

Upcycled Hutch via Chaos With Coffee
Upcycled Hutch via Chaos With Coffee
Upcycled Hutch via Chaos With Coffee

I also purchased new cabinet hardware for the drawers and spray painted the old hardware that I wanted to keep black to match It gave the hutch a much more modern look than it previously had.

Upcycled Hutch via Chaos With Coffee
Upcycled Hutch via Chaos With Coffee
Upcycled Hutch via Chaos With Coffee

Here was the final result! I took off the doors as well, which I thought made it even more modern. I absolutely loved this bold piece of furniture and so did all of my friends - AND the landlord! When my best friends from high school moved into the apartment after me (because I moved to NYC) I let them keep the hutch. It stayed with them for 2 years until another friend's sister moved in and now the landlord has decided to keep the piece in the home because she loves it so much!

What do you all think of this project? Let me know if the comments below!

Upcycled Hutch via Chaos With Coffee
Upcycled Hutch via Chaos With Coffee
 

The REAL Cost of Buying a Home

The REAL Cost of Buying a Home

As most of you know, Chance and I are waiting to close on our house towards the end of the month. It's the first house we're buying together and the anticipation is killing me because I just want to be move in already! While we wait, I thought it would be helpful to share some tips for first time home buyers from my lovely friend Jessica Deleo over at RVA Homes With Jess.

I met Jessica through work 4 years ago in Richmond right after college. We were working closely at a small advertising agency and became quick friends because Jessica had such an ambitious personality and sort of became a mentor to me. Fast forward to today and even though we hadn't really kept in close touch other than the occasional comment on social media, we recently reconnected through our blogs! I'm thrilled to finally have a real life blogger friend that I can collaborate with, which is why I am so excited to share this post today. 

Before buying a house, I definitely did not realize the true cost that goes into it before you even close on your dream home. Like most people, I assumed the downpayment was pretty much it and then we would jump right into mortgage payments next - nope there's actually many other upfront costs associated that I'm going to share with you all courtesy of Jessica and her expertise in real estate! Did I mention she's a Virginia licensed Realtor® in the city of Richmond - so definitely connect with her if you're buying a home in that area and don't forget to read more of her guides here.

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The REAL Cost of Buying a Home

 8 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW YOU’D NEED TO PAY FOR UPFRONT VIA JESSICA DELEO

 

Inspection costs – ~ $300-$500

Our inspection costs were almost $800, but the average price can range between $300 - $500 depending on whether you have gas, oil, septic tanks, etc as well as the size of the home and any additional buildings you may want inspected. You may want additional inspections like radon tests, fireplace and flues, lead paint, sewer and water pipers, or asbestos – all of which would be additional fees. We ended up having a radon test done luckily the results weren't bad, but we were able to get the sellers to install to a radon system.

 

EMD –  ~ $1,000+

Depending on the price of the home or requirements by the seller you will likely be asked to put $1,000 or more into an earnest money account. This is typically money that is held by your real estate agent’s brokerage but the good news is it is often applied to your closing costs or returned to you once your transaction closes. Read more about earnest money deposits.

 

Closing Costs – Varies

Your closing costs are dependent on your loan type, amount and what you work out with the seller. Sometimes the seller is willing to contribute to closing costs if you ask for that in your original offer for the home. If you are short on cash you can also offer to pay over the asking price for the home so that it is rolled into your loan if they are willing to pay the cash at closing. This is a good tool if you can still buy the home within it’s appraisal value. This is definitely a strategy to discuss with your Realtor®. Ask your loan officer to review all of the options with you as far what your closing costs will look like.  

 

Materials to fix items found in inspection – Varies

If you have a new build this should be a minimal cost or should be taken care of by the builder. Check your builder’s contract for a 60 and 90 day repair option. The older your home the more potential you’ll need savings to fix or replace major systems like your water heater, air handlers, or appliances.

 

Getting keys made/locks changed – $2.50-$500

If you are someone who is concerned about who may have previously had keys to your home  you’ll want to change the locks or get them rekeyed. If you a little more of a carefree spirit (or just forgetful like me) you may just make an extra copy or two of your keys once you get them at closing.

Time off work – depending on the type of work you do and how you get paid, this might be a significant cost for you.

 

Movers – $300+

If you don’t have family or friends where you’re moving (or they have opted out of helping) you’ll likely need to hire movers unless you want to spend multiple days and a ton of money in Advil packing a U-haul.

 

Overlapping Rent/Mortgage

If you are renting you may be able to perfectly time your rental contract to end by the time you have to move! Wouldn’t that be amazing?! Just incase that isn’t the case (closing gets moved back, you can’t move that weekend, etc.) you should be prepared to pay to extend your lease, pay month-to-month (which is usually a higher cost) or potentially have to rent a storage space if you can’t extend your rental but can’t move into your new place yet.

 

New Appliances – $200+

If you have a new build or if the previous owners decide to take larger items like the washing machine or the refrigerator with them you’ll need a cash stash to be able to purchase those items. If you move around any American holiday though (Memorial Day, July Fourth, Labor Day) or good ol’ Black Friday you can find great deals at the major home improvement stores.


HUGE thanks to Jessica for sharing these tips, which you can also find on her blog by visiting this link here. We seriously cannot wait to share our new home with you all! We have a lot of work to do but I'm so excited to see how we can make our first house our dream home while we are in New York!

Here's a sneak peak into some of the rooms and some of the ways I'm already planning on decorating once we get settled in. Feel free to share your tips in the comments below!

 

SNEAK PEEK

I know this isn't giving you all a whole lot, but I want it to be a surprise when I share the full house with you all - plus I'm already planning to take you through room-by-room when we start to makes changes in order to make it exactly how we'd like. That said, enjoy these photos of the current kitchen in our house that I pulled from the listing. 

 

HOME UPDATES

Only 20 days until we close on the house and I already have tons of Pinterest boards and ideas for how I'd like to redo certain rooms - starting with the kitchen. I'll definitely be sharing more once we get moved in, but below are some items I'm looking forward to using to remodel the kitchen.

 

 

 

Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018

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Happy New Year’s Eve everyone! It’s hard to believe another year has come and gone. How do I even begin to describe 2017 - my life has completely changed in all the right ways since January and for the first time in several years I’m actually quite thrilled to jump into a new year!

Chance and I have so much to be thankful for and even more to look forward to in 2018 that the anticipation is killing me! Together we traveled across the east coast, explored 15+ cities in 5 states over the span of 5 months, missed flights, got lost on country roads, ate way too much breakfast food (just kidding, that’s impossible), moved to New York, bought a house and so much more, but my favorite thing that we did was meet each other. 

2017 was a BIG year for me personally, I left New York City and moved back to Virginia, landed my dream job, bought my first car, moved back to New York upstate and SO much more that I can’t even begin to go in detail about (and honestly don’t want to), but the most important thing I did was to let myself be happy, start living my life and surround myself with positive, motivated, ambitious, genuinely good people! Bring on 2018 world!

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So, with that said, here are some of my New Year’s Resolutions: 

Try out a vegan or vegetarian diet

Do Kayla’s BBG on Sweat every week

Budget properly

Be kind and patient  

Volunteer at least once

Read 12 books

Travel to Europe

Explore 20+ new cities  

Be more creative

Run a half marathon

 

What are you resolutions for 2018? If you're like me, my favorite resolution is to be healthier and workout more often so I've included a little round up of my favorite workout gear to get you ready for 2018. Cheers to a new year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kitchen Essentials

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If you just moved into a place of your own and you're not quite sure how to stock your kitchen with the basic tools then this post is for you! We've rounded up a list of kitchen essentials that will help you prepare simple dishes and come in handy for almost recipe! Shop our recommendations below.