Thursday, June 28, 2012

Decisions, Decisions...

Do any of you have those rooms in your house that just never feel quite right? Something feels a little bit off and you can't pin point what it is? Just the energy feels weird?

That is hands down my guest room. I would consider myself a pretty decisive person when it comes to design, but there is something really off about my guest room and it kills me! I have rearranged the furniture 3 times, painted the walls twice (with 10' ceilings that was a challenge on its own), and I am on my third rug.

That's where you all come in. The dang rug.

I purchased this chevron rug about 9 months ago because I could not pass up the deal for a nearly 8x11ft rug for less than $150.

Rugs USA Home Value Chevron Ivory Rug

The quality was only so-so. Not super plush and probably would not last us more than a few years, but fine for the moment.

Well, clearly I didn't plan things out in my head because a black rug + two white kittens = cleaning nightmare.


And that pic was taken AFTER I vacuumed. No matter how hard I tried the fur just will not come up and I refuse to get OCD over getting every little thing up- I would go insane!

So I have given into my defeat and decided to try yet another rug.

I saw this one from Urban Outfitters last week and descided to give it a shot. With free shipping and a code I pulled off of I was able to snag it for $74.

I still love the chevron pattern, but I decided to go with a beige color instead of the black. It has a more woven texture than a wool feel- kinda like an outdoor rug maybe? Its a 5'x7' so significantly smaller than the black one too.

I just can't decide if I'm feeling it. What you you think? Is it too small? I have not moved the other rug out because it will be a pain to move the furniture if I decide not to keep this Urban one. I like the lighter look and its neutral so I can add any accent colors without worrying about clashing.

What do you think?? Yay or Nay?

XOXO Katie
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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

LBD Identity Crisis

So in true low-man-on-the-totem-poll style Joey and I have just received an invite to the graduation dinner for the chief residents in his program...yeah its in 3 days...thanks for the heads up. All the heads of his department will be there so there will be alot of schmoozing (aka kissing some tushie) involved.

Did I mention this is a FORMAL event- like black tie optional?? Freak out!
I ran home and busted into my closet to see what my options are because I don't have the time or the dinero to go buy a new outfit between now and Friday.

Thank goodness for the LBD- that girl saves the day every time. I have a black strapless dress that just needs some accessories to dress it up. But here is where I'm stumped :

Do I go classic and conservative and do my best "doctor's wife" impression? Mind you, all the while I will be stuffing the dinner rolls in my pockets because its the only comped event we have been invited to in the last two years...

Or, do I go fun and playful with bold colors to show that I am not a typical dorky resident wife that has her nose in the books along side her hubs?


XOXO Katie
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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Dollar Savin' Tricks

I am nothing if not a true penny pincher. There are and many money saving tips out there so it would be criminal not to share tidbits that I have gathered from surfing the net. All are for major national stores and we all can take advantage of the savings without having to go coupon clipping crazy like what creepy show Extreme Couponing on TLC. Those ladies freak me out- talk about being wasteful!

This one is brought to you by and they breakdown the ins-and-outs of clearance items at Target (Tarjay- if you're feeling fancy).
Fave Tip #1- If the price ends in 8, it will be marked down again. If it ends in a 4, it's the lowest it will be.
Fav Tip #2 Tip- Every Target has a markdown schedule and a very common one is as follows: 
 MONDAY: Kids’ Clothing, Stationery (office supplies, gift wrap), Electronics.
TUESDAY: Women’s Clothing and Domestics.
WEDNESDAY: Men’s Clothing, Toys, Health and Beauty.
THURSDAY: Lingerie, Shoes, Housewares.
FRIDAY: cosmetics

Looks like Tuesday and Thursday are going to be my score days!!

Home Depot/ Lowes

This next tip is from blogger Raechel Meyers- love her site! She mentioned a little tip on her blog yesterday that I knew about but never put two and two together that you don't have to really be moving to get the coupons!

Raechel wrote, "If you’re buying your appliances at Lowe’s or Home Depot, first make a run to the Post Office. Ask for a change of address/moving kit and in that envelope, there will be a Lowe’s 10% off coupon. (And of course you know that you can use Lowe’s/Home Depot coupons interchangeably at those stores because they’re competitors and they’d be silly not to accept each other’s coupons. Silly.) So, if you’re planning to drop two grand on appliances and other supplies, 10% = $200!"


Joann Fabrics

 I had this app downloaded as soon as I saw it on blog Create.Craft.Love.
Hate when you have made it all the way to Joann's and you forgot your dang coupon? It kills me every time- those things come in the mail constantly and I always forgot to cut them out, and if I do they turn into a crumpled mess on the bottom of my purse. Well no more! There is a an app that pulls up all coupons, store locations and tons more right on your smart phone with the hit of one button.


 I first got turned on to from one of my daily reads; EverythingLEB. I am shocked that I had no idea that one of my weekly pit stops actually had an online shopping site. I have since become addicted to stalking the inventory daily to see what goodies are up for grabs.

I will keep you updated on what other deals I come across- at the moment I am on hold with Comcast (aka- the devil) trying to get a better rate on my monthly bill. I'm sorry, but $190/mo for cable, Internet, and a phone I never use is redonk. I will take notes and pass on any tips I can squeeze out of the customer service person. But at this rate I am feeling like I'm in an episode of Where in the World is Carmen San Diego? with who I get on the phone. I'm just thankful that they don't charge long distance for an 800 number- Lord knows how much this 25 minute phone call would be to some rural call center in India. #lameadultproblems

XOXO Katie
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Monday, June 25, 2012

Crowd Pleaser

This summer is shaping up the be the summer of visitors- just how we like it! After moving to Boston we knew our time with family and friends would be limited so we are trying to make the most out of the few days we have with everyone on our turf!

This weekend Joey's parents were able to come out and spend some quality time with their boy. We were planning a laid back weekend and kicked it off with a casual dinner at home. Let me tell you, I LOVE having people over. I feel like such a dork doing all of these house project and not having people over to see them, so when we plan on having dinner guests I am all about it.

I wanted to cook something light, because as I mentioned last week, it was HOT! I have big problem eating heavy greasy food when the weather is close to triple digits. It makes me feel like a fatty fatty 2x4.

Our meal was some of my favorites- Lemon Linguini with Chicken, Arugula and Watermelon Salad, and Angel Food Cake with Fresh Berries.  They are all SUPER simple, and you should definitely put them on your list for go-tos on a hot summer night. (I swear in my head I just heard John Travolta and Olive Newton John sing " those suuummmmmer niiiiiiiiiiiiights!!")

This is the exact recipe that I followed for the lemon pasta, and the author is my Mom! When I moved, she wrote a notebook full of all my favorite recipes so that I would be able to have a little taste of home. The photo above tells you exactly what to do and I only strayed from the instructions slightly. First, I used 1lb. of spaghetti instead of linguine and I also added 1 peeled and chopped cucumber to add a little crunch. I was able to prepare this the night before because it is best when it chills in the fridge for 24 hours so all the yummy flavors soak in to the pasta.

I severed the lemon pasta with an arugula and watermelon salad. Another super simple salad that has just 4 ingredients- arugula, cubed watermelon, thinly sliced red onion, and feta cheese. Drizzle with some balsamic vinaigrette and you have a fresh and juicy side for the pasta dish.

We finished off the night with straight out of the box angel food cake, fresh strawberries and blueberries, and fat free whipped cream. I just let the berries marinate overnight in about a tablespoon of sugar and lemon juice to take some of the tartness away. Delish!

All of these recipes can be made a day ahead, so no worrying about clean up or timing everything right, just pull them out of the fridge and serve!

We had a great weekend with Joey's parents and we look forward to having more guests here in bean town.

Anyone else have any go-to summer recipes that are crowd pleasers??

XOXO Katie
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Friday, June 22, 2012

Takin', Fakin' & Makin': Iced Coffee

I have officially decided that there is no way I could be a southerner-I think if my summers were always this toasty I would set up camp in the freezer section at the grocery store. Temps in Boston have reached nearly 100 degrees for the last two days and as Joey said, "It's as hot as a whore house in nickle night!"

I have been trying to stay in the AC as much as possible, but even the 15 minute car ride to work leaves me with a nice case of swamp butt. Lovely :)

This weeks TFM sums up when I have been clinging to to stay cool.


Starbucks Frappichino approx. $4.50 (Takin')
Dunkin Donuts Coolatta approx. $3.25 (Fakin')

Have a great weekend everyone!!

XOXO Katie
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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Topiary Facelift

You all know I am a huge advocate for Pier 1, and I mentioned before their sales are pretty redic. I nabbed these two 12" topiaries for less than $12 TOTAL when at full price they would have been nearly $50 for the pair. Love those kinds of finds- totally worth the quick store pop in and when I see shelves full of items with tiny red clearance stickers my heart skips a beat!

The topiaries were in good shape, but I did want to jazz up the pot a bit since drab
 brown what not really doing it for me.

I whipped out the high gloss black paint and gave them a quick once over.

With a ruler and pencil, I marked 2" from the bottom of the pot all the way around and the used painters tape to ensure my line would be crisp. I broke out my trusty gold leaf paint and painted the bottom half of the pot.

It was as simple as that! Just a few hours to fully dry and these were ready to pop on the mantle.

For a less than the cost of one lunch out I was able to dress up out mantle with a little greenery. I still need to find something to go in the center opening, but at least I am now one step closer to a completion!

XOXO Katie
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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I Won't Even Pretend...

....that I know what I'm talking about. When it came to refinancing our condo I was like a deer in headlights. I had no idea what to look for, what to ask about, or what is a "good deal". And Lord knows it wasn't easy, but from what I can tell so far it was TOTALLY worth it. Even though I'm pretty sure my loan officer might want to put a restraining order out on me after the H-E-Double Hockey Sticks he put me through!
This post is really just about my nightmare experience with refinancing- I'm not saying go out and do it, but it might be worth checking into because if the numbers work then you could save a bundle on your monthly payment. I will preface this with the fact that this may be super boring to those if you that don't own your home- and half of the time I say, "lucky you!" This stuff is a pain...

My plunge into the refinancing world came about for 2 reasons:

#1- Rates dropped significantly lower than when we bought in 2010.

#2- We originally had a 5/1 ARM and wanted to add a little more cushion to our timeline since Joey's residency ends, and we plan on moving, in 2015. But, since we can't say 100% that our place will sell right away I didn't want to be too freaked about the interest going up immediately.

So first came the round of calls to various lenders for quotes on interest rates and closing costs. I called 5-7 lenders and tried various types like big banks (ex. Bank of America) and online lenders (ex. INGdirect) to see what the options were. #1 Tip- don't fill out ANYTHING online that requires your SSN# when entering info for a quote, its probs a scam. Also, the quotes they give you online are VERY general and are not always accurate or include everything so don't be shocked when you end up paying more than what was quoted.

Turns out the bank (a local New England based bank) that I currently have my mortgage with had the best interest rate - 2.75% for a 5/1 ARM with 0 points. #2 Tip- check with your current lender first for a refi quote. Alot of the time they give the best deal...not quite sure why, but my guess is because you keep the mortgage with them as opposed to taking your business elseware.

The current rate they were offering was a 1.375% lower than what we had now (4.125%). This was NOT the best deal in terms of closing costs, but I did the math and we would make up the cost of the entire refi in 8 months from the savings we would have on the monthly payment so I went with it.

Next came the application process. This is a pain in the butt because you literally have to gather tons of statements, pay stubs, tax forms, etc. from the last few years. Once we were approved they told me they were going to schedule an appraiser to come out to the property the next week....
aaaaannnnddd........7 weeks later after I made weekly of phone/email bombs to the loan officer saying "WTF- where is the appraiser?", they finally discovered that all of my paperwork had been accidentally shredded because my file was mixed up with another person with my same name. So yes, I had to gather all that original paperwork AGAIN and wait another 2 weeks for it to be approved and processed.

The appraisal was FINALLY complete but it still took another 3 weeks to get all the paperwork approved on the banks end and schedule the closing. #3 Tip- if you think this is like a 30 day project your are wrong, from start to finish this took us nearly 3 months. Kill me!

Scheduling the closing was a battle in itself- if you don't know anyone in the midst of a surgical residency you may not get it- but asking Joey to try to leave the hospital during the day for an appointment at the lawyers office was like asking a girl to turn off RHOC mid cat fight. It ain't gonna happen.

Luckily, our loan officer owed us one big time and pulled strings to get the lawyers to come to us at the hospital. We were actually signing all the paperwork and Joey commented, "With all this paperwork and a lawyer here it looks like we were getting a divorce!". Hahaha, I told him that he would be crying and emptying out his wallet if that were true :)

In the end we have officially saved $440/month with our new rate. That's like BIG BUCKS in my book. Took FOREVER to get there, many somewhat hateful phone calls, 3 long months of gathering statement after statement, and about $1400 in cash upfront. But all in all, worth it!

So take the time to check it out. Just do the math and if you can recoup the costs in a reasonable number of months then you should definitely consider refinancing. We have increased our monthly transfer to our savings account so that we won't be tempted to spend the extra $440, but I think with all of my hard work I should get one months worth to splurge, right?!

XOXO Katie
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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Goodwill Goodies

You had a little peek of one of my finds yesterday in the reveal of my map art, but I hit the jackpot at my local Goodwill this weekend with some great home accessories.
Tip to everyone- try heading to your local thrift store around the 15th of the month. People are either getting ready to move and clearing out, or have just moved and done a donation run when they realize items don't work in their new place. That's just about when their goodies make it to the shelves at the thrift store since they take a few days to sort and price.

One man's trash is another man's treasure, right?!

Here are a few of my fave finds so far:

Vase $2.99
Starburst candle holder $3.99

Lamp $9.99
Clay Dish $5.00
Gold Rimmed Tumblers $.50 each
Brass Box $2.00
I am loving my summer finds so far and I can't wait to see what other things I come across. Goodwill and other thrift stores are totally the place to find small home decor and accessories. The fact that I spent less than $30 for ALL of the above items is insane.

All I can say is that the hours my mom and I spent garage sale hunting has trained me well :)

XOXO Katie
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Monday, June 18, 2012

Framing It Up!

Monday came a little quick, eh? Well, hopefully you had a wonderful weekend where ever you are. I can't believe it already June 18th- This summer is flying by!

My weekend was a relaxing one spent at home with the hubs- he was on call but it seems all of Boston likes to spend their weekends out on their boats and not in the hospital. Fine by me!

I wanted to give a little shout out for two important events that happened on Sunday- Fathers Day & my parent's 34th wedding anniversary! Such a great day, I only wish I had been in Chicago to celebrate. Love you both!

And now back to the reveal of my bedroom art project. As I mentioned before I purchased a map from Paper Source that is technically supposed to be wrapping paper. But for a mere $3.95 I decided to frame it up and put it above my dresser. I find it crazy that someone would used this to wrap and gift and then throw it away but to each his own I guess!

I painted an Ikea Ribba frame a pale blue color and then used gold paint to add as little detail to the inner edge (shown the 2nd pic). I love the way it turned out and it ties all the colors of the room together. What do you think?!

There were some stunning paper options at that store. Honestly, I could have spent hours drooling over the amazing variety, and would have if I had not been on a time crunch. Totally like a kid in a candy store in there!

Anyone else frame up some Paper Source goodies? How did you ever choose just one??

XOXO Katie
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Friday, June 15, 2012

Early Start to the Weekend

Last night we were lucky enough to have some visitors in town! Joey's bother and his lovely wife were passing through Boston on their way to Martha's Vineyard to celebrate his big 4-0, and we were able coordinate a few hours to catch up. 

We went to a restaurant called No.9 Park and it was AMAZING! Every dish was unique and I highly recommend the smoked vanilla ice cream for dessert. It instantly made you feel like you were sitting by a campfire roasting marshmallows.

Great start to our (almost) weekend! Now I just need to get through the closing appointment to refinance our condo and I will be freeeeeee! I will give you the deets on that later...been kinda a nightmare but crossing my fingers that it will save us a bundle :)

XOXO Katie
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Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Randomness of My Boobtube

This post is a totally random collection of the things I have been (and will be) tuning into  that keep me entertained, engaged, and straight up enraged. So if I ramble- you have been warned!

#1) I have a new obsession on Netflix called Friends with Benefits. You have to check it out- so funny! I was totally worried when I started it that it was just another cheesy sitcom, but there is some really smart humor going on with this of group single and ready to mingle friends.

#2) Can we please discuss how excited I am for Les Miserables to hit the big screen?? Look at that cast- Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway. Redick!! This is going to be amazing. I can sing every single song from this musical by heart- you would probably scratch your eyes out if I made you listen to me- but that's besides the point. No joke- I think I still have the cassette tape that my mom gave me of this show. CANT WAIT!

#3) I found out via this week that a remake of the Anne of Green Gables series is in the works. Those VHS tapes are sitting right next to the Les Miserables cassette in my shoe box of all time favorite things! I swear for the longest time I thought that if I dyed my hair orange that Gilbert would come knocking on my door....ahhh I can dream.

#4) HGTV you are a liar. House Hunters is FAKE?!? I feel robbed of my youth... OK well not really, but what the heck? I found out about this on Huffington Post today, and they broke it to me that the show is faked. The people looking at the homes have in fact already purchased one and the other two are fakes. Lame. And really, if I have to watch one more person pay $200K for a 6 bedroom mansion in a suburb of Atlanta I'm going to throw up. Check out the Boston real estate market and see what shoe box apartment with no bathroom and a homeless man living in your basement you can get for that same price....sorry that was from a hurtful place....

#5) I can tell you were I will be this Saturday night while Joey is on call....oh yeah Lifetime....Blue Lagoon: The Awakening here I come!

What have you been watching lately??

XOXO Katie
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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Keep These Deals on the DL

Last night I made my pit stop at Paper Source for my bedroom art project and I picked up a print that I LOVE. I will work on framing it out this week and I can't wait to see how it turns out :)

The store was right next to a Pier 1 Imports and I figured I would peek my head in since I had 15 minutes left on my meter. Boy, was I glad I did! I'm not sure if it was just the store near me, but they were having a huge clearance sale. I picked up a topiary for my mantel that I am going to give a little face lift for 1/4 of the original price!

I saw some other items that were to die for and I just wish I had the space (or budget) for them in our place. Check these out!

Sunburst Lamp
Sunburst Lamp
Clearance $59.98

Split Bamboo Diamond Weave Basket
Split Bamboo Diamond Weave Basket
Clearance $34.48

Pink Orchid in Glass Vase
Pink Orchid in Glass Vase
Clearance $19.88
Metallics Wire Sphere
Metallics Wire Sphere
Clearance $0.98

Gim Zigzag Rug
Gim Zigzag Rug
Clearance $262.38

White Rose Shell Frame
White Rose Shell Frame
Clearance $18.68
 Amazing right?! You should totally get out and head to your local Pier 1 because these are the gorgie items available online but the sales are even BETTER in the store.

XOXO Katie
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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Filling the Void

After my trial and error art project last week, I have been brainstorming on where I can get a cool piece to fill the depressing void above my bedroom dresser. The IKEA frame that I have is a nice scale and has a 19"x27" matte so I need something large and in charge. The colors is my room are a seafoam-ish blue, ivory, and a pop of pink so I wanted to try to tie all of that into one image.

So its official, I think I am going to jump on the map bandwagon.

I have not decided between these two Cavallini options from Paper Source yet, so today I am planning a trip to one of their stores to scout them out in person. These were my top pics from the website and at $3.95 a pop I will just buy a few and see how they look.

I also spotted these stunning options that I am dying to see up close. I don't really think they go with my color scheme, but I am willing to keep my options open.

With beige walls, a splash of color is desperately needed and hopefully this will help. And of course I am thinking that I will use my fave gold leaf paint to jazz up the frame. Who would have ever guessed that? Not never....

Which Cavallini map do you like??

Stay tuned to see how it turns out :)

XOXO Katie

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