Ready for a Remodel


The seating area in our living room

Josh and I tell everyone who asks us that we love our apartment. Despite being located in a low-income (see: super cheap! yay!) housing area in a Rochester suburb, we find it to be spacious, tidy, and chic–not to mention full of recently replaced features such as new carpeting, new paint on the walls, and new kitchen cabinets.

As our lease is coming due this next month, we have no intention of relocating. We love Rochester culture, we love living on the west side of the city, we love our local family and friends, and we love our little bungalow. We don’t even mind the snow! Of course, after a year living anywhere most people would be ready for a change of scenery, and we certainly are! Watching HGTV nonstop has us itching to update our space 🙂 The victims are our bedroom and living area. We’ve decided to switch up the color schemes and accessories in each space.

Stay tuned for how we make this change without so much as opening a can of paint! For now, here are some “before” pictures of the two rooms.


Entertainment center and work space across from seating area


Because the rooms’ colors are so neutral, we’ve picked an accent color for each space and decorated with random accessories in that color


My grandma cross-stiched this for our wedding gift ❤

DSCN7769 DSCN7766

Moving on to the bedroom!



The fan in the background kind of ruins the ambience here . . . but get a load of my palatial bed!


This rocking chair is a gift from my grandpa for our future nursery 🙂 I suppose the teddy bears will be more appropriate in there than in our bedroom . . .


This bookcase of leather-bound classics (which I consider as the focal point of the room) was a gift to my little sister from her great-uncle. She gifted me only the ones she “didn’t enjoy reading now and then.” Lucky me!


Yes, that picture frame is empty. Don’t judge. I haven’t decided what to put in it.


Pictures of these rooms post-remodel are in the works! Mostly because the remodel itself is still in the works . . .


Reblog: Make Things Out of Things

In Stockholm all weekend, so no time to post–almost ;-).

I just this minute found the most creative and inspiring post on I Waste So Much Time, of all places. It’s a brief run-down of some unique and simple DIY project ideas.

Click the photo strip for a larger view.

"Tea For Two and Two for Tea" (London/Dublin)

Dear friend Kristen met up with us in Dublin after Josh and I had spent five days in London on our own. Having visited London in the past with her family, Kristen was somewhat mortified that I had not regularly indulged in the British joy that is tea and scones.

Much to both of our delights, upon visiting the beautiful seaside town of Howth (pronounced “Hooth”) on the eastern shore of Dublin, we discovered a deliciously homey tearoom at the start of the pier. I didn’t need any encouragement, but Kristen definitely wanted me to go.

In the absence of chai (sad day), we ordered a pot of simple green tea, but there was nothing simple about the scoop of dried grasses, lavender, and leaves that was scooped into our teabag. We each enjoyed two cups of the lively beverage–Kristen plain (such a purist) and me with cream and three lumps of sugar each :-). Teehee. I’m sure a scone would have been quite authentic, but who can say ‘no’ to a spiced muffin with chocolate chips?

They had rosebud tea! I’ll have to try that some time.

What was most lovely about this experience was the atmosphere of the tea room. There were comfy antique chairs and sofas and a cozy reading corner. All of the colors were warm and inviting and just asking to be photographed.

Kristen and I sat here while at least an hour passed by without us noticing. We chatted, sipped, munched, and missed our train home while Josh and some other friends hiked the cliffs surrounding Howth’s peninsula.

Scones or not, I will never forget my first real teatime just outside of Dublin, Ireland.

Title from Doris Day’s “Tea for Two.”

More tasty pictures after the jump!

Nuestra Casa en Avila

I’m a little too tired for words today, especially after trying to think in Spanish all morning. I’ve had to rewrite that sentence about eight times because I keep randomly translating bits into Spanish.

I figure today is a great a great day for a post heavy on pictures!

Welcome to Nuestra Casa en Avila (Our Home in Avila).

No bed to share, but at least we’re right next to each other.
Libros! So many libros! 😀
The “secret” passage up to our wee apartamento
I told myself I could live anywhere as long as there was plenty of light. Boy, did I hit the jackpot 🙂
We are the only pair of students who have enough living space to entertain guests . . . sort of.
More seating. An ottoman made out of our suitcases.
We have our own bathroom ❤
My entire wardrobe. I am so proud.

A good reminder while exploring new cultures
I have no idea what this is, but it’s hanging over my bed, and I think it’s hysterical

You’re going to spend the rest of the day wondering how I took this, aren’t you?

Your Space: Josh’s Adventurer Dreamland

When Josh moved out of the Thurston’s home rather permanently at the start of our marriage, his bedroom was converted into a guest bedroom. He had already grown up sleeping in a queen-sized bed, so a newer, dressier bedspread and some decorative pillows were all it took to revamp the man-cave of his youth into a spare room. Nowadays, this room has become our typical landing pad on our visits spent zipping through the Valley. 
This Christmas, it is serving as more of a home since our apartment in Rochester is completely wiped out, and we will have no other permanent accommodations until Avila.

Just like my sister Nicole’s bedroom, Josh’s room is (even after moving out) an excellent physical representation of his personality, likes, dislikes, and character.

Elements of Josh’s Bedroom Decor:

  • World Travel/Languages
  • Action Films
  • The Lord of the Rings
  • Mementos from Childhood

I’m not a monstrously sentimental person, so Josh’s willingness to preserve and display little tokens of memories from his childhood is quite endearing to me. The shelf pictured at the top of the post holds souvenirs, childhood projects and milestones, photographs, awards, and gifts from loved ones. I love this little shrine to my man and how well it sums him up in a few sentimental trinkets.

He even has his baby bracelet from the hospital displayed!

Josh got this when he started working out 😉

Maps and the Lord of the Rings are two definite recurring themes. Maps of the Lord of the Rings world of Middle Earth? Even better! I think these emphasize Josh’s expansive imagination and the fact that he wouldn’t have enough room for it even if he traveled the whole world–which we hope to do someday, by the way 🙂

I feel so comfortable and at home in this room. It feels like being wrapped up in a big Josh hug all night long. It reminds me of when we were kids and he first let me peek inside. I felt so special . . . and still do.

How would you like to sleep with this guy crouching over the bed?

Flashback: Blue Spot

Jeans-American Eagle Outfitters, Red flats-American Eagle
(they’re not the same company, believe it or not), Flowered shirt and fingerless glove-DIY

 I haven’t done a fashion post in awhile (something I intend to begin remedying once I finish reading blasted Anna Karenina), so I fished these two images out of my own personal archives. These pictures are from a rainy day a few weeks into my new marriage and a few days into my first semester at Roberts. So much had changed, and I was craving the familiarity and routine the summerhad provided. To make things worse, I had chosen to wear . . .

The shirt.

I had worn the shirt in the above picture on my last day of work before marrying Josh in the summer of 2010. I worked as a head counselor at Sayre Summer Recreation, a local day camp lasting eight weeks and featuring a new series of workshops each week. The shirt started out as a basic white v-neck, but did not stay that way after a few moments of an Art Graffiti workshop with 80 kindergarteners through fifth-graders. Blue paint from a spray bottle struck me in the chest, and one of my favorite shirts was ruined, or so I thought.

Photo credit
Weeks later, as I sat lonely one afternoon on Roberts campus, missing the kids I had grown to love so over the past several summers, I became determined to save the shirt in which so many bittersweet memories were wrapped up. I marched outside with several bowls of watered-down acrylic paint and began painting a Monet-like masterpiece up one side of the shirt with the blue spot on the chest.

It was an attempt to cling to something that, in a way, anchored me to my concrete past instead of discarding all of that in favor of an uncertain future.

The shirt dried into something of a watercolor masterpiece. It’s now one of my favorite items of clothing, and I get many compliments on the unique garment. I only try to shy away from wearing it during those times when that blue spot shows up on my heart and I am tempted to weep for the loss of the simplicity of my younger days. On those days when it rains inside and out, I usually find it best to stick to outfits that don’t evoke emotional meltdowns . . .

Let’s try to act like a grown, married woman here 😉

Your Space: Cola’s Golden-Age Getaway

I actually designed that purple vase at the Corning Museum of Glass.
Never knew she fancied it so.

Cola, for your information, is my youngest sister. Her real name is Nicole Lydia Crosby, but for some hybrid reasoning including the fact that she loves Coca-Cola and that the word Nicole does in fact have a “col” in it, she has always liked it that I occasionally call her Cola. She, unlike middle sister Rachel, has failed to appear on my blog thus far due to the fact that she has been away at summer camp most of the weekends that I have connected with my PA family.

So like the socially inappropriate and privacy-invading sister that I am, I decided to take some pictures of her bedroom in her absence. It’s purely for inspirational purposes, honest 🙂
That’s actually a creme soda bottle behind Cary Grant and it’s filled with
creme-soda-colored glass pebbles like the ones you’d put in a fish bowl. Whoda thunk?

I never cease to be amazed by the fact that this picture and the one that opened the post tell you almost everything you need to know about Cola. See, the thing I’ve always loved about her (and I’ve told her so, though I’m not sure she understood what I meant) is that she is so her. She is so Nicole. So Cola. Nicole has never fallen into the trap of pretending to be someone she’s not. She never masks her feelings towards something that she fears is unpopular. In fact, I think she quite enjoys being different. What’s not to love about an attitude like that?

All this to say, Nicole’s interests, likes, and dislikes have changed very little over the years because she is so unaffected by trends. Let’s look at some themes present in her room that have been there basically since she had the option to decorate her own room:

  • Classic movie stars (Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, Humphrey Bogart, etc.)
  • Classic musicians (Elvis most notably)
  • Vintage Coca-Cola paraphernalia
  • Europe (specifically Paris)
  • Animals or animal print
  • Books
  • Movies (all kinds, you have no idea how diverse this girl’s collections is)
  • Asian pop culture (this is a relatively new interest, haha)

Cola’s King
Miss Hepburn, herself

The above photo is of the three most populous shelves of one of Nicole’s two bookcases. They are filled with beautiful leather-bound classics given to Nicole by a distant relative who took a shine to her. Some of the hundred-volume collection are at our Grandma’s house and some Nicole allowed me to take to Rochester. I was curious as to why she displayed these three-shelves-worth so proudly while other equally beautiful books she was willing to give away (books like The Ovid, Plato’s Republic, A Picture of Dorien Grey. . .) Nicole answered me simply:
“I only keep the ones that I like to read.”
She actually reads these! Most sixteen-year-old girls have never even opened Uncle Tom’s Cabin or The Three Musketeers or The Origin of the Species or War & Peace (freaking WAR AND PEACE!) and Nicole keeps them around in case she wants to read them again! The girl’s amazing. I’m an English major and even my reading list doesn’t look much like hers. 

Empty Coke bottle! Oh yeah, and Gene Kelly.

See? More Coke!

She loves music. Has pretty great taste, too. Except she likes Glee. Meh.

Zebra bedside table
Nicole has got an eye on her. That’s for sure. She just knows what she likes and she knows how to make it look good. I think her uniquely consistent personality and artistic flair make her infinitely attractive as a person. Could just be because she’s my sister, but if you had ever had a chat with her in this boudoir of hers, I know you’d be vigorously nodding your head in agreement as you read this.
Crack open the nearest bottle of Coke, if you will (creme soda will also suffice), and raise it high. Here’s to Cola and to discovering the beauty of surrounding yourself with all the things you love.
Can’t wait for you to come home, Nicole!