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 . . .


From Braveheart to Booritos

Oh, the things I choose to do with my “free” time . . .

Josh and I weren’t really planning on celebrating Halloween when we first got married. Halloween meant costumes, and costumes meant money, which we didn’t have . . . so when I surprised my hubby with two matching Braveheart costumes made completely from scratch (materials totaling $20 for both), he was tickled. Embarrassed as I’m sure he was, he agreed to sport the outfit like a man to show support for his artsy and frugal wifey.

We wore our DIY costumes proudly that first Halloween together, even putting in a good 45 minutes to paint Josh’s face blue like the film icon he was emulating. We headed to our first ever Halloween party that Saturday night–and proceeded to get locked out of our car in a Walmart parking lot in costume. I texted my friends to let them know that we would be late, and received an unsympathetic “you do know the party is tomorrow night, right?” in response. We didn’t go through the ordeal the following night in order to attend the party.

Fast forward to year 2 when we excitedly donned the costumes yet again (no one had seen them the year before) to walk through our first ever haunted house. On the one hand, this was a terrible experience, as we quickly realized that the adrenaline spike created by being severely startled every 15 seconds is not our idea of fun. On the other hand, several of the very talented and highly creepy actors in the haunted house even took a moment to moan or shriek (still in character, mind you) “Nice costuuuume . . .”

That year, All Hallows Eve proved an interesting and memorable experience all around, but as we quickly ripped off the uncomfortable get-ups the moment we got home, we realized in horror that we had no photographic evidence of our two-years-in-a-row charade!

Here I called myself a blogger and an amateur photographer, and I had documented neither of our family’s Halloween experiences (both of which just so happened to showcase my own creative handiwork).

Note the wallet ad cell phone tucked under his belt. He is too cute!

Well, this year, after spending all of yesterday resigned to the fact that we would not be celebrating Halloween after all, we found out from dear friend Kristen that Chipotle Mexican Grill was offering $2 meals to anyone who showed up in costume!

William Wallace and Princess Isabella made their final appearance, this time immortalized forever in digital form.

I wonder what creative DIY couple’s costumes we’ll be donning next year?

Spring Giveway: Hobby Lobby!

Today is an exciting day because it marks the first ever Nine to Phive giveaway. Everyone who enters this drawing will be automatically entered to win a (drum roll please . . .)


$25 Gift Card to Hobby Lobby!

Use it for yourself or the art lover you know!

It’s simple, just a enter below for chance to win this prize for FREE!

(Don’t worry everyone currently following Nine to Phive is already entered, but still feel free to enter and share with friends!)

REMEMBER to follow the instructions to earn each point! You can earn up to 7 points in total!

/*{literal}{/literal}*/ a Rafflecopter giveaway<a href=””>You need javascript enabled to see this giveaway</a>.

What I Wore: Frumpy Fresh

Forever 21 cropped sweatshirt, Target tank, American Eagle Jeans, Walmart scarf, and DIY slippers

I guess you could say that this is the closest I come to leaving the house in sweats and Uggs. It’s definitely easy to grab for the comfiest and least-awesome-looking thing in your wardrobe on days when you feel under the weather, but that’s why I implemented a genius plan!

I call it Operation Overseas Scarcity!

I did not bring a lot of clothes to Spain. You guys have seen my closet here. Since I had a hard enough time fitting enough clothes to get me through the semester into my suitcase, things like PJs and sweatpants were some of the first things to get thrown back into storage.

It’s really quite wonderful. Since they’re 8,000 miles away, I’m never tempted to wear them! Even when doing so would be so much easier than putting together an actual outfit!

Also, please tell me that these are so much cooler than Uggs.

So get this. These boots used to be a pair of flimsy, pre-pubescent, mid-calf, felt boots complete with fake fur and pompoms. They were hideous, and when I finally realized this, I cut them off at the ankle, lined them with cozy fur, and replaced the dangling pompoms with subtle ribbons.

I now gleefully wear them around the house as my slippers (which are a hygiene must in Spain!), but if need be, the fact that they also have actual treads means that I can wear them outside, too. They are the warmest and most comfortable shoes in the world ❤

Happy February 10th! I hope you are enjoying your “six more weeks” of winter as foreboded by the groundhog!

Style Steals: Cambridge Bags

I’m not sure where my followers stand on the current trend of Cambridge handbags since this British label seems to be much more popular in Europe than back in the States. I am sure, however, that more people need to start wearing them.

A Cambridge-style satchel in a bright color is the perfect bridge between edgy and preppy style. The sleek, boxy style with matching buckles looks very professional and academic, but the many colors (including fluorescent options) add a wild and retro element.

Shopaholic Blonde, Chictopia, Vanessa Jackman, and Pop Champagne

Of course, since these gems are priced at a minimum of about $100 (75 euros), nearly everyone interested in owning this look is shopping around for more cost-effective look-alikes. Unfortunately for us thrifters, Cambridge boasts very unique satchel designs, which is why they do so well as a company.

Lucky for you that I don’t give up easily. Here are some bags that (in my opinion) look similar but are a less than half the price of a “real” Cambridge.

Closest Match:

The above Kendall Messenger Satchel is the satchel most similar in style to a Cambridge bag that I have been able to find (*SEE UPDATE*). It captures well the boxy shape and buckles and comes in several bright colors like the Cambridge handbags.

UPDATE: Since originally writing this post, I just happened to be walking through downtown Avila and passed the Spanish boutique Misako. What should I see displayed in the window besides a dead-ringer for the original Cambridge-style satchel. The only downside is that anyone from the States looking to purchase one of these bags will be hit with a heavy shipping & handling fee.

Cheapest Find:

This Carly Retro Satchel from iFashion Handbags is even cheaper, but it also sort of looks it, unfortunately; however, it has the boxy look and is available in a variety of colors as well.

Other Looks to Try:

Oryany by Celeste

Jo-Ann Fabrics

Celtic Groove. Look it up. It will change your life.

My Christmas/birthday present from Little Rachel was a trip to Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts. Say no more, little sister!

I could spend all day in that place. Between the jewelry-making aisle full of beads, the cheesy elevator music kiosk, the sewing notions, and the bolts and bolts and bolts and bolts of fabric in every color, pattern, and texture known to man, I can be kept occupied for an indefinite period of time.

Fortunately, Josh was there to keep Rachel and I in check (in other words, he hates the craft store and couldn’t wait to go home).

I can only imagine what these seemingly-crafted-from-papier-mache body parts are for. I suppose one could decorate them and use them to store jewelry and whatnot. All I know for sure are that they are located at the end of the jewelry-making aisle and kept Josh occupied while Rachel and I frolicked among the beads.

Wooden beads and beads covered in red velvet ❤
Half of these strings of beads I would just add clasps to and wear as necklaces! I regret that I don’t invest more money into my jewelry collection. Necklaces, earrings, and bracelets can get really expensive and difficult to justify in light of the fact that I should be spending money on clothing or, you know, food . . .
For now, I really need to focus the meager budget Josh allows me for DIY on revamping articles of clothing that can’t be worn as is. 
Don’t you just love that? A shirt or skirt that could end up at the Salvation Army or in a landfill for all you care can suddenly become your favorite clothing item with the help of some decorative buttons, a silk ribbon, a bottle of dye, or anything!
Josh also entertained himself by playing with the price check scanner

The real reason Rachel and I were at the fabric and craft store was to buy material. I didn’t know what I was looking for when we first entered the store, but Rachel did. She wants to make a striped sundress using differently patterned strips of fabric. Armed only with the knowledge that we were seeking three different types of fabric somewhere in the realm of green and blue, we took the store by storm.

This is what we came up with after much deliberation in the clearance aisle (they were on sale!):

I’m excited to see how the dress turns out. The solid fabrics look so good with the pattern and really bring out the different colors.

As for me, I ended up in the artificial furs. Wonder of wonders, the exact same dark leopard print fur with which I began a fur vest over a year ago was perched in the center of one f the shelves. I never finished the vest because I ran out of fabric before I finished the second front panel, but now I can!

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Happy Birthday to me 🙂