Friday, May 15, 2015

how to save thousands of dollars by scraping your own popcorn ceilings



I like popcorn. Especially Garett Popcorn. Have you ever had Garrett's in Chicago? You can smell the fresh popcorn a block away. Mmmmm Garretts. Carmel covered popcorn, cheese covered popcorn, chocolate covered popcorn. I love it all. Now I want to make another trip to Chicago.

So now that we've established that I love popcorn, lets talk about having it on your ceiling. Nope, not loving that so much. When we went to the open house for our new home we immediately noticed the popcorn ceilings. It was just staring at us, silently mocking our every step. I swear I heard it whisper, "Don't even think about scraping us off little girl". Well 5 days into the renovation of our new house and those ceilings are completely SCRAPED OFF. Hello 90's, you can have your ceiling back!!!!

Justin wanted to hire someone to do it. I humored him. I got the quotes. It was going to be between $1-1.80 a square foot depending on the severity to have someone do it for us. On an almost 1900 square foot house...I'll let you do the math. Actually I really want to type this out for extra pat myself on the back purposes. On the low end, I saved us $1800 and on the high end I saved us $3240. Oh that's right. That's a LOT of $$$. I did not feel comfortable having someone else come in and do something I could tackle myself with a little bit of research and patience. So now Justin can just pay me the $3240 he was planning to shell out to some random dude and I can go buy a new wardrobe. Oh who am I kidding, that will go right to my summer tuition. #adultprobs

I am happy to say we (ok mainly me) scraped every single ceiling clean of that ugly popcorn and I did it without any marital issues or fits. (ok maybe like one or two) Here's how we did it!

1. Always always ALWAYS (can not stress this enough) be sure that your ceiling texture is free from asbestos.  Asbestos is a dangerous mineral that was commonly found in popcorn ceilings all the way up until 1978 when it was officially banned. No amount of money saved is worth the medical heartache this could bring up if you try to tackle something like this on your own. If you have a home older than 1978 just tap out and call a professional. 

2. Get the proper equipment. You will need a sprayer, a scraper and I recommend also using a handy 6-in-1 painters tool for the stubborn spots. You can find all three items at your local Home Depot for under $20. If you need to do prep work make sure you gather those materials. In our case, our house is basically gutted so we didn't mind the mess. And there will be a mess, so make sure you're wearing your "play clothes" as my mother would always say. 



3. Spray the heck out of the ceilings. Other tutorials may scare you when it comes to this part. They will tell you to be careful because you could damage your drywall, etc etc. I promise you, it is a lot harder to soak drywall than you think. The popcorn texture has to be soaked in order to really come off the easy way. Your drywall will be fine. Trust me. I did all 1800 square feet of our house and it is so much better to overspray than underspray. That popcorn is so thick, you really can't mess this up. (Ok I guess if you stood in one spot for five full minutes spraying water on your ceilings you may have an issue-so don't do that:p )

Spray baby, SPRAY!!!


Do you see how the popcorn is coming off in sheets? That is exactly what you want. When you go to scrape it off, it will literally just fall off your ceiling and you will scream in delight. BYE BYE UGLY POPCORN DONT YOU COME BACK NO MO!!!

4. Do a good job (take your time). Although I did most of the work, I got so sick of it by the end I did a lazy job and my husband had to do some sanding. I'm a sorry excuse. He was ready to murder me, I think. So if you just take your time and do it right the first time, you will save yourself soooo much time and headache. Learn from my mistakes!

5. Jump up and down and scream when popcorn is finally removed. You did it! I knew you could. When I told people we were removing the popcorn ceilings ourselves, I got ZERO positive responses. People could not believe we were crazy enough to do that, or that we would follow through. I cannot stress this enough, you can do this yourself. It took me hours, but I did it and I do NOT think it is worth paying someone to do when I saw how easy it was. I am not exaggerating with the word easy. I promise. You got this! 

Whether you are renovating a house like we are, or just want to give your current place a little facelift, getting rid of popcorn ceilings is an easy, affordable way to change the whole look of a house. It even feels brighter for some reason. You can decide to do what you want with the ceilings at this point. I've heard some people just painted theirs, but Justin hated that idea so we got a quote for someone to come in and texture/paint for us. Weellll, that was a $3000 quote that we were not ok with, so my handyman hubby went to home depot, bought himself a texture-pro hopper gun and did it himself! ha! We are seriously being so frugal with our updates, I love it! 

Ok here's the fun part!

Total cost-

*-optional

Sprayer- $9.97
Scraper- $4.37
6-in-1 painters tool- $4.97
*Hopper(for texturing)- $65
3 5 gallon buckets of Pre Mixed All Purpose Joint Compound-$45
*Paint Sprayer rental- $140
*Ceiling Paint- $280
Mountain Dew for sanity-PRICELESS

Total-$549.31

"Inexpensive Handy Man Estimate"
Popcorn removal for whole house- $1800-3000
Texturing/Painting Ceilings- $3000

Total-$4800-$6000!!!!

Total saved- OVER $4000!!!! WHAT! I'm telling you people, when you can do it yourself, DO IT YOURSELF! You know what I'm spending that $4000 on? Yeah yeah, you guessed it, summer tuition. ;) 

Good luck with your ceilings and feel free to contact me with your updates. Happy Weekend! 


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Less competing, more complimenting



I used to have this friend who made me feel like I wasn't good enough. I would meet her for lunch and she would ask, "why did you do your hair like that?" My husband and I planned a vacation and she would say, "you should go here instead".  I got engaged and she looked at my ring and said, "thats it?" It hurt me so deeply. I loved her, but the more time passed the more I realized our friendship was on the toxic side. Her constant remarks were making me question things in my life and I found myself always wanting more. What I had wasn't good enough. I wanted bigger and better things. I wanted to be the person my friend said I should be.

Needless to say, we aren't friends anymore. 

If you spend any more than 5 minutes on social media, its easy to see how women treat other women. Sometimes we can be kind and sweet, but other times we are downright catty, bratty, and hurtful. I saw a woman post a photo of her baby drinking a formula filled bottle and under the comments someone had said something along the lines of "You aren't breastfeeding? You know breast is best right?" 

Why? 

via


There is no need for this unspoken competition. We are all on the same team. You know the kind of women who stand out the most? The women who are confident enough in themselves to compliment other women instead of comparing. 

A woman in the grocery store has a cute outfit on? Compliment her.

A childhood friend is unable to breastfeed her baby for various reasons? Uplift her.

An old college roommate just got married and is trying to get the hang of making a house a home? Encourage her.

A mom friend posts an exciting status about her 3 year old finally getting potty trained? Rejoice with her. 

There is no need to tear another woman down to build yourself up. We are all strong and courageous and beautiful. There is not one right way in this life. Let's each find our own individual path and celebrate one another as we do. 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Meet Our New House-Before Photos

I've been dying to introduce you guys to our new house. Like, dying from excitement, but also kind of dying from nervousness because it's kind of ugly. I tried so hard when we were walking through the house for the first time to contain myself from all of the not so nice comments I wanted to make about the previous homeowners choices in paint colors, fixtures, etc etc. But now that the place is mine I can say what I want about it and what I want to say is, WHHHYYY???!

If I were ever to come face to face with the previous home owners I feel like thats all I would be able to get out. Why? Just why?! I mean there isn't one single wall we don't have to paint because all of the colors are hideous. The outlets are all brass. (FANCY) The fireplace mantel is red. The master bedroom is the ugliest purple you have ever seen in your life (not to mention purple is already my least favorite color of all time so that doesn't help) while the bathroom connected to it is green. I mean. I just don't understand what they were thinking. I say this in the nicest way possible. I am truly just lost. Oh and who adds crown molding as an "upgrade" but doesn't bother removing popcorn ceilings?? Ugh. You guys. We have a LOT of work to do. 

Our lease is up in our apartment June 2nd, so right now we are just working on the new house, not exactly living in it. Unless you count sleepovers on the air mattress and eating pizza while sitting on the floor living. Because we're getting really good at that. Right now its hard to see the pretty. It's hard to picture it being home. Because its just so ugly. But I am trying to be patient and enjoy this process. Justin and I make a great team and we are having a blast fixing this place up the way we want it. With only a little ok a lot of attitude on my part. I'm just bitter about all the extra work these people are giving us by choosing ugly everything. For example, we want to change out the outlet plates to white, but the outlets themselves are cream. So now we have to change the outlets and outlet plates. I mean the list could go on for days. But this is what I wanted so NO COMPLAINING! Ok maybe a little. A girl's gotta vent. 

Ok time for the before pics. If you actually read everything up to this point, you get an extra brownie points for being so dedicated to my nonsense. The rest of you guys probably skipped right to the pictures. (It's ok, I do it too.) Meet the house on Bradshaw Lane!!!
WHYYYYY??? The door AND the trim is painted this color. 



 Soooo..looks like we have our work cut out for us huh?! I know it's not terrible. It's really not. Its got great bones and it just needs a little love. I will say this, for Massachusetts subdivisions are hard to come by. Like REALLY hard. And last fall we happened to drive through this subdivision and I heard angels start to sing and I looked at Justin and I said "we have to live here". I called our realtor and told her I didn't care what time it was-if something popped up in that neighborhood, CALL US. She warned us that it didn't happen very often and if it did they sold in only a day. So just two weeks after we got our pre-approval this little cutie popped up on the market and we made an offer the same day. I am still kind of in shock. I don't love the house, but I love the neighborhood. And since we are only planning to stick around for 5 years or less, it is perfect for us. And in the end we got it for $10,000 less than the asking price, Fist bump to the big guy upstairs for that. We are feeling thankful and excited to fix this place up! Now who wants to plan a visit?!










































Monday, April 13, 2015

Dear Beverly: An Open Letter of Closure to my Birth Mother




I have been searching for you for the last fifteen years. I'm not sure why, I guess I just needed some closure. I hoped you would be able to answer some questions for me and maybe we could even end things on a good note. Fifteen long years I searched. I googled a million different versions of your name, called court houses, even entered your name into prison inmate search boxes. (worst case scenario right?) I stopped looking for you after I received more clarity than I ever wanted to get-from a court report regarding my brothers and my care.

I read the report. And I immediately wished I hadn't. I saw that you allowed your husband and son to touch us inappropriately even after the judge required you to keep us away from them because of prior instances. You promised to go to counseling so you could learn to be a better mom and out of all the sessions you were to attend you cancelled six and bailed on eight more. On your very last day you contacted that same counselor and "reported having consumed twenty-six beers". You failed to show up at our supervised visitations while we sat lonely and afraid in the foster care system.

That report went to talk about how even before we were taken away you allowed us to live infested with lice as our home was also infested with fleas and cockroaches. My sweet baby brother (maybe almost two at the time?) had gotten ahold of driveway salt and vomited uncontrolably while you only brushed his mouth off and hoped he would be ok. Probably because you were afraid to report it as you were already on thin ice with the courts.

I read that stupid report over and over again. I cried and screamed and felt my heart break into millions of pieces, just like it did the day that white van came and snatched me out of your arms. I hated you.

One of the quotes I found the most haunting from the report was when they described your state of being as "having poor social skills, insecurities, and being easily agitated." Did you know that I had the worst time making friends in school because I wasn't sure how to talk to kids my age? Or that I used to walk around looking at my feet because I was terrified someone might actually see me? When I used the bathroom I refused to look in the mirror because in my six year old mind I was the ugliest girl in the world. I bet you didn't know that my husband couldn't touch me in an intimate way for the first TWO years of our marriage. Oh Beverly. You passed so much more down to me than just your red hair.

I stopped searching for you because I realized you didn't want to be found. You told us you would come back, but the words spoken that day in court tell a whole different story.

So I promised myself I would beat the odds of foster children. I would grow and learn and survive. I wouldn't be addicted to drugs or alcohol. I would guard my heart and my body and find a man who truly respected me. I would work through my brokenness and see my own self worth. I promised myself that I would do all of these things and then I would find you and show you who I had grown to be. I wanted you to see that I wasn't like you.

I finally found you. Almost twenty years after you let us go. I couldn't wait to gather up my best photos and send them your way. I called the number I found and it happened to be your sister. You know, the one I was named after. She thought I was playing a cruel joke because you died two weeks ago. 

I didn't know I could grieve for someone I never really knew. My heart aches all over and I can't find the words to describe this unfamiliar pain. I will never get that closure I so desperately wanted needed. I missed that deadline by a mere fourteen days. Justin says its better this way. He doesn't think I would have been able to handle who you really were. I know that you spent the last twenty years in and out of prison for drug possession. I saw your photo. I know that you were a 54 year old trapped in a 75 year old woman's body. You never got better and I am sad for that. I only wish you could have known that I did.

And one more very important thing you need to know.

I forgive you.

Sincerely,

Brittaney







Wednesday, March 25, 2015

We Bought a House!

     Alternative title: The Home Buying Process from HELL. Could also be titled, We Bought A House and Here Are Our Marital Issues If You Are Interested. (LOL) Actually, the more I think about it, the more I think I should change the title because the alternative one just makes more sense. You guys. Buying a home is supposed to be exciting and fun and amazing, and it has kind of been those things, but also kind of not. I want to fill you guys in on some deep dark secrets so if you wanna go along for this emotional roller coaster of a blog post, hop on in and buckle your seat belts, because its about to get crazy. #dramaqueen

     I love Massachusetts. And I hate Massachusetts. All at the same time. Yesterday we celebrated our two year anniversary of living in Ma. I can't believe its been two years since we packed our whole house into a moving truck and drove so far from everything and everyone we had ever known. But I can't stress enough how good it was for us. I celebrate living here because I feel like it saved us. I was so miserable in Florida. And I expected Justin to be able to fix that. I survived just to see his face walk through the door at the end of the day. All of the other times in between I spent hid under the covers of my bed or sobbing into my dog's fur. I hated that I felt so lonely, I missed the seasons and I wanted to cuss at the stupid sunshine. Sunshine. Every single day. It's like it was mocking my need for season changes. It wasn't Justin's fault. It really wasn't. I tell him all the time he picked the wrong girl. I have always hated Florida. When my parents talked about going when we were kids I said heck no. Too hot for this cranky 10 year old red head. The problem is, I fell in love with a boy who has always loved Florida and it just doesn't work.

I prayed to God everyday that it could work, that I could change and learn to love it there. That I could feel like it was home, but I never did. People keep asking when we are going to move back. I get angry sometimes because I just wonder, does my happiness mean anything? Does my marriage mean anything? If they really knew the struggles Justin and I had when we lived there I really think they would stop asking. We were there for 10 days over Christmas and I had the biggest breakdown of my life and it resulted in the biggest argument I have ever had with my husband. Most people fight about money or shopping or why the husband doesn't help around the house. Not us. The one thing we struggle with is where we want to raise our kids and it breaks my heart. We dance circles around the topic and most of the time its the big fat ugly elephant in the room. We have just stopped bringing it up altogether because we know it will get ugly. Justin loves Florida. I hate it. Justin wants to be near his family. I want to be near mine. (Although in all fairness I want to be near Justin's family too. I love them so much. And that just makes this whole process so much harder). I cry when I think about this. Actually I'm crying right now thinking about how over Christmas Justin pulled me into his lap and said "I love Florida but I love you more. And I will always choose you" *cue ugly crying now*





So anyway. We moved to Massachusetts. We got a chance to start our own life together. We found a church we both love. We connected. We healed. We grew. We survived. My heart is so grateful for all of this. But, Massachusetts is not a long term goal. We want to get the heck out of here in a few years and settle down and start a family. We have come up with a decent compromise-North Carolina or Georgia. That way we can be a short drive to both of our families. But thats a whole other story for a whole other day. On to the home buying process from hell. Massachusetts has the nickname Taxachusetts for a reason. This place SUCKS. The money they take from each paycheck is unbelievable. They tax you for every. single. thing. And then on top of that you have to pay a vehicle tax every single year. And the housing is unbelievable. We pay $2000 a month for a tiny apartment. So I'll just let your imagination guess how much we are paying for this house. Hint-it's more than double our Florida home which was way nicer.

Anyway. Man this post is going to be a long one. If you guys are sticking it out and reading until the end, you are my true friends and I love you. :p So we found a house we liked in a neighborhood we loved. We went to the open house and made an offer several hours later because we knew houses in that neighborhood sold in only one day. They accepted our offer and we jumped up and down in the kitchen. However, the selling realtor is the devil. I'm convinced of it. During the inspection we found out that the house doesn't have a fenced yard even though the listing said "FENCED YARD AS OF 2011" so we asked for them to come off the price. We also found out all of the utilities were the same age as the house (1992) and that was not cool with us at all. So again, we wanted to renegotiate. The selling realtor literally said that it was our fault we "read into" the listing and that if we weren't careful they would choose someone else because there were plenty of other offers. They came off the price a little and apologized, but not nearly what we wanted to compensate for all of the issues. We decided to move forward because we loved the neighborhood so much.

Our realtor sent over the paperwork to an attorney to look over. She told us we didn't even really need to look at the paperwork, basically to just sign on the dotted line. Justin didn't feel comfortable with that so he read it all the way through. Well THANK GOD he did because at the very end of the contract in little letters said something in the lines of "the buyers are to pay $4100 to seller based on appraisal" Um WHAT. Nope. Actually the buyers were supposed to pay us $5000 at closing. So we said we weren't going to sign. Our realtor said and I quote "Oh wow, good catch on that" Ok so please tell me why we are paying $900 for an attorney?! Oh right, because Massachusetts requires you to have one. Even if they don't do their job correctly and almost cost us thousands of dollars.

To add to all of this, we just found out we can't use our lender (who is a family friend and has helped Justin get his other two houses) because Massachusetts won't be able to send over the licensing paperwork for another three weeks. I am just sick. This whole process has me so upset, it just hasn't been the experience you would hope for. So needless to say, we bought a house, yaaayyyy. But it hasn't been all rainbows and chocolates on our end. We are ready to close and put this whole process behind us. We are just tired of throwing all of money away on rent, we decided since we'll be here for a couple of years we would like to own. Hopefully nothing else insane pops up so this little house can finally be ours.

I would formally introduce you to our house with pictures, but I have none! I feel a little weird about posting photos of the house since it has all of the owners personal belongings in it, so I'm not going to do that. If you want to take a peek at it yourself you can just google it on realtor.com. The address is 6 Bradshaw Lane Foxboro, Ma. (Calm down people, if we get any stalkers we are gun owners. :p) Here is a couple photos of the outside though, you know, to hold you over. ;) We have big plans for this little house-new hardwoods, painted kitchen cabinets, a stone fireplace with builtins, oh the list goes on and on. We are super excited.




I'm so thankful for this little blog. It inspires me to keep writing when I get emails and text messages from friends telling me how much they love reading. It makes me so happy because its easy to feel like nobody reads my tiny little space on the internet. So thank you for letting me be me. This little blog has been such a great outlet to me. And it means so much that you guys have come along for the ride. I hope you'll stick around for the future too! Hugs friends! XOXO


Monday, February 23, 2015

Ballard Designs Camden Tufted Bed Review



    It's been almost a year since we bought our Camden Tufted Bed from Ballard Designs and I thought now would be the perfect time to do a review of the bed. Justin always teases me about my reviews and calls me the review queen. I wear that title very proudly! I look at reviews as a way to vent about my frustrations if I have any, or a way to proudly brag about a product! Trust me, you do not want to get on this chicks bad side, because she will not hold back on Yelp.com. :p

    But in all seriousness, I love this bed. And I wanted to tell you why. I'm also going to be honest and share some cons too. Just for fun I've decided to add some other photos of our master bedroom so you can see how things are looking. It's definitely smaller than what we are used to, but it's cozy and we love hanging out in it! 

    Just because, here's a picture of our old master bedroom from our Florida house. I used to complain that it was too small. I want to build a time machine just so I can go back to three years ago and smack myself. 



    This is where I first fell in love with tufted beds. Justin and I made the headboard pictured above and it was great for a year or so, but it was not professional and there were a lot of imperfections. Not to mention that making it was NOT fun and I might have said bad words during the process. I can't remember. All I remember is that I would NEVER EVER do it again. It was terrible. So when we moved and we got ready to take the headboard with us, all the buttons popped off and it was just not pretty. We decided to let it go. At this point in our marriage we had yet to have a real "bed" with a headboard/footboard/etc. We basically had a mattress and a frame. So we got to work on shopping for a bed we would love forever.

    I knew I wanted another tufted bed, I just had to convince Justin that's what he wanted, too. :p I found this picture on pinterest and knew it was the bed for us, but I couldn't find where it came from anywhere. I looked and searched and emailed people for a good two weeks. I was crushed. This bed was my dream bed. I loved the deep tufted buttons and the fact that the footboard was tufted too. Justin even loved it!



    We couldn't find this bed anywhere, so we almost settled for this one from Joss and Main. But I couldn't pull the trigger. It was a great price, but I wasn't in love. The buttons weren't deep enough, I didn't like that the sideboards didn't come up high enough to cover the whole mattress and there was no dreamy tufted footboard. It didn't have the best reviews, either. I couldn't do it!


Eventually we found a tufted bed pretty identical to the one we loved at our local furniture store. It was $3000. YIKES. But we almost paid that price because we just wanted our bed search to be over and to finally have a real bed to sleep in at night. I decided to give one more try at googling the crap out of my dream bed when Ballard Designs website finally popped up. There was my beautiful dream bed in all its glory, waiting for me to add to cart for only $800. They were having an anniversary sale and everything was an additional 30% off on their website. You guys. I freaked out. So the bed saga finally came to an end and this slice of heaven went straight into my online cart. Here it is in all its beauty today: 


Dear Bed, I love you. I am never letting you go. Thank you for finding your way into my Google search after a month of searching for you.

Here are some updated photos of our bedroom now-if you just want the review scoop on the pros and cons, scroll to the bottom. Although I can't wait for the day we have a master suite again, I do love this little room and all the personal details we've added here.


    Pretty cute for a teenie little thing, right? My favorite part has to be the sheet music I had printed off to go on each of our nightstands. It is actually a song from our wedding. It makes me warm and fuzzy inside.



    Ok now the fun part, the review! I'm going to start with the pros.

    Pros-
    
    *This bed is absolutely beautiful. Look at it. I have never owned such a nice bed, ever. I don't think I will ever get sick of it. I think it would look great in any bedroom. It's so cozy.

    *It's neutral so it will match whatever color choices we might have in the future.

    *It is custom made for ever order and is a very high quality product.

    *It is linen so it has more of a relaxed feel. I think the velvet tufted beds are too fancy and wouldn't match any of our stuff. I love the linen look and feel.

    *Great price, even without the 30% off.

    *It's not too tall, but not too short either. 

    I could go on and on, but those are the most important pros you need to know about. Here are some of the cons-

    Cons-

    *Since it is custom made for ever order, it took almost four months to get to us. 

    *Ballard Design is a great company, but they definitely need to work on their customer service department. If you read other reviews from other people on their Facebook page you will read the same thing.

    *This color is called Off-white twill. We originally wanted Oatmeal, but all other colors are considered specialty and cost a lot more. Not only that, but any other colors are absolutely non returnable. Since we had never seen this bed in person, that made us nervous. (We also didn't want to pay more money for a different color. Kind of dumb in my opinion) Since it is such a light color, you can see dust and dirt more easily. So if you have a black dog who sleeps in bed with you every single night, this might not be an ideal color for you. 

    That's it! That's all the cons. You guys. I can't say enough how much I love this bed. If you have contemplated getting a tufted bed, I would absolutely recommend this one. (As long as you are ok with all the cons I mentioned) I love it as much today as I did the day it was delivered to us. I think it's a timeless bed, too. So in 10 years, I still think I'll love it! What do you think? Have you contemplated getting a tufted bed? We were torn between tufted and wood, but I'm glad we went with this one!