Thursday, September 22, 2011

For The Love Of Organic

About a year ago I joined the organic revolution. After years of eating processed foods and getting sick at least once a month, I was sick of being sick. On top of this, I was only 21 years old and felt like I was in the body of a 91 year old. I always felt tired, bloated, just plain blah. One day I decided I needed to make a change, so I visited the nearest Sprouts Farmers Market and loaded up on TONS of fruits, veggies and non-processed meats. I began to search recipes for hours to find healthy, easy dinner options. Literally I eliminated ALL processed food out of our diets. And a magical thing happened ... I stopped getting sick. A year later I have yet to get sick and have more energy than ever before!

What started as eating local and organic foods has transformed into incorporating various other organic items. Recently my mom introduced me to the bath and body products of Sweet Harvest Farms. This company hand makes a variety of lotions, lip balms and my personal favorite, soaps. For several weeks now I have been using the Raze acne and blemish soap on my face. I was skeptical that a homemade product could work as well as my prescription strength product, but I decided to give it a try ... and I LOVE the results. My face is more clear and brighter than ever. I am obsessed!!! I also have started using the Decadent Dog bar shampoo. Kirby has been getting weekly baths with this soap and his coat is visibly shinier and he smells wonderful! For those of you who have been to my mom's online store you already know of the adorable products that she carries. (For those of you have haven't I encourage you to take a look!) Well, recently she began to sell these incredible soaps!!! Go take a look over at and enjoy these amazing organic products!

As for me I will be out of town for about a week. My incredible husband surprised me with a cruise that I will be enjoying with my cousin and aunt come Saturday!!! I hope everyone has a wonderful week!!!


Monday, September 12, 2011

It's Amazing What A Little Paint Can Do

I can't believe how long it has been since I've last updated!!! In the last few weeks I was required to increase my hours at work after accepting a promotion and Noah once again headed back to school to finish his final year of his bachelor's degree. In the end this means that working on the house has had to slow down quite substantially :( Even with the slow down we have been able to accomplish a little bit of painting to spruce up some of our antique finds.

This first image is the before of a giant mirror Noah and I added to our bedroom wall. The bathroom in the house is teeny tiny, and the bathroom mirror is even smaller. Noah decided a girl couldn't do without a decent size mirror, therefore he took me to Kirkland's and purchased me this massive 6 ft. x 4 ft. beauty. Unfortunately, the finish didn't quite match the cottage look we were going for. My mom recently discovered Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint and graciously offered to let me use the white paint with a dark wax. Here is the result ...

The vintage finish was the perfect touch to the frame and now the mirror fits perfectly in our new home!

This entertainment center is actually an antique dresser my mom had purchased years ago. She was hoping to one day re-do it and put it in her own home, but after it sat in her workshop for several years she gifted it to Noah and I. Noah covered the dark wood with some white and we had the perfect place to put his new tv. Plus I can hide the dvd's in the drawers!

When moving into an old home you face the problem of not having any form of a pantry. Therefore, we began to search the aisles of antique malls and pages on Craigslist for a makeshift pantry. We found this old cabinet on Craigslist and talked the family into letting us purchase it for only $100!!! The cabinet which was sitting in the family's barn is made out of old weathered wood and chicken wire. Noah also painted the cabinet white and we have a precious pantry!

We still have quite a bit to paint (doors, baseboards, cabinets, etc, etc) but at least this is a start! About a week ago my mom and sister also came over and helped me begin to decorate. Although I know what I want in my new cottage home, I am horrible at placing it perfectly on the wall. Here are a couple of their creations:

This first one is the beginning of our blessings wall. If you didn't read my past post, we painted one whole wall in our kitchen with chalkboard paint. Noah had come up with the idea to write out many of the things God has blessed us with. Since my sister's writing is gorgeous I had her begin writing out our blessings :)

The final picture is the main wall that you see when you first walk through the front door. The clock I got at Ross for only $15 and the windows were also from my mom's shop. The sign I created out of old hymnal pages. You can read a tutorial on how to create the simple sign at her blog, in the archive of July 18, 2011.

Have a great day!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Time for an Update!

Goodness has life been crazy in the last week. Not only did we get home from our vacation in Las Vegas, but we also finished painting the house, started renovating and even added a new member to the family. But more on that later. First and foremost, I have pictures of painting!

This first picture is of my brother-in-law, James, painting the guest bedroom. I decided to do lighter, more neutral colors that would go well with a variety of decorations while still creating the homey feeling. Therefore, both bedrooms are a light grey color and the living room, hallway and bathroom are a tan.

This next picture is of me painting a wall of the kitchen. This particular wall is where some cupboards, the microwave and the oven are placed. We decided to make it the focal point of the kitchen by painting it into a giant chalkboard. Although I have wanted a chalkboard wall for awhile, my husband came up with the amazing idea to make it our "blessings" wall ... or a way to document everything that Christ has blessed us with. I can't wait to get it completed!!!

This picture is my mom and sister helping out with the chalkboard wall. Noah and I are very blessed to be surrounded by an extremely supportive family. Through the help of both my parents, my sister and her husband, and my brother-in-law and his wife, we were able to paint the entire house in a single Sunday afternoon!

Since finishing painting we have mainly been focusing on unpacking ... or at least attempting to. Noah and I have always lived in tiny 1 bedroom apartments, therefore we've never had to unpack an entire house while renovating at the same time. Although it's exciting, it's a little stressful for a clean freak like me who has no clue where to put everything yet. As for renovations we have decided to start with the kitchen. So far we have purchased a new microwave, gas oven and stove, an island with pop-up breakfast bars, and Noah and my dad replaced some old cabinets with newer, more spacious ones. We are still debating on what we want to do with the walls of the kitchen (other than the chalkboard wall of course). I am dying for some white-washed or pickled finished wood paneling, while Noah is opting for a simple paint job. We'll see who wins that fight :)
Tomorrow I am planning on finishing unpacking and hoping to start tackling the horribly overgrown yard. We also need to tend to a plumbing issue ... the first major setback or our new home. Every time we do a load of laundry in the washing machine the bathtub fills up with water, soil and little rocks. I guess these things should be expected with an older home!

Onto the new addition of the family ... which actually came about because of Kirby! During the two months while waiting for the house to close, Noah, Kirby and I were blessed to have a room at my parents. My parents have two shih-tzus, Katie and Kolby, and my mom runs Katie's Rose Cottage from home. Kirby LOVED living at my parents house. With 24 hour access to a human to love on, puppies to play with and a pool to jump in .. he was pretty much in heaven. The minute we moved into the new home we instantly began to see a change in him. He grew very depressed and refused to play or eat. My sister was kind enough to let us steal her puppy for a few days to keep him entertained, but when it was time for her to go home Kirby once again grew depressed. If you know me you quickly learn that my dog is my baby, therefore it broke my heart to see him so sad. So Friday after work I decided to devote a day to making him happy. I took him for a walk to my sisters house so he could get out of the house and play with some friends. When he refused to play I began to grow worried ... so I took him to the pet store to go on a toy shopping spree. Still he wasn't happy. In fact he was very skittish and walked around with his tail between his little legs. This is when I began to really get scared since Kirby is always happy ... and I mean always! His nickname is even the "Disney Dog" because he's so animated and joyful. When I got home I attempted to open one of his new toys. Since I couldn't find where I had packed the scissors I decided to use a kitchen knife to cut open the package. Bad idea! I sliced my finger extremely deep ...

Since I am extremely stubborn and refused to go to the doctor and get stitches in time ... I now get to have this beautiful bum thumb for the next week to guarantee the bleeding stops and my finger begins to heal. Anyway ... back to the important part. Noah and I had been talking for several months that once we got a house and a yard we would really enjoy getting a large dog that I could take for runs in the park and that would be a companion for Kirby. We couldn't handle Kirby's depression any longer so Friday we jumped in the car and drove an hour to Weatherford to pick up our beautiful new baby, Jack!

Jack is a 7 week old golden retriever. He is by far the best little puppy I've ever met! In fact this picture was taken as he took a little nap at the vet's office while they poked and prodded him during his first check-up. Most importantly ... him and Kirby adore each other and Kirbs is back to his old happy self :)

Until next time!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Viva Las Vegas

I am so sorry I haven't been able to update recently! First and foremost ... we finally closed on the house! Monday was our 10th and final closing date. Noah and I were so excited and showed up to our appointment at 1 in the afternoon ready to sign millions of papers and receive the keys to our new home. After close to an hour of signing we got the news that we would not be able to receive the keys because the underwriter needed to make a final approval, but were reassured that we would have the keys by close at 5pm. Sure enough when 5 rolls around we find out that the lending agent forgot to turn in some paperwork, so we were denied the closing. Finally on Tuesday after rushing to the title company from work and waiting in the office for an hour, we got the keys and went over to the house to unload the moving truck. We quickly shoved everything in the house and began to paint the bedroom and living room. Later that night we went back to my parents house and packed to leave at 5 the next morning for Las Vegas.

So ... we have been in Vegas for the last four days with Noah's sister, Camy and her husband, Blake. I promise I will update soon about the vacation and the small changes we've been able to make so far, but for now I will am off to unpack the house!


Friday, August 5, 2011

Welcome to the Cottage

Welcome to College St. Cottage! With this blog my husband Noah and I (Stephanie) will be documenting the vintage transformation of our new home. But before we get into the house, you need to meet the family!

Noah and I met our freshman year at Dallas Baptist University. Although we were friends from the beginning of the year, we had no interest in each other. One night in the middle of the second semester we met up and Noah revealed to me that God had told him we were going to get married. Within the week we were dating and two years later, on January 8, 2010, God's promised was fulfilled!

Fast forward a year and a half and you come to present day. Noah is still a music student at DBU and works full-time for Gateway Church. I recently graduated from Liberty University and work full-time at a Massage Envy. We have a shih-tzu puppy named Kirby. He is just over a year old and weighs about 20 pounds!

Several months ago we began looking for our first home. After several months of endless tours and even losing an offer on a new 2,000 square foot home, we began to grow defeated. Then just over two months ago Noah found a little 820 square foot, 1955 home built in the heart of old town Keller, Texas. At first I refused to even look at the house because let's be honest ... it's a bit of an eye sore. But since the house is walking distance from my sister and her husband's home, close to a park and only 10 minutes from my parents, he finally convinced me to look. Upon entering the front door we both fell in love. Although the home is old, it has so much character and we began to imagine the perfect little cottage that we could transform this home into. We put an offer in on the spot.

For two months now we have been searching antique malls, salvage buildings and flea markets for vintage finds. And after experiencing the joys of contracts and loans we are finally set to close on the house this upcoming Monday, August 8th. Through this blog we will document the transformation of our cottage on College St. Everything will be done through our own hard work while on a tight budget. My plan is to take you through each step, leading up to the reveal of each room! I can't wait to share our new home with you!