Home Renovation + Home Decor Favorites

Happy Thursday!

Today I am so excited to finally share my home renovation experience + my home decor favorites! I purchased my first home in April and it has been a labor of love (okay to be honest I hated the process at times) ever since. When looking to buy, I knew I wanted to find a space that I could make “my own.” Most of the changes were purely cosmetics: paint, new lighting, more paint, new hardware, appliances, did I mention paint? It felt like we were painting foreverrrr and almost lost my arms in the process lol! We painted the ceilings, white trim, every wall in the place, cabinets, and doors. The bigger undertakings were the kitchen, installing new counter tops, painting the cabinets, installing pendant lighting, and tiling the fireplace. The renovation process took about a month, but well worth the wait in my opinion! I have to give a huge thank you & shout out to my parents who helped me complete this renovation (to be fair I wasn’t much help! haha!).

The kitchen got a major makeover and it’s probably my favorite space that we did! Before, the counter tops were a dark brown laminate color. It was a major eye sore and I couldn’t wait to get rid of them! I used home depot for replacing the counter tops. Production took about 5 weeks after the measurements were taken but despite the wait time the process was relatively simple and stress free. The only aspect not ideal is not having counter tops for a few weeks… lots of takeout meals! We got rid of the heinous yellow sunshine wall color and replaced it with light grey and also painted all the trim + cabinets. Painting your kitchen cabinets is a great low cost option to spruce up the space rather than gutting it! It amazed me how much expenses start adding up once you begin the renovation process. $$$.  You do have to use a special type of paint that is more expensive so be sure to tell the store assistant what you are looking to do with it. I originally wanted to paint them white, but my sister has white cabinets and advised against them (they get super dirty quickly). Eventually, I would like to add a back splash of subway tile above the counter to the bottom of the cabinets.

Kitchen BEFORE:

Kitchen AFTER:

Inspo for subway tile:

I am so in love with the fireplace! How amazing is this tile??? I originally wanted to do chevron tiling (see example here) but after reading reviews on Pinterest, a lot of people advised against it for those DIYing it. I decided to go with this tile (also from home depot) and am so glad I did! I love the color variation and look of the stone finish vs tile. My Dad did the tile job himself (gotta love handy Dad’s!). In his opinion it was relatively easy so if any of you at home are considering taking on a tiling project don’t be intimidated! You do have to know how to operate a tile saw, but these can be rented at Home Depot for about $50/day. Measuring and cutting the tile was the most time consuming part of this project. The application goes pretty quickly.

Fireplace BEFORE:

Fireplace AFTER:

Living BEFORE:

Living AFTER:

One of my favorite things to shop for is home decor. I haven’t purchased too many new items yet for the space but next on my list is to find an area rug to go in the living room! I also want to buy some art to go above the chair to the left in the picture above and another piece to hang above my couch. I have been eyeing this piece from World Market.

I purchased this bookshelf from Wayfair a few years ago. I love switching up the decor and moving pieces around on it. If you love displaying books but aren’t a big fan of the pops of color the covers give off, just flip them around so the pages show to the front instead of the bind. I learned this trick from another blogger and love it! Much easier than finding & buying neutral book covers just for the display.

Shop my home decor purchases here!:

Shop my other Home decor favorites I have been eyeing!

Charli’s Newborn Pictures With Bella Baby Photography

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Happy Friday, dolls! Charlotte is officially 6 weeks old, and I’m looking for the secret to slowing down time. She’s growing so fast, and I can’t believe it’s already been 6 weeks since she was born. She’s already rolling over, and absolutely loves the sound of her own voice.

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She’s such a sweetheart, and I don’t know how I’m supposed to go back to work in 6 weeks. I’m going to need some serious tips for coping with separation anxiety.

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I haven’t shared my birth story yet, but I wanted to go ahead and share my favorite part of our hospital stay. While we were in the hospital, Bella Baby Photography came to our room for a complimentary newborn photo session. (All in-hospital sessions are complimentary for newborns).

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Luckily I had brought some really cute bows and props, as I knew I’d want to have photos taken. Our photographer was a miracle worker… to be honest I had no idea how to pose a newborn, or how to keep the baby comfortable without making her cry. She knew all the tips and tricks to keep Charli perfectly content.

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Our entire session took less than 20 minutes. And two hours later, the photographer came back to our room and showed us the slideshow of our retouched, final images.

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I’m not sure if it was the hormones or the pictures, but I was bawling my eyes out when I saw the slide show. Our pictures turned out absolutely beautifully, and we ended up purchasing the entire digital package along with printed images and a canvas.

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Bella Baby made it so easy to capture our baby’s beauty right after she was born. I couldn’t have imagined trying to take my newborn to a photo studio for a photoshoot in the days following our release from the hospital. For anyone thinking of having newborn pictures taken in the hospital, I highly recommend it. I will absolutely cherish the pictures of Charli forever.

*Special thanks to Bella Baby Photography for sponsoring this post.

How to make the perfect Charcuterie board + Our favorite summer wines

Happy Monday Ladies!

Who else is excited for Bachelorette Monday?!? I’ll be honest, I’m not a huuuuge fan of the season so far. I feel like the guys are so sub par and seriously how has the model guy not been sent home yet?! Not to mention the constant upbringing of the brutal way she was dumped on the last season (let the girl move on! lol!). But it’s like a bad train wreck, we cant help but stare. Whether you’re into this season, or not, its the perfect excuse to open up a bottle of wine (as if we needed one right? 😉 ) and have a few good laughs with your girlfriends.

I love throwing together Charcuterie boards together for nights like these. They are the easiest appetizer to put together when entertaining (or if your like me, sometimes they turn into your dinner too, oops). They are so effortless and simple, yet look so stylish and put together! A fool proof way to make sure you cover all your bases is to be sure to include each of the following categories: sliced meats, a few cheeses (goat cheese and brie are my personal favs), something sweet such as pears, apples, figs or honey, something spreadable (I did baked brie with spicy strawberry jam inside), & something crunchy (crackers, preztels, pickles, almonds, etc.). You can also include some tart accents like spicy mustard.

I picked up this wood board from our local Home Goods for under $10! I have also seen similar style at TJ Maxx, Marshalls, World Market, and Target! I also love this chalkboard one from World Market as well.

And of course the most important pairing to any Charcuterie board… the WINE! While this could take up it’s own blog post in itself, my three go-to wine selections are Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, and Chateau St. Michelle Chardonnay. All three bottles are budget friendly, can be found at Target and are bottles that I drink on the regular (maybe a little too much:)).

Baked Brie recipe pictured:

  • 1 can of Phillsbury crescent rolls (original)

  • Brie cheese

  • Jam of your choice (I used spiced strawberry)

On parchment paper, roll out the crescent roll bread. Place Brie cheese in the center. Top with jam and fold the dough into the center of the cheese. Bake for 10 min at 375 degrees or until bread is golden brown. It’s thaaat easy!

Let us know your favorite Charcuterie & wine pairings below!

Baby Charlotte’s Nursery Reveal

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I’m so excited to finally reveal all the details of baby Charlotte’s nursery with you all! I have to apologize for the radio silence these past couple of months. Between preparing for a baby, finishing up with work before maternity leave, and then having a newborn, it’s safe to say life has been pretty crazy. Charlotte has been absolutely amazing these past couple of weeks. She was born on May 9, and has completely stolen our hearts. I will be working on her birth story and a life lately post in the next few days, so stay tuned for all the details on baby girl. And you can expect a lot more baby and family content. (If there’s a post you’d like to see us write about, always feel free to leave us a comment below!)

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26 Week Bumpdate: We Have A Name

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Happy Tuesday, dolls! We hope everyone had great Super Bowl weekend. I won’t lie, it was pretty weird to be sipping on water during the game rather than my go-to Blue Moon this year. I’m officially 26 weeks along, and wanted to share all the updates thus far in my pregnancy. Most importantly, we have officially picked out the name for our baby girl! Here are all of the details:

How Far Along: 26 weeks

How Big Is Baby Hickey: As big as a butternut squash!

Weight Gained: 15 pounds

How Are You Feeling: I’m feeling VERY pregnant.. The bump is pretty unmistakable at this point! But I’m loving it. The only downside I’ve experienced lately is nonstop heartburn. I’ve tried everything, and have been living off of Tums. Any suggestions from you mamas out there?

Wearing Any Maternity Clothes: Still living in my favorite maternity jeans from A Pea In The Pod, available HERE. I also love the Ingrid & Isabel line of maternity wear at Target, I just picked up THIS TOP today, and I wear THESE leggings 24/7. If you’re looking for spring and summer maternity clothes, check out my post from our baby moon to Scottsdale. I’ve shared all my favorite dresses and swimwear.

Cravings: I’ve been craving mangoes and strawberries nonstop…. I can’t get enough of them. Also it’s Girl Scout cookie season, so I’ve been all over the Thin Mints these days. I could also live off of cereal… sounds terrible, but Frosted Mini Wheats and Lucky Charms have my heart.

Miss Anything: I’ve really been missing my skinny vanilla lattes lately. And I’d be totally lying if I said I wasn’t missing a good mimosa every once in awhile.

Recent Purchases For Baby: All of our nursery furniture is here! We ordered everything from Restoration Hardware, and I’ll be sharing all the details and pictures with you all soon! Oh and obviously I’ve been stocking up in the clothes department… her drawers are already full. HAHA.

Name: Charlotte Raye Hickey! We will be calling her Charli. We both really wanted her to have a name that represented both sides of our family. Ryan’s great grandma’s name was Charlotte. My grandpa and dad both have Ray as their middle names, and mine is Raye. So we figured we’d keep the tradition going.

Thanks for sending all your love and support! Be sure to send me any questions in the comments below!