Oh you’re from New Jersey?



Last week we took a trip up to New Jersey to visit family and friends. Both my husband and I were born and raised there. We moved to Richmond when we were 25 years old. Even though we have completely fallen in love with Virginia we still consider NJ home. During our visit my cousin (who currently resides in Florida) came to my parent’s house. Our conversation turned to the misconceptions people have about our home state. All of the television shows and movies depicting NJ as the armpit of the United States has not helped matters! I thought I would share some of the things I have been told over the past 13 years once it is revealed I am a NJ native. I do not take life too seriously so I am never offended and always laugh it off. Enjoy!

I’ve been to NJ before. It was crowded and dirty.

I have heard this one a few times. Most of these comments have been from people that either A.) only had the joy of experiencing the Newark Airport or B). went to Atlantic City. When they think of where I am from their mind immediately goes to oil refineries on the side of the highway and that lovely smell. If you have traveled the turnpike up north before you know exactly what I am talking about. The whole state is not filled with cities and casinos. Mountains, farmland, and beaches can all be found within this tiny state. There is a reason it is nicknamed The Garden State and is a popular vacation destination.

You don’t look like you’re from NJ (this one has been said to me several times!!!)

I was not aware that we all looked the same. When people envision Jersey folk their mind immediately goes to thoughts of guidos and gold chains. Spray tans, big hair, and long fake nails are not for everyone. Most of us do not look like we are part of the cast of The Jersey Shore. (Hey, I am not knocking them. I dvr’d and watched every episode! My husband and I made a game out of trying to guess exactly where they were). Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of people that fit the look but not everyone! We can also be normal ordinary looking people too.

Oh you’re from NJ? What exit? (followed by lots of laughter)

Ha ha. Real funny. Exit 82…

I’ve seen a few episodes of The Real Housewives of NJ. The women are so loud and always looking for a fight. Are all the women up there like that?

NO. It is very loosely based on the typical Jersey Girl. We do not all act like Teresa Giudice.

The loud part? Well that one is true…. My husband likes to remind me how loud I am. I talk loud, I walk loud. Everything I do is at full volume. When I get together with my other NJ friends the volume goes up several decibels since we all talk over each other. It is something we just can’t help.

The always looking for a fight part? No. That is a select few hotheads. Most of us do not go around flipping tables or getting into fistfights. I do have a little secret though. We all have something inside of us that I affectionately call “My Inner Jersey”. It is a rage hidden deep down inside of you that only comes out if you or someone you love has been majorly wronged in some way. Even the quiet shy ones like my husband cannot escape it. Just ask anyone that works in the customer service department at Comcast and they will tell you! You do NOT mess with that man’s internet. Luckily I have not had to use mine in a few years. It is quietly and patiently lying in wait…

You don’t sound like you’re from NJ (I’ve heard this one so many times I have lost count!)

No, we do not say New Joisey nor do we all sound like we just walked off of the set of The Soprano’s (my favorite of all of the NJ shows I dvr’d!). It is fairly obvious I am not native to VA once I open my mouth. I definitely have an accent. I do not have a sweet Southern drawl like many of my friends do and the word y’all has never come out of my mouth. If our conversation does not contain the words dog, coffee, water or Florida I will keep you guessing.  We have so many Northern transplants here in the Richmond area. If I overhear a conversation out in public I can immediately pick up the NJ native or New Yorker out of a crowd. It makes me smile when I hear it and reminds me of home.

I hope this made you laugh a little bit too. What have people said to you about your home state?






DIY Chalk painted dresser


Yes, I know what you’re thinking. How many dressers does this lady have in her house??? I only have two downstairs so I don’t think that qualifies me as a dresser hoarder. Yet. I am not a clutter person and piles drive me insane. If I can clean up quickly by shoving everything into drawers I am a much happier mom. 😉

I used to have a cute little bench with baskets for the kid’s shoes and winter gear plus hooks for them to hang their baseball hats and coats in this spot. That didn’t last very long. The kids pulled the coat rack right out of the wall yanking on their hats and broke it. The shoes never quite made it into the basket. They seemed to keep multiplying all over the floor. Pile of papers wound up on the bench too. Did I mention my hatred for piles? The bench now resides at the kitchen table and it also received a chalk paint makeover.

I started looking for a better solution and decided to recycle one of the kid’s dressers into a storage piece for the foyer. We bought all three boys new bedroom furniture and I only had space in the two younger boy’s shared bedroom to keep one of dressers. I planned to sell this one along with the two twin beds and nightstands. I’m so glad I talked myself out of it! The beds and nightstands found new homes with friends and the dresser stayed here while I decided what to do. Instead I bought a rolling metal cart for the shoes to keep in the closet. The shoes still end up in a pile on the bottom of the closet half of the time but at least I am no longer tripping over them. Pick your battles and all that. The rest of the other mess went right into the dresser. Inside the drawers are all of their hats and gloves, their rabbit care supplies that used to live in the closet and random stuff that needs to go to school.

Enough rambling. Now onto the DIY part. I am a HUGE chalk paint fan. In the beginning I was all about Annie Sloan chalk paint and their beautiful line of colors.  I still love it but have since found a less expensive option at Hobby Lobby, Americana Decor chalky finish paint. Since I only purchase it on sale or use my coupon the cost is so low. It makes the bargain hunter in me happy! I own multiple colors and have refinished several pieces using this paint. For this dresser I chose Serene, a soft pale blue. I finished it with a coat of soft touch varnish. It’s so simple! This is not a sponsored post even though it may sound like it. I just wanted to share what works for me.



Directions (According to me. Others may do this another way):

Clean the surface to be painted (No sanding or any other prep work!!! Really! It’s true!)

Remove the drawers from the dresser and remove hardware.

Using a foam brush gently paint using long strokes (A bristle brush is fine too if you want the look of fine brush strokes)

Let it dry completely before putting on a second coat if you plan to do one. (Totally optional)

Let the second coat dry. Distress using sandpaper if you choose to.

Apply a coat or two of varnish (I only do this for pieces that see a lot of use. Picture frames, etc. I don’t bother)

Let it dry overnight or longer if possible before using it.


Normally people would do two coats of chalk paint. For this dresser and the red one I did for my boy’s room (watch for that post!) I only did one coat. I wanted some of the original wood grain color to show through. The paint odor is minimal so I painted inside with multiple fans running and both sliding glass doors and windows open. I opted not to paint the original wood knobs and instead went with these mother of pearl look glass knobs from Hobby Lobby. I love the way they transformed the look of a kid’s dresser into a more feminine adult piece. I, of course, waited for them to go on sale for 50% off (happens every few weeks).




All that was left to do was move it into place and anchor it to the wall using a safety strap (VERY important if you have young children!).


So, what do you think? What have you chalk painted in your home? If you are not already following me on Pinterest please check out my boards. So many chalk painted projects and inspiration pieces can be found on there!

Chalk painted dresser love

I am a huge DIY-er but sometimes I just want to buy something that is already finished. The bonus side to that is that I am supporting local small businesses at the same time. I was looking for some sort of cabinet to store my extra craft goodies and gift bags. While shopping for accessories I came across this beauty in one of my favorite boutiques, The Vintage Owl, in Midlothian. The dresser is a solid piece and very heavy. The drawers are nice and deep to hold all of my crap..err supplies.

The dresser was painted with Dixie Belle chalk paint and the color is Kudzu. It has the perfect amount of distressed goodness. I styled it with a mason jar lamp from a local Etsy seller, a framed picture of my three boys, faux yellow peony in a vase Target clearance find and a marble rabbit bookend that belonged to my grandmother. I have animal objects all over my house! The painting is available online at various websites. The artist is Michael Stowa and the title is Kohler’s Pig. I had asked for it as a birthday gift a few years ago. I showed it to my husband and he looked at me like I was crazy. He said Really? You want a pig jumping into a pond hanging on our wall? I answered Yes! and it was mine. IMG_1526




Quick and easy kitchen update!

Farmhouse Kitchen Update

Farmhouse Kitchen Update


When I was daydreaming about my new house in the country I imagined a typical farmhouse style kitchen with white cabinets, a large farm sink and lots of beadboard. It would be decorated with antique kitchen items, glass canisters and neutral colors. Then we found this home. The kitchen was remodeled a few years ago and I adore the custom cabinets they put in. There is more than enough room for all of our things plus we have storage drawers and a lazy susan. The only con for me is the color.

The chocolate brown tile and countertops are neutral enough to match most colors although they would not have been my choice. Brown shows every little crumb and I have 3 very messy boys. The appliances are all fairly new and stainless which is the finish we prefer, even with little handprints. Most of all it was move in ready and required no additional work. My husband was thrilled. I, on the other hand, envisioned all of the ways I could update it for the look I wanted.

In our last two homes I had painted the cabinets (white in NJ, black in our last home). While wood cabinetry is beautiful I much prefer painted ones. I mentioned how I could not wait to paint these white, add some more trim and a beadboard backsplash. I was met with a big fat NO. Normally my husband lets me do whatever I want in our home as far as decorating goes. This was his hill to die on so I agreed to leave them alone. For now… If you know me things rarely remain the same for long periods of time. Instead I decided to change my plan and go with something a little more fun than I had originally envisioned. I picked out colorful decorations to help my kitchen stand out from the typical neutral farmhouse style kitchens I see online.

Here is the before:



And now the after:

First we swapped out the lighting fixtures for ones that were more our style. The ones the previous owners had installed were beautiful but just not my taste. I found just what I was looking for at Lowe’s. The funky chicken wire ceiling lights are fun but my favorite is the glass pendant over the sink. The kitchen receives a ton of light from both the sliding glass door and the window. It does not obstruct my view of the woods and pool.

Next I changed out all of the nickel cabinet hardware over to oil rubbed bronze pulls and knobs as well as the kitchen faucet. Having a pull down sprayer is really useful and leaves a spot open for the soap dispenser. Unfortunately we could not come to an agreement on which backsplash we wanted so we decided to put that project off until another time. I am thinking a faux brick wall and he wants tile. We shall see… Stay tuned!



After that my husband changed out the plugs and switches over to new white ones. It is not fun when you plug in the toaster or vacuum and it just falls out from the socket being worn out. We are slowly converting the whole house over. Lastly I decided to repaint. The kids had been begging for a chalkboard wall for years and I finally gave in. The little one is having a blast drawing on the wall. It’s messy but nothing the vacuum can’t handle.

The walls were originally painted the same as the rest of the house. Eggshell paint and children do not mix well so satin it is! The magic eraser had taken the finish off of the wall where I tried to clean. I decided not to reuse the same color and go a little bolder while still remaining neutral. I went with Valspar’s Woodlawn Sterling Blue. The color is part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation line. I find that you can not go wrong with these colors. We will also be painting the kid’s playroom and upstairs hallway with the same paint.


When it came time to put the decorations back up my middle one asked if he could help. I put the word EAT on the wall and he suggested we make a fun and funky gallery wall. We grabbed a few things that were previously in the kitchen and stole the rest from other rooms. I let him tell me where everything should go. I think it looks a little too much like an old school TGIFriday’s wall from the early 90’s but he is so proud of his decorating. I will leave it up for a while and honestly it is growing on me. After all it is their house too.



chalk painted our rush seat bench in a peacock blue to play off of my rooster painting.  The chairs received some new bright yellow fabric. The old fabric had been on for a few years and matched the French Country style of our last home. With three boys (have I mentioned how messy they are!!!) it was time for an update anyway.




IMG_1520PicMonkey Collage

Source list:

Lighting: Lowe’s


Flushmount lights no longer available

Paint: Valspar Woodlawn Sterling Blue in Satin http://m.valsparpaint.com/color-detail.php?id=2091&g=1014

Faucet: https://www.lowes.com/pd/KOHLER-Cardale-Oil-Rubbed-Bronze-1-Handle-Pull-Down-Kitchen-Faucet/999930310

Hardware: Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Cosmas-783ORB-Rubbed-Cabinet-Hardware/dp/B005I4J1RG/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1484003811&sr=8-3&keywords=oil+rubbed+bronze+drawer+pulls

Pie sign: http://www.worldmarket.com/product/wood+and+glass+pie+sign.do?&from=Search


Check back for phase two this summer!



Bathroom makeover on a budget

Budget Bathroom Makeover

Ahhh Murphy strikes again. When we bought the house we had plans to completely gut and renovate the hallway bathroom this spring. It was all original to the house and builder grade quality. While functional and clean it had seen better days. The cream colored linoleum had a flower pattern which the boys weren’t too fond of having in their bathroom. We also have this lovely outdated pattern in the laundry room. (Look for an update on that room soon!) Sorry the before pictures are not the greatest!  This bathroom is so hard to photograph. IMG_6075


I had been pinning away and planning an awesome modern industrial style bathroom renovation for the kids when of course life happened. We had our well serviced and found out the filter was barely functioning and needed to be replaced immediately. My husband decided we might as well install a water softener while we already had the well company at our house. Of course I grumbled about him crushing my dreams but what can you do. It had to be done. If you have not dealt with this let me tell you it is NOT CHEAP. There went my entire dream bathroom budget. Oh well.  We decided to still go ahead with a makeover but on a shoestring budget instead reusing almost everything in the room.

I stuck with the farmhouse look the rest of our house has going on but went with darker and more masculine colors. Paint is always an inexpensive and easy fix. I hemmed and hawed over which color to pick. Lesson learned: always buy the sample size. I love the color I chose but it’s way too dark in this little bathroom. I should have chosen one shade up on the paint sample card.

First to go was the curtain. The bottom pane of glass has peel and stick privacy film since this bathroom faces the front of the house. That stuff is so hard to put on correctly! Next the mirrored strip lighting and the old small ceiling mounted fixture had to go. It was difficult to find a coordinating set in my price range that I liked. I ended up finding two oil rubbed bronze fixtures with milk glass style shades at Lowe’s. I also found an inexpensive faucet at Home Depot on clearance. The towel ring and toilet paper holder are from Walmart and are the same ones we used in the powder room. I decided to keep the all white waffle weave shower curtain from our old house and picked up a white fuzzy bathmat at Ikea.

We found Armstrong Terraza Grand peel and stick vinyl tiles at Lowe’s.  My husband had it installed in a very short time since they were so large (18×18) which made it easier to work with. We have leftovers so they will be replacing the floor in the laundry room as well.




The vanity got a coat of black chalk paint with two coats of varnish for my messy boys and new knobs. It’s fabulous. Toothpaste wipes right off! I decided to keep the original counter top intact. I was too nervous to do a faux granite paint treatment. If you have attempted it and had great results please leave me an encouraging comment! He also installed a new updated GFI outlet and light switches. We are slowly converting the entire house over to new switches. We will eventually frame out the mirror as well.


The decor is all from shopping around my house. The chalkboard star was found at Michael’s for $1 and lived in the laundry room. Over the toilet area the mantel shelf was reused from the old house as well as the framed cow picture. The silver milk jug is from the Bargain Spot (formally known as the Dollar Spot) at Target filled with flowers from Hobby Lobby that I stole from downstairs. The basket is reused from my kitchen. It’s supposed to hold potatoes but it’s just as cute with toilet paper. I found the cute sign at Hobby Lobby on clearance for $3 which also came from the kitchen.


I am happy with the results even if it was not what I first imagined for this space. The boys love it too which is the most important part.


Farmhouse Style Dining Room Makeover



I really love the way the dining room makeover turned out! Mixing old pieces with new ones is one of my favorite ways to decorate. The chippier the better too! The dining room set was originally the same honey color as the tabletop. A few years ago I painted it white with chalk paint and it has been holding up well with the daily abuse from the boys. Farmhouse style is perfect for people with kids. If it gets beat up it looks like it’s supposed to be that way.

This room functions as our homework table, crafting space and and where we eat all of our family meals. I am still on the hunt for more decor for the buffet. Instead of rushing just to fill up the space I am taking my time purchasing accessories. Previously I would things just to finish a room only to be bored of them later. Now I am only purchasing items that I truly love and plan to keep long term.

This picture was taken on the day we toured the house for the first time. I went by myself with the realtor and wanted to show my husband our prospects. Sorry it’s not a very good photo! The creamy vanilla paint is the perfect background for the farmhouse look I am going for. Our entire home was painted in one color.



The dining room in our last home was very large. This one? Not so much. We were not able to fit our table in with the leaf or all 8 of our chairs. For a while we just used 6 upholstered chairs and kept the extra two in the corner but it was so crowded. Instead I stole four of our metal kitchen chairs and ordered two more. They are low profile so the room feels more spacious than it is and most importantly they are easy to clean for my messy boys.

I also used to have a large matching china cabinet that we gave to a friend during my downsizing spree. All of my antique china and crystal to be handed down to a future generation. While it is beautiful and sentimental we are not formal people and I am just as happy using my every day plain white dinnerware.




As far as major changes the only thing we replaced in this room was the chandelier. The chandelier is discontinued but I was lucky enough to score it on Amazon. It’s a little touch of modern but I think it works. Our ceilings are a standard 8 feet high and many of my other choices were too large for the room or way over my budget.


On my makeover wish list was a large antique tobacco basket. This beauty for $40 on a Facebook yard sale group. I couldn’t believe my luck as I often see them listed for $160-$200 in local boutiques. Also on my list was a barnwood sign which I found at one of my favorite shops, The Lazy Daisy in Midlothian, VA.



The window with the antique quilt belonged to my parents and they kindly handed it down to me. They purchased it years ago but it no longer fit in with their new decor.


This faux lavender from Hobby Lobby looks like the real deal. I have had this pitcher and Southern Living at Home tray for years.


And of course no farmhouse style dining room is complete without a cotton wreath. You can often find them on Antique Farmhouse or at Hobby Lobby.


Look for an update to the tabletop and seat cushions in the future! Visit my Farmhouse Style dining room Pinterest page for more inspiration! https://www.pinterest.com/jerseygirlinthe/farmhouse-style-dining-room/

Home Sweet Home


After dreaming about it for a few years we decided to make our move to the country. Several changes came about in our life and we decided not to wait any longer. Now was the time.  We wanted more space for our kids to roam and to simplify our life. Our last home was beautiful and we were sad to leave but it was no longer the right fit for us. Chickens were part of the plan too! Everything fell into place when our house sold on the day the listing went live and we found our current home on our first day out house hunting with our realtor. It is a big change from our previous home as far as looks, location and size. Downsizing to a smaller home was surprisingly easy for us. It was freeing to get rid of so much stuff!

We now have 2.27 acres, no neighborhood rules (loving this!), a flock of chickens, 4 rabbits and a pool (which is the best part!).  Our neighborhood is heavily wooded which provides a ton of privacy and our lot backs up to a farm. It’s so quiet and peaceful here. We are the loud ones! I love standing outside hearing the cows moo and nothing but nature sounds. You can see all of the stars at night since it’s pitch black out without streetlights. It feels so different from our last home which is only a 30 minute drive.  This is exactly where we were meant to be.

I am slowly working on projects to transform the new house into our own. It was a neutral palette to start which was a big help. So far we have changed out all of the lighting fixtures and faucets with the exception of the master bath, painted a few rooms and replaced all of the flooring on the second floor. Watch the blog for updates on my future projects and room makeovers!


house2 house3

IMG_5879 chickens

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