Throwback to our Bahamas vacation

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Well, I am only about 6 months behind on sharing some of our vacation photos. In May we visited the Atlantis in the Bahamas and had the absolute best time. Traveling with a toddler is obviously way different than traveling alone with your husband... But the resort was perfect for a toddler and I wouldn't have had it any other way. 

Nap times are just not the same without a piƱa colada... I'm ready to go back! 

After photos of our kitchen update!

It's been awhile since I last posted, but I wanted to share some of the "after" photos of our kitchen update. 

First let me refresh your memory. Our house is only 5 years old, however the builder used all base level products many of which haven't held up as you would hope. We love our house and its location, but knew when purchasing that we would want to tackle a lot of projects to make it more our style. Here are a few before pictures. Yes, WE chose that awful green paint. Woof. 

In January, I painted the whole first floor white. (Excluding the playroom, powder room and dining room.) It really brightened up the space making it feel larger and more airy. In retrospect, I would have used more of a marshmallow color or something not quite as... White white. We used Behr paint from Home Depot, paint and primer in one in the shade decorator white. It covered the green surprisingly easy.... Only requiring 2 coats which I think is amazing. 

I then moved on to the cabinets. This was such a terrifying project. As much as I hated the builder grade oak... I was so scared I was going to completely ruin them. Our house has a ton of cabinets which is great for storage but it would also be a small fortune to replace... Something not in our budget right now. They are also still in pretty good condition (again, only 5 years old.) After a ton of research, I settled on painting them. I will include the full directions in a separate post incase it is something any of you are considering. We painted them the same shade as the walls. 

After painting the cabinets, I noticed I hated the countertops a lot less. We were originally considering installing ikea wood countertops but our laminate is surprisingly durable and since we plan on doing a full kitchen demo in 5 years or so... We decided against switching them out. 

Finally the backsplash. This project ended up being much more simple than expected and I managed to do it in 3 days (including dry time) all during Romans nap time. I went with clear glass tiles on a white background from Home Depot. They were on clearance at $5.50 a sheet and we only needed 24 sheets which means this project was under $150 to complete since we had all of the tools already. I also forgot to take step by step photos of this project since I was in the mode of getting it done while Roman was asleep. The instructions on the mastic were extremely clear though as well as with the grout. I highly suggest getting the tile nippers made specially for glass tiles if you go that route. I started out using normal tile nippers and they were so difficult compared to these. $10 made the project a breeze. 

We finished off the room with the rug from Urban Outfitters and the table from ikea paired with RAR replica chairs from amazon. The table and chairs easily wipe clean which is an absolute must now that Roman is no longer in a high chair. 

The last thing we plan on completing are the floors this winter. We installed plank laminate in our basement and LOVE it.... So as soon as our bank account recovers from the finished basement (completely finished by Michael... Can you tell how proud I am?) we plan on warming the space up with them. 

The living room is also just about finished. After Romans birthday party, we are going to build a mantle for our fireplace and it will be complete too... But here is a little peek at a couple of my favorite spots in there. 

Overall I am loving the update. And for costing us under $500 to do both rooms including a few new pieces of furniture, you just can't beat it. 

Italian Basil Lemonade

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Look at me posting twice in one week! A few weeks ago, Michael and I had a marathon movie night watching the Godfather, and I made an Italian meal which would make our ancestors quite proud. That morning I visited a farmers market where I got fresh local cheese, olives and meats for an antipasto platter. I also grabbed some lemons for good old fashioned Italian basil lemonade. It turned out so amazing that I've been making it every three days to keep us in constant stock. Nothing is better than lemonade on hot summer days and basil is one of our favorite flavors in the world so it really is a match made in heaven... Or Italy rather. 


2 cups of freshly squeezed lemon juice (12 to 15 lemons)
4 cups of cold water
2 cups of basil simple syrup (recipe below) 

Combine lemon juice, water and simple syrup adding more or less water to adjust sweetness. 

Basil simple syrup: 


2 cups sugar
1 cup water
Medium bunch of basil, washed and stemmed. 

Heat sugar, water and basil on the stove top until sugar is dissolved. (10 to 15 minutes)  Strain out basil leaves and discard.      

Freshly Picked Moccasin Review

Monday, July 7, 2014

The most common question I get emailed is where I get Roman's clothes. While I don't normally dress him too over the top, I do shop around A LOT to find the same sorts of things I would dress my husband in. (Minus the leggings.... But I just LOVE the little man leggings!) Toddlers are also way more rough on clothes than I ever imagined so I try my best to find things either a) extra affordable or b) extra durable. Which brings me to one of our favorite brands, Freshly Picked Moccasins. 

Over two years ago, when I found out we were expecting a boy I remember seeing a pair of moccs on Rachel Zoe's son and needing to have a pair, no matter what the price. I figured they would be our keepsake "splurge item" he would wear occasionally then we would stick in a box and "oo and ahh" over in the years to come thinking of his sweet little pudgy feet squished inside. I was pleasantly surprised after a little research to see they were only $45 (they are now $60 but still worth every penny I promise.) I chose a neutral color (sand suede) and patiently waited for my purchase. When they arrived I was thrilled with the quality... But didn't truly know how special they were until Roman arrived and was able to start wearing them. I ordered a size two, and they didn't start to fit him until he was about 6 months old, which worked well since we kept him mostly barefoot or in socks until he started crawling / walking. The soft soles I truly believe are what made him such a strong walker from the very start. They are still the only shoes that stay on his feet 100% of the time, yet are so easy and quick to get on and off. Most importantly they are quite durable. We are now on our 5th pair only purchasing new when he's outgrown a pair. He has yet to this day, ware through the leather even with how active he is and almost daily use. Anyone who has an active toddler knows how quickly they can run through anything.... But these have stood up to the test... The Roman test that is. 

Now on to my favorite part.... The unexpected surprise. I purchased these not only as first walking shoes but as a keepsake and they are just that. As your little one puts them to use, their footprint wears into the bottom. A perfect little dirty footprint. I LOVE it so much that instead of hiding them in a box to pull out in 10 years, I decided to display the outgrown shoes in shadow boxes. 

Like I said, these shoes lasted and would likely last through baby #2 way, way in the future... But I'm keeping these as a memento for this time in Roman's life. As successful as Susan of FP has been, I am sure she will be around when baby #2 does come around for us to start the tradition again. 

Thank you to Freshly Picked for sending us our most recent pair for this review.... We've been long time fans! 

Becoming a bride... Again

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Holy moly it's been quite the hiatus I've taken from my blog. More on that later, but first if you follow along on my instagram (@amynicole124) you may remember my best three girl friends and myself dressing up in our wedding gowns again for photos a few weeks ago. My three best friends all got married in 2013. We had such a fun, busy year... And when it was all over with, we thought it would be fun to take some special photos together marking this time in our lives. (And frankly, what girl doesn't want to wear her wedding dress again.) My husband thought we were crazy, and when I tried my dress on a week before and got stuck for two hours needing to be rescued by Michael I thought maybe we were too... But these relationships all have survived over 15 years... high school, college, moving to different states, new jobs, boyfriends, break ups, new boyfriends, engagements, marriages, children, you name it. Allison and I have been friends since kindergarten. If you can manage to stay friends with one person practically your whole life, you are lucky.... And I have three. It was so fun to take these pictures, and they are something I will cherish forever. 

^^what most of the day looked like. 

They also took single portraits of each of us which was nice since I didn't really have any from my wedding day. 

My friends are gorgeous! 

Anyone in Pittsburgh looking for an amazing photographer, Your Wedding Project was out of this world. They were so patient with our giggling like 10 year olds and the additional laughs that happened every time I laughed and my dress would unzip. Thank you Dana and Keren! 

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