2014 | Live Pretty on a Penny

Paint Dilemma

Recently, I have been daydreaming of a finished living room. While I know that completing this room is several months away, I like to plan and watch the room transform little by little. To start, setting the tone with paint always gives me the boost that I need to get the begin any project.

The main parts (entryway, kitchen, family room, main hallways upstairs and downstairs) are Castle Path by Behr.

                        My dining room is Fashion Gray by Behr.

dining room

 For my living room, I have decided that I wanted a little color. I still wanted it to be neutral, just more depth so I am set on finding the perfect green-gray color.  This is one of the first rooms you see when you come into my home and it faces the same direction as my dining room. They are across from each other, yet separated by the stairs, and entry hallway. I plan to do a home tour video soon so that you get a good idea of the flow. It gets good sunlight during the day, so I think a nice color would be perfect.

Here are the colors that I am considering:

Benjamin Moore Tranquility


 I love how Kate over at Centsational Girl uses this color. She tweaked hers a bit adding two additional drops of blue. I am wondering if it may be too blue for me? Hmmm.  It still has a good amount of greeny gray to it though. I don't know. I am look for a true green-gray, nothing aqua or blue. But never the less, it is still a pretty color!

                                                                  Jade Frost by Glidden


both images via
Another gorgeous color. Again, it looks different in both of these images. *sigh* The swatch appears to be  green gray, as well as the top image, but in a second one, it appears too blue. I understand that its all in the lighting.

Benjamin Moore Vapor Trail

This color may the the closest to what I am looking for.  In all of its images, it seemed to remained pretty consistent. If this is its truest form, then this is EXACTLY what I am looking for!

I love the way the color looks in both images. 

I think that I will head by my local Home Depot and snag a few samples. 

Do you any of you have these colors in your home? If so, please weigh in. Also, if you have any other color suggestions, let me know. I need help!

Until next time!

Happenings, Planned Projects..... and Me? A Host for Thanksgiving?

Happy Thursday! It seems like the days are flying by and before I look up, it will be 2015 and I will have a one year old. My goodness.  I am trying to be much better about my time management skills, but if you follow me on Instagram, then you know who gets most of it, lol. This little time thief, who also makes a great Home Depot shopping companion might I add:)

So, when something has to give in order to maintain my sanity, my blog is usually the first thing to suffer:( But I love interacting and sharing with you guys so much, I can never stay away for too long. Plus, Instagram is the next best thing.

On Monday, I just got back from one of my best bud's wedding in Jamaica.

Not only did I have the extreme pleasure of serving as one of her bridesmaids, but I was also the makeup artist for the entire party, which totaled nine, including the bride.

 Here is the bride in all her loveliness!

Me and the bride.
*Excuse all of the camera phone shots*

I don't showcase my makeup skills much on the blog, but I plan to in the future.I have been doing it "on the side" for about fours now. My passion for this is similar to the whole DIY/Decor stuff....my love for a good before and after pretty much sums it all up!

Lets see, what else? Oh! My mom (who lives in Chicago) told me that  several of my family members would be coming to Atlanta for Thanksgiving. I also have some cousins who live in Atlanta as well, so after discussing logistics, we determined that my house would be the best place to host. Whaaaaat?! I'm not ready to host anything! there are several things that I need to do, but I guess it puts the fire under my butt to get it done because I have been chilling these last couple of months. Of course I will document all of this sprucing up madness along the way.

I also got some great news of something cool that will be happening around our home in December so you must stay tuned for that!

In the meantime, I have made a list of some things that I need to get done prior to Thanksgiving, and other bigger things to do prior to the fun thing that will be happening in the Marshall household in December. I am excited about both. Let's just say that the list involves some wiring, painting, nailing, and drilling:)

I will be back very soon to get your opinion on paint colors, as operation living room makeover will commence soon!

Until next time.

The Big Brown Beast

I feel bad a times for referring to my sofa as such, but sometimes it just really annoys me. Yes, it is a true statement that I purchased this sofa with my own money...but I was young and dumb. Sheesh, it was almost 3 years ago for goodness sake:) Now I am loving lighter sofas, which I feel don't anchor the room down as much. Whenever I hint toward a even looking at a new sofa, my husband politely replies "heck no," not really heck, but you get it. So while I may be stuck living as a beauty with this beast, I am will make the best of it by finding ways to brighten it up. Here are some inspirational photos.

Five Ways to Decorate with a Brown Sofa Crisp white ceilings and trim also keep the space light and brigh
 Q: I own a dark brown sofa. How can I keep the piece from dominating the look of the room? A: I love brown sofas. You can put any color of pillow on it. Keep the walls lighter, anchor the space with a light-color textural rug, and limit other dark browns to an accent chair or a picture frame. Bring in midtones such as hot pink, red, and teal.

This clever use of art and accessories is a low-cost and fun way to brighten a forgotten corner and dark sofa. I'm especially loving it because I already own a pair of these exact lamps, and a sofa that's pretty similar to this one!
Yellow Bliss Road: Industrial Blend Living Room Makeover Reveal..FINALLY!

So yeah...these pictures are inspiring me to learn how to live with and be thankful for the sofa that I have. I also see hope:) I plan to add more white pillows and lighter brighter throws to liven up my sofa up even more. Come to think about it, white doesn't do to well around my house, so I may have to rethink that.
Anywho, until next time.

Creative Spotlight: Simply LKJ

When leaving blog comments, you just never know who you will be fortunate enough to "meet." By meet, I mean interact with through social media, but hey, in the blogging world, that's pretty much the same. In my case, I always saw these sweet comments left on many blogs that I visit and I was just too curious as to who this person was. I stopped by to visit her blog and absolutely loved it! It also makes it better that she lives in a nearby Atlanta suburb as well. I am talking about Lauren who blogs over at Simply LKJ.

Though we have never met, I feel like we have!! I can just tell through her commenting, and our social media interactions that she is super sweet and very genuine. Oh and she cooks scrumptious meals often and posts the recipes to her blog! I look forward to meeting Lauren very soon, but until then...let's get to know a little more about what makes her the special person that she is:)

Tell us 3 interesting facts about you?

1.      Despite my heavy Southern accent, I was actually born in New York and lived there until age 10.

2.      I was the first girl on my dad’s side of the family to be born in a 38 -year period.

3.      I am left-handed, and gave birth to two lefties! Go Southpaws!!

How long have you been blogging, and why did you start?

I have been blogging since Mother’s Day, May 9, 2010.  I had been a part of an online Mommy Group years ago and have so many lasting friendships from that time.  Blogging was a way for me to connect with other like- minded women, and share bits and pieces of my life.

Why did you select your blog name?

I chose Simply LKJ (my initials) as the blog was simply me, being me.  My oldest designed my header and felt the tag line…simplify, organize, eat, design summed up what my blog was all about.

What has been the most rewarding experience from blogging?

A fellow blogger’s sweet grandson, CJK, had fallen extremely ill.  Diana had asked for prayers for him. She had also posted some of his symptoms.  After reading her post one night, I could not get CJK out of my mind and felt God nudging me.  “Lauren, you know what this is!”  And, then it dawned on me…another fellow blogger, Kristin of My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia had posted about her son’s battle with Kawasaki Disease…it clicked, CJK had the very same symptoms right down to the cherry red lips.  I sent a message to Diana and she relayed the information on to his doctors.  CJK was diagnosed and treated the very next day.  Because it was caught early, he did not suffer the permanent heart damage that so many do.  You can read about CJK here (http://the nanadiana.blogspot.com/2013/11/Saturday-update-on-my-grandson-cjk.html)

What has been your most challenging?

Consistency.  I have good intentions on blogging daily, but life gets in the way.  I also am not one to put up a post just to have content on the blog.  I want it to be useful information.

What has been your ABSOLUTE favorite project you completed, and why?

This should read the most tedious, backbreaking, but oh so rewarding project.  Hubby and I installed hardwood floors throughout our entire upstairs together. It is my favorite project because despite the difficulty, we completed it, they look amazing and we managed to stay out of divorce court. LOL

Any networking ideas?  How do you like to meet other bloggers/readers?

I am probably the last hold out on Face Book.  I find new blogs to read via comments left on blogs I currently follow or their recommendations.  I have been fortunate to meet several of my fellow bloggers in person as well.

What is your favorite quote to live by?

I am a quote person, so this changes quite often.  However, the one I cling to these days is “I do not know what tomorrow holds, but I know who holds tomorrow.”


 I am sure that laying a wood floor without ending up in divorce court gives us all hope! In all seriousness, check out her blog. Her style is lovely and classic and her back porch and backyard are both to die for!! Be prepared to be in awe.

Thanks so much for participating and sharing a glimpse into your life, Lauren. It was fun to get to know a little more about you.

Until next time!

My Four Thrift Shopping Tips

One of my favorite past times is to check out the aisles of thrift stores. I don't shop there for clothing, mainly because I think that sometimes it can be overpriced, especially for some of the bargain brands. I do, however, love checking out there books, housewares, and other miscellaneous items. I am not anywhere near a master "thrift-er," but I do have several tips that work for me and keep me focused on what I am in search of when I do visit a thrift store. This way, I can keep my eye on things that will work with what I have in mind for my home, and stay away from a cart full of junk and clutter

1) Enter With a Focus...

Most of the time when I visit a thrift store, I try to remain focused on what it is that I am really looking for. Lately I have been  hoarding accumulating as many white serving dishes as possible! It's crazy. I have totally been on a white dish kick, and found that the thrift stores have the best variety for cheap.  When  the search for a white dish strikes me, I head to Goodwill or something,  walk straight to the area where the dishes are held and look for the white ones. Once I locate one that I think that I like, I make sure that it is in good condition, priced very reasonably, and will work for a variety of serving needs. And though I don't buy them as a set, I still make sure that they flow with the past items that I have purchased. White dishes are so classic and look so elegant for serving.

2) Just Because The Price is Right Doesn't Mean That It Needs to Come Home With You...

When you are looking through a thrift store, sometimes you go on a day where everywhere you turn, there is some interesting tchotchke or whatever that you feel needs to come home with you because it looks okay, but the price looks even better. NAH! These things become clutter and dust collectors. Just one more thing to clean. Try to be very specific in what items you bring home. Those that bring interest, function, personality, and style to your space. So before you purchase, think and through and figure out if this item really brings value or just more "stuff" to your space.

3) Think About It's Purpose or Re-Purpose...

You will see many items in a thrift store that may be outdated, slightly damaged, the wrong color, or in need of some TLC. Keep and open mind. Don't ever be afraid to venture out and try a good makeover. It is amazing what a little love could do to a piece. "Love" could be as simple as some paint, stain, a new pillow, a good cleaning, or a beautiful throw. Try to be imaginative with the possibilities, and if your mind won't take you there then good ol' Pinterest is sure to help:) Always research the proper way to attack your makeover and you can't go wrong.

Check out my cabinet before and after. Although this was purchased on Craigslist and not from a thrift store. The concept is the same. 

4) Check out Multiple Thrift Stores in Various Areas...
No two thrift stores are the same. Since each thrift store carries different items, you have to be willing to search various ones to find what you may be looking for, especially if your mind is set on a particular item. Frequenting different stores I believe will lead to finding some very interesting and worthwhile pieces to add to your home. Try stores off the beaten path, or find out what day of the week that new items may be hitting the sales floor. I have also also learned that people who are consistent and visit stores multiple times a week in different areas tend to find really some good things!

Are you ready to give it a try? To find your nearest thrift stores visit this thrift shop locater site.

Good luck to you and may you have many successful thrifting days ahead!

Until next time.

Thrifting Finds Lately

For the past several weeks, I have been perusing various thrift stores during lunch, on my way home from work, or on the weekend. I have mainly been searching for white serving dishes. The larger stores tend  to charge way outside my budget, and I knew as long as they were pure white, that I could mix and match from pieces. I also have been looking to collect special pieces that I could re-purpose for my future living room makeover.

I found this set (total of 11) of white plates for $6.00 at Goodwill. I think will continue gather white plates until I have enough to replace my black ones that we currently use. White is so elegant and classic.

I purchased the two dishes on the left for $1.91 for the smaller one, and $2.92 for the larger one. The pitcher was $2.92.

I found these two small blue and white bowls for $.99 each at Goodwill that I will probably use for jewelry or to gather small things around the house. Right now, one is sitting on the green cabinet in the dining room.

I purchased this tray from a local thrift store for $1.91. I thought the style and diamond shapes in the tray were beautiful. It will definitely find somewhere to live in my home. Trays have endless use!

A couple of months ago, I purchased these items for a total of $17.91 from the Salvation Army. Shout out to the Salvation Army employee who was determined to photo bomb my picture. 

I also purchased this for $5.95 from Goodwill. I thought this table was the cutest, and I loved its legs.  It will be perfect after a makeover and will probably find a home in my soon to be made over living room. Oh, and sorry for this terrible pic. It looked good on the camera, but sucked after downloaded.

Lastly, this find was not at the Goodwill, but instead I found this chair on the curb waiting to be picked up with the trash. Besides being dirty, the chair is in good condition! It will get a nice makeover and used in my living room makeover as well.

That's pretty much it for now! I will be back soon with my tips for shopping at thrift stores, or heck, even curbside. It can be so rewarding, and the mix of pieces is what gives your home flare. If you have any questions about my finds, leave it in the comments below!

Thanks for stopping by! Until next time.

DIY Painted Pillow Covers

I had recently been looking for a way to update my family room, without breaking the bank. Since I had limited funds to work with, I decided that I could provide a quick update for fall by changing out my pillows that live on my couch. The only problem is that a nice, down-filled pillow cost way more than I wanted to spend, even at discount retailers. I then decided that I would make my own, but I just never thought about how. After being approached by the generous folks over at ScotchBlue TM about trying out their new ScotchBlue TM Painter's Tape Multi-Surface with Advanced Edge- Lock TM Paint Line Protector, a light bulb went off in my head and I decided that I would just paint some covers to achieve a simple striped look. I love how stripes are so crisp and timeless!

Since Ikea is literally five minutes from my job, I swung by there after work to grab two of there inexpensive 20x20 white Gurli pillow covers and Fjadrar pillow inserts. Each cover was $3.99 and each insert was $5.99. Not bad considering one down pillow could cost $29.99 or more. I then purchased gold fabric paint from Hobby Lobby for $2.00 after I used the 40% off coupon. To apply the fabric paint I used a disposable plate and good quality paint brush.

I started this project by ironing the pillows covers after taking them out the pack. They were pretty wrinkled!

I then eyeballed the placement of my stripes and placed the ScotchBlue TM Painter's Tape Multi-Surface with Advanced Edge- Lock TM Paint Line Protector accordingly.

As you can see, my placement was not perfect, however I pressed the tape down to ensure that it was secure to the fabric. What makes this tape so special is its ability to deliver sharp lines, without any bleed through. That is important when working on a project, such as this one, where proficiency is key!

After applying the tape and ensuring it was secure, I just lightly stroked in the areas that were not taped off.

After painting all of the stripes, I removed the tape, as I feel it is better to remove the tape prior to the paint drying to ensure a crisper line. Once the tape was removed, I allowed the fabric paint to dry for another four hours, then turned the pillow cover inside out, and ironed it again. 

Here is what I was left with. Beautiful, modern, crisp stripes and a nice addition to my existing floral pillows.

This entire project from start to finish, not including dry time, takes less than an hour. Such a small investment of time, for a pretty impact.

I hope to soon get around to doing  full reveal of my family. I just have a few more touches to add.

I received the ScotchBlue TM Painter's Tape Multi-Surface with Advanced Edge- Lock TM Paint Line Protector to use and review based on any project of my choice. All opinions are my own.

While we are on the subject of pillows, the winner of the Burlap Pillow Cover from SassafrasHome is Darnetha with ChippaSunshine. Congrats Darnetha, and you should receive an email from me soon!

Until next time!

Giveaway Time!!! Featuring SassafrasHome

Happy Tuesday! I am so excited about this giveaway today, and I know that you will be too! I received a pillow from a very sweet and professional small business owner who runs an Etsy shop called SassafrasHome. Patrice, who is the shops owner was nice enough to send over this gorgeous, burlap monogrammed pillow cover, that has been personally marked with the Marshall brand. Pillows can quickly change the look of any space and I love the personalized look that it adds to my sofa.

I don't know Patrice personally but just in our communication, her generous spirit and personality shines clearly, which is very comforting. She is also nice to enough to gift one of her most popular items, a 16x16 personalized monogram burlap pillow cover to one of you guys, my fabulous blog friends.

Image Source

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Good luck! Until next time. TTYL:)

Remaining Dining Room Plans

Thank you so much for all of your kind feedback regarding my dining room cabinet reveal earlier this week. Every time I look at that little cabinet, I am in awe of the power of paint. Making over that cabinet gave me the final push to "finish" off this room, which has transitioned over the past couple of years.

This is how my dining room looks today...

I am happy with its evolution, but I just have a couple more things that I would like to complete.

The lighting... This chandelier is the original one that was there when we moved in.

I don't completely hate it, but I definitely don't love it. So it has to go.

I have been scouring Pinterest, and these lighting ideas have definitely inspired me.

 Enviable Designs - dining rooms - Troy Lightings Sausalito Pendant, sausalito pendant, brass dining room chandeliers, brass dining room pendants, brass drum dining room pendants, trellis, trellis wallpaper, dining room wallpaper, dining room trellis wallpaper, black and white trellis, black and white trellis wallpaper, black and white trellis dining room wallpaper, dining room crown moldings, dining room wainscoting, dining room wainscoted walls, gray wainscoting, gray wainscoted walls, gray silk drapes, dining room silk drapes, round dining tables, espresso dining tables, tufted dining chairs, white dining chairs, white tufted dining chairs, dining chairs nailhead trim, brass nailhead trim, trellis wallpaper, white and black trellis wallpaper, moroccan wallpaper, white and black moroccan wallpaper, quatrefoil wallpaper, white and black quatrefoil wallpaper, moorish tiles wallpaper, white and black moorish tiles wallpaper,
Via DecorPad.com.
Roy Sausalto Five-Light Drum Pendant: This sucker costs $855! I know the price will no where near work for my budget, but I still really love the style.

love this room. the table & lighting, the sweet b print and white everywhere. clean and styled, not cluttered.
via Apartment Therapy

 I am again attracted to the drum pendant shade. This is the Eden Pendant from CB2. Would you believe that I already own one of these? Purchased it two years ago because it was "cute" and never did anything with it. It will more than likely be the first lighting option that I try.I don't know if I like that it only has one light bulb slot available. That just doesn't seem like enough light to me.

Isabella & Max Rooms: Street of Dreams Portland Style: House 1
via House of Fifty

Lighting is very hard to select, especially for such a visual person like me. As I digress, I would rather buy all of them, hang each one, live with it for a day or two, and take back the ones I don't like. I know that's doing waaaaay to much:( But I know I won't be able to make up my mind very easily.


The blank wall... Because this art piece is so striking, I have a hard time filling this blank wall that sits across from it. Mainly because I don't want anything that will take away from it, or fight against it, if that makes sense. This wall sits to the right of my newly painted cabinet.

So the other day while perusing the aisles of Target, I came across these picture ledges.

Image courtesy of Target.com

What drew me to this ledge was that it had a pretty gray-washed tone, which I had never seen in a picture ledge. These ledges are by Threshold, they are  23" long and cost $12.99 each, plus I used the Cartwheel app and received an additional 15% off. I purchased two. Once I put them up, I will let you know how I style them, or heck, if I even like them on this wall.

If you have any other lighting suggestions, please let me know! I always love to hear your input.

Thanks so much for stopping by. Until next time!

Painted Dining Room Cabinet Reveal

Happy Monday! I am proclaiming it to be a fantastic week! How about you? I am so excited to be posting because my dning room cabinet is finally done!!! I am so happy with how it turned out and I can't wait to show you the results. So enough small talk, lets get to the reveal.

But first, I thought it would be fun to show you a real throwback. Like so throwback, that we weren't living in the house yet. This is a picture from the from the real estate listing.  I love throwback pictures because even though I feel like my room changes take forever, the old pictures still allow me to see the progress. Looking at this listing picture shows me that I have made even progress than I think!

Photo courtesy of trulia.com

And this is how the room looked a few weeks ago prior to the cabinet update.

To achieve a smooth paint finish, I primed my piece using a Zinnser 1-2-3 Water-Based Primer in white and a sponge paint roller. I did not sand at all, because this primer helps to eliminate this step. 

I primed with two coats, letting dry in between each step (about 2 hours in between each coat), then applied the paint. After all of your kind comments here and on Instagram, I was able to pick a color. I went with Behr Wheat Grass, color-matched to Glidden paint sample size in a Satin finish. This color is a like a true citrusy green color. It's so pretty.

 Following the paint, I went over the cabinet with a water-based polycrylic by Minwax to protect it from scratches using a traditional 2 inch Purdy paint brush. 

I switched out the original knobs for some medium size crystal knobs from The Home Depot. They were $2.99 each, and I purchased four.

I also switched out the original round mirror to a sunburst mirror that was originally in my bedroom. The round mirror will find a new home soon. The sunburst mirror is from The Home Depot and is only $35. Great price for such a stylist sunburst!

So there you have it. I hope to finish this room VERY soon. I will be back later this week with a few remaining plans for this room. I just love how paint transformed my little cabinet so it has inspired me. 

Just for fun, let's take one last look at this makeover:




Thanks so much for stopping by. Until next time!

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