I’m on Apartment Therapy!

Well, let’s be honest, reHabitat is on Apartment Therapy. They were the ones behind this genius bedroom makeover.

Either way, it’s pretty cool to get online and see this…

Apt Therapy screen shot

It’s our bedroom! On Apartment Therapy! And you can go vote for it right now!

And then go check out reHabitat. They’re good.

So to recap. Vote. reHabitat.  :)

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Absolutely no occasion.

The day that Alex and I got engaged (two years ago yesterday!), I was totally and completely 100% shocked and surprised. Cross my heart and hope to die, stick a needle in my eye, I had absolutely no idea when I woke up that morning that I would be making the biggest (and best) decision of my life.

But no one believes me when I say that because everything about the experience screamed, “Look!!!!! You’re getting engaged today!!!!!! It’s so obvious!!!!!!!!”

Alex told me to get dressed up because we were going to do something REALLY special. We’d been dating for about 8 months. When he picked me up, he was wearing a suit and handed me tickets for a lunch cruise on the Odyssey II, the boat where we met. When we got to our table, there was a bottle of champagne and shrimp cocktail waiting for us. My response? “Alex! I love you because you would plan something like this with absolutely no occasion!” He just smiled.

A windy engagement day aboard the Odyssey II.

A windy engagement day aboard the Odyssey II.

The reason why I love our engagement story so much is because as obvious as that day sounds, in the moment it seemed perfectly natural for Alex to have planned something so thoughtful and fun with absolutely no occasion. He made me feel that special all the time.

I was so thrilled by the messages I got from people who used the Valentine’s Day cards I posted.  I love the idea of making cards and writing notes and encouraging people, but I don’t do it nearly as often as I would like, especially for Alex who I love and respect more than anyone in the whole world.

The response to the V-day post inspired me to regularly post some ideas about how you can easily encourage or appreciate people in your life year-round, with absolutely no occasion.

So consider this the intro to the Alex-inspired, Absolutely No Occasion series, premiering as soon as I get back from my work trip in Seattle…

In the meantime, why not start by simply telling someone that you appreciate them today. And give them a reason why. You certainly don’t need an occasion for that.

There will be snacks, there will be snacks.

Andrew Bird knows what’s up: where there are friends, there will be snacks. And the only thing better than snacks are cool little plates to serve them on.

Snacks

When I discovered ceramic paint last year, I bought this great set of appetizer plates on sale at Crate and Barrel intending to spice them up a bit. (That was within the first few months of being married when we were at Crate and Barrel every weekend with gift cards. Not a bad gig.) But they’ve just been sitting in our cabinet since then.

Not anymore! My friend Alli came over for a little girl time and Crafterhours the other night. Let’s paint a few snack plates, shall we?

First, collect your supplies: something ceramic (I bet you could find some plain mismatched thrift store dishes and make them look like a set!), porcelain paint (you can get this at Blick), and white wine (Alli and I agree that it must be white).

Prepping

Doodle a little to get into the swing of things and figure out a design or pattern you like. Alli used the curtains for floral inspiration. I tried a few monograms, but ended up going a bit more basic. Then go for it!

Working

This paint is great because it wipes off easily if you make a mistake or just don’t like something. So don’t be scared. Just have some paper towels ready. When you’re done painting, let your items dry for 24 hours.

Waiting

After you’ve stared at your new snack plates for 24 hours, stick them in a 300 degree oven for 35 minutes. The paint will stay raised, but will harden creating a really cool depth and texture.

Your last step, fill with snacks! And if you’re smart, those snacks will be from Alli’s awesome food blog, Living Fully Without.

Lauren plates

Alli plates

For the record, Alli told me at the start of this project that she couldn’t draw. But look at those flowers! Proof that you too can probably create something more beautiful than you expected. Al, you got it goin’ on!