Thursday, April 28, 2011

Eye Candy

Need some ideas about how to wake up your walls? Check out these great ideas!

Use letters found at flea markets and garage sales to create some graphic art. And of course, be sure to print something that you've created yourself!

A gallery on the top portion of your wall won't take a ton of space, but will draw the eye up.

Baskets that you have sitting around the house, or have found while thrifting would look great as wall decor.

A gallery wall in place of a headboard is a beautiful way to bring some personality to a bedroom.

All photos are from

What have you done in your own home to wake up the walls and bring in some personality?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day!

50 green tips for earth day and beyond

In honor of Earth Day, here are some tips to help you make an impact—or less of an impact—on our planet:

1. Lower your thermostat by a few degrees in the winter and raise it a few degrees in the summer.

2. Say goodbye to bottled water by purchasing a reusable water bottle.

3. Install low-flow faucets and showerheads. If your budget allows, purchase a water efficient toilet—you may even get a rebate from your local water company.

3. Start a compost in your backyard.

4. Buy foods locally at a nearby farmer’s market.

5. Bring reusable shopping bags to the grocery store.

6. If you don’t have your reusable shopping bags with you at the grocery store and are given the choice of paper or plastic, choose paper.

7. If you have plastic grocery bags, recycle them to be used as doggie bags, dirty diaper storage or for small trashcan liners.

8. Install compact fluorescent light bulbs throughout your home.

9. Turn off lights and electronics when you leave the room. Likewise, unplug electronic items, energy strips and protectors when not in use.

10. Recycle newspapers, cardboard, paper and plastic items. 11.

11. Carpool to work more often.

12. Recycle your old cell phone. Coldwell Banker has a cell phone recycling program.

13. If you live within close proximity to your work or downtown community, ride a bike.

14. When washing dishes by hand, don’t let the water run the whole time.

15. Go to your local library instead of buying new books.

16. At holidays and birthdays, give your family and friends the gift of saving the earth by donating to their favorite environmental group, foundation or organization.

17. Remove yourself from junk mail lists by going to For a small fee, you’ll be removed from junk mail lists, and Precycle will even plant five trees for you!

18. Whenever possible, purchase products that use recyclable materials.

19. Adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk or street.

20. Use organic cleaning products.

21. Collect the water you use for rinsing fruits and vegetables and reuse it to water houseplants.

22. The next time you are getting ready to purchase a new car, consider buying a fuel-efficient car or a hybrid.

23. Landscape with native plants.

24. Buy organic milk.

25. Cut down on paper waste. Get online subscriptions for your newspaper and magazines.

26. Switch to online banking and opt to have your bills sent to you electronically.

27. Teach children about the importance of being good to the environment.

28. Take your batteries to a recycling center.

29. Turn your car off if you’re going to be idle for more than one minute.

30. Do full loads of laundry and set the rinse cycle to “cold.”

31. When buying new appliances, consider those that are water and energy efficient, and offer cycle and load size adjustents.

32.Reuse. Plastic food containers make good crayon and marker holders. Use padded envelops more than once. Buy your toddler or preschooler’s clothes from a thrift shop and give away items that don’t fit to friends.

33. Limit the length of your showers. Even better, take a “navy shower,” shutting off the water while soaping up and shampooing.

34. Turn off the water when brushing your teeth.

35. Wash towels only after several uses.

36. Put a damper on things by installing fireplace draft stoppers, attic door covers and dryer vent seats that only open when your dryer is in use.

37. Seal off drafts around your home and save 5-30 percent in energy costs.

38. Recycle your technology. Dell, Hewlett Packard, Apple, and IBM, among others, offer recycling programs.

39. When purchasing paint, opt for zero or low VOC paint, made by most major paint manufacturers today.

40. Keep your house cooler during the summer by closing shades, blinds or curtains during the hottest times of the day.

41. Line dry your clothes whenever you can.

42. Drop your tissue in the trash instead of flushing it and save water every time.

43. Plant trees and shrubbery around your home to help keep your home cooler during the warm summer months, and help you run your air conditioner a little less.

44. The next time you make improvements to your home, use green materials.

45. Run your dishwasher only when it is fully loaded and turn off the dry cycle and air dry dishes instead.

46. Wash your pet(s) outdoors in an area of your lawn that needs water.

47. Go paperless at work and avoid printing whenever possible.

48. Apply sun-control or other reflective films on south-facing windows.

49. If your budget allows, install solar panels on your roof and see your energy savings soar.

50. Bring your mug to your local coffee shop, or keep one on hand at work for coffee fill-ups.

Any great tips that you care to share?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Winner Announcement

Thanks to everyone who entered our Giveaway for a $25 Gift Card for CSN Stores.

The Winner is . . . Dee!!

Dee, we hope you have fun spending your $25 at CSN.

We have more great Giveaway's coming up soon, so stay tuned. 

Healthy (and Delicious) Brownies

I've been hearing a lot about these so-called "healthy brownies" lately and wondered what the fuss was all about. After doing a bit of research online, I have to admit that I was pretty turned off. After reading all of the reviews about how delicious they are, I decided to give it a whirl. I admit, I was VERY skeptical . . . and a bit grossed out.

You see, it is suggested that instead of eggs and oil, you add a can of black beans . . . yes, black beans to your store bought brownie mix. Bean Brownies really didn't really seem like something that I could get excited about, but I gave it a shot. The thought of biting into a brownie and finding a bean really grossed me out, so I decided to rinse the beans (that slimy goop in beans is pretty gross), put the beans back in the can and fill the can with water. Then, I pureed the beans and water in my food processor. Still worried that I would find a bean skin in my brownie, I ran the puree through a sieve. Then, I added the bean mixture to the brownie mix and blended everything together.

I popped them in the oven for a good 45 minutes and the house filled with a wonderful chocolate aroma. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't smell the beans. As soon as they were cooled, I gave one a try. I was pleasantly surprised! No bean taste at all! In fact, I couldn't even tell that they were made differently that any other brownie I had ever had. Since I had made the brownies while Joe was out of the house, I decided not to tell him about the black beans. (I knew he wouldn't try them if he was privy to the bean info). Surprise! He liked them. He had no clue that there was anything different about them. So, I took them to my office the next day and everyone there liked them as well. Nobody could tell that they were nothing but brownie mix and black beans.

So, now I know that I can make a healthier brownie. Anybody else have any great "healthy" dessert recipes or tricks? Oh, and by the way . . . Joe still doesn't know about the black beans, but I guess he's about to find out.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Eye Candy: Home Offices

We love our Home Office, but we have to admit, these offices are pretty awesome!

All photos are from House Beautiful.

Don't forget to enter our great Giveaway that we posted about yesterday!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

It's Giveaway Time!

This Giveaway is now closed.

We have a great giveaway to share with all of you! Since our home office is still in need of a few extra touches, we've been browsing for a few statement pieces. It turns out, CSN is a one-stop-shop! CSN Stores offer great products and wonderful home office furniture, like this quirky chair you see below.

They sell everything from home office furniture to desk accesories.

How cute are these bookends?

I'm in love with this paperclip holder!

And who doesn't want a sleek and modern tape dispenser? I think this would look perfect in our office! 

CSN Stores has been generous enough to offer our readers the chance to win a $25 gift code that you can use for anything your little heart desires. (Like that great tape dispenser up there!)

Here's how you can win:

1). Become a follower and leave a comment telling us that you have done so. If you are already a follower, leave us a comment letting us know that.
2). Bonus Entry #1: Follow us on the good ol' Facebook. Leave us a comment letting us know that you've done so.
3). Bonus Entry #2: Blog about this giveaway and send us the link to your fabulous blog.
4). Bonus Entry #3: Leave us a comment, telling us what you'd spend your 25 dollars on.

That's 4 chances to win!!

Unfortunately, this giveaway is limited to the US and Canada only.
This giveaway ends on Wednesday, April 20th, 2011.

Good Luck!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Our Home Office Reveal

Our Fine House is finally feeling better, so we are back to blogging! Today, we're excited to share our home office with you. Unfortunately (or very fortunately, depending on your taste) we don't have many "before" photos.  But, we do have a couple. This one shows the glass that was spread all over the floor when we purchased the house. Yes, the glass is from a broken window. How lovely.

Now, we have all new, energy efficient, double paned windows.

And of course, the disgustingly dirty blinds that were hanging in the broken window. Yes, we sure appreciated all of the time and effort that the previous owners took to clean up the property before they turned it over to us.

We were excited to transform the room into a cozy office.

With the bamboo curtains, blue walls and dark furniture, we definitely get the "warm and cozies" when we are in this room.

This little reading nook is my favorite part of the room. With the modern chair and light, it has a bit of flair, but still feels personal because of the frames that share the space. The two large photo frames served as our guestbook at our wedding. The smaller frame is a shadowbox that my mom gave to us. It's filled with wedding memories, like the invitation, a few photos and other trinkets.

Here's a closer look at our "guestbook", filled with notes from our friends and family.

This piece of furniture was once a knotty pine TV console. After painting it with a glossy coat of black paint and changing the hardware, it now serves as storage for our books and files.

 Our bookshelf is filled with real estate books and a few books about travel. Of course, it also has a few frames and mementos in there as well.

Our shelves hold a few boxes from Ikea that we keep filled with office supplies.

Since it's a small space, we chose to use a glass desk. Because we can see right through it, the desk doesn't take up much visual space. And despite your political affiliations, I'm sure that most people can agree that the Obama print is an iconic piece of art that represents an important part of US history. We're pretty excited to have a print!

So, while our office is far from finished, we are happy that we have finally been able to share it with you. For those of you that have a home office space, please stay tuned! We have a great giveaway coming up that will help you make your office space everything that you've wanted it to be. Okay, maybe not EVERYTHING that you've wanted it to be, but it will definitely help you give it a bit of flair.