Before and after bathroom tub2

Painting a bathtub… and a toilet…and grout!

Weird colored tub? That can be fixed!

I’ve talked a lot about all the upcoming projects at my new (to me) old house but do you know where I actually started?  The nicest bathroom in the house.  Ok, nicest is being generous.  It is the least ugly.  And by least ugly, I mean Carrera look alike ceramic tile from floor to ceiling (varying sizes with a mid-wall border), white builder grade tile in the tub/shower, gold trimmed safety glass sliding shower door, crystal chandeliers (not the good kind), off white  circa 1985 laminate vanity with cultured marble top, gold faucets, and a grey tub and toilet.  I thought I could work with the tile, especially because I was not relishing the idea of demoing then re-drywalling the entire bathroom, but the rest was gonna have to go.  First up – a makeover was in order for that tub and toilet.  You really don’t see many colored toilets or tubs in new homes, they are almost always white or occasionally off-white.  Even though our grey tub wasn’t as offensive as a mustard yellow, avocado green or, gasp,  a burgundy tub, any color other than white just screams “dated!”

ugly bathroom
Before bathroom with grey toilet and tub and fancy gold shower door!

The Plan

Since I had no plans to totally gut this bathroom Plan A was to try and coat the tub in one of those specially formulated epoxy based paints for tub and tile.  If it failed, then Plan B would be to rip out the tub and toilet.  I’d heard good things from others who had done this project and read mixed reviews online but still felt it was worth a shot to potentially save over a thousand dollars and the sweat equity involved in replacing the tub and toilet.

Materials

I first checked my local Home Depot and Lowe’s but both only carried a brand of tub coating that got terrible reviews.  I bought Rustoleum Tub and Tile Refinisher (2 kits) on Amazon and it was at my house in 2 days.

rustoleum tub and tile
This is a high quality tub and tile paint. Rubbing alcohol can be used to clean up drips.

Other supplies I used included:

  • Fine grit sandpaper
  • Mask, rubber gloves
  • Calcium Lime and Rust (CLR) cleaner
  • Bleach-based cleaner
  • Alcohol
  • Caulk remover tool or razor blade
  • Mini paint roller for smooth surfaces
  • Blue painter’s tape
  • Tack cloth
  • Screw driver
  • Drill

How to Paint a Tub (or any other ugly bathroom surface)

First, I removed the gold shower doors and track.  I planned on putting up a shower curtain afterwards.  After they were unscrewed, I had to remove excess silicone from the tub lip and tile with a razor blade.  I also went back later and filled the holes where the track had been screwed into the tile with white caulk. I also removed all the caulk between the tile and the tub and unscrewed the little brass drain doo-hickey.  I didn’t bother removing the toilet handle deciding to make it white since most toilet handles these days are the same color as the toilet anyway. The toilet already had a new-ish white seat on it so I removed that.

remove shower door frame
A utility knife can be used to remove the caulk or silicone between the shower doors rails and the tile.

 

With the doors out of the way, I gave the area in and around the tub and toilet a really thorough cleaning with a bleach based cleaner in a lame attempt to remove lots of mildew and other nasty stuff.

mold and silicone
This is the gross crud that may be under a 30 year old shower door. Eww.

 

This left me better able to see any other remnants of caulk or silicone that had to be removed around the entire tub.

silicone removal
Scrape off old caulk with a razor blade. The paint won’t stick to caulk or silicone.

Still there is a set of about 6 tiles with brownish yellow grout that I just could not get cleaned that will get new grout once I do other tiling, but these didn’t concern me too much since I didn’t want to paint the tile, only the tub and toilet.

Next, I cleaned the tub and toilet with CLR.  This was especially important because we have well water which generally has more minerals in it than city water and can leave residue on your tub.  Regardless of your water source, do this step anyway.  Your tub can’t be too clean for this process.  Note, CLR, when used in a small space has fumes so wear a mask, open a window and turn on your bath fan for ventilation.

After everything was clean, I sanded the tub and toilet with very fine grit sandpaper.  I used a 400 grit.  Then I rinsed with water, dried it, sanded and rinsed again.

sand the tub
Sand the entire surface with a fine grit sandpaper to remove leftover scum and to slightly score the surface so it better accepts the paint.

 

…and sand some more… keep sanding….

 

Once everything is totally dry and dust free you are ready to paint.  It’ll be important to assess where you are in the process before you commit to painting.  The special paint is an epoxy that comes in 2 parts.  Once it’s mixed it must be used in 6 hours, after that it thickens to the point where it’s unusable.   I opted to come back the next day ready to paint.

I began day 2 by taking a tack cloth and running it over every surface to be painted to pick up any lint, dust, hair, and small particles that somehow magically appeared overnight.  The surface must be perfect to accept the paint.  I taped off the adjacent areas that weren’t going to get paint with blue painters tape.

I followed Rustoleum’s directions and poured the contents of one container into the other and mixed them.  The odors from this paint are noxious!  Definitely wear a mask, open windows and put a fan or two on.  No matter what you do it will permeate the whole house and linger for days, it’s that strong.  I filled a disposable pan with some paint, soaked a fine nap roller made for smooth surfaces and started rolling.  As advertised, the paint has unique self leveling properties… to a point.    It is runny and will drip if you use too much so it’s better to use many thin coats rather than glob it on.  Nobody wants a drippy tub.  This stuff dries pretty quickly so if you find yourself overlapping an area you already did 5 minutes ago it may get tacky and not re-level so be careful of that.

Just roll the paint right on in thin coats.

 

I also noticed in areas where there once was silicone holding the door on it still didn’t adhere to even after scraping the silicone off, cleaning and sanding.  In hindsight perhaps maybe using acetone might remove this residue, who knows?  But since I had already started it was too late.  I used the small foam brush in the corners where the tile met the tub and where the toilet met the floor.  I removed the lid from the toilet tank so that I could cover the entire thing and also the tank itself.  Now here’s where you might be wondering what I did inside the bowl which was also gray.  I suppose I could have been all thorough-like and taken the toilet bowl water out in cupfuls then soaked up the last bits in rags, but nope, I didn’t.  I just left it gray.  And you might notice if the seat’s up and your looking right at it (sorry boys), but otherwise the eye is fooled into thinking it’s a shadow… at least that’s what I’m telling myself.  I was honestly a little paranoid about screwing the inside of it up then having to rip the toilet out altogether, which wouldn’t normally be a big deal but some moron grouted, yes, grouted the toilet to the floor – ugh.

Anyway, 2 coats later and I could still see gray through, so I knew I was definitely doing a third.  I decided to wait until the next day for more complete drying.  I used what little I had left in my paint pan to cover a nasty looking fiberglass slop sink in my laundry room.

utility sink painting
The tub and tile paint works on fiberglass too, like for this utility sink.

 

This thing was so gross I wouldn’t have cleaned an old paint brush in it let alone laundry delicates (who am I kidding, I wash NOTHING by hand).  Anyway, the slop sink looks brand new now.  In between days 2 and 3 of this project is where I made my most critical mistake.  I learned an old trick a few years ago that if you’re painting project will take you the course of several days then you put your brush or roller in a plastic bag, wrap it up tight and stick it in the fridge and the next time you paint it’s still perfect and fresh, not at all gunky or dried up.  It can save you a ton of time cleaning brushes.  Whatever you do DO NOT PUT THIS (or any epoxy, shellac or varnish based paint) in your fridge.  Certain foods are very susceptible to odors and flavors that may escape the wrapped brush or roller and totally ruin your food.  I learned this the hard way.  I had an English Muffin the next morning with a little epoxy-butter. Yech. Butter itself isn’t healthy but chlorofluorocarbon laced butter is most certainly even worse for you.

On day 3 of the tub project I mixed the second set of cans together to do coats 3 and 4 on the tub and toilet. (WARNING! Many a YouTube video will make this whole project look like it’s complete in mere hours, not days. Lies…all lies…unless one has nothing better to do that literally sit around and watch paint dry.) Anyway, after the third coat the silicone residue area on the rim of the tub was starting to get covered and accept the paint.  With a 4th coat the paint was fully covering this area and for good measure I gave just this area a 5th coat.

painted tub
The tub (minus ugly gold hardware) looks like new!

 

painted toilet
You’d never know this toilet used to be grey!

 

I still had some paint left over so I racked my brain about what else I could epoxy-paint.  And then, an epiphany!   What is the bane of every awesome looking kitchen or bath that at some point WILL definitely go down the tubes and look like crap? Yep, the grout.  I dunno what’s in that grout sealer they sell but I am convinced it’s a racket.  Grout never stays clean.  So it remains to be seen if this will last or not but I decided to paint the grout in between the bathroom floor tiles.  Figured it couldn’t be any worse than the dingy dirty gray-brown that currently flanked the bright white and grey tiles.  It was a bit tedious taping off each tile, but it seriously turned out better than I expected.

taping edges
Use painters tape against any edge that you don’t want to get paint on while completely coating the grout in epoxy paint.

 

I did 2 coats.  All of the tub and tile paint has to cure for at least 72 hours before it can get wet and sustain foot traffic.  I waited that long before I put back the toilet lid, the drain thingy, then I hung 2 tension rods at the ceiling one for a liner and one for my extra-long shower curtain.  Hanging your shower curtain at the ceiling makes the room look taller! And yes, I know, I know the chevron print shower curtain  is soooooooo 2016, but I had it leftover from my last house.  I’ll change it when I update the rest of the bathroom.

completed painted tub, tile and toilet
This bathroom is far from complete, but painting the tub, toilet and grout helped it a ton!

Results

It’s been almost 5 months since I painted the tub, toilet, laundry sink and tile grout and it all still looks great!  Admittedly the finish isn’t as smooth as a regular tub, it’s a little dimpled, sort of like an orange peel, but it looks 100% better than having a dated bathroom ensemble.  In the near future I’ll rip out the huge mirrored cabinet, fill the empty wall spaces left with remaining tile, and switch out the vanity and fixtures for something more current.  So I’d not consider this photo a true “after” shot, but rather an interim.  Now that we’re deep into the kitchen remodel and basement demo, it should only take me …. meh…. 3 years or so to get back to this project.  Who’s hanging in there with me?

Before and after bathroom tub2

Dreary Basement Looking for a Refresh

In the last post I took you through the main level of our big renovation adventure, “before edition”.  Today I’d like to take you through the downstairs.  Well, actually, I don’t want to, because it’s a bit embarrassing.  It’s the basement level of our 5200 sq foot house and the basement is just as long and rambling as the upstairs. Right now it’s filled with moving boxes and furnishings scattered aimlessly.  Our justification for this helter-skelter appearance is, “Why bother to take a ton of effort in establishing this space as livable rooms since so much of it will get renovated?” Maybe this is lazy, but we’re saying it’s practical. So hold on to your hats for this messy tour.

The 2 really great things about this basement are that a) one side is completely at ground level, so we have full sized windows and doors, rather than those mini basement windows and b) the basement stretches the full length of the house.  You can enter this level right from the foyer, which is a little odd.  Hopefully we can make the basement feel more like the lower level of the home than a basement so this setup won’t seem so bizarre.

Basement Before Tour

entry to basement

The stairs lead to the main living space which also shares space with a built in bar.  There is an interesting 3-sided box window (like a bay window but with 90 degree angles) that has a small seat area with awesome vinyl tile on the top.  This room also has a 2 sided fireplace and like most of the basement, a drop ceiling.  The bar area looks straight out of the 70’s with wood paneling, linoleum flooring and lots of mirrors.  The bar’s saving grace are the pendant light fixtures which are actually kinda cute.  Mind you, they neither go with the wood paneling nor are they my taste nor will they coordinate with the future style of the home, but they are sweet little fixtures.

basement living room

basement 2 sided fireplace

retro bar

bar mirrors

Around the corner from the bar is a wide hallway  which houses the utility room hidden behind sliding mirrored doors.  There is a very small room on the right that was at one point a home office. I know I won’t be able to use it as my home office because there are no windows.  The current  laundry room is also off the hallway and doubles as a storage room.  The utility sink got a quick facelift this week with leftover Rustoleum Tub and Tile paint (more in a future post) and the washer and dryer will eventually be moved upstairs to the mudroom.

hallway

tiniest office ever

ultiity room

laundry room

There is a small bathroom at the end of the hall. Oh, how I wish it was closer to the exterior door to service the pool!  We can at least work on updating the finishes and fixtures.  We’ll also look for a way to rearrange the shower since there is a large HVAC soffit running right over the shower head.  This shower is for short people only!

soffit in shower

Two bedrooms at this end of the home have flowered wallpaper, mirrored closet doors and carpet.  However, to their credit, they each have a full-size window overlooking the pool and patio and a real drywall ceiling.  I can’t believe I am getting excited by drywall ceilings.

blue bedroom

guest room

An awkward large foyer-ish space with sliding doors that lead outside to the back yard is on the opposite side of the steps leading upstairs.  Even with the large doors this portion of the basement is still very dark because the adjacent exterior is covered by a deck.  Adding to the darkness is a deep grey slate floor, which doesn’t sound that bad, right?  Buuuuut, it’s bad.  It’s bad because the slate is coated in some sort of high gloss impervious sheen.  I don’t know why anyone would do this to an otherwise perfectly good slate, but it is what it is, and therefore it will change.  Note the chair underneath the askew ceiling tile is where we found another leak in the house.

basement foyer

The small gym is located just behind the foyer area.  It is covered from top to bottom in mirrors.  Big mirrors, little mirrors, rectangles, squares and cracked. I don’t know how anyone worked out in there without getting vertigo from all the mirrored surfaces and mirror seams that weren’t lined up perfectly.    It also has awesome fluorescent lighting so of course you’ll look great as you gaze into those mirrors.  We would like to have a home gym but we may borrow some space from the shiny slate area and we will certainly redo the mirrored walls.

mirrors gym

 

To the left of the basement foyer are 2 final rooms, one with a window that looks out to the defunct hot tub.  We’re not sure what this room will be used for just yet, but are considering adding a bigger window or more doors to let additional light in. Just adjacent to this room is a nicely tiled room with some strange wood paneled pillars and half walls.  This room is home to the pool table and the coordinating Coors beer pool table light.  This area will remain a pool and game room but will see some upgrades in wall-covering, ceilings, and lighting.

rec room

rec room

pool room

Phew!  I think that about covers it for the basement area.  Check back next week or a picture tour of the home’s property which is the REAL reason we bought this house.

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Before and after bathroom tub2

Major Project Alert!

Well, we did it.  This is either the stupidest thing we’ve ever done or the most brilliant.  I’m talking about our decision to buy a new house.  A house that, for us, was pretty expensive, and yet still required work.  After 5 days post move in I was convinced that it was a dumb idea.  We had already found 3 leaks and evidence of a mouse infestation.  I was probably just tired and overwhelmed from all the hassle and chaos of moving and I wasn’t seeing the big picture.  The bigger picture is that this house is huge, about 5200 square feet.  It has all the things we wanted, a pool, a 3-car garage, was in our kids current school boundary, and most importantly, it had space.  Wonderful, glorious space.  I could stretch my arms out wide at our last house and touch both my and my neighbor’s home, so this new house on 5 acres, just outside of Washington DC, is a rarity and a real treat.  Sure, everything has its cost, and in this case getting what we wanted was going to cost us both monetarily and with the promise of investing time and sweat equity.  So now, after being in the house for just over a week, and already starting a few small projects, and in the midst of unpacking I’m feeling better about our decision.  Welcome to my major project, my new home!

My hope is to be able to document the renovation on the blog from start to finish.  So first, I guess it’d be smart to show you some “before” pics and describe the place.  Warning, these pics (namely the interior) show unadulterated moving mess and chaos.

Real estate is all about location, location, location, right?  This house is in Fairfax County, VA.  Close enough to commute to downtown DC for work every day, some of the best schools in the country, and quintessential suburbia.  Except this house is nestled in the woods on one of the few remaining 5+ acre lots in the county.  The location is about as close to perfection as we could get.

end of cul de sac

The lot is at the end of a cul de sac on a private drive.  It’s so nestled in the woods that you can’t even see the house from the street.

driveway

The house style is a 1980’s contemporary.  It’s got a long and rambling floorplan that contains one main living level and a walkout basement level.  The current style, both inside and out could most politely be described as “retro”.  I’m pretty excited to venture into designing a contemporary home since almost every project in this area is traditional, colonial, or coastal.  This will be a great change of pace and a bit of a challenge for me design wise, but I’m up for it!

1980's contemporary front

80's contemporary

The exterior of the home is brown, lots. of.  brown. Brown wood siding, brown brick, brown painted wood decks, brown asphalt shingles.  The solid wood front door blends right in because, yep, you guessed it, it’s brown,

brown exterior

The foyer is large, has lots of good light from the front windows, some crystal and gold chandeliers that aren’t my bag and frankly don’t go with the home.  The flooring is a glossy Carrera marble tile, which isn’t bad, but several tiles are cracked.  The foyer is the central hub with stairs leading to the basement (and a very traditional style railing), forward to the living room, left to the kitchen and right to the two main floor bedrooms. Yep, new flooring samples are scattered on the floor presently.

The living room is huge.  Everything in it looks huge.  Big wood picture windows with casement bottoms, vaulted ceiling to probably about 20 feet high, massive stone fireplace and the first appearance of the omnipresent mirrors.  I haven’t counted, but this house is like a funhouse.  There are mirrors everywhere you turn.   Full wall mirrors, cutout mirrors, tiled mirrors, mirrors on top of mirrors.  The living room also boasts the spongiest carpet I have ever felt.  My daughter has taken to practicing cartwheels here because it’s just like a gymnastic floor.

living room

The dining room is connected to the living room and shares the fireplace wall.  There is a smaller window overlooking the back yard, flanked by, yes, more mirrors, and a fun little drive through opening to the kitchen.  And by fun, I mean for my 10 year old self when I used to dream of working the drive through at McDonald’s (talk about #goals).   The dining room also has a chandelier very typical for the 1980’s, bright brass and faceted glass panels.

dining room

dining room

 

The adjoining kitchen is small by today’s standards.  The dated white cabinets, oak flooring, leaky skylight, unintentionally retro ceiling fan, fluorescent lighting and a wall of black mirrored glass are all the things that need to change.  To its benefit it does have nice granite counters and an updated fridge and wall ovens.  The ancient ceramic cook top and mismatched dishwasher are also less than ideal.

kitchen

leaky windows

stainless apppliances

The hall next to the kitchen leads to another room with a raised platform that forms a bar to the kitchen cutout, but this platform makes the rest of the space in the room awkward and unusable.  This room, which probably served as a family room, breakfast room has 3 different floors, black bamboo, red bamboo and glossy black granite.  The vaulted ceiling is nice as are the skylights and the large front windows.  We hope the woodburning stove will help with energy efficiency this winter.  This room actually used to be a garage so when it was converted to living space room was “taken” for the electrical panels by building a awkward closet.  The home has a number of electrical issues so as we fix them we’ll probably also relocate these panels since their current set-up is neither to code nor aesthetically pleasing.

family room

family room

Across the hall from the family room is a powder room, with floor to ceiling travertine tile, dated sink cabinet and lighting and a toilet complete with a wooden toilet seat.

powder room

Next to the powder room is one of my favorite rooms in the house… well not in its current state… but I’ve been wanting a mudroom forever.  Eventually this will be a mudroom/ laundry room with extra pantry style storage.

mudroom

The final room on this side of the house is yet another living room type space, which we’ll call a den since we’ve already got a living room and a family room.  Our hope is to not call it a den for long, we’d love to convert this room to the kitchen to maximize easy access to the back decks and the overall larger space.  We’ll know this Friday when we meet with a structural engineer to tell us if these dreams can come true since some adjoining walls would need to come down and we’d want to vault this ceiling as well.

den

Across the other side of this level is the bedroom wing.  The hallway has a coat closet (with mirrored doors of course) and leads to a bathroom and our daughter’s room. The bathroom isn’t too bad.  Sure it’s got a grey toilet and tub, 4 different kinds of tile (to the ceiling no less), a worn vanity, dated lighting, a mirrored medicine cabinet on top of a wall mirror, old brass fixtures and a brass and glass shower enclosure.  While we await for approval to knock down walls, I’ve taken on this bathroom and the nearby linen closet as my first pet projects.  I’ll detail more in a future blog post so you can see my low-budget reno on this bathroom.

hall bath

The 1st bedroom off the hall is my daughter’s and it’s a pretty standard bedroom.  Smaller than her last but it overlooks the pool.  We’ll eventually update it by replacing the traditional trim with something more contemporary, replace carpet with hardwood, new closet doors and paint.  Pretty simple, right?

bedroom 1

Finally, the master suite.  It’s huge, thanks in part to an addition in which the previous owners added a room on top of an existing deck.  However, this room currently seems to slope downward and features a gas fireplace that doesn’t seem to work, and burgundy and grey tile that is popping up unprovoked.  It’s a good thing that this space is so large because we will need to borrow some space to make the master bathroom larger.  The bath currently has gold framed shower doors, mirrors everywhere, some glass block and a plum purple sink and coordinating 80’s era tile on the walls.

master suite

That’s all for today, over the coming days I’ll take you on a tour of the basement and our favorite part of this property and the real reason we bought it, the outdoors.  Of course if you have great design recommendations, put them in the comments and share with your friends and family!

 

 

Before and after bathroom tub2

Marvelous Architecture of Martha’s Vineyard

Ugggh.  I am so guilty and feel terrible that I haven’t created a blog post in such a long time!  Sorry!  It all started back in early June.  First my husband was surprised to find out that the Army was promoting him.  So planning for a ceremony and party occupied a bit of our free time, then on top of that excitement we decided to make an offer on a house we liked, which ultimately resulted in us having to get our house ready to put on the market, an offer from the military to move to Italy (which we ultimately turned down), and celebrating my son’s graduation from 8th grade, and both my husband and my birthdays within 2 days of each other…. June was a whirlwind and July hasn’t been much better.

Thankfully there was 4 days of respite amongst all of it.  My husband surprised me with a trip to Martha’s Vineyard for my 40th birthday!  I had never been there but had read several books that are set in the relaxed, upscale, posh island.  Besides spending some time lying on a beach I was most looking forward to perusing the streets taking in all the great shingle clad architecture.  Martha did not disappoint!  Architecture ogling started as soon as our little plane touched down.  The airport with its whitewalls natural wood shiplap ceiling, detailed beams complete with turnbuckles offered a worthy welcome to this picturesque little island.  Check out those beams!

I really expected to see more grand homes with lots of weathered gray cedar shake siding, and while those did exist I think some of the large compounds were tucked away in the meandering woods of the island so their residents can enjoy privacy.  I was so surprised to find lane upon lane of adorable little Victorians dripping in gingerbread details.  The first sample of vintage Victorian architecture was our little B&B, the Oak Bluffs Inn.  Painted in pretty pastel shades of blue, lavender and pink it was a quintessential Victorian with seashore inspired antiques decorating the inside.  Our little cottage was a separate building in the back yard and was simply appointed and perfect for relaxing.  Very private and no TV.

oak bluffs inn

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oak bluff inn carriage house

A few blocks over the Victorian delight continued with tons of shaded streets lined with adorable doll house like seasonal residences.  The area known as the Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association (MVCMA) is a community ripe with adorable Victorian homes in every color of the rainbow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And yes, the parks, beaches, and lighthouses were gorgeous and every meal we had was excellent – so many great restaurants to choose from.  I’d go back to Martha’s Vineyard in a heartbeat.  Alas a return trip will have to wait because, fingers crossed, if everything goes well in the next month or so we’ll be moving! Stay tuned!  In the meantime, amidst purging and packing I promise to be better about blogging regularly and will share some highlights and ideas from some of my recent clients and moving tips too!

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Before and after bathroom tub2

What to Wear Wednesday: Summer Event Staples

It’s been a while since I posted a fashion oriented post, I’ve been busy. It seems like every time I turn around there is another event to either plan or attend this summer. The kids are wrapping up school, warm weather is here and folks just wanna get together and have fun. Summer events are even more enjoyable if you look and feel great at all of those June weddings, graduations, birthdays and evenings on the town. True, there is a time and a place when it doesn’t matter if fashion is comfortable or not, but when it’s hot and sticky outside you just want to be cool, comfortable and collected. Here are a few of my favorite staples for easy summer event style.

First Up, the cotton maxi dress. You can’t get much more comfortable than something that feels like you’re in cotton PJs. These are so versatile, you can dress them up for a party with strappy heels and some bold jewelry or tone them down with flip flops and a straw hat for the beach. I am loving the olive green on the first one. Olive and white are my favorite summer clothing colors because they look phenomenal with a tan (and I happen to be one of those awful people that tans easily, even under a coat of sunscreen… don’t hate me).

cotton maxi dresses

 

  1. Lulus Lost in Paradise Cotton Maxi Dress     $54
  2. ANGL Floral Waves maxi Dress    $65
  3. Cosabella Rimini Racer Maxi Dress     $72
  4. Forever 21 Crochet Maxi Dress  $48
  5. Felicity and Coco Striped Maxi Dress        $88 

Next, the summer night out / wedding appropriate short dress.  The more casual polka dot Banana Republic number would be perfect for an evening barbeque while the black off the shoulder dress is fitting for a hot date.

summer cocktail dress

 

  1. Calvin Klein Placed Sheath Dress       $108
  2. Lulu’s Never Enough Black Off the Shoulder Dress         $49
  3. Banana Republic Swiss Dot Off-Shoulder Dress       $98
  4. J McLaughlin Nicola Sleeveless Dress in Radiowaves         $205 
  5. Forever 21 Stripe Twist-Front Dress  $35 

While socially acceptable to pair a nice dress with bare toes at the beach or even at a pool party, virtually everywhere else it’s a faux pas.  Here’s a selection of adorable heel sandals that could pair with a number of the dress selections above.

summer event sandals

 

 

  1. Louis et Cie Hilio    $129   
  2. Bandolino Armory     $53 
  3. Vince Camuto  Lorrana       $95
  4. Lucky Brand Jaleela  $89
  5. Calvin Klein Valene     $72

And while we’re at it why not add a few more necessary essentials.  Pick one or two of these to complete the perfect summer event look.

summer accessories staples

 

  1. Bowtie Choker Necklace      $8  
  2. Pink Aviators      $15
  3. Tortoise Charm Bangle       $25
  4. Beaded Ball Earrings  $65 
  5. Cha Cha Tassle Block Earrings     $48
  6. Sparkling Leaf Headband    $8 

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Before and after bathroom tub2

What to Wear Wednesday: Holiday Parties

It’s that time of the year….yup…the dreaded holiday party time!  Do most people like corporate or other mandatory-fun parties?  I’ve never been a huge fan, but I can imagine that these gatherings may appeal to some social butterfly types (ahem, I think my husband falls in that category).  Whether or not you enjoy these holiday get-togethers you can’t go naked (whoa, awkward) so I’ve compiled a few ensembles fitting for those dressier holiday shindigs.   Each outfit below has a different feel and the main component is available for rent at Rent The Runway so you don’t have to spend a fortune to look super chic!

blue-dress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nicole Miller Blue Branches Jacquard Sheath  Rent $75, Retail $485

BMC Womens Alloy Metal Abstract Stone Cut Hardcase Fashion Clutch Chain Handbag  $27

T&J Emerald Greed Tassle Earrings $22

Click Your Heels Gold Pointed Pumps  $34

comfortable-holiday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sachin and Babi Rue Jumpsuit    $70 rental, $595 retail

Hoop Sterling Silver Earrings Made with Swarovski Elements $63

Red & Black Clutch   $190

Swarovski Black Crystal and Crystaldust Open Cuff Bracelet  $69

Steven Viienna  $89

party-animal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elizabeth and James  Freedom Sheath  $40 Rental, $495 Retail

Gold-Tone Pave Leopard Stud Earrings  $14

Kate Spade Cedar Street iphone Wristlet   $118

Lux Accessories Aztec Pave Textured Mesh Glitter Multi Bangle Glam Set   $10

Michael Kors Marta Pump  $166

And not to alienate any generation from looking fabulous here’s a great getup for the …ahem … more mature ladies.  Think you can’t do a leather skirt if you’re over 50?  Oh you SO can, especially one in a knee-length, A-line with perforated cut-outs.

mature-holiday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paper Crown Burgundy Venice Top $30 Rental, $170 Retail

TART Collections Black Faux Leather Skirt  $30 Rental, $148 Retail

Estelle Drop Earrings  $25

Wine Red Velvet Clutch  $31

Nanette Lepore Sabrina  $99

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Before and after bathroom tub2

Thanksgiving Hostess Gifts for under $40

So if you aren’t hosting Thanksgiving or bringing food to a friend or relative’s house you probably feel obligated to show up with something in hand.  And if you don’t want to go with a typical bottle of wine, what might you bring that would be appreciated by the host(ess) that won’t break the bank?  Here’s a roundup of 10 spectacular hostess gifts that are each under $40.  Truthfully, I was targeting gifts under $50, but once I finished assembling all of them, it turns out that the priciest item was just $39.95, so hostess gifts under $40 it is!

hostess-gifts

1.  Williams-Sonoma Dish Soap, Hand Soap & Lotion Set, Winter Forest   $40
2. 
SmartPlanet (H)eat Plug-In Heated Lunch Box   $20
3.  Williams-Sonoma Instant Mulling Spice  $11
4. 
VicTsing 300ml Cool Mist Humidifier Ultrasonic Aroma Essential Oil Diffuser – Wood Grain   $37
5. 
Oval Decanter   $35
6.  Marble Tic-Tac-Toe Game Set    $35
7.  Thirstystone Round White Marble With Sheesham Paddle Cheese Board   $30
8.  Fred Under the Tea™ Seahorse Tea Infuser   $11
9. 
Garden in a Can – Set of 4    $24
10.  Metallic Confetti Glassware Collection   $22