Upcycled Jewelry Organizer

We were at a Flea Market a couple of weekends ago when we saw this musty old wooden box. It had divided compartments and two holes on one of the sides that made us think it used to be a desk drawer. When I saw it, I immediately knew it could be used to organize the pile of jewelry that was just sitting in my closet shelf. Don’t judge. You know you have a jewelry clump somewhere. The wood was looking very worn, so my boyfriend took some Howard Restor-a-Finish to it. The following is his tutorial.

Step 1: Stop by Home Depot, go towards the paint section and find any person over fifty for help. I hate to be age discriminatory but older Home Depot employees are always better than younger employees. It is a fact. Say I need “Howard’s Restore-A-Finish.” If they look confused, add, “It’s like a stain but not…” They’ll know where to find it. Pick the color that matches what you think the original color of the item was. Oak is for darker. Walnut for lighter. Don’t try to change the color of your wood item, it won’t work, you’ll be sad, you’ll be that guy (or gal).

Step 2: While at Home Depot, buy a package of steel-wool. Stick with your old person, do not let another customer swoop in and take your old person. You’ve earned your old Home Depot employee – he or she is yours until completion of buying.
Step 3: If you care about your nails or hands buy rubber surgical gloves. Again, your old person should know where they are.
Step 4: Check out in the “Self Check-Out” aisle…everything at Home Depot has a bar code. Fact.
Step 5: So you have your wood item that you’re going to restore in front of you, right? RIGHT!?! Calm down. Now, take the Howard’s liquid and put the clump of steel wool on the top of the bottle, turn the bottle over so the steel wool gets moist with the liquid. Oh, yeah, if you care about your nails/hands, you should have put on those gloves. If you don’t give an F, carry on…it will wash off people, it’s not the plague.
Step 6: Press your steel wool against the wood and rub WITH the grain of the wood, making the wood wet with Howards’ liquid. If you don’t know what the grain of the wood is then rub an ungloved finger up and down the wood – with the grain will be smoother, against the grain (insert sad face emoticon, bloggers love that) will have a slight grind to it. Rub with the grain so it’s smooth. If you truly can’t tell, and I’m not being condescending because sometimes it’s near impossible to tell, then make small smooth circles with the liquid and your wool. If there are little paint splatters on your item and you want them gone, press harder and use that wool like sandpaper.
Step 7: This is a big one. Please put down that glass of wine. After you have the Howards on the wood and you’ve gone with the grain, wipe off the Howards’ liquid. It’ll seem like a waste – wipe it off. “But I’ll let it soak in…” No, wipe it off. It will run and you’ll have streaks and you’ll be sad and upset and wonder “why me?”
Step 8: After you’ve done the entire wooded item (with la grain) take a clean, dry paper towel and wipe the entire item down. If you want to go back and touch up some spots, go for it but again don’t let the liquid settle for too long.
Step 9: Let the item sit for awhile to truly dry. If your item is a chair and you insist on sitting in it immediately, I’d recommend waiting until after Labor Day…white pants/brown bottom equals jokes about your white pants/brown bottom.

Step 10: Put it somewhere you will see everyday and think of your old friend from Home Depot. 

That’s it! Here it is in my closet shelf looking brand new again.

I Didn’t Burn It: Tilapia Baja Tacos

I Didn’t Burn It is a new series I am starting on the blog that deals with my attempt to make delicious and easy recipes. Cooking is not one of my strong suits so just keep that in mind. 

I have made this Cooking Light recipe twice in the last 7 days. It’s one of those recipes that has a list of ingredients I can remember off the top of my head and doesn’t require any strange concoctions from the spice cupboard. The mixture of spices really livens up the tilapia and I am generally in support of any kind of sauce that involves sour cream, lime and cilantro. As I am not into really hot spices I excluded the jalepenos and red pepper. I also don’t have a cast-iron skillet. So my tilapia was not really blackened. Just crispy. Still delicious!

How to Wear Riding Boots to Work

A faithful reader approached me about doing a post on how to wear riding boots to work. In my humble opinion, she could not have asked anyone better. I wear mine so much that you would think I was hiding a horse somewhere in my second floor, one bedroom apartment. If I was, his name would be Rusty. Just saying.

Look 1: Equestrian 

This is probably the easiest way to use riding boots with an already existing work look. I usually wear this shift dress with black heels and a black cardigan. To make it work with these boots, I added pieces that carry the equestrian theme. Those pieces can be a tailored jacket or scarf — or any pieces that match the look and feel of your boots, but that can also be paired with a work look.

Details: F21 jacket / H&M dress and scarf / Wanted Royalty boots via Piperlime

Look 2: Brights

Here is a way that you can wear your riding boots to work and incorporate another current trend for fall — brights. The tan of these boots goes well with blues and greens, but I would encourage you to experiment with different colors based on the specific shade of your riding boot. You never know.

Details: Thrifted blouse / H&M skirt / Banana Republic necklace / Wanted Royalty boots via Piperlime

Look 3: Plaid

A plaid skirt is a great middle-ground piece for work. It has that woodsy charm that goes really well with riding boots without looking too casual. I found this skirt at a consignment shop, and I am not sure of the brand. I would highly recommend looking for one at your local thrift or consignment shop. This seems to be one thing I see consistently. You may want to hem it though for fear of looking too much like Laura Ingalls.

Details: Gap turtleneck / Thrifted skirt  / Wanted Royalty boots via Piperlime

Happy Labor Day and End of Summer Ramblings

Happy Labor Day — the unofficial end of summer. Based on the sticky humidity and bug quota today, it in no way feels like the end of summer. Though summer is always filled with a swarm of events, I think one thing I will miss about summer is the lack of event. No required football watching on Sunday night, no rush to catch up on the latest episode of your favorite show… The extended hours of sunlight help everyone fulfill their outside time requirement whether it be taking a long walk or reading a great novel or enjoying a pasta dinner with wine on the back patio. The gift of extra time and every bit of daylight will definitely be missed. Luckily fall is rich in color and food and sporting events.