a study in CONTRASTS »

Masthead header

China Cabinet Makeover

When we moved into our house 6 and a half years ago, this china cabinet was wallpapered in a textured ivory. It was neither here nor there, but I decided to spice it up a bit and paint the background the same green as I painted our bathroom. Unfortunately, it didn’t look hardly any different. It’s a job that was a bit of a pain, though, so I thought “forget it. It’s fine” & carried on with my life. Flash forward to last week… I had some weird burst of energy and then Matilda decided to a long nap, Dustin was out of town, & Finn discovered the computer. It all mixed together to created that perfect storm of free time + energy + creativity. I literally don’t remember the last time that’s happened. And yes, I’m using literally in the correct sense. So, I cleared out the cabinet (which was probably a bigger job than anything else), pulled off the fussy lace (which was there when we moved in) & got down to the business of painting. At first, I thought I’d paint it all pink, but with the combination of that orangey wood, I was afraid that it would blend too much. I pulled up some other colors of paint from the basement & they worked out great. Between the fun colors & giving the shelves a coat of fresh white paint, which was desperately needed,  I finally had the china cabinet I’d always wanted.  The best part is that it only cost the price of a quart of paint & some spare time, but the results are priceless. Yeah, that’s cheesy, but it’s so true. I honestly can’t stop staring at it.


I took this picture with the cabinet door open because all of the fun colors don’t photograph very well through the wavy glass. I still need to figure out some better lighting, I think. Something more even.



Here’s what it looked like before. Obviously we’ve since painted the walls as well.


And here they are side by side. I love a small project with a big impact, don’t you?



Lori Bugher - I think this is totally inspired, April. I would have never thought of using these colors together, but it is absolutely beautiful.

Gail - LOVE that your house is so ready for spring :) You are SO darn creative!

Getting Results

See? I told you I wouldn’t bombard with you posts updating my “Get Healthy” journey! Alright, so the delay between the last post and this one was a little ridiculous. But to my credit, between the holidays & my sudden need to redecorate 5 rooms in my house (no I’m not exaggerating), I’ve been a little overwhelmed. Ok, a lot overwhelmed. My road to being healthier is coming along. Slowly, but better than nothing, I suppose. The one thing that I’ve really stuck to & am absolutely, obsessively, head-over-heels, loving is Pilates. Seriously you guys, it’s amazing. I’ve never been athletic & am uncoordinated to an embarrassing degree. Any sports that I do enjoy tend to be solo ventures… tennis, pool, darts… Wait, are those last two legitimately sports? I think they’re more like drinking games. Whatever. The point is, I do better when I’m pushing myself & not worrying about other people. Therefore, working on the reformer has been right up my alley. There’s, at most, one other person that I’m working alongside, and the end goal is just to work hard on myself & getting my form correct. I love it. Love, love, love, it. I never thought that I’d love something so much that leaves me in pain for 3 days afterwards. Who knew?

I don’t know if you remember me telling you, but the studio where I do Pilates, Results Fitness, is owned by one of my good friends, Molly Thompson. She’s always been an instructor at other gyms & is just so good. You know how you can just tell when someone is in a career/life path that they were born to follow? Like, the whole thing just comes naturally to them? Yeah, that’s how it is with Molly & fitness. She knows her stuff. I was so happy for her when a couple of years ago she finally opened up her own studio. I’m late to the party in finally taking lessons with her, but better late than never, right? The studio is actually in a barn on her property. It’s fun & cozy & has zero intimidation. Perfect, right? Molly wanted to create a gym where anyone can come and feel comfortable. You don’t have to wear fancy clothes or makeup & no one’s comparing themselves to you. She has clients of all ages & abilities. Everyone from beginners like myself, to professional athletes. Yes, seriously. Over the past month, I’ve worked with her on a couple of photo shoots & thought I’d share some of the shots here. If you’ve ever been curious about Pilates, I highly, highly, recommend checking it out with Molly. She makes it fun & low-key & I guarantee if you try it, you’ll stick with it. Oh & lest you think I’m writing all of this because she’s my friend… nope. Never in a million years did I think I’d like working out. I figured if I like it this much, then it’s only fair if I passed along the info.

Here’s her website – Results Fitness

Here’s a link to her Facebook page. She’s posting a lot of the pictures that we did & throws in fun facts and some deals too. Go “like” it! – Results on Facebook


Reality Check

Warning – personal, potentially boring, post ahead…

So, this isn’t necessarily a fun post to type, but it’s an honest, much needed one. It’s probably no secret that having a baby in your midish-late thirties is a little harder on your body. It’s even more so if it’s your third child (all from within your 30′s) and you weren’t in perfect shape beforehand. To be fair to myself, I’d actually lost weight before I became pregnant with Matilda, so I was “ok”, but I still wasn’t where I should’ve been or better said, where I wanted to be. A few months before I became pregnant with Matilda, I’d decided that I was done with trying to deal with my body in the shape it was in and that I needed to do something about it. As unexciting as it is, I joined Weight Watchers online and dude, it totally worked. It wasn’t fun, but it wasn’t completely miserable either. I lost 17 pounds and oh man, it was so much more fun, not to mention easier, to get dressed each day! Of course then Matilda came along and here I am again with pretty much the exact same body that I had before I lost the 17 pounds. Obviously this is my body’s happy weight. Mine? Yeah, not so much. I know that you’re supposed to say you’re losing weight for your health (which, I mean, duh, I am), but I’m going to be 100% honest here, I want to do it so that it’s fun to wear clothes again. Choosing my outfit based on what’s going to best hide my unhappy areas is just no fun. I’m over it. O-ver. It. So, I made a plan this past week and started setting it all up this weekend.

The first thing that I wanted to do before I seriously started worrying about losing weight was to be done nursing Matilda. I wasn’t going to jeopardize that whole process just to fit into my skinny jeans. Recently, I felt that both she and I were ready to move on, so I started that whole process at the end of the week. Here I sit on Sunday night and Matilda’s been only bottle-fed all day long. It’s bittersweet because she’s my last baby, but oh, I’m so glad to have my body back. Not to mention the fact that she still woke up at least once a night to eat. Now, Dustin & I can share that responsibilty and I might finally start getting a full night’s sleep. I’m still trying to process the fact that I can count on my 2 hands how many full nights of sleep I’ve had in the past 9 months. I know that bad sleep habits definitely mess with your weight, so it’ll be interesting to see how that helps.

This morning, I officially weighed myself and took about a bajillion measurements. You guys. Ugh. That was just really painful. But, it’s SO necessary. Not to sound all cheesy, but how can you know how far you’ve gone if you don’t know where you started? So, yeah. Stats have been officially counted and I’m ready to go. The nice thing (hey, positivity!) is that they’re all nice, even numbers, so that’ll make it easy to calculate my differences. It’s the little things, yo.

The final two pieces of the puzzle are the hardest for me. Obviously, I had to mentally prepare myself to start Weight Watchers again. I only did it online last time, but I’m debating going to meetings too this time around. I don’t know. Does anyone have any opinion on that? Anyway, for the time being, I’ll be using the app on my phone to keep me accountable. That whole process starts tomorrow (Monday) and I’m not looking forward to it, but at least I know it works and that helps. The second thing that I did this weekend was to finally sign up for personal training on the Pilates Reformer with my good friend, Molly. She started her own gym, Results Fitness, a couple of years ago and she’s getting amazing results for people (apt name then, yes?). She recently added the PPS Deluxe Apparatus and I honestly can’t wait to try it out. I’m making no promises, but I might throw in some treadmill time too. Baby steps.

So, there it is. I don’t plan on having check-ins or before and after pictures, but I’m sure I’ll give you little updates here and there on my progress. Let’s be honest here, it’s not like I’m the Queen of frequent blogging anyway. The next time I post I may be at my goal weight. HA!

Just for the fun of it, here’s a picture of Matilda and I from earlier this summer. Thanks to my sister, Courtney, for taking the camera away from me and getting this shot. Oh & I actually want to show you some of our amazing family pictures that we just had done, but I’ll save those for their own post. Night!

Lynsy - I LOVE the weight watchers apps. I lost 35 lbs in 6 months with it and haven’t tracked in over a year but have kept all the weight off. I am not a fan of meetings. I don’t need to hear that the gum that claims it tastes like Strawberry Shortcake really does taste like it. It doesn’t and that woman lied.

However, that said, I know I need someone weighing me to hold me accountable. I found a Weight Watchers place that had open hours just for weighing in and did that weekly. It held me accountable enough and updated my app but I didn’t waste an hour.

Gail - You can DO this April, I know you can! So proud of you for getting serious about things and girl, I know EXACTLY what you mean. It is not fun to want to get dressed when you feel like your clothes are fitting tight (or not at all!) And oh MAN do I wish I could go to that Pilates class with you. That looks AMAZING!

Bedroom – Sneak Peek

The only thing that’s still left to do to finish my bedroom is to paint the dressers. While I work up the energy to tackle that project, I thought I’d give you a little peek. I actually might be changing up the lighting situation & I need to get new shams and pillowcases, so I guess it’s not 100% finished, but it’ll give you a good idea of where it’s all going. Even with the dressers in the state they’re in, it still looks a million times better than it did before. And to think, it only took 6 years for me to figure it all out.


PS – The crookedness of that second pillow is killing me!

Gail - APRIL!!! I FREAKING LOVE IT!!! Seriously, when your kiddos get bigger, you should SERIOUSLY think about pursuing interior design. You are SOOO gifted at this! Just…wow. In all seriousness, will you help me (next year sometime maybe) come up with a new concept for my bedroom? I’m DYING to redo things and would love your awesome input!

Maya - April…I love the black and white signs with the gold pillow accents. Such a combo I’ve never thought of before!

milsztof fotograf olsztyn - I’m not so much for gold to be honest but I love those chalkboards. Can’t wait to see more.

Office – Before

When we found out we were having a third baby, I realized that my office situation was going to have to change. It was in a room upstairs that was perfect for an office, but unfortunately was going to be needed for another bedroom. I did think, for a bit, about having Jack & Finn share a room. Between their age difference & their very different sleeping habits though, I soon realized that it wasn’t going to be the best idea. Because of the layout of the rooms upstairs, it would be for the best if Jack moved into my office & the new baby moved into Jack’s room. Luckily, Jack thought that was a great idea. Phew! Of course once we had the bedrooms figured out, the next question was where my office was going to go. We eventually did some shuffling around downstairs & it’s now in what was originally the “grown-up” room. Since we did all the moving around while I was pregnant, nothing’s really been done to my office except putting the furniture in here. It’s just a jumbled mess of mismatched stuff with no cohesion or style whatsoever. I was going to try to make an art corner for the kids, but man, they’re messy and I really like the idea of having one room that’s all mine. Now that my bedroom’s pretty much finished, it’s time for me to jump in and get it looking good. I’ve already bought a new desk (even though my last one was awesome, just not what I needed anymore) and a cute filing cabinet. Since I’ve retired from photography, I don’t need as much stuff in my office as I used to and can simplify for a much prettier look. I’m sure it’ll be a million years before I get the after shots up, but here’s a look at what my office looked like before I started working on it. Honestly, except for the desk, it still looks like this. Ugh. I need to get to work!


Through those double (triple?) doors is the room where our pool table is. Sometimes the doors are open, sometimes not. Light floods through here if they are, which makes working on the computer a little tricky. That yellow cabinet is one of my favorite pieces of furniture, but I’m having an issue with where to put it right now. I’m going through a neutral/pale phase & it doesn’t really fit. Hmmm…

The two art cabinets are there on the right. If I do decide to keep the art stuff in here, Dustin’s going to build me one large cabinet to put everything in. Cohesion – hooray!

Also? I’ll be investing in a different table. Again, I was just working with pieces from different areas of the house.

Please ignore my filthy floors. Oy.

Yeah, I think there’s room for improvement here. Yikes, right? Like I said, I do love that vintage metal desk, it’s just that it’s not only built like a tank, but it’s about as big as one too. I’m going for something more sleek & streamlined.

I’m putting together a mood board, so stay tuned!

Maya Laurent - I need to come to your house one day April. I just adore all the photos you post!

APRIL - Maya – Thanks! I would love for you to visit! Maybe I should host the next slumber party ;)