USB Outlet and Phone Holder


USB outlet and phone holder
Are you tired of searching around for the charger for your cellphone or having the cords dangling everywhere?  Yeah me too.  There really isn’t a need to go on a hunt for your charger anymore or have those cords being an eyesore. Installing a USB outlet and phone holder in your regular outlet is easy and inexpensive.

Here's what you need, all from Amazon naturally.

Installation is as easy as replacing the outlet.  Here's the outlet without the Mobile Device Station attached.

The best part of this outlet, is there is still is a regular plug and then two USB plugs in place of the second plug.  If you have the room, you should also purchase the outlet cover that has a section attached to hold your phone.  The cover looks like a double outlet holder, but has a perch to keep your phone while charging. There is also an area to wrap your cord so you don’t have any hanging around.  To make it even tidier, there are extra short charging cables available.

USB Outlet and Phone Holder
This was a quick and easy fix to minimize cords and expensive electronics hanging around on the floor.  We even installed the outlet in my mother’s home for her iPad. 

<3 mk


BLT Salad with Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing


Wedge BLT Salad with Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
Iceberg lettuce totally doesn't have any nutritional value compared to the multiple other choices one has in the greens department, but man, is it super crunchy!  There is just something about it’s texture that makes me want to cut it in wedges, smother it in dressing and chomp away.   And chomp we did.

If you are looking for an easy appetizer for a dinner party or even a quick meal for you and your honey, this is the way to go.  The dressing needs time for the flavors to develop so you should make it ahead of time.   Cutting up the lettuce, cleaning it, frying the bacon and washing the tomatoes takes only a few minutes from fridge to plate.  The best part is that you will still have some left over for use in another meal.

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

½ cup fresh basil, lightly packed
Juice of half a lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
1 cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
½ cup shaken buttermilk

Combine the chives, basil, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt/pepper into a food processor. Puree using the steel blade section until the mixture is smooth and the basil and chives have been chopped.  Add in the mayonnaise, sour cream, and buttermilk. Blend again until smooth.  Place the mixture in the fridge for about an hour


Head of Iceberg Lettuce
Grape tomatoes
3 slices of thick cut bacon

Peel the outer layers of the lettuce off and discard.  Cut the head into fourths and rinse/clean. Cut off the bottom of the lettuce and discard.  Leave the lettuce in a colander to let the excess water drain out.

Chop the bacon slices into small pieces and fry in a frying pan until they become dark and crispy. Using a slotted spoon, remove from the pan and place on a paper towel lined plate to let the excess fat soak up.

Arrange two wedges on a plate and spoon over your desired amount of dressing.  Sprinkle the bacon bits on top of the dressing and put a few grape tomatoes on the side.  Make it look presentable and even more desirable to devour.

Wedge BLT Salad with Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
Jeff described this meal as a “BLT” salad.  You don’t have to use iceberg lettuce; romaine or even Bibb lettuce would be a good crunchy alternative.  You can also substitute plain Greek yogurt for the sour cream.  Adding some thinly sliced red onion would also be a welcome flavor to the salad. This salad accomodates modifications with ease.

<3 mk


DIY Manly Valentine's Booze Bouquet


Valentine's Day is here!  I always make a point of making something special for my love. Last year I made this beauty which still hangs in our house, but with updated travel pins.  I wanted to share this diy present with you to inspire you.  Maybe if you have enough time you can make one for your special someone.

Jeff surprised me a few days ago with flowers sent to my school.  I know it was to show everyone what a loving husband he was, but he insisted that he sent them so I could enjoy them at work all week. They ended up coming home with me because of a looming snow storm, but ultimately they gave me a great idea for Jeff's present. He wouldn't appreciate flowers, but a booze bouquet is a welcome gift.

To make this many bouquet, you need a few items:
  • wooden dowels
  • nips, small bottles of alcohol of your choice
  • hot glue/ hot glue gun
  • washi tape
  • Valentines stickers
  • container
  • paper gift filler
  • small valentine's candy
First, I chose to spray paint my dowels with pink and red spray paint that was left over from other projects.  I tried to do an ombre effect, but only because I ran out of the red. This step was not necessary, but I had the time and the spray paint.

Next, I hot glued the small bottles of liquor to the dowels at different heights.  Three of the bottles were glass and were too heavy so they were placed at the bottom of the glass container.  The washi tape was a decorative extra to make sure the bottles stayed glued.  The stickers easily adhered to the dowels with a paper backing.

Finally, organize your booze/dowels and stickers inside the glass container and sprinkle the valentines candy in the paper filler.

I was super excited to surprise Jeff with this morning.  If it wasn't so cold, I would have left it by the front door and rang the bell.

Did you make anything special for that special someone this year?

<3 mk


Vanity Refresh


One thing that always makes a piece of furniture look brand new is a new coat of paint.  As you can see (here, and here), I've had my fair share of refreshing furniture.


The vanities in the master bathroom were originally painted white.  It was weird though, some pieces looked like they were hand painted, and the others professionally sprayed.  The vanities are original to the house and they were custom made.  They are solid and study so there was no need to get rid of them, just a nice coat of paint would do the trick.

12 Shades of grey
My M.O. is usually black paint, but we did our best to find a gray that would go with the tile that is already in the bathroom.  The tile isn’t our favorite, but it is in great condition.  It has tones of yellow, beige, and grays.  We took paint swatches in every gray we could find at the local do-it-yourself store.  The choice wasn’t easy, as they all looked ok to me.  In the end, we chose Valspar Mark Twain Ombra Gray (who comes up with this stuff?) because we both liked it and it was dark enough for the job.  A gallon did the trick for both vanities and we used semi-gloss.

So writing about this process is a hell of a lot easier than actually doing it.  It is time consuming, but can be done in a weekend.  You’ll be happy in the end when it looks like you have a brand new piece of furniture.


Remove everything from the drawers, etc.  Remove all of the hardware and take off the drawer or door. This might be a good time for you to organize your belongings too.  Everything will be sanded down and be full of dust, so there isn’t a need to clean anything off.  Put down a drop cloth, because it will get dirty.


Using a sander (we used a random orbital), start with a coarse grit sand pad.  Attach a shop vacuum to the sander and don’t forget to turn it on.  The coarse sanding will take off most of the current paint. Make sure you don’t round the edges of the wood when you do the sides.  Once you used the coarse grit, do another round of a finer grit, and then another round of the finest.  The wood will be exposed in most parts.  You should be able to run your hands smoothly down the wood.


Use the wet vacuum to clean up any dust or paint that came off while sanding.  Using a wet cloth, wipe down the furniture and allow it enough time to dry.

Prepping for Painting

Make sure your area is dust free and clean.  You don’t want any of the sanding dust mixing with the wet paint.  Don’t forget to clean off the drop cloth you used for the sanding.

If there are any areas that you need to tape off, do it now.  Using a hairdryer on the tape will help to prevent any bleeding around the edges of the tape.


A small foam roller works best for a project like this.  Because we are using a semi-gloss, any imperfections are more forgiving and you wont have to sand in between coats, like I did with the bar table.

This project took three coats of paint.  The primer was already built into the paint, which also saved an extra step. Allow ample time to dry as it will be tacky.

Putting it all back together

Once the paint is no longer tacky, about 24 hours, you can put the hardware back on and put the furniture back together.  It is recommended to wipe down the drawers again and put a liner in the bottom before putting your items back in.  In the future, we will be adjusting the gaps - see a future post on that.


There you go, a “new” piece of furniture that cost you not much more than a gallon of paint (assuming you have the other supplies). It is worth your time and following all the steps so it looks its very best.

<3 mk


Eyebrows- Growing Them Out & Shaper Wax

Fashion. Beauty.

Growing out one’s eyebrows has to be one of the most frustrating beauty things one can do.  You literally have to throw away your tweezers, or lock them up to fight the urge to pluck those stray hairs.  It honestly will take many months; maybe even up to a year, but in the end it will be worth it. I have been growing them out since May of 2013.  It hasn't really been a year and they aren’t exactly where I want them to be yet, but they are a work in progress.

I wish I had a before picture because this "after" picture is a great improvement.  The brows were plucked very thin and there was barely anything at the end.  Having self-control to not pluck those hairs has been difficult.

My biggest issue was how sparse they are towards the end and middle, but I gave up on filling my brow in because I didn't feel like any of the products I bought actually stayed on for long enough. They would look great when I initially put them on, but the staying power was not there.  Until I found this, NYX Eyebrow Shaper Wax.  After watching a tutorial by Melrea from Lashes, Love and Leather, the purchase was immediate and well worth the couple of dollars this product costs.

I have been using the wax along with an Anastasia Brow Powder I had already purchased a while back.  Glide the wax pencil across your brows to where you want the powder to stick and then using an angled brush, fill in those holes and make my “almost” grown out brows fuller. 

The brows are not where I hope they will be, which is why I don't have a final picuture, but the wax shaper really has made a world of difference for me and I felt I needed to share with you all. If you are having the same issues as I did, I totally recommend this product.

<3 mk


Snow Day Comfort Food


When you think of North Carolina, do you think of snow?  Of course not, but if you have been watching the news, crazy weather has been happening all over the place.  I thought when moving to N.C. that I could put the snow shovel away, but as of today, that didn't happen.  We got about an inch and a half of beautiful white stuff. Being a native New Yorker, out of habit I got out the shovel and salt and got to work, but the joke was on me.  Apparently, it wasn't necessary and many of my NC friends filled me in after the fact that it would melt rather quickly.  Apparently I am supposed to go sledding and make a snowman.

Shoveling the driveway in North Carolina
The funny part of the snow situation is that for the last eight years, any time my husband goes away on business in the beginning of the year, we always have a huge snowstorm and I was the one always shoveling. It's always a great workout, but I still think it is a conspiracy.   

Being at home I had time to get started on some projects, deep condition my hair and was able to watch some cooking shows I normally don't get to see.  I was watching Pioneer Woman while running on the treadmill and she made comfort foods for one.  That was perfect since I was a party of one and there was beautiful snow on the ground.

The Pioneer Woman, Ree, made Pasta with Pancetta and Leek.  The recipe is simple and I was lucky enough to have all the ingredients in the fridge and the pantry.  The only things one might not have is a leek and the pancetta. I used regular bacon instead of the pancetta because that was what was on hand.  I made this meal and scarfed it up so quickly that I didn't have time to take a picture.  It was so quick and delicious that I wanted to share it with you.

Birds enjoying the snow and the modern bird feeder cafe 
Few things are better than sitting on your couch with a glass of wine, fire going, bowl of delicious cheesy pasta with bacon, and snow on the ground.  Even if you don't have snow, try this recipe, you won't be disappointed.

Keep warm!

<3 mk

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