DIY Gold Turtle Shell

September 17, 2014
So I warned you guys: now that I have some outdoor space I'm hooked on spray painting anything and everything that I can get my hands on.  My favorite color at the moment is gold metallic spray paint, and my latest project was the turtle shell I bought at Lucketts Store a few weeks back.  

I did have a little inspiration from this fabulous shell paperweight from Furbish:

and this turtle shell box by Nate Berkus for Target (unfortunately not available anymore):

My first step was to prime the turtle shell because I wasn't entirely sure how it would soak up the paint.  My second and final step was to simply covered it with two coats of gold metallic paint!  

The only difficult thing about this project was figuring out how exactly I want to use the shell.  I can either use it on a table, or drill a hole in it so that I can hang it on a wall.  (I seem to be running out of wall space though, so I think it'll stay here on my coffee table for now!)

Tom just brought me this blue and white vase back from Korea.  Isn't it adorable?  It has a funky dragon on it and I just love it!

Coffee tables truly are the perfect spot to display all of your interesting treasures.

I have a few more spray paint projects coming up, so stay tuned for more!

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So Long Summer

September 15, 2014
We recently got our first hint of fall weather here in Maryland, so I decided it was time to rotate my wardrobe and get my closet in order.  While I really do love getting to wear sweaters, jeans and boots, I can't help but feel like I'm betraying summer by welcoming this shift in the weather.  I've always been such a warm weather kinda girl, and living in Hawaii definitely solidified that.  At this time of year I'm always so torn, because I truly am ready for a little break from the 95 degree and humid weather, but I also know that winter and snow is just around the corner, and soon enough I'll be wishing it was summer again.

I guess the only answer is to embrace the change, and pull on a cozy sweater.  So with that, here are some of my favorite fall wardrobe essentials!

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On my Mind...Lately

September 12, 2014
Happy Friday!  This past week I continued to work on setting up the new apartment, specifically the desk area and the closet.  I'd say this place is about 90% complete now, and the rest will come together once I clear out some stuff that simply won't fit.  

Today we are heading down to South Carolina to do some wedding planning and work on the family beach cottage.  I'm taking a lot of my beachy decor that I collected while living in Hawaii, as well as the big brown recliner (since we moved here it has been an elephant in the room sitting right in front of the tv), so thankfully that'll free up some much needed space.

Lately I've had fall clothes on the brain, as well as simple DIYs and decorating (of course).  Here are a few of the specific things that have caught my eye this past week.

Aren't these faux leather leggings from Ann Taylor fabulous?

1.  Leather Pants.  Last year I purchased a pair of skinny black pants that have leather down the sides.  I LOVE them, and whenever I wear them I always want to strut around like Olivia Newton John and sing "You're the One that I Want."  Ok so maybe I actually DO do that...and Tom laughs and rolls his eyes every time because he's not a fan of musicals.  Anyway...this year I'm really considering going all the way and buying a pair of (faux) leather pants.  I think they look so chic, especially with a killer pair of heels.

2.  Tropical Banana Palm Leaves Print.  The banana leaf palm motif has been creeping up everywhere lately.  I've seen it on chairs, walls, and pillows, and because this pattern is so chic it can work anywhere and not just at a beach house.  I love this print from The Aestate on Etsy, and wish I had some extra wall space so that I could add it to my collection!
Image via The Winthrop Chronicles.

3.  Gold Color Blocked Mug DIY.  How great and easy does this DIY featured on The Winthrop Chronicles look?  I have some turquoise mugs just like this, and I think they definitely need a gold spray paint upgrade!

Image via The Design Files.

4.  Black and White Striped Chairs.  One of the best ways to save a dated looking piece of furniture is to reupholster it with a fresh new fabric.  I'm planning on breathing new life into a dated wicker chair with tired looking cushions, and black and white stripes definitely seems like the way to go!

Image via The Little Kitchen.

5.  BBQ Portobello Grilled Cheese.  I love a good grilled cheese any time of year, but in the fall I like them to be nice and hearty.  This BBQ portobello grilled cheese with caramelized onions from the Little Kitchen looks super yummy and I can't wait to try it out.

Life with a Dash of Whimsy is over on Pinterest, Instagram, Bloglovin' and Twitter, and I'd love for you to join me there!

Have a nice weekend everyone!

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A Whimsical Bunch: 15 Under $75 at Hattan Home

September 10, 2014
As you all know, I truly love a store with a little sass and personality.  I first learned about Hattan Home when I featured these fun embroidered bee cocktail napkins on the blog (checkout the post here), and was absolutely smitten once I checked out the rest of the online boutique.  The owner, Lindsay, has an amazing eye for style, and sells so many great things. 

Today I've gathered my 15 favorite Hattan Home items, all for under $75.  They are the perfect addition to any home!

1.  Floral Pillow / 2.  Buzzed Bee Cocktail Napkins / 3.   Pop, Fizz, Clink Print / 4.  Cocktails Matches / 5. Acrylic Tape Dispenser / 6.  Blue Finial / 7.  Striped Taper Candles / 8.  Pink Pompom Throw / 9.  Blue and White Paper Placemats / 10.  Adore Home Magazine Book / 11.  Desk Calendar / 12.  Gold Striped Notebook / 13.  Blue Flower Tea Towel / 14.  Turquoise Turkish Towel / 15.  Blue Chinoiserie Pillow

Which item is your favorite?  I love them all, but I did just order the acrylic tape dispenser and the Adore Home Magazine coffee table book.  I can't wait to get them in the mail!

Note:  This post was NOT sponsored by Hattan Home.  I just really love all of these fun items!

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On my Mind...Lately

September 5, 2014
Happy Friday everyone!  

1.  Bridal Portraits.  Last weekend when I was down in South Carolina I got my bridal portraits taken.  I'm happy I got them done for many reasons: 1) I was able to do a trial run on my hair and makeup 2) I got to work with an amazing, talented and fun photographer named Christina Valentine (seriously, check her out if you're looking for a great photographer that will make you laugh and also take fantastic photos) and 3) now I don't have to worry about squeezing in bridal portraits on the big day!  I am super excited to see how they turn out and I can't wait to share the photos after the wedding.

2.  Cyber Bullying.  Yesterday I received the first mean spirited comment on my blog.  While the comment was completely uninformed and inaccurate, it still hurt.  At first I wanted to respond viciously, but that would be stooping to the same low level as the anonymous commenter, so then I decided that I'd kill with kindness by writing: "Dear Anonymous, I'm writing this from my home: a small, one-bedroom, middle class apartment that I rent in the suburbs.  I'm sorry you don't enjoy my blog, but have a nice day!  Oh and yes, I do donate to charity as well as a scholarship fund, my favorite of which is the 1LT Dimitri del Castillo Scholarship Fund that was created in honor of my late husband who was killed in Afghanistan.  The scholarship goes to support the children and unmarried widows of other fallen Rangers.  Additionally, I have worked very hard and have endured very much in order to purchase half of a home (you must have missed where I said I'm splitting it with my parents...a teacher and a retired Army officer), including a combat tour in Afghanistan protecting YOUR freedom.  Thank you for your concern though and thanks for reading!"  Ultimately I decided to just go ahead and publish it and not comment on it, because I suppose everyone is entitled to their opinion, no matter how uninformed.  All of this did get me thinking though.  While this little jab I received was nowhere close to the cyber bullying that so many individuals endure, it made my heart hurt for those who are subject to this cruel new form of bullying.  Isn't life hard enough without the haters?  Why can't we live in a world where we help and encourage those who need it, celebrate with those who have things to celebrate, and love our neighbors as ourselves?!    

3.  Gold Dotted Burlap.  I recently bought a few yards of this sassy gold dotted burlap (who knew burlap could be so fun?).  I have no clue how I'm going to use it (table runner?  placemats?  stool upholstery? pillow?), but I'm crazy about how Jenn from My Fabuless Life used it to spruce up a tired, old folding chair.  Maybe I need some burlap covered folding chairs in my life?

4.  Metal Trivets.  Ever whip something out of the oven or off of the stove and realize you have nowhere to put it (that won't damage your countertops?  That has been happening to me a lot lately, but not anymore now that I purchased this 3-piece set of metal trivets from CB2.  Best part?  They are only $19.95 AND they are pretty!

Well I hope you all have a lovely weekend!  I have the Nation's Triathlon on Sunday and I'm not nearly as trained as I should be, so hopefully your weekend will be less painful than mine :)

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Easy Antler Makeover

September 4, 2014
A few weeks ago I went to the most amazing antique store/flea market (Lucketts Store) and scored some incredible pieces for really great prices (details are in this post here).  One of my favorite pieces that I bought was this little set of antlers.  I have no clue what sort of animal they belonged to (the tag said "jackalope," which is not a real creature, obviously), and they looked super rustic and like they should be in some sort of hunting cabin.  I knew that they had the potential to be fabulous though, so I snatched them up immediately.  I'm kicking myself for only buying one pair when there were about 4 pairs available, but I'm hoping to atone for that sin soon once I'm able to visit the store again.

The antlers were attached by 3 little nails, so I was able to separate the horns from the base easily.  I had a hard time deciding between three different color combos: pink base with white antlers, white base with gold antlers, and white base with pink antlers.  I settled on white base with gold antlers though, and I'm so glad I did.

This is the priming step.  Wood and bone/antlers soak up paint, so this is an essential step.

I used 2 coats of primer on both pieces, and then used a white lacquer spray paint on the base (3 coats because a weird pink hue kept showing through), and metallic gold spray paint on the antlers.  

I'm in love with the "after" antlers.  It's amazing what a little spray paint can do!

Don't you just love them?  I'm a little bit obsessed.  They just are so perfect in my gallery wall!

The "V" in the top left is an ongoing project.  It was orange but I primed it and haven't had a chance to do the finishing touches.

You'll have to forgive me because I'm falling into a bit of a spray painting craze right now (because I finally have time and outdoor space), so there will be quite a few upcoming makeovers that involve spray paint.  Stay tuned for more!  
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Life's a Beach

September 3, 2014
Hi everyone!  I'm back and I'm so sorry for dropping off for a while.  I was busy dealing with the move to the new apartment for two weeks, and then I went home to Atlanta to visit family and then on to Fripp Island, South Carolina where I closed on a house with my parents.  We are now the proud new owners of a beach house!  The house isn't really on the beach, but it's right on the golf course and just a half mile from the nearest beach access.  My family started going to Fripp Island when I was 2 years old, and we have visited almost every year since.  It's a controlled access island where most people ride around on golf carts and bicycles.  It doesn't have the putt-putt courses or tacky restaurants like many other vacation places, and our days there have always been filled with early morning coffee on the screened porch, hours spent on the beach, and then a delicious home cooked meal with the flavor of the low country.  While the sand and water aren't sparkly white and crystal clear like they are in the Gulf of Mexico, they do offer a wonderful place to run, and the vast, expansive Atlantic Ocean has always had a special place in my heart.  We are excited that after 25 years of visiting we finally own a little piece of (our) paradise.  

The home was built in the late 1990's...and definitely looks like it was.  It's all structurally sound, and the exterior is nice and beachy, but the inside definitely needs a bit of a facelift.  I'm beyond excited to focus on this new project of mine, and I will definitely document the budget-friendly redecorating process here on Life with a Dash of Whimsy.  For now though, here is a tour of the new beach house. 

I simply have no words for this...

Pirates and fake trees...

The dining set is actually rather nice and I like the back of the chairs.  It just needs some paint.

More fake plants.

A plaid couch at the beach.  This definitely needs a slipcover.

We are planning on painting the entire living/dining area gray.  It'll look SO much better.

There were figurines EVERYWHERE!

Beware of alligators!

With some turquoise paint and black and white striped fabric this chair will look great.

These formica countertops are green.  We are going to try to paint them because this green has got to go.  Cabinets will be painted white.  Walls will likely be some shade of turquoise.

Check out that bed skirt.

Green sink.  Not sure how to fix this cheaply...

Peachy overload in the master bedroom.

We are so very thankful that the furniture (and a golf cart!) was included in the contract, but it has a bit of a golfer's retreat motif at the moment, which just isn't our style.  Luckily a few layers of paint and a slip cover or two will easily transform the space.  We did have to get rid of lots of the knickknacks (and 10 dust-collecting fake plants and trees), but even those small changes made a huge difference.  I'll be back down in a few weeks to tackle some of the bigger projects, and I simply can't wait to put in some elbow grease and make this place our own.  I forgot to take pics of the front of the house and the large screened porch, so those will come later.  Oh and if you have any great ideas for cheap fixes please share!  

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