Thrift store dresser redo with paint and stencils

A few years ago, I bought this wooden dresser at a thrift store for $80.

Original

The picture was taken after I had already removed most of the drawers and started stripping off the finish. I have to admit, $80 is a little salty for me for a thrift store purchase. But this was a solid wood piece in great condition, made in the U.S.A, with dovetail drawer construction.

I knew it would work perfectly as a buffet in our dining room, so I immediately stained the piece to match my table and chairs.

Buffet with lampsFast forward to last week. I was feeling like that dresser was looking a bit dark and heavy in the room. So I decided to give it a second makeover, because I’m crazy like that. ;)

I scrubbed the dresser and drawers down with a deglosser first to help remove any wax residue and prepare the wood to take paint.

Paint-deglosser

For this project, I used Americana® Decor™ Chalky Finish paint. I chose a mixture of two parts Lace to one part Everlasting.

Americana-Decor-Chalky-Finish

I applied the paint using my HomeRight® Finish Max Pro Fine Finish Sprayer, giving everything two coats of the chalky finish paint.

HomeRight-FinishMax-Pro-on-buffet

I’m notorious for grabbing whatever is within reach to help me out. ;)

Wrapping-paper-as-paint-blocker

After the paint dried, I used my orbital sander to smooth out any rough spots and give the edges a distressed look.

Distressed-buffet

In addition to not requiring primer, I’m impressed with how beautifully this chalky finish paint sands down. The finish on this piece was as smooth as glass when I was done.

The next step took my distressed dresser from a furniture piece to a work of art.

I mixed up equal parts of Americana Multi-Surface Metallic™ paint colors in Chocolate, Champagne and Gold. (Americana Multi-Surface paint is available at Michaels.)

Americana-Multi-surface-Metallic

I chose the Royal Design Studio Springtime in Paris stencil, placing the dresser on its back so I could easily lay out the stencil pattern and apply the multi-surface paint. This paint will adhere directly to most surfaces and is self-sealing.

Stenciling-drawer-fronts

Here’s a look at the piece after it was stenciled.

Finished-stenciled-buffet

I applied a coat of clear creme wax to protect the finish and waited for that to dry.

Americana-Decor-Creme-Wax

Finally, I buffed the piece with a soft cloth and reattached all the hardware. Done!

Springtime-in-Paris-stencil-on-dresser

Royal-Design-Studio-stenciled-buffet

Springtime-in-Paris-Royal-Design-Studio-stencil

Springtime-in-Paris-stenciled-buffet

I think this “‘new” buffet helps to brighten up the dining room a lot. What do you think?

Don’t forget to visit the DecoArt® Multi-Surface website for more crafting ideas and inspiration.

Special thanks to the folks at DecoArt for sponsoring this post and providing the paint needed to complete this project. As always, all opinions – and sweat equity – are 100 percent mine. 

Quick and healthy breakfast meals

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council. I received a stipend to facilitate my purchase for my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Like about 99 percent of you out there, one of my goals this year is to make healthier food choices for our family. Breakfast is a particularly tricky meal because everyone is scrambling to get ready and we don’t have a lot of time for a hot breakfast.

Plus, I’ve mentioned a few times on this blog that I would rather stick a hot fire poker in my eyeball than get up super early, so it’s safe to say that 6:30 a.m. is not exactly the time of day when I’m feeling like Betty Crocker.

But I still want to make sure we get a nutritious start to our day. And I know I need to begin by making Little Changes. So I’ve been on the lookout for easy-to-prepare, ‘super foods’ that we can get into our tummies quickly in the morning.

If you’re not familiar with the term ‘superfood,’ it describes an unprocessed, natural food that is packed with vitamins and antioxidants powerful enough to help lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, and even put you in a better mood – all with zero negative side effects.

One superfood our whole family absolutely loves – and one I’ve been adding to our breakfast meals every day – is blueberries.

Blueberries

According to a recent WebMD article, blueberries are packed with antioxidants and phytoflavinoids, and are also high in potassium and vitamin C, making them the top choice of doctors and nutritionists. Not only can they lower your risk of heart disease and cancer, they are also anti-inflammatory. Inflammation is a key driver of all chronic diseases.

Today I thought I’d share with you some super easy, quick and healthy breakfast meals I’m making right now that incorporate blueberries. If I can whip these recipes up in the morning, anyone can. :)

1. Blueberry apple sandwich (Prep time: Less than 5 minutes)

Blueberry-apple-sandwich

Cut an apple in half and remove the seeds and core. Spread the two halves with peanut butter and add a layer of blueberries. Done! The 2-year old tends to eat the blueberries first and then ask for more to be added before he gets to the rest of his “sandwich.” :)

2. Blueberry green smoothie (Prep time: 5 minutes)

Smoothie-ingredients

I think people shy away from making smoothies in the morning because they believe they need to be overly complicated and mixed precisely to taste good. Not true! I absolutely love making smoothies because I keep the same, simple key ingredients on hand and don’t measure anything. Smoothies can be one of the quickest and healthiest breakfast choices you can make.

To build a smoothie that is truly nutritious, you’ll want to keep the sugar content low and the vitamins and minerals high. Here’s my favorite combination:

Base: Coconut milk (about 1 cup) and a dollop of vanilla yogurt (Greek offers a higher boost of protein.)

Fruits and veggies: Baby spinach (2 cups), frozen blueberries (1 cup), and an apple (seeded and cored with skin left on)

Blueberry-smoothie

If it’s too thick, I’ll add a splash of water. This smoothie is sweet enough on its own; I do not add sweetener. My kids love this stuff and I feel good knowing we’re getting a nutritious breakfast, even if it’s in a glass.

3. Blueberries on yogurt and egg-white scramble with whole wheat toast (Prep time: Less than 10 minutes)

Blueberries-yogurt-and-egg-white-scramble

This meal sounds like something fancy you’d order at a restaurant, but it is so easy to prepare. It’s simply a cup of Greek yogurt topped with fresh blueberries alongside scrambled eggs (yolks removed before cooking) and a piece of whole wheat toast.  

To jazz up the egg-white scramble, I add a few sprinkles of salt/pepper, chives and cilantro while they’re cooking. Perfection!

4. Slow cooker blueberry crisp (Prep time: Less than 10 minutes)

Slowcooker-blueberry-crispI originally got this recipe from Tiffany at Eat at Home. I modified it for breakfast using yogurt as a topping.

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz. frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • ½ cup pecan pieces
  • ½ cup almond meal (I found this at my local health food store.)
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 5 Tbs. butter, softened

Directions: Spray the inside of the crock with cooking spray. Place blueberries in the bottom of the crock (no need to thaw). Stir together oats, pecans, salt and almond meal (whole wheat flour or oats ground fine may be substituted for almond meal).

Slow-cooker-blueberry-crisp-ingredients

Add honey and softened butter, using a fork to make crumbles. Loosely crumble the topping over the blueberries.

Slow-cooker-with-blueberry-crisp

Cover and cook 3-5 hours on low.

Serve warm topped with vanilla yogurt.

Cooked-blueberry-crisp

A crock pot with a timer is a perfect way to have this recipe ready to serve in the morning. Or make it the evening prior and heat it up in the morning.

Again, please remember I must make food that small children will eat. All these recipes are kid-tested and approved. And they help us take baby steps toward eating healthier.

Smaller things like drinking more water or incorporating more blueberries into our
diets are Little Changes we can make to live healthier in 2015 and beyond. Thanks to our friends in South America, blueberries are in season all year round. Here are a few more fun facts about blueberries:

  • The domestic blueberry season runs from April to September, and once that wraps up, imports from Chile, Peru and Argentina start flowing in. So you can always find juicy, plump blueberries in the supermarket just like you do all summer.
  • Other forms of blueberries are great, too. You can stock up on frozen or freeze-dried berries to use when you can’t get to the store to buy fresh.
  • Blueberries have just 80 calories per serving (1 cup).
  • With 3.6 grams of fiber per serving, blueberries help meet your daily recommended intake of fiber.
  • Blueberries contribute vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, vitamin K and manganese.

The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council website offers a variety of tips on how to make eating blueberries a part of your lifestyle as well as a slew of recipes incorporating blueberries, which can be found here.

Plus, right now the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council is hosting a sweepstakes through which you can enter to win a trip for two to Los Angeles for the Little Changes Kitchen Challenge alongside actress, author and TV host Alison Sweeney.

  • Runners up may win one of four $500 Whole Foods or Lululemon gift cards for a
    refreshed pantry or workout wardrobe. Choose little, win BIG. Hurry! Sweepstakes are open now through Feb. 16.
  • Enter to win here!

Help for the chronically disorganized (like me)

It never fails. After Christmas, I have this feeling of being overwhelmed by “stuff,” followed by the need to clean and organize everything. Maybe it’s the excess we experience over the holidays; maybe it’s the start of the new year. Whatever the reason, come Jan. 1 I am ready to get.it.together!

Maybe you feel this way, too. In fact, maybe this feeling plagues you all year round.

How do you know if disorganization is negatively affecting your life? If you answer “Yes” to any of the following questions, you need an organizing “life raft” thrown your way. (Good news! I’ve got one.) ;)

  1. Do you often feel like your finances, schedule and even your thoughts are out of control?
  2. Does the clutter and chaos in your home give you stress and anxiety when what you really seek is joy, peace and rest?
  3. Do you feel like your family’s health and well-being are suffering due to a lack of organization?

I can totally relate. For many years, I tried without success to keep myself organized. I’d do well for awhile then “fall off the wagon.” Things would pile up and my schedule, home and life would spiral out of control again.

I had trouble keeping track of stuff, trouble getting projects done on time, and trouble keeping anything neat for very long. I’d vow to do better next time. I’d embark on one epic cleaning and organizing binge after another, and the cycle of struggling would continue.

It wasn’t until I was injured by the clutter in my own home – yes, I was physically injured by my own mess – that I was ready to do whatever it took to get organized for real.

I started to get serious about finding organizing solutions that really worked for chronically messy and busy moms like me.

I discovered that if I regularly practiced a few basic strategies in five key areas of organization, everything else in my life seemed to fall into relatively good order. I began to experience lasting joy and peace, and I even started noticing that my home seemed more comfortable and my family was happier, too.

I shared my tips with friends and family members and they encouraged me to write a book about them. So in an effort to help others like me keep their crazy busy lives organized, I wrote the electronic book, “Organized for Real: How to Conquer Life’s Top 5 Chaos Hotspots.”

Book-cover-low-res

This super-affordable e-book is jam-packed with 76 pages of helpful (and practical) information about how to organize your mind, your schedule, your food, your finances and your home. And it is available for purchase today! I am so excited about this e-book because I truly believe it will be life-changing for many of you. The principles in this book have rocked my world!

To find out more details about the book, check out the brief video below:

To get your copy of my e-book, “Organized for Real: How to Conquer Life’s Top 5 Chaos Hotspots” and start creating the margin and beauty in your life that you crave, click the button below. Note: This e-book is currently on discount at 50 percent off for a limited time! Be sure to snag your copy now.

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