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Thursday, February 28, 2013

{Home Depot Challenge} Patio Progress

I mentioned last week that Home Depot asked me to participate in their Patio Challenge...and with the state of our backyard, that is a challenge of gigantic proportions. Okay, maybe that's a little dramatic. But to give you an idea of the work that lies ahead, this is the After shot...

 Hi Sugarplum | Patio Progress

"After what!?!?!" you're probably asking. After a full day of pruning, sweeping, digging and scrubbing! It was the necessary first step of preparing the backyard for whatever goodies Home Depot sends our way. You're welcome for sparing you the Before shots.

Hi Sugarplum | Patio Progress
Yes, the pergola is wonky. Yes, I want to replace it. No, it's not happening any time soon. Boo for budgets.
Even though I don't know what my new outdoor set will look like, I know I'm adding color to the backyard. Duh! Outdoor rugs are pretty easy to find, and fairly inexpensive, but I fell in love with this one from Ikea. (Can't find actual online, but this one is similar.)

Hi Sugarplum | Patio Progress

Problem is, it's a runner, and I need an area rug. But for only $10 each, that was a problem easily solved!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

{Outfit Inspiration} Muted Shades

Nevermind that it was 70-degrees two weeks ago. Texas decided to pretend it knows Winter, and we've had a few weeks of cold and gray days. Which is fine by me, I want it to be cold in the Winter, and hot in the Summer...none of this in-between business. I typically crave sunshine, but the muted tones of a gray Winter's day have been a nice change of pace lately.

Hi Sugarplum | Muted Shades of Winter outfit

This outfit contains a multitude of colors, but they are all subdued and roll together seamlessly. It's not about pairing lavender, chambray, mint and black...but keeping them all in the same hue intensity. A little convoluted maybe, but it works.

Hi Sugarplum | Muted Shades of Winter outfit

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Parade of New Rugs

Now don't get too excited...this isn't the kind of parade that involves marching bands and flying candy. But you do get to watch the procession from the comfort of your chair, and not perched on the street curb. If you recall, one of my 2013 Home Goals was to add more color to the Entrance Hall. Well, thanks to a Joss & Main impulse buy, we have color!

Hi Sugarplum | Rug Updates

The old rug was getting a little worn, but truthfully, with zebra in the Family Room, too, it was just too Madagascar around here for my taste. The Entrance Hall opens to the Living and Dining rooms, both of which have (or will have in the case of the Dining Room) red I thought a punchy red print would help to unify the three spaces.

Hi Sugarplum | Rug Updates

I wish the rug were a little larger, but $65 for this quality...I'll shut my pie-hole.

Hi Sugarplum | Rug Updates

Here's the Before & After for your evaluation...

Monday, February 25, 2013

Now I'm a Legit Blogger, Some Exciting News, & 7 Wardrobe Essentials

How about that for a reach-out-and-grab-you post title?! I thought it sounded better than, "A Whole Bunch of Important, But Random Shizz, All Rolled Into One Post." How about I stop rationalizing my poor title skills, and just jump right into the random pot I have for you today.

First was your weekend?! Ours was busy and fast-paced, and I think I started a bunch of projects, but didn't quite finish anything. You know the kind of weekend I'm talking about! My son has decided he's too cool old for his animal art wall, so we're giving his room a little tween update. Definitely not a makeover, just a few cosmetic changes.


One involves building an over-sized frame, so I popped over to my handy neighbor's...who happens to have every tool ever made...including this sweet saw thingie. After making miter cuts with a rusted old hand saw, I practically wept at the ease of this baby. Can you believe this was my first time using any kind of power tool, other than a drill?! What kind of sham DIY blogger am I?!


I also used a nail gun and a I'm officially too legit to quit! I think my neighbor just became my new best friend. Unless I scared him with my borderline-hysterical laugh/cry after every cut.


So on to the exciting news...I've been asked to speak on a panel at the Haven Conference in Atlanta this August! Obviously, it's not a session on power tools, or how to make anything with just a glue gun. I’ll be part of a group discussing social media, and can’t wait to meet the other bloggers who will be there. Are any of you planning to attend?!!!

Screen Shot 2012-12-26 at 11.15.23 AM

And finally, today I'm over at Carmel's blog, running my mouth about the Seven Wardrobe Essentials. I don't know why she asked me...the girl is gorgeous and has amazing style! But, I can't wait to follow her series all week, and read the secrets the other stylish bloggers dish out! Hop over to Our Fifth House to read my closet must-haves!

Happy Monday, friends!

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Friday Five

Hey, hey, hey!! We made it to the end of another week, and a whole glorious weekend lies ahead, so let's get to it with The Friday Five!

1) It's no secret I have a girl-crush on Lauren from Aspiring Kennedy. I am so jealous of her ex-pat life, and love reading about her travels and adventures. And thanks to her Apartment Therapy House Tour this week, now I can picture her life in the adorable Notting Hill flat she shares with her cute hubby. I mean really, a flat in Notting Hill? Could life be any sweeter?!


2) I've touched on this topic before, with my Letter from the Editor, but if you blog long enough, eventually financial opportunities will come your way. It's a delicate line to walk between creativity and entrepreneurship. (Wow, that may well be the biggest word ever used on Hi Sugarplum!, and thank goodness spell-check knew what I was trying to say!) But as many of you comment on, it does take a lot of work, time, and money to crank out five posts a week, chock-full of projects and ideas. Erin really explained it well in her Business of Blogging post. I love every aspect of blogging, and you can trust that my voice and opinions are, and will remain, 100% my own.


3) My aunt recently discovered Askanam on Etsy, an adorable custom cookie shop. Or should I say shoppe? Her natural and organic cookies are pure art...makes me want to throw a party just so I can use those mustaches!


She has a blog, too, where she shares amazing ideas like this Fourth of July cake. Kind of puts my Rainbow Cake to shame!

4) This image from C. Wonder (the affordable brainchild of Tory Burch's ex-hubby), has me excited for Spring! I need one of each, please, Fairy Godmother!

C. Wonder Shades of Spring

5) And finally, speaking of Spring....Home Depot asked me to participate in their Blogger Style Challenge: Patio Edition....and if you could see my patio right now, you'd know what a real challenge this will be! Hopefully we get some Spring temperatures this weekend so Mr. Sugarplum we can begin the clean-up. Here's a peek from last year's challenge....just so you know the uphill battle we're facing!

Colorful pillows on the Clifton 6-Piece Chat Set

Wow, a lot of ramblings today. What's rattling around in your head? Is your backyard a dead tumbleweed, too? What are your thoughts about bloggers making money? Happy weekend, lovebugs!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

{Smitten} Readers Digest Books

Over the years, I've read posts by all the lucky souls who've "stumbled upon" a small stack of the lovely Readers Digest books. But anytime I spotted them out, they were just plain, dark covers. Until a recent stop at Half-Price Books...when I became one of the lucky ducks! I am {Smitten} by these pretty, inexpensive books, and the layer they add to our Living Room.

Hi Sugarplum | Readers Digest Books

We stopped by the bookstore one night, and as always, I asked if they had any Readers Digest books. I tried to play it cool when he brought out an entire box from the back...but I'm sure my attempt just looked like constipation. At only $1 each, it was hard to not bring home the entire box.

 Hi Sugarplum | Readers Digest Books

I did get a funny look from Mr. Sugarplum when I met him at the register with my pile of books.
Mr. SP: Are you getting all those books?
Me: (beaming) Yes! Aren't they pretty?! Only $1!
Mr. SP: What stories are they?
Me: You don't actually read them, duh!
Mr. SP: (blank stare)
Me: The covers are cool and they'll look good in our bookcases and secretary!
Mr. Sp: (blank stare, with flashes of fear for my sanity)
Me: Whatever. Do you have your credit card?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

{DIY} Herringbone Basket

There may have been an official reveal on Babygirl's Room, but that doesn't mean it was done. No room is really ever complete in my house...because what fun would that be?! My idea of a fun Saturday morning is moving rugs from room-to-room, and playing musical lamps and furniture. Although, it's safe to say the yellow highboy will never live anywhere but in my daughter's room. As long as it's yellow anyway.

Hi Sugarplum | Herringbone Basket

See that random basket stuck under the cheery highboy? We were having a problem with shoes scattered all over the floor, so I dug this basket out of the garage to help corral them. So the shoes were no longer a problem, but that eyesore of a basket was.

Since it's a kid's room, I decided to try out a herringbone pattern for fun. First tape vertical stripes around the basket.

Hi Sugarplum | Herringbone Basket

Then connect them with small strips of tape, placed diagonally. If this were a wall or piece of furniture, I'd measure it out and be more exact. But this is a basket. For stinky kid shoes. No measuring necessary.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

How To Make Labels in PicMonkey

Thanks for the love on our new matchstick blinds yesterday! It appears there's also a lot of interest in Phoebe, our new Fiddle Leaf I'm planning a post on my tips for not killing them in the first month.

When I showed you the newly organized Kid's Bathroom, many of you commented on the labels. So, today I've got a simple tutorial I thought might be helpful for those of you who agree labels are one of life's necessities.

Hi Sugarplum | How To Create Free Labels

Sure you can find cute labels for purchase, but they can be pricey, and aren't always the size or color you need. Using this FREE method, all you need is a package of these full-sheet labels and PicMonkey.

Monday, February 18, 2013

{Family Room} Adding Matchsticks

Hello friends, and Happy Monday to you! I hope you all had a most marvelous weekend. Our kids were on sleepovers, so Mr. Sugarplum and I had some good grown-up time. Do you have a strong urge to use every bad word in your vocabulary when your kids aren't around, or do I just have an affinity for the F-word?! I drug Mr. SP jean shopping with me, but came up empty-handed. Maybe it's because we'd just inhaled a platter of tacos and cheese dip. Mexican food and dressing rooms are not a good mix.

You probably think I forgot about the Family Room makeover, since the last update to the project list was in November! Or maybe you forgot we were even giving the Family Room a makeover?! Click here for the progress so far. We'll wait while you catch up.

Next on the list was addressing the windows. They have standard faux-wood blinds on them for privacy, but look like someone waxed off their eyebrows.

hi sugarplum den (2)

Curtains were out of the question since the sofa backs up against the windows. I toyed with the idea of making pelmet boxes like in Babygirl's Room, but in the end, decided the room needed some texture, and it's hard to beat inexpensive matchstick blinds.

Hi Sugarplum | Matchstick Blinds

The ceiling is a high pitch, so I mounted the blinds outside the windows, and 8-inches above the inset, so they'd appear taller.

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Friday Five

Hey, hey, hey...Happy Friday! Is this the start of a long weekend for any of you lucky ducks? I'm not off Monday for President's Day, but the kids are...which means sleepovers for them...and date night for us!! Woot, Woot! My brain is all over the place, per usual, so here's a random Friday Five of happenings around here.

1) A $200 gift card I received for Christmas has been burning a hole in my pocket, but I'm hoarding it like a Lohan does hair extensions. I keep waiting for the perfect thing to come along. Something I just have to have, but would never actually buy for myself. Right now, the  Madewell Transport Tote is top of my list. Did I mention it can be monogrammed, mom? This looks like one of those bags that just looks better with age. Unlike the ones under my eyes.

The Transport Tote 

2) I did a little closet purging, and finally let go of some jeans that I had no business trying to wear. I have a few pairs of these skinnies, which I love, but I'm not sure are completely flattering on my shape. I'm ready to go back to the days of slimming dark denim, with a hips-forgiving bootcut. The Hudson Signature Bootcut Jeans are on my radar, but I'm not sure if the flap pocket is a good or bad thing, cause this baby got back.Cute, aren't they?!

Hudson Jeans Signature Flap Pocket Bootcut Jeans (Savage)

3) Are you watching The Bachelor this season? I usually wait until only a few girls are left, but jumped on board early this season since Sean is a Dallas boy. How cute was his sister, Shay, on this week's episode? Did you know she has a blog, Mix and Match Family, and totally dishes all the behind-the-scenes stuff on her brother?! Oh yeah, totally fun to read.

And to make the world even smaller, my friend Sheaffer at Pinterest Told Me To is Shay's BFF. Sheaffer is a hoot-and-a-half, and writes the funniest Bachelor recaps. Even if you don't watch the show, you'll be laughing at all the crazy she dishes on!

4) Don't forget the Charles Emerson Designs discount code expires tomorrow, as does the giveaway for this fabulous J.Crew-esque bracelet! The Zabby scarf and Nicole bracelet are on their way to me. Happy Valentines, Cassie. Why thank you, Cassie!

Charles Emerson

5) And finally, a huge Texas Welcome to my newest sponsors, A Girl Named Gay and Smart, Blonde & Crafty; and welcome back to Quality Bath. I know ads are a touchy subject for readers and bloggers, but they are essential to my Project Fund! And more funds mean more, right?! Go check them out this weekend!

A Girl Named Gay



So what randomness is running around your brain this Friday? I'd love to know your favorite brand and fit of jeans. I have a pair from Old Navy that are perfection, but of course they aren't available any longer. Are you over the muffin top, too? What would you buy with an extra $200? Happy weekend, lovebugs!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

20 Heart-Shaped Food Ideas

Happy Valentine's Day, my sweets! We don't have any elaborate plans for the day, just quiet family time at home. I'd like dinner to be a little special though, so I rounded up some sweet heart-shaped food ideas. I'll probably go for something as simple as grilled cheese sandwiches...but cut in the shape of a heart, who can resist?!

Heart Shaped Food Ideas


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17 Heart Shaped Food Ideas for Valentines Day


Check out my Whoopie Pies, Cookies on a Stick, and Linzer Heart Cookies for more heart and food combinations. And while the Cinnamon Roll Waffles aren't heart-shaped, they are practically impossible to deny. Breakfast for dinner, anyone?! 

Whatever your plans, if you celebrate or not, I hope your day is full of sweet! And to my Mr. Sugarplum...

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