Painting! with Benjamin Moore

During our long house search, my mom and I often day dreamed and talked about how much fun it would be to paint our new house. And now we are there! LIVING THAT DREAM! The previous owners of our home liked dark colors which are not us at all. We have not been able to wait to start brightening the place up! Moving and unpacking and then emptying storage units and other life stuff delayed us from getting started but now we are! Thankfully the previous owners did paint almost all of the woodwork, paneling and kitchen cabinets white so we don’t have to worry about that (except for what will be our family room which does have some dark paneling we have to tackle. I’ll take you along on that journey as well! That room is going to be TRANSFORMED!).

We went to our favorite local hardware store and got some advice on how best to proceed with the painting of the dark walls. They recommended putting a coat of primer on the walls first because the previous colors are so dark. Then we spent a good amount of time on Saturday morning trying to match the white paint of our kitchen cabinets with a Benjamin Moore paint. We brought a kitchen drawer to the hardware store with us so they could use their magical color matching device. The first time it read a green-hued white which just was not right. The man who worked there (a very nice, informative man named Bob) then further wiped the drawer to try to get a more accurate read. This next time, it picked colors closer to the drawer color but still not right- too much purple and gray this time.

Bob said there are 10,000 shades of white paint available! I’m not sure if that was hyperbole or accurate but there are for sure A LOT to choose from. Benjamin Moore “Super White” was the closest in my eye to our existing white paint. Bob then suggested we take a look at “Chantilly Lace” as it is a very popular white and often people choose between “Super White” and “Chantilly Lace”. Well, we instantly loved “Chantilly Lace”. It had that little bit of warmth that we were looking for without it being too yellow or off-white. We were sold! With Bob’s help we decided on an eggshell finish for the walls in “Chantilly Lace” and one gallon of semi-gloss “Super White” for our kitchen cabinet interiors which the previous owners had not painted.

We left there two very happy campers. The sun was shining, the air was brisk, we had the whole day ahead of us to get started – BLISS!!

Paint journey to be continued…

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Baking!

I’ve baked up quite a bit this week.

  1. I made Christmas blondies for church. They were fantastic chock full of oreos, m&ms and chocolate chips. There weren’t any left at the end of coffee break.
  2. I made sugar cookies with my nephews with the molds that we used when I was a little girl. We then frosted them and added red and green sugars.
  3. I then made “Mischief Munch” with my nephews. It is reportedly one of the Elf on the Shelf’s favorites. It is now one of ours too! Very yummy!IMG_3706
  4. The boys and I made Christmas tree brownies and decorated them. I love these! I made them last year too and they are so much fun!IMG_3716I have plans for a lot more baking this week and next! I’d like to make gingerbread men, candy, peppermint bark and possibly a yule log. I LOVE CHRISTMAS and don’t want it to ever end!!

New House!

We officially got our new house yesterday and it is so exciting! We are busily moving boxes around and working on getting some Christmas decorations up in the new place. We are delaying our actual family Christmas celebration a bit until we are somewhat settled in. Here is our new mantel with a bit of Christmas added! It is all very exciting. 1B789570-8187-40B9-9FFF-0CC4EC89C028I also still have a lot on my Christmas activities list for this year. Some of the things on the list include: getting some fresh greens and wreaths and a second Christmas tree for the new home, finishing up my shopping at the mall – peppermint mocha in hand, driving by and seeing some awe-inspiring lights displays nearby (Christmas lights are one of the things that make me happiest in life :)), going to a carol service…quite a long list actually while also unpacking, organizing, etc.. It’s a lot but it’s a lot of good things!

I will chronicle our move and the painting and decorating that will be taking place in the new house here on the blog. Stay tuned!

 

 

“Christmas Pen Pals”

Ok, so this movie wasn’t actually on Hallmark. I have ventured forth into Lifetime Christmas movies a bit this year. “Christmas Pen Pals” was fantastic. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it left me with such a warm, happy feeling.

Niall Matter (who all Hallmark fans will recognize from the “Finding Father Christmas” series as well as “When Calls the Heart” and other movies) and Sarah Drew starred in it. They were both so lovable and endearing in this. Sarah portrayed her character, Hannah’s vulnerability and pain so beautifully and Niall likewise did the same with his character. This was my favorite performance of his that I’ve seen. His face was so sweet and loving when he interacted with Hannah and it conveyed so much.

The story revolves around their town bringing back a tradition from the 1940s where people would be paired up with a secret pen pal around the holidays. They would use code names and write to each other in the week’s leading up to Christmas. As this is going on, Hannah and Sam are spending time together again having previously dated for four years in high school and college. There is also the story line of Hannah’s family’s loss of her mom and all of their pain which is portrayed and handled really heartbreaking-ly beautifully.

All of the story lines are weaved together seamlessly. It is a well written, beautifully acted story and I will be saving it on my DVR to watch again!

Moving at Christmas

As we are about a week away from moving, we are in full packing mode as can be seen below. Moving at Christmas is for sure a memory that we will always hold close to our hearts. A time when the dream home entered our lives and even amidst all the busy-ness of this season, the holidays add a special sparkle to the experience.

 

“Christmas on Honeysuckle Lane”

This is my review of Hallmark Movie & Mysteries “Christmas on Honeysuckle Lane.” First of all, great title! Honeysuckle Lane is where the the main character Emma (played by Alicia Witt) and her two siblings grew up in a beautiful, large Victorian home. Their parents who are now sadly both deceased, grew up in this town and raised their family there. This film was beautifully shot – I loved the colors and the contrasts between the snow and the depth of the other colors. It had a distinct, different look to it from other movies.

Alicia Witt is so good in this. I always love her Christmas movies. She always plays her characters with vulnerability, kindness and real likability. She meets Morgan, the antique dealer in town and they quickly move from some initial animosity to becoming partners in many things. I loved the easy rapport between them and Colin Ferguson’s portrayal of Morgan as a quiet, solid, steady presence.

The primary drama in the movie is what Emma will do – return to the big city or relocate back to the small town where she grew up. Her decision in the end is just right and exactly what this viewer wanted it to be. I won’t spoil the ending in case anyone hasn’t seen it yet.

I highly recommend “Christmas on Honeysuckle Lane”. This one is also ripe for a sequel in my opinion 🙂

Until the next review!

“A Godwink Christmas” review

The second installment of my Hallmark movie review is of “A Godwink Christmas”. This beautiful tale had a special sparkle to it, being set in Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. Being a New Englander who has been to and loves Martha’s Vineyard, having this movie have a quintessential New England feel was lovely. A New England Christmas has a special EVERYTHING about it.  I’m a lucky girl to have experienced it all my life.

I’ve read some of the Godwink books and they are really beautiful stories of God orchestrating events in people’s lives in remarkable ways. I have been a fan of Kathie Lee Gifford since I was a child, watching her and Regis regularly with my mom. We were very excited when we heard that she was going to be in this movie.

So it was with high expectations that we sat down to watch “A Godwink Christmas” and I have to say none of the aforementioned things disappointed in any way. The set was gorgeous and stunning and captured New England charm. The story of God bringing Paula and Gary together was sweet and very well told. And Kathie Lee’s character was a delight and the warm heart of the movie.

The main actors were superb – Kimberley Sustad and Paul Campbell were natural, real, down to earth, heartbreaking and funny.

There were a few inconsistencies or oddities in events that I think could have been corrected or ironed out Those things can bug me in movies but they didn’t take away from the beauty of this movie.

Paula’s complex and confusing emotions are beautifully portrayed and Gary’s emotional openness is lovely.  It was a really well made, beautiful in every way movie and I would love to see the sequel where Paula owns the antique store a short walk down the road from the Charlotte Inn that she and Gary now run together.

One last note: being a true story, they showed the real life Charlotte Inn and real life Gary and Paula at the end which was a great touch!

Stay tuned for my next Hallmark movie review. I’m also going to be starting a new series chronicling my family’s and my move into our new home. We are moving before Christmas! It’s all come together very quickly all of a sudden and it is EXCITING!!

Talk soon!

Moving!

We are moving!!! After a very long, extensive search for just the right  home and three almost-purchases this summer that didn’t end up working for various reasons, we have found our own little piece of heaven in our wonderful town. And at Christmas time no less! It being the holiday season has added a whole other level of magic to the experience. Chaotic magic, but magic none-the-less! 🙂 I will be documenting the moving, painting and decorating process on the blog!

A Very Hallmark Christmas

Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries get me, they really get me.  Not only do they premiere over 20 new Christmas movies every year, but they start to air them in late October! This is the stuff that my dreams are made of. I actually like to credit Hallmark with the fact that stores and people seem to be decorating for Christmas earlier every year.

My mother and I devotedly watch every premiere Hallmark Christmas movie every year. It is a highlight of our year in fact. A personal dream of ours is to one day appear in a Hallmark Christmas movie, even if only as an extra. These movies transport us to a different place. They are like two hours of living in a mug of hot chocolate or a human-size gingerbread house. The coziness is unparalleled.  I love the fact that the actors are most of the time familiar faces from previous years’ Christmas movies. It all creates such a feeling of home, comfort, warmth and joy.

I’ve decided this year to write up my own recaps and reviews of the movies as I watch them. I have to admit, I’m a bit behind but I have the seven that have aired so far on my DVR and so will catch up quickly. I will be honest in these reviews. If I don’t particularly like one of the movies, I will say it. (Hello, “Christmas Festival of Ice” from last year.)

My first review will be of the first movie to air this season, “Christmas at Pemberley Manor”.  Ok, so let’s just start with the fact that not only is this a Hallmark Christmas movie but it is a Hallmark Christmas movie roughly based on Jane Austen’s “Pride & Prejudice”. I mean how much better could anything get?!?! The movie is set around the small town of Lambdon, Connecticut’s annual Christmas Fair. (After watching this movie, I want my town to start a Christmas Fair. Gonna see what I can do about that for next year :)). The newly minted town mayor calls in his old friend and still-crush, Elizabeth Bennett to organize the Fair. She works for an event planning company. Mr. William Darcy just so happens to be arriving back in Lambdon to sell his uncle’s family home, Pemberley Manor. The town doesn’t want Pemberley sold but Mr. Darcy is a bottom-line kind of guy, committed to pretty much only his work and is going to go ahead with the sale. Pemberley Manor is a character in this story. The location scouts picked an absolute stunning and very authentically New England-looking home for it.

One thing I especially appreciate about this movie is that the initial friction and combativeness that most heroines and heroes start out with in romantic movies wasn’t really there in this one. There was a moment of it but it was soft and the characters were still kind and respectful and for most of the movie, there was only genuine warmth and kindness between them. A lot of that is due to the superb performance by Michael Rady. His Mr. Darcy could have gone either way. He could have chosen to say the same lines as an aloof and unfeeling man but he infused his dialogue with a true warmth and goodness. His eyes alone conveyed and held so much emotion. He was so like-able and really made this movie for me. (Side note: He was also excellent in “A Joyous Christmas” last year on Hallmark).

The drama that was created to create a barrier to the two protagonists getting together was handled well, it wasn’t too far-fetched or ridiculous as it sometimes can be. I give really high marks to this movie. It is a really beautiful, sweet story. Hallmark started its Christmas season off with a bang. I’m hoping there’ll be a sequel to “Christmas at Pemberley Manor” next year where we get to see what Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy have done with the house. In my mind they live there year-round and Elizabeth runs her own event planning business out of the home!

Stay tuned for my next review!