16 Modern Lights Under $100 @themerrythoughtAfter basically ten thousand months of talking about finishing up the living room, I’m finally in the end phases. Yes! I have a few more items getting delivered and I just need to decide on a ceiling light. I have a few that I just can’t decide between! Either way – as I’ve been searching for light options online I’ve come up with a big collection of pretty amazing lights – many of which won’t work for this specific space, sadly. So I decided to share a bunch of affordable lights that I found in my hours of searching in case any of you are in the market for new lighting!

1. Brass Sputnik Chandelier $96
2. Gold Sconce with Glass Shade $59
3. Matte Black 5-Light Chandelier $69
4. Black & Gold Mid-Century Sconce $89
5. Bell Black Flush Mount $59
6. Brass with Blown Glass Shade $59
7. Three Bulb Pendant $49
8. Brass & Black Mid-Century Sconce $95
9. Geo Crystal Pendant $69
10. Sculptural Glass Geo Pendant $79
11. White Glass & Brass Globe $98
12. Matte Black Wall Sconce $89
13. Vintage Metal & Glass Ceiling Light $59
14. Black Globe Wall Sconce $72
15. Brass Two-Light Bar $76
16. Wood & Cream Pendant $69

If you have any great (cheap) ceiling light options for a living room – send them my way!



Gin Maple AffogatoIf you’re new around here, let me introduce you to two of my favs – coffee and ice cream. My friends refer to me as a coffee snob, and I’ll own up to that. 😉 It started about 5 years ago with Mike roasting our coffee at home. And it really is the best. Except now it’s hard to get good coffee when I’m out and about, because I know what good coffee is. And most places just don’t have that. Luckily we also live right outside of Rochester (NY) and it happens to be filled with some amazing coffee roasters and shops! When Mike & I go on dates in the city, it almost always includes a stop at Joe Bean. This is where I first realized that coffee was good black. Because really good coffee is. (Confession: I do usually drink mine with half & half, I like the creamier texture it gives the coffee). A couple weeks ago, Joe Bean sent us some Gin Barrel Don Roger coffee to try out. It’s got a really unique flavor (it’s my brother-in-law’s favorite coffee of theirs, he was a very willing taste-tester when I invited them over for affogatos) and I thought it would be perfect paired with my other fav – ice cream! And it is. A scoop of creamy gelato, a little maple syrup and hot espresso made from the gin barrel coffee are the perfect treat! We liked it with Breyers vanilla caramel gelato, but you could just use vanilla ice cream if you can’t get your hands on gelato. I added a little bit of warmed maple syrup to pick up on the maple notes in the coffee. Espresso is best for affogatos, but you can sub strong coffee if you don’t have an espresso machine (we do have an espresso machine and used that – but I also couldn’t resist featuring my tiny french press for the photo shoot, so that’s why it’s in the photos). And Joe Bean does sell online & ship – so you can buy yourself this blend!Gin Maple AffogatoGin Maple Affogato

Gin Maple Affogato
Gin Maple Affogato

A simple dessert featuring gin barrel coffee, maple syrup and creamy gelato. 

Course: Dessert
  • 1 scoop gelato (we like it with Breyers vanilla caramel gelato)
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup - warmed
  • 1 shot espresso - made with Joe Bean Citrus Gin Barrel Coffee (you could also use strong coffee if you don't have an espresso machine)
  1. Place scoop of gelato in a small bowl or coffee cup.  

  2. Pour maple syrup and espresso over gelato. 

  3. Enjoy immediately!

Gin Maple Affogato


coffee c/o Joe Bean Coffee Roasters

  • Wednesday, February 21, 2018 - 9:10 pm

    madalin - This looks amazing! I will definitely give it a try!


DIY Dowel Wall HooksWe’re working on getting the boys room finished up and have just a few projects left. When we added the bathroom upstairs, what was once the closet in the boys room became the new bathroom. So we had to rebuild a closet for their room. I didn’t want the closet to take up too much space in their room, but also didn’t want dressers in the room either – so we’ve had to be creative with storage space. (And also worked hard on minimizing the amount of clothes they had!) I thought this space right inside the door would be perfect for some hooks to hang hoodies and hats. Easy to grab as they’re leaving the room and hopefully will encourage them to actually hang things up and not scatter everything around the room!
These hooks are similar to our towel hooks in the bathroom – I’m into the simple, wooden wall hooks. And with just a couple cuts, drilling a hole, and putting in a screw, you’ve got some stylish wall hooks. We left ours natural wood – I loved the wood. If you’re not going to paint them, I recommend looking for a dowel with nice coloring and grain (we found ours at Home Depot).DIY Dowel Wall HooksDIY Dowel Wall HooksMaterials:

– 1-1/4-inch wood dowel
– mitre box
– sand paper
– drill + drill bit
– pliers
– 1/4” x 2” dowel screw
– 5/16” drywall anchorDIY Dowel Wall Hooks

Using the mitre box set at a 30 degree angle, cut the end of the dowel off.

Slide the dowel down, keeping the same orientation until it will be the length you want when you cut it, cut it. (We made ours 2-1/4” from the point of the angled end to the short end of the other angle).

Sand hooks.

Using a 3/16” drill bit, drill a hole about 3/8” down from the top of the flat end that will go against the wall; drill it perpendicular to the back and about 1” deep.

Using pliers, screw the dowel screw in about half way.

The next steps are for installing the hooks where there is no stud (if there is a stud, drill hole into stud and screw hook directly into hole):

Pre-screw the drywall anchor onto the screw (because the dowel screw is slightly bigger than the screw that comes with the drywall anchor).

Drill a 5/16” hole in the wall where you want the hook to go; install the drywall anchor.

Screw the hook into the drywall anchor.DIY Dowel Wall HooksDIY Dowel Wall HooksDIY Dowel Wall HooksHoping to have the last few projects in their room finished soon and then can show the whole room! Check out the other room DIYs we’ve shared: DIY Wood Book Shelves | DIY Live Edge Wood Desk | DIY Rattan Light | DIY Hanging Paper Roll.



DIY: How to do an Herbal Facial Steam @themerrythoughtI’m finally feeling back to normal after a couple weeks of an annoying cold… you know the ones where you aren’t sick enough to justify lying in bed all day but just sick enough to constantly be aware of how uncomfortable you are. Ha! During the worst of it, I was trying out a few different “recipes” for doing herbal facial steams at home before bed when I felt super congested. I have a little foot bath thing that I soak my feet in at least two times each week during the winter because I can’t commit to a full on bath every night and I think these steams might be in the regular rotation too now. It makes your skin feel amazing! And it definitely helps break up all that gunk if you’re feeling sick.DIY: How to do an Herbal Facial Steam @themerrythoughtWhat you need:
-Large bowl
-Filtered water
-Organic Herbs (you can use fresh or dried)

For Relaxation:

For Fresh Skin:

For Congestion:
Fresh Rosemary
Fresh Lemon Peel
(Garlic if you’re feeling super congested/brave)

How to do it:
-Boil water.
-Add the boiling water and herbs to the bowl – cover bowl and let herbs steep for 5 minutes.
-Cover your head with a towel with your face over the bowl – to form a little tent. (Make sure the steam isn’t too hot.) *You will want to remove make-up before beginning.
-Close your eyes and breathe in and out the steam for 10 minutes.
-Pat face dry after and apply toner.
DIY: How to do an Herbal Facial Steam @themerrythoughtDIY: How to do an Herbal Facial Steam @themerrythought-Caitlin


Simple ValentineCan’t believe it’s already almost Valentine’s Day! Seems like we were just ringing in the New Year, and now we’re half way through February?! I love Valentine’s Day! Growing up, my mom always made it a special day for us. Sometimes a small little gift or treat. Sometimes homemade heart pizza. And as a teen I had fun celebrating with my gal pals, buying each other little gifts or making cupcakes to give out to friends. I love doing the same with my boys – getting them some small (and usually cheesy – can’t resist a good pun!) treat to enjoy. I view the day as good way to love on those around us – not just a romantic holiday. But I’ll definitely take a gift from Mike if he feels so inclined to buy me something! 😉
Simple ValentineWe’ve been enjoying some delicious cheese from Sartori that they’ve sent us, and Caitlin & I thought it’d be fun to make up a simple cheese board for Valentine’s Day.

Some of our favorite things to include on a cheese platter are:

  • a mix of hard and soft cheese (we like brie and goat cheese for soft cheese – use a cookie cutter to cut hearts from brie cheese rounds)
  • fruit – go with reds for Valentine’s Day: strawberries, raspberries, pomegranate, red grapes
  • nuts
  • cured meats – like Prosciutto or Sopressa
  • a mix of carbs – toasted bread slices, crackers and crunchy breads sticks
  • marinated artichoke hearts
  • chocolate truffles

And we found some non alcoholic sparkling rosé at Aldi’s to go along with our cheese! Whether you’re going to be celebrating with your favorite gal pals, the love of your life or a night at home with your family, you can’t go wrong with a cheese platter! See the video below for how we put together our board – and you can follow along on YouTube to see all our videos!

Simple ValentineSimple ValentineSimple Valentine

cheese care of Sartori Cheese

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