The Mermaid Desk

If you follow me on Instagram, a long while ago I posted a picture that looked like this:

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…and then never mentioned it again. It just totally slipped my mind to do a before and after of my desk, but I’m doin’ it now! I haven’t really had an actual desk in years. My previous one was super tiny and right now is being used in our bedroom as a small T.V. stand. It’s really cute, there’s just no place to put anything on it! So, I began my search for something a bit larger. I looked through about 3 million pictures on Pinterest to give me some ideas, and then of course fell in love with desks that were way beyond my meager budget. I turned to my trusty friend, Craigslist, and became obsessed with finding something on there. I had previously lucked out by finding these 4 barstools for $5 a piece and gave them this makeover:

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But the desk…it was a bit tougher to find, because every time I found one I loved, someone had already snagged it. Finally, I came across this plain ole’ Ikea model that was listed for $65:

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I talked the guy down to $40 (which was still $20 over what I wanted to pay, but by this point I would have taken anything) and we went to pick it up in Parker’s truck. Rule #1 about Craigslist, folks! Don’t go pickin’ up stuff alone!!! Buddy system! Rule #2: do not lose hope! You will find what you want, eventually 🙂 I always use Live Love DIY‘s Craigslist tips and tricks to help me out when searching for what I want, and they never fail me!

Anyway, this is how my little desk started out. I love, love, LOVE this desk makeover from Love Grows Wild and chose to go with this light mint green color. I picked out the sample card, Olympic’s “Sweet Pea,” from Lowe’s, waited for more than 15 minutes without receiving any help or service, then took the sample to my local Home Depot where they mixed it and had me out the door in less than 5 minutes. Just sayin’.

I didn’t sand the desk or anything, I just gave it two coats of some leftover primer I had laying around and let that dry. Then I used a paint brush to do 3 coats of the mint green. I still have yet to seal it and probably never will, but it’s holding up fine for now.

*sorry for the photo quality (or lack thereof). I still don’t have a real camera!

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I then added a cute little knob from Hobby Lobby that reminds me of something Ariel (the mermaid) would find in her little cave of “whozits and whatzits galore.”  Then I laid out all of my little “thIngamabobs,” crammed my computer in the center, and wahlah! Mermaid desk.

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Im going through some major separation anxiety living this far from the ocean, so to make me a happy wife, Parker took me on a day-date to Laguna Beach this past Monday. No, I didn’t have any real housewives sightings, or run into  Ste-Vennn (sorry Ali and Chelcie P!) , but we still had a grand ole’ time!

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Hope y’all are having a lovely day/night…wherever in the world you are! Thrift on!

The Gym Diaries

I loathe the gym. Seriously, I hate walking into it. Once I’m on the treadmill running, I’m absolutely fine, though. Back when I lived near the ocean, I was able to avoid the gym because I had the whole entire beach in my backyard to run on. It was fab! Not a care in the world! I’d wake up and just throw on my old running shorts (some of which were from high school, and the only reason they still fit me was because the elastic was snapped on all of them. Not a pretty image, eh?), an old raggedy tee, and hit the sand.

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I finally joined a gym with Parker (my husband) shortly before our wedding, because that’s what all my other engaged friends were doing and I felt the peer pressure. They called it “shedding for the wedding” or “the bridal Barbie diet.” Every time we would get ready to go, I would secretly freak out on the inside about being judged by everyone there who knew what they were doing. You know who I’m talking about…the ones who walk around and immediately know how to use every single machine, or are running uphill with the resistance all the way up and their makeup and hair still looking super perfect. If you don’t know who I’m talking about, it’s probably you.

Anyways, I would hold in my complaints until we got through about 10 minutes of working out every time. Ya know, just to give Parker time to warm up and brace himself for the “I look so gross” speech. And usually he would just listen and ignore it or tell me to go run on the treadmill. But one day, ONE DAYYYYY, he finally spoke up. He said something along the lines of, “Lauren! If you really feel like your workout clothes are that ugly, go buy new ones that match! You’ll feel a lot better and I won’t have to listen to your complaining anymore.” Okaaaaayyyy. Touche’.

Did I do that? No. We were planning a wedding and work out clothes are super $$$, plus, I had no time to search for that stuff! So instead, while he would go to the gym, I’d just stay at my apartment and run a few miles on the beach in my gnarly gear. I let the old dirty clothes win.

Fast forward one year. We live in California now, but I have no beach in my backyard. So one day, Parker comes home with a free, year-long membership to a nearby gym. He already belongs to a CrossFit gym (which I kept saying I’d try with him, but the 6:00am class time along with all the scary people who look like they could throw me across the room turned me off to that), so he wasn’t going to use it.

This free pass sat on my desk for, oh, I’d say about 4 months. Then, one day, I was perusing the aisles of Nordstrom Rack and something really cute and bright caught my eye. It was a work out tank. AHHHH! Instead of running away immediately, I looked at the tag. I’m not kidding you, this thing was $13! Then I spotted some pants. Cute…and only $25, but I’m sure they will fit weird. So I tried the little outfit on, and my goodness, the pants were so flipping comfortable! The whole entire outfit together made me feel cute. I figured even if I don’t go to the gym, I can wear this around the house and stuff to make it LOOK like I went to the gym. So, on the way back from the fitting rooms, I spotted some cute Nike’s, then I bought them because they were a pretty great deal too. Ugh, I gotta get outta this store!

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I wore this outfit around for about 3 days. It’s the exact aqua tank, grey sports bra, grey leggings, and Nike’s shown above. I know that sounds super unsanitary, but it made me feel so great! Every night when Parker got home, he would say, “Oh you worked out today, huh? (winky face)” because he knows all my tricks and secrets. Finally, this got to me. So, I reluctantly took the pass, and one day, all by myself, went to sign up for the gym. Walking in there was still scary, but I’m not kidding you, I actually get up off my butt and go now! I know this whole entire thing is so silly, but if you’re like me and can’t get motivated to get off your rump and get goin’, maybe this will work for you, too! 

Since this revelation, I have found SO MANY cute and affordable things to work out in!

IMG_4579This one is Olive’s fave.

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Most of the items I’ve found are from Nordstrom Rack, because they have really great prices but don’t compromise quality. I’ve seen some great stuff at T.J. Maxx and Marshall’s, too, but have not tried any of their brands on, and fit is everything when it comes to workout clothes. I have a couple things from Forever21 that I don’t ever wear to the gym, because the pants get all stretched out while I’m running and the sports bras get all warped in the wash and are itchy.

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Ok, this post ended up being a lot longer and crazier than I thought it would. BUT, lastly, I cannot believe how many cutesy running shoes there are out there. They are way too expensive, so if y’all ever see any of them for a good price, let me know ASAP! Here are my faves!!!nikes

In addition to this, I need some gym music recommendations. If you’ve got ’em, leave ’em here please! Thrift on!

DIY Herb Garden

As promised, here’s my quick instructional for a diy herb garden:

First, find an old bucket, barrel, tub, planter, or something totally off the wall that you can put a plant in. I chose an ice bucket with a stand that was really cute but just did not fit in with our color scheme.

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If you don’t have anything, no worries! You can hit up a flea market or garage sale on the weekend and I guarantee you’ll find something interesting!

The first thing I did was drill some holes in the bottom (if it already has drainage, you’re one step ahead). I learned this important step from previous failures :/

Next, I chose my spray paint colors. I spray painted the stand with Rust-Oleum Oil Rubbed Bronze, and used Rust-Oleum Flat Metallic Antique Nickel for the bucket. When doing this, choose an area with good air circulation…or else you may pass out. I always spray paint in my backyard or if it’s windy in my garage with the garage door open. I try to cover the floor with cardboard or trash bags…but I’m still in big trouble from the hubby for the layer of gold paint film in my surrounding spray area.

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Next thing I did was use my handy dandy chalkboard paint to make a little square in the middle of the bucket, like so. You can make any shape you’d like, though! Get creative! I used Rust-Oleum Specialty Flat Black Chalkboard Paint and an old, cheap, paint brush. I did 3 coats of the paint, letting each one dry for a few minutes before adding the next.

After this is COMPLETELY dry, you can start adding your dirt and herbs. I just went to my fave store, The Home Depot, and bought some Miracle Gro and 5 different herbs that I actually use in my cooking.

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I just happened to have these little chalkboard plant-markers, so I used a chalkboard pen to write on the front of the bucket and the markers to identify each herb (incase i lose my sense of smell, then I will know which is which! I know, so smart). I wouldn’t recommend using plain chalk, because when watering the herbs it will wash right off and you will have to keep writing down the names over, and over, and over…

Anyways, that’s it! Simple! Here’s the before and after:

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I’d love to see your own personal diy herb garden projects! You can tag me in them on Instagram @thethriftymermaid or share on here! Thrift on!

Outdoor Oasis

When my husband and I first moved into this house, we were already in love with the backyard area. Of all 236 houses we looked at (just kidding, but it felt like that many), this backyard was top 3 hands down. Now, I know what y’all are thinking, “that little space?!” Um, ya, this little space in California is like equivalent to 10 acres back home in Florida, thank you very much.

(Sorry for the quality of these photos…I use my iphone 4s and am a horrible photographer!!) IMG_9994IMG_9993 So upon moving in, I decided two things, 1: We have a patch of grass! We need to celebrate by getting a puppy. 2: We have to have a baller area to relax and chill with friends and family, and said puppy.

Here’s the little brat in the flesh:IMG_4225We call her Olive.

Anyways, I’m kinda frugal, thanks to my mom. (Side note: This is pretty terrible, but we even got a discount on little Olive) She taught me how to thrift, find really great sales, and that if you can’t find exactly what you want, then you make it. Thanks, mom! So when I started perusing patio furniture, I just about fainted at the prices. It took me about 6 months to find the deal I was looking for, but I found it! The catch was that the slipcovers for the certain line I chose were discontinued, so after a few years of avoiding a sewing machine I realized the cold, hard truth: we would meet again. I used this tutorial to sew all TWELVE slipcovers…blah! I chose this one in particular because it seemed super simple and I am able to trick people into thinking I spent a long time on these when in reality it only took me a couple hours 🙂IMG_4432After that was finished I added a rug, the fire pit we chose (which is a whole other story…we really saved some moolah on that!), two half barrels from Home Depot as side tables, some homemade pillows out of left over fabric, and a diy herb garden which is super simple (I’ll post how to do that soon). IMG_4298The finishing touch was an outdoor chandelier I found on super sale at Hobby Lobby, which I may hang lower but we shall see. We weeded and mulched the back area, and voila! The perfect start to our outdoor oasis!IMG_4474It’s comfy, perfect for sunny days or cold nights, and it makes me feel like I’m on a mini vacay! If y’all have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments! Thrift on!