Our Midcentury Modern Bathroom Renovation (on a Budget)

Just wanted to share a little life update with you guys!

If you’re not following me on Instagram or Facebook (you should be!), then you wouldn’t know that we’re in the process of doing some renovations on our 1952 Cape Cod style home, which we purchased in 2011. We’ve already completely renovated the kitchen, moved the laundry room upstairs from the basement, and done some minor cosmetic stuff, but we’re finishing off the last of the MAJOR renovations this month, with the renovation of BOTH bathrooms.

We’re also replacing our cracky kitchen tile floor (which the contractor screwed up during our 2016 remodel), and adding some storage into our new laundry room as well. Then, we’ll be done…until we make some cosmetic and practical changes to our master bedroom in a few months.

The upstairs (“kids”) bathroom is about 90% finished at this point, and the contractors will be moving downstairs to our main bathroom next week. I’ll share some photos of the upstairs when it’s finished (we’re waiting on the new vanity to arrive, since I ordered the wrong one originally), but for now, take a look at my vision board for the downstairs bathroom.

Downstairs Bathroom Vision.png

We chose finishes that were cost-effective, since we do not have a millionaire’s budget over here, but still looked nicely finished in the end. The shower doors have since been nixed, because they just don’t fit in the space, but everything else is the actual items that we chose.

I’m excited for the upstairs bathroom to be finished, but the downstairs…is MY bathroom. I’m UBER excited about this one!

Here’s some info about the items we chose (these are NOT affiliate links, I’m just sharing the love):

1) Kohler Underscore Bathtub, model # K-20201-LA-0: This tub was SO important to me. Our current bathtub has a tub wall of 15”, and a soaking depth of 10”. TEN INCHES. No grown adult can “soak” in a tub that is 10” deep. This beautiful tub from Kohler has an 18.5” soaking depth, and the tub overflow is placed suuuuuuper high, so there’s lots of opportunity to get your bath on in there.

2) American Standard Passage 32 in. x 60 in. 4-Piece Glue-Up Alcove Bath Wall in Pewter Travertine: For this bathroom, I was definitely going for a mid-century modern look, but I wanted a spa/hotel bathroom feel. Since we are trying to keep costs low, the only true option for us was to do a vinyl wall in the tub/shower area (tile is so expensive). Let’s face it though…vinyl shower walls are usually pretty boring and ugly. This vinyl shower kit is literally the ONLY kit available on the market right now (in the US anyway) that is not “standard”, and costs less than $1,500. WHY IS THAT?? Why aren’t more manufacturers making vinyl shower kids that are MODERN and sleek? It makes no sense. In any case, this is the one we chose.

3) Holly & Martin Tobin Bath Vanity Sink w/ Marble Top, Industrial Style, Limed Burnt Oak w/ Black and Gray Marble: I fell in love with the way that this vanity looked, and then I searched the Internet far and wide for the cheapest deal on it. By dropping a screenshot of the vanity into Google Image Search, I was able to find basically all of the places where the vanity resided (some of them were under different manufacturer names even), and I picked out the best deal via Walmart (via eBates)! I ended up getting this vanity for about $250 less than it was listed for on Wayfair!

4) Moen “Boardwalk” model # T6220SRN Two Handle Widespread Bathroom Faucet: I basically just fell in love with the old-school lines of this “Boardwalk” line from Moen, and we ended up getting the matching Tub & Shower trim kit as well.

5) Gracie Oaks Witton 23.75'' W x 26'' H Wall Mounted Cabinet (Gray): Walmart came through for me again on this one! I wanted an inexpensive cabinet to hold our toothbrushes and doo-dads, since I have decided to get rid of our old bevel-edge mirrored recessed medicine cabinet. I wanted the clean look of a regular mirror over the vanity, so this cabinet was the perfect solution to no medicine cabinet (and the closing doors hide any potential untidiness that can happen from time to time).

7) Moen 3668EPORB Eco-Performance Single Function Hand Shower Package with Hose and Slide Bar : This choice took some time to debate, because it felt like a luxury that wasn’t NECESSARY. However, I really wanted to have the clean look of a shower without the attached handheld hose-jobby, but we still need the hand shower function, because washing ones hair in a bathtub with no shower head is a royal P.I.T.A., ya know?

8) Mannington Luxury Vinyl Sheet Platinum-Deco - Steel : Since we were trying to keep costs low, tile on the floor was not really an option for us. Also, we have 3 small children (plus one on the way!), and KIDS ARE DESTRUCTIVE! They don’t even mean to be—they just ARE. I didn’t want to spend a bunch of cash on beautiful tile floors, then have someone smash the tile with a toy or whatnot. When my contractor said the words “sheet vinyl”, I visibly recoiled. The words conjured up all types of images of checkerboards, fake parquet, and terribly-impersonated marble flooring. Then, I started searching the Internets, and my mind was BLOWN when I found Mannington’s beautiful, realistic, not-your-Grandma’s-sheet-vinyl sheet vinyl. I fell in love with the bold pattern in their Deco print, and the rest is history. We actually chose a more neutral-looking Mannington sheet vinyl for the kids bathroom too, and it’s already laid on the floor, and I LOVE it.

9) Young House Love Bubble Vanity Light (3-Light) - Nickel and Brushed Brass: It took me DAYS to decided which finish to purchase for this light, but I finally decided on the nickel and brushed brass because of the brass knobs on the vanity, and the brushed nickel fixtures that we chose for the shower and vanity. The nickel on this light fixture is shiny, not like the brushed finish on the shower and vanity fixtures—but I think that the contrast will actually be nice when it’s all put together.

So there you go! That’s my life update…everything that you ever wanted to know about my downstairs bathroom remodel! Now, I have to go choose paint colors…wish me luck!

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Homesick Recipe Series: Vegetarian Chik'n Riggies

Much like the Utica Greens that I shared with you guys the other day, Chicken Riggies is a regional dish that you can ONLY find at restaurants in the Utica/Rome, New York area. If you’d like to hear more about the history of this unique dish, click to check it out (I just love these little hometown stories)!

There are tons of versions of chicken riggies, and it seems that everyone has their own preferred way of making them. Since we don’t eat much actual meat in our house, I prefer to use vegetarian chick’n as a substitute, either using Quorn Meatless Pieces, or cutting up Quorn Meatless Patties or Nuggets.

We LOVE Quorn meatless products in our house, and in general this is the brand that we choose when we’re eating meatless sources like this. I love that they’re soy-free, non-GMO, high in protein, and made from mycoprotein, which is a plant-based source of protein with no funky aftertaste.

Traditionally, chicken riggies are spicy, so I generally separate out my main pot of riggies into 2 baking dishes: a small (not-spicy) dish for the children, and a larger (spicy) dish for the grown-ups. They are both creamy, chewy, and super delicious.


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Homesick Recipe Series: Potato Kielbasa Soup

Raise your hand if you grew up on kielbasa and pierogies. 🖐🏻

We relied a lot on quick and easy dinners in my home as a child, because my mom worked outside of the house. We ate lots of pre-packaged foods (no judgement!), and a really easy way to get some protein into a meal was through kielbasa or smoked sausage. It was already cooked, so all we had to do was warm it up!

So, kielbasa and cabbage, or kielbasa and frozen pierogies (Mrs. T’s, anyone??!!) were a staple in our home.

These days, I still love frozen pierogies (no shame), but my kids and husband aren’t fans of the delicious little pockets of joy. They also don’t like potatoes. HOW did I spawn 3 children who don’t enjoy potatoes, considering that my Dad’s family had several generations of potato farmers!!??

Genetics are strange.

In any case, they DO like smoked sausage and kielbasa, and when I pack potatoes into a creamy, soupy broth along with the kielbasa, they’ll sometimes eat the potatoes.

Like in this soup…


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Homesick Recipe Series: Cabbage Roll Soup

You guys.

This soup.

My mom used to make homemade cabbage rolls only about twice per year, because they were a bit more labor-intensive than a weeknight dinner could sustain. Our whole family always loved them, but they were just too much work to make very often.

Over the years, in my own household, I’ve made them a few times, but again—labor intensive, and not enough time.

So, I bring you Cabbage Roll SOUP!


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Homesick Recipe Series: Utica Greens

I was born and raised in Central New York, and more specifically, in the Utica/Rome area of Central New York.

There are many (many) unique things about the Utica/Rome area, just as there are unique things about any region in the world, but two of my favorite regional gems that I took from my Utica/Rome-area upbringing are Chicken Riggies and Utica Greens.

Today, I’m going to share my recipe for Utica Greens with you.

Traditionally, this dish is made with escarole, but oftentimes when I get a hankering and I can’t find any escarole, I will substitute kale, collards, chard…pretty much any bitter, hearty leafy green. I would never tell the Italian-American Uticans about this, but if I’m in a pinch, any green will do.

[You can learn more about the history of Utica Greens, or “Greens Morelle” via this New York Times Article]

I also have a difficult time in Maryland finding the appropriate type of hot cherry peppers, so I often have to substitute Sweet ‘n’ Hot’ peppers like these ones:

If you can handle the heat and locate them in your area (or order online), get the real ones instead::

I love to serve these greens with my other favorite hometown (homesick) dish: Chicken Riggies! I’ll be sharing that recipe with you very soon.



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I Weighed Myself, and It Wasn't all Sunshine and Butterflies


A few weeks ago, in the evening of the Saturday after Thanksgiving, I weighed myself.

My intentions were true, I promise! I intended to weigh my baby, who doesn't weigh enough yet to register on our digital scale. I planned to weigh myself, weigh both of us, then subtract the difference.

Now, I can't even remember what the baby weighed. I stopped focusing when I realized that the scale read six pounds heavier than it has for the past 12 years (in a non-pregnant or post-partum state). My husband was standing there to witness the whole ordeal.

👨🏿"Babe, what's wrong?"

🤷‍♀️: "I weigh six pounds more than normal!"

👨🏿: "OK."

🤷‍♀️: "I haven't weighed this much since I was pregnant, or bulimic and binge-eating!"

👨🏿: "OK...well it's 8:30 at night, 2 days after Thanksgiving, and you're wearing like 2 layers of clothes right now."

🤷‍♀️: "I gained six pounds..."

Then came my brain: "you're a FRAUD. How can you preach about weight stability without restricting or obsessing over food...when you're not even weight stable?!" I wanted to go on a diet. 

The next morning, I weighed myself in my underwear. I was within 1 pound of what I thought that I "should" weigh. I didn't **really** gain six pounds, you guys.

Then, I was so pissed at myself. I thought I had personally evolved beyond this, but no matter how long I've been practicing body positivity, not weighing myself, valuing what I can DO rather than how I look...I am not immune to the triggering effect of a scale that doesn't tell me what I expect it to say! 

I've realized that being triggered by this event was DIRECTLY related to outside forces that have nothing at all to do with my body or my weight. I've been ignoring my own basic needs because of typical life stressors.

THIS is the thing to remember when we start to feel like counting calories, dieting, and obsessing about our weight is the only way to happiness. The process of counting calories and the act of being on a diet is sometimes just a distraction from what we really need to focus on (THOUGHTS, FEELINGS, EMOTIONS).

Leave a comment & tell me what you're WORRYING or OBSESSING about and RELEASING RIGHT NOW!

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Chocolate Snowcap Cookies (Chocolate Crinkles)

We made these cookies on YouTube, check it out!

Chocolate Snowcap Cookies (Chocolate Crinkles)

These cookies are the perfect balance of sweet, chewy, and crunchy. Great for the holidays!

Makes: 2 Dozen

Chocolate Snowcap Cookies (Chocolate Crinkles)

Prep time:

Cook time:

  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’sugar

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together cocoa, sugar, and coconut oil. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; stir into the cocoa mixture. Cover dough, and chill for at least 4 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Using a cookie scoop, roll dough into 1-inch balls.
  4. Roll each ball in confectioners' sugar, and place on the prepared cookie sheet.
  5. Bake cookies in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Let stand on the cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes before moving to a wire rack to fully cool.

[VIDEO] How to Ferment Veggies at Home (It's SO Easy)!

Instant Pot Lemon Garlic Pork Chops with Chickpeas

This recipe is so easy, and the whole family loves it!

We had ours with pearled couscous and mini corn muffins (two more family favorites) and steamed broccoli, but it’s also delicious over steamed rice, buttered noodles, or plain!


The Right Coach is Always A Student

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