7th House on the Left

HIS + HER FAVORITE THINGS

posted by Greg & Ashley  /  11 Comments

Once again, it’s time for my and Ashley’s favorite things…

1. Shur-Line Pro Edger – We used this a lot when we painted all of the rooms in our house. It proved to be especially helpful when we had to paint along window, door, and baseboard moldings. Just be sure not to let paint get on the guides and you’ll have nice, crisp lines on every edge.

2. iCade - I love retro games, and I love my iPad, but the touch screen controls often leave something to be desired. While I’m not a huge fan of iAccessories most of the time, this is officially the best way to play classic Atari games on your iPad. Just be forewarned: the Atari’s Greatest Hits app uses in-app payments, but you can all the games for about $10. Not a bad deal, considering the Atari 2600 cost $199 when it first arrived on the shelves in the late 70′s.

3. Mythbusters – I couldn’t live without the Discovery Channel. It’s one of the few reasons I don’t just cancel my cable TV service and go internet streaming-only. Mythbusters is why I started watching the Discovery Channel to begin with, and I’d argue it’s still one of the best (if not the best) on television.

4. Bucky Cubes – Like Bucky Balls, but with more flat sides. I’m still waiting for my loving wife to get the hint and get me a set of these!

5. Geek Pocket Watch- I’m not much of a pocket watch guy, but if I was, I would have to get this one. You can’t tell it from the tiny picture here, but instead of the usual 1 through 12, it shows equations that work out to the standard numbers. This would be a great gift for all the math geeks in your life!

6. Siberia V2 Headset – It’s no secret that I’m a bit of a gamer, so a good headset is essential. After spending several years with the previous version of these headphones, I decided it was time to upgrade. The integrated microphone and closed-back design are welcome improvements, and they’re just as comfortable as my old pair. In my opinion, this is one of the best gaming headsets you can find for under $100.

1. Taza Pillow from Crate & Barrel – I’ve been searching for pillows for our current sofa for months. We want to get a new couch in the future (read more about that here), but with all of the projects going on, it will probably be a while. In the meantime, we need some pillows that will match the gray walls and the beige sofa, and these are at the top of my list. Gotta love Ikat!

2. Barefoot Contessa Harvest Pumpkin Butter- If you like apple butter and you like pumpkin pie, then you will love this Harvest Pumpkin Butter! It’s so yummy in the fall! You can put it on anything from pancakes or waffles to English muffins or biscuits.

3. Thanksgiving Bingo Place Cards - Even though we aren’t hosting Thanksgiving this year (you kind of have to have a kitchen in order to do that!), I went ahead and picked up a few packs of these Bingo Place Cards for next year. It will go perfectly with the vintage-inspired table I have envisioned. Yes, I’m thinking way ahead.

4. Burt’s Bees Lip Balm in Honeysuckle – I picked this up on an impulse buy at Walgreen’s a few weeks ago. The color ended up being perfect (a very light, nude color) and it delivers a great amount of hydration. It definitely earned a spot in to my “favorite lip gloss collection”. Yay for impulse buys!

5. Rachel Ray Stainless Steel Cookware – Now that the kitchen is getting closer and closer to being DONE, I’m so anxious to get cooking! I purchased this set of cookware shortly before we packed up the apartment (though I don’t think Crate & Barrel still carries it!), and I miss it so much! I cannot wait to unpack it and put every piece to good use.

6. White Christmas by Yankee Candle – Last year, I was told the White Christmas line at Yankee Candle was discontinued. But now, it’s miraculously reappeared – only with a different label. Now that it’s back, I’m even more excited to decorate for Christmas. Is the first week of November too early to start? ; )

So what about you… Any new favorites?

****THIS GIVEAWAY IS NO LONGER ACCEPTING ENTRIES****
Scroll down to see who won! 

Today’s giveaway is a double whammy! Yep, TWO lucky readers will win their very own set of Rubbermaid’s latest and greatest organization product: Bento Boxes.

I’m always a sucker for organization products. I think it may be more like an obsession. Everything is just so much more pleasant when your odds and ends are organized. The everyday storage boxes are nice, but then it’s pretty much impossible to keep the inside neat and tidy. But these guys aren’t your everyday storage boxes…

Among the many things that set Bento Boxes apart from others is my favorite feature: the internal flex dividers. The flex dividers help you divide the inside of the boxes when and how you need them to be divided. Yay for custom organization! Another great perk is that the tops can be used as trays, covers, or lids. They are also able to stack with or without the lids. Think this short video does a good job at bringing home the awesomeness…

To get your hands on a set of Bento Boxes, here’s how to enter:

  • All you’ve got to do is leave a comment with the words, “CONQUER THE CLUTTER!“.
  • TWO lucky readers will win one (1) set of Bento Storage Boxes (in Paprika, as shown above) – each a $113.93 value!
  • Prize ships anywhere in the United States and Canada.
  • The giveaway will wrap up Friday, November 4th, 2011 @ Midnight EST.
  • Only one entry per email address. To keep things fair and square, the winner will be selected using Random.org and will be announced right here on Saturday, November 5th. Good luck, everyone! 
A big thank you to everyone who entered and Rubbermaid for sponsoring! Without further ado, the two lucky readers are…

Congratulations, ladies!
As always, we were not paid or perked to host this giveaway. It’s just our way of saying “Thank you” to our readers. Images and video provided by Rubbermaid.

Today is a very happy day at our house! It’s official… the kitchen cabinets have been ordered! Yes, Greg… I’m going to say it… Holla!

As you know, we’ve gone back and forth… and back and forth… between Ikea, Lowe’s/Kraft Maid, and custom cabinets. But last week, we finally bit the bullet, made some decisions, and placed an order. Before we get to the “who”, we’re going to talk about the “why”. Through the entire process, we’ve considered pretty much all of the ins and outs of each option. Seriously, give us a pop quiz. We’ll ace it. It was decision making time, though, so we did what we always do: We made a pros and cons list!

Our pros and cons won’t be the same as everyone else’s, so this is just what we came up with when we considered our specific needs and wants for this project.

IKEA. First up is Ikea. This was our first stop in the kitchen “reinstall” project. When I first came across photos of their 2010 kitchen catalog, I immediately became smitten with the idea of Ikea cabinets (read that post here). Ten months later (10 months!), our pros and cons go something like this…

PROS:

    • Super-affordable. Literally a fraction of the price of the other options on our list!
    • Customizable storage. Every single customizable option under the sun.
    • Kitchen Planner Software. Fun, easy to use software that helped us “see” our kitchen design and even compiled a list of the parts and pieces we needed when it’s time to go to the store with a rental truck.
    • Reader’s Comments. When we first talked about possibly going with Ikea cabinets, many of you guys talked about how you loved your Ikea kitchen. We even featured an Ikea kitchen Reader Reno. Check that out here.
    • Warranty. Ikea’s cabinets are backed with a 25 year limited warranty. Always a good thing when making a big purchase.

CONS:

    • Lots of work. We’d have to put each and every piece together ourselves (or pay a company $100 per cabinet to do it). We welcome the challenge, yeah, but we’ve heard it’s sometimes not so easy peasy.
    • Missing “puzzle pieces”. As far as the cabinets themselves, they aren’t as customizable for our kitchen as we originally thought.

KRAFT MAID / LOWES. The second stop on our journey to kitchen cabinet land was our local Lowe’s. When we met with the kitchen designer for the first time (which is a pro on the list!), we easily decided on KraftMaid cabinets. Before I start gushing, let’s get to the pros and cons…

PROS:

    • Professional kitchen designer. Gaylord, our oh-so-awesome Lowe’s kitchen designer, did a fantastic job of implementing the plan we originally sketched up using the Ikea Kitchen Planner software. Using KraftMaid cabinets, he was able to help us make a completely functional kitchen that not only worked for our everyday needs, but one that would be great for entertaining – which is something we’ve really missed while not having a kitchen.
    • More options than you can shake a stick at. KraftMaid has beyond enough styles, finishes, hardware, and “add on” options to choose from, which would give the kitchen a very custom feel.
    • A better fit. Overall, the design using KraftMaid cabinets had a tighter, more integrated feel in our kitchen than the Ikea cabinets.
    • Warranty. The KraftMaid backs their cabinets with a limited warranty for as long as you own the cabinets.
    • High Quality. Not only are the cabinets made extremely well, their “standard” options are our cup of tea. The cabinet doors include self-closing concealed hinges and the drawers have self-closing drawer buffer systems as well as pull-out shelves.
    • Reader Comments. Once again, many of you declared your love for your KraftMaid cabinetry.

CONS:

    • $$$$. Going with this option would be the most expensive of our three avenues. Every single detail added, right down to each shelf, is an extra cost.
    • Non-DIY(ish). Some wouldn’t really think this would be considered a con, but we tend to think it is. Going with Lowe’s/KraftMaid means there’s not much room for DIYing; they do it all! We like to get our hands dirty. Though there may be opportunities to DIY some finishing touches.

CUSTOM. Our third and final option was having someone custom make the kitchen cabinets. Though we don’t know a cabinet maker personally, and making our own cabinets is a tad too much DIYing for us, we’ve had a few great referrals given to us by family, friends and even a few local readers.

PROS:

    • Hand-made. It’s a cool idea to have cabinets like the “good ‘ole days”: 100% solid wood, every piece put together by hand, etc.
    • Totally custom! The major perk of custom cabinetry is just that: custom! We can come up with any configuration and customize our kitchen to our heart’s content.
    • Affordable. Though this route wouldn’t be as cost-effective as Ikea, it’s definitely proven to be less expensive than Lowe’s/KraftMaid.

CONS:

    • Warranty? Through our research, we found that most private contractors carry a “limited” warranty for as long as the company is in business or the life of the contractor. When the economy is good, that sort of thing would be reassuring, but with businesses going under left and right these days, the warranty might only last months, rather than years.
    • Blind Guarantee. While you could totally use the free designer tool on the Ikea or Lowe’s website, we still wouldn’t be completely sure what we were going to get until we got it.

Taking everything into consideration (and we mean eeeeeverything), we finally decided on… Okay, this totally deserves a drumroll, don’t you think? Drumroll, please…

KraftMaid/Lowe’s! As we mentioned in the pros/cons list, this option is the most costly of the three. However, by going with Lowe’s, we are certain that we’ll get what we want in our kitchen, and we have peace of mind that there’s a hefty warranty to back it all up. Also, we paid to have the cabinets installed by Lowe’s. In the long-run, we feel that knowing everything was professionally installed and not going to fall off the wall because we missed a screw will be well worth the cost. Oh, and we’ll be sure to get into the breakdown of the dollars and cents once the kitchen is installed and the finishing touches are complete.

So now that we’ve made the decision of the century a decision, here’s how it’s all going to go down… err.. up: We got “the call” yesterday letting us know that the cabinets will be delivered a day or two before Thanksgiving. Because of the holiday, it’s our guess that the actual instillation process will be begin the day after Thanksgiving. I’m sure we’ll get more information on that as time gets closer. That gives us roughly 23 crazy days of preparation. (We have a few projects up our sleeves that we want to get done before the delivery; we’ll talk about them later.) On the second day of installation, the countertop guys will come out and make their templates. Then, we’ll have to wait 5-7 days until the countertops are installed. After a few finishing touches (backsplash, minor modifications, etc), we’ll be on the road to an actual, honest-to-goodness kitchen! And, of course, all of this will be completed just in time for my family coming to town for Christmas! Okay, getting even more excited now!

On top of the projects we’re wanting to get done asap, we’ve got to make final decisions on countertops, backsplash, the rest of the appliances, oh, and the kitchen sink. Yep, we’ve got our work cut out for us for the next 23 days. As usual, we’ll be sure to keep you guys posted on the progress and decision-making. Here’s to decision-making and 23 days of crazy!