Our $300 Kitchen Renovation

We bought our house almost 10 years ago. We got an extremely good deal on it, knowing that there was A LOT of things we wanted to change and update. We have been navigating through some DIY’s slowly but surely. We’ve added hard wood on the entire first floor by ourselves, and also added a large screened in porch. Something we didn’t think we could do on our own was refinish our outdated, builder grade cabinets. A while back, we got a bunch of quotes for refinishing them, re-facing them, etc. Let me tell you, it’s expensive!





So we finally decided to start looking into doing it ourselves again, because there’s only so much golden oak I can take. They’ve come out with a lot of new products that really make it SO much easier. I was always concerned about  having to sand everything and how tedious and messy it would be. We came across a de-glossing primer made by Valspar that would make a nice bonding surface for the cabinet paint – which we also went with Valspar. We knew we wanted to fancy up the plain cabinets, so the hubbs got some crown molding and some small trim for the bottom of the hanging cabinets.




We also added some wood to the peninsula to give it a little more detail.


Here’s some photos of the primer, it covers so well. We had it tinted for the paint.


Here’s the after! Under $300 for the wood, paint, primer, rollers, brushes, those little triangle things you use to set the doors on when you flip them, butcher paper, and painters tape. I really wish we would have done this YEARS ago!







DIY, Outdoors

Fall Garden Inspiration

I LOVE fall. We pretty much live outside on our screened in porch during the fall. We open all the windows and the french doors to the porch and let all the fresh air in.

Confession: I haven’t done a great job of keeping up with our fruit and veggie garden this summer. The birds KEEP eating my tomatoes as soon as they turn red (we didn’t put up netting this year), and the bugs got a hold of our kale. I chopped all of the kale down and it has already started to grow back. It will continue to grow during the cool months, so I’m wanting to add some other cool weather plants in there. I’ve never done a fall garden, so I’m open to suggestion! Here are some inspirational pics I’ve gathered together:

Fall garden inspiration
photo credit

LOVE the different leafy greens. I am a salad lover, so give me all the lettuces.

Fall garden inspiration
photo credit

Too gorgeous. Chalk boards and pumpkins are life.

Fall garden inspiration
photo credit

I seriously need this clever cage system. Between the birds and my two dogs, my garden hasn’t stood a chance lately. My dogs have eaten so much kale, I hope it’s safe for pets. We joke that they go to the “salad bar”. I am definitely going to quarantine it off from now on.


Typewriter desk to bar cart

Bar carts and bar cart styling are taking over my Pinterest boards lately. I love the retro feel of having a bar cart that I can move from room to room (I love moving furniture to my families dismay). We came across this old family typewriter desk from the way way back and I immediately saw the potential within.

Typewriter desk to bar cart DIY #barcart

Typewriter desk to bar cart DIY #barcart

It was a little rusty and in need of some love. (full of freaking spiders may I add…not my cup of tea). I cleaned it all up and roughed it up a little with some sandpaper, but I found that the sandpaper was just taking off a little of the top layer of the black paint job it had previously. I got a can of white gloss spray paint for $5 from Walmart and turned her into this:


Typewriter desk to bar cart DIY #barcart

Typewriter desk to bar cart DIY #barcart

I had a tray from Pier One from about a decade ago that happened to fit perfectly in the bottom as a little shelf. I was planning on just getting some wood, cutting to size and staining it. This was easier! I really love how it turned out!


Snacks on snacks

I live my life in a continual state of hunger. I really don’t understand people that forget to eat. How in the world did you FORGET to eat lunch/breakfast/etc?? All I do all day is think about the next thing I’m going to eat and patiently wait for that time to come. For instance, I just had a snack and I can’t wait until 11am when I feel like it is socially expectable to have lunch. I’m going to tear up some left over spaghetti and meat sauce. I may even throw in a side salad, welcome to the Olive Garden.

I really try to stay healthy(ish) when it comes to snacking. Popcorn, hummus, apples, grapes, toast and jam… My latest love is my quick fake-out deviled eggs. They are SO good and they take away my ravaging hunger for a while. I take a hard boiled egg and cut it in half. Smear on just a tiny bit of Olive oil mayonnaise (because I guess the olive oil kind is better for you?) then I sprinkle on a little bit of my favorite – Trader Joe’s Everything but the Bagel Seasoning. That stuff is what dreams are made of. I always keep boiled eggs on hand, they are a family favorite. We even peel them and bring them in the cooler on road trips. Protein on the go!


Jitter Glitter

First day chalkboard #schoolchalkboard

My baby child has started kindergarten and it is giving me all the feels. I can’t believe she is gone ALL day long at school. My house is cleaner than its been since she arrived 5.5 years ago, though. Her sweet teacher gave her a little bag of glitter to put under her pillow before the first day of school. I needed that glitter more than her. I’ve already messed up pick up and drop off protocol and so far, my stomach has been upset every morning I’ve had to drop her off. Maybe I should put some Imodium under my pillow. I hope she continues to pop out of bed excited to learn. It’s the most bittersweet experience.

Now I have to find ways to fill up my days that don’t completely revolve around house work. Otherwise, I’m going to lose my friggin mind. I’ve already signed up to volunteer at my church once a week. I’m considering becoming an “assistant” room parent, which is probably going to be a mistake but you live and you learn!


Information overload

Information overload on AmandaLynEmporium.comWell, I think I’ve managed to succumb to my third failed attempt at blogging. I always seem to come out of the gate so hot and then fizzle out like yesterday’s birthday candles. I begin to think I have nothing interesting to say, my photographs aren’t professional enough, or there’s no one listening so why even bother.

I spend the majority of my day trying to soak in so much information to try and do better or be better that I am leaving myself and my identity behind, I think. Information overload. And it’s so easy nowadays with the internet, you just slowly fall down a rabbit hole of words and pictures and the next thing you know you’ve done absolutely nothing that you really want to accomplish. And it’s not just the web. Books and magazines can be found in every room of my house. I could literally go to Barnes and Nobles every single day.

I’ve come to the conclusion I need to just write. I need to take a moment, turn off the noise and just get it on paper (or screen). My husband says my tv watching commentary is reality tv worthy. Sometimes things come out of my mouth so much I crack myself up along with him.

I also need to narrow down some of my passions. I literally have too many hobbies. I’m not talking about deciding to try something new, buying the necessary gear, and just doing it once. These are things I continue to rotate around, becoming mediocre at tons of skills and mastering none. Here’s the short list:

  • Guitar/ukulele
  • Painting
  • Writing
  • Photography
  • Needle point
  • Sewing
  • Gardening
  • Illustration
  • Quilting
  • Utilizing essential oils
  • Recipe creation
  • Hand lettering

Fear not, this isn’t some self loathing, woe is me type of post. It’s an epiphany! I’m unfocused. I’m too consumed with what’s going on around me to notice what’s going on inside me. That doesn’t mean that I still won’t have twelve hundred hobbies, but I am going to make an effort to focus and turn off the noise.

Make time to make.

Write what I think.

Be inspired.


5th Birthday Trip Recap

We celebrated my baby’s (m.y. b.a.b.y.) 5 birthday last week. I cannot even believe she is “school age” now. It just doesn’t seem possible. I am both heart broken and excited all at the same time. I have been stressing about school options and testing this whole week and I am deciding to chill out about it. I do not want to be one of those moms. She will go where she goes and she will be fine. So on to the fun stuff!

5th birthday trip recap on

We opted to take a small family vacation to celebrate this milestone for her instead of throwing a party at our house or renting out a place. Stressful and expensive! Plus, her birthday is exactly one month out from Christmas day so we are over gifts and entertaining at that point anyway.
5th birthday trip recap on

We rented a little cabin in Gatlinburg, next door to the Great Smoky Mountains. A favorite (and close) destination for our family. We all really love the outdoors, wild life and hiking so this is the perfect place to be. The little one can’t make it to terribly far on a hike as or yet (only about 2 – 3 easy miles), so we took her on some smaller walks and her daddy and I were able to do a more strenuous hike on Friday up the AT to a lookout referred to as “The Jump Offs”. Its about 6 miles round trip and the view is definitely worth it.

5th birthday trip recap on

*I have on 900 layers of clothes because it was freezing up on that mountain top!

We can’t wait to find another excuse to head back over there. Maybe sometime this summer when we can take advantage of some river fun. Maybe some fishing or a short tube float?

5th birthday trip recap on

Till next time Great Smoky’s! And a VERY happy birthday to my baby girl!