Happy Valentine's Day! Whether you're celebrating the holiday with a special someone, a group of friends, or even cuddled up on your couch with a four-legged sidekick, one thing is certain. Valentine's Day is a great opportunity to celebrate love in your life.

For Alex and me, Valentine's Day has always been more about acknowledging the special people in our lives rather than a meal out at a restaurant. Celebrating Valentine's Day is also a wonderful a way to breathe a little bit of vibrant color into the usually cold and dreary days of February. But best of all, Valentine's Day is a great opportunity to throw a very quick and super simple get together that combines both the special people we love to be around and those vibrant colors we all need so badly in the midst of winter.

In honor of the day, and the ways we can all celebrate, I want to take a moment to share the details on a Valentine's Day shower I helped throw for a dear friend of ours that was expecting her second child. While ours was a baby shower, these tips apply to pretty much any party around the Valentine's holiday, and is a great alternative to dealing with dinner crowds and overpriced prix fixe menus you often see on Feb 14.

Our party planning got rolling after I eagerly volunteered to co-host a co-ed baby shower to celebrate the addition to our friend's family. She and her husband didn't want to find out the sex of the baby until his or her birthday, so therefore the co-hostess and I wanted to be a little bit creative in our approach. We quickly landed on a mid-February date for the party with the theme of love playing off the Valentine's Day holiday as well as the feelings the expectant parents already felt for their coming addition.

As you'll see, it's very easy to throw a love-inspired baby shower, but the concept could be easily adapted to fit a Valentine's date night in, a small party among friends, or even a girls' brunch.

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Comments 2

There are few things in a marriage that are more a test of compatibility than a couple's ability to navigate a difficult DIY project.

While Wendy and I tend to make a very good team and we have years of experience tackling two person projects that might test the mettle of many couples. This doesn't mean we don't occasionally have a situation that can cause one or both of us to pretty much lose our cool.  

Historically speaking this has happened in one way or another at several times during our journey as DIYers. Typically it's one sided, where one of us loses it and the other is there to simply witness the meltdown and help the other cope. For example, when we learned the back of our house in Old Town was nearly falling down, I was the cooler head to Wendy's explosion.

But when I broke a piece of original glass for our transom as I was reinstalling it, after carefully caring for the glass for three years, Wendy was the yin to my firehouse of anger yang.

But in the scenario I'm covering today, there was no balance/counter balance, no calm voice to cope with rage. It was a one sided see-saw of furiousness. And this all occurred when we decided to try a new approach to something we've been doing the traditional way for years, installing crown moulding.

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Comments 4

While our phase one goals in our quick office makeover are completed, we have one small item we'd like to finish before we officially move onto other projects.

The large fan in the center of the room sticks out like a sore thumb. It's shiny brass, sports dark stained wood blades, and seems to be a rather imposing and dated feature of an otherwise bright and cheerful room. To make matters worse, we rarely use this fan and the room is really dark without any overhead lights.

Our initial thoughts involved keeping the fan by disassembling it and painting it white. We were committed to this plan to the point where we purchased a can of spray paint, took the fan down, and set it on the ground so I could start taking it apart. As we discussed how to best disassemble it and then spray the individual pieces, a strange thing happened. We started to realize just how much we didn't like the ceiling fan and how dark the room gets at night. So we got to thinking, do we really even need a fan? Perhaps new lighting would be better?

Just to entertain our meandering and somewhat distracted thought process I decided to grab a few fixtures we have in the attic. These are all fixtures I've picked up and plan to use in different rooms of the house, but each is just waiting in the box in the attic. So why not bring them out to play?

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Comments 15

It's been about a month and a half in the making, but we're finally ready to share the nearly completed progress we've made on our "quick fix" office makeover. While we have a short punch list of items still remaining, the paint is dry, the artwork has been hung, the furniture has been moved in, and we can call it a room!

To recap, this all started rather innocently with an offer of assistance from my parents while we were back in Cleveland around Thanksgiving. They had some time available and wanted to help out with a project, but we didn't have anything they could work on at the time. On our drive back to DC Alex and I started brainstorming how we could find a project that matches their skill set, and that's when it hit us, our office is terrible!

We figured out a time that would work for my parents, and the very next weekend we went to work patching holes, cleaning, and readying the room in anticipation of them coming to put on a fresh coat of paint.

Alex is removing an old radiator pipe that was sticking out of the wall. Lovely!

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Comments 8

A back staircase is the stuff of dreams for old house nerds like us, but our back staircase left us feeling a little flat. 

As we've been working on our quick office makeover, one of our major areas of excitement had to do with the minor overhaul of the room's back staircase. 

More specifically, it had to do with removing that previous handrail, which was equal parts unsightly and unsafe. 

We believe this back staircase was once fully enclosed by the tongue and groove vertical 3" strips of wood that now only exist from the stair treads down to the ground. It appears someone at some point opted to cut these off at each tread in order to open the staircase to the room. 

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Comments 9
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