Friday, August 31, 2012

Honey We're Home Top 9 Posts (August)

While drafting this post, I realized how many things have gotten accomplished around the house lately:) Lest you get the misconception that I'm "doing it all", I wanted to let you know that I've had extra time on my hands this month because I'm between jobs.   People sometimes ask how I work full time, keep up with my blog and home projects, manage to workout, and have a family.  I know I ask that same question to women too.


But, the answer is always the same, life is sometimes a juggling act, and no one does it all, all the time, very well or without being very, very tired!

The time off this month has been nice/weird, but I'm actually itching to find a new job that suits me better (in my same profession).  In the meantime, my house is getting lots of attention and I've gotten into a good routine with blogging (thank you for reading!) and exercising (speaking of, are you interested in more fitness posts??).  We'll see what the future has in store . . .

Click the picture to read the full post about each project.

I hope you get to enjoy a long weekend!  See you in September!

* * * * * 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The events of the past few days lead me to think about Herman Melville

From The Confidence Man, Chapter 7:

The stranger was a man of more than winsome aspect. There he stood apart and in repose, and yet, by his mere look, lured the man in gray from his story, much as, by its graciousness of bearing, some full-leaved elm, alone in a meadow, lures the noon sickleman to throw down his sheaves, and come and apply for the alms of its shade.

But, considering that goodness is no such rare thing among men--the world familiarly know the noun; a common one in every language--it was curious that what so signalized the stranger, and made him look like a kind of foreigner, among the crowd (as to some it make him appear more or less unreal in this portraiture), was but the expression of so prevalent a quality. Such goodness seemed his, allied with such fortune, that, so far as his own personal experience could have gone, scarcely could he have known ill, physical or moral; and as for knowing or suspecting the latter in any serious degree (supposing such degree of it to be), by observation or philosophy; for that, probably, his nature, by its opposition, imperfectly qualified, or from it wholly exempted. For the rest, he might have been five and fifty, perhaps sixty, but tall, rosy, between plump and portly, with a primy, palmy air, and for the time and place, not to hint of his years, dressed with a strangely festive finish and elegance. The inner-side of his coat-skirts was of white satin, which might have looked especially inappropriate, had it not seemed less a bit of mere tailoring than something of an emblem, as it were; an involuntary emblem, let us say, that what seemed so good about him was not all outside; no, the fine covering had a still finer lining. Upon one hand he wore a white kid glove, but the other hand, which was ungloved, looked hardly less white. Now, as the Fidèle, like most steamboats, was upon deck a little soot-streaked here and there, especially about the railings, it was marvel how, under such circumstances, these hands retained their spotlessness. But, if you watched them a while, you noticed that they avoided touching anything; you noticed, in short, that a certain negro body-servant, whose hands nature had dyed black, perhaps with the same purpose that millers wear white, this negro servant's hands did most of his master's handling for him; having to do with dirt on his account, but not to his prejudices. But if, with the same undefiledness of consequences to himself, a gentleman could also sin by deputy, how shocking would that be! But it is not permitted to be; and even if it were, no judicious moralist would make proclamation of it.

This gentleman, therefore, there is reason to affirm, was one who, like the Hebrew governor, knew how to keep his hands clean, and who never in his life happened to be run suddenly against by hurrying house-painter, or sweep; in a word, one whose very good luck it was to be a very good man.
I should note that my mother, a retired English Professor and Melville mavin, led me to read this, Melville's last, novel, many years ago.  My understanding is that it is not widely read, but it should be.


DIY (Kitchen Chalkboard Wall)

I've been on a roll with the paint lately, this time my attention was focused on a long blank wall in our kitchen.  I'd been toying with the idea of turning this mostly-hidden wall into a chalkboard wall for awhile, and when I saw the gorgeous array of Benjamin Moore chalkboard paint colors, I decided to take the plunge.  I thought it would be really fun for James (my 2 1/2 year old son) and a great place to put fun messages, menu items, or little reminders.

I chose Benjamin Moore Chalkboard Paint in Summer Nights (777).  I wanted something blue, but with some aqua in it.  They have every color in the rainbow, so it's hard to chose just one!  

I applied three coats, waiting at least 4 hours between coats per the instructions.  (yes, there is a plant in the sink- I was watering:)  Then, you have to wait 3 days for the paint to cure before you add chalk to it. 

And then the fun part . . . 

James loved drawing on it! 

And Mama did too!  

I love our white kitchen, but this wall is hidden except when you're looking at it from the mudroom, so it still looks like a white kitchen from most every other view in the house. I like that it's kinda a secret, unexpected fun wall in our home. 

I'm planning to add a trim border to the chalk wall over the weekend, so I'll show you next week!

* * * * * 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Chris Christie yearns to be run by the Medicis

Since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved.
Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince

$75 GIVEAWAY (Quality Bath)

Quality Bath is an online retailer that sells everything you need for your kitchen and bathroom.  They have sinks, vanities, tubs, showers, range hoods, medicine cabinets, mirrors, faucets, soap dispensers, cabinet and door hardware, interior and exterior lighting and more.

Today, Quality Bath is GIVING AWAY $75 toward the purchase of anything in their store. 

I browsed the Quality Bath website and found many items that are comparable to what we have in our house.  Click the link below to see the item on Quality Bath's website.

I'm pretty crazy for these indoor sconces.

And these mirrors. 

*Visit Quality Bath WEBSITE

*Follow Honey We're Home BLOG or PINTEREST

*Tweet, Facebook, Pinterest, or Post about this Giveaway


*Be sure to leave your email address so I can contact you if you win!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I Heart Galveston

Say what you will about dirty water and not-so-nice beaches, but Galveston island is only an hour drive from my house, is a great little getaway, and holds some very cherished memories. I made new memories recently too, since I got to spend some time in Galveston when James and I crashed Cassie's (Hi Sugarplum) family vacation:)

Can you believe these bloggers only got ONE picture of themselves together that day?!  I'm on the left, she's on the right, sisters anyone??

After hanging with Cassie and her kids, on the way home, I was left with the incredible feeling that I REALLY like them.  Her son chatted easily with us and her daughter played with James and "mommyed" him in such a sweet way.  I wish we lived closer so we could get together more. 

And I was ecstatic that Cassie snapped some pictures of me and James since I don't think I have any of us at the beach.  The water was perfect and he had so much fun splashing and jumping in the waves.   

Please tell me summer isn't ending!!

*  * * * * 

Monday, August 27, 2012

A California Renaissance?

Here is the preliminary job growth rate by state from July 2011-July 2012, according to the BLS.  States are those for which there was a statistically significant change in employment from July to July.

Note that California outperformed Texas.

Painted Kitchen Cabinets

As soon as I saw the gorgeousness of Emily A. Clark's painted kitchen cabinets, I knew I had to do the same thing to ours.  She took off her cabinet doors and painted the back wall Urbane Bronze by Sherwin Williams.  You can read her full post here.

Doesn't that look great?!  I chose to paint the cabinets in our kitchen that already have glass doors.  I'm not sure what you've got going on at your house on Friday nights, but two Fridays ago, after James went to sleep, this was what I was doing . . .

I taped the sides, applied two coats that night and a third coat in the morning.  I used the same paint color as Emily- Urbane Bronze by Sherwin Williams.  I used flat paint (because our cabinets are flat) and she used satin (that's what she had on hand). The picture below was taken just after the third coat was painted, while it was still wet, and it dried darker than that photo depicts. The photos with the dishes in the cabinet show a truer representation of how the color looks dry. 

After putting everything back in, I realized I needed all white dishes and pottery, because the cream and olive green dishes I previously had in there didn't look too good with the dark grey background.  So, I ended up relocating those dishes to another cabinet and added in more white.  You can read more about the "before" HERE.

I love how the white pops against the dark background.  Too keep it from being too stark, and to add a touch of fun, I brought in a couple mini potted boxwoods. (I also cleared off the area underneath to keep the focus on the pretty cabinets). 

I bought the tall pitcher at Target and the two smaller pitchers at Homegoods.  You can also get them really cheap here.

I'm terrible at eyeballing how things will look, so I am one of those who purchases, tries it out at home, then returns.  (I originally had three tall pictures, but liked the balance of one large and two smaller, so the two large ones went back to Target). 

The two large bows were also from Homegoods and the coffee cups are from Target- nice and tall so you can see them with the doors shut.  We already had white plates, small bowls, and the cake stand.  I could have just spray painted some off-colored objects, but I didn't have the size and shape I wanted. 

Because we have doors on our cabinets, I had to keep the items inside centered so they looked nice when the doors are closed.  

I love how the cabinets turned out and only wish I had painted them sooner!  Thank you Emily for the inspiration.  

I know it's back to school for many of your households- hope you and your kiddos have a great week!

* * * * *

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Orwell's six rules on writing.

From Politics and the English Language:

(1) Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print. 

(2) Never use a long word where a short one will do. 

(3) If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out. 

(4) Never use the passive where you can use the active. 

(5) Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent. 

(6) Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

The problem with the capital gains tax

Tax policy can be frustrating.  A major reason that Mitt Romney pays a lower effective tax rate than many working stiffs is that most of his income comes in the form of capital gains, which is taxed at a preferential rate (the top marginal ordinary income tax rate is 35 percent, while the long term capital gains rate is 15 percent).  It may therefore seem that the easy way to implement a "Buffet rule" would be to match the capital gains rate to the ordinary income tax rate.

There are three policy dilemmas here, along with a practical problem.

The first policy dilemma is that some capital gains are nominal--they don't reflect changes in purchasing power.  We recognize this problem in other places in the tax code--for example, we adjust tax brackets for inflation every year.  The problem could be solved using indexing--we could tax real capital gains at the ordinary income tax rate.

The second dilemma is perhaps more controversial.  In a Solow-Swan world of economic growth, more savings produce a larger and newer capital stock, both of which are key to growth (Barro and Sala-i-Martin have a lucid description).  If they are correct (and the consensus is that they are), then policies that encourage both savings and flexibility are good policies.  To some extent we do this with our retirement tax policies: so long as savings remain in a retirement fund, their returns go untaxed, even when securities within the fund are bought and sold.  With respect to capital gains policy, this implies that we should discourage the consumption of realizations of gains, but should encourage investment flexibility.  In other words, if someone sells her winners in order to buy a Jaguar, she should be taxed, but if she sells winners in order to reinvest somewhere else, she should not.

The second dilemma creates a third dilemma--the investor who makes smart decisions accumulates considerable wealth, which could lead to disproportionate political power.  Capital gains preferences accelerate this phenomenon.  This is particularly vexing.

Now for the practical problem--the statutory capital gains rate can be considerably different from the effective rate (my approach here follows the argument in Dave Geltner and Norm Miller's Textbook, Chapter 11).  Consider an investment that pays no dividends that grows in value at 10 percent per year in a world with a statutory capital gains rate of 20 percent.  Suppose the investor holds that investment for ten years, and then sells it.  To put some numbers on it, a $100 investment will grow to $259.37 in value.  The capital gains taxes will be $159.37*.2=$31.87, so the net to the investor after capital gains taxes with be $227.50.  The internal rate of return on the investment drops from 10 percent before tax to 8.6 percent after tax.  Consequently, the effective tax rate is not 20 percent, but 14 percent.

If we stretch out the investment horizon to 20 years, the effective rate drops to 10.3 percent; if we reduce it to 1 year, the effective rate matches the statutory rate of 20 percent.  The point is that regardless of the capital gains rate, investors have considerable discretion at determining their effective rate.  So it is almost certain that a behavioral response to a higher capital gains rate would be longer periods of time between realizations, hence lowering the effective rate.  When it comes to figuring out tax policy, nothing is easy.



psalm 118:24

Friday, August 24, 2012

Organized Paint Supplies & Organized Home Link Party

Welcome to my Organized Home link party!  Y'all know how much I like to keep things organized and pretty at my house, but behind the scenes sometimes looks different.  There are many areas of our home that could use some help in the organization department.

I've been spending more time on home projects lately, but have been so annoyed when I'm looking for certain supplies and I can't find them in the chaos of an unorganized garage.

I knew I needed to take control of my supplies and relocate them to my garage (our house has two separate garages) where I can organize them how I like and also keep them at my eye level.  It's hard to tell, but in the picture above, I had to stand on my tip-toes to even see what was on the top shelf.

But my garage wasn't much better. . .

It took less than an hour to pull everything out, vacuum the floor, toss the trash, dust off the spiderwebs-eww!, and take what belonged inside to the house. 

I purchased a 5-tier shelving unit from Lowe's to hold all my paint and supplies.  I was surprised to see how much spray paint I've amassed over the years.

This is so much better!  I love that glorious "after" feeling!  Now I can see the rainbow of colors I have and stop buying more white because I think I'm out- I discovered that  I have about 10 cans of white spray paint!

* * * * * 

Link up any space in your home that you have organized!  It can be a whole room, or just a shelf or drawer- anything well-organized goes, maybe it's even a system you've developed to help your household run more efficiently.  Be proud of what you've accomplished in your home.  Let's be honest, it's not easy!

Feel free to grab my button too.  I'll keep the party open for a week and then feature some of your posts the beginning of September.  Thanks for linking up with me!

* * * * * 

Also, thank you to everyone who entered the Stella & Dot giveaway!  The winner is:

Please email me at: to claim your prize!