Master Bedroom Fireplace Remodel

It started with the words, the house is move in ready.  But in reality it was not.  Once we lived in our home for a few months, we quickly learned what we liked and we didn’t like.   Our new master bedroom lacked the sleek and modern feel we wanted.  Although we did remodel the entire master bedroom, here are a few pictures from our fireplace place remodel.

Fireplace RemodelThe fireplace wall started out with a Southwestern design, complete with yellowish walls, painted faux tiles and too many shelves and cut outs.  Besides not being very attractive, these shelves and cut outs are big dust collectors.

Fireplace RemodelPainting the walls gray and replacing the carpet helped a lot.  But the overall Southwestern look was still very apparent. The gas logs were outdated. There was no way around it, the only way to address all that we didn’t love, was to re-do the fireplace wall in our master bedroom.

Fireplace RemodelThe shelves on the TV wall were removed, and a recess was made for the television. A proper hearth was created. Rather than rip out the entire guts of the fireplace we decided to simply flatten it to create a more contemporary design.  This saved us money and avoided any unexpected surprises.

Fireplace RemodelThe old gas logs were replaced by a simple linear burner with 1/2 inch black reflective glass stones. This is an inexpensive way to instantly update a fireplace.  Installing a linear burner takes less than a hour.  A marble hearth was added.  Finally the walls were painted a contrasting gray color.

Fireplace Remodel

Stacked stone was installed.  The stone purchased was a charcoal gray. A sealer was added to the stone and that darkened up the stone quite a bit.  So be aware of that when buying stone that will need sealing. Our fireplace remodel is complete and we could not be more pleased.

Fireplace Remodel Tips

1. Gather pictures of the designs and materials you love to show your contractor

2. Be present for each phase of the project.  Don’t be afraid to modify the design if something doesn’t look right

3. Know your budget and don’t be afraid to search out materials that are less expensive

Traveling with lipstick is my blog on travel, beauty and living life beautifully organized.  One of my passions is interior design.  Over the past several years, we have been updating our home in Scottsdale, Arizona.  It has been surprising to me how long projects take.  Finally, several of our rooms are coming together.  I will be posting more remodeling projects in future posts. Thanks for stopping by. Veronica















No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake Parfaits

No bake strawberry cheesecake parfaitsIt is April and strawberries, blueberries and blackberries are starting to look really amazing.  Now is the time to bring out those dessert recipes that call for fresh fruits and berries.  It is nice to be able to whip up a no cook dessert during months when it is too hot to bake.  If you love cheesecake, strawberries and chocolate, than I hope you will love this no bake strawberry cheesecake parfaits.

No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake Parfaits

Strawberry Cheesecake Parfait
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
A light, no cook, gluten free dessert using fresh berries. For all cheesecake lovers!
  • 2 pints fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 8 oz. cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate (grated)
  • 1 cup crushed gluten free graham crackers
  1. Wash and slice strawberries and set aside
  2. Mix cream cheese and sugar until smooth
  3. Whip cream until soft peaks are formed. Fold into the cream cheese mix
  4. Add vanilla and mix well
  5. In your parfait glasses, layer graham crumbs, cream cheese mix, grated chocolate and strawberries
  6. Continue the layering until 4 parfaits are created. End with a tablespoon of cream cheese mixture and some chocolate as garnish

Like most recipes, feel free to make adjustments to suit your own tastes and dietary restrictions.  I have a gluten intolerance, so I use gluten free graham crackers.  Regular graham crackers can be used.  If strawberries are not available, use your favorite fresh fruit.  If you prefer a sweeter dessert, add more sugar.  Another modification is to experiment with different flavors.  Try almond extract instead of vanilla extract.  If you are a coffee lover, try adding instant coffee to the cream cheese mixture.  The possibilities are endless.

Traveling with lipstick is my blog on travel, beauty and living life beautifully organized.  Occasionally, I post a favorite recipe of mine.  I have been traveling a lot lately.  It was nice to be home this past weekend and to prepare dinner for my daughter and her boyfriend.  Strawberries were on sale, so I whipped up these no cook, gluten free strawberry parfaits.  I hope you enjoy it.   

What Not To Pack For Las Vegas

What Not To Pack For Las VegasPlanning a trip to Vegas is always fun.  You can get so much enjoyment out of packing and wearing pieces from your wardrobe that you normally don’t wear around town.  Packing for Vegas does have its challenges, since often day time wear doesn’t transition well into evening wear.  After all, part of the fun of Vegas is getting dressed up for a night out on the town.

What describes the Vegas experience?  Bright lights, crowded sideways, music, warm to hot weather, long taxi lines, lots of walking, sunshine, pool time, drinking, gambling, spa treatments, great restaurants, a little shopping and some sightseeing.  That about covers the basic activities.  Grab your roller bag and start packing.

Avoid the following items when packing for Las Vegas

You will not need them

Don’t pack your blue jeans.  Blue jeans are normally too warm for Vegas. Instead pack a pair of white or light colored jeans or a light weight pair of linen or cotton pants.

Don’t pack anything black.  It is Vegas, be colorful and bright.  Save your black items for trips to Europe or New York.

Don’t pack anything boring or that you don’t absolutely LOVE.  Leave the boring tee shirts at home.  Think sexy.  Maybe some new tops in lace or mesh! I use the word LOVE so that you don’t pack a piece of clothing and then don’t end up wearing it.

Don’t pack brand new shoes.  In Vegas you walk.  The walk from your hotel lobby to your room can take up to 20 minutes!  Walking the strip can be tough on new shoes too.  Now is not the time to break in a pair of new shoes.  Pack your favorite and most comfortable flip flops, sandals, flats or fashion sneakers for day time activities.

Don’t pack a large leather purse.  It can be so uncomfortable lugging a big leather pocketbook around town.  Remember Vegas will be warm, crowded and you walk a lot. Consider packing two or three smaller purses to match your evening outfits. It is much easier to get around Vegas with a small purse.

Don’t pack anything that stains easily.  You might love that silk dress, but after a night out, sweat stains and spilled drinks might take its toll.

What Not to Pack For Las VegasThat is me and my husband inside Wayne Newton’s old Fokker airplane.  The plane is parked at his former home and museum, Casa Shenandoah.  We needed a little time off the strip and this was a perfect side trip to take.  We enjoyed it a lot.

If you follow my What Not To Pack For Las Vegas recommendations, you will be able to pack for a three night stay in one 23 inch roller bag.  As your second carry on item, select a large tote (zippered top).  Your travel tote can double as pool side tote.

Right now I am loving Trina Turk for her colorful clothing and extremely well made totes and handbags.

Traveling with lipstick is my blog on travel, beauty and living life beautifully organized.   I visit Las Vegas as least once a year. This last time it rained the three days I was there with my husband.  I don’t pack a rain coat for Las Vegas, but on this last trip I definitely needed one.  I still do not recommend packing a raincoat.  Next time, I will be more careful about checking the weather forecast though. The good news is that along the strip there are plenty of places to purchase a hat or hooded sweatshirt.  And bonus you have another Vegas souvenir.





Dining in Whistler Village Canada

Dining in WhistlerIt rained a lot during our last trip to Whistler.  The picture above was on Whistler mountain on one of the few clear days. Besides napping, reading and watching movies, we ate out a lot. We have favorites restaurants in Whistler.  This visit we tried several new restaurants. Dining in Whistler has something for everyone.

Dining in Whistler

Araxis – Fine dining, consistently rated the best in Whistler and known for their oyster bar.  A good choice for a fancy night out. They have limited gluten-free options.

Basalt Wine and Salumeria – For wine, cheese and meat lovers.  A good place to munch and linger over a bottle of wine during a long lunch.  There is an outside patio with fire pit.

Caramba Restaurante – A large casual dining Italian restaurant.  Good for pizza and pasta dishes.  They have gluten-free pizza.  The kids will like this place.

Christine’s – On top of Blackcomb mountain for lunch time fine dining.  Quiet place to escape after a morning of skiing. Menu is limited and portions are not huge. Food is well prepared.

Earls – Predictable chain restaurant, nice bar, excellent tacos and friendly waiters. A good pick if you don’t have a reservation on a weekend night. Bar scene is always fun.

Elements – Small out of the way restaurant, good for lunch. Lettuce wraps are popular.  Go if you have plenty of time, the service was super slow.

ll Caminetto di Umberto – Upscale Italian restaurant. Good for families and large groups.  This place will satisfy your cravings for good Italian food.  Reservations recommended.  The warm goat cheese salad is shown above.

The Grill Room - Fine dining at the Fairmont.  Beautiful room with lovely fireplace.  A little on the stiff side for our liking.  Service is prompt and polite.

Mallard Lounge & Terrace – Drinks at the Fairmont.  Can be crowded and noisy.  Nice appetizer menu and expensive drinks.  Comfortable sofas for relaxing.

Milestones Grill & Bar – Reviews on-line are mixed.  Salads lack enough lettuce and can be overdressed.  Food can be served on the luke warm side. When the food is good, it is really good.  You can’t beat the location at the bottom of Blackcomb mountain.

Rendezuous Lodge – On top of Whistler mountain, fine dining at lunch. Best to make reservations. Better menu than Christine’s (in my opinion). Friendly and helpful staff.  Wine flights a plus.

Dining in Whistler

Sidecut – Upscale, classy restaurant at the Four Seasons.  For meat lovers.  The best meal of our trip.

The Mexican Corner – Smallish traditional Mexican restaurant.  They take no reservations, so go early.  Sit at the bar if the restaurant is full.  Happy hour starts at 5:00. Everything is delicious.  We loved the tacos, tortilla soup and guacamole.

Traveling with lipstick is my blog on travel, beauty and living life beautifully organized.  I travel to Whistler Village in Canada, with my husband for skiing at least once a year.   We are both very familiar with the area and dining in Whistler.  The weather during our recent trip was not ideal.  The good news we got to add several new restaurants to our list of favorites.  Had the weather been perfect we would have missed out on some great dining experiences.