The Landing Pad

If you have been a follower of this here blog or if you have newly found me, you will notice that there haven’t been any new posts since July 11, 2012….almost 11 months!!!  That’s not because I have not been working on any projects.  I have been doing plenty, including buying a new home and starting a new job.

The lack of posts is because I have been busy working to create a new life for myself along with being stuck in a mental block of creating a new blog.

As of November 2011, White Picket Bentz is no more. With the destruction of that “white picket fence” in my life came the need to move away from this blog and create a new home on the internets where you could follow my adventures in decorating, remodeling, cooking……all things life!  Creativity comes at me in many forms…music, clothing, decorating, etc. but coming up with a new blog name and home-on-the-internet that felt “me” was harder than I thought! With lots of input from family and friends, I just couldn’t find what really felt like me… alone – not me with anyone else……just me.

I moved into my new home in July 2012.  It was built in the 1940’s and having come from a new construction townhome, this new house was quite a switch for me.  Well maintained and in pretty good shape, I worked to get myself settled.  This was easier said than done….cue lots of frustrated tears when my furnace stopped working in 20 degree weather, my dishwasher leaked under my wood kitchen floor, when my plumbing backed up into my kitchen sink and when my bathroom faucet wouldn’t shut off during the night – continually running. Those were the times where I cursed this house and thought it would never feel like home.

During some of the darkest months of my life, a dear friend told me to look at my new house not as an obligatory place to live, but as my new “sanctuary”……a place that was all mine, where I could come, be alone and away from the world, and have it be all mine.  While I was replacing my thermostat when the house was 40 degrees I laughed to myself and thought there was no way this place was my sanctuary….my safe place. This was a nightmare!

The weather has finally warmed and summer is practically here (hopefully my AC doesn’t skitz out on me like the heat!) One day recently after work, I pulled into my driveway, looked at my adorable (if I do say so myself) flowerbeds and smiled. I looked at my house and thought, I am happy to be home.  Finally this house has become my home, all mine.  When I walk in its as though I have landed on a soft cushion. Some place I can be totally me, comfortable and at peace……my house has become my landing pad.

Finally, after nearly a year and a half of struggling to find a blog name, I knew I had found it.  This will be my last post at White Picket Bentz – that is no longer me. It is the past.  My new home is now at  I will continue to share my adventures in decorating and renovating my home, furniture updates, and recipes, but I will also be sharing updates on improvements I am making to ME. It will be more a lifestyle blog rather than strictly a “shelter” blog.  It just feels more me.

The Landing Pad is not just a reference to my home. It’s a reference to my new life……one that I absolutely love and cherish and never thought would be as great as it is.  The new blog will be my “landing pad” to share whatever life throws my way!

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For those of you that have followed me here during my short blogging life, I hope you will move over and join me at my new home  For those of you that have just stumbled here and found my “goodbye” letter, I hope you will stop by to see what goodness is waiting for you over at The Landing Pad.


Help!! Wood or no wood??

So, I am officially moving into the new house on Saturday (meaning there will be an entirely new blog to chronicle the updates/decorating adventures to be had….the new blog name is the hold up!) 

I have been working on getting the house ready to move in, including new paint (not being done by me – WOO HOO!), cleaning away 38 years of old owner-ness, and getting ready for new carpets in the bedrooms.  I pulled up the old carpet and there were hardwood floors under both bedroom rugs.  Immediately I placed an order with Home Depot for new carpet….but a serious snafu (= them charging my account 3 times for the carpet) resulted in me cancelling my order.  While working with Lowes to get my measurement done and waiting for them to call back, the bedroom got painted.

It went from this GORGEOUS baby pink with stencil border….

To this……

A calming, light blue that is totally out of my normal character for paint colors!  This iPhone pic was texted to me by my uncle who is painting to see if I was sure I liked the color (which he does not) before he finished…..

A.  I LOVE THE COLOR!!! Makes me even more excited to get into the house!

B.  Now I love the hardwood floors with the wall color! ACK!!

I have had hardwood floors in my kitchen/dining room, and have them again here at the new house. However, I have never had them in the “cozy” spaces (living room, bedroom, etc). So many people have told me to get carpet in the bedroom because it helps keep the house warm in the winter, cuts down on noise, etc. However, I aboslutely LOVE the look of the floors!!  I don’t want my toes to be cold all winter, but seriously, now I’m already envisioning AMAZING area rugs in both “sectors” of the bedroom!

I will let you in on a little secret/project spoiler….I pulled the carpet up in the spare bedroom too and the floors were in even better shape. To save some moolah, I was going to carpet the main bedroom and refinish the hardwoods in the spare bedroom myself. I am still going to do that, but I think the master bedroom will be too big of an undertaking. I move in in 3 days and I will not be as speedy as a professional in finishing these floors.  Also, some of the boards need to be replaced in the master and those pesky carpet tack strips around the room need to be dealt with. 

Before I finalize my carpet order with Lowes, I am having a floor refinisher….finisher….I don’t know, either one…… come out tomorrow to give me an estimate.  Fingers crossed it’s cheaper than my carpet option.  But I’m still nervous to pull the trigger and say YES to hardwood floors in the bedroom.   Here’s another angle……(sorry for the bad iPhone pic)

Anyone have any thoughts? Hardwoods or carpet in the bedroom??!?! What do you have and love? What to do????? Maybe this Home Depot hiccup and the pokiness of Lowes in finalizing my order was meant to be and I was meant to have hardwoods in the bedroom…hmmmm….

Sunshine on a cloudy day…..

First off, it’s been a bit since I’ve posted a recent project.  There are a few underway here at casa Bentz, including one that I am SUPER excited to finish and show you guys!!! It’s intermediate success led to me doing a happy dance around the garage!

Here’s a little hint………it has SOMETHING to do with my previous post where I tragically found out that my beloved PB mercury glass pumpkins were sold out!

You will just have to wait and see until I get her all wrapped up!

Anyway, as you know, I have been coming to terms with summer ending, cooler days (meaning the impending doom of winter) and cloudy skies.  It was a super rainy/cloudy/gloomy day today.  As I got home from work, there was a little “summer” surprise peeking out at me as I pulled in the driveway…………

This big guy in the front and his friend in the back……..

……have grown at the bottom outside of our garden retaining wall!  I had a hanging plant like this last year in our garden, but not this year! These little seeds must have survived all last winter (with its 24+ inches of snow), through the construction of our little retaining wall this spring, and are now blooming at the end of summer/early Fall as a little happy treat!

(PS, I’m not a gardener…..I kill more plants than actually survive…..if you were a plant, your odds of survival in my care are very limited……let’s hope I don’t have this same bad luck with our future children!!!!)

What can I do with these?  They aren’t weeds (like the rest of their friends that have popped up all over the garden with all of our recent rain).  NOTE: Weeding the garden is at the bottom of my fun list, along with cooking potatoes (these have been my nemesis since we got married almost 4 years ago – those buggers are NOT easy to cook !)

FLOWERS:  Do I replant them in the actual garden? What about the impending doom of winter? Will they come back next year or should I just leave them to live their Fall life at the base of the wall?  Unless I get some help with this, these pretty little beauties full of bloom and promise are goners!  Thoughts? Suggestions??

These little flowers were a good reminder that even in the clouds and gloom of a rainy “cough” Fall day, there is always something to be thankful and happy for! Happiness can sprout up where and when you least expect it!!!

Perfect picnic taco dip

Happy Labor Day Weekend!!  I had wanted to get this post up sooner, but the flu has hit me hard this past week. Even derailed my trip to the beach this weekend. NO FUN!!

It may be a little late, as most Labor Day picnics are going on today or tomorrow, but this dip is one of our favorites for picnics and is super easy to make! Actually, it has become Shaun’s thing to make for events.  I actually stole this recipe from my sister. She won’t mind me sharing!!!


2 – 8oz packages of cream cheese (you can use the reduced fat version, but it makes the dip runnier – your choice! It’s a picnic! It’s the time to eat bad food!)

1 cup of mild salsa

1/2 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese (variation: you can also use the taco flavored cheese for an extra kick – I like it simple!)

1/2 cup shredded lettuce

3-4 grape tomatoes – sliced

How to:

Combine softened cream cheese with salsa (the mixture should take on a pink color – really no white should be left for a nice strong flavor. I usually eye-ball the amount of salsa to use – with taste tests along the way – typically 1 cup of salsa)

Spread into shallow serving dish (something festive is always nice!)

Layer lettuce on top of mixture, followed by cheese and sliced tomatoes

Serve with your favorite tortilla chips for scooping!!


THAT’S IT!!! Easy cheesy right?!?! Honestly, super simple and takes a total of 10 minutes to make, depending on how weak your arms are to mix the cream cheese and salsa. These girly arms need to heat the cream cheese in the microwave to make it nice and easy to mix!

Hope you enjoy and have lots of fun, holiday-weekend activities planned!!!!

Add a little bit of chunky…

So, I realized that all of my posts have been about the goings-on in the little corner of my dining room….the dresser, the lamp, and the tray.  I might as well round off the corner of the room with my most recent, and probably last project in this space for a while.  You may have noticed in pictures that the wall above the dresser was naked and begging for some attention.

Now, this wall is probably one of my least favorite things in our house. Our dining room is really an eat-in kitchen.  When we had the house built, we chose the additional “morning room” option off of the back of the house/kitchen/dining room for some extra space.  I love this room. All of the daytime light hits the back of our house and this room is so bright and sunny and wonderful.  This wall, as you can see below, cuts off the dining room, and essentially the living room, from the light pouring in the windowed wall at the back of the house (and causes all of my pictures to be dark! Sorry!)

The wall is non-load bearing, just a divider, blocking out my sun. I would love to knock a hole in her and let that light come pouring through, but that is more mess than I am ready to deal with for the time being! So, what better way to create some artificial “light” than with some mirrors?

I love, chunky, substantial mirrors, but my wallet does not like their price! I looked around for something that I loved and was reasonably priced, but I got tired of searching.  I found these mirrors at Target for $5 a piece! $20 for 4 was awesome!

Their price was awesome, but their skinny little selves left something to be desired! I wanted substance!  I wanted them chunky!

I got $14 worth of wood moulding and got to work.  Now, my engineer-minded husband was much more scientific at this then I was…I just grabbed a square (which…for the life of me, I cannot figure out why it is called a square when it is perfectly triangular!!! Funny story – I bought him this “square” for Christmas and when I went to Lowes to buy one, I made sure to tell the nice salesman that I needed a square “you know, the thing that looks like a triangle???”)

Moving on…..I measured my angles and made my cuts.

Only one of my pieces had to be re-cut because it did not want to meet up with the other corners – sort of an outcast!  I used Liquid Nails – Small Projects, that I got at Lowes to glue the moulding to the mirrors.  Once they were set, I used white, paintable caulk to fill in all gaps at the corners and all gaps where the moulding met the original mirror.  Each spot took a few applications of caulk to be fully filled. What a mess! Not a huge fan of the mess that makes!

Once the caulk was dry, I gave the whole thing a coat of spray primer and then a quick coat of satin white spray paint so the moulding and the original mirror would blend together as one!

After the paint was dry, the rest of the process took a few weeks (this is where my boy became involved….not trying to imply anything!!!) Shaun added some picture hangers to the back of each, and was made responsible for hanging the mirrors. He’s not good at multi-tasking when he’s watching a Phillies game so it took him a few tries to finally get the job done!

If you don’t know me or can’t tell by now, measuring and planning are not my strong suits! I would just start tacking up some nails and seeing if it worked (THIS is why I am not allowed to hang anything in our house!)

I just have to show you the sort of insanity that the engineer in the family goes through just to hang some mirrors on the wall! This is all Greek to me! Makes me break out in hives just looking at it!

Yuck!  But the mirrors are finally at home on the wall and I love them!  I could have used chunkier moulding but I think it would have swallowed the mirrors up.   They aren’t quite chunky, just big boned!

I love this little nook! So proud of all that I accomplished to finish this space……

Before we leave this space, I should round it out with a source list of where everything came from…..

Lamp – Thrift Store

Shade – Hobby Lobby

White ceramic bird – he’s hiding next to the light – (really 1 of a set of salt & pepper shakers) Pier 1

Sculptural blue pear jar – HomeGoods (clearance – $10!!! WOO!)

Picture frame & starfish – Old Salt (favorite decor store at the beach!)

Pitcher – TJ Maxx

Tray – JoAnn Fabric

Mirrors – Target

Dresser – Craigslist find from NJ ($20!)

Have you redone anything boring and drab and made it fab?? (Sorry, couldn’t resist!) How about any good finds like the blue ceramic pear from HomeGoods (I love me some HomeGoods!!!) Share in the comments!!!

I have seen the light!

Lighting can be SO expensive!  At $30 for a lamp base, plus an additional $20 for a separate shade, this cheap girl avoids lighting at all costs.  However, our lights need a DEFINITE upgrade in this house!  Mostly cheap lamps from IKEA, a brushed nickel set as a wedding gift, and, I am sad to admit, college dorm lighting – it was time to classy this place up a bit!

I have been swooning over blue lamps and lamps with curves throughout the blog world like this….


and this one….

This last lamp is sold at Lowes for $29 + the cost of a lamp shade. Not terrible, but I knew I could find cheaper!  One Saturday while the boy (also know as Shaun) and I were on a Hobby Lobby run (oh how I love the Hobby Lobby), we stopped at a local Thrift Store.  Not only was their stuff insanely cheap, they were having a 50% off sale in a few departments, including lighting!  After a quick scan of the lighting section, I came across this nauseatingly 90’s lamp.

I am proud of how I have grown as a thrifter.  I saw past her blinding, Mr. T-esque goldness, and saw her wonderful curves! She had potential.  And at this price….

… 50% off, I knew I had to have her.  Can you see the dust in her curves? It needed some serious cleaning and de-germifying before coming to life!

I found the perfect spray paint color at Lowes to turn her into the fabulous lamps I have been obsessing over. I was alone on my trip to Lowes and the checkout people looked at me like “who is this insane woman smiling so crazily over spray paint!” It was perfect:

I came home and got started right away. I couldn’t wait!  She got a hardcore tape job – no paint was getting through this. It was taped tighter than the Botoxed faces of the Real Housewives of Orange County and Beverly Hills…I don’t judge, that is good TV!

After she was taped up, I gave her a coat or two of my go-to, spray primer, Valspar.  Even in just primer white, I was IN LOVE!  She looked amazing white.  I knew her fate was to stay a nice, bright white.  My blue would have to wait for another project.  I gave her 2 coats of Rustoleum satin white paint and she was beautiful…

I topped her with a $10 clearance linen shade from the Hobby Lobby.  I picked that up the same day I bought the lamp. They are a PERFECT match! I didn’t know it was possible to have so much love for an inanimate object!!!!

Right now she lives here…

…but as we speak, I am working on a potential new home for her in our living room. We will see where she fits best but for now I just sit, and bask her in awesomeness!

Hello? Is this thing on???

Here goes nothing!