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DIY Entertainment Center

Remember a really long time ago when I shared how I got into woodworking and then said I would start sharing my projects and didn’t? Well now is the time! I thought I would start by sharing the first project I ever completed, our entertainment center.

The Cozywood Life Pottery Barn Entertainment Center-7

The Cozywood Life Pottery Barn Entertainment Center-6

The Cozywood Life Pottery Barn Entertainment Center-4

The Cozywood Life Pottery Barn Entertainment Center-2

When we moved to Princeton the only furniture we had was a dining set and a desk. That meant we were sleeping on an air mattress and sitting in camping chairs in our living room. We used our desk as a tv stand and got a couch and bed a month after moving in. After we got our couch I wanted to start building our entertainment center. Yes, I chose to build the biggest project first. I don’t know if that’s crazy or hopefully determined, but that’s what I chose.

On our road trip from California to New Jersey we started browsing online for entertainment centers we liked. When we got more settled I started looking on Ana White’s website and saw what we were looking for. It was the knockoff plans for the Logan entertainment center from Pottery Barn (plans: media unit, lower side shelves, upper side shelves, and bridge). While we made a few modifications, like making the top shelves 5 inches taller and making the bridge have two shelves, I stuck to these plans pretty closely.

When I started this project in October I had one part time job. Once I got a second job it delayed my work time. In the end I used 4-5 big chunks of time in December and January. My goal was to have it completed by the end of February. This included a massive move of all the pieces to our apartment (I built them at Chris’s parents’ house), sanding and cutting beadboard in my bathroom, assembling everything, and priming/painting. The first picture was our preassembling at Chris’s parents to make sure it worked, the second is after we moved everything to our apartment (aka chaos), and the third is right after I finished painting it.

Sept to Dec 2013-223

Jan to April -50

Jan to April -55

During the process there were definitely moments of frustration. As I put all the pieces together I learned why it’s important for pieces to be square (the corners are 90 degrees and the measurements of each diagonal are the same) because when they are not, some things are crooked and don’t line up. This resulted in some problem solving when a few boards that should have fit ended up being too short. While this was frustrating, I also had to remind myself that I knew there would be imperfections and what was more important was that I actually built it! That is a huge accomplishment that I should be proud of instead of constantly focusing on the small imperfections that only I will notice.

Looking back at these pictures I am very thankful for how far our place has come in the past year and a half. And it has now experienced all the seasons!

The Cozywood Life Pottery Barn Entertainment Center at Christmas

Overall we love this entertainment center. It’s exhilarating and exhausting to finish a huge project like this, but we take joy in it every day as it is the central focus of our living room and it displays so many items that we love.

2nd Quarter Update 2015

Well the last time I posted was in April with  my 1st quarter post… that’s bad. April and May got busy with work and then I was focused on other things and never got into a blogging rhythm. So since you haven’t heard from me in 3 months, here is an update:


In April I set the goal to deep clean our apartment and that didn’t happen, so I set it again for May along with running once a week and those didn’t happen either, so the only goals I set in June were for my Etsy shop. I guess I haven’t been very motivated to get things done in my free time, but that’s ok. Seasons like that happen. Plus I’ve had a hard time thinking of goals I actually want to achieve (for example, I want a cleaner apartment, but I don’t actually want to clean my apartment). If you have any goal suggestions, let me know.


  • Church Garage Sale – This was my second year running our church’s massive garage sale to raise money for our high school summer mission trip. If you want more details you can look at my post from last year, but over all it went really smoothly and was not stressful, just nutty (with 3 long days of standing)!The Cozywood Life 2nd Quarter Update 2015-2
  • Jr. High Philly Mission Trip – The first weekend of May we took our Junior High students to Philadelphia to do service projects. We split the students into 5 teams and sent them to different ministries around the city to serve. I had a really great team this year and it’s encouraging to seeing God working in and through student’s lives.
  • Finished my job at the church – at the end of May I finished my job at the church. The second year working there was much better than the first, which I am grateful for, but I am definitely ready to move on. While I love youth ministry, I want to do it as a volunteer, not for my career. Sometimes the job was frustrating because I felt stuck in a position that I didn’t want because I knew that I could not move up and that I didn’t want to be a youth pastor for a living.  Chris and I are taking the summer to figure out what my work life will look like next year and I’m excited to see what could happen.
  • Chris’s Internship – Chris is interning at a hospital this summer as an assistant chaplain. He is already half way through and he has really enjoyed it. His days consist of some meetings and then going around visiting with patients. I love hearing his stories, especially since he has started to build relationships with some long term patients. Chris has a great supervisor who asks him great questions and helps him figure out the best way to handle different situations. He is also good about giving Chris freedom to do the job, which shows that he trust and respects the work that Chris is doing.


In May we went to the Outer Banks with my family and it was so fun! Growing up we were on trips for hockey, to see family, or up at our cabin, so this was the first time we took a “going away” vacation as a family. It was filled with beach time, games (Settlers, Nertz, wiffle ball, bocce ball, and Spikeball), mini golf, checking out the local sites, and spending time together. My mom also taught me some of her sewing tips which was super helpful for getting my Etsy shop going. Here are some pictures from our trip:

The Cozywood Life 2nd Quarter Update 2015 Outer Banks mini golf

Mini golf! A family tradition no matter where we are.

The Cozywood Life 2nd Quarter Update 2015-18

Our house was on the beach, so this was our deck leading out to the ocean.

The Cozywood Life 2nd Quarter Update 2015 Outer Banks Lighthouses

Bodie Island Lighthouse on the left and Currituck Beach Lighthouse on the right.

The Cozywood Life 2nd Quarter Update 2015-15

We discovered a hang gliding tournament when we went to visit the local dunes to fly our kite.

The Cozywood Life 2nd Quarter Update 2015 Roanake Island

Visiting Roanoke Island.

The Cozywood Life 2nd Quarter Update 2015 Outer Banks Fishing Docks

We went to the fishing docks one afternoon to watch the boats come in. We got to see them unload what they caught from the day and clean up.


  • We locked our keys in the car while on vacation within the first hour of being there. Chris was so excited to play wiffle ball on the beach that he locked them in the trunk while getting the gear. The best part is how differently we handled the situation. Chris immediately thought of all the people we could call to come unlock the car and I ran to the closet, got a wire hanger, and my dad and I tried to break into the car. What can I say, we grew up near Detroit. After about 45 minutes of trying in the rain, Chris got our insurance company to send someone over. Within 30 seconds of hanging up we got the car door unlock. I wish I would have taken some pictures as we pried the door open with a plastic sand shovel to stick the wire in the door, but I was a little preoccupied.
  • Vacation also resulted in the first time I’ve spent Mother’s Day with my mom in 10 years! That is crazy!
  • Chris preached on Good Friday and on Deacon Appreciation Sunday! I love seeing how God has been working in him over the past several years. He has taken the speaking techniques he has learned in school and personalized them to connect with his audience. He has  engaged with Scripture and has learned so many great lessons that he is eager to share. I think he is a great teacher and it has been great to see him have more opportunities to practice that gift.The Cozywood Life 2nd Quarter Update 2015-1
  • I made my first sale on Etsy! I actually made six sales in June, which I am happy about because the beginning of the month is when I really started working on my shop (though I opened it in March).
  • Now that we are in summer mode at work, my boss has been playing music in his office so loud and it is quite hilarious and sometime inappropriate. So far I have listened to weird songs I’ve never heard of, Don’t You Wish Your Girlfriend Was Hot Like Me, and Afternoon Delight. Very interesting play list he has going.


  • Chris met with a new orthopedic surgeon and scheduled his second elbow surgery. While his bone healed great in the first surgery, we later learned that the ligament that holds his radius in place was damaged during the injury and we didn’t notice until the healing process. Based on how Chris puts weight on his arm, his radius bone can pop out of place, which can be anywhere from weird to uncomfortable to really painful. While he can live with it, his quality of life (especially because he loves activity) would be better if we got it fixed. So his surgery is tentatively scheduled for Friday, July 31.


In April Chris challenged me to only watch tv socially, meaning I was watching 1-2 shows (or about 3 hours) a week. This was a dramatic change from my normal. While it was hard at first, I found that I enjoyed having more free time and I got a lot more done. I even read two books in a month which is huge for me!

But then May rolled around and I binge-watched Gilmore Girls like nobody’s business and finished last week. While I loved it (I grew up watching it, but never saw every episode in a row) I was ready for it to be over and to have my life back. Now that I am caught up on my other yearly shows (Bones and Scandal) I will stick with my two summer shows (Bachelorette and So You Think You Can Dance, neither of which I’m loving so far) and try not to watch anything else. I really need to start using my time better. And read more.


In March I read Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine and Living Well Spending Less by Ruth Soukup. Both focused on setting goals, developing good habits, time management, and saving money. I feel like I need to read them again! I also read The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins which was so good, but it took me so long to read (I’m blaming Gilmore Girls). And now I am rereading the Harry Potter series (it will be my third time and yes I have the book chest in the link haha).

Things to look forward to in the 3rd Quarter

  • This weekend one of my college roommates is getting married!
  • Chris’s elbow surgery, which is tentatively scheduled for Friday, July 31.
  • Chris starts classes again and this year will be his last at Princeton and his first at Rutger’s. Because he is doing a dual program, this year he will be part time at each school. Luckily his first semester Rutger’s class is online. He will also be doing an internship 15 hours a week plus working at the church 15 hours a week, so he will be a busy boy!
  • We are doing our annual family hangout Up North over Labor Day.

This next quarter I really am planning to post more than once every 3 months. I even planned out a posting schedule for the next few months, so hopefully that will help!

1st Quarter Update 2015

Since I haven’t done monthly updates in awhile, I thought I would combine everything into a quarterly post instead. The beginning of this year has been filled with new things, so here we go:


  • January: Upload and edit all of our photos. I hadn’t touched pictures since October so there were a lot! We also cleaned out our storage unit. We didn’t get rid of much, but it was good to look through what we had and reorganize.
  • February: Make curtains for our apartment. I’m honestly shocked I finished them, especially with how long they took, but thanks to President’s Day and the following day being a snow day, I finished them.
  • March: Make picture albums (I did not complete this so I’m hoping to move this goal to June) and doing our taxes. Let’s just say that taxes suck. I always get frustrated and this year we owed lots of moolah because our church job doesn’t take out enough money… big bummer, but they are done!

Big Things

  • Chris officially got accepted to the Rutgers Social Work program! So next school year he will be half at Princeton, half at Rutgers. We are thinking/hoping that next school year will bring more clarity for him for the direction he wants to go when school is over.
  • I started an Etsy shop at the beginning of March. While I want to do a whole post to give it some justice, I still have a lot of work to do before I report anything. So far I have listed one item, but I have more on the way and a ton in my head that I need to make… I just need to find/make the time. I’m planning to work hard on my shop the next few months, so hopefully I can give you a real how it started/how I’m feeling update in June(ish).


  • First trip to Seattle. You can see Part 1 of our trip here and Part 2 of our trip here.
  • Chris and I went to McCarter Theater in Princeton to see our first play, Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery. It was amazing! First off, we did not realized that McCarter theater is a big deal. Second, though I have not been to a Broadway performance yet, this was by far the best play I have ever seen. The cast consisted of 5 people. Sherlock and Watson stayed the same, but the other three actors were constantly switching characters. It was seriously amazing how fast they changed. They comically incorporated it into the play by occasionally having them change on stage or if they were slightly late to a scene they would comment that they were late and the character would say “well yeah.” Plus it was fun to see a play based on books/movies/tv shows that we really like.
  • I finally finished my very first building project! We love it… more to come somewhat soon.


  • I got my tonsils out in February (procedure post and recovery post). I really glad I had it done and my recovery went really well.
  • Chris’s elbow is having some problems. Based on how he puts pressure on it, it feels like one of his bones is shifting out of place. When we were in Seattle Connor’s dad (an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in shoulders and elbows) looked at it along with some of Chris’s x-rays. He said it looks like the bone healed fine, but that the ligament that holds his radius in place is too loose and the only way to tighten it is surgery… so we are considering that, possibly during the summer, but we still need to figure a lot of things out. I’ll keep you posted.


Because of my surgery, we got Netflix and Hulu Plus, so I’ve been binge watching lots of shows. I don’t remember what I started with, but I’ve watched Scandal (I caught up to live television) and I Parenthood. I watched the first season and a half of Parenthood while it was on tv, but I started running out of time and that was one of the shows I gave up, even though I really like it. I just watched the finale episode (twice) and it was amazing and I was so sad to see it end. I think that will be one of my favorite shows ever. I also just watched the finale episode of Hart of Dixie and I’m mad they are not renewing the show!

Because I have been watching so much tv, Chris is challenging me to go (mostly) tv free for the month of April. And I will not turn down a challenge, however I did ask for one parameter: that I get to watch tv socially, like my weekly Dancing with the Stars hangout with my friend Lauren or watching Fixer Upper at his parents house. He said that was fine. With tv I think the lesson I need to learn in moderation. Netflix is my downfall, but watching a few shows once a week is doable, especially since that is how I like to unwind.


I started reading again in March. On our Seattle trip I read For the Right Reasons by Sean Lowe. I know some of you might think that is lame, but I like watching the Bachelor and I liked hearing about his faith/life journey before, during, and after the show. I also read Esty-preneurship by Jason Malinak to help me get things started with my Etsy shop. I’m realizing I have some big fears to conquer when it comes to putting my passions into an Etsy shop, so the book I’m currently reading to help with that is Make It Happen by Lara Casey. While I’m only a few chapter in, I know this book is going to help  me face some of my fears by finding freedom through my relationship with Christ. Hopefully I will do a full post on what I’ve learned from this book when I finish it. I also got Shauna Niequist’s new devotional Savor and I’ve reading it every night.


  • We celebrated our two year anniversary and Chris’s 26th birthday. Read post here.
  • We had our annual High School Retreat and it was so much fun. I was pumped because 3 of my girls came (opposed to 1 last year) and one of them accepted Christ as her Savior! So awesome!

Things to look forward to in the 2nd Quarter

  • Our annual March Madness bracket date… Chris won this year for the first time.
  • The massive church garage sale that I am in charge of on April 18th. Though I am not stressed, please pray for me.
  • Junior High Mission Trip to Philly the first weekend of May.
  • A vacation to the Outer Banks with my family.
  • My part-time job at the church officially ending at the end of May. We are still discussing what my work life will looking like after that (mostly for the fall since Chris will be working in the summer).
  • Chris starts his summer internship alongside a hospital chaplain.
  • I’m finally going to start posting all of my building projects!

That about sums up the 1st quarter. Thanks for checking in to see what we’ve been up to!


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