Dress Up and Cool Down

I just realized that there are 31 days in July. I mean, I KNEW that, but I guess I forgot about it this year. Imagine my surprise when I realized that today was not August 1st, like I had expected and planned all week long.  It’s thrown me for a loop.  You know what else?  I wish we could just delete the month of August.  It is my very least favorite.  Don’t believe me?  Come visit me in August sometime.  You’ll feel the same way once you’ve spent all your money on popsicles, air conditioning, and reconstructive surgery after your face melts off.

C’mon FALL!  Here are some dresser makeovers that have nothing to do with fall, but they are blue, so that kind of makes me think of cold, and hey, this one has a map on it, so at least I can dream of being somewhere in the world where August is pleasant! Like, say, anywhere else.

From Better After reader Kayla.  So cute!

map dresser before

map dresser after
And this before dresser was so country, I half expect it to be chewing a piece of hay, but Kirsten brought out its adorable side with a blue and cream paint job and new knobs, and now it’s as sweet as a farmer’s daughter.  I don’t think that is real phrase.  See it on her blog Made For A King.




blue and cream dresser

***The Ugly Lamp contest is coming soon! Submit your original ugly lamp photo to enter! BetterAfter(at)live.com, subject line: Ugly Lamp. Deadline is August 15th. More info HERE.***

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Ugly Lamp Contest, get ready!

Ooooh boy.  It’s a-coming.  Do you hear it?  Can you smell it?  Can you feeeel it?  (It feels like fear and smells like a tuna-burp, if you are wondering).

It’s Better After’s 5th annual Ugly Lamp Contest, and it’s headed this way!

ugly lamp logo 2014Get EXCIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIITED!!!!


Do you have what it takes to enter?

All you need is access to an ugly lamp.

But let me tell you something, it has to be REALLY ugly.





Let’s take a walk through our past winners to see if your ugly lamp has what it takes to compete.

ALIEN MATADOR2010, our inaugural champion: Alien Matador.


BROKEN LEG LAMP2011 brought us this winner, who kicked all the other competition to the curb: Broken Leg Lamp.


DEMON SKULL2012: the reign of terror of Demon Skull.

BACON BARF2013 blessed us with this queasy crowd-pleaser: Bacon Barf.

2014What will 2014 bring?! Oh, I can hardly wait to find out.


Here are the rules:

To enter, simply send a photo of your ugly lamp to me at betterafter(at)live.com, subject line: Ugly Lamp. Deadline is August 15th.

The photo must be original!  You don’t need to own the lamp yourself, but you must own the picture.

The entries will be reviewed by myself and a panel of judges, who will select a total of 18 of the worst of the worst to compete.

During the week of the Ugly Lamp Contest, six entrants will compete each day, with the top two vote-getters moving on to the finals.

The grand high champion will be announced, and the winner will receive a $100 gift card of their choice!

((IMPORTANT! Every year it seems there are a few people who get a little confused and think this a lamp-makeover contest, and send me before and after pictures of lamp projects.  Not so.  I just want your pure, unadulterated fuggo lamps, in all their unglory)).

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

I have my box of saltines and 7-Up at the ready, so start sending those entries in!!!!


ugly lamp logo 2014If you’re new here, you might want to go back and check out a few past contests.  Raccoon of Utter Despair should not be condemned to oblivion. Here are the final rounds, my favorite part.  2013, 2012, 2011, 2010.


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Better After Gives Back: The final chapter.


I really hope you’ve enjoyed this week of Better After Gives Back! I had so much fun doing it. Here are the links to the last few days if you’ve missed anything: Part 1   Part 2  Part 3 Part 4

Let’s have a quick recap:

- As my blogiversary neared, I decided I’d like to do a little ‘giving back’ as my way of saying thanks to all those who have given to me over the years.

- I decided to do a surprise makeover for someone who could use a little pick-me-up.

- I chose Jessi, a single mom of four girls who moved herself into a tiny, drab bedroom after her divorce so that her girls could have the master bedroom.

- Jessi left town for a few days.

- I assembled a crew of friends and family, and we transformed her bedroom and bathroom into a space that mirrored her spunky, vibrant personality.

We managed to capture her reaction on video!  Remember, she had absolutely no idea that anything had happened. (If you’re reading this in a reader, you may need to click over).


Did you like the part where I pop out of hiding, give her a hug, then realize I’m 100% grimy and in no state to be recorded and awkwardly slink away?  Ha!

Once again, I have to give huge thanks to everyone that helped.  There is no way I could have pulled it off without the help and talents and kindness of Stephanie Alger and her crew, Franki Ely, Laura Earl, Krystal Avila, Dandi Wright, and their families. It was a lot of work, but so rewarding.

And a special thank you to Nicki Willis, who not only worked her tail off making sure everything was perfect for Jessi, she also captured the moment and created the video.  Check out her production company Prickly Pear Blooms Productions if you’re in the Phoenix area and looking for a great videographer.

And three cheers for Jessi, who now has a restful retreat full of light and good vibes. I hope she can feel the love of all her family and friends around her every time she walks in, and that she loves it as much as we all love her.



And one more big thanks to these kind-hearted companies who made it possible, Online Fabric Store, RustOleum, Reclaim Beyond Paint, and UGallery.

Till next time!


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Better After Gives Back: Part 4

(This week I am sharing something I like to call ‘Better After Gives Back,’ which is a surprise makeover for someone whose home could use a little pick-me-up! Confused? Start here.)

I wanted to share a few details of the room today, and one of my favorites is this oversize print, “In The Air” by Ina Christensen.  It just sums up everything I wanted Jessi’s room to feel like: free-spirited, whimsical and fun!  A happy little reminder not to take life too seriously.  The colors are fantastic too.

detail art

This print and many more are available at UGallery.com, an online gallery that connect art lovers with artists.  They were so super awesome to work with and generously donated this artwork for Jessi’s makeover.

When I say they were awesome to work with, I truly mean it. My computer froze up in the middle of my order, so I called customer service and talked to A REAL PERSON.  And not some call-center robot, a real person from the real company, who fixed my problem by taking down my order by hand and inputting it the system herself.  Also, the art you order comes directly to you from the artist themselves, so there is tons of original work to discover that you won’t find everywhere else.  Very cool.

detail bed corner

The nightstand was a yard-sale score, and I found the cute little owl lamp at Wal-Mart!

detail bed


Where is this fabulous bedspread from, you ask?  I’ll tell you.  It’s from a pile of stuff we found in Jessi’s garage that she was planning to yard-sale.  Not so fast Jessi.  This bedspread is perfect. Look at all that texture, yum.  It just needed to be brought to life with pretty pillows, that’s all.

detail flowers

after side no

The jewelry storage was a fun little accessory that was born from these old drawer fronts: detail jewelry before

detail jewlery3


I just spray painted them white, then used a bunch of fun Rustoleum colors on random hooks to create this display.



The little chair was an $8 thrift-store find, and the reason that it looks so good is that I didn’t recover it!  Credit for that goes to Laura; I would have thrown my staple gun through the window trying to recover all those round edges.



after5 no

By now you are probably thinking: Ok Lindsey.  So, you broke into Jessi’s house while she was gone, spent three days feverishly transforming her bedroom and bathroom with the help of her friends and family, all without her HAVING A SINGLE CLUE that this was even going on, what the heck did she think about it?!?!

Stay tuned.  That part is tomorrow!

Update: Continue on to the final part here!


Part 1 Here  Part 2 Here Part 3 Here

Image Map


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