Five on Friday

Friday, June 8, 2018

I have been on a sandal search lately since a lot of my tried and true favorite sandals are starting to need replaced from lots and lots of wear. I thought I'd share a few that I've had my eye on in case anyone else is on the hunt for some great basic summer sandals. I try and stick to sandals that are well made, comfortable and will match lots of things in my wardrobe. 

These flip flops are a great neutral that will match just about everything. They run in whole sizes and I'd say size up if you're in between sizes like me. I'm a 6.5 and I ordered a 7. 

I have a few pair of the classic Jack Rogers that I have had for so many years now and they're the sandals I reach for almost daily. They are obviously pricier, but like I said, mine have lasted for years now so I think in this instance, you're getting what you pay for. I'm thinking about grabbing the Lauren style in either white or cognac.I usually grab Jack's when they have flash sales, which you can sign up for their e-mails and receive notifications when that happens. 

These pink Sam Edelman sandals just have my name written all over them. I've not met many pink shoes that I didn't love and these are just too cute. I have lots of Lilly P that I like to wear all summer and these will perfectly compliment lots of those pieces. There do come in other colors, too if pink isn't your thing ;)

Another cute neutral sandal, these also come in two tone tan and brown if the white doesn't float your boat.

These crisscross sandals are so versatile and could be worn on into fall with skinny jeans and look so cute. They're currently available in most sizes.

And just for fun, how cute are these sandals for summer, especially July 4th? Now, I'm not about to pay the full price on these, but again, if you sign up for e-mails from Tuckernuck, you may luck out and catch them on sale. 

Backyard Landscaping

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

I spent most of this past weekend tackling a big project: cleaning up our backyard landscaping. I'll start off by saying that I didn't accomplish all of this just over the weekend; a few things I'd already completed like trimming back some plants before digging up the roots, raking out leaves, etc, but for the most part, this was done this weekend. 

First off, I'm going to throw it back to what the back yard looked like when we purchased the house in the next two photographs. 

Kinda pretty with all the fall foliage, right? Yep, until you have to rake up all those leaves, clean out the muck from your gutters and worry about all of those trees blowing over onto the house. We cut out SO many trees and bushes. So much of the landscape was just overgrown or scraggly and I basically tore it all out and started from scratch. 

Here are a few pictures from a couple of weeks ago, complete with a pile of dirty laundry visible in the first photo. haha. Oops. 

In the corner of the photo above, you can see the trellis Juston built for me a couple of weeks ago. Painting lattice work may just be at the top of my "Least Favorite Things to Paint" list. Lord that took forever. 

And now for the photos I snapped Monday morning. I tried to re-create the same angles from the initial photos for perspective. Also, keep in mind that I'm in the process of painting the deck. I'm trying to decide which colors I want where. The lattice work, I painted this weekend and the color is Sherwin Williams Historic Charleston Green. This same color is on the shutters on the front of the house and I think I'm going to put it on the railings and trim, then the spindles and other trim are/ will be Sherwin Williams Creamy. This is also the color I'm painting the siding (next outside project). 

Here's the trellis all painted up and secured to the brick. I have Caroline Jasmine planted on the ends that will climb the shorter sections and Confederate Jasmine planted to climb the center section (hopefully). 

I also managed to get some more flowers in my pots, dig up all the roots of the plants I tore out, plant the new flowers and mulch around most of the back landscaping as well as the front of the house landscape. I love work you can do, then step back at the end of the day and see the change. I'm not the best photographer, so the photos don't capture what a change it made, but I'm very happy with it. 

I also had two very observant critics watching my every move most of the weekend. 

Next up, aside from painting the siding, I have to pressure wash the back deck and finish painting it, decide which plants I want to use to finish off the landscape in a few areas and add a few whimsical touches that a local shop carries from the same line as the little butterfly rain gauge shown up above. Oh, I also completely overhauled the front landscaping over the last couple of weeks, tearing out about ten holly bushes and planting hydrangeas (my favorite) and some hostas. I'm excited to see how it shapes up as those start growing and filling in. Hope everyone had a great start to their week!

Watch Your Words

Monday, June 4, 2018

Just a disclaimer right off the bat: I typically try to keep this a fun and positive space, because I'm a fun and positive person, but something was said to me today and I feel like it's something I need to write about. So if you're just here for the home renovation before and afters or the recipes,  you'll probably want to skip over this post. 

Today, I had a family member, a person I love and respect very much, tell me that if my husband ever decided to leave me or if, God forbid, something happened to him, that I could end up "living in a trailer park." And yes, that's a direct quote. Now maybe if this was the first time that this type of innuendo had been thrown my way by this person, I would have just laughed and gone on about my business, but it's not the first time...or the second...or the third. This person has devalued my decision to be a stay-at-home mother multiple times with not-so-subtle jabs like this one, basically insinuating that I rely solely on my husband to put food on the table and clothes on my back.

Can I just tell you, that after so many comments, this one finally got my rile up. I didn't say much in return, because I don't need to defend my life decisions to anyone, but for any other stay-at-home parents that are being made to feel "less than" because you aren't bringing home a regular paycheck every week, let me ask you this, is there any job more important than raising your children? 

For me, that answer was no. I completely understand that not everyone has the liberty to stay home with their children and I also understand that not all parents want to, nor should they have to. You can have kids and a career and be amazing at both. But my decision, before Juston and I had ever even had kids, was that I would put my career on hold once we did have children until they were in school so that I could focus my attention and efforts on raising my babies and shaping them to be great people. I can't get these years with them back once they pass and I know that even though there are days I think I might lose my mind if I can't get two minutes of silence or just go pee without an audience, that these are indeed, the days.  The days that I will look back on with so much gratitude and fondness that God entrusted these children to me. The days that I will yearn to return to during trying teenage times. The days that, though sometimes exhausting, are some of the best days of my life. These are the days, our days, and this is the way I've chosen to spend them. And I won't allow anyone to make me feel like my choice to do that means that I'm less valuable that a mother who parents and works a 9-5 every weekday. Just like working moms shouldn't let anyone make them feel like less of a mother because they work instead of staying home. Why do people feel the need to criticize and be negative? I just don't get it.

More than once I've felt tired or frazzled and said as much, only to be told "Well, I did everything you do AND I worked a full time job." Okay, cool.  Congratulations on that. I'm not. Being a mom to Caroline and Carter is my full time job, and it can be exhausting and I'm allowed to say it is and feel that it is.  Full time mom-ing ain't easy, however many things you juggle along with it.  And best believe that if I were put in a position where I had to be the breadwinner for myself and my children, I could and would be. I have a college degree and I've got plenty of work experience under my belt. Not to mention that I have worked on a part time basis since I had Caroline.  

And one more thought on the topic before I wrap this up and move on to our regularly scheduled programming around here; You don't have to say every little thing that comes into your head where someone else's life is concerned. We all make our own choices and our own way in this world. It's different for everyone which doesn't make either way better or worse, just different.  When in doubt if something you say may hurt someone, just keep your mouth shut because ultimately, most people need more cheerleaders, we already have enough critics, our own selves included a lot of times and if you can't be kind with your words, then just hush your mouth ;)

Our Kitchen Renovation

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The kitchen in the house we bought a year ago now (a year already!!!), looked pretty nice from the listing photos, but once we actually got into the place, the cabinets were super rough...literally pulled off a drawer face in my hand the first time I pulled one open. The dishwasher didn't work, the fridge, though empty, had the most atrocious odor in it and the oven was from 1989 I'm pretty sure. This room is definitely the most drastic change in our whole renovation and was the first room we tackled, since I didn't want the kids in the house without a working kitchen. Juston lived here during most of the renovation, but the kids and I didn't move in until this past October. 

I tried to reproduce the same angles of the before photos when snapping the after pictures so that you can really tell what all we did.

The first thing Juston did in here was to scrape the popcorn texture off the ceilings, then repair, mud, sand and paint them. From there, everything was gutted. I have some photos of the reno in progress but I can't find them.  You can tell from the photo above that we rotated the kitchen island from where it originally stood. It just felt like it was supposed to be the way we turned it when I walked in it the very first time. We also removed the cooktop from the island, took out the stacked oven and microwave from where they were and moved and we also moved the fridge to a new wall where the oven had been. Bare in mind that in most cases, when I'm talking about this specific room and say "We" did something, what I mean is I picked something and Juston did the work haha. 


After moving the fridge, it basically left a whole wall opened up for storage. The butler's pantry area you see above used to house the fridge, but now we have floor to ceiling cabinets bookending some glass fronted upper cabinets for displaying pretty things. We also removed the soffit that was originally above the cabinets and it's amazing how much taller it made the ceilings feel.  We took the new upper cabinets all the way to the ceiling. We put the microwave in the island, which I mostly like. Carter has leanred how to make his own microwave waffles for breakfast haha. Teaching them self-reliance early ;) We also replaced the light fixture above the table. The only potential perceived negative to rotating the island is that we had to use a smaller kitchen table than you could have used with the island facing the original way, but in changing the island, we added seating there, so I'm very happy with the change. 

With the cooktop out of the island, it gives me all of that space for food prep when I'm making supper and Caroline will sit up at the bartop coloring or playing Barbies a lot of times while I'm cooking on the lower portion of the island. 

You may also be able to tell from the above photos that we closed up an opening between the living room and the front room, which we'd now consider a playroom and currently a temporary guest bedroom. But now that it's closed off and separate, it can also be used as an office, which I think will serve us well when we sell this house as we also added french doors to the entry into the room. It's such a mess in that space that I don't anticipate sharing it anytime soon, but we changed a lot in there as well. 

We painted the walls Sea Salt by Sherwin Williams, did shaker style cabinets and quartz countertops. We also got new cabinet hardware, a new faucet and did a white subway tile backsplash. I went back and first over whether to do white or gray subway tile, but ended up going white because I feel like for re-sale, it has a more universal appeal and felt less trendy to me. I really liked the idea that the gray tile would pick up the gray marbling in the countertops, but ultimately am glad we went with white because I love it.

We still need to remove the fan that's in there and replace it with two chrome pendant lights above the island instead. I think I have picked out the ones I want, so we should have that done soon enough, though Juston isn't looking forward to tearing out the ceiling to add the second light and run the electric to it. 

Here's a few more shots from various angles. The kitchen open up to our living room, but it still feel seperated enough, which I prefer. I can see the appeal of open floor plans, but I don't care for them personally. 

I still want some new chairs for the kitchen table as I'm not a fan of the ones we have, but I'm not certain what I want. I've got it narrowed down to about three different style chairs, but they're all SO different that I can't decide which direction I want. I'll share my three choices soon and ask y'all for help deciding!

We took out the white blinds that were in here, also old, dirty and barely functioning, and replaced them with these wood blinds from I'm working on replacing all of the blinds in the house with this style.

So there you have it, our updated kitchen. I'm so in love with how it turned out. We saved a lot of money because Juston did all of the painting, ceiling scraping, cabinet installation and backsplash himself. We did have professionals install the countertops for us, but otherwise it was DIY. 

My mom kept telling me that I didn't want a white kitchen because it would always be a mess, but I disagree. It hasn't been any messier than our old kitchen with wood cabinets and dark countertops haha. Honestly, I've loved having the all white and I don't find it any more work to keep clean than any other kitchen I've had. Now the stainless steel is another story! I have found a trick with keeping it clean though. I wipe it down, generally with a wet rag if it's not super dirty, then polish out any remaining fingerprints or smudges with a little bit of olive oil on a paper towel. Works like a charm.

Powder Bath Plans

Monday, May 21, 2018

We are currently thisclose to having the whole first floor of our house completely renovated. All that really remains aside from finishing decor touches, is the powder bath. Below, you'll see what it looked like when we bought the house. This post does contain affiliate links.

Since this photo, we have scraped the popcorn ceilings then mudded, sanded and painted the ceiling, removed and replaced the mirror and light shown here, I put up one coat of paint on the walls before deciding I wanted to wallpaper it instead, and we have changed out the towel holder and toilet paper fixtures from oil rubbed bronze to chrome finished fixtures, as well as changing the light switches from an off-white color to a pure white color. See below for what it currently looks like in the powder bath. 

Now, for the plan on what we're doing in here. I already mentioned that I'm planning to wallpaper the room and a few months back, while they were having a sale, I picked up this Serena and Lily wallpaper in the sand color. Here's an idea of what it looks like...

Once I get the wallpaper put up, we're planning to get the Pottery Barn sink console pictured below, unless we find a similar option in the meantime at a better price point (in other words, Juston thinks this one is too expensive, but I shall persist ha).

The old console, mirror and fixtures will be going into the basement bathroom once I get the vanity painted and get some prettier knobs on it, so we're planning to get some more use out of them yet. We've been a little bit perplexed a few times while renovating because the previous owners kept the old, original 1990's cabinets throughout the house, but put nice new granite on top of them, essentially putting lipstick on a pig in some cases. The kitchen cabinets, we ended up saving the ones in the best condition to use as storage cabinets in the basement, but we had to toss the rest. The mud room cabinets hadn't had as much wear and tear, so we kept those and I sanded them down, cleaned them up and painted them, which helped the looks a lot. The sink from the powder bath isn't in the greatest shape, but it still has some life in it and we won't be using it much in the basement anyway, but the top, sink and faucet are all newer, just not my taste, so into the basement with them. 

The new mirror I put in there quite awhile ago is from Ballard Designs and the new light fixture is from Shades of Light. I've also got some Charleston window box prints in acrylic frames that will be stacked vertically above the commode. 

I'm going for a calm, coastal chic vibe in the space. It's a small room, so the idea of wallpaper doesn't intimidate me in here as much as it might on a larger scale, and even though the wallpaper is patterned, the colors are neutral, so it won't feel busy to me. 

We are hoping to have this room finished sometime in the next few weeks. We basically just need to order the sink console and we have everything else we'll need already either finished or purchased. We should be able to knock it all out in a weekend. Can y'all see where I'm going with this? I'll be glad to have it finished. I think we'll take a break for a few weeks on the inside projects when this one wraps up and focus on the outside projects that are waiting. Think landscape, painting the siding and back deck, staining the concrete on the front steps and adding stair railings. The list never ends, but I already love the vibe the house has now so much more than what it had when we bought it. I could see the potential underneath all the brown the first time we saw this house and it's been very rewarding to watch the vision I had come to life. Even if I don't like the town we're living in, I do really love what our little house is becoming, slowly but surely. 

I'm hoping to share our mudroom update with y'all this week as well since it's finally finished, so stay tuned!

On My Radar

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

I like to keep a running list on my phone of random things that are on my radar as possible purchases at some point, so I thought I'd share those items in a post today. They're totally random and there's really no rhyme or reason, but here's what's on the list currently.

I started trying Beautycounter products maybe a year ago after another blogger I follow started selling it and was touting the results. Well, I have to say that I have loved every single product I have tried from the company and I've tried skincare, lotion, sunscreen and makeup products. I have never tried anything from the Counter Match line though, and the two products above are the ones that I'm hoping to try first. 
I'll be honest, when it comes to makeup, I'm a minimalist most days, as in, I'm lucky to even put on mascara, but I do love watching beauty tutorials and trying new things when I do have an occasion that warrants full face makeup and the Tarte products I've loved so far. This highlight and contour palette will be my next product. 

Typically in the spring, I want one of everything J Crew has on their site, but this year, I haven't really seen much that I've loved, but the two items above have caught my eye as great spring wardrobe additions. I'm loving the coral jumpsuit, but wondering if the length will be weird on me since I'm shorter. The eyelet dress is just so pretty and can cover you for any event from church to a bridal shower and lots of things in between. 

I think I may have finally found the drapes I want for our dining room. I've shared that space a few times here before so you may remember what it looks like, but these curtains have a little bit of every color I have in the space with the blue, pink and green. I know lots of white is the popular thing on Instagram, but I love a good rich color palette in some spaces and I'm thinking our dining room is where I'll go a bit more bold. Aren't the drapes beautiful!?!

One of my favorite companies to shop for bedding, Biscuit, has released some new prints and they are named after the characters in one of my all time favorite movies, Steel Magnolias. My favorites are the Ouirser and the Truvy. I'm currently trying to refrain from ordering all the pillow shams haha. 

So there you have it...a few of the things that are currently on my radar for beauty, wardrobe and home. I hope y'all are having a great start to your week. We've got a busy month ahead with lots of running around and lots of memories waiting to be made as my nephew prepares to graduate from high school. I'm looking foraward to celebrating him in the coming weeks and trying really hard not to get weepy that he's already old enough to be graduating when I feel like I just dropped him off for his first day of kindergarten no less than two years ago.

Our Weekend

Monday, April 23, 2018

We had a fun week full of traveling last week! If there's one thing we're good at, it's keeping the roads hopping with all of our running around. We started the week in Elizabethtown, then home to Maysville, then to Morehead for Caroline's tumbling class, then I headed to Northern Kentucky on Saturday and back to Maysville that evening and finally back to the house in Elizabethtown Sunday afternoon. I think it may be time for an oil change haha. 

I wanted to share a quick update on our dining room.There are only three things I have left to find and it's totally finished!I still need a rug and curtains as you can see from the image below.

And I have my eye out for a big antique mirror to go above the buffet shown above. I may end up getting a mirror from Ballard Designs that has an antique look. It's called the Beaudry mirror and it's pretty perfect. There's an antique show in Maysville next weekend, so if I don't find something at that, I may go ahead and pull the trigger on the Ballard mirror. 

The kids and I headed home to Maysville on Tuesday and stayed most of the week with everything going on. Wednesday, I took Caroline to Morehead for her tumbling class. She takes classes at the gym I went to from the time I was about ten and it's still owned by the same people who coached me. I started her when she was two and she still loves it, so I'm making it work to get her there. Probably seems stupid to some people that I drive her all the way there, but she loves the gym and her teacher, so I've figured out a way to keep taking her there at least through the summer. 

Thursday afternoon, I had to work for a few hours, then my parents kept Carter so Caroline and I could go watch my nephew and nieces in their high school musical, The Little Mermaid. My nieces were fish and a maid, but my nephew was Prince Eric. He had some solos and just did such a great job. I was SO proud of him and Caroline is convinced that he's famous now.  

Marissa, the gorgeous gal who played Ariel is one of "my girls" that I coached in cheerleading for years! She was always one of the best girls you could find and nothing has changed. She did incredible in her role as did the rest of the kids. It was so fun going back to the auditorium where I participated in so many high school musicals to watch my sister's kids doing it. I was always in the orchestra though; being on stage wasn't my thing. 

On Saturday morning, I made the drive from Maysville to Northern Kentucky University to help judge their cheerleading tryouts. I cheered at NKU in college and have loved getting to stay involved with the program after finishing my collegiate cheerleading career. Cheerleading has given me so much over the years and watching all of the girls and guys tryouts just made me so happy for all the things they have to look forward to cheering at Northern. If I could go back and do it all over again, I'd do it in a heartbeat. 

While I was at NKU, my sister took Caroline to a breakfast with the characters from the musical, which she just loved and my sister even found her girls' old Ariel costume, which she wore off and on all day. On Saturday evening, I stayed home with Carter so Juston could take Caroline to see the musical with the rest of my family. Initially we'd all planned to go together, but the more we thought about it, Juston nor myself thought it was a great idea to take Carter and expect him to sit quietly for two hours.

Sunday morning, after a run and a grocery store trip, we loaded everything up and headed back to Elizabethtown. We'll have another week of running ahead of us because Carter turns TWO this week and his party will be in Maysville since that's where all of our family and friends are. It seemed silly to expect all these people to drive three hours to us instead of just finding a place to do the party at home, so that's what I'm working on this week, plus it's my nephew's SENIOR prom next weekend, too! I don't have any clue how he grew up so darn fast, but his graduation will be here before we know it and I'll be a weepy mess. I hope everyone had a great weekend!