Friday, October 24, 2014

Dining Room Re-Do

Progressive Post:

If you saw my kitchen remodel, then you know that I sold my old table to help pay for stuff.  I eventually wanted to replace it with a normal table, not a pub table. Being 4'10" makes high chairs impossibly uncomfortable. 

I found the most amazing banquette ($200) at A Classy Flea - then a few weeks later, the perfect dining table with 4 chairs ($250). All for only a little more than I sold my old dining set for!!! Score! 

This needs a complete make-over, but I bet you are already thinking of at least 4 things you would like to see happen with this set. BTW - sand and stain is not gonna happen! This is ugly, stained, discolored laminate. 

Phase I: Primer - I use Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 All Surface Primer
It is hands down the best primer for plastic, laminate, shiney, or mystery surfaces. Covers stains like mildew and tannin beautifully.

I think it already looks better! But this is just the primer. Stay tuned for the final reveal!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Do something new- Accomplished!

This week has been a little weird.

My husband and I watched The Fisher King on Netflix last weekend. Then on Monday, the news released that Robin Williams was dead of apparent suicide. This  moved me to tears.

I think that the world is sad to hear the passing of Williams, but the talk about depression is very motivating.
It is easy to not like where you are in your life. For instance, I am currently seeking employment, and have no idea when or where I will be working next. I try to be excited about opportunity but more often then not- I find it discouraging. In fact, I have a difficult time getting out of bed at 6:30 am, I procrastinate doing chores horribly, and I absolutely almost never call or talk to anyone unless I have too. The main motivator for me to do anything is if I make up in my mind that someone else expects it and they will be tremendously disappointed if I don't do them a favor.

This week I was challenged to expand my artistic skills, mission accomplished!
This week I also gave myself several goals to reach and I did them all!!

But I am going to gripe about one of them. Have you ever made one of those Chocolate Mousse recipes where it is raw and you use avocado and cacao nibs? Why does no one tell how hard it REALLY is to make right?

 I followed a recipe perfectly. I measured out every ingredient, I added them in the exact order the text indicated and then I turned on the blender after a few minutes I realized,  my mousse was still a bit green tinged. When I sampled it - it tasted like avocado. I had to add sugar and more chocolate... twice. So, by the time I got it right, I had cooked the mousse. I made Chocolate Avocado soup. It was steaming and hot enough that I had to let it cool before handling.  SO FRUSTRATING

I made blue cheese burgers for supper - all fancy with the onion buns and organic lettuce and tomatoes. Delicious. I'm not going to lie.... there was no side dish. Hamburgers are full of calories and fat and I had a desert. Keep it simple, sunshine.

I have a couple of big goals in the works that I am not ready to reveal. It will take time, diligence and a little bit of money too. True test of character coming up! The biggest problem for me will to stay focused and motivated on the big picture. I tend to like instant results and lists that I can cross off and move to the next project. (See frustration w. 3rd attempt at avocado mousse)  I am about to get a huge lesson in patience and practice for my mind, body heart and spirit. :)

Thursday, July 10, 2014


The month of April ushered many changes into 2014.  My brother and his little family found their new nest and left Mr.C and I all alone with our wild ideas and no one but each other to consider.

We had a stressful week at work and rounded out our Friday, as usual, at Loco Willy's with a drink. We had to go out and buy a new washer and dryer that week because after LB (little brother) left we didn't have one! Honestly, we were shocked to hear it wouldn't be delivered for almost two weeks.

When Mr. C awoke on Saturday, I am not sure how long he had been starring at the ceiling and thinking about things but when I finally acknowledged morning he quietly announced "I feel like destroying something."  And this is how our kitchen remodel began.

We already had a contractor come out and quote some ridiculous price for working on the kitchen project.  We already went to IKEA and wanted the grey kitchen configuration and all the nice stainless appliances. We changed our mind about IKEA. We had already talked to the Big Box store about custom cabinets. We already had a real estate agent come and advise us.We had already accepted that it would cost $20K to do everything we wanted in our little wish book.

We had a half ass plan and some dreamy notion of how someone else was going to make it happen. 
So without hesitation, Mr. C took a sledgehammer to the wall between the laundry room and the kitchen.
April 5th, 2014

At this point we were curious about why the laundry room ceiling was 7'while the kitchen was 8'.
I convinced him to put a hole in the upper wall from the kitchen so we could see the structure. I do not have a picture.... but there was a roof there. A roof with shingles, and leaves and acorns and sticks, and it had another roof over it.

We were stumped! Being that we are not qualified to build a birdhouse, we promptly called a friend who is a professional. Eddie was available and knew just what to do! So I went straight to the ATM and compensated him for his time and expertise.

Mr. C and I continued tearing out walls and kitchen cabinets to open this space for a breakfast nook. The cabinets on the far right kitchen wall were under utilized and too far away from the kitchen appliances to be usable work space.

When we arrived home from work on Friday, April 11, this was the most awesome sight you could imagine! An open wall space represented the freedom we wanted from tight closed in spaces the original layout provided. Happy Dance!!!

View of laundry / future nook from TV room / From Back door to Laundry

WH closet / furniture niche
Started Floors!

Closet tear out and widen door way
The Washer and Dryer were scheduled for delivery on Sunday, April 13th we were excited and motivated to get started on the flooring so that we would not have to move the machines once they were installed. We were able to get enough the flooring done in this area just in time for the W/D Delivery on Sunday afternoon.

The following weekend April 19-20 we laid floors in the TV Room. My DH did an amazing job!

The walls are painted a "mushroom" custom color from Sherwin Williams. The flooring is from Home Depot

Here is a before of the TV Room: blonde Pergo and contractor white on the walls

We were feeling accomplished and excited about our newly unveiled skills as weekend warriors!
 SHOCKING Life Changing NEWS!!!  
Charles and I both lost our jobs on  Tuesday, April 22 (along with a few other people) The rest of the week we spent trying to figure out what this means for our family, our home, and our pets. My DH is an amazing person. While I was not sleeping and literally vomiting every morning because of the uncertainty of our future, he was getting up and encouraging us to take a walk, drink coffee, pray, and leave it in God's hands. Charles was a blessing to all of us that were experiencing this loss.

On Sunday, April 29  Charles and I went to Lowe's. They were having a 25% off sale on all stock kitchen cabinets. Yes, I had already picked out the custom stuff and had the kitchen measured by the pros - but at this point - that option was ridiculous. We purchased what we needed on the spot. Then We went home and destroyed our home!

On Monday, April 30  Our neighbor came over and assisted DH with picking up our new kitchen. They rented a truck picked everything up in one trip.

Before:Kitchen to Dining 
Before: Dining to Kitchen view

Tear out and add floors
 This photo was taken during the time that we were debating rather we should tear out the cabinets as planned, or just live with them until such time we were working again.  Decisions decisions!

And the verdict: Total Tear Out!
Here is the view to the dining room from kitchen - A big blank wall!

We went through to the dining room also - Here's a before picture.

The Dentist
After this tear out, I starting having a terrible toothache. Read more here!

Okay, Back to the Remodel!
Part of the push to get this kitchen complete was because we have Summer Kids and they were due to arrive on May 25th in full throttle. We hung the last picture on the wall and touched up the last bit of paint on Saturday, May 24th!

The Reveal!



Breakfast nook
View from TV room to Back door

We Carried the flooring and paint from the TV Room all the way through to the Dining room. 
And here is the After: I sold the Dining table and chairs I had on Craigslist so the room is empty but pretty!
I plan to buy a vintage table set and get new lighting to match the cottage style of our home.

A great big Thank You!!  to our kind neighbors,Tim and Eddie,who helped us at different times with the tear out, the clean up, the patchwork, the labor, and sharing their time and knowledge with us. Without them, this kitchen would not have been nearly as well put together. Thanks to Brenda who is a real estate agent and great friend for giving us right advice to "keep it simple"and "go grey". To, I am calling you friend a too. Thanks to folks who post informative videos and explain how to do everything under the sun! Without you, my cabinet doors and crown molding would be crooked and look like crap! :)
Especially huge Thanks, love & appreciation to my awesome husband! He put so much hard work and HEART into this project! He never got down, never lost the faith and is an inspiration!

The Details: 
The remodel was done for around $6K - This includes plumbing work, new faucet, lighting, flooring, cabinets, counter tops, fancy drawer pull outs under the cabinets, paint, wainscoting,  removing a wall, opening the doorway larger into kitchen area, adding the closet and louvered doors, opening the kitchen to dining space up, Trim and molding in 3 rooms, tile,electrical work, clean up and labor.

We purchased all of our kitchen cabinets for $633.00 - Lowe's Kitchen Classics Concord
 we went with the laminate in stock counter tops - Lowe's Belanger - Antique Mascarello
This cost us about $300.00. The lighting is from Lowe's also, Our appliances are 10 years old, but they are in great condition, so we were happy to keep what we had.
We found the drawer pulls @ Lowe's on clearance for $2.98 each. Lowe's Motiv Bar Cabinet Pull
 We found the kitchen faucet for less than $70.00 - Lowe's Pfister Sonterra Polished Chrome faucet and the biggest steal was our new kitchen sink. A $300.00 Kohler porcelain sink on clearance for $62.00 - it is similar to this one - Home Depot Kohler Cast Iron Double Sink
The flooring is from Home Depot - TrafficMASTER - Saratoga Hickory
The laundry closet bifold doors - Home Depot Masonite Plantation Full Louvered Doors
The Mirror over the buffet is from Hobby Lobby.
The little tables on each side are from Old Time Pottery.
I scored the chairs for the breakfast nook from Goodwill - $34.00 for 4 chairs.
The table was a find from A Classy Flea - $60.00
The rugs are part of the Better Homes and Garden collection at Wal-Mart - I have to admit, I'm rather impressed with the selection available online! Check it out! 
I spray painted all the electrical covers with Rustoleum brand Hammered Bronze paint.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Typical Me

I'm getting ready to go the beach in a few days. Part of this preparation compels me to stand in front of the bathroom mirror to scrutinize all my flaws. Since my last pay cut I have not paid for a single manicure or pedicure, hair color or waxing. So, now I catch myself staring harshly at the fine hairs of my brow I have not been plucking. I'm looking at my short and bare nails. Across my hairline the gray is peeking through. It's bad enough my skin is milk white and completely unprepared for a day in the sun.... but none of me should be out of the shadows! 

I reached under the sink...way in the back ...and pulled out a microwave wax kit. I opened the box and noted "Ah! I have strips and wooden sticks!" and then I thought "Why haven't I been using this?" I also found a bottle of developer and a half tube of hair dye. That stuff doesn't go bad right? Next I checked out my collection of old nail files, nail polish bottles, clippers, ooooh! I even have a foot scrubber! Again,"why haven't I been using this stuff?" 

I mixed up my hair dye and applied as directed. Next I heated up the wax. After a little debate I decided to wax off my almost invisible mustache first. I dabbed the wax on slowly. Pressed the strip into place and RIPPPPPP!!! Um okay OUCH! But it did it's job. "NICE!" Thought as I gazed at the smooth red skin.

Suddenly, I felt confident enough to try waxing my eyebrows. I started slow. Putting wax only on those little fine hairs and worked my way in. Everything seems to be going well. I start to apply the wax with confidence, enthusiasm and perhaps a heavy hand. This is when things go bad. RIPPPP! "oh my god! That is A LOT of hairs!" I jump close to the mirror and observe my work. "ok, ok. I can live with this it's just a little thin, no problem." So I decide to attack eyebrow number two. My nerves are a bit rattled. I start holding my breath as I apply the wax. I am being very careful and aware. RIPPPPP! I look at the strip. 'NOOOOOO!" I shout at the mirror me. "How? How did I manage this?" The wax had seemingly jumped over a spot and clumped up towards the bridge of my nose making it further from center than the other side, and awkward shaped.

My inner voice said, "Go thinner. You can fix this." So I did. On both sides. I kept inspecting my now very red splotchy face thinking... "Wow, this is why I always paid for this!" By this time I needed to rinse out my hair dye. As I was leaned over with my head under the running water in the tub I kept thinking...."well, at least my hair will be ok." 

I got out the hair dryer and watched for the color to come out. (I'm brunette so it is impossible to tell when it's wet) When I was done I realized that the bottom 3 inches of my hair are black! BLACK! and the top part is dark brown. "Really? Dang!.... Maybe no one will notice right?" 

At this point I decided I couldn't do anything right so I better save the nails for another day. I got ready for bed and prayed to God to please let my eyebrows grow in swift and furry. I awoke and I swear things are not as bad as they were before!!! I was able to fix my eyebrows with a little eyebrow powder. And my hair did n't look quite as obvious as I remember. So tonight... I am going to tackle my rugged short nails and make them beach ready. I am just grateful to have a hat to cover my hair. My bangs and sunglasses will cover my eyebrows. 

I wrote out this experience to remind myself of WHY I SHOULD PAY FOR PAMPERING!!! 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Dentist

The Dentist

On April 25th I starting having a terrible toothache. This happened right after tearing out the kitchen - and two weeks into being unemployed. I had to call COBRA and get dental coverage QUICK! The rumor is that I chomped down really hard and broke my tooth when I accidentally electrocuted myself messing with one of the light switches... Anyway for the next 2 weeks I was drugged up, cranky, stressed out, not happy and pathetic.

 It took 3 Appointments to resolve my problem. On Tuesday (April 29) The Dentist tried his best and gave me 6 shots, but could not get me numb. So we rescheduled and he prescribed an antibiotic. We also arranged to have nitrous oxide for the next time. Friday came with 7 shots and nitro.. I could still could feel everything. The poor dentist was beside himself and felt very bad that it was Friday and I would have to go another weekend in pain. I was referred and went straight to an Oral Surgeon who scheduled me quickly.
This was NOT my dentist... Thank goodness!

This entire experience was emotional, as it was my first time having a tooth pulled that was not a wisdom tooth. I don't even know if a root canal was an option, before I got the second opinion -I already decided not to have the tooth removed. The decision was partially because I read this article and this article.  But mostly, the deciding factor was based on life experience. When I was 17, I had a root canal and this was followed by 4 years of unexplained fatigue, nausea, fainting and general lethargy. We all concluded it was just because my dear father was fatally injured in a car accident and I was traumatized. Now, 24 years later,I wonder if the root canal I had two weeks after his funeral is to blame.
Now back to the traumatic Dental Experience -
 On Monday, May 12 - I went into Oral Surgery andI wore this T-Shirt

The nurses and the doctor thought I was pretty funny. I don't remember a thing and I'm overjoyed to no longer be in pain and I have stopped mourning over a tooth. :)

Monday, March 11, 2013

We Eloped!

It was December 16th, 2012. The rumors of the end of the world according to the Mayan Calender were all over the news and the History Channel. Charles and I were working a whole lot and were exhausted, however in the back of our very tired minds, we were intrigued by End of World philosophy/prophecy. 
Charles and I sat dog tired across from each other at Applebee's. We ordered an appetizer and a 2 for $20 dinner special. We both thought everything was disgusting and concluded we were too fatigued to even eat. This is when Charles looks over and says "Let's get married on Friday." And by "Friday" he means on 12/21/12 a fun date to write, and well, if the world does or doesn't end by midnight, we will be married on this HISTORICAL date.
  I came up with a hundred reasons why we should not get married in 4 days.  
But, as each day passed, thoughts of our conversation kept creeping in. I mean, why not? We love each other. Marriage is between us and God. Why not just keep it that way? 

On December 21 at 11 am, I went to Charles at work and said "Let's get married on our lunch break."

Charles was put off by this notion. He was too busy with work and had already accepted that I declined the initial idea. At lunch, I convinced Charles that he must buy wedding bands for the occasion. So two hours in traffic later, we were back at work, but determined, even without the official jewelry, that this is our DAY. We to leave work a few minutes early so we could get to the courthouse. 

We arrived at the Marietta City Courthouse at 4:45 pm. Fifteen minutes late to apply for a marriage license- instead the ladies offered us gun permits. 

We walked over to Simpatico's where our friend, Brian Griggs, poured us strong whiskey sours. Charles was so disappointed, I tried to comfort him, by telling him it just wouldn't be right without wedding bands anyway. My reasoning was not effective, compounded with the fact work was blowing up our phones over promised shipments that were not delivered on time. Meaning that once again, work was in the way of fulfilling OUR dreams, OUR ideas, OUR promises, OUR commitments.  

Thankfully, it is the holidays and stores are open late. We came up with the brilliant idea to at lease get officially engaged. We popped into a nearby jewelry store and purchase our rings that night. We did it proper too. Charles bought me exactly the ring he wanted to buy without complaint from me. And I purchased with my own money exactly the wedding band he preferred. (unfortunately they didn't have it in his size and he was disappointed to have to go without.)

The next day, December 22, we had Christmas dinner at the parents house. We announced our engagement to the family. Everyone was thrilled to hear our decision, and not a bit surprised! Earlier in the day we purchased airline tickets to Orlando and decided to celebrate our honeymoon at Universal Studios. (Harry Potter! hello!) [this is of course, after discovering that there was not a single seat on any airplane to Vegas before Monday, and finding that exotic locations last minute were out of budget]

Charles and I spent several very lovely days in Orlando. We went to a Pirate Show where we joyfully drank from coconut pirate heads. I was chosen Head Winch during the show! 

We went to Universal Complete with Lanyards and Fast Passes

I know, Pirates winch one night, and a Butter beer winch the next! Lucky girl!

We got married on the following Friday, December 28th. My most awesome friend, Ashley, helped me buy flowers, get a cake, and get a new do all on the same day! Charles had to work all day and rushed home at 4:30 to change clothes and look ready. Ashley and Bobby picked Charles and I up at our house, and dropped us off at the Courthouse steps promptly at 5:30. 

iPhone photos of the actually event - Thanks to Bobby Knives! 

We eloped with simplistic ease followed by a casual dinner with friends at Willie Rae's on the Marietta Square. It was great - I wouldn't change a thing! 

Special Thanks to Aubrey Gall for taking these outstanding photographs! 

I love how happy we are! 

We always laugh too much (is that possible?)
Our friends are telling us why they love us... with funny stories
We texted our family the news :) 

I love this picture...though my brother looks like is about to run for it!

So happy Ansley was able to join us! 

Cutting Cake!

Our beautiful Cake - From Gabrielle's


Our bling that means everything!