My coworkers and I all had tears in our eyes after watching this over lunch.
Maybe we were the last ones to see it, considering it has over 3 million hits on YouTube. If you are like me and hadn't seen it, please do.
It will change your day, promise.



It's one of those weeks. It's only Tuesday {morning.}
I need to find joy in the bigger picture, excitement in the small victories and honestly, just let things go. I don't typically have bad days, so when I do (and multiple ones at that), it shakes me more than I would like to admit. It rattles my emotions and I become much more irritable and vulnerable than I'd prefer. I feel trapped under a cloud of discouragement.
That discouragement finds a way to humble me.
Bad days give me a kick in the butt that I most likely deserve. In the midst of my own sulking or potentially irrational frustrations, I get glimpses of what I'm surrounded by. What I've been given, blessed with, trusted with. The spiral of one stressful event to the other is a deathly combination, convincing you that life, not just a singular event, is bad. Here's to knowing full well that no matter the circumstances that surround a bad day, life is so incredibly good and full.





I've been dreading this post just a bit, since the decisions came quickly and we began directly after. A few weeks ago I showed you the progress of our kitchen, with little things to finish such as the outlets, appliances and hardware installation.



Well, add REDO CABINETS - AGAIN to that list.
 Wwwwwhaaaatttt? Yeah, that was my reaction too.

Last week we were knocking some of the to-do's off the laundry list. This included fixing the scratches on the cabinets. In some places, the polyurethane created an uneven coat from the paint, and in other's it peeled right off! Nothing major, but definitely something that needed to be fixed. We also noticed that there was a purple tint to in some areas. I'm not sure if it was the way I had painted them in the beginning, or if I had put the poly on wrong, but the cabinets needed a little love. You may also notice from the picture above a certain shine to in some specific areas-  that's not normal.

We sanded down some of the areas, in hopes of starting over. But, nothing would stick! After two days, we threw in the towel and took it as an opportunity to renovate again (optimism much?).


Thankfully, Kyle and I were on the same page with exactly what we wanted. It was finding the exact color that we had in our minds that was the challenge.



That's right, we love the look of soft green and blue hues for the kitchen cabinets. Call us crazy, but we took this has a chance to try something a bit different. I mentioned that we would be changing the wall color in the kitchen simply because everything seemed way too neutral and bland for me. Instead, we changed the cabinets!



We had to find a color to match the backsplash, granite, flooring, island, and the brushed nickle hardware that we had already ordered. (It took a while to find hardware we loved, so we didn't want to give it up!) Ideally, it would also look great the wall paint color so that we wouldn't have to re-paint the walls. (An attempt to derail the inevitable snowball affect!)


I started by de-glossing the cabinets, essentially taking them to the same stage they were at when we began with the oak. Simply stripping the poly.



Then came the "ohhh-I-hope-this-workssss" part:





Over the course the past two days, I finished two coats on the cabinets, two coats on the doors, and currently the back of the doors are on their second round. As it stands today, our kitchen is ONE. HOT. MESS.






We need some painting touch-ups, molding and ohh..appliances. Those are always handy.




But, guess what's coming today?!
Since, not only did we decide to take on this project this weekend, we also had to prepare for our new appliances to be delivered today. (You'd think that this was really bad timing, but it allowed me to paint without having to move appliances out and back in, so it worked out surprising well!) We went with a gas range, but currently have an electric one. Thus, we had to install a new gas line from our furnace to the stove (which is why I said "I painted," and not "We," Kyle was busy installing the line downstairs- we were busy bees this weekend!) Every few minutes I'd hear him and pray again that there would be no natural gas leak in the house! Praise God there wasn't!


We're so excited to see everything come together - again! It already looks SO fresh and crisp, and I must admit that we both like it more than the dark cabinets. I'm so giddy about getting the cabinets back up and the hardware installed! It will take a few more days, but I'm *hoping* by the end of the next week we'll be able to share our COMPLETELY FINISHED kitchen! (Does that sound like a resounding gong yet!?!) It isn't the change we expected to make, but I'm pleasantly surprised and happy we did :)

Until then...



GASPPP!






The snow just keeps coming this morning. I woke up with a head full of snot (sexy right, I just can't kick this head cold!) and the morning drive left my fists white... but at least it looks pretty! Are any of you getting hit by the crazy snow storm across the country?

I hate this tease of sunshine and a warmer day, only to arise the next morning to inches of snow. Sinuses are not happy. It's time for a vacation. That's where you come in !



We're planning a vacation in April and we're stumped on a location. We originally thought that we'd try the Florida Keys, since neither one of us have been there before; Kyle could fish all week and I could exercise, relax, catch up on the book club reads and drink a few margaritas. However, now were doubting if we will enjoy it that time of year - considering it is spring break for a lot of people. I
have little desire (make that NO desire) to be surrounded by crazy college kids doing white t-shirt contests. Yikes.

Since we only have about 5 days, the locations are limited. (i.e. we don't want to spend an entire day flying to the Mediterranean) Somewhere in this region would be nice:



Our list is pretty short and sweet:

- Fishing must be available (I'll give you one guess as to who made that a necessity)
- Sunshine, A LOT of sunshine
- Shorter flight, around a half day of travel
- Fun things to do to - scuba diving, parasailing, snorkeling, hiking, mopeds, site seeing, exploring local areas, etc etc...
- Not super secluded because we love meeting people on trips
- We'd prefer to not stay at an all inclusive resort (we rented a car on the second day of our honeymoon because we felt so secluded!). We're also up for renting a house/condo,
- Not overly tourist-y


Thank you, in advance, for any input! We really value our time away together, and being able to enjoy and discover new parts of the world (there's little I love more than that!).



 Okay....go!











If I've learned anything over the past three months, it's this:

 PROJECTS TAKE TIME.

 "Patience is a virtue" should be plastered on a sign in our entryway. One project always affects another; it becomes the snowball effect of epic proportions! Granted, we have finished a lot in a very short period of time, and it's been great to be able to enjoy our home rather than live in a construction zone. However, there's still plenty to go! We've slowed down after the crazy few weeks of renos, having felt burnt out a bit from the chaos. Since then, it's been more of a marathon than a sprint. 

Here is our 3 months project report. The last time we chatted about this was back in November, after just three  weeks of renovations. No big projects have been started since then, mostly the small ones that make you feel accomplished ;) Small Victories!


Finished!
- Flooring (everywhere except the laundry room and half bath....so maybe it's not finished?)
- Resurfaced the fireplace
- Refinished the cabinets (wait...after reading below you may not think this belongs on the finished list. I'm sensing a pattern here)
- Installing a kitchen island
- Changed the electrical in kitchen
- Had new countertops installed
- Floor to Ceiling paint in every room
- Removed flooring from 1/2 half

- Cleaned out the garages. You may not find this to be a big deal, but let's take a look at what they looked like after some major demolition work:

 (THAT is the "prettiest" photo I could find!)

- Cleaned out the sunroom
- Ordered new appliances and kitchen hardware
- Converted the laundry room closet into an entryway nook (wait, I technically said that wasn't complete until the laundry room floor was finished...)
- Installed new baseboards
- Replaced 10 light fixtures
- Organized the basement


Remember when I mentioned not to long ago (see: above), that things take time. Well, that means we have a lot of lingering projects. Are you one of those people that cleans up before anyone comes to your house? I am. This sort of feels like the opposite, exposing the imperfections and lingering projects for the world to see. I feel naked and I'm not fond of it. But, Rome wasn't built in a day, nor was our home...so here's our "naked" list. 


To-Do List

Kitchen Wall
I shared in December that we had opened up a wall from the entryway to the kitchen area. What I didn't follow up on weeks later we decided that it was a little uneven.-  enough to sand, re-mud and fix. It's on it's second cycle, hoping to be completed today!




Cabinet & Cabinet Hardware
When I shared the kitchen progress a few weeks ago, I didn't do any up-close, zoomed in photographs of the cabinets. That was purposeful :) They still need touch ups. So, the hardware we ordered sits on the window sill waiting to be installed.





1/2 Bath
This half bath is that one thing that reminds us of how crazy the first demolition week was. Kyle was really ambitious that week and tore up the floor. I remember the conversation like it was yesterday, "what are you doing?!", "Oh, we're redoing this floor too,"..."what?!"
The new flooring sits in boxes on the floor and the door stays closed until we find time to install it. 


(Why we haven't taken the toilet paper off the roll is beyond me. I hope no one is using this bathroom, the toilet is currently in the garage.)



Office - Paint!
We painted the office one color with two coats, and it simply looks BLAH. The old greenish color still shows through, so now it appears to be a very pale mint. I keep teetering between two different colors, but until we re-paint, I don't want to decorate. So here they sit, artwork and frames lean against the wall in organized chaos.
(I just had to throw this picture in here, Hannah was helping paint the bathroom)




Holes in the wall!
We replaced a light fixture in the hallway bathroom and there are two rather large holes in the wall since the new fixture is slightly shorter than the old one.




Window Treatments
There are four identical windows in the front of the house, two in the master bedroom and two in the office. We had the window shades cut to match a month ago, and they haven't moved from the office since. (I also cannot get down the old ones in the master for the life of me!!)



Dining Room light
A few friends came over a couple weeks ago and their two year old instantly pointed at the hole in the ceiling and said "oh no." Just as the lights had to be moved in the kitchen area, the outlet has to be moved in the dining room as well. We still haven't  decided if we want multiple recessed lights or one light in that area. Until then...


Baseboards
We installed all new baseboards throughout the entire home. My dad and sister measured, cut, and installed. I followed with nail putty, a damp rag and sand paper. It was a fun night of bonding. They look beautiful (completely changed the house!), but still need to painted. I've been avoiding it.



There are also misc. items, but I've gravitated more towards the decorating when I'm not feeling inspired to pick up another hammer.


Do you have any lingering projects in your home ?! Maybe ones you THOUGHT were finished, only to go back and re-do months later? Tis the life :)






Kyle threw the car in park and came running into the house. It was Saturday morning and he was unusually cheerful from arriving home from weekend rounds. Come to discover, he had Sunday off. This month has been particularly challenging, with Kyle having four whole days off in the past six weeks (Welcome to residency, right?!). Needless to say, we were anxious to take advantage of this surprise! We deemed it a little Valentines Day getaway, loaded up the car and headed north to the cabin.

Nothing quite compares to the peacefulness of being in the woods, with only the sound of the wind wrestling through the trees and the crackling of the fireplace at your feet. The snow is untouched, perfect powder that in certain spots reveals the families of deer trying to survive the winter months. The air is refreshing, the woods calming. 



You may recognize this view from here:
















We bundled ourselves up and played chase on snowmobiles throughout the trails for hours. Maizy loved chasing us, and when she got tired, she'd hop on and want a ride. She held on tight, placing her  paws right beside Kyle's gloves on the handlebars. Do you think that Maizy would be heartbroken if she discovered she wasn't human?








My dad and stepmom, and Kyle's parents met us at the cabin on Sunday. We ate way too much, watched deer, snowshoed and snowmobiled throughout the property. I discovered a new love for snowshoeing! Have you ever been? What a great way to get a workout in. I'm tempted to buy a pair.








To bad I can't train the dog to take pictures. We'd have a lot less of her and more of us! She does do a good job of showing what the majority of the trip was like though.






Each evening ended just like this; passing out on the couch while watching TV, with full bellies and fuller hearts.



This weekend was just what the doctor ordered ;)



I've had my eye on this project for a while now. But, I forced myself to be patient and see if it was functional for the way we use this space.

The waiting period only proved it would be a good idea. So I proceeded:

Here's the breakdown:
Our laundry room is a rectangle shape room directly to the right of the door from the house to the garage. Since we always park in the garage, we hardly use the front door from day to day. The laundry room holds the shoes we wear most often, our washer/dryer, a sink and a closet. We have another coat closet beside the front door, so we typically used the laundry room closet for things like cleaning supplies, Maizy's food & toys, paper towel storage, etc. But, this narrow space can feel very crammed.

Project: Making the laundry room closet an entryway nook.

My idea was to take the closet and create a bench, with storage underneath. The wall would have hooks for jackets, purses or any other random thing we would need it for, and the upper shelf would hold baskets of misc. items. At first I pictured drawers underneath the bench, but that would defeat the purchase of storage of shoes, so we planned to leave that space open for shoes that we use daily.

I'll stop there and tell you that this took MUCH LONGER than I had anticipated. I thought it may be a two day project. But it turned into FIVE trips to Lowe's, six days, and needing the assistance of my dad. I didn't factor in that Lowe's may cut the bead board the wrong dimension, or I would measure wrong, not have the correct screws or use the wrong paint. Sometimes you just need a little help from your friends :)
I'll cover the woulda, coulda, shoulda in a bit...but for now:

This is what the Laundry Room looked like the day of move-in:


I should make a quick note about this floor. It's a lovely wood, but it is getting torn out and some beautiful tile is getting installed. Thus, the laundry room is currently missing base boards and trim. Moving on...

I tore the existing wire shelf out of the closet, patched the extraneous number of nail holes, sanded them down, and painted. If you are a detail person, you may be noticing the lack of baseboard and trim (please see statement above :)  I removed the trim from exterior of the closet, since it honestly just looked bad staying up! The negative result of this is that we cannot put up the new trim until the new flooring is finished being installed (one of many lessons in this "small" project!)
This is after the first coat:



Right about here things starting unraveling and my excitement began to dwindle. This closet also held our security system, which we decided to move into a different location so it wouldn't be visible in the open nook. That left a GAPING hole. So, I ventured back to Lowe's for the 3rd time and purchased bead board to line the closet.
The top board is for the shelf I had designed with the help of some faithful Lowe's employees, who also helped me pick out good, solid wood for the bench seat.




My initial idea was to build the bench on 4 decorative legs, making it look like a real bench. However, using 2x4's supported by the studs, this proved to be a much better idea. The bench would sit nicely on them and the support would not be visible (This will also make it much easier when we re-do the flooring)





(The paint splatters on the wood floor make me cringe, but remember...this floor is a goner!)

We then installed the shelf. Both boards are 9" wide, enough for hooks on the bottom and to hold baskets on the top.



I then painted the bead board the same color ('Beach' by Valspar) as the walls, as well as put another coat on the shelf after caulking the joints. The next day, I installed the hooks:




For the bench, I had visited a lot of custom cushion websites, but I had no desire to spend $200.00 on a custom cushion (I know myself too well to know that I will want to change that fabric intermittently!).
I'm happy to report that I walked out of the JoAnn Fabrics (after an hour of indecisiveness!) spending $20.00. I did a little gleeful skip to celebrate.

But Alas. A few more issues arose when I got home. The batting cut at the store was a little too short length wise.



...and so was the fabric! I fully disclosed to the lady at the store that I had never done this before, gave her the measurements and said I wanted to be able to cover the entire bottom. Welp, you live you learn:




But, I was too excited to see this all come together, I made it work. I simply pulled the fabric as tight as possible and used an industrial stapler (those things are fun!). Psst...I choose RED! It must have to do with this post. 




When I went to put the bench in, it was soo tight. I never thought that the industrial staples would keep it from fitting. They destroyed my new paint job, and I almost cried.




Thankfully, it was nothing a little sanding couldn't fix. In two hours, the touch ups were fully dried and I found myself having a semi-finished, useable entry nook. A bonus is that we are the only ones who know that the fabric does not cover the entire bottom on the bench, it's too low to see! ;)




What To Finish:
- The "cute" stuff, a few throw pillows & maybe a little something for the wall (now it's the fun, easy part!)
- FLOORING...mostly because we can't put in the baseboard or trim until that is finished. Let's face it, the whole project won't be complete with the proper trim and finishing touches. I choose to avert my eyes from those details at this point.

For now, we're loving it. The space feels so open and airy! Kyle was overly impressed with "my" first big project, and I must say I'm happy with how it came together, even if it didn't go as smoothly as I had imagined it.


What I Learned:
- Measure 3 times, just in case.
- Go through the project STEP by STEP FIRST, making sure you have everything you will need (specific tools, correct measurements, the timeline that the steps should be completed, etc)
- Surround yourself with people who are way more experienced than yourself!
- Sometimes, you have to make mistakes to learn
- Don't be afraid to ask questions
- Not just any type of paint will do, different wood requires different paint!
- Make sure what you are purchasing FITS IN YOUR CAR before you purchase it. This will help you avoid embarrassing moments with men at hardware stores.


I'll be happy to share the end result...which I'm *hoping* will be in just a few weeks :)




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