One could say that I don't have an "eye" for visualizing.  Unless I'm looking at it through a camera lens, it's hard for me to visualize & imagine it.
Enter: home decor. Knowing if a couch color will work with the fireplace, or if a duvet will coordinate with a rug is not my forte. I need to see that rug and duvet in the space, walk out of the room, return a few times, and then decide. (I believe the theme of my indecisiveness is becoming all too obvious to cover up any longer) This is definitely improving, with countless returns to home stores and trial and error under my belt :)
Thankfully, there are hundreds of thousands of home inspiration websites and blogs out there, helping people like me...the ones who sometimes fall short at just 'knowing' that something would 'work.'  Instead of 12 trips to the store, I get some of my visual inspirations from these four. They help take the guess work out and save some me some gas money in the process!

(PS. there are more than four on my *favorites* list, but this was suppose to be a quick post, so I'll keep it "short & sweet":)

Fav for ideas on accessorizing a space:

I'm convinced that they created this website specifically for people like me. You shop by grouped design ideas, so they use different products from all different companies & designers, then create the rooms and themes with them, giving you visuals of what looks GREAT together (at discounted prices, btw.) It's brilliant!

I'm currently loving this collection as inspiration for our sunroom:

Fav overall house resource:

There's little like this site. Pinterest is great for more DIY, smaller projects. Houzz is more of the "grown-up" designer arena. The "ideas" that I have in my head can usually be found somewhere on this site, in greater detail than I could describe! When we decided on green/blue cabinets, we searched this site and found multiple kitchens to mimic. It helped us decide to go for it!

Not only are the pictures lovely, the articles are incredibly helpful! Every question you can think of is covered on this site. For example, speaking of the sunroom- we're thinking of painting it rather than keeping the cedar.
Tadah! : "Design Dilemma:  How to modernize my cedar walls?"

They painted this cedar bathroom in an antique white and goodness does it look good!

Can you tell I have a crush on this place?!

Fav Before + After:

I'm a fan of the before + after basics section of this site- it's super helpful and motivational. Makes you think you can do anything :) You can also search posts by difficulty and cost, making it a lot easier to gather ideas that you could actually do!

Fav for a quick read:

This blog has daily posts that are quick reads and oh so lovely. There's a lot of value in not having to search paragraphs for information, but to just view some photographs and get the point. She is currently doing a series on "working with what you have," and how to make small changes that make a big difference in your space. Amazinballs!

Do you have any favorite home decor or inspiration sites? I'd love to hear them!
There's just too many out there that I'm positive are brilliant and I haven't landed upon them yet!

1) I played trivia last night for the first time in years.  This is a true sport, people. I think teams were more intense than any basketball team I've ever seen play. Let's hope that big blue has that tenacity during Friday's game. (Which, by the way, I thought was in Indy. I had the whole trip planned out  to surprise Kyle, only to discover it is in Texas! Fail.)

2) I keep looking at our currently empty garden plot and I get a big sense of excitement that makes me want to jump up & down for our future crops. I can't wait to wear my sunhat, gloves, and boots, carrying my new gardening basket my grandfather gave us a few weeks ago. I picture me skipping back to the house with a basket loaded with tomatoes and raspberries. I think I need to braid my hair just for the full effect. Maybe a better picture is of me using a broom to scare away the rabbits trying to eat our rhubarb. We shall see what this adventure holds. In the mean time, I'll gallivant around pretending that we'll grow a plethora of food for all!

3) Shakeology. I adore you. I wake up looking forward to your chocolatey goodness & you make me full well into the afternoon. I think we're going to have a lasting bond.

4) Spring, we need to talk. I miss you so much it makes my skin hurt. Really, it does. My skin is so sick of being dry from this winter. I neeeedddddd you, Spring. nnnneeeeeedddddddddddd

5) I'm so used to having the hospital and residency throw a wrench in any plans, I hate that this time it's my work. Arghh x10.

6)  Match Day was two Friday's ago. I spent the morning checking texts, facebook and instagram waiting for friends to discover where they are headed! Although I'm so pumped for so many people who got their first choice, I'm selfishly bummed that no one is headed here. However, some of our close friends from Virginia are coming to the Midwest, so for that I'm very grateful!! For the medical folk out there, if you know anyone who matched at Michigan, please give them my information. I'd love to meet them & welcome them to the mitten!

7) How I Met Your Mother. I really don't enjoy this show anymore...but goodness I HAVE TO KNOW who Ted married!!

8) I promise I'm not hiding our kitchen from you. The newly painted cabinets, the trials, tribulations and triumphs will be shared soon. I'm  just not even sure where to start on this one!

9) Did you know that fried chicken is the number one entree ordered in the United States at a sit down restaurant? Thanks to trivia, I now have nuggets of information with no where to use them.

10) We're in the middle of car shuffling and deciding if we still need the truck. All I can say is, never try to separate a man and his truck.

Last Thursday, a few of us from our small group went to the Winter Jam concert, the largest Christian concert in the nation. I must admit, I was blown away by this concert. The majority of the bands were incredibly low-key and humble, yet entertaining and engaging. 

When thousands of people pack themselves inside a stadium, singing "Hallelujah", it's almost as if you feel a glimpse of the power and glory of God. It was powerful, and I'd encourage anyone to go and bring some friends along. If nothing else, you'll enjoy the popcorn, some dance moves that rival Usher and maybe even get your face in a picture during a performance:

(Thanks, Shirley, for the great seats !!)

The past weekend was a doozy. Obviously, since it's Friday and I'm just getting to this.

There has been one big, lingering project that needed to be completed before all of the demolition and major renovations were totally done (at least for any time in the foreseeable future. Of course, now that I'm motivated again, I'm already making mental notes for the master bath!). Okay, back to that one project: 

The Laundry & 1/2 Bath Floors!

These two tend to go hand in hand, since they are across the hall from the other. Last month, I shared a little project I had done - making the laundry closet an entryway nook- within that I told you about 100000 times that the floors needed to be complete in order for the nook to be finished. First lesson in home renovations: the snowball effect.

My father-in-law was in the area last Friday, so he planned to stay the weekend and help kickstart the floors. We had purchased tile way back in November, chosen a grout color, already removed the wood flooring in the half bath, and the baseboards throughout both rooms. All of this space was begging for some love.

Here's the laundry room when we moved in:

And what it looked like before we got hammer happy:
The only things that changed were the removal of the base boards, removing the window shade and the closet/nook area.

The only additional demolition was taking out the wood flooring in the laundry room. Of course, that also means going without a washer and dryer. I was pretty adamant about NOT starting the laundry room, mostly because I didn't want to go weeks without the washer and dryer.
However, Big Kev (my father-in law), convinced me that we would get it done by Sunday. My weary attitude showed all over my face, but I trusted us to kick it into high gear.

Notice where our new hardwood stops? It's a tiny space between there and the door to the garage. We've had a rug over that area for the past few months, also waiting for this project ( It drives me a bit nuts!). We couldn't finish installing that section of hardwood until the tile was finished, as there would need to be a properly configured threshold for transition. (see: snowball effect)

Within an hour, the laundry room was stripped bare:

While that was happening, the bathroom's hardiebacker installation was in full effect:
The space is so small that we had to split the pieces of board in order for one of us and the board to fit into the bathroom at a time.

We seriously knocked this project out. When I say  "we," I mean I was pretty much the gopher. WHERESTHESCREWDRIVER, INEEDMOREWATER, WHERESTHEHAMMER, GETMETHATTOWELTHEWASHERISLEEKING, WHEREDIDMAIZYGO, HOLDTHEDOOR....Let's just say I'd happily hand over that position. I got the impression that I was not trusted with properly leveling mud, laying tile or using the wet saw. Clearly, these boys were not present when my brother, dad and I installed our backsplash. Ahemmm.

Please note Big Kev's hairdo. That's all.

By the end of Saturday night, the Laundry room was fully tiled and grouted, the fireplace hearth was grouted and the bathroom tiles were all laid. It was a beautiful sight. (Typically, mud needs to sit for 24 hours before grouting, but we purposely used quick set mud so that we could get everything done in the 2.5 day period.)

We had just enough time to drag our dirty selves out of the house for a nice St.Patty's Day dinner, then return home to promptly crash on the couch. Maizy included. Somehow, house projects always stress her out. It's amazing how distraught she gets over hammer sounds and disorganization.

By early Sunday, we reached our goal! I just kept dancing on the floor and talking about how prettyyyyy it looks! Because the half bath and laundry room are to the right and left of the door from the garage, they are the first rooms you really notice. The tile brings so much warmth and color to that entryway! AND THE CLEANING- SOO EASY! I love our wood floors, but boy those suckers really are a hassle to always keep clean. Tile, no prob bob!
I'll show you a picture once the 10 laundry loads of dirty rags are finished.

But, of course, this is a home reno post so it wouldn't be complete without a small list of to-do's before this ENTIRE project is complete:
1) install baseboards
2) install the thresholds and the last remainder of hard wood flooring
3) frame the entryway nook

Can you guess what our weekend will look like?!
Baseboards + nail gun, here we come!

Happy Weekending, Friends!

Happy First Day of Spring!! I've been craving Spring like a fat kid craves chocolate.
Thus, I've been focusing some attention on planning our landscaping! My grandfather happens to love his gardening (it's where my mother got it from), so we get magazines delivered at least once a week from subscriptions he has signed us up for. I adore it. It's no wonder I'm feeling my green thumb growing, I happen to come by it naturally.

Let me give you a little introduction to the exterior of our home. When I say that the house has NO landscaping, I'm actually not exaggerating. I'm talking zero, zilch, nada.

Our yard is lined with larger pines and random shubbery, with one apple tree IN the backyard.
Do you see the little bit of color lining the house, a bit of green and purple? Those were cabbage plants that the sellers put there when the house went on the market. They were still in their plastic containers, so within 2.5 seconds those things found their way to the trash. The only thing in the space now is some dirty and old weeds.

There is also a small brick circle with one tree it in, in the center of the front yard. Plans call to tear that out too. Although the painting of the house is a discussion for a different day (OMGICANNOTWAIT!!!), I think it's worthy to note that the builders left the foundation exposed rather than painting it. It's very, very odd.

Okay, back to landscaping!

This is part of our house from the back: (remember when we chatted about sunroom ideas?)
I'd also love to put some huge pottery pieces with colorful flowers on this patio!

We have a lot to tackle here & it feels a bit overwhelming! I am, however, thankful that we won't be spending days tearing out old plants and weeds that were never cared for. We're pretty much just starting from scratch, which makes this job A LOT easier. The only problem we have is deciding WHERE to start. There's a lot to consider!

How much sun the area gets
How much water the plant needs
When the plant will bloom
How much spacing it requires from neighboring plants
Annual vs. Perennial 
The size it will get
The colors the plant will yield 
The function of the plants

I read an article that said the best thing to do is to start with a detailed understanding of our likes and dislikes. We know there are a few plants we'd love to use in some capacity:

1) Hydrangeas

I spent a lot of time in Martha's Vineyard with a past job, and that island is swarming with the most beautiful hydrangea plants! They were also our wedding flower, so they just snuggle into a close place in my heart. I've never seen hydrangea bushes I didn't like!

2) Boxwood

I think boxwood would be great in the exterior areas around where our generator and air conditioner sit. I read they do tend to be a little fragile in stressful environments, so more research to come.

And if we really wanted to go a little crazy:

3) Hosta

I love hosta plants. Lurrveee them. They're so easy, grow like a weed, and make a world of difference in landscaping! They can be a ground cover, line a patio, grow in a pot, multiply like crazy. What can't these little things do? I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought about just putting hosta everywhere and calling it a day!

4) A Magnolia & A Dogwood

The far corner of our house is screaming for a beautiful, flowering tree.  Maybe it would be better to put a bigger tree like the magnolia in the front yard and use a smaller dogwood on the corner space?

My old boss in Virginia gave Kyle & I a dogwood tree as a moving gift, I about died it was soo thoughtful! Sadly, it died during the move, so I'm set on getting the exact one again. She got it for us because she knew how much I loved dogwoods. Every Spring, they would line a lot of the streets by our home in Charlottesville, giving off the most beautiful scent and scenery!

Furthermore, there is a huge, beautiful magnolia tree outside of the church that we got married in, and it bloomed the week of our wedding! (Even though it snowed on our wedding day!) Clearly I'm a bit sentimental about these trees.

Just a side note: Depending on what we do on the ground, I think window planters would be stellar on the front big windows.
Something like this:

Can you see my head spinning?! So much to decide!
Kyle has some time off next week, so one of the to-dos is to draw up a more elaborate landscaping idea & consult some experts (aka, my mother & grandfather). We'll also be making great friends with the local nursery.

Do you have any favorite plants or flowers that you'd suggest?! Has anything worked or not worked for you?! Would love to hear about it :)

By the way, I should have warned you. This is just the BEGINNING. We also have an already plotted garden ready to grow some food. This Spring will be full of outdoor adventures....if it ever stops snowing.

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