Flight Behavior {Book Club}

One of my favorite activities since moving back to Nashville has been joining a book club in my neighborhood! Thanks to this amazing group of women, I’ve read books I would not have otherwise thought of, and and learned so much by getting to know new people.

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So once in a while, I’ll share a book with you! We recently read Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver, You may remember her from Poisonwood Bible, which is hands-down her most popular book. She is a beautiful writer with unique plots, and I highly recommend her writing. Without giving too much away, Flight Behavior is set in very rural East Tennessee. The main character’s personal journey of growth is one that I think anyone can relate to in one way or another. Check it out, and let me know what you think!

4th of July {in three ingredients}

I hope you had an amazing 4th of July! We had fun with our family and friends, which of course included a cookout. I love to cook and to bake, but sometimes, I just want to make something really simple – especially when I’m bringing it to someone else’s home. So today I’m sharing a few simple ideas for some three-ingredient, patriotic cookout contributions.

Fruit Salad

This is an obvious summer favorite, but you can keep it super simple with watermelon, blueberries, and bananas if you’re stick with a red, “white,” and blue theme. Add in strawberries, apples, pears, and anything else you love! And cutting watermelon into stars is fun for the kids, and for the adults.

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Chocolate M&M Pretzels

Remember these beauties? I love these because every holiday has its own themed m&m’s, which makes it easy to create a treat that is holiday-appropriate. Substitute the m&ms with red, white, and blue ones to go patriotic. And if you like caramel, try using rolos instead of hershey kisses!

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Flag Kabobs

These are even more fun than star-shaped watermelon for the kiddos. Simply use kabob skewers with marshmallows, blueberries, and either strawberries, cherries, or raspberries (or all of them!) to create a fun little display. Let me know if you’re able to make yours with straighter lines than I did…

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What else? Do you have a favorite, easy, summer trick when it comes to all the cookouts and holidays? Please share!

Kitchen & Dining {Before & After}

I have waited a long time to share photos of our newly remodeled kitchen and dining room! Like with all of our projects so far, I have to give MAJOR kudos to my husband. He gutted our kitchen to the studs pretty much by himself. It’s taken six months, but I finally feel confident saying our kitchen is finished!

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The before kitchen had your classic orange and yellow wallpaper, and dark brown cabinets. There was no dishwasher, so we added one in where the refrigerator used to be. We built a new space for the refrigerator, and built our cabinets all the way to the ceiling. We also added canned lights to the ceiling to brighten things up!

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There was a wall between the kitchen and dining room that we removed, which has really opened up the flow between the two spaces.

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In the dining room, we ripped out carpet, painted the walls, and I took the old yellow cabinet you can see in the above “before” photo and turned it into a china cabinet.

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So tell me what you think of our bright little kitchen!

Here are a few more goodies from the process…Happy homeowning!

January 2016 {1SE}

My creative project for the year is going to be capturing just one second every day using the 1SE app, and compiling them into monthly snippets of my life… Remember that time I did this for about 5 months? I LOVED the result. What I loved most about it is what it meant to me – it was a sweet reminder of the little moments. Even cooking dinner at home or walking the dog became a special part of my day to day.

So to kick it off, here is my January! I plan to upload these videos to you monthly, and then I’ll compile one big 2016 at the end of the year. Cheers!

The Guest Room {Before & After}

I’m sorry to say I only took ONE before picture of the guest room. But as you can imagine from the picture below, it was a small, wood-paneled room that once housed a teenage boy.

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We painted the walls a light grey, and accented the room in as much black and white as possible. Here is a shot walking into the room – it’s hard to tell, but there is a funky black and white wallpaper on the ceiling! We are keeping it for now 🙂

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And for our guests, who I hope are many, we have a few little touches…guest nashGuest wifi

Come visit soon and stay in our cozy guest room!

The Den and Loft {Before & After}

It’s finally here! The FIRST before & after post on our house. LET ME REMIND YOU. Back in September we closed on a sweet little fixer upper. The first time we saw it, it was full to the brim of the previous owners’ belongings. They were the original owners when this home was built in 1949, and after they passed away, the house sent without occupants for nearly two years. Finally, it was sold…to us!

We have done A LOT of work. Some Many pieces are still in progress. The first section I want to share with you is our den and loft. This space was originally a garage, and sometime in the late 1970s or so, it was converted into a den and loft, complete with dark wood paneling. Let me show you, and then I’ll tell you…

THE DEN:

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THE LOFT:

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THE BIG PICTURE:

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What we did:

  • My husband did ALL the demo while I stilled lived in Ohio, which included tearing out wood paneling, plaster walls, Berber carpet, and itchy insulation.

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  • Leveled the den floor. Because it had been a garage, the floor was at about a 30-degree angle…and they hadn’t fixed it when they converted it.
  • Wired surround sound. New electric work. New insulation. New drywall. New paint.
  • We laid the wood floor ourselves, the day after Thanksgiving.

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  • Removed the railing (don’t worry, we will get a new one someday), popped off the steps, and made new steps. They are dark grey to contrast the light grey on the walls.

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  • Painted the loft floor, which had previously been covered in carpet. AND completely on his own, Jonathan painted all the dark brown beams in the den WHITE, which meant about three coats…but they are beautiful and I am so grateful!

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We are loving both of these cozy nooks in our new home…it’s really starting to feel pretty homey! What do you think?

 

The Great Book Purge

Somewhere along the way, I developed a love of books. It probably started in the days of Goosebumps and Choose Your Own Adventure and The Baby Sitters Club… And then it was only multiplied in high school when Doc Cass introduced me to Our Town and Solace of Open Spaces and The Grapes of Wrath. Yes, I loved them all, and then some.

But THEN I went and minored in English in college. “WHY OH WHY did I do this?” I asked myself on the regular. But by the end, I was glad I had. All of this, though, has produced quite an eclectic collection of books…and this week, I decided, it was time to purge.

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This is a portion of the outgoing pile.

Why purge? First, because my books have become more of a clutter than a nice library or refuge. Second, because I promised myself when we moved into our new house I would get rid of things I did not need or use or love. Many of these books fall into those categories.

A few rules. I didn’t get rid of any of my husband’s books – those are for him to look through. I didn’t get rid of any children’s books. I didn’t get rid of anything I LOVED or that I’ve read more than once.

A sum up of what I found on my shelf:

  • Monster Books. I took a class in college on “Monsters in Literature.” Think: Dracula, Jekyll and Hyde, Lord of the Rings, Frankenstein, etc… I admit, I kept a few of these that I may indeed read again.
  • Bibles. Between my hubby and I, we had FIVE BIBLES. I decided to get rid of one – why? Because a) it was mine, b) it’s a version neither of us read, and c) someone else could use it more than I do. I did keep each of our study bibles, our huge family bible I bought for our wedding, and one other that we use. Also kept my favorite devotional and faith-based books, like Screwtape Letters, My Upmost for His Highest, and Power of a Praying Wife.
  • Caribbean Lit. I also took a Caribbean Literature class in college. I loved it. I remember these books well. But I’ve never read them since, and probably won’t read them again. Let it gooooo…
  • The Reformation. Yes, I took a class about literature during the Reformation. It was miserable in SO MANY WAYS. But the books are so pretty and fat and make me feel smart. And I DID learn an awful lot about the Reformation. But seriously, I will never read all of the 1248 pages of The Faerie Queene. I didn’t even read them in college.
  • Art. I fundraised for the visual arts at one point, and managed to collect a few great art books. The problem is, I don’t have much of an appreciation for them. A few that I loved have now landed in my office.
  • Poetry. I pretended to write poetry a lot in high school, so then I took a few poetry classes during my English Minor. I was TERRIBLE. But I loved the books. These are still on the fence for me… I always tell myself I’ll read them, but I honestly haven’t. I may end up keeping them. I CAN’T DECIDE.
  • Neuroscience. Majored in Psychology and Neuroscience. Resulted in books like, Guns, Germs, & Steel and Music, The Brain, and Ecstasy and Emotional Intelligence. Loved them. Will never read them.
  • My childhood. THESE ARE THE KEEPERS! The whole Chronicles of Narnia series. Anne of Green Gables. BFG. Things I will read and my children will read, and then we will all read them again.

Okay, if you read all that, kudos. Is your bookshelf like this? Did you finally part with some of them at some point? HOW DID YOU DO IT AND NOT CRY? All advice welcome.