The Great Reveal!

 That’s a wrap, folks. Poor D has been slaving away on this backsplash and finished just in time for my Christmas present! He hired my cousin to come paint my kitchen. It’s just like him, gives me the third degree about not wanting to paint which is one of the few things I can do when it comes to home improvement then he spoiled me by hiring someone to do it. He’s a keeper.
Back to business-here’s the wainscoting we used for the backsplash. It interlocks so comes out perfect! We chose a light fixture from IKEA. Our kitchen is oddly large and is spaced a little strangely so the track lighting helped us to get the light everywhere we needed it.


 (After!!)  I love the way it all turned out! What do you think? We still have a few small things to do but it’s pretty much done; just in time for Christmas! And no ugly table!

Check out part 3!


Why People Hate Holidays

I’ve been there and I’m there. Life is going great as I get ready for Christmas, then a few little things happen. Hurt feelings, poor expectations, bizarre stressors and before you know it: meltdown.

This is 100x magnified as a mom. There are already so many feelings. The birth story of Christ put me over the edge before I had kids but now you can just forget it; mention Mary and I need a pack of tissues. So I’m blessed with these kids I’m obsessed with and now Christmas is no longer seen from a recipients perspective but as a giver. God gave his son and I could never give mine. So, like I said, lots of feelings.

Then there’s the pressure. We don’t have enough going on in life so we decided to host Christmas. I’m actually really excited to do this but it is some serious work! Add to that an unrealistic kitchen renovation deadline and some tears could start to well up.

 (Our half-done backsplash 😁)

Then today happened. D came down from the attic to find Elle had escaped her crib. He came downstairs to tell me and who do I see but my sweet girl pressing her face up against the glass to the sunroom. “I just woke up”. good try, kid it’s been exactly three minutes. She escaped again. Clearly she figured it out so I decided that in the midst of D putting the kitchen backsplash up we HAVE TO BUY A BIG GIRL BED. TODAY. So off we go to IKEA, with a friends toddler in tow. I allowed myself to ponder for three minutes of my drive there that my precious two year old has outgrown her crib and the tears are flowing. So we get there and sit on all the mattresses and pick one. We go down to get it and they’re sold out. So we have a discussion 🙄 in front of the IKEA guy and decide we will get the cheaper one and exchange it within the 90 day period to the one we actually want. Because it’s so easy to exchange a mattress when you own a Homda CRV.

Fast forward an hour to D setting the bed up. He puts the mattress in the bed and it falls to the floor.
 Did I mention we were supposed to decorate our Christmas tree today?

 Yep. Look at this poor room. Things coming and going.

I put Jay to bed, picked up some burgers at Red Robin because clearly, I have no food in the house. Elle asks me to snuggle on the couch and like every day, I’m brought back to planet Earth where I’m a character in a bigger story and am stressed about things that matter zero in the grand scheme of my life being a vapor. She asks me to scratch her back. She still needs me. Even if I put a deposit in for preschool yesterday and bought her a bed today, she’s still a peanut.

The kitchen will get done-even if it’s not by Christmas. We will someday sleep again even though Elle has way too much freedom in a real bed. Goodwill will take my living room tomorrow so I can breathe again. Elle will maybe forgive us if she has back problems from this crap mattress. It’s all nothing. A blip. The golden years, people say. Be easy on yourselves, loves. Elle told me today she “wuvs King baby Jesus”. The moments will always matter more. Go scratch a baby back-it’s the best.

And for crying out loud just look at this kid. (D has a thing about glasses and hats. If they are in the general vicinity of a baby he must experience them together. Exhibit A: Jay wearing protective glasses)


Quick Sunroom Update

Hey Friends,

I’ve been getting lots of great feedback from my favorite things post. Check it out for some creative gift ideas!

On to the good stuff. We are hosting Christmas this year and I was looking at our sunroom with dread. It sold us on our house but the paint was not kind to the eye.

Yes, that is a brick(ish) color on three of the walls including the window frames. Then it’s a cream color on the 12foot high brick wall.

It was really not showing off the room! So we decided to hire my cousin to paint the room (he’s super affordable, let me know if you need some painting help in the Baltimore area). So we settled on the Sherwin Williams color, Sea Salt. We used the kitchen color, Benjamin Moore’s white dove for the woodwork. We LOVE it!

It looks mighty blue in some of these but it’s really a blue/green/gray.

Don’t mind Jay there just being a dreamboat! We’re unfortunately going to have to put the blinds back up until we can save up for some kind of window treatment. I’m loving the windows now that they’re defined so I hate to cover them!

Let me know what you think! Any window treatment ideas??

Favorite Things

These are a Few of My Favorite Things…


Well, it’s that time of year, folks. It’s Christmas chaos. I’m one of those people who every year gets upset about the excessive spending and unending materialization of Christmas, reading and searching for ways to be wise and meaningful with our money and with what we ask for. Then Christmas comes and I get/buy some very meaningful stuff and I also ask for stuff that is neither wise nor meaningful. So here we are. I have a list of some favorite things I’m either loving and enjoying, gifting, or just think is neat.

  1. I have a current OBSESSION with Lularoe. It’s one of those multi-level marketing things except its with super cute, affordable, modest clothing. (Parties are either online or in person. The catch is, the seller only has a certain number of each size and they are only in a few patterns per size so it’s a bit of a race). Let me start with the leggings. They feel like BUTTER! seriously. They come in two sizes: adult, and tall and curvey. My friend is 5.1 and I am 5.9 and the adult fits both of us perfectly. It’s magical. They also come in super cool patterns. I also have one of their dresses, the Julia. Super cute, comfy, and flattering. Here is a link to my consultant’s facebook page. Check it out. So fun.
  2. Michael Symons 5 in 5 cookbook. Here it is on Amazon. Every recipe takes 5 minutes and only contains five ingredients (not including things like pasta, rice, olive oil…true normal things in your pantry). I am a mom of two kids 2 and under. Why would I ever buy another cookbook for the next 20 years?! I also like that I know my family isn’t eating fake stuff like “cream of mushroom soup”. It’s all real ingredients. Enjoy.
  3. Help One Now Legacy Project Necklace. “Handmade in Haiti by local artisans, these hand cut leather disks give leftover scraps a second chance at beauty and purpose. This will easily become a go to you (and all your friends) will reach for all year round.100% of the profits of this necklace go directly to Help One Now to sustain classrooms in Haiti and Uganda and THAT is something this Haitian Creole, red clay, triple kiss lovin’ girl can get behind”. Straight from the website, folks! Cute necklace, proceeds go to help build classrooms. It’s awesome and the necklace is super cute. And it’s like $30. Buy it here. I just bought one for a fancy family member!
  4. For the Love by Jen Hatmaker. This book made me laugh out loud and sob like a baby. It’s a collection of essays by my favorite, the one and only, Jen Hatmaker. It’s the perfect gift for any woman in your life. It is just freedom from the pressure handed to you in a book. So, so good. Here’s the link.
  5. While I’m talking about books, two of my favorites this year are from author, Daisy Goodwin. The American Heiress and The Fortune Hunter. They are like reading Downton Abby. SO good, both of them. Run out and buy them for snow days. Or, uhhh, gifts.
  6. Dark Chocolate Almond Milk. You probably think I’m crazy. Maybe I am. If you are hosting a party, or holiday-related anything, I just need you to trust me and have this.
  7. Young Living Essential Oils. I bought the premium starter kit last year and have been totally hooked on these oils. The kit came with a diffuser and 11 oils and I’ve bought tons since then. So far they have helped my family with: colds, congestion, migraines, bruising/cuts, healing from a 10-lb baby (I’m not kidding), stress, energy, anxiety, the list goes on. My favorite so far is when I am getting a sore throat I put a drop of thieves  and a drop of purification on my neck and I’m not exaggerating it goes away! I don’t get the full cold! It’s crazy. We had quartz installed yesterday and the glue smell was overpowering to the point that I had to grab the kids and leave the house. I diffused purification while I was gone, and it was 100x better when I came home. Just trust me. If you need someone to buy it from, let me know!
  8. This one is for kiddos: Personalized train and book. Let me just start off by saying I’m a sucker for personalization of any kind. Give me a pillow with my monogram and I’m your friend for life. When I was dating D, I was thrilled that if we got married, the first letter of my last name didn’t change so I could keep my monogrammed jewelry and other items from growing up. Back to the story. My mom bought this for my daughter and nephew and they both LOVE them. The train has her name on the bottom, and has a matching book. It’s so cute. Buy it here.
  9. Jenny & Tyler…anything. When I worked for HopeSprings, a small non-profit doing HUGE things in Baltimore for the HIV pandemic, we had a benefit concert that Jenny & Tyler were a part of. They were SO kind and lovely as people, and I loved their music, too! I have about 700 favorite songs of theirs but they do a killer U2 cover. Check them out here and then buy every album they have for everyone you know. They are just so good.
  10. Last but certainly not least, I’m all about that zoo membership. For the past few years, we have asked for a zoo membership for Elle as a gift. It is the gift that keeps on giving. We go at least ten times a year and it pays for itself after like three. It’s the best. Just do it.

Okay. That’s all for now! I hope you enjoy some of my favorite things!

Did you know I’m in the middle of a kitchen renovation? Check it!


Kitchen Renovation: Part 3

We’ve been busy bees around here! check out our before pictures here and the plan here.

This week has been a bit chaotic! We’ve  been living with a torn apart kitchen which can get a little overwhelming. Luckily, we’re on schedule!
Down to business:

  • Countertops were measured! Now they will be delivered in less than two weeks!
  • The rest of our hardware was delivered! What do you think?   I’m totally loving it! And I installed all of it myself which makes me love it more!
  • I may have changed my mind again with the paint. It’s looking like “white Dove” by Benjamin Moore. I can’t even talk about the hours spent at hardware stores and Pinterest. This somehow leaked into a hunt for the perfect tattoo for my 30th birthday which is in 18 months. 
  • The lovely table stuck to our wall is gone!    Look at that extra space! I see dance parties in my future.
  • The floor is in!      

Do you see the progress?! We only have less than three weeks until the deadline so it is time to buy some paint!

The next kitchen update will be the great reveal!


Kitchen Renovation: Part 2

So this past week has been super productive. Check out this post for all of the before pictures of the kitchen.

First off the countertop. We started off wanting to make a concrete countertop. My Padre did it in his rockstar house but said it was “hell on earth” to do. We thought through a neat Formica that looks like marble, then granite, but we ended with Quartz for its durability. We purchased it locally from Jeffress Stone and have had a great experience thus far.

D took advantage of a free Saturday and took out the existing countertops with his Dad.      
Although we were warned that its a nightmare, it took them about three hours to get it all up. I was thoroughly impressed! To remove a tile counter you have to first remove the tile which is adhered to plywood. Then you unscrew the wood from the cabinet. Sounds easy; is not easy.

Second, the hardware. Do you see the new drawer pulls above? We chose the Martha Stewart line at Home Depot. We chose different hardware for the drawers than the cabinets and really love how it turned out so far(still waiting on the cabinet hardware). Such an inexpensive fix that totally changed the look of our cabinets.

Next-we talked through backsplashes ad nauseam. I was pretty sold on white subway tile with dark grout but D ended up having to leave our tile backsplash up since it was behind the cabinets. He thinks that it would be too thick to tile on top of it. We had some crazy ideas but ended up choosing to do bead board. The more pictures I see, the more excited I’m getting! It definitely will lend itself for the more farmhouseish look I’m going for in this house. We may even get fancy and do a design! We have a bit of a holiday time constraint so it could end up plain which will still look great.

Onto the floor. We’re waiting for it to be delivered still but we purchased “sawcut Colorado” from Allure. We used the same product, different color in the rental bathroom and really loved it. It’s great with water and is floating, so it’s easy to replace a piece if necessary.

Lastly, I started dabbling with paint samples. I got Polar Star from Valspar and Modern Gray from Sherwin Williams. Polar star seemed too silver/icy but I actually loved Modern Gray. The link makes it look tan but it really is just a warm gray.

Ok. I think that’s all for the updates. I can’t wait to share some more progress next week!


Kitchen Renovation: Part 1

I’ve been bursting at the seams to start the new house renovations and this week it all began.

Here’s the back story: the kitchen is  mostly fine. It was probably done in the mid 90s which apparently lends itself to lots of tile. Tile on tile on tile.

  Tile floor
That first picture is the tile floor. A very “ahead of the times” herringbone ruined by a not great finish. That second picture is the tile countertops which continues into the backsplash. I am a germaphobe. I can’t live with the countertop without wondering when we will all get salmonella or worse from the grout. Yuck.

Next up: hardware.

 Hardware is pretty easy. It’ll be a quick fix. As is the paint.

Finally: eat in table.

Excuse the chaos, please! Just put the kids to bed so nothing is pretty. This is a big table/chairs in a little room. I get the first swing at this bad boy! I’ve actually been using this a ton but I really think it’s because I’m so scared of the grout. The kitchen will feel a lot bigger without it and I can’t wait!

We decided to keep the cabinets. There really isn’t anything wrong with them and although we probably wouldn’t stand in a store and pick them out oday, they really are fine. The appliances are pretty dreadful, especially that stinking enormous fridge. No sense in wasting money so we will let them die one by one and replace them with stainless at that time. Unless a faithful blog reader wanted to donate a couple thousand bucks. Totally kind of kidding.

Stay tuned for the plans coming next week!