Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Crawfish Season

There is nothing more beautiful than the sight of bright red crawfish as soon as the season starts.

No one loves crawfish more than my sister and brother-in-law. No. one. 

To celebrate my brother-in-law's birthday this past weekend, we did just that - a crawfish boil. We had this early spring day and it couldn't have been more perfect.

It was so beautiful, we couldn't just go home afterwards. There's nothing like cruising around the Reservoir.

This weather has also made for some beautiful sunsets.

With warm days and a cold front coming through, we've been through it today with strong storms. I ready for a few days of calm again!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Happy Dance

Who is doing a happy dance for the weekend like I am? It's been a full week! 

Last Saturday we had a few of our closest friends over for a party celebrating Paul's birthday. In true PW fashion, we had BBQ and all the trimmings.

We had to laugh when our friends Todd and Morgan discovered that the front couch was long enough for them both to fit comfortably fit - a feat for two really tall people! Our friend Chris was able to snap their surprise.

A funny story from party prep: Paul had run to the grocery store down the street for ice and to fill up these gold balloons that I had ordered on Amazon (this and this). They were a huge 4-0! While blowing them up, the manager let go and the balloon went to the ceiling... MANY feet up. I was at home getting everything ready when I was sent this picture.

The guys had put tape on the end of balloons, trying to stick it to the gold balloon to bring it down. Surprisingly, they did get it down!

Over the Christmas break, we (along with much appreciated help from MG and Ryan) tackled the last bedroom in our house to get painted. It is on the same of the house as our master, so I used it as the room where I get ready. Once it was painted, I envisioned it becoming my "lady cave" - part office, part lounge, part beauty station. Last weekend we moved my desk into the room and things are starting to come together. 

Tuesday night I taught my Community Enrichment class for winter, a social media for business 101 course, with the largest class I've had yet at 19! They all were so engaged. I usually do a photography session outside, but because it was cold and dark, I needed something different. Paul suggested that I take random items for them to photograph and "market." This worked out perfectly. I was surprised at their ingenuity!

Wednesday night we had two ABC News correspondents at the college for a book they have just released on the history of autism. As fate would have it, the first ever diagnosed case of autism was a man from Mississippi who went on to attend Millsaps. It was a very special night.

This weekend, we celebrate more birthdays! Today MG his hosting a crawfish boil for Ryan and tomorrow all of the family will be at our house for Mamaw's 89th!

Monday, January 25, 2016

#guestbathorbust2015: Sewing Cabinet Sink Transformation

This photo is what started it all. 

The wheels had started to turn in our minds about renovating our guest bathroom and one of the big things I wanted to change was our sink. Only problem - the bathroom, as small as it is, had a pedestal sink and couldn't hold much more than that.

Researching all over the internet, I couldn't find anything ready-made that I liked. Even remotely. 

This vanity from Home Depot was the only thing I found that I liked:

But, I have to admit, I'm a square kind of girl. The round bowl bothered me. On top of that, the $329 price tag bothered me. I knew I could do better.

Then, I saw the sewing cabinet on Craigslist and a light bulb went off. I texted the seller and after a few days back and forth, things withered on the vine. The situation seemed sketchy and they stopped responding when I asked if I could pick it up.

I wasn't going to give up that easy. I then started searching the whole city for sewing cabinets. Couldn't be that hard, right? Apparently there was a horror film shooting in town and they had bought up all the cabinet as props for a scene. Posting my plight on our neighborhood message board, a neighbor confirmed, "Hey! I met an actor from the movie at a bar last night and asked her about the sewing cabinets. She said that they had bought them all and showed me a picture of the scene where they are being used!"

Waamp waamp...

I collected myself and decided to try the salvage market. Guess what I found in the back corner under dust and piles of old wood? A beautiful sewing cabinet. 

After a little haggling, I get it home for $60. Not too shabby, considering I was ready to shell out $329.

Now knowing my dimensions, I began doing research on square vessel sinks. I realized I couldn't have the type of sink where the faucet was behind the sink, but integrated into the vessel because of space. I chose this sink - great price and included the faucet.

One afternoon I sanded and stained the piece. Immediately the cabinet looked better. The wood was just thirsty! The next morning I used Minwax Polycrylic Protective Finish in satin - layered every two hours, doing four coats in total.

We dry fit the sink and the hallelujah chorus rang out!

We showed our contractor where we wanted the sink positioned on the cabinet (toward the back so the water lines would not show out the back) and he took it home and cut the lines for the drain and supply lines.

Getting it into the bathroom a few days later, I couldn't have been more excited. A little adhesive caulk on the desk and a little finagling with fittings, the sink was close to being installed.

You won't see it here, but we had another big, "What are we going to do?" moment. You see, the sink didn't come with water supply lines and being naive, we thought we could walk into a big box store and buy them. Big mistake! When you buy a vessel sink, the fittings are European (read: metric). We needed an M10 line, so I scrambled back to Amazon. Prime, for the win! This is what I purchased. We also learned while installing that we would have to cut a small section out of the back for the cut off valves. A little work with a saw later, we were in business.

The sink area is my favorite feature of the guest bath reno. Truly, no one else has what we have! There's something special about that. (Can we also have a moment of silence for my excitement to have a dual flush toilet?)

Lighting, mirror and other small details have gone up and we can't be any happier with the space!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

ATL + 40

Hi friends! What a difference a few weeks makes. Over here our bathroom reno has reached near completion (praise the lord!), Paul got a NEW CAR out of the blue, we celebrated his 40th birthday, took a weekend trip to Atlanta and other fun things.

First off, Paul is so proud of his shiny new ride (and I am, too)! We have been working on this for over six months - a fantastic partnership with a dealership we love so much, Patty Peck Honda. We got the call that they had a zippy hybrid sports car available and after one test drive, Paul was sold. We've been having a lot of fun driving it around. Not to mention, this paves the way for us to buy me a small SUV in a few months. We're saving our pennies and excited about making it a reality.

Paul signed the papers for his car on his 40th birthday. I joked with my mom and sister that he received a new car, ate catfish AND barbecue, and got a massage all on his birthday. It was his perfect day.

In December we started planning a getaway trip to Atlanta. We are always inspired by Atlanta Magazine, enough to check out a few new spots! 

Of course, Jim 'n Nick's in Birmingham was our first stop. We split this two meat and plate and there was no way we were going to finish it!

Of course, we couldn't go to Atlanta without a trip (or two...) to IKEA. Paul remarked that these chairs couldn't be comfortable, but was sold once he tried it out upstairs. With a tinier ride this go around, we were worried that everything wouldn't fit, but we had no trouble!

One of our top places to see was Ponce City Market, once a huge Sears Roebuck department store. PCM opened six months ago with two stories of retail, a major food hall, loft apartments, offices and more. This was stunning to walk through!

A highlight meal - a late night H&F burger in the PCM food hall. Their ketchup (not sweet, more like a barbecue sauce) was phenomenal. We even bought a bottle to bring home.

A favorite purchase from the trip. I love looking at this every day.

I hope you had a great weekend!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

New Year

How has it been over two months since I last posted? I say it often, but times flies faster and faster. What have we been up to? A new issue of the magazine, holidays, and a pretty intensive guest bathroom reno that Sital dubbed #guestbathorbust2015. Unfortunately, it's 2016 and the project STILL isn't completed.

I won't get into all the details, but we've run into bump after bump since it started three weeks ago. We (and our contractor) have really learned a lot with this process. Hopefully we are in the final stretch. I hope to have a few posts about steps along the way, including the sewing machine cabinet to sink conversion for the bathroom!

Until we break that down, here's a photo of a group of my girlfriends from New Year's Eve. Here's to another great year!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

House Progress: How to Install Smart Tiles

After being in our house for a year and a half, I was itching to do something in our kitchen. One day we hope to rip everything out and start over, but in the meantime we wanted to freshen things up. My best friend had recently used Smart Tiles in her kitchen and it looked incredible. She and her husband she us home with a few of their extra sheets to try out.

I had been wanting white subway tile in our kitchen and I was happy to find white subway tile in the Smart Tile brand. After a little stalking on Wayfair over a few weeks, the price per sheet dropped one day to $2.99. Considering it usually sells for $4.99-6.99, depending on the day, I snatched it up. I ordered 45 sheets and our total for the project was only $135.

A word to the wise - measure twice and then still order more than you need. We barely made it by after a few mistakes and discarded tiles!

First, clean the surfaces really well (we used Biokleen) and start in a corner and work your way out.  

One of our biggest hurdles was keeping everything level, especially in this one area where the backsplash dipped below the countertop. Having a light to spotlight where our "grout lines" were overlapping was key to making it look seamless.

We did this project over two days, about four hours each day. As you can see, Paul took the role of cutting and laying down the tiles, while I'd be there with the next tile partially peeled and ready to go. Once he had laid a tile, I would go back and make sure everything was straight. This worked really well for us.

Some of our cuts weren't exactly even on the top and our countertop is not completely level on the bottom, so we knew we'd have to caulk everything to seal it in the end. (You can see this in the image below)

Here we are after caulking. We LOVE the look of the backsplash. Did it take a good bit of time and patience? Yes. Would be recommend this to friends and family? In a heart beat.

Now the question is - should be resurface the countertops while we are at it? I've been looking at different options and have one in mind that makes countertops look like concrete. I'll keep you updated on what we decide to do! (This Encore Countertops kit is high on our list.)

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Cooler Weather

We're coming into my favorite time of year - fall. I'm so glad that temperatures are cooling off a little bit. Now if only we could get some rain! We've had a really terrible drought this year.

I always know it's turning to fall when Symphony at Sunset happens at the Cedars. People bring their chairs and picnics and listens to the symphony.

This year was special because the Cedars is 175 years old this year! It's the oldest surviving residential structure in Jackson (and also where we had our wedding reception).

This is also the time that Target brings out all the stops with Halloween costumes. It's so tempting to try things on, isn't it? We first stumbled upon wolf costumes, a rarity. There's always fox items, not wolves.

Paul also gathered a crowd trying on this get up. I sent mom a picture asking, "Does this make my butt look big?"

Next up on the list, fall camping next weekend!


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