Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Breaking Ground

This past weekend, Adam got started on a project that we both are pretty stoked about.  He is going to build a shed in our backyard!

A shed will offer us some much needed storage.  Our two-car garage is filled to the brim with not only yard stuff, but also Adam's workshop.  There's room for one of our vehicles, but not both.  The end goal is to put all of the yard stuff in the shed, which will leave plenty of space for Adam's workshop and both of our cars.

So this weekend, Adam started to work on the layout and dig holes for the piers that will support the shed. He worked meticulously to get everything even and level and plumb.  Glad he has the patience for that, I sure don't!  Once he knew where the piers would be going, he started to dig holes.  He had to dig six holes, each of which were 28-30 inches deep.  That's a lot of work!  Again, glad he has the patience (and strength) for digging.

On a side note, we made sure to call and have any utilities marked before starting to dig.  That way we could be sure that we wouldn't hit any live lines.      

After the holes were dug, Adam filled each hole with 4-6 inches of gravel to provide a good base for the foundation.  

The next step is to place a sonotube (that round cardboard form in the upper left corner of the photo above), level it up and fill it with concrete.  These will be the supports of the shed structure.  

Adam decided to rent a concrete mixer to help make the concrete mixing a bit easier and go quicker.  It's in our backyard as I type this!  I'll be sure to keep everyone updated on his progress!  It will be fun to watch a shed go up in my back yard.  I'm impressed with Adam's hard work and willingness to try something new!   

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Little Updates Can Make a Big Impact

It never ceases to amaze me what an impact a small change can make in my home.  A little tweak can bring new life to a space in my home and make me love it even more!  I recently completed a few little updates around my house and am so happy with the results!

One small change I made recently was switching out the cabinet hardware on my tv stand.  The knobs that came with the tv stand were nothing special and didn't stand out.  So I started to keep an eye out for some new knobs that had some more interest.  I found some acrylic and brassy-gold knobs at Hobby Lobby. They were 50% off to boot!  So I swapped them for the old ones and they make such a difference.    


The brassy-gold tie in nicely with the hinges.  Plus, they pick up the same hue as the brass animal I have sitting on top of the tv stand.  Who knew two little knobs could make me love our blue tv stand even more?! 

I also made a change to our vacation gallery wall in the living room recently.  I adore our little gallery wall because it features photographs and artwork of all our travels!  Looking at our gallery wall brings back so many sweet memories of all our trips Adam and I have taken together.  I had included a mirror, a "K" initial and some other artwork to help fill in the space originally.  But since I first hung the gallery wall, we've done quite a bit of traveling!  I just kept adding frame after frame and it was starting to look a bit sloppy.  

So I decided to take the whole gallery wall down and start over.  I took out the stuff that didn't relate to our travels.  Then I laid everything out on the floor in an arrangement I was happy with.  From there I made paper templates of each frame, including marks indicating where I would need to add nails to the wall.  (I followed a similar method in this post.)  Then I added the nails to the wall and hung everything up!  Luckily, most of the old holes were covered by the frames.  I did have to Spackle and repaint a few holes, but the end result was totally worth it!    

I love how the map with push pins indicating the places we've been together is front and center.  And the new arrangement of photos is far more pleasing to the eye.  This update was free, though it did take some time.  But what a difference it makes!  

The last of my little updates took place in the office nook in our bedroom.  I used to keep all of our paperwork in a file cabinet next to the desk.  While it was very functional, it was not very pretty.  You can tell from the photograph below that our printer sat on top of the file cabinet, as well.    

When we got our tv stand, I decided to move the printer into it.  Since it is wireless, it could go anywhere around the house.  It fit perfectly into its new home.  Then I had to figure out what to do with our file cabinet.  I went through all the paperwork and was surprised at how much I could get rid of!  I managed to get all of our paperwork into a small wooden file crate.  Since it was so small, I was able to put it in our closet, which meant I didn't even need the file cabinet anymore!  So I moved that sucker out of there.  

That wall looks much less cluttered now.  I also picked up this surge protector that plugs into the wall. That way all the cords are off the floor.  Another little update that made a big impact!  

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Jazzy Blazes A Trail

Jazzy adores her "outings."  That's the code word Adam and I use for going on a W-A-L-K.  I don't feel like I can even type the word without her knowing.  Anytime she hears the magic "W" word, she goes crazy!  She starts jumping around and staring at her leash.  The girl loves her "outings!"

While she's perfectly content to wander around the neighborhood, she gets even more jazzed when she gets to go on a trail.  All I have to do is whip out her seatbelt harness and she knows some fun is headed her way!  

Adam's mom is in town and she wanted to check out a nature trail.  We decided to invite Jazzy along since she loves to go on "outings."  Look at that sweet girl!  She is ready for a hike!


Despite it being a bit muggy and buggy, we all enjoyed ourselves.  Jazzy was enthralled with all the new smells.  She insisted on smelling every. single. smell.  So eventually we had to just pull her along.  

I made her stop and pose for a picture.  Since she's such a professional model, she did stop and pose.  But she wanted to keep on smelling all the smells.  She had her eye on her next target.  

Jazzy was so excited to come along on this nature trail expedition!  But she sure was exhausted by the end of it.  It must have been too much excitement for one evening.

Happy trails to you! 

Friday, August 12, 2016

New Bathroom Artwork

Let's talk about bathroom artwork.  I feel like bathroom artwork is kinda tricky.  It's nice to have artwork in your bathroom, but it has to be the right kind of artwork.  For instance, having a family portrait might not be the best choice.  I would feel like my family could see me naked each day.  Yikes! 

While I don't have family portraits currently hanging in my bathroom, I do have some pretty pathetic artwork going on.  When we moved in, I felt like I needed to fill in all the empty space above our bathtub. It was a big, blank space and it was calling for some sort of wall adornment.  So I bought some generic artwork and stuck it up there.  There's nothing wrong with it, but it's nothing special.

After staring at those random red flowers every day for years now, I decided I needed to do something different.  I wanted to get some sort of artwork that not only fit the space, but was sentimental.  When I think of sentimental artwork, I generally think about photographs I've taken.  Wanting to steer clear of any sort of photos featuring close-ups of people, I landed on some sort of nature shot.  I decided to take a look at some of the different photographs I've taken over our travels.  I had a lot to choose from, so I narrowed my focus to photos featuring water.  Adam and I love a good beach and have traveled to many together.  I ended up with these three possibilities: 
Cannon Beach, Oregon
The Florida Keys 
Maui, Hawaii

It was a tough decision.  All three photographs bring back such wonderful memories!  Ultimately, I picked the photograph of Cannon Beach.  I felt the cool, blue tones would go perfectly with the wall color.  

Once I decided on the photograph, the next step was to get an enlarged print.  Mpix is my go-to when I need prints.  (This is not a sponsored post, I just like Mpix!)  I've ordered several prints from Mpix.  It's super convenient and affordable, especially when you sign up to receive their emails.  They have promotions all the time.  I ordered my 16 x 20 print when they were offering 50% off large prints, so I got a great deal!  

After my print arrived in the mail, I needed to get a frame.  Hobby Lobby is always a great place to look for frames because they are always 50% off the marked price.  I looked around and decided I wanted some sort of rustic wood frame.  I managed to narrow it down to two frames.  One frame had hanging hardware on the back, while the other did not.  Not wanting to bother with attaching hanging hardware, I made my way to the checkout lane with the frame that already had hanging hardware attached.  As I was standing in line, I decided I liked the other frame better.  I had to awkwardly tell the cashier that I had changed my mind and go back to the frame section.  I swapped it out for the frame I liked best, despite it lacking hanging hardware.  

I'm glad I did!  I asked the lady that worked in custom framing which hanging hardware she would recommend I add to the back of the frame.  She told me she could just add it right then and there for $2.50.  I was sold!  I probably would have spent just as much, if not more, buying the hanging hardware. Then I would have had the chore of attaching it myself.  So I was more than happy to pay the small fee.  To top things off, she added a wire hanger so I would only have to hammer one nail into the wall instead of one on each side of the frame.  It's always a time-consuming pain to try to get two nails hammered in level and located the correct distance apart.


So I brought my cute new frame home, added the photograph and hung it up on the wall.  I love how the crisp photograph plays with the rustic frame!  The rough wood of the frame reminds me of some of the driftwood we saw washed up on the beach when we visited.   

The large scale of the photograph fits the space a whole lot better too.  And it's meaningful!  When I look at it, it instantly reminds me of our trip to the beach.  It brings me far more happiness than those red flowers ever did.  

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Home Sweet Jazzy

Since I'm a teacher, I have the awesome perk of a summer break.  I certainly jammed a lot into this summer.  While I had a blast on all my travels, there was one huge drawback to being away from home so much.  I missed Jazzy like crazy!

I started my summer by traveling to Portland and Seattle with Adam to celebrate our 5th anniversary. While we were gone, Jazzy was being spoiled rotten by my parents.  

Then I got to spend a week in Gulf Shores, Alabama, with my parents.  Sadly, Adam had to work so he couldn't come along.  So he and Jazzy hung out together while I was gone.

From there Adam and I spent time in Pittsburgh.  Jazzy went back to my parents for more spoiling.

And this past weekend we went to explore Johnson's Shut-Ins with my family.  Adam's mom was in town, so she was kind enough to take care of Jazzy.  

I'm not going to lie, a good portion of my travels was spent thinking about Jazzy.  Did she miss me as much as I missed her?  What was she doing?  Which souvenir would she like me to buy for her?  

She is such a big part of my life that it was hard to be away from her so much this summer.  As much as Adam likes me, he doesn't get quite as excited as Jazzy does when I walk through the door.  It definitely felt like there was something missing by not having Jazzy around me.  

Ever since returning from my travels, Jazzy has expressed just how much she missed me by sticking close to my side.  She's been keeping a very close eye on me to make sure I don't leave again.     

It's been pretty tricky trying to type up posts lately.  Whenever I get my laptop out, Jazzy pummels over it to get to my lap.  So you can blame Jazzy for my recent lack of posts. 

I'm so happy to be staying home for awhile so I get to spend time with my sweet Jazzy!  

Wednesday, August 3, 2016


I recently had the honor of serving as a bridesmaid in my dear friend Kelsey's wedding.  She got hitched in Pittsburgh, so Adam and I decided to make a mini-vacation out of our trip.  

We had been to Pittsburgh a few years ago to visit my friend.  It was actually right after we lost our baby. While the last thing I wanted to do was travel during that time, I'm so happy we decided to go.  Being around my sweet friend helped me in more ways than she'll ever know.

Luckily, this trip was filled with far more happiness.  My friend got married at the National Aviary.  It was such a unique venue!  There is a gorgeous garden on the grounds, which was where the ceremony took place.  

And all of the exhibits were open during the reception, which added to the fun.  Who doesn't want to visit penguins during a wedding reception?  (On a side note, I think Adam and I might have had one too many Rose-Marry-Me cocktails.)

In addition to participating in all the wedding festivities, we also managed to enjoy lots of delicious food around Pittsburgh.  My favorite meal was our donut breakfast from Peace, Love & Little Donuts.  They were downright delightful!  

Craft beers are a big deal in Pittsburgh.  While I'm not a beer fan, Adam was more than happy to try out some craft beers.  We enjoyed Penn Brewery so much that we went back a second time.  Adam also tried out some beer from Hofbrauhaus Pittsburgh and reported it to be tasty.  The atmosphere was fun and included a live accordionist.

Adam discovered a cute little coffee shop located near the place we were staying.  He enjoyed the coffee while I enjoyed some iced tea.  It was located in an old building that had lots of charm.      

I promise we did more than just drink.  We ate a lot too.  :)  We stopped by Proper Brick Oven & Tap Room to enjoy some brick oven pizza.  We went with a prosciutto and asparagus pizza, which was super delicious.

We didn't want to go hungry, so we also made sure to try out a couple ice cream joints.  Millie's Homemade Ice Cream was our first stop.  It was good, but didn't hit the top of our favorite ice cream ever list. 

While we were standing in line for Millie's, Adam asked someone if the ice cream was worth standing in line for.  They said it was good, but that we should try out Antney's Ice Cream if we really wanted to be wowed.  It happened to be located on our way to the airport, so we stopped by on our way out of town. Boy, was I happy we did!  It was delicious!   

To work off some of the delicious food and beverages we consumed, we decided to hit up Kennywood. Kennywood is an amusement park, which was tons of fun!  There were quite a few roller coasters, two of which were built in the 1920s and still operate today!  I must admit, I was a bit nervous getting on the roller coasters after reading the placards stating when they were built.  Luckily, they lasted another day and provided Adam and I lots of fun.  We had big smiles plastered on our faces all day long.  

We also hit up the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden.  I loved this place!  

The plants and flowers were gorgeous!  There were different rooms with different themes and climates. I highly recommend this place if you love gardens or flowers.  

One of my favorite parts was the butterfly garden.  There were hundreds of butterflies fluttering around! I pretty much felt like a Disney princess.

Adam and I had a wonderful time in Pittsburgh!  It's definitely worth a visit if you've never been before!