Monday, May 15, 2017

LET IT GROW, LET IT GROW


Definitely a "Frozen" knockoff blog post title. Anyone start singing as they read it?

Good news is it's not frozen, in fact Charlotte temps are starting to reach the mid-90's and I'm kinda cringing but kinda loving the summer activities that are starting.

On another note, I love when I start to think I'm ahead of the game in my week and then I blink and it's gone. Which, cool, makes for a super fast work week but it also means that I still have a million and one things to do and not enough time to do them. Like all those summer activities I had in mind.

Things are crazy for Kevin and I lately. Between work travel, fun travel (can't wait for Hangout Fest in Gulf Shores, AL!) and two graduations, we're hardly home in the next 5 weeks.

I have some serious planning to do... like um, a WEDDING... but more on that later.


But back to this 'Un-Frozen' weather because about a week and a half ago I wrote a blog post on something new I was trying (in all my spare time) and told you that my thumb is every color but green. I wanted to quickly circle back on how the garden is progressing and honestly just wanted to brag because I haven't killed these things yet!

IT'S GROWING. IT'S REALLY, REALLY GROWING.

But, like most things I do, I can't take all the credit.

Last week Kevin and I took a "Gardening Beginners" class with one of the amazing startup companies here in Charlotte, SkillPop. SkillPop is a small class-sized, hands-on learning experience that sharpens your skills on everything from Handlettering, to Car Maintenance, to Hip-Hop Dance and even, you guessed it, gardening.

We visited a local store and greenhouse called Renfrow Hardware, a part of Renfrow Farms in Matthews, NC, and got an experts low-down on soil composition, the gardener's almanac and rules to follow.

It definitely would have been more beneficial for Kevin and I to take this class prior to doing our garden, but my research told me the best planting season was mid-April. Because everything you read on the internet is legit, obviously.


Which brings me to my next point, things we've learned so far;

1│ Don't over water your plants. They'll tell you when they're thirsty (think drooping leaves).

2│ Don't overcrowd your garden bed. This is one we really wish we knew before planting because our zucchini plant is now HUGE (I took these pictures prior to it's growth spurt apparently) and I'm considering re-potting to it's own container.

3 │ Don't use Miracle-Gro or any other "sugar" grower. Apparently these additives are like candy bars to kids; they get really hyper really quickly and then crash.

4 │ BE PATIENT. Things don't grow overnight.




Now that you've seen our little green babies getting bigger and healthier, I'll be sharing some of my recent recipes that have incorporated the fresh herbs from the garden. Right now, it's the only thing that's ready-to-eat, but we do have two baby tomatoes on our vines now! Mmm, can't wait! 



Monday, May 01, 2017

MY THUMB IS EVERY COLOR BUT GREEN


Springtime has officially arrived in Charlotte. I'm only claiming that because 3 of the 5 work days last week were straight downpours. Like to the point where I went out and bought a new raincoat because I felt like I'd been wearing the same outfit for an eternity.

I'll steal a line from country singer Luke Bryan, however, and say that "rain is a good thang". Especially for this non-gardening, can't keep anything alive, black thumb. Now that's not to say I haven't tried! I have a few plants in the house that for whatever reason and no matter how hard I try to kill them just won't die #YouDaRealMVPs.

But this year on Earth Day, and in lieu of being adults (aka homeowners), Kevin and I decided to take a stab at this whole gardening/yard thing.

"Being Creative" encompasses so many activities and hobbies, and this time around I'm looking at our grass and gardening attempts as one of them.


We spent a few days this past week pulling weeds, mulching, renting an aerator, seeding, fertilizing and planting a garden. We put a lot of effort (and money) to look like we give a shit about our yard because, well, we do give a shit about our yard we just literally don't know anything about anything.

Side note; does anyone else have "Yard of the Month" in their neighborhood? Yeah, well, we're never gonna get it. 

But back to Spring because following our yard revamp (and one rather large black snake encounter) we had those 3 days of continuous rain and now I'm legitimately afraid that all our grass seed washed away. Is that a thing? Guess we'll find out.



When we moved into the house, the previous homeowners had already done some landscaping. Or maybe the house came that way? Who knows and who cares because they're still alive. Either way we have some gorgeous hostas and hydrangeas (shout out to my Mom for identifying these for me... you know I had no clue) and after some intense Googling and Pinterest-ing, I figured out how to cut them back to allow new growth.

I probably should have taken some before pictures but ugh, it's a little late for that. However, I do promise to share some progress photos of the garden in the new few months... if it's still alive that is.


For the garden, and for obviously reasons, we decided to add plants that were labeled "for beginners". The previous owners had already built a raised garden bed in the backyard that we're using and we bought all starter plants (a step above seeds) from Lowe's to speed up the process.

The raised bed had old soil in it so we freshened it up with a layer of Miracle-Gro All Purpose Garden SoilGardenscape Compost and Manure and a top layer of Lowe's Premium Mulch to keep the soil cool and moist. I did my research, y'all. If these things don't grow, I quit.

In the end, we planted tomatoes, cucumbers, red pepper, green pepper, basil, parsley, dill, zucchini and eggplant. According to the plant info tags, we should start seeing some ready-to-eat results in as soon as 45 days! Which, obviously, will feel like fore-ehv-ver.

I temporarily labeled our plants using upside down plastic forks but a short term goal is to make something a little more creative and easier on the eyes!



I keep checking on the grass and garden hoping that some new life will just pop up overnight and suddenly our yard will be green. It hasn't happened yet (obviously) but we have seen some growth on the veggies we planted and that's enough to keep me watering it. 

For now, Boone our pup has been dubbed the "Garden Keeper" and he hasn't peed on it ... yet.









Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A 3-MONTH HIATUS + SPRING JEWELRY TRENDS


Welcome back! Not that you're stalking my page waiting, but ugh, I haven't written a single post in literally over 3 months. In fact, I don't think I've even logged into Blogger in weeks.

I know that blogging is all about "consistency" and "drawing a bigger audience" and "scheduling posts" which is great and all but, I like to actually live life too.

The weather in good ole' Charlotte, NC has been so wacky, first it's 78 degrees and quite literally the next day there's an inch of snow on the ground, then it's a 2-day monsoon and 50 degrees. Despite the unpredictability, this time of year is still my favorite time to be outside. Now granted I might have sunburn under my scarf, rain coat and boots, but it is what it is.

Let me quickly update you on my "where I've been" before we dive into the one productive thing I've done for this blog in a whopping 90-ish days.




1  | We bought new cruiser bikes and went on a Charlotte adventure.

2  | We celebrated both mine and Kevin's birthday's, with a helicopter ride around Charlotte and a new grill.

3  | We ran a 5k in the snow and ended up covered in green chalk.

4  | We celebrated National Puppy Day with our 125lb "puppy".

5  | We hit the driving range with friends we hadn't seen in a while.

6  | I traveled to Las Vegas, NV and met Hall Of Fame Quarterback Randall Cunningham.

7  | We tried 5 new restaurants and an ice cream parlor in the Charlotte area.

8  | I participated in blindfolded yoga to support the Metrolina Association of The Blind.


These 8 things barely even touch on all the adventures we've had lately, but I'm sure you get the point that I wasn't behind the computer screen much!




Which brings me to my next topic, Spring Jewelry Trends.




Every now and then I go through a jewelry making phase in which I spend way too much money on 3rd party supplier materials and attempt to turn it into something fashionable and functional. More often than not, I hate the way it turns out and literally "undo" it all so I can reuse the materials.

The best use of my time? Probably not.
My "Like" to "Don't Like" ratio? Probably 1 to 4.

Regardless, it's an activity I find super therapeutic and at the same time it's incredibly flattering to say "I made it!" when someone asks where I got it.

So today I wanted to share with you 4 of my favorite hand-made pieces as well as outfit styling go-to's!


Style 1: Pink, Black & White



 Style 2: Teal, Silver & Blue

Style 3: Brown, White & Gold

Style 4: Cream, Gold & Orange




I'm planning on crafting a couple more jewelry pieces to style this spring and can't wait to share with you all! In the meantime, keep your eyes out for a few new posts as I get back into this whole "blogging while still living" thing. 


Friday, February 10, 2017

VALENTINES WATERCOLOR PRINTS


I can't explain to you guys how excited I am that it's Friday. Kevin has been working all week from 12pm - 9pm and it's throwing off my groove by, like, 110%. Although he works this Saturday too I'm honestly just excited because it means the week is over and we only have to do this one more time. Hallelujah.

We're completely spoiled in the sense that we get to come home within an hour of each other every night. We get to sit down, talk, and have a home cooked meal, just the two of us! Once every couple weeks he'll swing by Harris Teeter to pick up what he now refers to as the "Kevin Special" (hold on, I'll explain it in a minute) and it puts this big ole' cheesy grin on my face.



I've started joking with him by saying "Happy Valentines Day!" on random days of the week, but in all seriousness he really makes me feel that way. So, sorry not sorry if you think I'm overly mushy because 1) 'tis the season and 2) the "Kevin Special" is a huge bouquet of flowers AND wine(s).

How do you say no to that? 

Since I'm feeling extra soft, and the international day of love is right around the corner, I wanted to share some of my DIY Valentines Watercolor Prints with you. You can either use them for inspiration or simply clip and print to give to your own Valentine! (Use the snipping tool, print screen or click the link below each picture to view in Google Docs)

Consider it this year's gift from me to you <3


For my materials I used;

Crayola Marker and Watercolor Pad Paper
Crayola Markers (I used 2 shades of pink, red and black)
Crayola Colored Pencils (I used yellow, orange and red-orange)
Medium Sized Foam Brush
Small Foam Tip Brush
Crayola Washable Watercolors Paint Pallet
Black Pen

And when you're done looking at how neat and clean those turned out, here's what my desk looked like afterwards.

Sometimes life isn't always as pretty as the pictures we post! ... And I almost drank the water in the clear (now pink) cup like 3 times.




I hope that everyone has a wonderful Valentines day, but more importantly that your every day is filled with love... because you deserve it! 

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

LOFT MAKEOVER PLANS: THE REVEAL


Well, friends, somehow I managed to complete the impossible. In just under 3 weeks I successfully converted our wacky loft space into a functional, organized office. I cannot wait to share the reveal with you! Albeit a few obstacles, I couldn't be happier with the results.

Before, we were using the loft space as a workout area (think yoga mats, weights and medicine balls on the floor) and the dog used it as his spare bedroom when we weren't home. We had an old coffee table in the center (I mean what else am I supposed to do triceps dips on?) and a TV cabinet Kevin's sister-in-law gave us that was against the back wall. These were both moved into one of the spare bedrooms, opening up the space and allowing my planning imagination to run wild.

Now, the space is being used to neatly store and organize craft supplies, bills, receipts, books, important paperwork and other miscellaneous office items. It's quickly become one of my favorite spots to spend time in and I find myself just staring at it every time I go up or down the stairs. Because that's not weird, right?


You can catch up on the other weeks here: Plans | Week 1.5 | Week 2.5 


Let's take a walk down memory lane to see what the space looked like before (these pictures are actually from the previous owners). It's was an odd-shaped loft area at the top of our staircase that was literally being used for anything and everything.





LOFT MAKEOVER REVEAL


Now, it looks like THIS!

Please note I will be writing a separate post with product links, if possible, or similar products.


My Dad is incredibly talented. Kevin and I showed up with (incorrect) measurements and a rough sketch and then, two Lowes trips and 4 hours later, my Dad brought this desk to life. We originally planned to use just the two bookcases as the ends (see my Week 2.5 update for what it looked like before) but ended up adding a cabinet we already had on hand for further support and function. How the extra cabinet was the exact measurements I needed, I'll never know, but I do love that we have now have the closed space for storage too.


I went to town throwing out almost two grocery bags of dead pens, broken pencils, erasers that smeared instead of erasing, dried out markers and stickers from 3rd grade that said "Property of Alyssa", I kid you not. I ended up with neatly organized (and labeled) supply boxes that fit perfectly into the bookshelves, making my supplies accessible and aesthetically pleasing.


I had to get budget-creative for my command center. I was running low on funds (and running out of time) so I scooped a weekly chalkboard planner from Target ($3!) along with a chalk pen. I re-purposed an old gold frame as a dry erase board. Then, I spray painted an old cooling rack and some mini clothespins for a DIY memo board. The 3-bin desk organizer (holding the paper clips and clothespins) is just a re-purposed condiment holder that I got for Christmas this past year! I also spray painted the pencil cup (it was silver) and added the gold stapler to complete the look.


My favorite part of this area has to be the gold magazine holders. Would you believe me if I said these are old cereal boxes? I can't wait to share the tutorial!


The desk chair was purchased from Walmart and I simply spray painted the silver legs with Rustoleum spray paint in Metallic Gold to match the black and gold theme.


The cube organizer is exactly what I had envisioned. In the cubbies you'll find some of our favorite books, a few gold trinkets, a blanket and my favorite wooden bins ever (thanks, Michaels!). These can serve multiple purposes, but I really just love how the look of them ties everything in the room together.


I added the Brooklyn Bridge canvas, a gold desk lamp, a small TV and a DIY $1 gold tray, which I'll share my tutorial on soon! On the side wall you'll find three abstract prints (also DIY!) inside unique Dollar Tree frames to complete the art.



I don't think I could love this room anymore than I already do. Aside from potentially adding a ceiling light fixture, I called it quits with 3 days to spare. I went slightly over my estimated project cost but we'll break that down in another post. For now, just enjoy staring at these pictures like I stare at it in person and stay tuned for breakdowns and tutorials of my DIY pieces coming soon! 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

LOFT MAKEOVER PLANS UPDATE: WEEK 2.5


Another week down and LOTS of progress made on the loft space in our house! This week I'm providing another progress update and sharing what's left to complete. I challenged myself to get everything done by the end of the month, which means I officially have ONE week left to finish. Oh boy!

If you're just catching up, find out the original plans here and my week 1.5 progress here... why I'm doing this in .5 increments I have no clue, but hey, at least it's getting done.



PROGRESS 


The desk has been built. I repeat, the desk has been built! This was by far the most nerve wracking part of the entire project. I kind of have a champagne taste on a beer budget - in this sense meaning I want things to look expensive but I don't want to pay full price for it - and I was really wondering if my desk plans could become reality, all while sticking to budget. I got 1 of 2 things; my budget is blown but the desk looks pretty freaking awesome. Props to my dad here for his skills & tools!

Total Desk Materials: $80 

Even though the 8-cube organizer was already assembled, I didn't like the way it looked in the room and thought it needed to sit higher. While we were creating the desk, we had just enough extra wood to create 6, 5" risers. These came pre-painted so we'll just need to attach.

Cube Organizer Risers: $0

The cover for the gateway (our ugly black modem/router combo from AT&T) has been made. I created a fake 'book cover' just to sit around it so it's less tacky looking and fits in with the black and gold decor. I'll share a tutorial soon!

Gateway Cover: $0

From an organization standpoint, I turned the wall next to the desk into a functional space by attaching a large chalkboard calendar and an old cookie sheet spray painted gold. I also added a few gold frames I got from the dollar store a while back with 3 inspirational quotes. All are attached to the wall using simple command strips since I'm literally the worst at leveling and if I mess up I can re-do it instead of patching nail holes.

I created file folder organizers using old cereal boxes, gold spray paint and scrapbook paper I had lying around. Can't wait to share the tutorial!

Chalkboard Calendar: $3 / Everything Else Organizational: $0





LEFT TO DO


Final touches to edging around the desk with wood glue need to happen before we can actually use it. I also think we might need to add additional support to hold the weight (TBD).

I need to attach the risers to the cube organizer.

Next, I still need a desk chair (which I think is the final piece that will cost money! WOO!)

Then hanging the canvas and final decor touches are last on the list!



-----------------------------------

8-cube organizer: $52
Gold Desk Lamp: $20
Wooden Boxes & Misc. Organization: $28
Decor Items: $15
Canvas: $25
Desk Materials: $80
Organization Wall: $3

TOTAL REMAINING IN BUDGET: 
- $23 

Lowe's Gift Card: $20
So, actual spent over budget (so far): $3

-----------------------------------



It's down to crunch time but I'm pretty impressed with how this room is coming along. Just one week left before I share the final reveal, so stay tuned!