Thursday, February 18, 2010

Bring on the Warmth!

This has been a COLD winter. Cold and long. So cold in fact that there was even some of this:

And this:

Beautiful Snowy Wonderland, right? Well guess what? These pictures were taken in....My Backyard!! In Birmingham, AL!!! Uh, yeah! Trust me, this normally does NOT happen. Not to say that Birmingham doesn't *ever* get snow, cause yeah, we do...sometimes. Sometimes we get a flurry or two! It's seriously rarely ever enough to coat the ground....much less completely bury it in about 2 1/2 inches! So what do you do when it snows in Birmingham? You take the day off work and play in it, of course! 

This was taken as I was pulling up to my house after getting off work about 1pm:

BIG flakes of snow were falling and covering our front yard very quickly! There was even enough snow to build a snowman:

We weren't really going for it, but i thought our snowman turned out kinda like a Tim Burton character. What do ya think??

Okay, so, it might not look like it here, but I hate the winter!! I mean, if it's gonna be cold then I'd like for it to snow. Wouldn't everyone?!? Unfortunately that's not typically the case here in Alabama. And man, this winter has been much worse than our usual winters....and it seems much longer too! ...Which makes me long for warm-weather even more than normal! I've always been a warm-weather person. I love summers....the heat really doesn't even bother me. I guess that can be attributed to my years spent in swim lessons, then swim team, then diving team and then lifeguarding. Did I mention that I love the water too? Cause I do. Yeah, I spent pretty much the entire part of my youth in or around the pool and although we did have an indoor pool in the small town I grew up in (yeah, that's right "an" indoor pool...singular. one. and that wasn't built until I was in about 8th grade), I still associate the pool with summertime. I love the warm weather, the sunshine, the summer sun dresses, the flip flops, the warm breezy summer nights...everything about summer and warm weather........And this winter is KILLING me!!! Okay, maybe not killing me literally, but killing my spirit! Seriously! Winters are depressing! They make me want to hibernate. I lack nearly all motivation. I keep waking up each day hoping that it's going to be warm. I mean seriously, at this point, I just wake up hoping for 50/60 degree weather! I just want to be outside!!

...which brings me to this.....

We booked a trip for our 1st marriage anniversary coming up in May!!!!!! AAHHH! I can't wait!! We'll be this about 13 weeks! (geez, that seems too long!) It's the Valentin Imperial Maya in Playa del Secreto, Mexico (in the Riviera Maya right outside of Playa del Carmen) and we'll be spending 8 days and 7 wonderful, warm, ocean-side, all-inclusive nights here! (can you tell I'm excited??)

THIS is getting me through the winter....although I'm still praying each day that I wake up to 60/70 degree weather (I know,  I know, I said 50/60 would suffice...but 60/70 would be more like it!). 

stay warm,
The Indecisive Wife

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I Feel Like Writing a Blog Update know, MONTHS after my last post. ;) Sorry I've been MIA. I feel like I've had trouble getting back into the swing of things....We moved, the Holidays rolled around, then the new year and new resolutions and finally things are beginning to settle down. Honestly, I like being busy...I know I probably gripe about it during the process...but when I'm busy it keeps my mind from wandering, which is a good thing. When things are the same 'ole, same 'ole I get bored....I want something different, I want to go on vacation, I feel impatient for things to happen (like, oh, I don't know...Spring for example?!? I'm so TIRED of Winter!!). Anyway, how bout I take you on a quick trip through the last 4 months or so?? 

October - We bought our first house! :)

We closed on the 19th, took possession of it on the 21st and moved in the 24th. We looked at probably 20 -30 houses before we found and settled on this one. Also, if you don't know the backstory....About 2 weeks after returning from our Honeymoon we found out that the owners of the house we had been renting had decided to put the house up for sale. To our surprise (cause there were are a TON of houses on the market), it sold within 30 days. We then had 60 days from the day it sold to find a new place to live. It was a whirlwind!! 

If you noticed from the dates above, there were 3 days between when we took possession of the house and when we moved in...this is because we decided to refinish the hardwood floors before we moved in. The floors were the standard yellow-brown color that you see in lot of homes, but they were scratched pretty bad in some places because the previous owners had 3 dogs. We figured that if we were EVER going to refinish these floors then we absolutely had to do it before we moved all our stuff, we hired a crew and they refinished them in our 3 day time restriction (THANK GOD!) cause we had to be out of our old house by the morning of the 26th. 
Here's the floors after they were sanded down:

And here's a picture of them after they were refinished: 

We picked a red mahogany stain.

Our next projects were painting the dining room and totally redoing the downstairs half bath (you'll see why in a minute!). The dining room was already a nice color, but it didn't really match all of our Dining Room decor, so we decided to paint it. Below the chair rail is a deep, dark purple...It's a Valspar color called Sweet Currant. Above the chair rail is a soft creamy color by Valspar called Clay Angel (btw, we have a Lowe's literally right down the street from us...that's why we ended up using the Valspar paints...convenience won!). 

Work in progress: 

And here's an "AFTER" shot:
By the way, we scored this antique buffet for a mere $125 at a local antique auction!! It looks to be Walnut and is beautiful (and heavy!).  I'm planning to replace the wooden shelves with glass and i've since added mirrors to the back so you can see a reflection through the wire doors. Speaking of the wire, I'm planning to put gold foil on those to bring them back to their original beauty and gold foil on those circular pulls for the doors.  I'll post more on that later!

Now here's the big one....The Half Bath. dum, dum, duummmmm..... Yeah. We thought this tiny half bath would be quick project...just take down the wallpaper, paint, replace the fixtures (faucet, light, mirror, tp holder, towel rack) and we'd be done. Easy right?! Um, no. That wallpaper was the DEVIL!!! It literally took us like 3 weeks (given it was only weekends and about 3-4 nights during the week) to take down ALL the wallpaper and it's remnants, and then smooth the drywall back out from all the gashes the fight with the wallpaper had left. We found out very quickly that the wallpaper had been put up DIRECTLY on the sheetrock without any sealant in between...which means, that stuff was STUCK and never wanted to come down. Let me go on record right now and say that I will NEVER, EVER wallpaper any room. If I even so much as think about it, please smack me. Okay, now that that's out of the way, here's the before:

And here's the AFTER:

Looks a million times better right?? Well I hope so, cause it was quite the project! After we smoothed out the walls, we actually decided to put beadboard wainscotting all along the bottom. We could have taken the easy way out and just smoothed out the top of the walls and left the bottom a total mess....but we're not those people. My motto has always been that if you're going to do something, then do it right. 

Next up, December: (yeah, I don't know where November went either...I think it got lost in that sea of projects)
So this year we decided to host half of my family's Christmas. My mom, step-dad, sister, brother-in-law and their kids all came over to our house to celebrate Christmas (about a week before Christmas day). We cooked lasagna and had a great time. Everyone stayed the night since they had all driven up from Montgomery. Here's a picture of the table before dinner:

And here's a picture of the tree before we all opened presents:

Next, we have New Years!!! Mark and I took a quick mini-vacation to Atlanta on the 29th/30th (we got an amazing deal at the Intercontinental Buckhead from Hotwire last minute) and then we booked it back to Birmingham to ring in the new year at Old Car Heaven....they had a big New Year's party with a Beatles tribute band.

Then the fun and festivities were over and it was back to work. Our next project....the Office (slash laundry room). Sounds kinda odd, right? Well, off of our foyer to the left is a small office that has double doors on the back wall which houses our washing machine and dryer. It's really not as odd as it sounds though. There's plenty of room for the units and there's plenty of room for shelving above and on the sides of it. There's even a laundry chute that comes down from our master closet! Anyway, this room was a really ugly orange-tan color.....

See? Ugly right?? The ugly orange color made the room look even smaller than it was. I decided that this would be the perfect room to do the subtle horizontal stripes that I was dying to try out! So, we meticuously  measured and taped off all the stripes (this took a good two days out of a weekend) and then we went to painting. Like all of the rooms we've done so far, I primed the walls. I then painted the whole room in Clay Angel (the color I used on the top half of the Dining Room) and then painted the stripe in a soft beige that was slightly darker than the cream. I can't remember the name of this color, but if you'd like to know then just ask....I kept it on file, plus we have a LOT leftover. Here's the result:

We were SOOOOO happy with how this turned out. It really does make the room look bigger and the soft subtle shades are just what i wanted. After all that taping we were so nervous that the paint might bleed or the lines might not look straight, but it really turned out better than we had hoped. Also, here's a couple tips if you are going to attempt this: 1 - use Frog's the green stuff and you can get it at Home Depot or Lowe's in the same area as the blue painter's tape. That stuff truly is amazing. 2 - as soon as you're done with the 2nd coat on the stripes, start back at the bottom and start taking the tape off. The paint shouldn't be extremely wet, but it shouldn't be quite dry either. If you take it off at this stage then it's less likely that you'll accidentally peel paint off with the tape. 3 - make sure to choose subtle colors. They might look a little *too* subtle when you're looking at the paint swatches (like you might not be able to even tell much difference?!?), but trust me...once you get them on the wall it'll give you exactly the effect you were looking for. 

Okay, so that's all of the projects we've done for now! I think next up we're going to build some custom shelves for our closet. We want to make them look like built-ins for our shoes and then just some extra storage. I'm also going to be painting our guest room soon-ish. I'm getting tired of looking at the ugly pea-green (you'll see what i'm talking about soon enough!). And eventually, if it EVER turns warm here again, we're planning to do some work to our back yard ( I can't WAIT!). The previous owners put up a fence, but they only fenced about 3/4 of the back yard. Basically, they fenced the area directly behind the house for their dogs to play in. The rest of the yard off to the side of the house is unfenced and that part is landscaped (it has two fairly large trees with flower beds around each). Unfortunately, the fenced-in part has ZERO landscaping and a bit of a drainage problem. It also has a bit of a slope so we're hoping to build a retaining wall and we also want to extend to the patio into the yard a bit, which will not only give us a place to lounge in the sun, but it will also help correct our drainage problem! So...can't wait to see how that goes! ;)

For now though, I'll leave you guys with our last event to date....Mark's 27th Birthday. Here's a pic of us celebrating at 26 (a yummy hip restaurant here in Birmingham):

Till Next Time....xoxo,
The Indecisive Wife :)