Summer Photo Series: Houston

Hello Sunshine! This summer we had an unique opportunity to stay 5 weeks in Houston for the summer. This was like no other family vacation we have ever taken. My husband had business and it was up in the air if we would in fact move down there. So the kids and I got to explore Houston and neighboring cities. We had a blast!

We visited the Museum District and The Menil Collection is a must see if you are ever in Houston. They had the late work of Barnett Newman on exhibit and that sparked a lot of conversation between my daughter and I. The kids learned that art is up for limitless interpretation. I was in awe when I saw a Rothko. He is the inspiration for my painting in the works and I was ecstatic to see one in person.

We visited the Rothko Chapel. It's a place of quite, peace, and meditation and not good for restless children. Needless to say we left as soon as we entered. One of our last stops during our tour of the Menil Collection was the Byzantine Fresco Chapel to see The Infinity Machine. If I had to describe it in one word it would be hypothesizing.

The Houston Museum of Natural Science was amazing. We saw dinosaurs! Which was the crowning glory of the museum trip for the kids. You feel very small but in awe of the creatures that once roamed the earth. The giant sloth was one of the many show stoppers in this exhibit. I can't believe a sloth was ever that big and they were ginormous earning the name slothzilla.

However, the piece de resistance was the Hall of Ancient Egypt. Many of you may not know but I am in love with everything ancient Egypt especially King Tut. Insert eye roll from my family! Many beautiful artifacts were on display and I could have stayed for hours.

The Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park is breathtaking. The water wall is a 64 foot semi-circular fountain that circulates 11,000 gallons of water per minute. It's a cool spot to visit on any of the many hot days Texas has to offer.

The Space Center Houston was a great experience. We took the NASA Tram Tour where we visited the Rocket Park and the Saturn V facility, saw many of the buildings NASA still uses today to train astronauts, and we even walked through one of the buildings. The Space Center is called a working museum because it is still operational. We even touched a moon rock!

One of the best things that happened this summer was my boys conquered their fear of swimming. Living in an apartment with a pool, that we visited several times a week, did the trick. A nice resident named Lisa taught the kids a few skills and I wish we didn't have to leave so soon so she could have taught them more. She was a retired school teacher and swim instructor and she was amazing!

We won't be moving to Houston like we once thought but we had a blast while we were there. We experienced big city living, cultural diversity at its best, interesting places, and delicious food. I must name a few of our favorite eateries like Torchys, Kata Robata, House of Pie, Smash Burger, and Black Walnut Cafe.

Our Summer Photo Series: Houston

Summer Photo Series: Houston Rothko Chapel
I will be back next week with another photo series from our San Antonio trip. Did you do anything or go anywhere interesting this summer? See ya soon!

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DECOR CRUSH | The Bentwood Chair

Hello Sunshine! You may not know this about me but I don't tend to have a lot of decor crushes. I'm the type of person that more often than not knows exactly what I don't like but have no clue as to what I want. I usually know what direction I am going for and can picture it in my mind. It's finding each piece that's a little tricky for me.

When I started my search for dining chairs for my small eat in kitchen I fell hard for these vintage Eames replicas. It wasn't until I sat in one that I completely changed my mind. Having to start my search all over, I remembered a cute chair I saw a long time ago in an antique shop that would be perfect and would suit my family well.

Today I wanted to share with you my latest decor crush, the bentwood chair, with its timeless design and vintage charm! They were created by Michael Thonet, a German-Austrain cabinet maker, in 1859. I love items that can transcend the limits of time and look just as relevant today as it did yesterday.
Aren't they just perfect! I love the inspiration I pulled together cause it shows how beautiful these chairs are natural, painted, stained, or dipped. And how about that bentwood stool!?! Perfection! 

You will be happy to know that I am now a proud owner of a set of 4 bentwood chairs. They are in good condition but in need of a makeover. I am trying to decide if I should paint them or stain them. Then I need to choose a color and seat fabric.

Do you have a new decor item you are crushing on? Or any that you are over? See ya soon!

Images 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

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Summer Reading List

Hello Sunshine! I decided to challenge myself and join the summer reading club with my kids at the library. I'm not an avid reader but I love a good story. My sister and I compiled a list of books that interested us and that would keep us busy all summer long. It's going to be fun having someone to discuss the plot and share my thoughts with.


I recently discovered Kate Morton and I have to say her storytelling draws you in and would have you up late at night just to get one more page in. She rotates between the past and the present. This took me a minute to get use to but after that I was hooked. I've read The Forgotten Garden and The Secret Keeper and thought we should start our summer reading off with The House at Riverton.

What are you reading? I'd love to know what your favorites are in the comment section. I'm looking for suggestions for our Fall Reading List. See ya soon!

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Laundry Room Cabinets

Hello Sunshine! Once upon a time I started working on our laundry room then it came to a crashing halt. I made a design plan, painted the walls and added new curtains but when I encountered a design changing dilemma I froze dead in my tracks.
For one I was a little scared to hang the cabinets up on the wall and there they sat for months and months. Then one day, I drew tired of the sad scene that had became my laundry room and I hung the blasted cabinets. I would say I did it all on my own but my two oldest lent a helping hand. They helped hold the cabinets up on the ledger broad while I screwed them into the studs.
A few screws snapped off into the wall and I made some extra unneeded holes when my measurements didn't match up to a stud, but the cabinets are hung and they are flush and level! All that needs to be done now is to remove the ledger broad and make a decision on hardware.

See ya soon!

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How To: Repaint a Concrete Porch

Hello Sunshine! As part of my Home Depot Patio Style Challenge I repainted our covered concrete porch. This was something I’d always wanted to do cause over the years it had chipped and faded and it was ugly.

Not wanting to simply paint over the worn chipped paint, I researched how to properly repaint a concrete porch. These are the simple steps to have you well on your way to a professional looking paint job.
Repaint a Concrete Porch

Materials |
Ammonia

Tools |
Pressure Washer
Long-handled Brush
Floor Maintainer with Concrete Prep Tool - rented from Home Depot
5-gallon Bucket
Rubber Gloves
Valved Respirator Mask
Painting Supplies

Step One | Clean
First you want to clear off your work area by removing all items that aren't stationary. Sweep up all debris. Using a pressure washer, clean your concrete. If you have oil spills or tough stains I recommend using a degreaser like Behr's No.990.
Step Two | Remove Old Paint
Now that your porch is all clean it's time to remove that old tattered paint. There are several different methods to achieve this, however we used a floor maintainer fitted with a concrete prep tool to scuff and remove the paint. Gently guide the floor maintainer over your porch floor. When you are satisfied that all the paint has been removed, pressure wash to remove all the dust an debris.

Some might say to allow the floor to dry for at least 4 hours before etching. Not sure is this is necessary. By happenstance I had to wait a month before continuing due to weather. 

**Tip: Wear a mask, there will be a lot of dust. To keep dust to a minimal dampen the surface. You can rent these tools from Home Depot Tool Rental Department. It takes a few tries to get a hang of the machine, be careful.
Step Three | Etch
To etch the surface of the concrete, dilute 24 ounces of muriatic acid per gallon of water in a plastic bucket, watering can, or pump sprayer. Gently stir with a non-metallic spoon. In a separate bucket mix eight parts water with one part ammonia. 

The porch should still be damp from the previous step, if not, dampen with a hose. Pour the acid solution evenly over the concrete and spread to any missed areas with a long-handled brush. Once the acid stops fizzing about 5-10 minutes, flood the porch with the ammonia solution to stop the chemical process of the acid. Immediately pressure wash the porch to remove any traces of acid and ammonia. Allow to dry for at least 4 hours.

**Tip: Wear protective gloves, rubber boots, and safety glasses when working with chemicals.

Step Four | Prime
Priming helps paint bond to the surface you're painting and using Behr Bonding Primer will help prevent peeling of the topcoat. Now after all this work you don't want peeling. You will apply this primer like you would any other paint. Starting with the edges using a brush, then continue over the surface with a 3/8" nap roller.

This doesn't have the usual consistency of paint, it is really thin, like watery milk. You only need one coat of bonding primer. It goes on white then dries clear in about 4 hours.

Step Five | Paint
After waiting the recommended 4 hours of dry time, you can apply your first coat of Behr Porch and Patio Paint. I went with the color Fresh Cement. I added a non-skid floor additive to the paint. One pouch per gallon of paint. It provided a subtle texture finish and now I don't have to worry about slips and falls.

I started with the edges using an angled brush to cut in. I moved slowly applying a thin layer, the paint is thicker due to the additive. I continued over the surface with a 3/8" nap roller working myself away from the house and off the porch. I applied two thin layers of paint. Allow to dry 4 hours between coats.
Step Six | Wait
Wait 72 hours to fully cure before you walk and move your outdoor furniture and planters on your newly repainted porch. Then enjoy!

If you are planning on repainting your porch in the near future, I hope this post helps you on your way. Remember this is what worked for us and our porch needs. See ya soon!

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Colorful Porch Makeover | Spring Tablescape + Source List

Hello Sunshine! Thank you so much for all your wonderful comments on our colorful porch makeover, you know just how to make a girl smile! If you haven't had a chance to see our Home Depot Patio Style Challenge, you can see it HERE.

I'm sharing some more photos of our colorful porch makeover here today with a complete source list and a spring tablescape idea. I'll share a couple of tutorials I completed for our space in the upcoming weeks.

Our Colorful Covered Porch
With dirty footprints and spills of sweet tea, cake, and watermelon bound to happen I decided it best to forgo a rug. Cleanup of any spills is so much easier this way. For a more uniform look I refinished our cement floor and for a nice pop of color to an otherwise bland space, I painted the door a bright shade of green.

To complete our outdoor dining space, I hung curtains and a chandelier, added pillows, a bench for extra seating, and a few planters filled with interesting plants, cause as you know outdoors and plants go hand in hand!

On a recent trip to Houston for spring break, I kept noticing these strange ferns everywhere. I had never seen one of these before and of course I had to bring one home with me. It's a foxtail fern and its right at home in its blue pot here in Nashville.


Spring Tablescape
One thing I love about planning a party, a get-together with the girls or close friends is the table setting, oh and you can't forget the holidays! Choosing the napkins, chargers, plates, the silverware, tablecloth, I love it all.

You can say I get it from my Grandma. She taught me as a little girl how to set a table and it stuck with me. I never set a table for regular dinner, heck we eat around the TV, but for any occasion I deem special you better believe I'm dressing the table.

My idea of a simple spring tablescape is an eclectic place setting, no need to match, a set of bell jars filled with your favorite drink, mine is sweet tea, a couple of cake stands stacked on top of each other holding sweet, delicious treats, and a glass bowl filled with your favorite flowers. Easy peasy! Right!

I hope you take advantage of the cool spring afternoons to go outside and enjoy your porch or patio. Go ahead and eat outside tonight! See ya soon!


Source List:
Door Color - Fresh Sprout (Behr)
Floor Color - Fresh Cement (Behr)
Dining Set - Posada Collection with Gray Cushions from Home Depot
Chandelier - Nipprig Collection from Ikea
Door Mat - Ikea
Tall Modern Planter - Home Depot
Blue Ceramic Pot - Home Depot
Bench - At Home
Sheer Curtains - Ikea
Striped Lumbar Pillows - Target
Turtle Pillows - HomeGoods
Gold Artwork - HomeGoods
Gold Tray - Target
Vase filled with tulips - Marshalls
Place-settings - World Market

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Home Depot Patio Style Challenge

Hello Sunshine! For the past couple months, I've been working on a little porch project for the Home Depot as part of their 2015 Patio Style Challenge series. They challenged a group of bloggers to makeover their outdoor spaces and it was a great honor to have been chosen to participate alongside so many fabulous designers and bloggers.
Our new colorful covered porch is now an outdoor dining area and we couldn't be happier with how it all turned out. We wanted our outdoor space to be an extension of our home and reflect our laid back simplistic style.

I will have the complete source list with a spring tablescape idea up on the blog this week and a couple of tutorials coming.

To read more about our patio style challenge head on over to the Home Depot Blog!

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