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 |

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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Hall Closet Makeover

Hello Sunshine! Our hall closet was nothing more than a closet we just threw stuff in. There wasn't a place to hang a coat, no shelves, and lurking behind our hall closet door is a breaker box. Yes, that's right, a breaker box and it was taking up valuable real estate. Well, those days are over! Take a look at our new and improved hall closet.
First thing I did was to clear out the closet. Everything that was hanging out on the bottom of the closet had to go. I sorted and purged. Next up, I painted the entire closet a bright vibrant shade of coral. I used Americana Decor's Smitten. Then I installed a removable hanging rod that I painted in gloss white and added wooden hangers. We seriously needed a spot to hold blankets so I added two built-in shelves painted in gloss white.
I had to pay special attention to every detail that went into this teeny tiny space. The breaker box had to be fully accessible and unblocked. The best way to accomplish that and have everything I wanted was to install a removable hanging rod. The breaker box can actually open fully with the rod in place but I wanted that option just in case.
The shelves are great! Placed on top of the shelf is a cute golden yellow wire basket to hold gloves and scarves.  I love the bar that's attached to the door that holds my wrapping paper. This is a great way to maximize space and utilize an area that usually goes unused.
What do you think? Do you have a crazy closet that needs a little spruce up or a dilemma you have to work around? See ya soon!

Looking for something? Check out the products I used below:

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Home Gym Essentials

Hello Sunshine! Gym memberships can be expensive and often a bit inconvenient to get to at times. I'm not one to bash gyms, I too have a membership and I love it. I can come and go as I please and they have great equipment, however I do like to workout at home. It is the easiest option for me at times.

I can workout in the comfort of my home whenever I have a free 30 minutes. Many of us have the time to workout but the problem is we don't want to have to drive around to do it. That's why working out at home is a great alternative to going to the gym.

With some basic essentials you can get a great workout in the comfort of your home. Here are our essentials including running gear and technology we use.

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Our home gym consists of some basic pieces that aid in our daily workout routines. You don't have to have these items but they make our workouts that much more effective.

1. Yoga Mat | This is a great addition to any home gym. I use it more often than not, it provides great support on my wrist when doing planks or push-ups. I can roll it up for added support. I use a good quality yoga mat that has a good amount of cushion to protect my joints.

2. Dumbbells | Getting a few different weights is a great idea. They are a good way to intensify a workout. We don't have a complete set of dumbbells but we have a few sizes that we use on a regular basis.

3. Exercise DVDs | Sometimes we haven't the foggiest clue as to what exercises to do. There are many great DVDs out there on the market that help target problem areas and work the entire body. Whatever workout is your jam believe me they have a video. Find one and rock out! Also use your public library to find great new DVDs and don't forget about the internet. Here are the ones we use in our home.

  • Jillian Michaels Beginner Shred - I just started this one but I like it. She uses weights.
  • Shaun T Insanity - My husband does this religiously, it works but you work hard for it. It's too much on my knees.
  • Focus T25 - Another one by Shaun T. I like this one. They have alternate exercises for beginners and each workout is only 25 minutes.

Fresh Gear
Proper clothing is essential especially when working out in the cold. Since it is currently cold out I thought I would talk about the gear we wear when running|walking in the cold. Winter should not deter you from hitting the pavement, all you need is a few essential items.

1. Good Shoes | I cannot stress this one enough. Running puts a lot of stress on your ankles and knees. You can alleviate that by proper running|walking shoes that have the support you need. We are all different so I say go to a good store and get a proper fitting and have them look at the way you run|walk to ensure you purchase the right shoe.

2. Cold Gear | Working out in the cold you want to be prepared and wear layers. As our base layer we use compression gear. It has its scientific benefits from being a tight fit but we like it cause it wicks sweat away from the body keeping you warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

1. Apps | Let your smart phone keep up with your mileage, steps, intervals, heart-rate, you name it there is an app for it. Here are the ones we use:

  • Nike +
  • Map My Run
  • Fitness Buddy
  • S Health
  • Spotify

2. Earphones
3. Arm Band

Wish List
1. Foam Roller | We use the foam rollers at the gym after every workout and they are amazing at massaging the muscles you just worked out. We will get one of our own in the near future.
2. Max30 | Another workout DVD by Shaun T that my husband wants to try out.

What are your home gym essentials? See ya soon!

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