September 29, 2009

A Room With a View - St. Vincent and the Grenadine Islands

My little blogspot seems to have unfolded into all the things happening in my life i.e. my passion for decorating, celebrating birthdays, cooking, my travels, or just life in general. I follow other blogs that seem to have the same passions that I share, and through them I have found my way to these amazing places Be Hands and Feet and The Journey. They are woman living in Uganda as missionaries and reading their story has stirred within me something that had become dormant. One thing that I hold very dear to my heart and don't seem to talk about is God. Between finishing school and the working world I did mission work, so reading their blog was like being back on the mission field. I felt their struggles because I to have held the hand of a dying child; I also felt their joys of knowing that you are serving a God that is always by your side and works miracles through you. Last night I was looking through some photos from my time in missions, and I started reflecting on life. I have forgotten so much of what I learned living that simple life, and I am stunned at how easy the world can lure us into running circles in this rat race. It's hard to keep "your heart set on things above," and sometimes I feel that it was easier being a Christian while serving the poor in foreign countries than serving Him here at home. But home is where God has me right now, so home is where I have to strive to be a good Christian.
When I finished college I knew in my heart that doing mission work was exactly where I needed to be and the doors began flying open. I was scared, but could not ignore the burning desire to just GO. I want to share with you a story of one of my mission trips to the beautiful island of St. Vincent. I hope to never forget these moments:

We went to St. Vincent to set up a mission base to send other missionaries within our company to serve there long term. We saw so much on our trip, and I knew on the first day that God needed us here. We spent a few days at an abandoned children's hospital and the kids there captured my heart. Aids and other diseases ran rapid on the island leaving many children without a family and no where to go. Walking through that hospital and visiting with the kids you could see how much they needed love. The medical help was important but they really just needed to be loved, to know that they were not alone in this big scary world. I poured out all I had, playing with them, rocking and kissing them to sleep, and just being present with them in that moment letting them know that they were important. The girls loved fixing my hair, and the little boys would climb all over me, and I laughed the whole time. Upon leaving one of the little girls through herself on the ground and said "mommy don't leave me." I was in shock, she called me mommy, and my heart hurt. I had only know these kids for a few days and the love we shared was so real, the love they needed was even more real. Jesus used me to show His children that He loved them, suffered with them, counted every hair on their heads, and wiped every tear they shed. Tears welled in my eyes as we drove off.... she called me mommy. God had brought us here for such an obvious reason and his plan was unfolding right before my eyes. I knew their was a good chance I would never see these children again but my heart still carries them all. "We may not be able to see God, but when we love one another, He lives in us and His love is made complete in us.... We love, because He first loved us." 1 John 4:12
I am happy to report that after our trip FMC set up a mission base in St. Vincent from 2002-2006, for four years missionaries served in that wonderful place, but the harvest is great and labors are few. 

September 28, 2009

Waving the White Flag

Last month I declared war on the weeds in the courtyard. I have spent hours pulling them all out just to see them rear their ugly heads a week later. It is fall in South Louisiana which finally gives us a break from the summer heat and slightly enjoyable evenings outside. So I wanted those weeds gone and it was roundup to the rescue. Yes, that was a month ago and three rounds of treatment later I think I have won the war, fingers crossed. This weekend I gave the patio furniture a fresh coat of paint, pulled the dead weeds out, picked up some fresh dirt, three beautiful shi-shi camellias, lavender, and here is the beginning of our patio makeover. 



Last night I had dreams of beautiful hydrangeas, vines, a large umbrella, cushioned seats, bar-b-que pit, stained concrete, water fountain, and all the shade loving plants that will soon live in my new favorite space. 

September 25, 2009

Picture Perfect: TWINS

Double the fun!! I heart spare bedrooms or kids rooms with twin beds. Today I am going to show them some love by sharing with you my favorites. Growing up my sister and I shared a room, being three years younger than her I loved it, and for the most part I think she hated having her baby sister always in her mix. We had a not so cool daybed, but seeing rooms with twin beds always reminds me of my childhood sharing a room with Pam. Have a great weekend!!! 

The above room was a creation of Eddie Ross from Top Design. 
I love love love this room, warm tan with robin's egg blue accents. 
Great room for out of town guest!!

Image from Decor Pad: I like the polka dot accent wall, 
and the rustic dresser separating the beds. 

From Domino Magazine: I am obsessed with black and white striped rugs, 
I have been eyeing one from Ikea but really have no place to put it. 
I love this room because its fun and colorful but very elegant. 

September 23, 2009

Pooping In Style Part I

I will start by professing my love for ebay!!!....!!!!.....!! OK now that we got that out of the way let me introduce you to the last little piece of hardware that needed to find its way into Britt's bathroom remodel:

It's so cool, and after this lovely faucet finds its way through the mail and into our life we will have completed his downstairs half bath!!! Proof once again that you can find just about anything on ebay. Of course I got it for half the price they were asking in the retail stores, and that alone my dear friends makes me so happy!!!! You know I love before and after pictures but I completely forgot to take a before picture of this bathroom. But I know you guys have a little imagination so just picture white walls and an empty room with a roll of toilet paper and a trash can - not to hard to picture. So the juicy details: Behr "Earth Tone" for the wall color, World Market zen console table, Hobby Lobby for the old Paris hotel pictures (at 50% off), and good old Target for the mirror. The wall on the left is the entry to the laundry room and we installed new folding doors. So dear Mr. Price Pfister Ashfield #42-ypou faucet let me show you your new home:

September 21, 2009

Summer is Slippin' Away

Good Bye: short sleeves, bare feet, sandcastles, grills, popsicles, pool, water fights, 
picnics in the shade, ice cream trucks, sunburn, baseball, flip flops, salty air, 
hotdogs, tubing, sundresses. 

Today marks the end of summer and that makes for a very sad day.

September 18, 2009

Get In My Kitchen

The very last issue of Cottage Living was in December 2008 and it featured the Assistant Decorating Editor, Anne Turner, in her redesigned Birmingham, Alabama kitchen. I am total behind the times with this news flash, but I want this kitchen so so so bad that I had to share these pictures with you. I love before and after pictures and this kitchen transformation is truly awe inspiring. My two dilemmas 1. I just remodeled my kitchen 2 years ago but I am tired of it already 2. the idea of having different color top and bottom cabinets. Is this just to trendy to my accustom of having a uniform looking kitchen - can I be happy cooking outside this box? I love mixing new modern pieces with old vintage pieces, is this not the same concept? 

This is Anne Turner's kitchen before: 

And her amazing after pictures: 

Wall and upper cabinets are painted Farrow & Ball Lime White. 
Lower cabinets are Farrow & Ball Mouse's back. 
Window sashes and doors are Farrow & Ball Stoney Ground. 
Hardware: Restoration Hardware, Ephram 6" pulls
Countertops: Black honed granite from Dupont at Lowes and walnut butcher block from AWP Butcher Block
Appliances: Kenmore Pro, Sears
Tile/Splash: Ann Saks, Capriccio in antique white (it has a great wavy finish to it that makes the tile)
Pendants: Restoration Hardware, Harmon Pendant in dark brass
Floors: Lumber Liqudators 2 1/4" white oak select stained with half formula of Special Walnut
Fabric behind French doors: Lewis & Sheron
Faucet: Price Pfister
Paint on Dining Room Walls: Pratt & Lambert "Sierra Night" 

My kitchen looked like this when I first bought my "it has potential" starter home, I took a sledge hammer to the cabinets the first day I got the keys. Can you say yellow? I am not a morning person so the very idea of fixing my morning coffee in this cheery sunshine yellow room was more than I could handle. The cabinets were built with the house in the 1940's and dingy would be a great word to describe what they looked like on the inside. The layout was all wrong, top cabinets to low, so I decided to start fresh. 

And now in its current state. I am so proud of all the money I saved on this project, and thanks to my uber talented buddy David we did all of the work ourself. The average kitchen renovation cost between $15-20,000, my kitchen renovation averaged around $7,000 with all new cabinets. But I now cringe at the stock maple cabinets from Lowes - they scream at me to paint them, and the red is wearing on me. Deep down do I really have the courage to take on this project or should I let bygones be bygones? In all reality its just a fresh coat of paint, but in my other reality it's alot of work.

September 17, 2009

The Sequel

Ms. Carrie Bradshaw or the now Mrs. John James Preston will grace us again on the big screen with a squeal next summer. They have already shot some of the movie in Morocco and New York this summer. Can Carrie and Big really be happily married, could a baby be in their future? Mark you calenders girlfriend May 28th, 2010 - a night of sushi, cosmopolitans, and fashion. My only question: Can I wait THAT LONG? 

"In life we do things. Some we wish we had never done, some we wish we could replay a million times in our heads, but they all make us who we are. And in the end, those experiences shape every deatail about us. If we were to reverse any of them, we wouldn't be at the exact place that we are today. So just live. Make mistakes, and have a wonderful time but never ever second guess who you are, where you have been, and most importantly, where it is that you are going."  - Carrie Bradshaw

September 16, 2009

A Little Diva In All Of Us

If anyone is counting this would be about my 100th guilty pleasure!! I like the semi-finer things in life, they just make the mundane everyday things we do manageable. Yes they tend to cost a bit more than the dollar store, so I try to limit my use and intake of such said pleasures. I ask you ladies and the wonderful gentleman who know how to work a washing machine, what is more mundane than washing the loads of laundry that seem to multiply every time you turn your back? Let me introduce you to the only other diva that I could possibly live with. It's a glamorous wash in which you add just a dab to your regularly scheduled laundry routine and your dingy dirty clothes come out smelling angelic. I love washing my sheets and towels with it!! Happy washing everyone!!!

On a slightly different note, I have a bone to pick with all the front load washing machines that exist in this world. Speaking of divas, I had no clue you were such a high maintenance little bugger.  After almost a year the (not so amazing) Whirlpool Front load washer smells like mold and mildew. The smell is comparable to my old house in New Orleans after it flooded in Katrina. I am not exaggerating this truth, I would hold my breath when I opened the door to the washer. After my clothes began to slightly smell of this funk I hit the internet in search of an answer. Low and behold a wealth of information was at my finger tips in a matter of seconds, and so many of my fellow Americans were living with this same problem. It seems an easy answer does exist, and it was right in front of my face this entire time. I mean who has ever read the manuel on your washing machine? Not I. This damn washing machine wants me to clean it after it cleans my clothes, REALLY?? You are suppose to be helping me clean all my clothes and keeping your mouth shut while doing it, now I have another chore to add to my routine - wash the washing machine. 
Here are the 5 (yes 5) steps to cleaning the machine 1. Unlike top loaders the front loaders don't drain completely so you have to leave the door open when it is not in use to let it dry out. Great I love having the door open all day and night, it looks great. I bet if I had a one year old child they would love to climb on in and play (can you say lawsuit waiting to happen) 2. Only use high efficiency detergent, this I can live with 3. Rub a cloth over the inside of the washer after each load, then peel back the rubber door seal and clean in there where all the gunk collects (can we add 5 more minutes to each day for this complete waste of my time?) 4. Clean the drain pump filter every two weeks, old water that never drains sits here - yuck. And what the hell is a drain pump filter?? 5. Once a month with 2/3 cup of bleach run the "clean tub cycle" with an empty washer - and you are suppose to be energy efficient??? 
Last night I cleaned out the smelly gunk living in the door seal (gag) and ran the cleaning cycle with bleach and the door has been open all night. I am hoping that the smelly problem has disappeared. People, I don't want to steer any of you away from buying a front loader because they really are easier on your clothes and they have great features. I am venting and in a few days, hopefully when that horrible smell is gone, I will be over this little hissy fit. 

September 15, 2009

Close Encounters With Sea Salt

We cleaned out Britt's garage last weekend and in the processes I got to do some shopping (it's filled with old furniture - jackpot!!). I fell in love with this old dresser, it was not love at first sight, but with a new coat of paint and some TLC the dresser has upgraded from the hot dingy garage to the air conditioned house.

The Before:

1. Removed hardware and spray painted it with a Rustolium flat black
2. Lightly sanded the entire dresser
3. Cleaned drawers and dresser with a damp rag (removed flowered wallpaper).
4. Painted a thick coat of Sherman Williams Sea Salt in a Satin finish and let dry over night.
5. Sanded/distressed corners and random spots on the dresser to give it a worn look.
6. Wiped wood stain on the dresser and with another rag wiped off the stain before it dried to give it that old antique look.

And for a grand total of $16.54 Britt has a new piece of furniture in his house!!!

September 14, 2009

Picture Perfect: Table Tops

Most times when you think of a table you think functionality, but some of my favorite tables are used for the purpose of simply creating a sense of welcome in your home. Here are some of my favorite table tops from the professionals:  

 Restoration Hardware

Designer Ron Marvin's apartment  

Photo by Jon Jensen

September 11, 2009


I love this quote from Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle, he was the brain child behind creating the famous character of Sherlock Holmes. O the hours of entertainment those famous crime fictions provided to so many people.  I could not have said it better myself, the bottom line is life is great but it can get down right strange at times. Even in his wildly creative mind he could never invent this crazy beautiful life we live. Have a great weekend!!! 

September 10, 2009

Hello, Have We Met Before

Dear Anthropologie at Home,
Have I been hiding under a rock, how could I not have been ignoring you for so long? I seldom make promises I do not keep, so I promise you this - I will come to visit you often. I hope not to scare you off but I have already made future plans for us. You see I am in the middle of a bathroom makeover that your festival rug would look amazing in. I ask - who needs all the hard work of laying designer tile when you can just throw down a beautiful rug like that? And yes a cute apron does make you cook better, and cream colored dishes does make food taste better. The Cole & Son wooded wallpaper I have been obsessed with for years - you have made it possible for the great USA to purchase this fine product. The cute stationary and journals almost makes me wanna quit this blog and write all my thoughts on paper. And finally you had me at hello old rustic vintage chair that I now need 4 of in my life. So, if I wake up on day and find out that money really does grow on trees I would pluck a few 100 bills and drive straight to you:

Wait, you now carry Voluspa - my favorite candles!! And rumor has it that in November you will be carrying my Christmas present (hint, hint) Coralie Bickford-Smith deluxe classic novels. They are perfect for reading and decorating!! I warn you once you have read one of the classic novel in these exclusive designs you can never go back to the plain books. Damn you Coralie...

Yes, I might have just lost my mind for a second. 

September 08, 2009

Careful or You'll End Up Painted

Nothing is safe anymore, with the economy in a state of recession and my brain in a constant state of decorating, something is bound to get painted. After all, left over paint is free!! Britt had this beautiful cedar chest but it just didn't jive with anything in his house. He just kept pushing it into a different corner to get it out the way. It was a great piece of furniture but the light wood finish did not match all of the dark stained furniture he has. So, I went on a mission to convinced him to let me slap a nice coat of white paint on it, he finally agreed and added the wonderful suggestion of giving it a nice little home in front of his bed. Don't fret my dear friends I only painted the outside, granny's old blankets and quilts are still stored with the fresh sent of cedar. Here is the before picture:

I kept the original hardware on the chest, gave the wood a light sanding, and a thick coat of bone white paint. After it was dry I distressed the corner to give it that antique look. The top of the chest had planks so I distressed the planks to make them visible. Then brushed and immediately wiped off a medium color wood stain over the entire chest. Another project checked off the list, I love making progress!!


September 04, 2009

Cafe Roma Can Do No Wrong

I have no mouth watering picture of my new tuna recipe for you, and to be completely honest I have not even tried it in the confines of my kitchen. But believe you me I have eaten the dish many a nights. It's from a quaint little restaurant in River Ranch, and the dish was featured in the latest edition of our local "L" magazine. It's a herb and garlic marinated tuna served medium rare over cannellini beans and wilted spinach - I don't know about you but I am sold!!! And the recipe sounds pretty darn easy, so happy cooking (this one is for you Rachel).

Tuscan-seared Tuna

1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon salt
2 cups olive oil, plus 2 teaspoons
4 (8-ounce) tuna steaks
3 cups northern beans
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
5 cups baby spinach
3 cups balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup sugar

Create a marinade by mixing the first four ingredients, plus 2 cups of olive oil. Place tuna steaks in the marinade and let sit for 15 minutes. While the tuna is marinating, add 2 teaspoons of olive oil to a skillet and saute the beans with 1 tablespoon minced garlic for 3 to 5 minutes. (If using canned beans, simply add the beans to skillet. If using raw beans, soak them overnight before adding them to this dish.) Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the spinach and cook until wilted. 
Sear the tuna in a little oil if cooked in a skillet or alone if cooked on a grill, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. 
Create the balsamic reduction by combining the balsamic vinegar and sugar. Place in pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until mixture has been reduced to a syrup-like consistency. Drizzle over tuna.

September 03, 2009

If Wishes Were Fishes

Last weekend we brought my niece and nephew to New Orleans to visit the aquarium. We made a day of it starting with a breakfast of champions: the ever so famous deep fried dough covered in powdered sugar (yummy)!! After the heart health breakfast we walked down the river walk to visit the fish at the aquarium, had lunch, and went to visit the insects at the museum. The kids had a blast - Payton loves all things animal and it was Emily's first trip to New Orleans. Here are a few pictures from our fun filled day in NOLA!!!

Eating Beignets at Cafe Du Monde in the French Quarter
Aquarium of the Americas
Audubon Insectarium
Butterfly at the insect museum

Jelly Fish

September 01, 2009

Picture Perfect: Come Dine With Me

I don't remember where I got this picture but it looks like the perfect place for an evening of dinning with friends over a few bottles of wine!! I like formal dining rooms, but don't like that sometimes its so formal that you can not relax and enjoy the room. I love the gigantic chandelier, it gives the room a grand formal statement without making the room cold and uninviting. Love the red earth tone chair covers, uneven tile floors, open window wall, and the tree gives the room an earthy feel. I just know in my imagination that the room overlooks a vineyard in Napa.