Friday, July 26, 2013

White Marble Countertop

When I was doing research on kitchen countertops, I first planned to use white granite.  But none of the ones I saw in person were "white" enough.  They all had a green or purple-ish tint that I was afraid I would tire of.  We tried to keep ourselves in the granite slab areas, but we kept wandering into the marble rooms...

Finally we decided to go with marble and be okay with the wear.  It is so beautiful and nothing else looks quite like it.  Adam says it will take on the patina of our family:)

Supposedly a "honed" finish shows less wear.  It seems that with marble, staining is not the major problem which proved true when Davis drew on paper with a red Sharpie and it bled through... and came out with some good old elbow grease- but etching is.  But no one had any examples of what "etching" looked like.

Our first day with the marble went well.  That night as I cleaned up after dinner, I told Adam that I had cleaned the island so don't use it.

Well, the next morning I came downstairs and noticed a round "watermark" as well as a small, little triangle near it.  Like a forensic detective, I deduced that Adam had a Corona with lime and it left etch marks.

It didn't take long for us to break it in...

Acids in foods like citrus fruit, tomatoes, etc. seems to cause the most etching.  Luckily the honed finish doesn't really show the etching unless you bend over and look at crazy angles, with the right lighting, like I did to snap these photos.

 I was also told that marble is softer than granite, which is why I chose absolute black granite in a leather finish for the surrounding countertops.  I wanted some virtually indestructible counters for the majority of the kitchen.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Backyard Garden Lust

We have a big, flat, fenced in backyard now, which is hard to come by in the mountains of Roanoke where we used to live.  We are very excited about our yard's potential.  But right now we affectionately refer to it as "the jungle."

I will have to take some pictures, if Adam will even let me.  It makes him mad to see things so rough-looking.  I've noticed he closes the shades when he's in rooms that face the backyard.

When we moved in, we had so much work to do that we had to prioritize.  We paid for some professionals to get the front yard looking nice and tidy, but the backyard just seems to have gotten worse in the almost 2 years we've been here.

One of our favorite outdoor restaurants is Portico so the last time we were there I snapped some photos. They have the stonework and raised beds I would love, whenever the backyard moves on up to the top of the TO DO list.

Davis is definitely my little gardener.  Here he is on a class field trip to Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens.  Even before the field trip, he begged for weeks to buy some seeds so we could start our own garden.  My mom said not to waste time with seeds- just buy the seedlings/plants, so I bought some tomato and sweet pepper plants and they are doing really well so far!  

I just have them in pots on the back deck, for obvious jungle reasons.

I thought this little house would be so cute in a backyard.  (And I'm playing around with watermarks)

We have almost a whole acre although it is a little oddly shaped.  I would love some lush grass, a stone patio with a fire pit, some raised garden beds, and maybe even a pool?  But, for now, I'll just take pictures of my smiling children in someone else's pretty backyard :)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Yard Sale Redo


One morning soon after we moved, Mary Fowler and I ran to Starbucks and then noticed a yard sale sign in our neighborhood.  We decided to look around and we found a couple of things including this bamboo shelf.

I am notorious for wanting to bring new life to old discarded trash pieces, but Adam is so anti-hoarding that he has a rule:  I have one week to fix it up or it goes out with OUR trash.

I was proud of myself for actually "saving" this piece.

Originally, I planned to use it in our family room but I still need to work on my "sprucing up" skills.  In person, it looks just OK, so Mary Fowler got lucky and it now resides in her bedroom for extra storage.

What is your favorite yard sale or curbside find?


Vinegar Fan Club

Maybe everyone else already does this, but I am vinegar's newest fan!

I fill a big bowl with 1/4 vinegar and 3/4 water and dip my fruits as well as some veges and then rinse.

Then, as I started to run out of my surface cleaners {I have one bottle of Windex and one roll of paper towels in every, single bathroom} I started refilling the empty bottles with one quarter vinegar and 3 quarters of water.

I like that is seems more natural than surface cleaners you buy- and it's much less expensive.

Unfortunately, now that we have marble countertops, I had to remove the vinegar/water spray bottle from the kitchen.  The PH level is not good for marble.

Drug store favorites

drug store faves

Voluminous mascara

Lip stick


Beauty product

When my sister was visiting last week, we decided it's probably time to "up" our make-up routine.  We figure we haven't changed much since about 9th grade or so.  Sad.  I do use a prescription topical from the dermatologist, but other than that, not much has changed.  I think when she comes next month we'll have the husbands watch the kids while we visit a professional make up counter and have them bring us into the 21st century.

When I was little and we would visit my relatives in Richmond, I remember being amazed that the women would come downstairs, first thing in the morning, for coffee and already be showered, dressed, and even wearing MAKE UP!  I secretly hope, now that I live here, that I will evolve to that standard.

I definitely feel better when I'm showered and dressed in real clothes, but I'd bet that at least 4 of 7 days I am not.  Dressed, yes, but not in real clothes.  More like dressed in the Lululemon Target knockoffs.  And as I type this I'm not even there!  Still sporting my big pink robe.  And it's almost noon.  (But we did have a little pancakes-in-our-pajamas party here this morning...)

While I love the sights and smells, packaging and (false) promises of the beauty products at the mall, I just do not fall for the marketing... the products are so expensive!

These are my favorite drug store finds that work really well for me.  The Jergen's odor free sunless tanner WITH sunscreen is like a dream come true for a girl with fair skin who has already had basal cell skin spots removed.  I like the fair to medium best.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Awesome Note

This is an app that was recommended to me by one of the digital experts in the class I took and I have loved using it as a digital gratitude journal.  {I also love using it to write down funny things the kids say or do as it dates them for me}  It does cost $4.99 but it can do a lot- I am not really using it to its full potential.

I think I will always need a thankful journal.  I notice a pretty dramatic change in my daily life if I slack off.  And I usually have my phone with me so it's working for me now...

One pretty amazing {to me} story it helped me realize was when one of Mary Fowler's friends from Roanoke came to stay with us for a week.  She is older, in middle school, but they have always had a special friendship.  My kids weren't out of school yet so during the day I took K with me to Starbucks, some of our favorite shops, and even on boring errands.

At the end of the week she said, "Your house is so calm."

I almost started crying!  Growing up, our mornings {remember 3 girls trying to get ready} were chaotic, busy, loud, and I always felt like we were running late for something.  I had such a wonderful childhood- that's really the only thing I wanted to change in my future home.

So for K to make this observation felt like an achievement.  Although I'm sure things will change once we have middle and high schoolers...