Monday, May 23, 2011

Kitchen Cabinet AFTERS!

My BIGGEST home project yet has been completed...and I've been reveling in the beauty of the finished product for a few weeks now! My 'before' kitchen had the prototypical early 90's cabinets; The orangey, ginger-colored wood that would suffocate me every time I walked in the kitchen.

I was pretty certain that I wanted it white as soon as we bought the house. When I saw the backsplash and recognized it on the Neely's home kitchen from their show, I knew it would go beautifully with creamy white cabinets like Pat and Gina have.

But it was such a huge impactful change that couldn't be undone, so I needed a little convincing to take the plunge. It was a post on Maria Killam's blog, Colour Me Happy that talked me into it. She wrote:

Here is a photo of a typical oak kitchen mostly installed in this era of kitchens. (Insert photo of my old kitchen when we first viewed the house here!)

When I am standing in a kitchen that looks very much like this one, and I recommend that this kitchen be painted white or cream--as soon as the words out of my mouth--the wife's face lights up and the husband looks horrified at the prospect of painting THE WOOD! I'm not sure why most men have this reaction but it's pretty common. Men usually come around once they understand that it's not about the wood, it's about the fact that it's dated. And to be clear, I don't advocate painting ALL WOOD, just kitchens in this era.

So for those of you with this kitchen, reading this right now, there's really just one thing you need to know: This kitchen IS NEVER COMING BACK. So the only way to extend the life of it is to prime it, paint it, and install new brushed nickel hardware. Period, end of conversation.

Well, yes ma'am!

Sean didn't seem "horrified" by the notion, but my dad did. "Ooh, I don't know baby. This is some good wood," he said when I told him my idea. I said it would still be good wood underneath...but he wasn't convinced. I went forward anyway and I am IN LOVE!

Cabinets Before:

Cabinets After:

It took 3 weeks worth of weekends. I unscrewed. I sanded. I painted. I glazed. I FINALLY reconstructed our torn apart kitchen and was blown away when I stepped back to see it for the first time.







I thought I might never get the project started, but instead spend eternity agonizing over the right shade of white. I did what I usually do when I'm stuck on a color decision, and chose by the name on the paint chip.

Our kitchen walls are painted in "Hot Chocolate" so I chose "Frozen Vanilla".

And they lived happily ever after.

Here are some close-ups of the paint and glaze:

We lucked out that the previous owner had already updated the hardware to brushed nickel knobs.

The above pic shows how the glaze stuck to the crooks and crevices, bringing out the detail and antiquing them slightly.

I could have glazed them as much or little as I wanted.

I love the happy medium I ended up with.

I still want to do something to the island. I would love to stain/paint it dark like Giulana and Bill's:

And I still want to have DARK hardwood floors too:

But I am so ecstatic about the change so far!

I walk in and feel like I can breathe.

But I don't mind if I hang up my little paint brush for a while:)


Sunday, May 15, 2011

We Believe!

"Only in the movies. And in Memphis."

I read this quote on a banner hanging in the FedEx Forum as I stood at the top of the arena to pull for a Memphis Grizzlies victory in game 6 of the playoffs. It is certainly true that our story over the past month or two would make a great inspirational sports movie...

A city typically surrounded by negative press is stricken with despair when a historic flood sweeps the region. Families are forced out of their homes and fearing for their lives when their local basketball team arises as the "Cinderella" team of the NBA playoffs, giving loyal locals something to believe in and renewed hope for good things to come. The same week the Grizzlies are fighting in the playoffs, it is announced the president would be coming to Memphis. Booker T Washington High School has been chosen for the graduation commencement speech.

It was a magical time in Memphis, unlike any other. We were given something to believe in. And boy did we! The outpouring of support that the Grizzlies received from Memphis was overwhelming. Playoff tickets for each game completely sold out in minutes and the Forum was packed for every game. We found ourselves completely swept up in the magic of Memphis and believing in our Grizzlies. Sean and I went to 2 regular season games with my company's season tickets, and then went to 2 playoff games.

Grizzlies defeat the Spurs!

With Logan and Sara

This past Friday, we gathered a group of friends to support the Grizz against OKC in game 6. A city already vibrant and spirited, downtown Memphis hummed with an extra excitement and anticipation in the air.

We had dinner on the Beale St. patio of King's Palace with Devin and Nina.

The Beale Street Flippers, of 'America's Got Talent' fame, entertained the fans.

...including some scary ones!

The sweet barbecue smells and bluesy sounds we love were heightened as we all waited for the game to start.

The Memphis victory over the #1 Spurs was the first playoff series win in franchise history.

Us before going into the Forum (or as one of my kids wrote in a sentence, the "form". kids.)

Ready to yell!

Nina, Devin, and a big ass beer.

Dev and Wade

The Star Spangled Banner is one of my favorite songs. Seriously. So my favorite part of any big sporting event is the surprise of who is announced before the game to sing the National Anthem. I was BESIDE myself when the announcer asked us all to give a Memphis welcome to...Al Green!!
His rendition was soulful, southern, and FLAWless. As always, I cried. But take a was truly moving.

In our white-tees.

It's Groowwwwl Towel time!

Gettin Silly

The best fans cheer from the top!
We hollered and screamed like crazy. We were nervous at times but I was always hopeful. I wanted this for them so bad.

And when time had run out, The Fedex Forum made it rain confetti in celebration of a Grizz WIN!!

And the celebration commences...

We continued the celebration on Beale

Ultimately, the Grizzlies went on to lose to Oklahoma City in game 7 away. But this "blue-collar" team gave its blue collar city something to cheer for and be proud of.
Gooooo GRIZZ!


Friday, May 6, 2011

Let's take a ride~on the countryside

Hop in the car, go with me
You don't have to pack everything
Don't you wanna feel the breeze
and forget everything?

Try to change the things you can
And accept all the things you cannot
I know you wanna fly away from the world
But for now with the time we've got

Let's take a ride on the countryside
Let's just get away.

~Justin Timberlake

The more we have gotten the hang of our routines (each of us are nearing the first anniversary of our careers) the more comfortable and confident we become with what we are doing. The more I work my job, the more I come to appreciate and enjoy driving from one place to the next at times throughout the day.
I admit that, at first, I chose to focus on some of the negative things about traveling in the community and going directly to the client; getting lost in the middle of nowhere (and there are ALOT of "middle of nowhere"s in Arkansas.), shoddy cell service, unsuspected flat tires, bad weather, toting heavy bags, and suspicious neighborhoods. Most of that was based on fear and uncertainty. As with every situation in life, perspective is everything. The way we choose to see things determines our happiness in life, and I had let my poor perspective affect my contentment.

Now, I cannot imagine being inside the same four walls all day. When I'm on my way from one place to the next, armed with a sonic drink in the cup holder and music from my favorite station, I get a nice mental break from work. There are moments that I realize what a beautiful day it is and stop singing whatever song I'm belting down the road and think, "I am working right now!"

And my favorite part is getting to see so many gorgeous, interesting, and different scenes along the way. For a girl who loves country fields and barns and is obsessed with houses, it couldn't be more perfect. After realizing how charming some of the places I pass by are, I started keeping my camera in my console everyday, just in case I stumbled upon a beautiful place I didn't want to forget...Or wanted to share with you!

Here's a collection of some of the places I've been. Here's what it's like to be a traveling therapist.

Wide open country road. That I usually have to myself.

But sometimes, this is the traffic I share it with...

On my way to unknown locations.

Rustic barns... open fields.

::He gets up before the dawn
Packs a lunch and a thermos full of coffee
It's another day in the dusty haze
Those burnin' rays are wearing down his body
And diesel's worth the price of gold
And it's the cheapest grain he's ever sold
But he's still holding on.

And a little cobblestone cottage in the woods.

Anywhere is paradise; it's up to you. ~Author Unknown

This southern home is perched on its own hill.

::Said we can fire it up and I can show you around
Sit up on the hill and watch the sun go down
When the fireflies are dancing and the moon comes out
We can turn on the lights and head back to the house

Or we can take another ride on my big green tractor
We can go slow or make it go faster
Down through the woods and out to the pasture
'Long as I'm with you it really don't matter::

This GORGEOUS 'Notebook' house is tucked away in a grove of trees in Hughes. And has made me consider bright kelly green shutters! Every time I drive by, I imagine Noah and Allie on the side porch swing.

:Up those stairs, in that little back bedroom
Is where I did my homework and I learned to play guitar.
And I bet you didn't know, under that live oak
My favorite dog is buried in the yard:

The Waverly Plantation, or "The Waverly place" as Dad and the family would say when asked where they were working that day.

Look at everything as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time. ~Betty Smith

"A Painted House" in Lepanto, the set of the movie based on John Grisham's novel. Filmed here in 2003, the novel/movie was inspired by his childhood in Arkansas. Set in the summer/fall of 1952, the story is about the youngest boy in a cotton farming family that live in a little house that has never been painted. They struggle through heat, floods, and fatigue, trying to stay above water and out of debt.

"It was a Wednesday, early in September 1952. The Cardinals were five games behind the Dodgers with three weeks to go, and the season looked hopeless. The cotton, however, was waist-high to my father, over my head, and he and my grandfather could be heard before supper whispering words that were seldom heard. It could be a "good crop." "

This is Jimmy Garrott's home that was once an old cotton gin. I toured it once when it was one of the homes on our annual community Christmas Home tour and it is something you have to see to believe! Here's the excerpt from HGTV's 'Building Character'.

Jimmy Garrott grew up working around the family cotton gin. The massive 6,000-square-foot corrugated steel building was then filled with machinery that seeded cotton and packed it into 500-pound bales.
The cotton gin closed in the 1970s and the building sat vacant for several years until Garrott decided to move in. It took several years and a little trial-and-error with the renovation before Garrott could really call the building home.
Today the gray metal exterior offers no hint of the elegant space inside. Garrott decorated with antiques, green onyx, old tapestries and his collection of cotton farming memorabilia. For Garrott, saving this piece of his heritage has been a life-transforming experience.


Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same.
~Francesca Reigler.