Wednesday, August 29, 2012

First Week Update

I'm finishing up my first full week of classes tomorrow and it's been great catching up with all my Interior Design friends! This semester's started off so much better than the last one. It's so great not being the new kid. I'd much rather be the one greeting the newbies and showing them the ropes!

I'm taking 15 credit hours with three Interior Design studio classes. One of the biggest aspects of my semester will be learning and using AutoCAD, a computer aided drafting program. I try to sandwich myself between friends in the lab so I have help on either side!

This was just our second class using the program, and this object was a major victory!

Guess you gotta start somewhere!

I love walking around the campus and just taking it all grateful to be where I am...and with a new backpack :)

The best part of my first week at school has been settling into staying with my friend Dawn and her kids, Greer & Bauer. Dawn's been a dear family friend for about 20 years and it's been a huge blessing to seamlessly fit into her family!

Since I love to cook so much, Dawn is gladly letting me make supper few nights a week and the kids have been willing assistants!

I have a full weekend planned, so get ready for some great pictures next week!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, August 25, 2012

How to Scare A Celebrity Chef

Saturday afternoon, Abby, Lora and I went to a taping of "Food Court Wars," a pilot that is being pitched to Food Network and hosted by celebrity chef Tyler Florence

We had a BLAST and as I reviewed my pictures, I realized that we all three have stalker tendencies, which should surprise none of my regular readers!  To that end, please enjoy the list I've compiled on How to Scare A Celebrity Chef:

1. Start by standing around for 3 hours making people around you wonder what on earth you're doing and why you're so happy doing nothing. 

Here's Lora sharing her initial excitement...I love her enthusiasm!

2. Before the celebrity shows up, take an embarrassing number of pictures of the camera crew, pretending like you've never seen a camera before.

3. When first meeting the celebrity chef, scream like a little girl after he puts his around you.  I wish this picture captured just how cute and sweet he is!

4.  Act excited over eating the shrimp and grits prepared by the contestants, when you're really just keeping your eye on where Tyler is!

Here are the other stars of "Food Court Wars"- they'll be serving their yummy treats at Madison Square Mall Sunday afternoon if you want in on the action!

5. Take self-portraits with him when he's not exactly aware that he's in the picture.  People love when you do this.

6. Stumble over your words when speaking to him.  At one point, Abby told him we were there to just look at him.  Then in my attempt to say "We love watching you on Food Truck Race" I actually said "We love food (insert long pause) truck race."  Abby and Lora thought I was going to just stop at "we love food."  Wow.  We're smooth.

7. Take random pictures of him just talking..or throwing trash away...or running away from you. I see why the production staff kept pushing us back!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

God Has A Plan

Once again, I find myself wishing I was a songwriter because someone's written another song that I wish I had written!

This time it's "God Has A Plan" written by Gerald Crabb, the father of The Crabb Family.  His words not only sum up the last few months of my life, but more specificly the last two weeks.   

God basically dropped an answer to prayer in my lap, before I had even really prayed!  He provided a way for me stay with a dear friend in Muscle Shoals a few nights a week so that I'm only about 15 minutes from UNA.

I don't handle change (even good change!) very well, but God's hand so obviously orchestrated this, that I'm actually excited to see how He will use this change for His glory.

God Has A Plan
by The Crabb Family

Life takes you places you never dreamed it would take you
When you find you’re equipped to do the things you’ve been called to
The whole thing seems amazing, now you know
God had a plan

Someone shows up in your life and you know they’re heaven sent
It’s a holy intervention, not just some coincidence
When the thing that you’ve been praying for unfolds
Then you know, God has a plan

He doesn’t always tell us what He’s thinking
He just wants us to trust and hold His hand
He knows the end from the beginning in this crazy mixed up world we’re living in
Ain’t you glad God has a plan

When you step out on a word of faith and didn’t know where you were going
The endless days you look for hope with nothing really showing
Then suddenly the sun broke through the clouds and you know it now
God has a plan

You may not always know the plan, but we know for sure
That the steps of a righteous man are ordered by the Lord

Click here to listen to the song

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Walls & Beams & Love & Dreams

"A house is made of walls and beams,
a home is made of love and dreams."

My dear friend Barb, who lives and works at Camp Victory (where I worked during my college summers and interned at after college), saw one of her dreams come true earlier this summer when she bought a new home! 

My mom and I headed south this week to help Barb get settled.  Not only did we have a blast traveling together and visiting with Barb, but both of us find such fulfilment in expressing our love through organization and decorating!

Not only did we get our Barb-fix, but I got to see Halie, a staff kid, who was just a baby when I moved away.  She's now a very spunky 8 year old...and just beautiful!

And I can NEVER get enough pictures of Camp Victory!  It's one of those spots that just gets in your heart, plus it holds so many memories and was the place of many spiritual mile markers in  my life.  This is the view from the cottage that I lived in during my internship. 

One of my projects for Barb was recovering her dining room chairs with this great fabric I found in's the before and after! I also made a valance for her kitchen, but I forgot to take a picture of it!

My design soapbox these days is "add personality and tell a story!" Barb has no problem with this because everything she owns has a special memory. 

Rearranging the living room was a simple thing but had a huge impact!  We moved the TV cabinet to the opposite wall it was on, to balance the fireplace.  I topped it with two empty baskets and just draped three tulips out of one of the baskets.  I added a coffee table to this area after this picture was taken, by the way. 

We moved Barb's dining room table out of the breakfast nook and into the dining room area (don't worry, we put another table in the nook).  The wall behind the table is her "heritage wall", with all her mementos from her home state of Pennsylvania.

We also organized and decorated her kitchen and master suite.  We certainly crammed a ton into our camp visit, but my mom and I loved being able to turn Barb's house into a home and now her home is as fabulous as she is!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

$300 Beach House Make-Over

When I put my beach vacation on the calendar, I had no idea I'd get the opportunity to redecorate the beach house my friends and I were staying in! 

Here's what happened...

The homeowner is a co-worker of my friend Jeana and the week before the trip mentioned to Jeana that she wanted to redecorate the beach house we'd be staying in.  Of course, Jeana offered my services and I was thrilled to find out I'd have a $300 budget to work with! 

Even though I've never met the homeowner, she was willing to blindly trust me to rearrange her house and spend her money.  She might be my dream client!!!

Step 1:
As in most spaces I walk into, I started mentally rearranging the furniture.  At least this time, I had permission to actually move furniture!  I knew that even though my budget would stretch far, it wouldn't cover the expense of a full makeover, so I had to prioritize to get the biggest bang for my buck.  I decided it would be best that every room get a little attention instead of focusing on just the public spaces of the house. 

Step 2:

I started by rearranging the existing furniture so I'd be able to make a list of what items I was shopping for.  I knew I'd be limited in my store selection and shopping time, so I had to make sure I was 100% prepared! 

Step 3:
I hit the ground running when it was time to go shopping!  I found everything I needed at only 3 stores: Kirkland's, Marshall's and Old Time Pottery.  Since Jeana actually knew the homeowner, she was a good shopping buddy, helping refine my choices. 

Step 4:
I was so excited by my finds that I could hardly wait to get them on the walls!  While Jeana's family was out one morning, her mom helped my hang pictures and art.  It felt like speed decorating at times!

Living Room {Before}

Living Room

The homeowner has a beautiful home and furniture, it just needed a little tweaking. In the living room, I lowered the large picture on the left wall and angled the seating area, matching the angle of the TV.

The hutch and desk were too much on one wall, so I moved the desk to the entry way to act as an entry table and centered the hutch on living room wall.

Here's an up close shot of the art on either side of the hutch in the living room.  Kirkland's had two coordinating map prints that I just fell in love with!  I love them because it adds a nautical/beach theme without being cheesy or girlie.

Every beach house needs sea shells...this is just a bag of $2 shells in a $7 beachy vase.

Dining Room

Dining Room

When I started brainstorming ideas for the dining room, I knew I wanted large circular natural art and wouldn't you know it...I found it almost immediately when I walked into Kirkland's! A few of the strands had pulled loose so they marked the clearance price down further so it only cost $15!   Plus, I was able to fix the strands with some picture wire so it looks like new! 

On the table, I replaced the existing tan place mats with blue ones that match the living room. I also found a small arrangement of white hydrangeas that made the perfect centerpiece.



This space needed of some love, so I moved the desk from the living room to the foyer. It serves a great place for the guest book to live. Because the homeowners are also boat owners, the picture and figurines of boats seemed the perfect solution!

Master Bedroom

I don't have a good picture of the "before" master bedroom, but Jeana's husband and son helped me rearrange, moving the bed between the windows and the dresser to the opposite wall it was on.  I was thrilled to find palm tree art that coordinated so well with the existing comforter.  I added sconces to either side and palm tree metal art in the master bathroom. 


I love how this kitchen is opened to the rest of the house!  All I did was add a basket next to the phone to hold the phone books and tourist info the homeowner provides.  I found the cutest fish hooks to hang next to the back door and hung it with Hercules Hooks so it can actually hold weight.

The wall at the end of the hall needed just a little something and these two pictures fit the bill!

Guest Quarters

In one of the guest rooms, I hung this fantastic sailboat made out of branches.  This room also serves as an office for the homeowner's husband so it seemed fitting to have a more masculine feel.

The guest bath has a cream and turquoise shower curtain with shells on it, so this picture from Kirkland's seemed made for the space. 

I would have had a fantastic vacation without the decorating aspect, but getting to do a quick make-over just made it even more fun!  So...if any of my other clients would like to send me to their vacation home, I can pack on a moments notice!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Beach Vacation!

What could be better than 5 days at the beach...with one of my best friends...and her celebrate birthdays?!?! 

We started our vacation by celebrating Jeana's birthday at The Lighthouse.  I devoured my grilled chicken with grits...and yes, another starch, a baked potato! 

Saturday was Derek's birthday which started off with Jeana's pancakes...she made mine with chocolate chips!  Derek grilled us burgers that night and delicious pineapple marinated chicken another night.  I promise I did more on this trip than just eat, but it's vacation, right?!?! 

The weather was beautiful most of the time, allowing for plenty of beach time!

Here's Jeana with her mom...

Andrew's new hobby is metal detecting, so he spent most of his time collecting his riches, one coin at a time! 

Keri is my partner in crime when it comes to taking silly pictures!  Hope she never grows out of that!

Our last night, we drove over to Sea Side and I feel in love with its quaintness immediately! I felt like I was on the pages of Southern Living!

We had dinner on the patio at The Great Southern Cafe and once again I ordered grits, but the Seaside version was Smoked Gouda Cheese Grits.  They were AMAZING!

Here's Seaside at night..with little food trailers selling hot dogs and tacos...and white lights in the trees.  Just enchanting!

On the way home, we ate at It Don't Matter Family Restaurant, in Highland Home, AL.  I had passed it for years since it's on my way to Camp Victory, but this was the first time I'd ever eaten there and I wasn't disappointed!

I had the fried cubed steak fingers with mashed potatoes and corn nuggets.  And though it don't matter, I loved it!

Right before we left on our trip, Jeana's friend who we were renting the beach house from, told her she wanted me to decorate the house. Decorating on vacation?  A dream come true!  Look for a post soon detailing that adventure!