Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Pass It On Project

A couple weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be picked by Ashley at Attempts at Domestication to participate in something really cool called The Pass It On Project.  The whole idea is to reach out and spread some love to others in the blog-o-sphere with some handmade gifts.  Let's face it...every one of us, especially us newbies, need all the love, support and inspiration we can get to keep our little corners of the Internet going! 

The mastermind behind this brilliance is Karah from The Space Between, and she'd love to see this thing go as far as possible!

So once I let Ashley know I was totally in, I impatiently checked my mailbox each day in anticipation of her handmade gift.  I felt like Ralphie waiting for his Little Orphan Annie Secret Society Decoder Pin.  {Please tell me I'm not the only one who understands that reference!}

Finally, my gift arrived, and I tore open my package!  Inside I found an awesome, personalized present...that now lives in my living room.  Can you spy it?'s no of the birthday cards.  Those are all from my wonderful family.  Look a little closer....

That's right!  It's the Z {for my last name}!!!

I think Ashley totally nailed this one, from the personalization to the colors {hello, have you seen all the aqua/turquoise in my house hehe}.  It ties in perfectly with my decor and looks great on my mantle.  Thank you so much put a huge smile on my face!

And now it's time for me to get my Martha Stewart on.  I selected two bloggers who totally inspire me...Whitney from Drab to Fab Design and Emily from Go Haus Go.  {Head over and check out their blogs if you haven't done so already!!}  Thankfully, these ladies were game and ready to join the rest of us in this project.

I am hoping to have their projects done this weekend and mailed next week, so stay tuned! :)

Btw, the bushes are in full bloom outside of our patio and I noticed this skinny little tree that has red flowers starting to bloom on it, in front of the pink bush.  {If you squint hard enough, you'll see it...or just check out the worst iPhone picture ever below haaaaaaa.}  Anyone know what the heck that thing is?!?!  It's so pretty!!

Oh!  And our tree people will be arriving tomorrow at 8AM.  I can't wait to see the difference in our property after they are gone!  {Please say a few small prayers that our lawn isn't destroyed in the process!}

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


While us kiddies were busy getting our planting on, my parents were taking care of a couple painting projects still left around the house.  {I would love to know how many gallons of paint we have purchased for our house thus far...hmmmm.}

First on their list was to get the exterior trim painted.  Then it was time to tackle project numero dos....our back porch.

Here is a little reminder of what our {soon-to-be-one-of-our-favorite-spots-in-the-house-once-it-gets-fixed-up} screened-in porch looked like when we bought the house.

Since these icky pictures were taken, we have given the porch some major TLC.  It's been cleaned a bagillion times, the light fixtures and fan have been replaced, the door into the house has been replaced and I removed the {security???} chicken wire that surrounded the bottom portion of the space.

And as of last week, my dad painted the ceiling a bright white, my mom filled all the holes in the wood supports, painted all the supports to match the house and my dad painted the floor to match our shutters.

While the difference might not translate that well in pictures, I assure looks a million times better.  And we still have several steps to go.  We need to replace the screening, add lattice to the bottom of the structure, replace the outside door, and have new {not rotten} steps built.  Plus, I'm thinking of doing some sort of stenciling the floor!!

Oh, and we'd loveeeeeeeeee to add a big stamped concrete patio to the area next to the porch.  That'd mean replacing that decaying grill outside, running the gas line to a more appropriate area where we want the grill and spending lots of money that we just don't have haaaaaa.  We had someone come give us an estimate for the work, and while his price is totally reasonable for what we'd get done, it's just not going to be in the cards for a few years.  We'll have to learn to embrace our weird, wonky backyard for now!

Anyone else planning and dreaming of outdoor makeovers?!?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Planting Party!

What did we do last Saturday night after showing our neighbors some love??  Shower, re-energize with a Diner dinner and hunt down the perfect plants to spruce up our em-BARE-assing yard at Home Depot, of course.

Thanks to some smart thinking by my mom, we took a couple minutes to map out our beds on paper before we left the house.  We took note of how many, what size and what type of plants we'd need to purchase.  This step was super helpful, and totally eliminated some clueless wandering that definitely would have taken place.

Luckily for us, HD had an awesome selection of plants, at the perfect prices.  Before I knew it, the sun had set, the workers were desperately trying to close the lawn section of the store and we were trying to check out with two, fully loaded carts.

{Hubby with our carts...}

Once we paid, it was on to renting a Home Depot truck.  Thank gosh for those rentals because there was noooo way we were fitting two trees, multiple bushes, a pitchfork {for our future mulch delivery} and a bunch of mountain pinks into either one of our cars.

{Hubby and Papa Dukes locking up our precious cargo...}

With only a couple minor heart attacks {trees falling over, told you they wouldn't stay standing...the bed popping open....our scotch broom bush almost flying out the back...eeeek}, we made it home safe and sound.

The next morning it was time to set all the plants where we wanted them to go.  Plotting everything out before we started digging any holes ensured that we didn't make any mistakes with placement. 

{Hubby and Mom hard at work.}

Before we could get it just right, a poorly placed plant needed to be removed.  Lucky for us, our neighbors were more than happy to help out on Sunday after we painted their house on Saturday.

{Our neighbor easily ripping our sad looking rhododendron out of the ground.}

Since we semi-planned before we even went to Home Depot, it didn't take too long to figure out the perfect layout.

{Bed to the left of the front door...}

{Bed to the right of the front door...}

{Small section of the bed to the left of our front door.  A few tulips and hyacinths growing wildly in our backyard also got transplanted here.}

{Bed along the back of the driveway...}

{Bed along the front of the driveway.  See how much needed to be weeded out of there!!  And we already cleared this bed out a couple months ago.  I can tell we'll be battling this one for years to come...}

Once the layout was taken care was time to start digging!  Well, the strong hubby's started digging. ;)

{Pete planting one of two white azaleas given to us by his mom.} 

My neighbor and I began weeding the AWFUL bed that runs along the driveway.  Thankfully, it wasn't long before the plants were in, watered and the boys were joining us to help clear out the huge "nightmare" bed.

After a couple hours of hard work, our yard was finally starting to show some life.

And don't worry...I know that our beds still look very unfinished.  But never fear!  We had a friend who does landscaping, drop off 8 yards of mulch...and the boys got busy spreading it this past weekend. 

After we get an additional 4 yards {12 yards in total}, we'll finally have our place fully mulched!

 {First 4 yard delivery in the driveway...}

BTW, I was hoping to have some fun pictures, and possibly videos of some major tree work on our property from today, but that plan has been put on hold.  The nor'easter that brought torrential rains to the East Coast yesterday caused our tree people to reschedule for Friday.  Fingers crossed that I'll have some fun updates from that work for you guys by early next week!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Triple Digits...Really?!?!

Wowzers!  This is my 100th post.  {Insert jaw-dropping here.}  I honestly never thought I would make it to 100 posts on this lil' old blog of mine.  I surely know I wouldn't have made it to this milestone if it weren't for all of you beyond-phenom, love-you-to-bits-and-pieces bloggy friends, who take a couple minutes out of your hectic days to follow along with me and my hubby on this journey called home ownership and renovation.

If there was such thing as an blog-land hug {and if it didn't sound so friggin' creepy}, I'd be sending a mayyyy-jor one out to all of you right now!!!!!

Seriously, thank you.  That is all. 


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Love Thy Neighbor...

And boy do we love our neighbors!  My hubby and I have been blessed with some of the greatest neighbors {and neighborhood} around.  In fact, we have grown really close to the couple who lives directly across the street from us.  We have a lot in common with them {newly married, same age, just bought their house a couple months before us, are in the process of fixing up their 1950’s rancher, etc.} and they are a ton of fun to hang out with.

You might be wondering why I’m talking about my neighbors since my last post spoke about how my parents were visiting for my birthday weekend, and we had a ton of work to get done on the outside of our house.  Well the answer to that is simple.  Not only was our house on our “to-do” list…but so was our neighbors'.  {Yup, that’s parents’ UH-mazing generosity extends to our neighbors as well.} 

You see, their house was due for a paint job.  The dingy white just wasn’t cutting it anymore.  When we heard them talking about painting their place, my parent’s offered up our services immediately.  {Remember how ugly our house was before we attacked it with some paint?!?!}  The six of us could get the job completed MUCH faster than the two of them getting to it when they found the time during the week.  So bright and early on Saturday morning, me, Pete and my parents headed down our front yard to get to work with our neighbors. 

By the time I got outside, their house looked like this {sorry, I don’t have a true “before”}…

…and by 3:30 in the afternoon, it was double-coated and looked like this...

{View from our front door.}

{Again..a little closer.}

{View from their driveway.  Ummm, yea my Dad was on a large ladder doing the peaks.}

{View from their backyard.  Again, my Dad and his long reach took care of the peaks.}

Not too shabby for a days worth of work!  The new color adds so much warmth to their home...and I even think it makes the place appear larger.  They still need to paint their door an accent color {in the cranberry family} and hang their black shutters...but considering how dramatic the change is already, I can’t wait to see what it looks like with everything in place! :)

Anyone else take on a daunting task with the help of some loved ones?!?! 

P.S. - Three years ago, today, my best friend asked me to marry him. <3  Here are some pictures captured during the proposal.  {Please don't judge my yoga pants and hoodie...clearly, I had NO idea it was coming, or I would have dressed for the occasion. ;)}

Friday, April 13, 2012


Ohhh yea, I have been missing in action for a while now, and I deeply apologize.  But I do have good reason for it....wait for it ................................................................................................................................ pure laziness.  I know, I know.  It's a terrible excuse for my LOB {lack of blogging}, but it's the truth.  And I promise to never be anything but honest with all of you. 

Work has been a little busy, and I've been exhausted by the time I get home.  Most likely, my tired nature has to do with me and my hubby's new gym routine.  We used to do the gym at 5AM every day when we lived in our townhouse.  Then we sold our place, moved in with the in-laws, and totally lost touch with our workout habits for over a year.  No bueno.

Now that we are settled in our new house, we started that same routine back up at a new gym.  Getting up at 5AM is the worst thing ever, but getting a workout in before I even get to work is the best feeling ever.  We've been at it for a little over a month, but I think my body is still adjusting to the whole, get up early and go to sleep earlier thing.  I find that I'm pretty beat by the time I get home.  That means all things home-project-blogland go out the window to make room for curling up on the couch and getting cozy with my DVR'ed shows.

But have no uh-mazing parents arrived last night, and for those of you who follow my blog {I love each and every one of you, with all my heart, btw}, you know what that means.  We are about to get down to business!  On our to-do list...hmmmm...well what isn't on our to-do list.... 

Maybe I should have said, "on our radar for the next couple days" is our home's exterior.  {I took Monday through Wednesday off next week so I can spend time with my parents and get some work done on the house.}  Even though we painted and de-jungle-ified our home when we purchased it....we didn't finish those tasks completely.  The cold{ish} weather moved in and we ran out of money in our budget.  So the trim was never painted and our landscaping {or lack thereof} needs some mayyyyy-jor work.

All this activity hopefully means I'll have lots of fun stuff to share with you guys in the coming week...and it also means I'll be able to work all this off...along with the Bonefish Grill dinner I'll be housing tonight! ;)

{Mini-cupcakes from my awesome department at work!}
 {Free birthday cannoli from our favorite pizza place by work!}

If you couldn't tell from the first picture is my birthday.  And no, today isn't bad luck for me.  In fact, I was born on Friday the 13th, so I consider the day lucky!

Have an awesome weekend everyone! :)

PS- For those of you on Instagram...follow me, gabbi_zac! :)