Friday, May 31, 2013 0 comments

You know the term “bittersweet?” I never fully lived that word till now. Bittersweet is kind of awful…but wonderful. It’s being SO excited and full of joy at the possibilities and also so very sad you’re not quite sure what to do with yourself.

No, I’m not retiring. ;) My husband is though, after 30+ years of teaching music, and 31 of those years at one school.

Can you even imagine? No one stays at one place for 31 years anymore.

He is the director of bands at his school and has overseen the whole performing arts department (one of the best, if not the best in the country…and I’m not just saying that) for years now.

I was in the band (color guard – the furthest I got on an instrument was playing the recorder…horribly) and fell in LOVE with the whole activity. So all these years I’ve understood his passion for what he does. At least a little bit. Enough be an understanding band wife all these years. If you are one youknowwhatI’msayin.

So while I’m THRILLED to have my husband all to us, our family, for really the first time ever, I’m also so unbelievably sad. It’s hard to put into words.

I’ve lived this world for the past 21 years and my stepdaughter and son grew up in it:

To be a band wife and a.) stay married and b.) make sure your kids see Daddy, you go to a LOT of events. Practices, school functions, football games, band competitions. Every season too – practices in the summer, competitions in the fall, shows in the winter and concerts in the spring.

My son grew up at the high school:

And I got the honor of sticking around my alma mater for another 20 years. I loved high school, I’m proud of that school and I was thinking the other day – how cool that I’ve been able to still walk those halls every month? Keep up with the changes, the staff, build more memories?

UGH. Months ago my husband told me this may be harder on me than him, and he was right at the time. Now it’s hitting him like a ton of bricks, so now we’re both just a MESS. :)

I don’t talk about my husband much on the blog but he is my EVERYTHING. I am the proudest wife on the planet. I have never met a man who works harder, is more successful, but is also the humblest man you’ll ever know. It’s NEVER about him. Always, always, always about the kids.

I’ve been going through hundreds of pictures in preparation for his big bash we’re throwing this weekend, and I hope you bear with me as I share a few and brag on him a little. These pics show so many of the things I love about him.

His unadulterated JOY of conducting:

He is so animated, so obviously in love with being in front of those kids, making music. It all shows when he’s on the podium. It is the definition of passion, watching that. Who gets to do what they are passionate about for 30 years? He is so thankful.

My man is a complicated one – he speaks in front of thousands like it’s nothing. He is a fantastic speaker and usually brings me to tears when he does. But he would so much rather be out of the spotlight, just doing his thing. He’s an odd mix of outgoing and introverted.

This photo so struck me as him in so many ways:

I know he looks upset there, but he’s not. He’s thinking. Contemplating. How to make the kids better. How to teach them more. How to help them succeed. It’s not about winning for him, it’s about life lessons.

I love that photo.

But this is the husband I see most often:

Happy to do what he does. Changing the lives of his students. Always trying to make someone laugh when they least think they will.

Those moments when the attention is on him he hates it…but he is always, always so grateful:

He never takes the credit, and will give it to someone else EVERY time.

But most of all (and now I’m crying, dangit!!!), he is all about his students. I’ve always called them his “kids,” not his students, because they are each his own in a little way. Thousands of them!

This photo was from the last concert in front of his band, and he’s holding up his hand so everyone acknowledges those kids:

Now I need to wrap this up cause I can’t even handle it. :)

Retirement for my husband won’t mean golfing every day – he wouldn’t know what to do with himself. He’s owned his own business for 20 years now (writing music and other stuff) and he will continue to do that. He’s also working with two organizations very close to his heart and he is SO excited.

But so sad. See? Bittersweet, the toughest word of them all.

Outdoor decor ideas (My HD video)

Thursday, May 30, 2013 0 comments

Hello all! You gotta love Thursdays right? I do! We’re in the home stretch as far as school for both the hubby and the Bub. Can’t wait to have them home all summer!!

Today I’m sharing one of the Home Depot videos from the shoot I told you about last week! It was a whirlwind of a day and as I mentioned, more fun than I thought it would be. (I was not, in fact, a ball of nerves like I thought.) ;) easy outdoor decor

All told I did about 15-20 different videos that day that will air on other sites, but this one is just for you guys! I watched it for the first time yesterday and did not want to puke…that’s a good thing.

I haven’t watched it again cause I would nit pick myself like crazy, so I’m sticking with the first decent impression.

I feel like I’m squinting the whole time – they had a big screen up to block the sun but man, those production lights are crazy bright! Soooooo, other than that and I loathe listening to myself talk, it turned out pretty OK! :)

I’m sharing a few quick tips to get ready for outdoor decor and entertaining, enjoy!:

Have a great one Squeezes!

The man nook

Wednesday, May 29, 2013 0 comments

Hello there and how are you this lovely Wednesday? So, I’ve gotten SO much done in the powder room but it’s practically all I’ve focused on for the past few weeks. It was time to take a little break and work on a little something different. I needed the distraction!

Remember that one time when Target asked if I wanted to show you all some of their new Threshold items and I squealed like a little girl and screamed said YES?! Well it’s been a few fun months, and I’m finishing up today by showing you a little comfy spot in the bedroom. 

This spot has been deemed the “man nook.” I mean, what man doesn’t want a little cozy nook all to himself? Well, kinda to himself? With a wife, kiddo, two cats and a dog hanging around?

Well, my man actually loves it – way more than I thought he would. He sits in this spot ever night and decompresses from the day a little bit. It makes me happy. :)

It started out as a kind of black hole in our bedroom. All I have is an awful cell phone pic and our bed isn’t made (it never is) so just ignore that part:

black armoire

That black armoire was from Kohl's years and years ago when they sold furniture in the store. It was just SO big and bulky, and we really didn’t need it anymore, so it went to live with a friend.

I decided to make this a little spot for the hubs when I moved things around a few months ago. The chair that used to be by the fireplace was moved over next to his side of the bed in the corner:

chair and floor lamp

That lamp? I know. I ADORE it. It looks all Restoration Hardware, eh?

Here’s the thing – I saw this lamp while Christmas shopping at Target months ago. I quite literally stood in front of it for 15 minutes, trying to decide if I should get it. I didn’t really NEED it, but I LOVED it. But it was Christmas, and I figured it wasn’t the time to spend on a lamp we didn’t need, so I walked away.

It hurt, it did. So since then I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and every time I went in to a Target I looked for it. I even kept checking on my app to see if it was anywhere nearby and no luck. EVERYONE loved it, obviously.

Finally in March I checked again on a random trip and there was one lamp left. I frantically loaded it in my cart and got that sucker home ASAP. It was meant to be! (Here it is online.)

This wall in our bedroom is a BIG one – it goes up to a pitched ceiling so it’s always stumped me. I already have a big art piece in the bedroom and a gallery wall, so what do you do? It’s the one room in our house with a lot of wall space and I am challenged to fill the walls in there.

So I decided to do something a little different – go small. I wanted it to stay intimate and cozy, so I went on a search at Tarjay. I eye this piece every time I’m in there:

art Target

I am really drawn to it for some reason. It works GREAT with the colors in the room as they are right now, but the whole space is getting a redo soon (sooner than I planned!) so I wanted to think ahead.

I loved both of these mirrors:

wood sunburst mirror round mirror leather

But we already have plenty of big mirrors in here, so I passed on those.

I also have loved this big clock for months:

large clock

But do I really want a big clock in the bedroom? I’m thinking no.

So I actually took a trip down the actual art aisle, which I never do – I haven’t bought wall art from a store in a really long time. (I’m always DIYing stuff instead.) But this floral print was really lovely:

sewing table redo

I kept going back to it over and over – it was the right size, the right price and the colors will work great when the room changes. You can see I couldn't resist a few mirrors too – they are small so I gave myself a mirror pass. ;)

Those of you who have been with me for awhile may remember the story of that black table. I’ve had it for years, it was actually a road kill rescue. I LOVE it but haven’t found a great spot for it for awhile.

It looked great next to the chair but it was wayyy too high, so I cut down the legs. This isn’t the first time I’ve done some trimming of legs and I have the process down to a science now.

I taped them off with Frogtape where I want to cut (to keep the cut clean on the saw – it helps keep the jagged edges away) and then mark where I want to cut with a marker:

sewing table redo

I hauled it out the garage and used my saw to cut them down and it was perfect!:

sewing table redo

I still love this little table so much! Now I’ll be able to use it pretty much anywhere – the taller height made it hard to use next to a chair or sofa.

I didn’t do much to accessorize the table, just added a frame with a photo of us from long ago:

blue white yellow floral art

Babies. :)

The roses are from my garden. LOVE.

I broke the art hanging rules and hung everything much lower than usual – it looked odd otherwise and I wanted it to stay cozy:

bedroom nook with chairI know art is supposed to be at eye level, blahbity blah blah…but sometimes you just get to do what you want to do. Cause it’s your house.       

That plant next to the sewing table is a palm variety and it does great in here – no direct sun but it loves it. You just have to watch it cause it will cut. you. For real. It’s palms can be viscous if you grab them wrong. So I just don’t grab them anymore. :)

Here’s a view of the before and after again, my favorite! The totally crappy before picture:

My son hated that dark hutch – he’s not afraid of much but it totally freaked him out. I think at night especially it just looked like a black hole in there.

My style in our bedroom has always been a little eclectic. It doesn’t always make a lot of sense but it’s that one room I like to try to mix metals and textures and I love it:

bedroom nook

OK, so it’s not totally manly for a “man nook,” but totally manly decor isn’t going to happen in the bedroom anyway. It’s a great spot for the hubs to relax and it’s all for HIM, which he loves. He especially appreciates the roses, I’m sure.

BIG changes are coming in here soon! I’m so stinking excited but it’s going to keep me busy this summer.

Have you seen the Threshold items at Target? I get giddy when the aisles change up every few months…it’s like a toy store for a decor lover. It’s been a blast showing you some of their awesomeness. To see past posts, go here for the foyer, here for the basement family room updates and here for the bathroom.

Have a BEAUTIFUL day!!

Tour of our garden

Monday, May 27, 2013 0 comments

Happy Memorial Day! How has your weekend been so far? We’ve had a great one and I’m looking forward to more of the same today. I’m hoping to get my vegetable garden planted if the rain holds off – I’m planting late this year so I hope it does well this year!

Speaking of gardens, I have to tell you, I’m SO excited about our backyard right now. We’ve had a ton of rain, the temps have been really mild and the plants are just BOOMING. I love this time of year – I actually love taking the dog out because I’ll take a walk around the backyard to see the progress of the plants. ;)

The older I get the more I truly love gardening, I just have so much to learn. The potential in our backyard gets me excited -- I pour over magazines with gorgeous gardens, trying to figure out what to do with ours. Part of me wants it done right now so we can just enjoy it, the other part of me is excited to do it bit by bit and watch it grow slowly. The latter wins out, mostly because of the pocket book, but I also like to take it slow and enjoy the process.

I thought I’d share how it looks now and hopefully by the end of the summer we’ll see some progress! :)

Our backyard is NOT big – we are in a suburban neighborhood where most of the yards are huge, but we chose a lot that backs up against a field, creek and some woods and the trade off was a small yard. Now before the deck and patio were installed it wasn’t bad as far as size really – it just has such a deep pitch to it, it wasn’t much fun to use just as a yard.

All of the changes we’ve made have made it smaller but much more usable. Does that make sense? We love it -- I would not change this spot for the world!

A couple of years ago we added the patio in the backyard, so we have very little actual grass left back there, compared to how it used to look. But it always cracks me up that our backyard is where the kids on the street come to play so often and they love it – even without a lot of grass and tons of space to run.

Anyway, the tour! I’ve got lost of pics so bear with me! We’ll start around the side of the house and move around the back. Welcome to my backyard! :)

I think this is one of my favorite shots of the back – I just love this view:

backyard garden

You can see my vegetable garden tucked in on the side there (I think I may move it over a bit next year but for now it’s staying). Next to that is my limelight hydrangea that still. won’t. bloom. It is bigger than ever, but no sign of flowers still. Grrrr.

The line of burning bushes on the left wrap around two trees – maples I think? They were actually planted in the front of the house and were growing all umpa-loompaish. Tall but spindly and lots of leaves at the top, but not growing out. We replaced them and replanted them on the side of the house about seven years ago. I babied them for a year or two and now they are HUGE. They still aren’t wide but for being so young they are SO tall now. I love them.

I love the bushes wrapping around the trees and the simplicity of it, but I want to bring in some more color there too. I’m coming up with a plan to add something else, just not sure what all will be there yet.

On the right past the deck stairs is one of my peony plants – I’ve been on “bloom watch” for weeks. Every morning I go out to see if today is the day and…NO. Seriously, slowest dang flowers EVER:


They are so close now though, I think tomorrow may be the day! (I say that every day.)

This area gets morning sun and I’m guessing the peony loves it because this one in particular is doing great.

Remember my hydrangea drama last year? Well, the plants I moved did much better last year, just not fantastic. I trimmed the stalks down last week (just the dead wood) and they are busting out now! One even has blooms on it…I have hope people!:


They are loving all the rain lately – I’ve only had to water them once so far this year.

Just past the hydrangea is my awesome knock out Knockout Rose bush. ;) This one in particular is doing SO well:

knockout roses

Again, morning sun, a bit of afternoon sun and it loves it. I’ve had this one for years and moved it to this spot a couple years ago and it’s doing fantastic:

knockout roses

If you don’t have a green thumb I highly recommend these knock out roses – they are so easy to grow. I do very little and they thrive. I don’t even trim them – are you supposed to? This one hasn’t ever been touched and it’s blooming like mad.

Across from that bush are a couple arborvitaes we had planted for some privacy:


Again, we’re in a neighborhood, so we wanted some “natural” screens. I do have to say though, I LOVE all of the backyards down the street on our side. Nobody has even put up fences because it’s so private and beautiful back there. I love love LOVE our backyard.

Straight ahead is an area I’m totally stoked about – a little spot where we had all the brush cleared away last year:

It’s a mess right now, we still need to mulch it all again and get the hammock put back in (the base is there) – but someday it will be an amazing little shade garden. It could be so cool and I’ve been dreaming it up for years now. I’m kind of obsessed with hostas so I’ve already put two back there, and I plan to add a bunch more.

I don’t know if the hammock will stay or not – I can’t decide if I want that there, or chairs, or a big umbrella or what. Things get…ahem…dirty back there, so I need something easy to clean.

If you turn around you’ll see the back of the fireplace, and I have grand ideas in my head for this area too:

outdoor fireplace

For now there’s my pee gee hydrangea trees, which I love. I got the tiny little boxwoods for like a buck on clearance a couple years ago, and for boxwood standards they’re growing pretty fast. I do want something more substantial there though, so those may move. The tree rose in the middle did great for a couple of years and now it’s almost toast. I have realized I’m not good with a rose that requires much care. ;)

I’m also determined to get some natural coverage going on the back of the fireplace – I planted some ivy and a climbing hydrangea last year and both did nothing. Now they’re both taking off, finally!:

I wondered if the ivy would even grow, with all the morning sun, but it’s doing great now! It’s grown more in a month than it has all of last summer.

One thing I love SO much about the back is all of the huge rocks and pavers we had installed:

They put them in in a really organic way – not perfect, no equal spacing, and I love how they look. I also love the moss that grows on some of them. :)

The back of the patio is looking kind of sad. I got a few more hydrangea last year and they did pretty great at first, but they are slooooow going this year:


I think the one on the left is a goner. I’ve not had a ton of luck with them but I’ve never killed one, till now. :) We planted a version of a birch on the left last year hoping to give those guys some afternoon shade, but the “tree” is still very much a bush – waiting for that one to move upward.

We’re planting a few river birch back here soon and that back area is where I really want one for some shade on the patio.

Here’s another shot as you keep going around, I love the stones as a walkway:

path with stones in garden

I was a little concerned they would be slick when wet but they aren’t bad at all.

We also had big ones installed as steps off the patio:

stone patio

And when I say “we” I mean our brilliant landscaper friend who had the idea. ;) He did the patio and hardscaping for us a couple of years ago.

Here’s that same spot from the patio – I’m DYING to get some kind of arbor for over this space:

stone patio

Wouldn’t that be amazing?

To the side of that area are a couple more peonies:


These aren’t doing nearly as well as the other one. I’m guessing the hot afternoon sun is too much? I don’t know, I thought they loved sun! These only have a few small blooms so far so you know it will be August before they bloom. ;) For real – but everything is blooming late this year here.

Around that corner are three more knock outs:

knockout roses

I just planted them last year so they are small, but doing great.

I planted a few new annuals on the patio and deck already in preparation for the Home Depot shoot – these were just a hanging mixture from HD and they are taking off:

container flowers

And I can’t remember what these plants are by the fireplace, but they are awesome!:

outdoor fireplace

I thought they were annuals when I planted them last year but they are actually perennials – they lasted all winter. Any idea what these are?

I want to get more to plant in the landscaping:

This spot gets sun all day long so they are great for a sunny yard! I love all the colors in there – I’m going with a red, yellow and a little bit of purple theme on the patio (stealing it from the pillows) and they fit in perfectly. ;)

So there you go, a tour of our garden as it is now. I have grand plans for the space – I want it to be lush and English garden feeling, but not too busy. I think coming up with a plan for the outdoors takes as much finesse as decorating the inside, don’t you think? It takes time and some thought for sure!

What do you have growing that you love? I’m looking for lower ground cover and taller plants as well. I’d love some more color too!

Knob love

Friday, May 24, 2013 0 comments

Hey heeeeeey! Happy Friday!! We have a busy but fun weekend planned – it feels like the first weekend in a long time that hubby hasn’t had a band function or event. I just realized today we don’t even have a baseball game this weekend, so I’m looking forward to just hanging out with my boys and having a great weekend!

I stopped by Hobby Lobby this week to look for some knobs for the powder room vanity – there’s still so much to do in there but sometimes I allow myself a “fun” project here and there. It gets me even more excited about getting it done. :)

Over the past few years Hob Lob has been my go-to place for pretty, funky decorative knobs and they didn’t disappoint this time either. They have such a fun selection and I think they are always half off now, so you really can’t beat it!

I loved this nautical inspired compass knob:

compass knob

I may have to go back for those for the Bub’s bathroom redo…which will come when I’m ready to face bathroom redos again. ;)

This bicycle one was adorable:

bicycle knob

I have a girlfriend who loves bikes and this reminded me of her. ;)

They have a HUGE selection of painted ones too – I absolutely loved all of the color on these:

And if you want something more subdued there are a ton of glass options too:

glass knobs

I loved that aqua glass one – I wanted those but they didn’t have enough.

These button knobs were just too stinkin’ cute!!:

button knobs

I’m still trying to think of where I could use them. How fun would those be in a craft room or toy room?

I thought these mercury glass-looking ones were pretty too:

mercury glass knobs

So elegant – and I think they were $4 each and half off? You can’t beat it people!

These spigot handles were adorable too, and would be super cute in a bathroom:

spigot knobs

Ohhhh my goodness…I just thought of a fun way to use these! I may go grab a few to put on my potting bench outside for hanging my gardening tools. Adorable. (Don’t go grab them all umkay??)

They have a ton of hooks and handles too – this one would look amazing against a white dresser or vanity:

glass handle

Awesome, yes?

I wanted something with with a big pop of color but also a simple design for our vanity, so I went with these beauties:

aqua knobs, white dresser

The base (the white part) was actually a creamy color that looked dingy against the white drawers, so I taped off the knobs and spray painted it. They look SO much better!

I LOVE the aqua color against the white vanity (which I’ll tell you more about soon):

aqua knobs, white vanityKnobs and hardware are another one of those little details that I love to change up – they can add some real beauty and interest to a dresser or vanity for not a lot of money.

Where do you find your knobs? Have you found some cool ones at Hobby Lobby? My only complaint about theirs is that they loosen up easily – much easier than others I’ve purchased. But the aqua knobs came with a washer so I’m hoping that helps keep things tight. Anyone else notice this?