Wednesday, October 26, 2011

New Found Obsession

Generally speaking, I honestly don't hate doing housework.  Call me insane, buttttt heres why:

A) I don't mind dusting, ie: I have 3 cats yall.  It goes with the territory.  Kevin might tell you I'm borderline obsessive about it, but I just truly hate the dust/cat hair combo.  Period.  Needless to say, the Swifter Duster 360 is my best friend.  Combine that w/ some pledge, & I'm a happy camper.

B) I also love my vacuum.  And no, I don't have the Dyson Ball, either.  After diving into some Consumer Reports (How nerdy can I be?), we actually found that people preferred the Electrolux brand when it came to Canister Vacuums.  Sooo happy we listened because it is AMAZING.  Kevin & I actually bicker over who gets to vacuum because our vacuum kinda glides itself along, making it SUPER easy for whomever has that chore.  (Yes, I'm completely aware the topics we bicker about are absolutely ridiculous, but hey- thats what keeps things interesting, right?  Righhtttt? )

C) I like to come home to a clean house.  My number one pet peeve is when people have a lot of clutter in the common areas of their home.  I promise it's nothing personal, it just kinda freaks me out & reminds me of an episode of Hoarders.

However, there is one aspect of housework that I absolutely despise....


It's not so much that I hate doing the actual process of laundry- that part is no big thing.  It is the folding & putting up of the laundry that I cannot stand.  
To make matters worse, I have despised our laundry room for quite some time- mainly due to the fact that it is where the cats reside at night... IE: the CAT CONDO stays in there, which is disgustingly ugly to look at.  And I also hate hate hate the color.
Why couldn't have my laundry room looked like one of these when I bought it??

Sooo, immediately following me writing my blog last week about how I love painting, I got the insane idea that I would some HOW learn to like laundry if I re-did our laundry room... Sounds logical, right? So, once again, I mentioned it in passing to Kevin about "my vision" for what I wanted to do to the laundry room... He kinda grunted about it, so I took that as him saying "Honey- go for it!" Well, okay- don't mind if I do.  
So, let me show yall what our Laundry Room looked like to begin with....

In a word: ICK

And there is that HEINOUS yellow again- Banana Cream. Seriously?  Seriously???

The corner where the Cat Condo used to be... before I snuck it into the trash unbeknownst to Kev :)
So, truthfully, can yall really blame me for avoiding doing laundry at all costs?  It was TERRIBLE.  Anywho, our laundry room is off of our kitchen, so I thought it made sense to utilize the same blue paint that I used in the kitchen.  Why blue?  Because a) It is my favorite paint color in the house, b) It covers up that horrendous shade of yellow, and c) well... I had a ton of left over paint, so it didn't cost me a dime :)
So, lets look at how it turned out...

Blue & Yellow. Blue & Yellow. Blue & Yellow........

I apologize that I hadn't had a chance to steam the blue-checked fabric yet.  I'm aware I need to do that (thanks, Jan).
Clearly doesn't matter to Lucy :)  Of course she was the first one up there. Diiivvvvaaaa

Cute little DIY Laundry Sign :)
So, what do you all think?  I am borderline obsessed with it... Not because I think I'm the next Martha Stewart or anything, but I literally pulled this whole little roadshow together for about $70.  What's not to love about that?
Quick Breakdown
-Paint- $0- left over
-Paint Supplies-$5
-Shelf-liners: $0- I used some of our carpet remnant's, so it'd be more conducive for the cats to hop up there to their new cat living quarters.
-2 Tiered Cat Condo: $35
-Fabric: $12 (Hobby Lobby- 50%.. love it.)
-Yellow Rug- $8
-Baskets- $12

I know I said I used the carpet remnants to help make the shelves easier for the cats to get up & down, but before yall twist my words & think that was done out of pure concern for my cats, hear me out... 
Due to the fact I hate the process of doing laundry & I try to bribe Kevin to do mine on a regular basis, part of the laundry-room re-do was to make efficient use of that small space so I would have room to actually organize & fold my clothes.  So, as you can see, we now have the room we need- however, I still lack a piece of furniture or laundry room accessory to pull me out of this un-domestic habit of avoiding laundry.  Suggestions are welcome as to what you all use!  This girl needs all the help she can get!
So until I find the right thing to use in that room, I'll just stand back & admire the cute-ness of the room, while continuing to encourage Kevin to wash & fold my clothes while he does his own :)  MMkay yall- thats it for now!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My Future Career: The next Michaelangelo

I grew up with the mentality that I should never try to conquer something that I hadn't specifically been trained to know how to do properly.  Now don't think my parents were trying to crush my hopes and dreams or anything- they just had an realist's perspective on things.  For example: Jan (aka my momma) is an RN.  Got her BSN from UK, and has been in the medical field ever since she graduated.  My dad is super finicky about his hair (hrmm- wonder where I get that obsession from?? ), so he always paid top dollar to get his hair cut- even back in the 1970's.  Jan was utterly convinced that she could learn to cut his hair through trial & error.... and apparently that turned out to be an epic failure.  When my dad went to get his hair fixed by a real hair stylist, the stylist commented on my mom's failed hair cutting attempt by saying "You tell your wife she ought to stick to nursing, and I'll stick to cutting hair.  That way, no one gets hurt."

Pat & Jan. Note- his hair looks meticulous, right?
Anyway, I'd say that I still agree with that mentality about 90% of the time.  Hoooweeeever, that other 10% of the time, I have kinda blown that theory right out of the water.

When we bought our house, two of the upstairs bedrooms were this HORRENDOUS light blue color that is supposed to be considered "unisex," I guess?  I prefer to think of the color as more putrid than unisex, but thats just me.  Anyway, I was telling my mother in-law that I would need to hire a painter to fix those rooms, and she responded with "Why?  I'll help you paint those rooms in no time."

Ummmm??? Scuse?  What a NOVEL concept?  I, myself, could paint a room?  
**side note: How sheltered does that sound, honestly? Gooddd niiiiiggghttt.  But, lets be honest, even when i mentioned to Kevin that I was thinking about painting the upstairs bedrooms myself, he gave me a discerning look.  I was one of those kids who tried to color outside the lines in order to show my "creative side" so the thought of me painting a whole bedroom didn't sound exactly promising to those who know me well.  

Sooo, I painted our first guest bedroom w/ some major hesitancy & helpful supervision of my mother in-law.  Much to my surprise (and probably hers!), I LOVED the whole painting process.  Like, couldn't wait to find something else to paint.  AND- added bonus, the room turned out pretty cute.

The pic is kind of deceiving, but its a mint green color

So obviously, I had to immediately find another room to re-decorate so I could paint again.  So, a few months later, I decided to knock-out our family room w/ a fresh paint job.  I love to look at neutrals in other people's houses, but I crave color in my own.  In turn, I chose green for our family room, and then accented w/ TONS of color. This room makes me happy. 

Please note: 1) Kevin's normal position at night 2) how many cats can you see in this picture?
  That project was uber stressful because I decided I was gonna paint 48 hours before new carpet was to be installed.  Smart, right? Ummm no.  Probably ranks in one of my top 10 worst decisions I've made as an adult.  Seriously. That 48 hours involved a lot of tears, yelling at Kev for no reason, and a combination of chick fil-a milkshakes & pizza to get me through it.  So, after I attacked the family room, and completed it in under 48 hours, I took a short retirement in my painting career.

But alas, that retirement was short-lived.  After complaining about how NOT cheerful the yellow was in our kitchen, Kevin came home one day to find me knee deep into painting our whole kitchen.  Did I bother to consult with him on this? Uhhh. Umm. Oops. 
**Side note**: Better question would be: Did he care that I didn't ask him about painting the kitchen? Umm thats a big negative.  The ONLY comment he had about the ordeal was as follows: "Caroline- are you sure that Blue isn't a North Carolina Blue?  I can't have the TAR HEEL'S color on my WILDCAT walls." 
 And that is why Kevin is no longer allowed to make any decisions regarding his decor preferences in our house.

I can say with a high degree of certainty that "Languid Blue" is not the same color that UNC uses.  What do yall think?

Yes, again- I love lots of color in my house.
My kitchen project was fun because the blue paint literally transformed my kitchen.  Friends of ours were asking questions like "Did you all put in new wood floors?"  or "When did you all paint the woodwork? "  Or "Is that new crown molding?."  Ummmm no yall.  It was a $70 worth of paint. 
Anywho, I then took some time off from my new painting hobby.  
UNTIL I decided our bathroom needed a face-lift.  Weeeeelll- after finding out that what I wanted to do to our bathroom would cost upwards of $10K, I had to go to plan B, which was obviously me giving it a facelift via a new PAINT color & accessories.
So after obsessing over the right color & trying 5 different paint color samples out on the wall, I finally landed on Poised Taupe, which turned out spectacular! 

Yes, that is a flat screen over our jacuzzi tub. Everyone needs one. 
I will also say maintain that the master bedroom is the HARDEST room I have ever painted.  HOLY trim work.  The morning after I was finished, my body felt worse than it did when I had run a marathon.  A NORMAL person would be satisfied after completing one bathroom.  But, I am usually a girl on a mission.  Once I get something in my head that i THINK needs to be done, I won't quit until it is finished.  
As a result, this happened the same week as my master bathroom. Why hello half bath! 

Am I gonna be hired to re-paint the Sistine Chapel? Um, absolutely not.  But painting absolutely relaxes me, and is a huge stress reliever.  But seeing how I am a person who derives great satisfaction from instant gratification, I think I get a huge kick outta seeing the instant results of the new color splashed up on the wall.

Obviously, my friends have inquired about my love for painting and asked that I supply yall with some tips. So, here we go....

Wall Painting Tips
-ALWAYS use Sherwin Williams paint.  Their quality FAR exceeds any other type of paint.
-Don't make a knee-jerk reaction about a color solely based upon the fact you like it in a magazine.  Instead, utilize those handy little samples that Sherwin Williams will mix up for you.  They only cost about $5, and you can compare colors that way.  Plus, it allows you to see which color works best with the lighting in your room.  Example: You might end up choosing a lighter version of a color you originally like, especially if the room is small w/ low lighting.
- DO NOT spend all that cash money on the painting supplies they might try to sell you at Sherwin Williams.  One expensive trimming brush is all you need to buy from there.  Everything else else (A roller, roller pads, trimming brushes, etc), you can buy at Target or Walmart for waaaay less (& I think higher quality).  
-Taping is a waste of time.  Utilize the trimming/artist brushes from Target or Walmart.
-Don't be in a hurry, or else you will have a hot mess on your hands.  Hints why there are a few specks of blue paint scattered around my kitchen.
-Give yourself a day in between coats of paint.  See what it looks like in different modes of light (ie: morning sun vs 8pm at night) before you decide you need another coat
-Don't buy all your paint at one time. They always try to oversell you so they can make more of that cash money.  Yes, I realize it is a pain to go back to SW multiple times, but its better than wasting your hard-earned cash.  **Side note**- When I was picking my master bath color, I probably made about 6 trips to Sherwin Williams.  The consistent trips actually worked out in my favor because due to the fact the guys at Sherwin Williams got such a kick out of this little blonde girl being so paint obsessed, they gave me discounts & call me when I can get 50% :)**
-Finally, don't forget to throw down some old blankets or towels, so you don't ruin your floors. Paint is hell on wheels to get out of carpet, or will give you fits if you're trying to pick it off of wood floors (Not that I'd know or anything. Coughcoughcough.)

Per usual, feel free to email me if you need any further advice or more clarification on anything I talked about.  I'm aware I use some Kentucky-isms in my posts that not everyone understands.  This text convo w/ my guy BFF, Andy,  reminded me that not everyone can decode my verbage :) 

Bahaha. Love his Calabasas heart.  MMkay yall- thats it for now! Talk soon!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

and YOUs gonna get on a booooat

So, its been a few years since I have been on a cruise.  My last one was when I was a junior in high school.  Wait, no correction- its actually been 10 years since I've been on a cruise (PS- why do I still think high school was just a few years ago. Damn you mid-twenties.)  But, from what I remember, cruising was a pretty classy experience.

PS- I took this picture by myself. Who's impressed? :)
Welll, apparently, cruising has changed something serious in the last 10 years.  How does it change you ask?  Weeeellllllll, the characters that now frequent this large ships are ehhhh... much more mirroring those in a girls gone wild or rap video than I had remembered. My case in point was exhibited the VERY first night we were on the ship.  Literally, we had been on there for 3 hours when we (the Grays & soon-to-be Wrights) decided to check out the Karaoke Bar.  Color me ridiculous because this is the first performance we walked into.... Helllloooo Drunk Monkey.

Let me take a quick poll:
Could ANYONE understand one word that Karoke Underwood was trying to sing?  No worries- us either. I still have no clue what song homegirl was even trying to sing. Bless her heart.  Now I'm not one to judge, seeing how I was the ONLY person on our cruise group (comprised of about 45 people) who brought their own wine. Don't get all Judge Judy on me now yall.  While other people were waiting in a ridiculous bar line once we boarded the ship, I was sipping on Pinot Grigio.  Some would call that borderline alcoholism, I prefer to call it resourceful.

Anywho, I stand FIRMLY by my decision that a website needs to dedicated to capturing the ridiculous acts and INSANE clothing choices that people make on cruises.  Kinda like People of Walmart, but it should be People of  Seriously, it needs to be done.  Like yesterday.

Moving on, the first port we stopped at was the stunningly gorgeous TURKS & CAICOS!

So beautiful, right?  Wouldn't that be a perfect place to get engaged at?  Ohhhh wait, now that you mention it.
And THENNNNN......
Josh & Jen taking a quick walk down the beach 
The Soon-To-Be WRIGHTS!

Okay so, in the spirit of transparency, the 2nd & 3rd pictures are a re-enactment.  This pasty British couple began walking like 5 feet behind Josh & Jen, so not only did they stumble upon Josh popping the question, but also managed to ruin every picture. Booo. Hisss. Profane words.   Regardless, she said YES!
Me celebrating w/ the Bride to be!!!!!!

Oh don't worry, after 3 martinis, I obviously had to try all of our bling on together. Normal, yes?
Soo, what other interesting tid-bits occurred on this trip?

#1) I completely failed to remember that my husband is a complete picture Nazi on trips.  The kid wants a picture of damn near everything.  I'm not exaggerating when I say I have probably 20 pictures taken from our balcony of JUST the ocean.  No, dolphins aren't in them.  Or whales.  Just ocean. And clouds.
Exhibit A
Why hello clouds
#2) In my opinion, the turqoise water in the bahamas is by far the most beautiful ocean color in the world. Definitely my favorite.

Representing the CATS!!! 

Me pretending I just got engaged. Again :)
#3) Water Slides are FUN and a great time no matter how old you get. Nevermind the fact that I almost fought a 7 year old because he kept cutting in line in front of me.  

#5) As much as I love my husband, I have to admit that after a sharing a 10X10 space with him for 6 days straight, I was seriously ready to go back to work come Monday morning. I have no idea how his college dorm roommate managed to not seriously injure him solely based upon his sloppiness in a small confined space.  (Oh wait, yes I do.  It was his cousin.  Had it been anyone else, he surely would have faced a beat-down.)
We look so happy, right? Note- this was only the 3rd night :) Just kidding.

Before you want to throw rocks at me for how beautiful those pictures are, be consoled by the fact that every night we faced the most incessant & intense boat rocking that could make a whale sick. Due to the fact I know we are all adults now & live for our vacays, I promise to not post any more pics bc I know I would want to shoot me too :) So, I promise that now concludes our cruise experience, and thats about it for now.  Have a great Tuesday!!!