Nightstand DIY Project

When my husband and I started planning our pregnancy it felt like we had plenty of time to accomplish the things we wanted to with our home, especially since the baby cooks for about 9 months. Now that we are halfway through this pregnancy and have nothing done, we realize we were very wrong!

So a few weeks ago I was making a list of all the things I want to accomplish before our sweet baby boy arrives this February and at the top was buying new nightstands for our bedroom. We’ve never had matching nightstands in there. In fact, we’ve never had nightstands. We’ve always used some random side tables and at one point I had a mini ladder on my side of the bed to hold my water at night. So I’d say it’s about time we get it together in there.

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I started shopping online and everything looked short or was way over priced. So of course my next thought was, I can make night stands! So I got on pinterest and saw some projects others had done and decided to come up with my own.

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I measured the space and designed a nightstand that is simple, modern, and open with hairpin legs I purchased on Amazon. Check out my video tutorial (vlog style) below for full details on how I made these matching nightstands.

I'm Having a Baby!

Actually, I should say my husband and I are having a baby. Thankfully, I’m not completely alone in this. Although, I am alone in the morning sickness when I’m bent over the commode every morning (and sometimes night.) And I am alone in the breathless treks up and down the stairs of our home every day. And I’m alone in the mirror each morning wondering if I can get away with the pre-pregnancy shirt I’m busting out of. But I’m not alone in wanting to dip my pizza in ranch dressing. Or wanting pizza everyday for that matter! My husband’s food cravings have been in line with mine and he is constantly cheering me on, always reminding me that I’m beautiful or cute and that we are actually in this together, even though I am the one feeling all of the side effects of pregnancy. And I am very fortunate for that.

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For those of you who are curious, I created this pregnancy announcement for social media quite quickly. I used a blanket I recently bought at Target for my backdrop, last February’s calendar from Rifle Paper Company, some dried baby’s breath and lavender I had in a vase, and my most recent ultrasound photo. I circled our due date, February 13, with a white pen and snapped a photo of it all. It was wonderful being able to share my pregnancy with everyone who follows me on social media without having to share a photo of myself just yet.

Maybe all of this pregnancy talk will explain my absence on social media and especially my blog for the last few months or so. We took a vacation in June to the West Coast where we found out we were pregnant and I don’t think I’ve felt the same since. I especially haven’t been able to put out the amount of work I was before all of this. I’ve been lethargic, nauseas, and overall overwhelmed with the coming changes. But slowly I am getting back into the groove of things and hope to have plenty of projects completed before baby Miles arrives this February. That’s right, we are naming him Miles! And he’s a boy! It feels really good to have decided on a name so early in the game.

Stay tuned for updates on my pregnancy and definitely more macrame and house projects!


Drop Cloth Drapes DIY

Curtains and drapes are not cheap, especially extra long lengths. What’s even more frustrating is that most stores don’t carry lengths past 83 inches, so if you have tall ceilings, you’re forced to hang your curtains right above the windows and pray they hit the floor. If, like me, you’ve been struggling with curtain lengths in your home, you’ll be relieved to know there is an inexpensive solution.

Home Depot and Lowe’s both carry canvas cloth drops. They come in various lengths and can easily be hung as curtains that look as fabulous as expensive ones! I highly suggest bleaching, washing, and ironing them before you hang them. Check out my youtube video below on a full step by step tutorial for this process.

I Ripped My Carpet Up and Painted My Stairs

Is it just me or are carpeted stairs becoming a thing of the past? Vacuuming them is a complete nightmare. I never feel like I'm getting them completely clean no matter what angle I go in at or what attachments I use. And to be blunt, with the exception of a good runner, most of the time carpet on stairs just isn't attractive.

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The carpet in my home was the original carpet that was installed when the house was built eight-ish years ago. That isn't very long, but I don't think my husband and I took the best care of it over the years. Taking our shoes off at the door or wiping our dog's paws wasn't mandatory and eventually dirt and grime starts to show on carpet. You could definitely see that the first few steps were much darker than the last ones on the top from dirty shoes. I tried cleaning the carpet a few times, but the carpet wasn't of the best quality in the first place. It's hard to make cheap builder's grade carpet look new again. 

When I started researching stair upgrades I came across a blogger who referred to her beige builder's grade carpet as "muppet skin." She couldn't have been more hilariously accurate. It does look like muppet skin! Gross! As soon as I decided the carpet had to go, I couldn't take my mind off the idea. I decided to peel back a bit of the carpet to see what was underneath and to my surprise we had pine treads! The risers turned out to be plywood, but I figured I could find a way to work with it without having to replace anything.

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I turned to Pinterest for inspiration. There were tons of stair redo ideas, mostly with stained wood treads. I couldn't go for that idea, as much as I would have liked to because I loathe the orange laminate wood flooring in our house and I did not want to match that. I also didn't want anything to clash with it. So painting the treads and risers seemed to be the best option. I considered painting the treads black and the risers white, but the more I delved into Pinterest for inspiration, the more I realized what I really loved was super clean, white stairs. White treads and white risers. I could sweep them and wipe them down, and I would be able to see every speck of dust on them, which I love because then I know when they are dirty!

Here's a look at what they looked like before with the "muppet skin" carpet.

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I don't want to hide dirt in my house. Items like a brown couch or brown carpeting that are made to hide dirt are strange to me. And maybe it's because I don't have children yet, but I want to know when something is dirty so that I can clean it and feel satisfied knowing that it is truly clean.

Naively, I thought this project would be a "weekend project" like most things I take on. Maybe if you have one set of stairs in your home you could knock it out in a weekend, but we have three stories and two sets of stairs, so this actually took a couple of weeks working on it during weekends and after work.

First I ripped the carpet and padding up. Then I removed all of the staples, nails and anything else that shouldn't be there. You'd be surprised what you'd find under your carpet! Years of dirt, grime, dog hair and anything else that comes in on the bottom of your shoes weaves its way through the carpet. It's pretty disgusting and I knew I was making the right choice after seeing all of that. When they built our house they sprayed the walls with paint before they laid the carpet down, so there was a ton of paint built up on the treads and random globs of caulk as well. I used a gel paint remover to scrape all of that off. After that I was able to sand the treads down and fill any blemishes with wood putty. I made sure all of my treads were as smooth as I could get them and then I painted them. I used a porch and concrete paint to paint these because I was told it was a little more durable and less susceptible to wear and tear. I did two coats of white paint and three coats of clear, matte polycrylic sealant. As I said before, I couldn't  be happier with the results!

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Check out my youtube video on a further look into the process and upkeep of these stairs.

Restoration Hardware Knock Off Extra Long Outdoor Couch

Last fall as the weather turned crisp and my husband and I were bringing our plants indoors, we took a look around our second floor balcony and decided something needed to change out there. We love spending time outside when the weather is nice, but because we don't have a yard, we find ourselves on our balcony quite often. We decorate it with potted plants and hanging lights, and we love to drink morning coffee out there or have charcuterie and wine when the mood strikes. But the furniture we had just wasn't comfortable. I tried rearranging it a few times to make what we had work, but the four top bistro style table, loveseat and coffee table just felt bulky and crowded. It also wasn't very comfortable. The Iron and cheap plastic-like mesh material it was constructed out of didn't speak much of comfort. We realized we loved the space but hated the furniture. So we agreed that when spring came around we would invest in new outdoor furniture.

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We took a trip to Denver, Colorado some time after and visited the largest Restoration Hardware store either of us had ever been to. This place was 4 levels of showrooms and a rooftop garden area that displayed all of their outdoor furniture. We are big fans of Restoration Hardware and both see the value in their furniture. Most things come with a hefty price tag, but everything is well built and lasts a long time. We've purchased several items from them and have been absolutely pleased with every piece. And while their outdoor furniture is extremely tasteful, I just couldn't get on board with the cost for something that would sit outside in the elements like an outdoor couch would. So to the internet I went!

First I decided to look at some sites I knew retailed furniture for much less. I found some similar items on Amazon, Overstock, Ikea, and Wayfair, but I was still looking at spending at least $1,000.00. Not only that, but I realized these couches were sort of short in length compared to what we wanted. I envisioned an extra long couch that would sit up against the house and face the beautiful lake and fountain in front of our home. I wanted it to be something my husband and I could both lay on together and would also seat more than two or three people at a time. Most of the couches I was finding were only 72 to 76 inches long. When I measured the space I was looking to fill on my balcony I knew I wanted something at least 96 inches long, if not longer!

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After I exhausted all of the more inexpensive sites I knew of, I got an idea that maybe we could build something ourselves. On Pinterest I found some examples where pallets were stacked beneath cushions to create comfy little outdoor spaces, but I wanted something a little less boho and a little more sturdy. What I finally came across was a video by Ana White on the Ryobi Nation website where she built a very simple outdoor couch with only 2x4s. The only catch was the length was shorter than what I wanted. The site offered some project plans with measurements that I printed, did the math, and modified to work for our space.

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I found some great cushions on the Ikea website that I wanted to order, so I modified the plans to fit these cushions which worked out great. They're 24"x24", which is a pretty standard size, so if I ever needed to replace them I shouldn't have trouble. And the back cushions worked great as well for the couch. I spent a mere $160.00 on all four sets of cushions, with the back cushions included.

In my youtube video below, I explain the difference between the original plans by Ana White and my modified ones. I also show you exactly how I made my outdoor couch,  so check that out if you're interested.

Please leave a comment if this inspires you to redo your outdoor space!

DIY Extra Long Macrame Plant Hanger

If you've been on Pinterest or Instagram lately, you've probably noticed the plethora of plant hangers people are hanging in their homes.  I do sell these in my Etsy shop, but if you'd like to make one of your own or if you're just curious about macrame, this tutorial is for you. 

This hanger is longer than the typical, hanging at at 40 inches without a plant in it. If you make your own plant hanger from this project, please comment and post a picture!

24 Hours in Washington, DC

I'm lucky to live so close to our nation's capital, but I just don't make it up very often. Maybe it's because every single field trip in high school was to DC, so I might be a little burnt out over the yearly visits to see the Washington Monument again. But with my best friend, Ashley moving soon and her not having spent much time in the district, we decided to plan a weekend up there romping around some of the monuments and museums with our husbands. They won't be a three hour drive from it much longer!

I found the cutest and most convenient Airbnb for the four of us to rent. It even had a name! The "Let There Be Light Carriage House" in Capitol Hill was secluded, clean, and modern. The only drawback was sharing one bathroom between four people, but we are all polite and figured it out pretty quickly.

 There's even a macrame wall hanging in the living room! How perfect is that?

There's even a macrame wall hanging in the living room! How perfect is that?

 The kitchen was amazing and for just a moment made me question whether my opinion on gold and brass fixtures is completely wrong.

The kitchen was amazing and for just a moment made me question whether my opinion on gold and brass fixtures is completely wrong.

 This is what bathroom dreams are made of. Am I right? Even the exposed plumbing is attractive to me.

This is what bathroom dreams are made of. Am I right? Even the exposed plumbing is attractive to me.

We were in a great area of town, just a block back from the very hip and happening H Street Corridor. I felt safe parking my car out front for the three evenings we were staying and we used the metro system along with Uber to get around. The closest metro station was Union Station, about a twenty minute walk through a gorgeous neighborhood with lots of coffee shops, markets and interesting architecture.

After the long drive up, we settled in early, but not before a bite to eat. The H Street Country Club was a short walk from our Airbnb with Mexican fair and plenty of entertainment. Skeeball and shuffleboard were our go-to games, but the place has a 9-hole mini golf course and a giant Jenga.

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The next morning we decided to do set out for some monuments and museums. But first, coffee. 

On the way to Union Station from our lovely Airbnb, on the corner of F Street and 2nd Street was one of the best coffee shops I've been to in my life! That's a bold statement.

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But seriously, Ebenezers Coffeehouse was one of those places you wish you had the pleasure of spending time in every morning before work. If I had a place like this close to my house I'd definitely get up an hour early so I could hang out there at the start of my day. The coffee was delicious! The latte recipes hand drawn on the menu board were creative and tasted even better than they sounded. It happened to be Ashley's birthday weekend, so she ordered the birthday cake latte (iced) and taking a sip was every bit of frosting, cake, I think I even tasted the sprinkles... and coffee of course. So good! Other unique latte choices included a Vanilla Rose Latte and Spiced Brown Sugar Latte. Because I'm watching my carbs I opted for their house made sugar free vanilla latte and I added almond milk as well. So good! No chemical artificial sugar taste here! Heaven in a plastic cup.

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 Clearly we had a bit of fun hanging out in here. Although I'm not sure where the sticker on my husband's face came from.

Clearly we had a bit of fun hanging out in here. Although I'm not sure where the sticker on my husband's face came from.

Union Station is pretty amazing in and of itself. It's a gorgeous building and there's plenty of shopping to do to pass the time if you're waiting to catch the Amtrak. Even if you're just passing through to catch the metro there may be something to tempt you. Personally, we got held up by the H&M and the Shake Shack. If you didn't know, Shake Shack is everything. And we don't have one in Virginia Beach, so we had to indulge.

 Gorgeous Union Station

Gorgeous Union Station

 Ashley exiting the Metro at Smithsonian

Ashley exiting the Metro at Smithsonian

Sometimes I watch the news, and unfortunately sometimes I go months without paying attention to what's going on around me. It's one thing I want to work on. But what I've missed on my news checking hiatus was that we were in DC the same weekend as the "Gun March." It was an interesting day to be in our Nation's Capital. While I won't share my opinions on the subject, I will tell you what we saw.

From the distance between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, about a 30 minute walk if you stop and take in the WWII Monument and the Reflecting pool, we saw dozens of teenagers and their parents with handmade signs, sharing their passions and opinions on what's been happening in our schools. There was a young man strapped with two samurai swords and a sign on his chest that read "F*CK GUNS, SWORDS ARE COOLER." That was a little scary.

 View from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial

View from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial

From here we wanted to visit the Spy Museum, but it was about a 30 minute walk, so we decided to save some time and call an Uber. What an experience. We had no idea the streets between here and the Spy Museum would be flooded with children, teenagers, and so many others who are passionate about changing our current gun safety laws. The drive should have taken 7 minutes, but actually took all of the 30 minutes we were trying to save. It was invigorating to see so  many people taking a stand on something they believe in. But we were shocked by how many people there were on the streets. We actually exited our Uber early and pushed our way through the crowd because we realized it would be quicker. 

We stopped at a poke shop, Poki DC on the way to the museum and it was amazing! No exaggerations here, it was the best poke I've had (and I've been to Maui, so that's saying something!) The coolest part is that the shop is set up sort of like a Chipotle. You get to pick all of your toppings and they assemble the bowls for you. I was especially pleased that I had the option of choosing zucchini noodles instead of rice as my base!

 via PokiDC's instagram

via PokiDC's instagram

The International Spy Museum was the only museum I personally had not yet visited. It is one of the only museums in the district that requires a fee to visit, which is probably why I've avoided it. Not that I'm cheap by any means, but with so many free museums in the area, it's hard to choose one you have to pay for. But I have to be honest, it wasn't my favorite. I'm not extremely interested in espionage and the history thereof, so I'm going to blame it on that because the museum itself is amazing. The setup, themes, and amount of true artifacts were all impressive. If you are interested in the history of war spies, espionage and the tools used, you will love this museum.

Two years ago, I was in the district with my husband before we were married, attending a wedding. My husband was an usher in the wedding and was included on all of the groomsmen activities. One of them was drinks at POV at The W between the ceremony and the reception. I was not included, but my husband told me about this place and I was extremely envious! It sounded like such a cool bar. So when Ashley said she wanted to go out for drinks on our last night in the district, I immediately thought of this place. POV is a rooftop bar in DC. It overlooks the Washington Monument, the White House and several other landmarks in the surrounding area. It's a gorgeous and very swanky bar! It's pricey, but worth a stop if you're in the area and looking for incredible views. We came here pretty late in the evening, about 10 pm and the club vibes were in full effect, but I have to imagine the sunset from here is incredible and it's probably a great place for locals to stop and have an after work drink.

There's so much to do in this amazing city, but we only had a small amount of time, so our trip was short. We simply aren't ones to rush around, keeping an agenda when we travel. Better to relax, take in the views and enjoy every step and bite.

We drove back home the next morning, but not without stopping in at Ebenezer's for one last latte.

If you've visited Washington, DC recently please leave a comment and tell me your favorite places to see and eat at so that I can include them in my next trip up!

Painted Linoleum Floors

I'm not complaining when I say this, but I don't know what to do with the space in this house. I told my husband the other night that I would be excited to sell it one day and move into a smaller one. He looked at me like I was crazy. I was then informed that he had always dreamed of an even bigger home! Currently, our home is about 3,000 square feet. And to me, that is HUGE! I grew up in a three bedroom ranch where we stacked a working tv on top of a broken tv, my dresser was at one point crafted out of an old amp box, and most of what we had was found, thrifted or handed down. I always just sort of worked with what I had, which wasn't much. Trying to fill the space of this house is so foreign to me and because of my roots, I'm not quick to go out and spend a ton of money doing it. I'm slowly working my way through our home, room by room filling it with things we love and tweaking it here and there, but my thriftiness has not dissipated much! 

Most recently I decided to tackle the mudroom. Between our garage and first floor living space is this tiny little room that we've sort of just been using as a makeshift storage space. It looked like crap to be honest, which is sad because it's literally the first room we walk into after a long day at work. And we just passed right through, leaving our shoes on and completely neglecting it. It should be used as an actual mudroom! It needed a pretty bench to sit and put our shoes on, a place to hang coats, and a place to store a wet umbrella. A real mudroom!

On Pinterest I was coming across pictures of mudrooms with gorgeous built-ins, coatracks and intricate shelving. Needless to say, I knew something was missing in our mudroom before it would ever resemble the beautiful ones I saw online, but I wasn't sure what it was.

And then I realized.

It was the floor.

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Oh god, the floor! How could I have overlooked this major detail for so long?

I immediately did some research. Plenty of tutorials on painted tile, but not much on linoleum. I decided to take what I knew and run with it. And the results couldn't have been better!

For a full video tutorial on this project, click here.

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This project was extremely simple, especially for the small amount of space I was making over. I could have done this project from start to finish in one day. I did not because... LIFE. But even if you were doing this in a large space, it is still a simple project and will not take an overwhelming amount of time. It involves only a few steps and minimal supplies.

S U P P L I E S

  1. Hand sander and 80 grit sandpaper

  2. Broom/vaccuum

  3. Cleaner (Krud Kutter or Windex - both work.)

  4. Bullseye Zinsen 1-2-3 Primer (I used the color white.)

  5. Stencil (Mine is from Michael's and cost me $10.00) You can find them on Etsy as well.

  6. Painter's Tape

  7. Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (I used the color Graphite.)

  8. Foam roller, paint brush, paint tray

  9. Minwax Polycrilic Protective Finish (Make sure you get the crystal clear finish. I also got mine in a clear semi gloss finish.)

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S T E P S

  1. Sand your floor with your hand sander and 80 grit sandpaper. This step is optional, but I chose to sand my linoleum because I wanted to make sure the primer adhered as much as possible)

  2. Sweep your dust up and vacuum it. Make sure you remove as much as possible from the floors, walls and anywhere else it has landed. You don't want it falling into your paint later.

  3. Clean the floor with Krud Kutter, Windex, or any other cleaner/degreaser.

  4. Paint your floor. I used a roller and a paint brush to cut the edges. The Bullseye Zinsser 1-2-3 Primer has a varnish in it and dries fairly quickly, about 1 hour between coats. I did 3 coats on my floor.

  5. Stencil your floor. I used the painters tape to secure the stencil and Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint in graphite. The linoleum has perforated squares and I made sure to choose a stencil that fit perfectly inside the squares. It was easy to keep my pattern and to move quickly through this process because of that. I also used an Annie Sloan foam roller and tray to roll the paint out directly onto the stencil. Be sure not to use too much pressure during this step as the paint will bleed under the stencil and look splotchy when you remove it.

  6. Seal your floor. The Minwax Polycrilic Protective finish needs about two hours dry time and I rolled out two coats.

 

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Shoutout to Delightful Digs in Virginia Beach for being a wonderful, helpful and friendly Annie Sloan supplier. The girls who work in this gorgeous store are always full of tips and tricks and they're always excited to hear about what project I'm doing next. If you're in the Virginia Beach area, check out the store. It has the cutest gifts, jewelry, and house decor.

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Also a shoutout to my assistant, professional fur tracker, and all around whiney girl, Darla.

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What to Do When Your Best Friend Moves Away

It may feel like losing a limb, but as we grow older and venture into new chapters in our lives, we move around and sometimes it's away from someone we love.

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This Fall, my best friend Ashley is packing up her house, her career, husband and two dogs, and moving all the way from Virginia Beach, Virginia to paradise, also known as Destin, Florida. Ashley is my person and I'm going to have a hard time adjusting to her absence. But here's what I plan to do to cope.

1. Throw a kick ass going away party
I called this one when I first heard about the move. I told my bestie, "I don't care who offers, I'm the one throwing you a going away party!" It's going to be a fantastic distraction for me, as I will not have time to think about how much I'm going to miss her when I'm busy planning a party! And it will be an amazing send off from all of her friends in Virginia - a chance for everyone to give them a going away gift or simply say goodbye. 

 

2. Invest in really beautiful stationary and stamps
One thing about Ashley is that she loves cards and handwritten notes - pretty paper in general. Every time her and I shop together, she stops in the stationary or office section and picks out cards I'm convinced she won't use anytime soon, notepads, and anything aesthetic that she can write on. I know it will mean so much to her when she receives a gorgeous handwritten letter all the way from lonely ole' Virginia. Plus, writing her letters is going to help me keep up my gorgeous handwriting. That was sarcasm, but on a serious note, my handwriting could use some help so maybe it will improve!

3. Plan trips to see each other
No matter the distance, you have to commit to still seeing each other, even if it's once every other year. You can meet halfway or swap traveling. Maybe next year you'll be the one to travel to your bestie, and then the year after that your bestie will be the one traveling to you. In our case, and since we are each other's hair stylists, we've agreed that we will meet half way quarterly. It's a 7 hour drive for the each of us and we can pick a new city each time, spend a weekend gossiping, sipping iced coffee and doing each other's hair.

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4. Have weekly FaceTime meetings
The truth is that once you get married and start your adult life with your partner, maybe even start having children, you don't get to have a lot of face to face time with your friends. The nights of going out and partying til 3 am, sleeping over each other's houses and dragging yourselves to brunch the next morning (just to start the cycle over again) are gone. Ashley and I realize that with our current lifestyles and the way technology has so completely inserted itself in our lives that the majority of our relationship is actually spent communicating on our phones. Why should that change?
Well, inevitably it will. Ashley will start her new life in a new city, grow relationships with new people, and spend her time differently. But having weekly or even biweekly FaceTime or phone conversations will help keep us bonded and included in each other's lives. Make sure you keep texting your bestie and face timing. Especially when something important happens in your lives. 

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5. Open yourself up more to current friends and acquaintances
Your person may be gone, but that doesn't mean you should close yourself off to everyone and wallow in self pity. If you're anything like me, you have a lot of people in your daily life who you only consider to be acquaintances. One of these people may enjoy a little more attention now that your bestie isn't filling up your weekends. Because someone was already filling that role of "best friend," they may not have asked you to engage on a more personal level. Now's the time open yourself up to deeper relationships with people who are already in your life.

6. Get to know yourself again
This is definitely the most important thing on this list. When you have a "person," "bestie," "partner in crime," what ever way you want to call it, you often identify tremendously with that person on many levels. Ashley and I own a business together, we work out at the same gym, and we spend as much time together as we can, even if that's just running to Starbucks on a break at work and chatting for 5 minutes. My life largely revolves around her, whether I intend for it to or not. When she's physically missing from my life I'm going to have to get to know me without her. In order for you to get through this time, this has to be a positive thing. Focus on what you like about yourself, what you truly love to do, and try to enjoy sitting inside a Starbucks again. (Who am I kidding!? Starbucks will never be the same without her.)

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Many friendships have stood the test of time and distance. Ours should be no different. I know our friendship has been unique and that we will always pick up where we left off.

Good luck to anyone who's losing their person! Look forward to this next chapter in both of your lives. May you have an infinite amount of data for facetiming and endless battery power on your phones!

My Shiplap Walls - What I Wish I Knew Before I Started

I love my shiplap walls, so I'm not saying I regret doing them, but goodness I wish I knew more about this project before I started it.

Bloggers and YouTubers don't always show every single step in a project and they certainly don't always talk about how long a project takes. Often they film a project and then speed it up later when editing it, so what you see is a time lapse version of the project making it look super quick and easy. It's such an illusion!

In this video I'm talking about how long my recent shiplap project actually took, how much money it cost ($755.00,) and all of the speed bumps we went over during it.

Check out my video below for a full rant on my shiplap walls! And if you haven't seen my full tutorial for this project, check it out here.

xo Megan

How to (ACTUALLY) Install Shiplap

After watching video after video and reading blog post after blog post of how people are installing the "fixer upper" shiplap look into their homes, I decided to try it for myself. I am absolutely blown away with the results, but it didn't happen without a few bumps in the road. Below is my full tutorial on this process and the complications my husband and I ran into during this project. 

Quitting my career and becoming a stay at home WIFE

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I never thought I would say these words..

I am quitting my career and becoming a stay at home wife.

Let me start out by giving you a little background story..
I have been working since I was 15. My first job was at a thrift store, sorting through the bins of clothes and donated items, spraying them with disinfectant and managing $3.15 transactions on the oldest cash register known to mankind. Over the years I have worked at an amusement park, a fast food restaurant (If you can even call them "restaurants,") and several other restaurants waitressing and bartending. I have never ever, a single day in my life not had a job!

 

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In 2010, I fell into my career as a hair stylist. That year I was twenty one years old, 4 months pregnant and in an emotionally (and often physically) abusive relationship. Facing an unexpected pregnancy with a man I knew I could not spend my life with, I also decided bartending in a hotel bar could not be my end game. Luckily, I stumbled upon an ad for a local Paul Mitchell cosmetology school and I thought to myself "I can do that."  With zero experience or background in the beauty industry, something inside me told me to go for it anyway.
After a miscarriage, 11 months of cosmetology school, and a very scary breakup, I felt that being a hair stylist was still something I wanted to pursue. And since starting my career, it has thankfully been non stop growth.
I got my first job as a stylist, fresh out of hair school at one of the busiest and most popular salons in Hampton Roads. Four years in, I outgrew the place and decided to pack up my blow dryer and move on to a smaller, more intimate boutique salon. Two years after that, with the support of my wonderful clients and with the help of my best friend/business partner, the next most natural step was to go into business for myself.

So here I am alongside my best friend, Ashley, a proud business owner of our own salon space, living what most hair stylists would call the dream, and now I'm walking away from it to become a stay at home wife.

It has taken me many sleepless nights, daydreams over cups of coffee, conversations with my husband, best friend, clients, and really anyone who will listen for me to be able to come to this decision. I started with nothing at the beginning of this, but as hard as it is to walk away from a career I worked so hard to build, I know I am making the right decision for myself, my husband, and our future children. Let me tell you why.. and maybe I can help another person on the fence about ending their career.

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  1. My best friend (and business partner) is moving
    This is perhaps the saddest and scariest part of everything. I met Ashley at the first salon I worked at and we have been on our career journey together, side by side, ever since. We have taken the same classes, worked at the same salons and now we have our own salon space together. She however, has other plans and they are taking her down to Destin, Florida to be closer to her family. The universe somehow always has a way of aligning the stars for us, and though I am going to miss my best friend immensely, I also know that her leaving is pushing me in this direction: to close the business, to focus on my passions, and to start a family with my husband - all things that I ultimately want!

  2. I plan to be a stay at home mother.
    This is something I knew I wanted when I met my husband. My mother stayed home with my brother and I until we went to kindergarten, and I distinctly remember the times when she was not with us and I had to be watched at a babysitter's. These were some of the hardest, darkest times of my childhood. I, personally, want to be the one raising my children. Not to mention, daycare is outrageously expensive!

  3. Financial Stability
    Here's how I look at this one.. If I continue to work (despite the loss of my business partner) up until the very last day that I can possibly stand before I birth my first child, my husband and I will go from two incomes down to one in the blink of an eye while simultaneously adjusting to parenthood with a newborn at home. That sounds stressful. It makes more sense to us to adjust to a single income before we start a family. We will navigate that, work out the kinks and then we will add the cost of a child into the equation. Avoiding any issues during what is already seemingly a huge transition seems to be the best road to take.

  4. I'm moonlighting
    I have a lot of hobbies I would like to develop and hopefully turn into some sort of profitable venture while I one day raise my children. Working full time, meal prepping, keeping my house clean, working out, running and folding the laundry - all on top of these hobbies often leaves me with one choice. Hobbies or rest. If I want to explore these passions of mine I choose to get zero rest and at the end of the week I feel mentally and physically drained. Taking a hiatus from or simply ending my career is giving me the opportunity to explore these other things I have passion for more thoroughly. If I ever plan to turn any sort of profit from them, I won't be able to do that while working a full time job as well.

  5. I want to be prepared.
    If we are planning to have children, I want to go into that chapter of my life with a sound body and mind. Many mothers will tell you things like "Oh, you'll never be ready enough," and "nothing can prepare you!" That may be all well and true, but that doesn't mean I should just come crashing through the doors of motherhood, comb and shears in hand trying to figure out where I'm going to find the time to do this or that. I need to get myself in order before I go into this next chapter of my life. I have the chance to do so, and I'm taking it. I know from first hand experience what it's like to be pregnant by surprise, so why not take the time to prepare myself this time around.

  6. My dog is fat
    This is actually not entirely true. She's at a decent weight right now, but it could be better. You see, with my husband and I working full time while keeping up with the house and everything else that comes with daily life, our precious Darla doesn't get as much exercise as she really needs. Her weight has yo-yo'd up and down over the last year or so with diet adjustments and veterinary advice, but at the end of the day she really just needs to go for at least a daily walk. Once I'm not working full time, I'll be able to properly exercise her and give her the attention she really deserves.

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I know some may guffaw when they hear what I've decided. Some may ask what I plan to do with my time, assuming I'm going to be sleeping in everyday and binging on Netflix. Some may even consider me privileged. I don't come from a world of stay at home wives and stay at home mothers. My parents struggled to pay bills those few years my mother was home with us and she went back to work as soon as I went to school. I feel extremely grateful to be on the cusp of such an opportunity. It is a reminder that I have found the best partner in my husband because he truly values not only me and my time, but also our future children and the beautiful family we hope to one day have.

Feel free to comment with your thoughts and feelings on this subject. Is anyone planning to do the same or is already living this life? Leave your struggles and triumphs below.

Photo Credit: Charlyn Daiger at CS Photography