2015 Resolution

I  have a problem... I don't think I have been thinking for myself for a while now. It all started when I realized that I didn't like the music I was listening to as I was going from station to station in my car a little while back. I felt like I hadn't "discovered" a song in over a decade that wasn't already playing over the radio and through everyone's heads and that started to bother me. I used to love music. I used to buy albums and my favorite song was not always the A track... or even B track.

This lead to other realizations. My wedding, my house, my car, my clothes. How influenced was I becoming by others? By the media? I don't think I was always this type of person, one that was not able to be herself! When did this all start?

It might have something to do with social media. We are let into so many peoples' lives and sometimes that is a good thing, like for helpful hints or tips, but sometimes we can start comparing ourselves to others and that is a slippery slope. We become a nation of copycats and sheep and keeping up with the Joneses as your neighbor gets inflated to everyone you have ever known in your whole life. In the past, a simple call to your mom about why your baby is crying is now suddenly turned into hours of online research because there is just TOO MUCH DAMN INFORMATION AVAILABLE!

Taking on too much is also an issue. We think we can have it all because so and so has it all. They work and workout and have a clean house and even put elf on the shelf in the cutest little positions for their darling children says their pictures! So, that slippery slope comes in and knocks us on our asses. In my reality I am tired, pennyless, childless, anxious, and could lose a few pounds. But as my coworker says, nothing is ever as good or as bad as it seems, and it isn't.

Back to not only just having it all, but it is all at our fingertips! Recipes, directions, phone numbers, to do lists... we have conditioned ourselves to be able to turn on a crockpot and do three times the errands of our parents, and we just try to take on more and more like an insatiable creature. My sister and I laugh that my mom will tell us her morning is just "too full" to do anything. She says she has to pay bills and go to the post office. That woman goes to the post office more than anyone I know, and I don't think I have been to one since I had to drop off a return to Amazon.com a year ago, but she has a point. 

My mother sets aside all morning to pay bills and go to the post office while these are things that I do during my lunch hour at work and from the comfort of my own desk. Automatic bill pay, online shopping, emails... all things that are keeping me from getting fresh air, sunshine, steps in, and speaking to people. Oh, and keeping me from a truly "unplugged" vacation. What is this going to do to our generation?!

All of this brings me to the point of this whole post, which is to take some time to define my New Year's Resolution - to decrease stress. This is a complicated thing to try to accomplish (which sort of diminishes the whole "less stress" thing, don't ya think?!?) but I am going to try my best. I think implementing the following would be a great start to the new year.

1. Stop being so plugged into social media and frivolous news.

Yes. This. I run into complete strangers that know more about my life than my father does, simply because he does not have facebook. I have pared down my friends list and removed all picture albums over a year old. I will continue to do this over the coming years and be more discerning of what I share and what I don't. I heard once that for an entire year, on someone's birthday, that is when you can decide if you want to keep them as friends or not since it will go through each person day by day for the next year... not a bad idea!

2. Stop worrying about what others think of you. 

I want to look at each situation as to what I want... will this make me happy? Do I actually WANT to go to that party? So and so does not give a crap if I am happy... am I? Not only do I want to let go of what others think of me, but I want to create some ME time. I want to do things that interest me, even if I have to do them alone.

3. Stop being a stranger.

My mom once told me that if she ever gets a grumpy cashier, it becomes her goal to make them laugh or smile. I love that sentiment. It's easy to do and sometimes making others smile is the best way to put a grin on your own face. I want to call my friends and family more. Spending time with people that I WANT TO spend time with is a start.

4. Stop saying “yes” all the time & get more sleep.

I have already started implementing this one... and it is a good feeling. When saying yes will negatively affect an aspect of your life; like sleep, anxiety, procrastination, money, etc., then say no! I also need to personally start going to bed a half an hour before I actually want to be asleep. Since when has getting up from the tv, brushing teeth, washing face, contacts, pajamas, moving laundry, letting the dog out, etc. taken only a minute.

5. Stop thinking you have to get it right on the first try.

This is the hardest one for me. I am a perfectionist and sometimes it holds me back. I am afraid to fail... and I shouldn't be. It takes me longer to begin things sometimes because I don't want to do them wrong. Most of it is in my head and within my own fears. Seize the day!


End of Year - Date Mess Up!

It is that time of year when all of the files that you have been storing by date are going to get messed up if you start with the month. I would like this to be a nationwide movement, but maybe I am the only one who cares! YEAR FIRST PEOPLE!

For example, if you start with the date, month first, the newest one is no longer in order…

01-01-15 – January Expense Report 2015
02-01-15 – February Expense Report 2015
10-01-14 – October Expense Report 2014
11-01-14 – November Expense Report 2014
12-01-14 – December Expense Report 2014

Now, if we put the year first…

14-10-01 – October Expense Report 2014
14-11-01 – November Expense Report 2014
14-12-01 – December Expense Report 2014
15-01-01 – January Expense Report 2015
15-02-01 – February Expense Report 2015

See? Everything stays in order and your new files don’t move to the top (or bottom, depending on order) and you can easily see the newest file. This saves me valuable time and frustration!

Also, I had a studio leader as me to add the "20" in front of the year so that she new for sure that was the year... and I have no problem with that at all, so that is what I do now! Just a little tip for ya. :)

2015-02-01 February Expense Report


Running on Fumes...

 Having one of those double caffeinated kind of days!


House Update - December

Paint Colors
Body - siding - Dorian Gray - SW 7017
Body - board and batten - Gauntlet Gray - SW 7019
Body - base - Tricorn Black - SW 6258
Trim - White Sherwin Williams Superpaint


Wood Floors

So, I said that I would like to have ash flooring, based on my inspiration image of these ash floors with an ebony stain below: 

That was price prohibitive so what is a girl with dreams of a non-browny floor to do?

White oak was our answer. 

We went with 4.25" (if we went any wider, they would also have to be glued down instead of just nailed) solid white oak and have decided on Jacobean as the stain color. I told my flooring finisher that I would like for them to show a lot of grain so we went with the "common" grade which has more grain but not many knots.

Here they are laid and ready to be finished.

We are finishing up other things (like interior paint!) before the flooring can be done so I will post a picture once they are ready.



Let me start this disclaimer out by saying that insulation is a TOUGH topic to wrap your mind around... and I don't want you to take any of this as architectural advice, but more of a general conversation about insulation as a whole, and the many challenges and questions that you should ask yourself and your professional when you are thinking about insulating (or re-insulating) your home.

Here are some examples below:
  1. What is my climate? Do I use air conditioning or heat more? Is it humid or dry where I live? 
  2. What direction does my home face in regards to the sun exposure? Is it mostly shady or does my home receive direct sun most of the day?
  3. How much can I afford when it comes to insulation?
  4. Are there any pre-existing conditions which would determine the type of insulation I should use?
  5. How is the condition or presence of a vapor barrier on my home?
  6. Will the insulation be exposed to any of the elements? Air, rain, animals, etc.
  7. Do I want to decrease my energy bill as much as possible, or is my home already quite efficient?
  8. Where are my HVAC units located?
  9. Do I have a hot damp crawl space or a hot damp attic?
  10. Is this an older home or new construction? 
Basically, the main idea is to figure out your problem areas and the best way to fix them within your budget. I think insulation is has good, better, and best categories, and personally we went for the "better" for our home build.

Below I will share with you the choices that we made and why we made them:

Spray Foam:
The single most important number one place that needs to be insulated well is at your roof deck, and the best insulation out there is spray foam. We chose closed cell spray foam because it also adds some vapor protection and we are housing our HVAC units in the attic... this will put them underneath the insulation and within our thermal barrier, thus making them more efficient. We did pay about twice as much for it as we would have if we had gone with regular insulation, but a few thousand dollars now will save much more in the future.

Exterior Walls | R-19 batt insulation:
There are studies out there that have been conducted and there is also conflicting information about sealing a house too "tight" and that it "needs to breathe." This is one of the reasons that we went with batt insulation at the exterior walls. We want to keep out MOST of the water and humidity and heat down here in the south, but if some water happens to get in our walls via a window, etc. it will be able to get back out.

Crawl Space | R-30 batt insulation
This would have been the area in which I would have chosen to add spray foam if we could have afforded it. Even upgrading to R-30 in lieu of R-19 only cost about a quarter of the price of spraying foam underneath our house. We saved several thousand dollars and if we decide to add it in the future, it is much easier to add here than at the roof deck or within the envelope of the house.

Sound Batt Insulation
Any area that you can add sound insulation, especially between floors and including bathrooms, media rooms, and bedrooms at least, do it! I would say to just insulate at every interior wall for simplicity, but this may not be feasible. It cost us about $1,000 to have a much quieter house, but I have a feeling that after they install, we will be buying additional rolls from a hardware store and sticking it where we can!

I hope this helps! Any areas that I can share our home building experience with you, I will try to do it!

Note: Compressing batt insulation decreases the value of it... never force extra into a large space - leave it soft and lofty for maximum insulation-ability.


Tile, tile, and more tile...

Tile selection, by far, has been one of the most difficult parts of the interior design process that I am working through for our personal house. Not only are there a bajillion choices in color, size, and thickness, but there are also varying degrees of price ranges and that makes it incredibly hard.

I really had to start narrowing down.

For me, that process meant finding an inspiration room and I have looked at probably 1,000 or more bathroom pics online and came up with this one as the inspiration for our master bath.

Because I have been searching for tile and perusing types online, I feel like I am now surrounded by it. Every ad, article, and targeting marketing strategy is now aimed at getting me to buy their tile... nice try. I cannot be coerced, it has to be perfect!

The trick with tile is to have a few pattens and colors for visual interest, varying degrees of sizes for the type of application (floor, wall, shower, etc.), and just a little bit of the really expensive stuff for that wow factor. And don't forget that it all needs to coordinate!

I have an appointment with my favorite tile person in a few days... we shall see what I come up with! 


ALS Ice Bucket

I do want to start this post by saying that I love all the attention that is being brought to ALS lately due to the viral fad of the ice bucket challenge. It is a horribly debilitating disease, and bringing awareness to the world about it along with raising money and having a little fun are all good things.

That being said - I really don’t get the ALS bucket challenge. The concept is great! But, I think people are doing it wrong? 

Let me explain… the idea is to give money to the charity, or spread the word by posting a video of yourself dumping ice on your head as punishment. Right? Why would people donate money AND throw ice water on their head?

I have seen in some videos where the pre-wet individual states the names they are calling out and a statement that they must donate $100 or dump the ice water… so by posting that video, are they saying that they did NOT donate? Or that they did donate, but just not $100 so they still dumped the water?

I don’t make a big deal out of my yearly donations, and I certainly don’t tell the world that I did NOT donate, so I am not sure if the challenge is for me. However, I haven’t been “called out” yet. Either way, ALS has now had MILLIONS of dollars given to their cause, so in the end, I guess it worked!


Here's a tip, Miami

I just got back from a 40th birthday trip with my older sister to Miami, FL. We had a great time! But there was something I had rarely experienced before, and it seemed to be the norm in Miami.

Tips were included. Like everywhere.

Normally, I get it. People suck and they don’t know how to tip… but what about bad service? Isn’t the WHOLE idea behind tipping in the service industry is that they work extra hard and give you better service and thus their tip can be more or less depending on the quality?

We had HORRIBLE service one day during lunch and 18% gratuity was included automatically… just seems to go against the entire idea behind tipping if you ask me.

All in all, I typically tip more than 18%, but in the case of the lunch that took 2 hours, she would have only gotten a couple of bucks.

Either way, Miami is fun and beautiful and we had great weather, as indicated by the below.


40th Birthday Cups!

My sister and her friend are turning 40 this month, so we are headed to Miami for some girl fun this weekend! I am trying to be budget friendly as of late because of our house build, but I still really wanted to do some special things to make the trip as memorable as possible.

While perusing the fun cup section at a local craft store, I was drawn to these cheetah print and pink insulated tumblers and thought they would be fun to have on the beach! But they were $10.00 a piece! and kind of plain if I'm being honest, so I would want to decorate them which equals more money.

Putting them back and feeling defeated I went next door to the Dollar Tree just to see what they had and low and behold, the perfect drink cup for the beach! For a dollar. That means I bought up the four pink ones that I needed and headed BACK to the craft store to pick up some ribbon, jewels, and initials.

Here they are! A little hot glue to affix the ribbon and $4 a piece later and now we have blinged out birthday cups perfect for the beach. Tip: Have a light hand and use the hot glue sparingly... I accidentally cracked one where I puddled the glue up, good thing it was mine!


House Update

Here we are! Windows, doors, and roof that you can see, and mechanical, electrical, and plumbing that you can't... It is moving along quite well! :)



I can't tell if this makes me laugh out of anger or comedy. Sometimes I wish stereotypes wouldn't be proven right! That is so like a North Charleston police officer to be caught doing something wrong while the damn Mt. Pleasant officer rescues a deer. Disgusted.


#Reckless in Charleston

Being that Charleston is on the opposite side of the country from Los Angeles, it is kind of a big deal when we get to see or hear of a movie or show being filmed here. There is a new show called Reckless that has been on for a few weeks and I thought I would share my view on their take of Charleston below!

  • The accent that they portray Charlestonians to have is a bit too southern. The people that I have met who were actually born and raised in the Charleston area (including my husband) don’t really have a southern accent at all! …except for a few phrases and using “y’all.”
  • In one of the first scenes of one of the first episodes, a girl is using a handheld fan on herself while in the courthouse as if the AC was broke. Let me tell you, if there is one thing that places in Charleston know how to do, it is to blast you with air conditioning! She would not need that fan, but she may need a sweater!
  • The police station is actually on the other side of the peninsula from where they are filming. The building that they are using as the station is actually for shops and bars and boat tours leave from there… still looks great in the show though!
  • One of the lines from the most recent episodes was to “go drink some beer and count the fireflies”…  I wonder what number they would get to if they actually counted? My bet is on 0.
  • The route that Cam Gigandet (Roy Rader) takes to get to downtown from his home on John’s Island by boat is kind of funny. I borrowed this map from Charleston City Paper (below) and it shows the route that he would take based on the scenery that you get from his boat ride. Seems like he got a little lost!

I really am enjoying the show though! I have been trying to see if it is because I am living here or if it is because it is actually good. I will tell you one thing... Cam Gigandet is easy on the eyes either way!


Pop Quiz?

I often have the thought… maybe I should have been a teacher? It usually comes about when summer kicks in and I see all my teacher friends on vacation for the next couple of months... but it quickly passes as I really do love what I do. Every once in a while though, I think about how I would be as a teacher, and today I had an idea about pop quizzes. I don’t ever remember taking a single pop quiz in my younger days (have only seen them in movies), but what if teachers did have them? 

Pop quizzes could be used as an incentive to take notes, and subsequently remember to bring said notes to class. If there was ever a pop quiz, the students could be allowed to use their notebooks (not their textbooks) and would thus be rewarded for taking good notes and paying attention? I don’t know about you all, but I think I would be inspired to take much better notes if that were the case!

There would have to be rules, though. Nothing could be pasted into the notebook (photocopies of the book), they would all have to be handwritten (and in your handwriting!), nothing verbatim from the book, and maybe some of it is done on your own as homework. It's just a random thought I had!

From Charleston, South Carolina to your computer. I hope you enjoy. :)