Thursday, May 26, 2016

Life Update

So, my professional life has/is undergoing a few changes - you know, windows closing, doors opening kinda stuff. I'm not typically one who loves change, however for some reason professional change really excites me, even if it is of the window closing variety.

First up:

I am hanging up my hat as's Kitchen Expert. 

I  really enjoyed my first free lance writing gig with and was their Kitchens Expert for a little over a year. During the past year I have written over 50 articles related to one of my favorite subjects and I'm really proud of the content that I shared, but the time has come to move on.

This little change came at the perfect time becauseeeeeee.......

The company I work for - Bell Kitchen & Bath Studios is opening a new showroom in Buckhead and I am going to be Director! This showroom is going to showcase all of our cabinetry offerings with a focus on our custom work and I am so excited for this new opportunity.   We are working on designs for the new space now and I'm pumped to turn this blank slate into an inspiring, creative atmosphere to help people bring their kitchen and bath dreams to life.

So, that's what's up with me as of late. To all of you who read my Kitchens Articles over on - Thank you!

Now, I'm off to rest up in preparation of this 3 day weekend full of all things Patio Project.... get ready for a big update next week, we have made a lot of progress and should make even more after this extra long weekend!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

3 Things On my Mind

So this post is a little different in that there is no one theme, project, product, baby or design I'm talking about. Instead I just want to share 3 totally unrelated things with you that happen to be rolling around in my brain at the moment.

O N E:

Ok, so we have all heard about the popularity of the steam unit as an appliance in the kitchen right? Well, now there is one for the closet! The LG Styler, ever heard of it?

Photo from LG website

I came across this new (to me) little jewel on snapchat of all places and I was instantly enamored with it. A bunch of fashion bloggers I follow on snap must of been given this unit on the same day because I went from never having heard of it to seeing it multiple times in an hour. Once my curiosity was sparked, I did what anyone would do and I googled that beast. And I want one. OY, great, I know, another thing to add to my every growing wish list, but in all seriousness this thing sounds pretty legit.

So, how does it work? Well, steam blows around inside the unit while the hangers twirl your clothes  around causing wrinkles to fall and your clothes to come out looking fresh from the dry cleaners. The appliance uses a TrueSteam technology in addition to a deoderizer to reduce foul smells that often cling to fabric.

At 17 1/2" wide and 23" deep this unit could easily fit in the laundry room OR inside your closet. The downside? It's $2000........womp womp.

T W O:

If you know me at all you know I'm no cook, I'm barely even a sous chef and the ultimate bad influence when it comes to food. I could eat cheese dip for every meal and sometimes I do! But, as of late Brent and I have really been trying to cook at home more. Not only is it generally healthier, but it saves money and time, which is nice. My sister Candace has been helping with meal ideas and she recently introduced me to a trick that has blown my mind. Get ready....

Greek know, this stuff:

Photo from Google Search


A legit, tastes-the-same substitute!!! Did you all know this? Am I the last to state the obvious?? Typically when people tell me of these tricks I act like I believe them, but I know deep down they have only fooled themselves into believing it's the same. The truth is I'm a tough critic. I can smell a diet food a mile away, but this trick...this trick is legit. We have made a fajita dish recipe of Candace's twice now and each time we have used greek yogurt as opposed to sour cream and both times Brent and I were shocked at how satisfying and delicious it is.

T H R E E:

Yesterday morning in an attempt to make my bed I somehow knocked over my night stand (because you know... muscles) and broke my lamp. 

The black and white lamp in the photo below. 

Brent witnessed the whole thing and in an attempt to make me feel better was nonchalantly all like "it's just a Target lamp". He was right, it was just a Target lamp, but the thing about Target is....once it's gone, it's gone. This particular lamp was from the Nate Berkus Collection circa 2013 (ish) and while I only paid +/- $30 for it, the fact that now I can't replace it makes it, and all of my Target finds seem that much more valuable. The moral of this little story...I'm not really sure. All I do know is that I'm one lamp short, so if you happen upon this lamp somewhere out there in the cyber world let me know! 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Patio Project - Part 2

Last we talked we were in the thick of the demo phase and since then there has been a lot of concrete dust,  concrete lifting (ouch), math that makes my head hurt and progress...sweet, sweet progress. It really helped to get all of the clutter cleared out so we could start with a nice clean slate to really dig into the details of the new vision. One thing we knew for sure was the pizza oven was going to be the center point of our new patio plan, not because it is necessarily the favorite, but because it will literally sit in the middle, so we decided to start there and work our way out. As you saw a few weeks ago, the existing patio/fence has an angled bump out in the corner which was weird and random ,but strangely enough the perfect spot for the pizza oven.

The pizza oven itself will actually sit atop the existing angled concrete wall, so the first step was to remove the wood fence in this area. Our property actually goes back a bit behind the fence so once the pizza oven is built we will square off the fence behind it.

Next, we used cinder blocks to create the structure for the base of the pizza oven. The structure is 72" wide and 36" high.  The overall size of the structure was determined based off the fact that we want the pizza oven itself to be around 48" wide on the inside. We came up with a system where I applied the mortar and then Brent followed behind me with the cinder blocks.

It moved pretty fast and before we knew it we had our walls. 

Because the pizza oven is so large this time, we decided we wanted to create a fireplace underneath. Last time we left this space open below for wood, which was cool, but because this pizza oven is so much bigger we thought it would be a better use of the space to utilize it in this way. 

For the opening of the fire place, we had to make our form to pour the concrete arch. We stacked up two pieces of plywood and then drew out an arch on the top piece. The size of our arch was determined by the size we wanted the fireplace opening (24" high x 30" wide). Brent clamped the two pieces of plywood together so he could cut the arch out of both pieces at the same time. 

The form needed to be 8" wide (the size of the short side of a cinder block) so we took our pieces and nailed them together with spacers to create the form. To set the form of the actual arch we put a piece of sheet metal across the bottom arch, which we had just cut out. 

Once together, the arch form was set in place between the walls of our cinder block structure and Brent and Adam poured concrete inside. 

We let the concrete set for 2 days and then we removed the forms and......

Next we framed out the inside walls of the fireplace; again using cinder blocks to create the walls. We left a hole in the back for the flue. We had to make sure the flue was pitched so the smoke would go out the back and not out the front hole of the fireplace, which was a bit tricky but we were able to accomplish using plywood forms.

Once the walls were up and the flue forms were set up we got got another couple hundred (exaggeration) bags of heavy, dusty concrete and poured the top. 

Here is a shot of the top....

And here is a shot inside the fireplace with a glimpse at the flue opening.

During this same time we decided to hire a crew to help us out with some grading and to pour the concrete for the new steps. 

Brent and I had to jet away for a quick over night trip on the big concrete day, so my sister and brother-in-law were in town to watch Croix Boy for the night. They were busy tending to his cute self so they enlisted Piper to keep watch over the progress outside. 

When Brent and I got home the next day we were super excited to see this:

We designed the top step to be longer than the rest to create a bench for additional seating. We are so happy with how this turned out! It's crazy what a difference removing the deck and adding these steps make. It's also crazy what a 3 man crew can achieve in 6 hours. If Brent and I had attempted this work we would probably have it completed by the time Croix goes to kindergarten...MAYBE... DIY is great and all but you definitely have to recognize your limits and concrete + steps = ours. 

We made even more progress this past weekend but I will save that for my next post so as to save my wrists from carpal tunnel. :)

All photos are my own.