Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Life Lately

As a child, there isn't much better than "summer vacation". Three long months, warm weather, no alarm clock...a child's slice of heaven. And then time passes you by and you're suddenly an adult. Working through every single season, five days a week. PAINFUL. Summer somehow loses it's magical appeal when you're an adult, but if you work it just right, you can still make your summer a fun filled one, even if you have to go to work the next day.

With that said, I thought I'd share with you all some of the things I've been keeping busy with this summer!

We kicked things off with a family trip to Jacksonville, Florida to watch my not-so-little brother graduate from the University of North Florida. You can see more photos and read more about our week HERE.

Watched the Orioles beat the Nationals during the battle of the beltway at Nationals Park on Memorial Day! More about that one, HERE.

Celebrated with this handsome little fella, who turned the big 5 in June!

Took a totally awesome trip back in time and went to see 98*, Boyz II Men and the New Kids on the Block in Philadelphia. Please note: we are dressed in full 90's attire, this is NOT our normal style.

We had a small get together for the 4th of July at our house with Bubba's family.

We welcomed our new nephews and Godsons, Zack and Eli, into the Church through their Baptism at the end of July. Seriously, how cute are all of these Smith children?!

Finally, this past weekend I had a BLAST with my sister at the VH1 Mixtape Festival in Hershey Park, PA. Oh, did I mention I got to meet Taylor Hanson?! More on this encounter later... :)

What do you like to do during the summer months for fun? 

Concerts? Vacations? Parties? Leave a comment and share some of your summer fun!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Renovation Update: Bay Restoration Fund Act

Baby steps people.  We are finally getting started on our journey towards our home renovation!

We received word that we were approved by the St. Mary's County Health Department for the Bay Restoration Funding Grant. There are still a couple of documents that need to be sent in for review, such as tax return info from last year, but this is still a great first stepping stone! Once everything is in order, we will be able to get started on installing a new septic and mound system.

Based on our income from 2012, they will determine how much of the Grant funding we are eligible to receive. If collectively we've made less than $300,000 in 2012 alone, we are eligible for 100% of the Grant funding. Let's just say, we are certainly going to receive the full 100% of the Grant.

From there, we get to choose from a list of five Advanced Treatment Unit (ATU) Vendors to determine what the best style of tank is for our home. Then we can finally call our excavator [which is still yet to be decided] and get to work. I don't want to jinx myself, but I may be seeing light at the end of the tunnel, even if it's just a glimmer!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Living Room Inspiration

Since a home renovation isn't something that ever happens very quickly [unless you are one of the lucky souls picked to go on HGTV] I've decided to start planning for the one room in my house that won't be changing much throughout the renovation; the living room.
Currently our Living Room is:
- Huge
- Open
- An unattractive shade of marigold
- Lacking "flow"
My goal is to go bold and make the living room, where we and our guests spend most of their time if they aren't outside, a place of comfort, style and relaxation. Check out some of the inspiration I've gathered for this room:
Found on Pinterest - you can see more of my living room inspiration on my personal pinterest page, HERE!
I'm always looking for suggestions and ideas, so let me know what you think! Where do you find inspiration for your home decor projects?

Friday, July 19, 2013

Reveling in Reverie

Since our cottage renovation is going so slowly, I wanted to share with you one of the most beautiful and inspiring wedding photo shoots I've ever seen. Now, I have no business being a wedding blog regular since I'm coming up on my 3rd anniversary, but I just can't help myself. I love a well planned, pretty party, so my eyes are always just drawn to wedding features.

One day, while scrolling through Twitter and searching for new and fun blogs to follow, I happened upon Reverie Magazine. And, in case you [like me] were wondering what exactly "Reverie" means, they so kindly define it for you on the home page of the website:

Simply put, it's a daydream. And that is exactly what I do when I browse the pages of their website and their most recent issue of their magazine. Heavenly.

Sadly, I  got married before the days of Pinterest. I didn't have inspiration boards or the millions of ideas floating around out there today. And I may or may not be a little bitter about that...This is not to say that I'm unhappy with the way my wedding turned out. It was quite lovely in fact, but I just didn't have access to all of the planning tips and tricks that young brides do today.

So when I see inspiration like what is featured in the new issue of Reverie Magazine I long to renew my vows, even if it's just for the beautiful party that's involved. Please, please, please go check out the entire publication on line by clicking here ----> REVERIE MAGAZINE

The stunning cover shot is what drew me in. I guess you could say I have a think for classic, nautical design and style. And then I got to page 10 where I was completely engrossed in the seaside inspiration. From the invitations to the oyster shells, I was in love with every detail. Also - I realize how over the top I sound, but I really do think it's just so perfect!

I can't recommend the ladies at Reverie Magazine enough. They know what they are doing, so make sure you check them out when you need some "pretty" in your life!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Weekend Finds!

It's no secret, I love a good yard sale. And even though we haven't been to many this summer, we did venture out this past weekend to see what thrifty finds were out there. The town of La Plata in Charles County, MD held their community yard sale on Saturday, so we woke up early and made the drive North.

While I didn't find anything for our Etsy Shop, I did find quite a few little nick-knacks for myself! Check 'em out:

J.Crew navy blue maxi dress - $1.00 (best buy of the day!!), Multi-color faux pearl necklace - $1.00, Orange mini-watering can/planter - $0.25, Like-new garden snips - $1.00, Black and White New York skyline decorative plate (that will match my bathroom decor PERFECTLY) - $0.25

Technically, I only found the teapot this weekend, the groovy glass was from last summer. BUT they both have the 1950's vibe I'm looking for when I finally get around to re-doing my kitchen. How cute is this teapot though?! So retro, and only $2.00 I believe...
That old saying, "One man's trash is another man's treasure," sure is true. You never know what you'll find at a yard sale, I think that is why they are so addictive - You're always hunting for your next big discovery! Most of the time, when we find vintage glassware or unique home decor items, we list them on Etsy and sell them to shoppers out there who don't have the time to search for these rare finds or don't live in an area where they have access to such things. Our shop is currently empty, BUT I am hoping to have several new and beautiful crystal decanters and a couple other serving pieces listed by the end of the week. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Local Pickin's - Farmer Bubba

Have you joined the eating fresh trend that's suddenly taken off across the country? On that token, I need to take a minute to recognize my other half, because he's been a part of this "trend" for pretty much his entire life. Meet "Farmer Bubba":

This handsome devil is my husband, who has ventured into the produce business this summer. He and his dad started planting in the early spring and ended up with a delicious and beautiful crop of fresh vegetables by the time summer rolled around. Tomatoes, squash, sweet corn, beets, potatoes, string beans, cucumbers and peas are just a sampling of the items he has been selling to both local businesses and on the side of the road in good old Mechanicsville [as seen above].

Eating "fresh" is good for the environment, local economy, and most importantly, it's good for you! There is nothing like biting into a freshly dug potato, or digging into a full ear of sweet corn. It really makes you realize how good natural tastes and how bad artificial is.

The summer months are the time to buy fresh veggies, especially at roadside stands like Bubba's. So get out there and find your local "fresh" dealer - Your body will thank you later, I promise!

[Do you have a local vendor or market you visit for your fresh veggies? Leave a comment and give them a shout out]

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Quick DIY

A perk of having a super old house? Super old and durable bushes, plants and trees! Especially when it's a beautiful, big lavender bush:

I know I shared this photo before/recently, but it's just so pretty!
After blooming all summer long, I noticed that the lavender was starting to fade, so I decided to do a quick DIY project. I simply cut several handfuls of the calming scented blossom, gathered them into manageable quantities, and then tied them up with some ribbon I had around the house.

And voila! A lovely little air-freshener to hang around the bedroom, or whichever room you use to relax. I highly recommend planting a lavender bush if you ever get the opportunity.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Mounds of Dirt

Renovation UPDATE:

All of the paper work required for applying for the Innovative Sand Septic System has been completed and submitted to the St. Mary’s County Health Department. Now we wait [im]patiently to hear if we've been accepted or not. All signs are pointing to yes, but I don’t want to count my chickens before they hatch! In the mean-time, we’re looking at excavators in our area that we will need to dig the mound system. Apparently there are a lot more excavators in Maryland than I realized. I found a GREAT document online [thanks, Google] that lists all licensed excavators in the state of Maryland and even breaks it down into counties.

Are you looking for an excavator too? Check out the listing I’m talking about by visiting the Maryland State Department of the Environment website, or simply click HERE. Once we find the best deal we can, and figure out how we’re going to afford this pricey mound of dirt [literally], we can move forward. When our septic system is finally up to date and able to pump as promised, we'll FINALLY be able to start our home renovations!

Before I go, I have to share some “pretty” with you. My wildflowers are STILL blooming and looking better than ever!

Oh, Harper. I see you hiding in there...

Finally, all the waiting has paid off. So pretty!

Independence Day at the PBC

Did everyone have a happy and healthy Fourth of July? We sure did! It was certainly more low-key than years past, but sometimes the impromptu visits from family and friends and quiet evenings at home are the most memorable.

Here are some photos from our Independence Day at the Point Breeze Cottage and how we decided to celebrate our freedom and the land that we love.

During a last minute search for a red, white, and blue scarf for little Harper, all I could come up with was this red and white polka dot ensemble. It wasn't exactly what I was looking for, but it worked! 

I never thought I'd be a dog lover, but this little beagle stole my heart!

This was the best "posed" shot I could get of her with the American flag...

Bubba's older sister [who recently welcomed twin boys into the world] brought her family down to relax at PBC for the holiday. Proud big brother and sister, Jake and Nora, decided to take a dip in the Potomac River under the watchful eye of Uncle Bubba.

Of course, Harper didn't want to let them out of her sight either...

My favorite picture from the weekend. Little Miss Nora, cuddling up with Uncle Bubba for some downtime and a Princess movie in between swimming, dinner, a walk around the neighborhood, and fireworks!

Does she look like Droopy here or what?! Harper was over it all by the end of the day.

I wish I had of captured more pictures to remember what a nice and relaxing day we had, but these will have to do. Sometimes it's better to live in the moment and take a mental photo rather than keeping a camera in  your face all day. :)

I hope everyone out there had a great Independence Day too!

Monday, July 1, 2013

We Have Wildflowers!

I posted last week to let you all know that my wildflower garden was finally starting to bloom, even if it was only a couple of flowers. Well, we now have a sea of beautiful wildflowers! I was so excited when I got home, I begged Bubba to weed-eat the yard so it would be clean enough for me to take a couple of photos. Lucky for me, it needed to be done anyway, so Bubba obliged and I waited patiently with my camera. Of course the clouds rolled in and the sun disappeared by the time I made my way to the backyard, so the photos aren't perfect, but you can certainly see the lovely pops of color!

Here is a quick look back at the journey of our wildflower garden:

We went from this hideous shed... this open patch of dirt/land... a framed-in bed of dirt...

...add in the DIY birdbath and spread some wildflower seed...

...and then you wait. And wait. And wait...and then one hot day, out of the blue, it finally blossoms!

Yayyyy! There aren't many clean lines or too much structure with this flowerbed, but I'm still so happy with it!! It's not completely filled in and lush yet, but it's everything I was expecting: low-maintenance and so pretty.