Wednesday, February 26, 2014

One Room Challenge Now...

Today I am linking with Linda from Calling It Home
to see what the One Room Challenge participants' rooms look like now!
I participated last fall in Linda's ORC Linking Party
 and gave our hall bathroom a much needed update.
Here is what it looked like BEFORE....
To see  my progress, click below...
Week Six.....did not happen.
My fall schedule just got too out of control and to be honest,
I still have not totally completed what I hoped to accomplish.
Here is what the hall bathroom looks like today...

I'm not thrilled with the color of green.
It is not as "neon" green as it appears in the photos, 
but it's a little too bright for me.
The kids love it and they are the ones who use this bathroom,
so if they are happy, then I am happy.
I also did not get the mirror framed or the faucets changed out.
Part of it was a lack of time and the other part was a lack of budget.
I'm not sure I will do at this point
because my plan is to demo this bathroom within the next couple of years,
so I'm reluctant to spend any more money on this project.

I really had fun linking with Linda's ORC and am looking forward to the next one in April!!!

Please make SURE you visit the other ORC participants!!!
There are so many talented bloggers out there with GREAT taste!

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

911...can you please hold?

If you follow me on Insta,
you will know that I had a little excitement at my house last week.
I was just getting ready to leave for work
and our carbon monoxide detector went off.
The alarm.
Not the "change the battery" chirp...the full on "I am deaf for three hours following" alarm.
And the light was blinking....
the light next to the "seek fresh air" notice.
I opened the windows in my bedroom and went out to my car.
I call my sweet husband.....who is out of town in meetings
(lol...he lives out of town during the week, so he was out of HIS town)
and he does not answer texts or phone calls.
Plan B.
Call Michigan dad.
Michigan mom answers and advises to call our heating company...

I call our un-friendly heating company customer service to talk to someone.
They are busy.
They will call me back.
An hour later and no call back,
so I am driving to Walmart to buy four gallons of milk and three loaves of bread.
(The joys of twin teen boys)
Finally my un-friendly heating company calls back.
"Well it's probably not something I can help you with with right away."
OK nevermind while I just die at home.
He suggests I call the fire department because they have a detector that can sense where it's coming from.

So I hang up and pay for my bread and milk,
and am NOT looking forward to calling the fire department.
I head to my car and lo and behold there is a fire truck parked at Walmart...
as in "let's stop by and pick up a few things" parked...
not there on an emergency.
I chuckled to myself thinking wouldn't it be funny if THOSE were the guys who came to my house?

I get home, load my milk into the fridge and make the call.
It rings twice...and then I kid you not, here is what I heard:
Ahhhh....If I WAS having an emergency like my house was burning down or I was having a heart attack,
WHO an I supposed to call INSTEAD of 911 if I can't "hold?"
I held.....and someone came on the line in two minutes.
I told her my "non-emergency" emergency and she said the fire department was on the way,
and that ALL calls were treated as "emergencies."
I decided since I was on a recorded line, I would not be sassy
and ask who I was supposed to call if I was not able to "hold" because I was having an emergency?

I waited.
And waited.
And waited some more.
And decided that if my house WAS on fire, 
it most certainly would have burned to the ground by now.
But this was not an emergency...even though ALL calls are treated as "emergencies."

Finally I see the fire pulls up...
The firefighters walked up to me and I asked
"Were you just at Walmart?"
They were a bit taken aback, but said "yes" and that they were getting lunch.
Great.....I'm glad you could grab lunch while my house is full of poisonous gas...I thought to myself.
Well I guess everyone is entitled to a lunch hour.
I imagine myself with a dying patient.....
"Hold.....I need to grab lunch....then you can die when I get back"
Can you tell I was feeling a bit frustrated by this point?
In-between all of this nonsense,
I was answering calls from patients and working on a nursing home placement.
I really did not have time for all of this...
it was a hurry up and "wait" kind of morning.

After all of that nonsense,
it turns out our detector was faulty.
Apparently this is rare, but not unheard of.
The firemen really were very friendly and patient,
and they assured me that it was safe to be inside my home.
I felt like it was a totally wasted morning...
fortunately, I can laugh about it now!

Note to self....if I am having a TRUE emergency, prepare to "hold."

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Monday, February 24, 2014

Adventures in Blogland...

In a little over a month, 
it will be the one year anniversary of my blog,
Suburban Charm.

I knew I would enjoy blogging,
and the reason I started blogging was to make blog friends.
I didn't realize I would enjoy it as MUCH as I do, 
and I did not expect to make so MANY blog friends.
And I mean it when I say friends.
I have followers and readers,
and I love all of my readers...
but several of my followers have reached out to me
"beyond the blog"
and email me or send me pins on Pintrest that they know I will love...
some alert me when something I posted about is on sale...
and some have shared with me their own personal struggles,
when I share mine on my blog.

Which leads me to my point...

I LOVE reading blogs and I follow many.
I was recently stalking one of my favorites...
(I am choosing not to name this blogger)
An adorable mom with two equally adorable daughters...
preppy, blonde, beautiful, travels, incredible wardrobe,
beyond gorgeous home, adoring husband, active in community...
looking like she has the perfect life.
I randomly decided to click on her "about me"
and it hit me like a ton of bricks...
She had a disclaimer....
"My life is not perfect"
She went on to explain that her blog is her "happy place"
and that she suffered from the same trials and tribulations that we all do,
she just chooses not to blog about them.

Now I know NO ONE has a perfect life.
But sometimes I forget that when I am peeking into the lives of many of the blogs I follow.
Let's be serious....who wants to follow a blog full of bitterness and sorrow?
So many of the blogs I follow are full of beautiful photos of
 incredibly gorgeous homes
beautiful families
gourmet dinners
lavish celebrations
fabulous outfits
exotic vacations...
the list goes on.
Don't get me wrong, I love reading these blogs.
But being the recovering insecure control freak that I am,
I sometimes find myself envious.
What are these bloggers doing that I am not to have this perfect life?
Shame on me.

Clearly many blogs are subject-specific...
so you're not going have a peek into the personal lives of those
who are specifically blogging about fashion, design, cooking, etc.
and I wouldn't expect those bloggers to share life as it happens.
I need to remind myself of this...some of these are the blogger's profession!

When I first started Suburban Charm,
I was SO proud of myself and loved my blog and its layout.
It took me months...
and I mean months,
just to come up with a name for my blog...
then MANY MORE months just to figure out how to actually design
(if you can call it that)
my blog and launch it...I am not a computer person and I learn as I go.

Here I am almost a year later,
and I find myself comparing my blog to others.
My pictures are not as clear...
My title is not centered...
I have no other "pages" to my blog...
I don't have a professionally done template...
I can't figure out how to put social media buttons on my blog...
What am I thinking?
What I am thinking is that I am falling back into bad habits.
How did something I was so proud of 
turn into something that was not enough?

My friend Nancy from Always in a Southern State of Mind
really made me smile when she left a comment
on my post about how I am doing with my New Year's Resolutions...
she said "thanks for keeping it real..."
and that is what Suburban Charm is all about.
My blog is exactly what I wanted it to be and I need to remember that.
I am not blogging to show off a perfect life (which I don't have)...I am blogging to connect with others.
Some connections will be deeper and more meaningful, but I appreciate every single person
who pauses and gives me a precious moment of their day to read what I have written.

Of course I post lots of happy pictures too...
but I also try to post from my heart...using my own words.
Some people may not like me or what I have to say...
I can't please everyone.
(even thought I still find myself trying on occasion)
I have had my share of a few snarky comments and emails....but that's ok.
And while most of my posts are silly meaningless posts about shopping or decorating,
some of my posts are about my own struggles
and about personal growth...
or falling back into old bad habits.

My point is this...
if you ever find yourself starting to feel like you are the only one without a perfect life,
and remember that every person that walks this earth has pain and suffering in their life.
Some chose to share, others are private about it.
Whether it is infertility, the death of a spouse, child, or parent, abuse, addiction, depression,
chronic illness, job loss, divorce, eating disorders, suicide, cancer ...the list can go on forever...
we all have have experienced pain and suffering in our lives.
So the next time I find myself having a pity party
because someone seems to "have it all"
I am going to remind myself of ALL that I do have
and be both grateful and thankful
and remember that my life is already perfect....perfectly mine.

So my friends....and you are ALL my friends...
Here's to keeping it real!

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

How about those New Year's Resolutions?

Well...since I posted about my 2014 resolutions here
I feel I need to be held somewhat accountable 
and wanted to fill you in on my progress...or lack of...

My first resolution was to take better care of myself.
I have made some small progress in this area...
Here I am in Interdisciplinary Rounds at work with my giant Lilly cup of water.
I am drinking more water. 
Sounds silly, but I am a sweet tea-a-holic and knew I would be better off drinking more water.
So I fill up my favorite Tervis or Lilly up every morning before work,
 and sip on it all day long and then refill it.
Once the weather is better, I plan to start walking to get a little exercise
and I am trying to eat three healthy meals a day
instead of skipping lunch because I am too busy to eat...which happens more often than not.

My second resolution was to grow my faith.
We have found a church home and plan to join
 sometime this in when we have a free Sunday morning without a sporting tournament.
After visiting for several months, we feel River Road Presbyterian a good fit for our family, and we all feel comfortable and warmly welcomed there.

In addition, I am planning to attend a women's retreat at my BFF's church this weekend.
This kind of falls under my "growing my faith" and "taking care of myself" resolutions
and I am really looking forward to it.
The name of the retreat is called "Undefined"
The retreat is being led by Nicole Unice,
and here is a description of the event from the event website...
"Come gather with women of all ages who are seeking a better definition for their lives. Join author and Bible teacher, Nicole Unice, and take a fresh look at defining your life with passion, purpose, and freedom in Christ..."
I have Nicole's book "She's Got Issues," which was a life changing read.
Here is the full title of the book...
"She's Got Issues: Seriously Good News for Stressed-Out, Secretly Scared Control Freaks Like Us"
You can see why this book was perfect for me. 
You can visit Nicole's blog here.

My third resolution was to write more letters.
Well....I have only written two.
One to my mother-in-law to send her photos of the children from Christmas,
and another to my Great Aunt, whom I have not seen for several years.
I need to work harder on this one!

Finally, my last resolution was to start a gratitude journal.
I even dedicated this adorable Lilly Pulitzer notebook as my "gratitude journal."
This was an epic fail.
I think of things throughout the day that I SHOULD write in my gratitude journal.
But here is what I have written down...
As I said...epic fail.
Oddly, this is something that I really need to do,
since I tend to dwell on everything I don't get done,
and everything that did not work out well.
I suppose it's not too late to start...

So there you have it.....not so great but not so bad?
How about y'all?
Did you have New Year's resolutions?
Are you keeping them?

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Monday, February 17, 2014

Rainy Day Shoes

I'm optimistic that spring is right around the corner...
and with spring flowers come spring showers!
(we are supposed to hit 70 degrees by Friday...YEA!)
Anyway, I am out and about in the rain a lot...
my job is all about home patient visits...rain or shine (or snow),
and I've been searching for some rainy day shoes
that are both functional AND somewhat stylish.
I know the Hunter rain boots are super popular right now, 
but a boot is just not practical for me or comfortable for me to wear all day.
My girls have the Hunter rain boots and I did try them out.

Here are a few of my finds...
Adorable...also comes in orange, black, green!
Definite possibility, but I am not sure how they will do in the mud.
I definitely encounter A LOT of muddy driveways in my job.
Cute...comes in black and red.
Reminds me too much of my LL Bean Duck Shoes I wear in the winter for snow.
I think I want something different.
Love the bright yellow....they come in black, green, and red too.
Unfortunately, they are currently out of stock on every website I can find them on.
I think these are my second choice....good in mud and rain.
But how would they look with cropped pants?
Practical, classic, and comes in Navy blue...perfect!
The daughter of one of my patients was wearing them in Navy blue,
and as soon as I got home I searched for them online.
These would be cute with jeans, pants, and cropped pants.
I think this one is my favorite...guess what?
That won't stop me...I will find it.
Although the yellow ones are really cute....

What do y'all think?
Any other suggestions I should consider?

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Give A Shout Out To Your Alma Mater....

It has come to be that bittersweet time of the year,
when my younger daughter is seriously looking at colleges.
Katherine is a junior this year and we are currently planning our college visits for the spring.
Katherine as a how time flies.

It was the same way with Caroline...
as excited as I was for her to begin a new chapter in her life,
I was pretty devastated when I left her in Kansas a year and a half ago.
Like the rip your heart out "ugly cry" kind of devastated.
Fortunately I was in the parking lot alone before I heaved my first sob,
 so she didn't see!

Caroline's dorm room...done in Lilly Pulitzer of course...she is her mother's daughter.

While it continues to be difficult having her so far away, 
I do still have a daughter a home to cook with, shop with, and just do "girly" things with
like getting pedicures and picking out outfits.
In a little over one short year, I will be left with just my boys.
Today is not the day to say I am looking forward to that...
they are literally driving me NUTS as twin 13 year old boys apparently do.
I digress....

Here are the schools that Katherine is seriously looking at...
I would love to hear a shout out for your own alma mater,
as she is still keeping her options open and considering other schools...
and if you or one of your children has attended any of her top choice schools,
definitely give a shout out and let us know what you think!

So those are Katherine's top choices for the moment....
She is looking for a school in the South with an excellent child development or education major,
and would like a fairly large school that has sororities and fraternities.

 So....any grads of these fabulous schools out there?
Anywhere else she should consider?

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Family Favorite Recipe

I was over Grove Gal K the other day....
love her blog....she has great recipes...
and she had posted a recipe for Potato Soup
that sounded YUM OUT!
What caught my attention was the Old Bay Seasoning...
we love Old Bay in this household.

So I gave it a whirl....
Missing the onion in this is another great recipe to make in your slow cooker!

Here is the recipe...

Potato Soup
6 russet potatoes
3/4 bag southern style frozen hash browns
1/2 an onion, diced
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups milk
8oz shredded cheddar cheese
2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 cup Sour Cream

Bake the potatoes in a 350 degree oven for about an hour until they are soft.  Then peel and dice.
Place onions, potatoes, chicken broth, 2 teaspoons Old Bay and salt and pepper to taste in crockpot and cook on high for 4 hours.
Add shredded cheese, milk, hash browns, sour cream and cook another 1-2 hours on low
Salt and pepper to taste
Garnish with chopped green onions, cheese and bacon

And it was a WIN!
Very creamy and truly tasted like baked potatoes...the kids loved it.
It is a perfect recipe for days like these...
Katherine and her BFF cheering at Friday night's basketball game...
it was a "rush home from work-feed the kids-and leave for the game" kinda day.
And D was home this weekend....YEA...had not seen him for two weeks!

If you check out Grove Gal's recipe here
you will see that she makes a "light" version, 
and I am sure her version is just as yummy as my "not light" version!
Give it a try...great recipe for the chilly weather!!!

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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Longing For Laura Ashley

I am desperately searching for a floral chintz fabric to use in our master bedroom.
Of course there are zillions of beautiful fabrics that are well out of my price range...
and my mind wandered to days gone by when Laura Ashley used to have fabulous chintz prints.
Laura Ashley and her husband Bernard founded the brand in the 1950's,
and opened the first Laura Ashley shops in London in the 1960's.
They spent the next 20 years successfully building an empire and branching out internationally.
Sadly, Laura Ashley fell down the stairs of her daughter's English country home in 1985,
and passed away very shortly thereafter.
That was the beginning of the end of the Laura Ashley brand as we knew it.
In the late 1990's, the Laura Ashley retail stores started to flounder
due to the recession and some major changes in management.
 In 2001, the company was on the verge of bankruptcy
 and the Ashley family sold its remaining holdings in the company.
The company was bought by the Malaysian retailer Metrojaya, 
and the brand changed significantly, both in quality and in design.
By 2003, almost all of the Laura Ashley stores had been closed down
and replaced by newly operated franchised units in Europe.
You can visit their current website here to see their products today.
In my opinion, the quality is nowhere near what it used to be, 
and the prints are not nearly as classy or as timeless as the old ones.
I still have my old Laura Ashley Home catalogs!
Remember the good 'ole days...
in addition to the sailor dresses and flowery skirts,
(many of which were in my wardrobe during high school and college)
Laura Ashley used to have some classy fabrics at reasonable prices.
Take a walk with me down memory lane....
(please excuse the quality of the was surprisingly difficult to find images of her fabrics)
Palace Garden...this is the print first peaked my love of blue and white!
Confetti...this print also came in a pink and blue version...
and coordinates with this print Charlotte.
This print is Isabelle, and it also came in a pink version as well as a taupe version.
This print, Kate, is one of my favorites and I would have loved to use it a nursery...
I had my daughters before they did ultrasounds, so my nursery was yellow!
This pattern is called Stocks and it came in a red and yellow version. this one too.
Emma...this pattern was very popular in college dorm rooms when I was in school.
Floral Stripe...I wanted to do a bedroom in this at one time.
This print is called Winter Lilly and I LOVE this it!
It came in pink and green as well and I would have considered this print
in the ivory and green for our master bedroom if they still made it.

I did find out that my twins were boys
 and I did their nursery in the Laura Ashley Seaside pattern...
I still have all of the fabric and wallpaper samples!

Well....there are a few of my favorites...I had many more that I loved!
I was disappointed that I wasn't able to find a better representation of the "vintage"
Laura Ashley fabrics and wallpapers to post.
Does anyone else miss the "old" Laura Ashley?

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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Steals and Deals at Tuesday Morning

Have y'all heard of Tuesday Morning?
It's like a Home Goods, only 90% of their merchandise is usually "junk."
That being said, you can definitely find some treasures there...
so I do stop in if I happen to be near one and I have the time.
Well I stopped in Tuesday Morning today,
and I hit the jackpot!

Have you heard of Peacock Alley?
They are a luxury brand of bed linens and bath linens, etc. out of Dallas, Texas.
Here are their pique bed linens....BEAUTIFUL....
and the pricing STARTS at $280...for the twin size.

And look what I found at Tuesday Morning....
Can you see that price tag?
$14.99 for a pair of standard pillow cases!
Being the princess that I am, 
I like my pillowcases to be SUPER soft....and monogrammed of course.
Here is the condition of my current "princess" pillowcase...
Yes that is a hole....I have had my current set for twelve years.
I've been searching for some "high end" cases at a "low end" price...
and today my patience paid off!

These are a newer version of what I purchased at they retail for $150.00 a pair!

I called D to tell him my exciting news and fabulous husband that he is, 
D did a marvelous job of acting SUPER excited for me.
I suspect he was probably rolling his eyes...but I did save $135.
Of course he will remind me that I did SPEND $14.99.
We have a slightly different idea of what "saving" means.

So if you are looking for some luxury linens, check out Tuesday Morning!
You can enter your zip code on their website to see if they have a store near you.
They had Peacock Alley sheet sets, blankets, coverlets, and shams at my local store...
Unfortunately I still have NO idea what direction I am going with our master bedroom,
so I did not buy any other bedding....I will probably regret it.

I LOVE a steal!

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