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Category — Linda

harmony

I’ve wanted to put up a post about the wedding reception I did for Cody and Chanté over Mother’s Day weekend, but I don’t yet have the photos to do so.

So, while we wait for those, I have a sneak peek at a new business venture that my friend and colleague, Kim Howard, and I are looking into embarking on.

I put together this 3.5 x 1.5 foot Harmony Board for the reception. It consists of a cheese board, charcuterie board, crudités and fruit board.

We’ll call it Harmony Board 1.0.

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May 21, 2018   3 Comments

a month in the making

A month can seem like a long time or fly by in a minute. I’ve experienced both on my backyard remodel.

It took only one month for the wonderful people at Garden Plus Landscape & Pools to tear out my old backyard and install something beautiful and new.

And it’s taken an entire month for me to round-up and Photoshop all the photos so that I can finally get this post up. No time like the present, so let’s get on with it! These first four photos are the renderings that Garden’s Plus presented me with.

Lovely, aren’t they?

The rest will  be the before, the between (the progress) and the after photos.

As a refresher; in May 2017, I moved out of a 4,000 sq ft house that I’d lived in for 18 years, into a 2,000 sq ft rental that also served as my storage space. Then in November 2017, I moved into this 3,000 sq ft house. I adore this house and it felt like home immediately.

Well, except for all the excess stuff that was piled deep and high on the back patio and along the very narrow eve on the north side of the house.

Thankfully it doesn’t rain in AZ very often! If it did, there would have been much more of this situation.

It all felt so very claustrophobic, suffocating and downright awful.

To rid myself of that stuff and those less than warm and fuzzy new home feelings, I needed to pare it down and spread it out. The paring down came in the form of a garage sale on March 3rd and 4th.

And the beginning of being able to spread it out began at the same time, in the form of a new covered patio that would be nearly 3x the size of the original covered patio.

At the same time, the chipping plaster and cracking border tile of the original pool needed to come out and be replaced with new tile, coping and pebble finish. The old cement under the long but narrow covered patio, the faded cool-deck and a good part of grass area were to be replaced with travertine.

A built-in gas grill with dinning table was getting built, along with a beautiful accent wall/planter, which was inspired by a vintage French wall fountain I scooped up at Sweet Salvage several years ago.

Being installed in between the accent wall/planter and the pool, an eye-catching harlequin-pattern of travertine tile and faux grass. I’d love to take credit for that design element, but all credit goes to Adrian at Garden’s Plus. He spotted the French fountain among all the stuff piled on the patio and came up with the idea and design.

The first order of business for me was to get everything off the patio. I moved all the boxes into the garage and figured out what would be kept and what was to go in the sale. I moved all the outdoor furnishings onto an extra-large tarp in the grass on the far north side of the yard and then the guys covered it with more tarps to protect it from possible rain. It rained for two days before I was able to move stuff to the grass, but it hasn’t rained since … that was February 27th.

Note: As if to prove me a liar, it rained only hours after I pushed “schedule” on this post. Yes, it rained last night! Hallelujah! Praying it’s raining up north and helping put out or at least control the Tinder Fire.

Actually now that I look at the photos, I remember that the guys started putting up the masonry columns even before I moved my stuff off the patio. That seriously lit a fire under me and put the pressure on!

This was travertine delivery day. In a future post, I’ll share with you all the drama that occurred on granite delivery day. It was quite the thing.

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May 2, 2018   4 Comments

stupid funny

Do you want to hear a funny-stupid story?

Yes?  OK, here you go…

Last week I showed you the indoor daybed that I turned into an outdoor patio daybed. It has a twin mattress that I had ordered an outdoor cover for. (I’m going to be talking about two types of mattress covers here – the standard white cotton mattress covers we use for all beds and a special outdoor burlap mattress cover that basically encloses the mattress for outdoor use. Try to follow along and not get lost in all the “mattress cover talk.”)

While waiting for the outdoor cover to arrive, I went to Home Goods (LOVE HOME GOODS!) and purchased a thick and plush cotton mattress cover to make the bed extra soft and cozy.

I was so excited when the outdoor mattress cover arrived…

…until I noticed that the bulky, extra soft, thick and plush cotton mattress cover showed through and did not look good at all. In fact, it looked downright awful. Boo!!!

I knew what I needed to make it work. I needed fitted twin sheets to go between the two mattress covers. Problem is I had gotten rid of all unneeded sheet sets in the garage sale last month. Dang It!

A few days later, I was working on an outdoor closet that had stacks of boxes from when I moved in back in November. I cleared it out and put items in my car to take to Goodwill. On my way to drop those items off, I stopped at Costco. The entire time, cursing the fact that I’d need go into Goodwill to buy fitted twin sheets while, at the same time, donating more valuable items. All the while, I was mulling over an imaginary scenario in my head – how I would love to ask if they would be willing to give me a couple of fitted sheets for all these items I was donating. Knowing full well that the answer would be no and it was ticking me off! Absolutely Ridiculous, I know!

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April 24, 2018   4 Comments

daybed

Long before there was such a thing as Craigslist or Offer Up, I bought a cute little white iron daybed from a classified ad. It was used for guests and sleepovers. The bed sat up the in the playroom for many years. I disposed of the trundle-bed portion about 8 years ago.

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April 16, 2018   No Comments

not quite ready

I’m still working on the photos for part three of the house tour.  It is so difficult to get the lighting right! In the meantime I want to share a minor victory with you. A first-world problem sort of victory.

When I moved in, I bought a new washer and dryer. Dave used our old set for a rental he is bought.

I am happy with the new machines, but I had a little annoyance each time I put in a load of wash. Logically, the laundry soap and fabric softener sheets were in the cupboard above the washer. The problem was that the lid of the washer interfered with the doors on the cupboard. I warned you, it’s a small problem!

Last night, I found the solution at Home Goods. People, I know I’m not the only one obsessed with Home Goods, am I right?!?

Anyhow, the area of the store I always hit first, is the clearance aisle. It was there that I found this porcelain cutie for $5. I knew instantly that this would fix all my worldly problems! OK, not all, but this one little pain in the rear, for certain.

I nailed into a stud in the wall, filled it with the dryer sheets, laundry pods… and a pair of tongs.

Why the tongs? Well, I’ve recently learned that I have short arms. I went all my life without knowing about this physical deficiency of mine. The washer basin is so deep that I can’t reach the bottom to pull out the clothes. I know, another first-world problem … thankfully with an easy solution, kitchen tongs!

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March 30, 2018   6 Comments

House Tour Pt. 2

House Tour Pt. 1 was all about the new courtyard out front and the new exterior paint job. For House Tour Pt. 2, we come inside.

As previously mentioned, I moved into my new home on November 10, 2017. The courtyard started on November 13 and was completed on November 21. To keep things interesting, the interior double-sided fireplace facelift started on November 15.

If you’ve followed this blog for long, you already know of my dear friend and co-worker, Kim Howard. Kim has four gorgeous grown children, the oldest is Cody.

Cody Howard is a talented craftsman and an amazing human being. Cody is a US Marine Veteran. He is an outdoorsman, he was a pro whitewater kayaker, oh, and he restores old homes too. Cody is a true renaissance man. His company is called Chisel Built.

Photo from Instagram

Cody and his financé, Chanté, work together and outfit some of the homes they restore and use for vacation rentals. You can find them on Instagram at Chisel Built and Chisel Built Stays.

Photo from Instagram

As if that isn’t enough wonderfulness, together, they are adventurous and love to travel the world. And, oh yeah, Chanté is a fashion model too. Yup, they’re quite the dynamic duo.

Anyhow, for the fireplace, Cody sent me to Summit Brick, I was drawn to the Morocco brick.

My next stop was the fabulous Porter Barn Wood to find some reclaimed barn wood for my two mantels. I knew I loved this place as soon as I pulled up a saw the building!

As I was typing this and looking for the link to take you to their website, I found a short YouTube video that PBW has up of Cody and Chanté’s home, using their reclaimed wood all over the house. Enjoy THIS fun bonus.

Photo from Instagram

Here is the fireplace Cody did in their home, all done up for Christmas.

I’ll be making the food for their wedding in NW Arizona in mid-May. So, obviously I could wax-poetic about these two all day, but maybe I should just get back to my interior remodel for now…

This was the fireplace on moving-in day. *Please take note of the stuccoed beam that is on either side at the top of the fireplace, we’ll be getting back to that later.

Nice, but not at all my style. And there are no mantels! I need my mantels! Where else do you hang your Christmas stockings? How can you decorate or warm up a modern fireplace like this? I suppose you could build a fire, but that’s not the “warming up” I’m in need of.

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March 28, 2018   4 Comments

House Tour Pt. 1

First things first! I must thank you for your kind, loving and encouraging words here and on Facebook. It truly gives me the strength and determination to keep moving forward and onward. I’m sending you virtual hugs and kisses! xoxo

I’m going to start the house tour on the outside and share with you what I did the first week I moved in; the front courtyard.  I live very close to busy Tatum Blvd., close enough that I could see the traffic whiz by outside my front door and front two windows. Thankfully, the way the house is situated, prevents the noise from being noticeable in the backyard, but the front needed a barrier, so a courtyard was the answer. I checked with the city on the possibility of building the courtyard before putting in an offer on the house. If it would not have been doable, I would not have purchased the house. Obviously, it worked out.

Moving day was November 10, 2017.

Demo of the front patio began on November 13th. I’m not one to waste time. I have to live up to my life motto, “Get Shit Done!”

As if that was not enough, I was having a propane tank installed in the back so that I could have my all important gas range AND the demo on the inside double-sided fireplace began on November 15th. Because, honestly, if you don’t have at least four major things being done at the same time, what’s the point?

More on the awe-inspiring fireplace next week.

My dear friends, Tram and Steve, recommended the people I used for the courtyard and who I am using for the current backyard and pool remodel.

The wonderful Garden Plus Landscape and Pools do the most amazing work. They are quick, clean, efficient, trustworthy, competitively priced and above all, kind. Honestly, I can’t recommend them highly enough!

They had the courtyard (and a new mailbox) done in 8 days! I talking completely done; demo, wall built, pavers in place, irrigation, planted, painted, gate installed, mailbox post constructed, cleaned up and done in basically a week.

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March 23, 2018   4 Comments

“When in doubt, choose change.” – Lily Leung

I haven’t written a blog post in over four months. I haven’t written consistently for nearly a year. If you’re still here, I thank you and I feel I owe you an explanation, a reason behind my absence and inconsistency.

The title of this post gives a clue.

“When in doubt, choose change.” – Lily Leung

I’ve undergone major life changes: Divorce. Selling our beloved family home of 18 years. Moving into a rental/storage unit for 6 months. Buying and moving into a new home. Yeah, basically starting over.

“Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” – C.S. Lewis

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March 20, 2018   16 Comments

So much to love at Trader Joe’s

Over the years, I’ve had many people ask me about my favorite products at Trader Joe’s.

A much simpler question would be to ask what products I don’t like.

From the moment you walk in the door, the beautiful variety of fresh flowers, potted plants and seasonal items awaken your senses. They are there for the taking, at prices that make them irresistible.

It sets the pace for the rest of the shopping experience. For me, that experience is quality items and deals that only Costco can compete with. The difference between the two is the variety – Trader Joe’s wins on that front. Then there’s the quantity. I don’t always want to by a 5-pound bag of pine nuts, sometimes an 8-ounce package does the trick.

I’ll take you on my tour of “My Favorite Things – Trader Joe’s Edition” the same way I walk through the store when I’m actually shopping. The fresh produce and cheese/deli cases are next to the flowers.

I won’t buy Belgian endive anywhere else and I use it all the time for appetizers.

These are the teeny tiny potatoes I use for my Caesar Dip. Love them!

I can’t begin to tell you how many boxes of their basil I’ve bought over the years. You can buy regular, organic or even a potted plant of basil. Trader Joe’s is all about options!

Speaking of options, when I posted this recipe, the TJ’s in my area weren’t carrying shishito peppers, now they are!  On to the cheese…

I prefer white cheddar. The selection is great  – and I’ve tried them all.

Fontina, Mozzarella, Iberico, Manchego and Chevre are my other must-haves.

Where else can you find so many choices of smoked salmon?

… and prosciutto?

Pancetta is hard to find… except at Trader Joe’s. This cubed pancetta is always in my refrigerator!

There are more varieties of hummus than you could try in a month!

Across from the produce is the bread. I don’t usually have bread in the house. I only buy it when I need it for a recipe. The three types I usually end up with are the baguettes and Challah.

And during the holidays, I always need buttery brioche.

If it’s a crazy day and I don’t have time to make either lunch or dinner, the Field Fresh Chopped Salad or the Veggie Wrap are my go-to.

We’ll turn the corner and get my “only buy at Trader Joe’s” items found in the dairy case. Butter and heavy cream.

Only one time (during the holidays a few years back) did I run into a situation where the store was out of their “pink lid” heavy cream. I had heart palpitations and ended up driving to the next closest store, because I will NOT buy it elsewhere.

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November 7, 2017   1 Comment

October, you forsake me

Each time I commit myself to get back in the blogging groove, something comes along and trips me up.

October, my birth month and historically my favorite month of the year, got off to a tragic start. My older brother, Dennis, passed away.

Dennis and I were close when we were young. When I say close, I mean that we’d alternately fight and get along, exactly like you’d expect siblings who are 18 months apart to fight and get along.

It was just the two of us for about 4 years, then Andy came along and a couple of years later, I finally got my baby sister, Sloane.

Dennis drifted in and our of our family and our lives but not before he left the world a beautiful legacy, his four amazing sons; Joel, Ben, David and Jeremy. I adore my nephews. I was still in high school when Joel was born. He was my baby doll. Those cute little OshKosh B’Gosh boys are now 39, 37, 35 and 33 years old and live in and around Coeur d’Alene, ID.

Dad, Sloane and I traveled to Idaho this past weekend to deliver Dennis’s ashes and belongings to his sons. Dad is in the photo above with my beloved sister-in-law, Teresa. Ben, David, Jeremy and Joel (on the floor) are there, along with Dad’s great-grandkids; Joby, Kelton, Elijah, Aleea and Dominic. Yes, Dennis most definitely left behind a beautiful legacy. Rest in peace, big brother. [Read more →]


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November 6, 2017   12 Comments