Cottage: Kitchen Reveal

Why does it always feel like long/holiday weekends seem to go too fast and the “short” work week after seems to drag on? Surely I’m not the only one who feels this way…

Anyway, over Memorial Day weekend we were back in Michigan enjoying time with family and in our little cottage.  Since it was a relatively short trip, the only work we did was hang a few things on the walls and clean/organize.  Most of the previous progress pics of the kitchen have highlighted the butcher block or shelves , so I figured it was time for a full reveal…

THEN

 

NOW

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The kitchen isn’g quite 100% complete yet, but it is getting close (note the tape and stickers still on the oven). There are a few minor items including hardware, we have yet to pick out, that we will take care of when we are back in July.

Before I end, let me take a quick moment to zoom in on this adorable wine rack we found at a flea market.  We are now officially stocked and ready for an evening glass of wine on the deck this summer…priorities right?

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Magic in Mexico

On 5/5 we left for Cancun for 5 days for our 5 year anniversary…it just happened to work out that way while planning but it seemed like a good omen.  This post is a bit of a detour from my normal home/decor topics but I feel like it is worth sharing and I hope you agree.  Very shortly after we got back I posted some photos on Facebook and IG but I wanted to take a little more time to give credit to the wonderful place we stayed.

Delta offers a direct flight from Indianapolis to Cancun…that part was a no brainer.  After  some research we picked the Riu Palace Las Americas.  I cannot recommend this place enough…seriously.  This was our first experience an all-inclusive for both of us and it was worth EVERY DANG PENNY!

At check in we were promptly greeted with glasses of chilled champagne.  When the manager discovered we were celebrating our anniversary, she upgraded our room to their best available suite, free of charge…talk about great first impressions.  We tried to act cool about it, but as soon as we got to our room and were by ourselves we promptly LOST ALL CHILL.

We are not “free upgrade” people, we are “I’m sorry there has been a mistake” people.

Every single inch of the resort, inside and out, was IMMACULATE.  We were constantly in awe.  Most of these photos do not give this place justice…not even close

First…the lobby and our suite

The terrace and the view from our room felt like were like nothing I had ever seen in person

The entire resort was immaculate, honestly breathtaking

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Most of our time was spent lounging by the pools or the beach, we intentionally did not plan any excursions.  We had no concept of what time it was, we left our phones on airplane mode, it was the most relaxed I have ever been.  It was heaven.

The food was good (surprisingly the buffet was our favorite dining spot), the drinks were strong and plentiful, the service and the facilities were top-notch.

Since nothing is ever 100% “perfect” I will share the  only complaints we could come up with, if that’s even what you would call them…

1. The handle on the toilet in our bathroom was a little jiggly…but was promptly fixed

2. One day Mark ordered a screw driver with breakfast and they brought a mimosa

3. Apparently the pool bars do not open until 10:00 AM (which actually seems pretty reasonable)

A very sweet touch was a bottle of sparkling wine delivered to our room while we were at dinner with a note and a plate of chocolate covered strawberries for our anniversary

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Before we left, we had several people express concern about traveling to Cancun.  I feel like it should be common sense when traveling anywhere, especially abroad, you should exercise a certain level of caution and awareness, this was no different.  There wasn’t a single moment that we felt unsafe.

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We have missed this place since the moment we left and are already planning our next trip to another Riu resort.  Maybe for our 10 year…probably sooner 🙂

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Front Door Refresh

afterlightimage-1Our front door was boring…a lot of brown & beige blandness.  I’m not exactly sure how or when I let this happen but this week I decided to remedy the situation. I did not want to spend a lot of time or money, and wanted to utilize what we already had…a quick & easy fix.

All the new additions purchased from Target with the exception of the plants from Lowes. We bought the grinder at an estate auction last year and it has been sitting in the same spot ever since…not living up to its full potential.  I found this shallow galvanized planter which fit in it perfectly to add some trailing greenery.

I decided to stick with green as a subtle pop of color.  I added a hanging fern, buffalo plaid indoor/outdoor rug and mini boxwood wreath.  I have been loving the look of layered rugs lately…I wish I would have thought of it sooner.

This little project cost right around $50 and only took a few minutes to put together once I purchased everything.  This is a perfect example of  how not all changes have to be drastic or expensive.

Sorry I’ve been a little MIA lately, it has taken me some time to get back in the swing of things after vacation.  I’ll make sure to post soon about our trip to Mexico.

Have a great weekend!

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Where to start?

Recently a friend commented on one of my IG posts that she struggles with knowing where to start when it comes to decorating and design...I get it.   The last few days I’ve been thinking about times I have struggled with inspiration and what my suggestions are for someone in a similar position.  I’ve realized that for me all it takes it takes is ONE THING…one color, pattern, piece of art or furniture or even a small accessory to draw inspiration from and build on.

How do you find your one thing? As I see it, there are two ways you can go about this…

Seek out inspiration.  This is an active approach when you are ready (or beyond ready) to make a change.  It could involve scrolling through Pinterest, Instagram, magazines, etc.. for a specific theme or idea.  Or it could involve collecting a dozen or more different  paint samples to see what you are drawn to.  You could even look around your house for items you already have and LOVE and decide to find more items similar in theme or design.

Let inspiration come to you.  This is a more passive, but perfectly acceptable, option.  Perhaps you have had a few thoughts about making a change but aren’t quite ready yet.  Be patient and keep your eyes and mind open.  You never know when or where inspiration will strike you.  I think of it as waiting for a “lightbulb” or “aha” moment.

The latter approach is what happened in the case of our guest room.  Orange may not be the first color you think of when it comes to decor…but when I came across this  metal accent table (pictured) I decided it could be a perfect nightstand and went from there.  Picking a jumping off point doesn’t have to mean going all-out…I wasn’t interested in orange walls but I did want the color to be pronounced.  I started searching for other accent pieces that would coordinate and it was surprising how easily it came together from there.

Finding inspiration can sometimes be harder than the execution; don’t get discouraged if you have a hard time getting started!

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Decor Deals

When you love decorating, but you are working within a budget, you hunt for deals…simple as that.  I actually enjoy the hunt, it makes me feel like I won something.  Now, it is worth saying, that when it comes to certain items “quality over quantity” is a good rule of thumb to follow.  For me, it is all about balance.  There are certain items I am willing to splurge on and others that it’s all about the bargain.

Here are some of my favorite recent decor deals from my go-to resources including Amazon, Etsy and Target (of course).

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1. Preserved boxwood wreaths from Amazon

I paid just over $30 for both: 6″ $11.55 / 9″ $19.98…and they were PRIME eligible so no extra shipping charge and arrived in 2 days (YAY!).  Compared to some of the prices I was comparing on Etsy for similar wreaths, or faux versions, I felt like these were a good deal.  Also, I am impressed with the color and quality.

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2. Custom throw pillow covers from ShamShack 

If you have purchased custom shams (or any shams for that matter) you know they can be expensive.  I have purchased from this shop before and find their prices to be reasonable, plus they have wonderful customer service.  I paid $33, including shipping, for these two covers (10×10 & 17×17).  I was able to select the colors and materials so they turned out exactly how I wanted.

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3. Floral watercolor painting from CoastToCoastArtist

This sweet little print was only $5 on sale. Having a one of a kind piece can be affordable.   It’s new home is now in our cottage bedroom and it is perfect. This shop has all kinds of beautiful botanical, animal, and farmhouse themed paintings.  Not only that, she does custom artwork as well, which I think will be my next purchase.

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4. Sweater knit throw blankets from Target

If there is anything I might love as much as throw pillows, it would be throw blankets.  I had my eye on these for a while.  They are usually $24.99 each, but I was lucky enough to catch them on sale for $17.99.  My REDCard added an extra 5% off and free shipping.  I’m glad I was patient.  They are so soft and comfy, definitely worth the wait!

 Maybe my favorite decor deals could turn into yours, have a great weekend!

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No affiliations or paid promos in this post

Just some good deals worth sharing 

 

Mom’s Green Thumb: Indoor Edition

Courtesy of my Mom, Jeanette (because I did not inherit her green thumb)…

Last Spring Becky asked me to write a  post about outdoor plants and flowers, so I did. Now, she asked me to write about indoor plants, so I will do that as well.  Needless to say I like all kinds of plants, but indoor plants add something special to a home, the are great decorating accents, and they help clean the air inside just like they do outside.

At the moment I have ten plants throughout the house plus three more wintering in our basement until it is warm enough to bring them onto our enclosed porch for the summer.  I will probably bring one that is almost ready to blossom up from the basement soon as I don’t want to miss the flowers.  I also have a pea plant Annabelle, our great-granddaughter, started at Children’s Church a few weeks ago and a tiny pot she and I are watching for a watermelon to break through.  We may have to plant a new watermelon seed.


Among my house plants is a ficus tree that is older than Becky (33 years for reference). It was given to me by the woman from whom we bought one of our first houses.  She was downsizing and didn’t have room for it in her new home and it has been a part of our lives ever since, moving with us to six different houses. Our son, Seth, has a cactus he brought home in the back of a truck in January 17 years ago.  I nursed it along and although it still has the scars from the plant version of frost bite it has grown from about two feet tall to over six feet.  The peace lily by our french door was given to me by the former superintendent and his wife when I started as a Superintendent.  Every time I look at it, it reminds me of their kindness and support as I started a new position.  I can tell you similar stories about when I acquired most of my plants.

I also add a few plants now and then as I see an area that needs a fresh look or when a current plant has grown too big for the windowsill. And every now and then I lose one. The ivy I had in the window near my piano died this Winter and I’m not sure why.  Maybe it just got too cold during some of the coldest days even though it had lived in that window a couple of years. Oh, well.  I also have a Christmas cactus that has never blossomed for me. I may try planting it in the ground outside for the Summer.  What do I have to lose?


My approach to plants is pretty simple.  If I get a new plant I read the tag and try to match its need for water and direct or indirect sunlight and if someone gives me one I check on-line.  I water my plants thoroughly once a week, but do the “finger test” (push your finger into the soil slightly and if dirt sticks to it, no water is needed, and if not, water it) first.  I like to put fertilizer sticks in each pot in February or March. The directions tell you how many to use for a particular diameter pot, but I have also used dissolvable fertilizer, the fertilizer sticks are just easier because they are once and done for the year. The plants don’t seem to care either way.

Once or twice a summer I try to put my plants outside when there is a gentle rain to wash the leaves, but putting them in the shower also works, it’s just a little messier. Every few years as plants grow I either re-pot them or divide them and sometimes I change the soil.  If a plant gets too leggy or spindly, I pinch it back or take a cutting and put a piece of it in a vase or jar until roots develop.  I put a plant I started from a cutting on the window in Becky’s cottage and she and I both think it looks right at home there. I visit to water it once a week when she’s not around (thanks Mom!).


I can’t grow everything—African violets, like the Christmas cactus, don’t bloom for me. But that’s OK.  In the meantime I’m enjoying the plants I grow successfully.  I enjoy them throughout the year, but it’s especially nice to have something green and growing around in the winter. When the days get longer they come out of their winter doldrums by putting out new leaves and shoots, their own way of welcoming Spring, I suppose.

One caution before I close.  Some plants can be harmful to children or pets. Check on-line to be sure what you have is safe for those in your home or put them on a high shelf then enjoy the freshness and beauty plants add to your home.

 

In a lot of ways I take after my Mom, but this just doesn’t seem to be one of them.  I’m thankful for her knowledge…and so are the few plants I’ve managed to keep alive for any length of time.  

Have a great weekend!

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Be Our Guests

Last weekend we had the pleasure of hosting our dear friends from Michigan which has me thinking about what it means to me to be a good hostess or at least how I try to be.  First and foremost, I truly enjoy having company and want any guests in our home to feel welcome and comfortable…whether it is for a week, a weekend, or just an evening.

Hosting doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive, all you need is a little forethought…

Plan Ahead

My to-do list the week before having guests usually includes the routine cleaning and grocery shopping..making every effort not to wait until the last minute.  I like to think of a few of our favorite restaurants in advance that our guests might enjoy so we aren’t stuck spending too much time deciding where to eat (Mark and I are TERRIBLE when it comes to this)  It also doesn’t hurt to have some ideas of things to-do or places to go.

Be Considerate

This goes hand-in-hand with planning ahead, try to be aware of any dietary restrictions, allergies or preferences guests might have and you can accommodate accordingly.  This will avoid any awkwardness when you unknowingly make  bacon & eggs for breakfast.

A Special Touch

A little extra effort can go a long way…consider adding fresh flowers to your guest room, spare toiletries in the bathroom and have extra pillows & blankets accessible. As someone who has a hard time falling asleep without white noise (usually a fan) I recently added a sound machine by the guest bed for anyone who might share my quirk.

These simple things not only benefit your guests, but can help you ENJOY your time with your company instead of stressing, what’s more important than that?

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Cottage: Shelves

Earlier this week I mentioned I’d be back with another Cottage update so here it is!

From the day we decided to purchase the cottage, I started collecting things to decorate.  I’m sure this doesn’t come as a surprise. Early on I had my heart set on open shelves in the kitchen to display some of the items I had found, and planned to find.

We kept the design of the shelves simple, a blank slate

I compiled an assortment of old and new items, which is what I’m always drawn to when it comes to decor.  I wanted the shelves to be appealing to the eye but also functional.

Once I started styling I had to move things around “several” times to get it “just right”

“fruition: the state of having successfully completed an activity or plan”

-Cambridge Dictionary

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One more thing checked off the list.  Have a wonderful weekend!

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Cottage: Living Area

As promised, I have a progress update to share with you! Despite our bad news about the well last week we thoroughly enjoyed a long overdue visit to our cottage and time with family.  We had time to discuss a game plan to take care of the well, checked a few small items off the to-do list, also cleaned and organized the living area….

To jog your memory…this is where we started

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then it got “worse” before we could make it better

And now…

A couple of my favorite features not shown in the views above

As you can probably tell…we both love the color blue

My uncle found the oars for us and with a couple of cans of spray paint we were able to add  some pops of color on our wood wall.  The mirrors came from Hobby Lobby (1/2 off!) and those are heavy-duty Command Hooks.  It is a small space so we want to keep the decor simple but to add interest we focused on using different shades of blue, patterns & textures.

There are still some finishing touches, but for the most part that space is DONE and it feels so good. We are still on the hunt for the “perfect” recliner for Mark to add to the space, it will have to be just right as far as size & scale…I know it is out there somewhere.

I have more to share later this week so make sure to check back!

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Cottage: Well…shoot

Earlier this week I mentioned I wouldn’t be posting again until next week (which I didn’t plan on)…but since then we received some less than ideal news…we will have to put in a new well at our cottage.  There have been some issues with the running water over the last few months that got progressively worse. We were hoping for the best, that it would be an easy fix, but alas that’s not the case.  There are some potential temporary workarounds that will buy us a little time until we get it figured out.

I’m sharing this because unexpected expenses and setbacks are part of the game when it comes to remodels & renovations, and they can happen at any point.  As discouraging as it can be, you have to learn to roll with the punches…not something that comes naturally to but I’m working on it.

This doesn’t take away from our excitement, or our satisfaction in the amazing progress that has been made.  We’ll be heading North early tomorrow morning and will be able to discuss a game plan over the weekend.   Onward!

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Cottage: We Miss You

Quick post today…It has been nearly 3 months since we’ve been back to our little cottage (insert sad face here) We miss it, along with everything that comes with it…seeing family & friends in MI, the progress, the relaxation that comes with being near the lake.  BUT…we’ll be heading back at the end of this week for short weekend trip.  If you remember from this post we reached the milestone of sleeping there for the first time and haven’t been back since.

We hope to make some progress on our punch list while we are there, along with decorating and organizing.  Our main goal this trip will be to get the cottage ready to use and enjoy for the summer.  I honestly can’t convey how exciting it is to be at this point.

Since we’ll be traveling, this will be my only post for this week.  I promise I’ll catch you up on our progress when we get back.

In the meantime, you can check out my IG (@by.the.poole) for some sneak peeks over the weekend. Also, you can catch up on our progress under “the cottage” menu tab.

I wish you all a Happy Easter!

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Auction Anyone?

What are you doing this weekend? Looking for something different?  If you’ve never been to an auction there is no time like the present.

Mark and I started to going auctions a few years ago and became enamoured with the whole experience.  We have found unique and special items, we have flipped a few things to make a profit, and had a lot of fun doing so.  Some of our most favorite pieces in our house (like these copper kettles) are from auctions.

We have learned a few things along the way… 

First, come prepared.  Auctions are often several hours long and the one thing you might have your eye on may take a while to get to which means you need to be comfortable.  You will need to know what payment methods are accepted and have the means to transport your purchases.  Next, know your limit.  It is easy to get carried away with the excitement and get carried away during bidding.  We have made the mistake of paying more than we wanted (or should have) because we got wrapped up in the moment…its an adrenaline rush!  Last, don’t get discouraged.  You will get outbid.  I have found myself immediately attached to an item I felt like I “had to have” and the bidding ended up going far beyond our limit…it wasn’t meant to be.

The most important thing is that we truly enjoy going to auctions, regardless of what we may or may not come home with.

Ready to check one out? A great resource (that we use regularly) to find local auctions  is Auction Zip. You can type in your zip code/range/date/etc and it will show a list of area auctions with location, time, and even photo previews of what will be offered.  We typically stick to estate or antique auctions.

If you are an auction frequenter, or end up going for your first time, I would LOVE for you to share your favorite buys!

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