How To Change Your Life In 10 Minutes

There are two things I know to be true: (1) there are things that need to happen in my life, and (2) I never seem to have enough time. 

I need to read more. I need to clean the house. I need to work. I need to play with my kids. I need to cook dinner. I need to pack lunches. I need to build my relationship with my husband. I need to exercise. There are so many things that need to happen in our lives yet I never seem to have enough time. I find myself at the end of day regretting the things that I never made happen during the day and committing to make them happen the next day.

Here is something I think it true when it comes to the tension between our time and the things that need to happen. I’ve found that high expectations and low ability almost always leads to failure...

Come read the rest of the post over at Ungrind.


Kitchen Design - Ocoee Home

I don't know about you, but I love inspiring kitchens. One of the toughest parts of renting, is not being able to change things in the kitchen. We have a decent kitchen in our rental, but it would still be fun to make some changes. So I thought it would be great to debrief about our Ocoee Home kitchen. We had so much fun creating this space--over 5 years ago. (Where has time gone!?) I first want to talk about the planning period. When we began planning for our renovation and actually renovating, Pinterest did not exist. Can you imagine a world without Pinterest? My life was less inspired. However, even without Pinterest, Scott and I took to the internet in search of most things. The times we ventured out to a showroom or store, we were left unimpressed or uninspired. We loved that the world was quite literally at our fingertips. So since there was no Pinterest, I would bookmark every. single. thing. I. liked. You can only imagine how many bookmarks I had and how difficult it was to look through them all. We also spent a lot of time flipping though magazines at my mom's house or Barnes & Noble. The girl in me who loves school supplies and organization (hence the DIY planner) created a notebook organized by room with magazines pages and samples.


That notebook brought me so much joy! In fact, I had an entire file box filled with fabric, rug and tile samples much like a hoarder. The dreaming part was fun but it can also be overwhelming because you literally have so much to choose from. It may be tough to narrow down what you really want and you totally get the pressure of picking out the right thing because there are hefty dollar signs attached to get item. Nobody wants to waste money or want to change it within a few years. So take some time to plan and figure out what you really want.

Maybe you feel lost even figuring out what you want. I took time to figure out our style by looking through lots and lots and lots of pictures. As I looked through inspiration photos, I noticed that the same things kept popping up--white, marble, accents of black, chrome, open shelves. We were also very drawn to using two shades of paint--one for the majority of cabinets and a different one for the island. Through this process of researching, we were able to figure out our style--classic modern is what we called it. We were designing a house that was originally built over 100 years ago and was technically considered in the country even though it resides about a mile from the city square. We wanted to restore the classic feel yet add modern touches. Figuring that out helped us tremendously. To figure out your style, ask yourself as you research:

  • What do I love about this picture?
  • What do I not like about this picture?
  • What does that say about my style?

Here's some examples of how we implemented classic modern: Our cabinet choice nods to classic shaker style yet the black sleek hardware is modern. We chose classic white subway tile with white grout to capture both a style that is classic yet clean and modern. I realized that I didn't like rounded edges. Most of the pictures I liked had straight or hard edges. That signifies a more modern style than traditional. Get the idea? All houses are different yet this house deserved a little bit of modern mixed with its classic beauty.

I want to share with you the few main inspiration pictures behind our Kitchen renovation. The first comes from the Southern Living Idea Home from Senoia, GA in 2010. At that point, we knew we wanted a mostly white kitchen but we still hadn't landed on where to buy from. We had quotes from Home Depot and a local cabinet maker--both so much money. When we saw this picture, we realized that we could do an Ikea kitchen. There are a few things from this one picture that narrowed our ideas: Ikea cabinetry, custom hood woodwork, custom woodwork on the back of the island, wood floor stain color, and to push our kitchen table right up next to the island. That is a lot from one picture!


Another kitchen that largest influenced us was designed by Urban Grace Interiors. This kitchen is completely swoon-worthy. Behold this glory...

This kitchen mostly inspired us to do a few things, the first being open shelving. We mimicked the bracket design from this kitchen. I just LOVED the chalkboard idea so I, Miss Not-so-crafty, created one out of scrap wood from Home Depot and a little chalkboard paint. At first, I wrote HIS GRACE IS SUFFICIENT because that was the daily reminder that I needed (Amen from all the mothers of little humans). Then after a while, I realized how fitting GIVE THANKS BE JOYFUL was for me and changed it. We obviously loved the white cabients but we also drew inspiration for our hardware from here. Originally, we were going to do chrome or silver hardware to go with white marble countertops but when our countertop choice changed (due to the amazing deal we scored from Ikea) we changed our minds. In fact, we were already living in the house before we ever ordered the hardware. When I saw the specks of black in the New Venetian Gold Granite, I decided we should accent that in our hardware.

Here is another picture that inspired how I decorated our open shelves. The open shelves really were one of my all-time favorite parts of the entire house. It was a place that could truly capture my personality. We used everything that was on our shelves. I wanted it to be functional yet beautiful.

open shelves inspiration

The last kitchen picture that was a big inspiration for what we did was the home of Julie Holloway from Milk & Honey Home. She also had beautiful open shelves. The hardware in here is what we originally were going for until our countertops changed. We chose the same oval lanterns, sink faucet and apron front fireclay sink.So now you know how our kitchen evolved. You can see all the elements from the pictures before displayed in our kitchen. Spend some time figuring out what you want--you don't want to change it within a few years. We originally wanted a different color island but decided that it would be easier to start with a white cabinet and then paint it down the road if we needed a change. Don't rush the process and be flexible (like we were about the hardware).

kitchen complete
kitchen complete

If you are in the middle of researching a kitchen renovation, I hope our steps help you. I have a whole board of kitchen inspiration for you to jump start your research. At the end of the day, you want to create a space that you enjoy and feel at peace.


Love The Home You Have

One thing I absolutely love about modern day technology is the world it has opened up for women. So many women have created businesses for themselves and their families through a tiny little thing called the Internet. They began a blog as a way to voice their thoughts and capture their ideas and over time something bigger happened. God connected people to their dreams and then connected them to other people. I can't help but beam with pride when I read blogs or books written by bloggers because I see how God is using their passions and abilities and skills to influence a world of people. One of these such bloggers is Melissa from The Inspired Room. I can't even tell you how I stumbled upon her blog however many moons ago but I enjoy reading each post as it enters my inbox. Melissa just released her first book called Love The Home You Have and I quickly jumped at the opportunity to read and help promote her book. (I think one of the greatest things that we as women can do is lift each other up and help propel each other forward.)

So I am going to touch base with you about this book as I read it--sharing my thoughts and insights. I felt like I was saying "yes" and "yes" over and over as I began her book. I was often reminded of some of the things I've shared with you in the For Rent series I did awhile back as I read her opening chapter.


I don't know about you, but I can easily be convinced that where I am is not where I am supposed to be--that there is always something that I need to do next that is greater than where I am currently positioned. I think that's why leaving our dream home to move into a rental has been such a blessing in disguise for me. I have really shifted my thinking to where I am in the moment--not where I would like to be later or where I used to be. What about you? Where are you? Where is your home currently?

  • maybe its the house you've always been in
  • maybe you've been recently uprooted
  • maybe you are in-between homes
  • maybe its an apartment
  • maybe its a rental house
  • maybe its back at your parent's house
  • maybe its somewhere you never imagined
  • maybe its your dream house

We are all somewhere different. I can look back over the course of our homes (as a married couple, we have lived in 7 homes in 10 years of marriage) and I see how I often didn't view them as homes. How do you define a home? Maybe that's the baseline question we need to answer. What constitutes a home? I definitely didn't see our first apartment as a home yet it is where we began our life together as an Us--where our newly registered-for presents decorated the place. At some point, I stopped seeing our first "purchased" home as a home because it was just a townhouse yet it was the home we brought our first baby home to. Our third residence was a too-small-for-us townhouse that lasted only 2 months so how could that really be a home (our daughter was going to sleep in a closet)? Our rental house during construction was temporary--a holding place to the dream home--so I didn't see that as our home even though we brought our second baby home to it. Do you see the pattern there? Always waiting for what's next and failing to recognize that home is right where you are. Home needs to be redefined in our minds and hearts. Home is right where you are. Melissa says, "The exciting result of learning to love the home you have is this: You will find greater contentment where you are, and your home will start to inspire your life in unexpected ways."

I don't know about you but greater contentment (in all of life) is really want my heart desires. I bet that deep down all us truly desire to a create a home right where we are and not to live for what's next. We want to drive down the street or read blogs or Pinterest and refuse to let the images we see convince us that home is what's next. We don't want to think that home will happen in the future at the next place. You want to refuse to say that you will create a home in the next space. You truly want home to be now. We may end up missing out on something beautiful that could happen right where you are if we are constantly looking for what's next. There is no one set style or limitation. We are all different and unique. I think that the ability to create a home is within your reach--no matter what that home may look like. "The formula for a house you love should work just as well whether you move to a new address or settle in and embrace the one you already have."

So what is that formula? How can you love the home you have? Melissa's book is going to delve into that very formula. She gives three ways to jumpstart your journey in chapter one. I'm going to share with you my answers to her prompts.

  1. List three ways you're grateful for the home you have
    • we are saving money
    • easier to clean (only 1700 sq ft)
    • easy to decorate (again, only 1700 sq ft. no more empty rooms.)
  2. Start a special tradition or create a fun memory in your home
    • Since moving here, we have invited friends over for dinner often. (Ironically, we did this less when we had the home to hold lots of people.) This is a new tradition for us. We decided to invest in relationships by investing in some outdoor space (think food, fire pits, and tree swings). Because of this, our home as been the nesting place for some of our best relationships.
  3. Think of one area of your home you enjoy and why
    • I really enjoy our master bedroom--especially in the early afternoon. You can sit on the bed and look out the french doors or big windows and see the sun breaking through the established, beautiful large trees in the backyard. It is a canopy of beauty for sure!

I want to challenge you to answer those three questions. Start your journey with me. Sometimes we just need to focus our eyes on what is in front of us. You can create the home of your dreams right where you are. There is a community of people just like us over at Home Love Stories where you can share your journey or read about other people's journey to loving the home where they are or if you want to buy Melissa's book and join me while I read, you can do that here.

Master Bedroom Retreat

I don't know why this is, but my bedroom is always the last thing for me to decorate fully. Maybe bedrooms just plague me for some strange reason. Maybe its because most people don't see it. However, I have noticed that living in a small house people always end up in our bedroom. Our kids always end up playing in there--it is apparently their dance studio. And on the weekends, Scott and I really want a place to sit and retreat. Let's just call it what it is--an escape for our crazy, busy kids. Am I right? So recently I've been working on a plan for our bedroom. I mentioned briefly in a recent friday finds post that I am looking to update our bedding. I've had all white bedding for years but I've got the itch for something different. Scott was happy because its seemed a little masculine. Pursuing my Pinterest board on bedrooms, the common thread is neutral, white, light, gray, wood, and some pattern. I've talked about in the For Rent series, that I really want to purchase things that I love. I no longer want to buy simply because its cheap or I sorta like it. I really want to enjoy what I place in our home--I want it to be a reflection of who we are. I love that Scott has an opinion on our decor. He has such a creative eye and if you have seen our house tour then you would agree! So we are approaching this together.

On these boards, you'll see our bedroom. What we really need are two armchairs, one side table and bedding. Everything else on the board is already in the room. One thing that isn't pictured are the nightstands which was a RAST Ikea Hack we did awhile back.

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 10.59.03 AM
Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 10.59.03 AM

This first board, has the two different Ikea beddings mixed along with wingback chairs ($280) from Target. The side table is also from Target. I like the pattern on the chairs, but kind of wanted something with a shorter back so that it didn't block too much of the window.

master bedroom retreat
master bedroom retreat

The second board uses our current white bedding along with a gray pin stripe comforter from Ikea to lay at the foot of the bed. The side table (metal + wood) and armchairs ($250) are also from Target. Both of us really like the dark charcoal pattern on these chairs and that the back is not so tall.

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 10.58.53 AM
Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 10.58.53 AM

The third board has the mix-matched bedding from Ikea along with a different side table from Target (gold + wood) and two chairs from ZGallerie. Now, let me just say that I have stalked these chairs for years. I love the style of them however I do not love the price tag. I am all about buying what we love but we honestly don't want to spend $600 a pop! A girl can dream, though, right?!

I had originally thought about a neutral linen upholstered chair with clean lines but as I looked at the board, it felt like all my upholstered furniture was the same. I felt like it needed something different--something that added a different texture and feel. The neutral linen would be a safer bet given that I could move it from room to room in my house with ease but sometimes I think you need to have fun and push past your tendency to play it safe. So we are leaning towards the second board.


  1. Headboard - Wayfair (the one we actually have is no longer in stock)
  2. Dresser - Ikea Hemnes
  3. Bedside chest - Ikea RAST (We DYI'd it)
  4. Ottomans - Target
  5. First side table - Target
  6. Second side table - Target
  7. WingBack chair - Target Jackson Chair
  8. Side Chairs - Target Cooper Chair
  9. Spindle Chairs - Zgallerie
  10. Bedding - here and here
  11. Curtains - Ikea AINA
  12. Rug - WestElm
  13. Armoire - thrifted

And on that note, I really enjoy helping others find their style and create a space that they truly enjoy. Contact me if you are interested in needing help pulling a look together.

Friday Finds (Ikea Style)

One of the best things about where we live is that it only takes us about 20 minutes to get to Ikea. If you know me, then you know that I really enjoy Ikea... for the most part. There is something so inspiring about walking through a showroom that shows you entire livings spaces completely finished in different square feet. When we renovated our Ocoee Street home, we chose to use Ikea for our kitchen and girls' bathroom so we clearly love Ikea. It's been awhile since I've been to Ikea and I'm really itching to go. Plus, they are about to launch their new kitchens!! I am seriously excited to see what these new and improved kitchens are like. You can read about it here and here.

Ikea Finds
Ikea Finds

1. We need two chairs for our bedroom to create a functional space for us as a retreat. Since we live in a small house, we need another area where we can escape our children when we want to have a conversation or read. These chairs are new and I really like their style.

2. One thing we did when we moved in was replace 3 of the nasty outdated ceiling fans (in the kitchen, living room & playroom). Now that the girls have moved into the room formerly known as my office, we need to remove that fan, too. It really is a hazard since the girls could hit their head when climbing up to the top bunk. I'm thinking something like this ceiling light.

3. Since we signed our lease for another year, we decided that we really need to work on creating a functional, enjoyable outdoor space. I've had my eye on this sectional since last spring to surround our fire pit.

4. & 5. & 9. For whatever reason, I've never been one for artificial plants inside however when you have a cat that eats EVERYTHING (especially flowers/plants/leaves) and makes himself sick then artificial may be my only option. There is a spot in my living room that seems to need a little something like this or this. I also LOVE this galvanized bucket/pot for either the inside or my front steps. (ya'll, my front steps need some serious attention, too).

6. I'm crushing on this cowhide rug to go in our bedroom with the 2 chairs to help create its own little sitting area.

7. & 8. Do you ever just get tired of your bedding? I really do love white and we've had white for years, but then I saw this picture on Instagram and I was really drawn to it. Something about it looks so cozy. Here and here.

Ikea Bedding
Ikea Bedding

So there it is.... my Friday Finds Ikea Style edition. What's your latest Ikea Crush?