Time flies when you’re  having fun!  Let me be as short and sweet as possible to get you caught up on everything:

1.  Halloween – its really a bummer when its on a school night – the kids think the next day should be a  no-school sort of holiday.  We had fun anyway – a little pre-party at our house with chili, cornbread and lots of treats.  Then off on our gaggle of golf carts to trick-or-treat.  Son was, as usual, a football player.  Today he announced he is not going to be a dentist/orthodontist when he grows up because he is going to play football until he’s 80!  I like a man with a plan.  No photos of him – because, he’s him and doesn’t care to stop to be photographed.  Daughter was a witch that collided with Lada Gaga.

Remember Chuckie from last year?  Well that house was even scarier than ever.  They had monsters and even a clown jumping out of the bushes and “Chuckie” had a dead body with guts that she was throwing on people.  I can’t make this stuff up!  The kids love it and hate it all at the same time.

2.  Son’s Birthday – We had a fun outdoor party and had a flag football game with kicking and throwing contests.  I got all the kids team shirts with their names and numbers on the back and a team logo on the front.

3.  Football – the season is now over.  I’m kind of like the kids with the dead body and guts about football – I love it and hate it all at the same time.  Its harder than hard to watch your baby boy get tackled.

4.  House Hunters – I have been shooting an Emerald Coast episode of HGTV’s House Hunters!  My clients had submitted to be on the show long before they even met me.  I was wary about doing it – I’m not a big “do things in front of others” kind of person – I’m the anti-Leo.  I convinced myself I could do it and that the Realtor doesn’t have that big of a role anyway.  It was fun – the crew was so nice and interesting.  I loved hearing about their travels and the other shows they have worked on –  like our cameraman did a 3 year stint on “Cops” and told us stories about running around alleys and railroad tracks chasing after criminals!  I shot 2 consecutive almost 12 hours days and have one more day this weekend of shooting.  The buyers have to shoot 5 days!  All this for a 30 minute show.   It was very unnatural to have a camera in your face and a sound pack in your back – I know I did not act like myself and am worried about what I will look like on tv.  I felt a little bit like a bobble head, nodding my head in agreement too often during the buyers commentary.  So if you catch the episode in 2013, go easy on me – its much harder than you think!  Here are a few iPhone photos of the experience:

 This is me doing the “confessional” – this was the hardest part for me!  How does everyone else make it look so easy?  I was bright red like a tomato and probably talking about 100 mph which is what I do when I’m nervous.  I begged them for white balance…

This is me with the buyers and the crew after our 2nd long day of shooting.

We were shooting right as Hurricane Sandy was hitting the East Coast which brought a freakishly unseasonable cold front – yep, it was 46 degrees with a 39 degree wind chill and I was in summer clothes determined that it would not look cold in our episode!

 During breaks I put yoga pants under my dress and bundled up in a North Face.  For real I went to lunch dressed like this! 

     Please check back tomorrow – I am putting together a humbling and heart breaking post about the family I would like ALL of us to help and bless this year for Christmas.  



Halloween – The Archives


     I used to host a big, fun Halloween party the Saturday before Halloween each year.  I never was a big Halloween person – until Son was born.  My only request to my Dr. during my pregnancy was “please don’t let him be born on Halloween!”  Now I think that would have been cool.  But…he made his entrance a few days before and we ended up having a Halloween/birthday party combo 6 years running.  I think  my favorite Halloween party was the last one 3 years ago – it was an 80’s themed party and kids and adults all came dressed in 80’s costumes.  We had several Madonnas, a rubik’s cube, the Golden Girls, Punky Brewster, Mr. T, etc..  I will always cherish those photos and memories!  After that party I scaled back to a small party on Halloween – some of our friends come over and we eat chili and a few appetizers and then we all drive golf carts around the neighborhood trick-or-treating.

     Here are a few photos I dug up from the archives to share with you through the years of Halloween (last year pictured above was “Toddlers and Tiaras and a Bears football player.)  As I type this, Daughter (at 10 years old) is now pretty much my same height and has a shoe size 2 sizes larger than my own.  Son is not far behind in the height department and we could share shoes but he doesn’t really care for wedges or Ugg boots!  Daughter typed a letter to me outlining all the reasons she should have a phone – I’ll have to scan and share that later, it would win anyone over.  The point is…they are growing up way too fast and pretty soon they will be too old for trick-or-treating!  (Some faces have been blacked out to protect the innocent!)

Son won the Costume Contest at the 80’s party with his Gene Simmons KISS costume!

And I’m not saying this is or isn’t husband, but this crew also won the Costume Contest as Richard Simmons and the Sweatin’ to the Oldies “ladies.”  I pee a little every time I see this photo:

These Solid Gold dancers at the 80’s party still kill me.  I couldn’t black out his lips in this photo because really – that makes the photo:


This was all of us last year by the golf cart.  Husband went all out with his costume…I think he called it “deer in the headlights”

This Chuckie was pretty funny – we found him/her at a house where we trick-or-treated.  They had the dad jumping out of the bushes to really freak you out and they had fake bloody limbs on the stairs up to their house.

This is really going back in the archives to the pumpkin patch days:

People who have never seen me pregnant don’t believe that I get as big as I got.  No, this is not twins or octuplets.  This was taken about a month before Son was born…back in the days with a digital camera that had 2 megapixels and before lasik eye surgery:

Isn’t she the cutest thing?  This child never had hair until she was about 3 years old.  It all fell out and grew back to the thickest hair you’ve ever seen – see what happens when you wish too hard?  I said I wanted enough hair for a bow – not enough that her hairdresser said he will start charging her by the pound!  There is nothing cuter than baby feet…nothing…

This was when my little pumpkin turned 1 – still getting the hang of how to walk, I guess:

This was Daughter trying on brother’s costume:

I could eat them with a spoon:

This was the year Johnny the Torch actually started a tree on fire with a sparkler:


I hope you enjoyed my walk down memory lane!




Just a Glimpse…

       Did I tell you that the renter of our Beach House is a professional wedding and beach photographer?  Her work is stunning – really, I should have negotiated a photo shoot into the lease!  She shoots weddings along the Emerald Coast – usually in Seaside and Rosemary Beach.  Her plan when she moved in was to use the entire sunroom as her office.  She has meetings with brides there and also has a big flat screen to run proofing sessions.  (If you are planning a wedding or vacation to the Destin area – send me an e-mail for her contact information!)  I always wished I had been a professional photographer and had a little hut on the beach – but on the other hand, maybe I wouldn’t love it so much if it were my job?

     Well, lucky us – she sent me a few photos of the completed office.  She found the table and chairs on Craig’s List for only $75 and then painted the entire set with chalk paint.  Her canveses look stunning, even from this glimpse…

      I’ve had a lot of e-mails about Tropical Storm/Hurricane Isaac – the short answer…we are fine!  The track initially had Isaac heading straight for us, but now it has turned west towards New Orleans.  Hopefully the storm will not gather strength – New Orleans deserves a break.   Its a lot of work to prepare for a hurricane – just moving everything from the outside in is no easy task.  Our schools are cancelled tomorrow – but I think more of a precaution because we will have some winds and rain.  Yesterday we took advantage of the pre-storm surf and took the kids surfing at the beach.  This is only son’s second time surfing (after 2 years of me begging him to take lessons) and just like little kids do, he pops right up – now he wants a surfboard for his birthday!  Daughter is a little more reserved – maybe next time!

And here is the photo you will never see on the Weather Channel… 


Decorating Your Home Using the Color Wheel


     I am in the process of freshening up my own house.  I have decorating ADD – I tire of things easily.  I have learned, the hard way, that you should be neutral with the “big stuff” (the walls, the couch,  the chairs) and use color through the less expensive pieces like accessories, throw pillows, rugs, etc.  And because I am not a trained or professional designer, I have made my share of mistakes along the way.

     By using the color wheel, you can come up with the best color scheme for each room in your home.  Let’s use my daughter’s room as an example.  We have cleared out all the clutter (stuffed animal heaven has many new angels) and after several bags of trash and Goodwill donations, her room is a clean slate.  We found new bedding and the color is lavender.  Using the color wheel, we have a few options for the direction of the room.

1.  Monochromatic

     We could layer different shades of purple in her room using paint, pillows and accesories.  I see this look a lot with shades of white, cream and tan.  Decorating this way is usually very easy on the eyes and soothing.   But this scheme gives me some high school flashbacks with purple being my school color, so this will not work for us.

2.  Complementary

     On the color wheel, choose the color directly across from your main color.  This is a more bold choice.  Obviously the colors in this photo are much more saturated than I am looking for – you can then adjust the hues to match each other.  So a less saturated version would look something like this inpiration photo I found on Pinterest:


      I love this photo so much I am definitely painting Daughter’s door glossy yellow!  I also found a chevron stencil on Etsy and will chevron the rear wall of her room in cream and lavender!


3.  Three Colors

     Now this is where you can really go nuts.  Find a third color that forms a triangle in the center of the color wheel!  Who would’ve thunk that green would work in this color scheme of lavender and yellow?   But it does!  Just ask Mother Nature:

          When in Jacksonville last week, I picked up this capiz shell chandelier for Daughter’s room.  This store should mention that in addition to buying the light you see pictured in the store, you must also buy the “cord kit” AND the “conversion kit”.  So the low price isn’t that low after you buy all these kits.  The cord kit is, well, the cord – duh, who sells a light without a cord???  And the conversion kit is so you can hang it from the ceiling – In case you were going to display the chandelier on a shelf?  Of course I got home and attempted to install the light, only to find that it did not have a cord.  Rrrrrr…  I then had to fork over $30 for the cord and it arrived yesterday – stay tuned on the assembly…  (notice in the catalog photo they show a cord)  If a real capiz shell chandlier isn’t in your budget, try the waxed paper version I’ve seen floating around the blogosphere! 

And the wax paper version:


Have fun trying the color wheel in your own home – a few other palettes I am loving right now are:

Coral and Blue (Source)




Blue & Orange


Blue & Green 



The Finish Line

     Last week the Cambria countertops were installed in the Beach House kitchen – these counters were MADE for this kitchen – the perfect color and a gorgeous amount of silvery sparkle that makes me smile every time I see them.  Right now they are covered in plastic and construction debris, but trust me, they are gorg!  The lights were also installed the other day and they are perfect.   You might remember these from my post about a Before and After Beach Condo – yes, I “borrowed” the inspiration from this condo and bought the same lights with a larger matching one above the sink.

     The last two weeks have been the “down and dirty” work.  All the little details in the house are being worked on and outside we are seeing progress, people!  We have trenches dug for sprinklers, a well is being dug today (around here we have wells to water our grass instead of city water), and we have a shiny new gravel driveway and sidewalk!  We have an existing driveway at the front of the house than can park two cars.  But the TRUE front of the house (the one where the address and mailbox go) was sorely neglected.  The whole front entry is being revitalized – it is pretty ugly right now.  We do have a new door, the harvest gold Brady Bunch sidelights have been replaced with clear glass and there will be a new column and overhang soon.  With the new driveway, the home can easily park 4-5 cars which will be great when it becomes a short term rental property.

Here is Daughter, about to explore the gravel delivery: 

And here is the new driveway and sidewalk:

Here are the new side lights – a huge improvement, despite the fact that I photographed this like the house is lopsided (it isn’t) – but if I took the time to edit, edit, edit all these photos, I would never have time to post!

Yesterday they were cutting through the concrete block to add the new french doors – hopefully these will lead to a pool next summer!

The Master Bedroom is getting a door also which will lead to a brick paver patio.  Check out the blood red paint we found when we removed the trim!  The ceiling fan was also replaced – I picked out plain jane white ceiling fans that would just blend into the ceiling:

I’m probably going to gross you out with this one, but what an improvement the new white ceiling fan is compared to the original:

Remember when I told you the floors looked like they had poured Elmers Glue into some weird Aztec design?  Well, they didn’t stop at the floors. Every door has the same crazy design.  The painters are not excited to have to sand down all of these doors but fingers crossed it works and we don’t have to buy all new doors!  Ok, can you imagine this door in a room with blood red paint?  Scary Larry!


The Master Bedroom closet used to be Pepto-Bismol pink – a really nice accent to the blood red walls, don’t you think?  The closet is now white and will have new shelving and hanging bars.  The Master actually has 2 closets.

A peek of the interior:

The stainless steel appliances were delivered yesterday!  The contractor is installing them all today so I will get a great shot of the kitchen next week.

     And last, but not least, the landscaping.  The sod and plants are being installed on Monday.  This will be the most dramatic part of the renovation yet!  I told you I put a “For Rent” sign in the yard last week.  Well, I pulled the sign the next day and decided to wait until the yard is done – the house just didn’t command the price I wanted when it was surrounded by the weeds and brownscape!

     And on a personal note…


…we have been in the dog days of summer, still playing baseball and softball.  Both kids made their Little League All-Star teams and competed in a tournament that just finished up on Tuesday night.  It was a very exciting time – here in Destin, no team has ever made it to the Championship, much less won.  Ever.  It was a lot of pressure, a ton of practices which meant zero summer play dates,  but the boys and the girls both made it to the Championship!  The hardest part of the tournament, for me, was that the kids played on the same days, at the same time, but in cities 1 hour apart!  So we had to rotate parents.  In the end, the boys won it all (woot woot) and the girls came in 2nd (woot woot)!  Now I feel like I want to stay in my pj’s for at least a week and not leave the house…

Have a great weekend!


Happy Accidents

I was at the “Chimpanzee” movie on Wednesday with Daughter’s 4th grade class and was getting a bunch of text messages and voicemails from Mr. Contractor.  Turns out the painters painted the Master Bedroom the bathroom color – whoops!   He wanted to make sure how I felt about it before they painted over it.  I hurried over and decided it looked so pretty in Benjamin Moore Palladian Blue that I would leave it!  The rest of the interior is Benjamin Moore Marscapone – the trim and doors will be a half blend of the same color.  What a difference a coat of paint makes.  It is SO fun to see my design choices come to life – and even more fun to love them.  Here is a photo of the Happy Accident progress:

The Master Bathroom has also received a coat of Palladian Blue paint.  I think this is the most perfect shade of blue – it has hints of green and blue and is light, but doesn’t feel like a nursery.  We did install a new black toilet – next on the list is installing the cabinetry and then steam cleaning and re-grouting the tile.  I love the vintage black/white tile – its about the only thing that will remain from the original!

Do you remember my inspiration photo?


The 3rd bedroom used to the be the home’s garage – it was turned into a bedroom and a bathroom/laundry room.  We had to drywall it, remove the door and repair the walls from the outside in. It is painted “Marscapone”.  On Tuesday this tile will be jack hammered and this room and bathroom will also have polished concrete floors in “Mocha”.  There used to be large vines growing in this room from the outside – you can see their remanants in the “Before” photo:

The 3rd Bathroom has also had a coat of Palladian Blue – this cabinet had to be custom ordered because of its unusual dimensions – very  narrow.  And therefore it requires a custom top as well…cha-ching.  Well, I found a pretty remnant (lots of silvery sparkle) at the granite showroom and this will be the top:

The Sun Room is progressing as well.  We removed that old window and have left it open for the light it provides and it is being framed out.  The door to the Master has been removed and all new windows have been installed.  There will also be a set of french doors that will lead to the back yard and eventual pool – those should be here next week.


Sun  Room Window:


The Kitchen doors were installed today:

You know I love this farmhouse sink:

The pantry is coming along:

The living room paneling has been painted and the baseboards are being installed – next up, crown molding!

This was expensive and labor intensive, but it MAKES the room:


TGIF!  It was the last day of school – baseball and softball for the kids is not finishing up until mid-June and then we will be ready for a break!  It was a great school year for both of my kids.  Daughter turned 10 and had her first ever dance recital – this shy child would never participate in dance because of the recital.  Now she wants to be an actress on the Disney channel…go figure!