Road Trippin - Itinerary and Getting Started

Late last week we headed out on a week long road-trip... Eight days and seven nights. Leaving on Thursday, Day one - driving from Southern California to Sacramento.  With the traffic and pit stops it took almost 9 hours on this first stretch of the trip just to get to Sacramento.  Although I had planned on blogging daily on this trip, with so much driving, I was completely exhausted and collapsed once I got to the hotel!

So here I am days later (still on our trip) and finally sharing the beginning of our trip with you.  I've actually tried to a couple of times before but the "FREE" internet access at a few of our hotels has had about the equivalent speed of dial up and kept crashing... and honestly, I just couldn't deal with it!  

Normally I am not a planner, I don't like lists and usually I just go with the flow.  But for this trip, I planned it down to almost every detail.  God willing, all will go as planned!  Here is a quick overview of our trip itinerary. 


Day 1 - Drive to Sacramento (hotel for the night)

Day 2 - Drive to Medford, Oregon.  Upon arrival visit a store that I've been super excited to see (for those of you that follow the blog "Pretty in Paint", it is her amazing new store).  I will share the store and several photos of it in a future post).  Stay the night at a hotel on the Rogue River

Day 3 - Hubs and I go rafting on the Rogue River with family... Then we drive back to a hotel in the Redding area that night.

Days 4 through 6 - Spend enjoying the Central California Coast... And some of it's most beautiful spots and towns... Santa Cruz, Monterey, Carmel, Big Sur, Morrow Bay and everything in between... (and taking tons and tons of pictures).  While staying at coastal hotels each night...

Day 7 - Visit and tour the Hearst castle, then drive to Solvang, California (charming Danish town in Santa Barbara wine country) and stay the night in a European Boutique Hotel... super excited for this!

Day 8 - shop in Solvang, drive to Laguna Beach and have dinner with our daughter, Britney, for her 24th birthday. Then drive home.

Note - All of our hotels were booked in advance via Priceline or Hotwire (saving us about 40% on average for 3 star hotels), so sticking to our planned itinerary was super important.  

Our trip will cover a total of about 1700 miles... Seriously, 1700... and did I mention that I hate long car drives.  It's true... but other than the first two days (800 boring miles), the remainder of the daily planned drives are a bit shorter and are very scenic.  

Back to the beginning of our trip...  While driving to Sacramento I saw so many big rigs.  I found myself counting some of them.  I passed six of them that were completely full of lemons...  and I saw so many trucks full of tomatoes that I stopped counting at eight (but saw a few more after I stopped counting).  I told you it was a boring drive :)  It's funny the things that go through your mind while driving for so many hours.

For instance, all of those lemons, thousands of them in a truck... I could understand and really didn't give much thought.   However, my mind could not grasp how all of those tomatoes could be transported on top of each other.  Think about it, all of that weight???  Wouldn't the tomatoes on the bottom be totally and completely squished?  Like ready for soup or sauce?  I mean really, if I sit on a tomato it would pop... wouldn't it?  All that weight has to be more than several people sitting on top of the tomatoes.  Yes, that is how my mind works ;)

A bit later, as I was driving on I-5, in what felt like the middle of nowhere, I saw this yellow plane flying back and forth over the freeway.  I think it was a crop duster.  But he appeared to be just goofing off buzzing the freeway.  I can admit that it freaked me out a little bit.  But, not too much since I found time to pull out the camera and start snapping pictures. Yes, I was driving at the same time (and I don't recommend it), but I was careful, I promise!

I have taken many pictures and have lots to share.  I will post again soon, assuming I can find good internet access.

Until next time...


Pottery Barn Inspired - Woven Seagrass Placemats

This is just a quick share to show you these gorgeous Seagrass Placemats that I recently found for our dining nook.  They add such great texture... and yes, we do have square plates too.  I have seen these mats in the past at Pottery Barn and Crate and Barrel, but I didn't want to pay too much for them.  I admit I'm cheap... but I still like and want nice stuff :)   I found these mats for only $5.99 a piece at HomeGoods.  That's a savings of over $10 per mat.  

I so love finding bargains and I love a good HomeGoods fix!  If you haven't been to a HomeGoods store and have one in your area, you really should check them out... 

Then you too can be #HomeGoodsHappy

Until next time...
Happy decorating,


Finally... Our Kitchen Reveal

Our quickie kitchen back-splash makeover, the one that we attempted to start in the middle of May (yes, over two months ago)... is officially finally finished.  I won't go into all of the issues we had trying to get this, our first ever tile job, completed... but you can read about some of them on these prior posts:  

I am so happy that this project is over!  By the time we got to the final stages of grouting, caulking and then sealing the grout... it felt like torture.  I was so sick of everything tile that I pretty much wished we had never started!!!  We went in thinking it would be a simple quick and easy project and it probably should have been.  But it wasn't.  Everything that could possibly go wrong DID.

But finally, here it is, our beautiful finished kitchen.  With a few new accessories and pops of aqua and turquoise, I am now enjoying it.

Notice the cute vintage inspired fan in the corner.  I was thrilled when I found it at HomeGoods.  I think it is now the most important appliance in my kitchen.  For those women who are going through the big "M", you know why it is so important...  Yep, it's for those darn hot flashes.  Even with our air conditioning on I need to have a fan in just about every room to keep me from melting (especially the kitchen)!  For those of you who aren't there yet, just wait... You will want fans all around you too :)

I'm sorry I didn't get more pictures of the kitchen. I have been fighting with trying to get a good picture for about a week now.  The lighting is just too dark at night and way too much light glares in during the day.  With one good picture, I finally decided to reveal it. I didn't even remember to put anything on my chalkboard.  Oh well, in the future (when it's cloudy and raining out) I will hopefully get a few more good photos.  

I haven't figured out how to be a great photographer yet, but I'm working on it.  I think I may need to take a class.

Until next time,
Happy decorating!


Gorgeous Blue Mason Jars with Vintage Style

I love using mason jars for everything from floral vases... to sweet tea and lemonade drinking cups... to cute organizers for nuts and bolts.  So when I came across these gorgeous new Ball Heritage Mason Jars, that look vintage (at a fraction of the cost), I absolutely had to get some!

I have collected some vintage and antique aqua mason jars, but am afraid to use them for drinks since they are somewhat expensive when I find them at antique and collectible stores.  I was able to get six of these beautiful Heritage Mason Jars  delivered to my door for about the same price as what one vintage jar costs.

The blue color on these jars is a bit more intense that on the original old blue mason jars, but I actually like these better.  I am loving them... They are so pretty!!!

On the left side of the picture, I made a simple refreshing drink with ice cubes, water, a few strawberries and lemon slices...  The drink on the right side of the picture is good ol sweet tea.  Yum!!!

I have heard these are on limited release so I'm not sure how long they will be available.  If you want to get some, you can order them HERE.


Junkers Paradise Found

A couple of weeks ago my hubby and I spent a few days up at Big Bear Lake (in the Southern California mountains) for our tenth Anniversary.  While were driving down the main road just before town I saw this huge yard completely full of cool junk.  At first I didn't know what it was, I didn't realize that it was an actual place of business.  I just knew that I had to go and check it out.

As we first walked onto the property I was drawn in by seeing so much vintage stuff... Then as we started walking the property, it just continued on and on and on.  It had to have been at least an acre full of vintage goodies.  To some people much of this would have looked like trash... But to those of us who love junk (including me) it was paradise!  I couldn't believe how much junk (rusty old items and antiques) they actually had.  At every corner, in every nook and cranny and even in all of the western looking little sheds everything was full of treasures.  It looked like someone spent a few lifetimes collecting all of this stuff.

The prices were a bit high for me since I am a major bargain shopper... but this place pretty much had everything possible when it comes to cool junk and it was all in one place.  I especially liked this sign - "If we don't got it, you don't need it" (pictured below).

I will let the pictures do the talking...  Here is a small sampling of what all this place had.  Enjoy :)

I was so engrossed in looking at all of this great stuff that I didn't even get the name or a picture of the front of this place.  But if you are ever in California and up in Big Bear, just ask any local where the place is that has all of the junk outside and I'm sure they can direct you.  If you are like me, you won't be able to help but notice it as you are driving by on the main highway heading into town.  It's pretty hard to miss!


Confessions of a DIY Addict - But It Was Practically FREE

I have decided that I am a somewhat boring blogger.  Yep, I admit it.  Sure I do nice projects most of the time.  But I tend to just show and tell you how I did the project and I keep it simple (and basically boring).  Well, I've decided it's time to be 100% real... and  from now on I'm going to tell it like it is!  The good, the bad and the ugly, all of it... So here goes:

In my mind I truly believe that Anyone Can Decorate and Anyone can renovate... We can do it all! Right?  Why not?  Haven't you watched the shows on HGTV?  It all looks so easy!  Have you seen what they can accomplish in under an hour?  I can do it too... Can't I?  And if I can't then surely my husband can.

I have something like 4,782 projects in my head that I want to do.   I would guess that we have about 40 projects in progress at some level or another.  I seem to have this little problem... I start a project get halfway through and then have another amazing idea... I get completely sidetracked and then its on to a new project.

Then i might visit the flea market or a yard sale and find an item that I just can't pass up... The item literally calls out to me, "rescue me, fix me, please take me home".  My husband used to say things like "are you sure?  It's ugly.. what the heck are you going to do with that?".  But now he just says, "yes dear".  I think he finally figured out that if i say it needs to come home with us, then it is going to come home with us.  It really is so much easier when he just agrees from the get go!

Whatever my newly rescued treasure is, it comes home and now it's another pending project.  Of course if I absolutely love  it, I might want (have a dying need) to get started on it right away.  Hence my problem, I have way too many projects and not near enough time or energy to give to them all.

Our house has plenty of space for all of my beautifully envisioned treasures when i someday finish them...  but right now I think our house is the messiest it has ever been.  It's not pigsty messy... Rather it's project messy.  Many of the projects aren't pretty yet... Not even close!   I can't believe that I haven't driven my husband crazy yet.  When he promised to love and cherish me for better or for worse, I am so lucky and blessed that he actually meant it!

He (my husband Jim) helps me with my projects whenever he can... And he is mostly supportive of all my craziness.  But he works full time, has other obligations (like Toastmasters, softball and such), and he has managed to lose 60 pounds in the past three years with an amazing dedicated exercise regimen. Note: This is Something I know literally nothing about!!!

Weekends are the only time he can help me and lately we've been so busy on weekends going to Baseball games, taking a vacation to the mountains for our 10th Anniversary and doing other fun stuff, that not much (or nothing) is getting accomplished around here.

I'm beginning to think this little problem I have may be a bit larger than I had previously thought... It's an obsessive addiction really.  I am always finding great items that need a bit (or a ton) of TLC and I have no problem envisioning how amazing they will be once they are transformed.  The bad part is, that I seem to be lacking on the follow through and I'm struggling to actually finish but a few things each month.   

I think this may be a somewhat common addiction to those of us who like to upcycle junk and transform trash to treasure.  Don't all DIY'ers have a pile (or a garage full) of our many someday projects?  Please admit it!  Then I won't feel so bad.  Maybe there is a support group for this sort of thing.  Oh wait, I don't have time for a support group.  I have too many projects to finish :)

If I could only afford to hire someone to help do my dirty work... hehe.  Or wiggle my nose and have the ability to instantly transform an item (okay, dreaming a bit here)... But wouldn't that be so cool.  

Anyways, I've decided that I am going to attempt to avoid any and all Flea Markets, Yard Sales, Thrift Stores and Craigslist Hunting for the next several weeks.  This is going to be hard and I'm not sure how much will power I will have...  But I need to try.  And I'm going to try to make actual progress on the many items and projects that I (we) already have that are awaiting some attention.

Please wish me luck...  Lord knows I need it!

P.S. - I started this post the night before last,  and then yesterday I ventured into a Thrift Store...(ooops)   I hadn't posted this yet, which means I hadn't actually admitted out loud that I was going to avoid my treasure hunting addiction for awhile.   I seriously thought I could just go in to the Thrift Store and look around for a few minutes.  That is completely harmless right?  No big deal!!!    

And then I saw it.  A beautiful old oval gold gilded mirror.  Not one of those cheap plastic molded type.  This was the real deal, super heavy with an old wood frame and amazing ornate details.  It wanted to come home and live in my stairwell (it spoke to me).   Among a bunch of totally useless crud (notice in the background: a baby gate, folding lawn chair and some ironing boards) then there was this gorgeous old mirror just sitting on the ground and it needed rescuing...  And it was up to me to rescue it.  Plus, it was only $8.00. Seriously, eight dollars.  That is practically FREE!!!   

You can guess what happened next...

Yep, I couldn't help myself.  I'd like to think that many of you would have done the exact  same thing!

Until next time,
Happy treasure hunting :)


Sharing this week at -
Savvy Southern Style
The Brambleberry Cottage
Ivy and Elephants