Beauty and the Bead Board (part 2)

Last time we talked I was lying on the cold hard ground (oh! trouble trouble trouble).  More specifically we had just called a plumber to come fix a busted pipe fitting uncovered during part 1 of the downstairs bathroom reno.  Luckily we have a friend who is a professional and he fixed us right up.  While waiting on him to arrive we went ahead and started painting and did a rough install of the bead board panels.  I had marked the back of each piece as it was cut at the store so all we had to do was mark the studs, place the appropriate panel, and nail in place (using a brad nail gun).  We opted not to use liquid nails so not to destroy the drywall underneath in case we wanted to remove the paneling down the road (in hindsight, it was such a pain to finish that I hereby decree this stuff is NEVER coming down).  This isn’t a high-moisture area like a bathroom with a shower so adhesive really wasn’t needed.  We just made sure to place lots of brads into each stud as well as along each edge.  There were a lot of gaps between our boards due to the uneven walls and not exact cuts (still, free) but it wasn’t anything I knew caulk couldn’t fix.  We just made sure to level everything out as best we could as we went along.

At the end of day one we had all the bead board hung, the paint cut in, attached the existing faucet to the new vanity, and screwed the vanity into the wall.   I took a bazillon pictures of how the faucet was connected to the old vanity top before taking it apart so I would know exactly how things went back together.  I posted this picture on instagram:


“Progress! Looks pretty but the plumbing still doesn’t work (because Chloe chewed the p trap… It’s a good thing she’s cute)”

Oh yeah, did I mention Chloe, our youngest Boston Terrible Terrier, decided the existing p-trap was an awesome chew toy?  Ga-ross.   (good thing she’s cute!)  It turns out however that was the least of our problems😦

On day two we attempted to hook the plumbing back up.  We had picked up a replacement p-trap for the one Chloe chewed and installed it but when we went to hook up the faucet to the water lines we COULD NOT get the ‘old’ plastic one to go on correctly.  It kept cross threading and therefore wouldn’t seal properly so when we turned the water on it was like old faithful geysering under our sink.  ::cue round two of fetal position crying::

We were all set to call the plumber back in to replace the plastic connector when Matt’s Dad stopped by to see if he could help.  After a few minutes of messing around with the connections he got it to thread correctly!  Somebody should give that guy a raise!  I can’t even begin to express the relief and gratefulness I felt for having a fully functioning sink with no leaks (p.s. every time I turn it on now I secretly fear it’s going to bust open and gush water again).

So that brings us to the finishing touches.  Matt finished rolling the walls (they are Van Courtland Blue by Benjamin Moore in case you’re wondering) and then we started on trim work.

We bought pre-primed 1″x3″ trim boards in 8′ lengths at the same time as the bead board.  Matt cut them down to the measurements I had already planned out the wall panels and then we leveled them, pre-drilled into the studs, and screwed them in.  A few of the shorter walls didn’t have studs so we ended up using the nail gun to attach them.  I wish we had done this for all the pieces because it was much easier and left much smaller holes to fill.  The last step this day was to fill all the nail holes with putty.  As least I think it was this day, it all runs together🙂

After this I think we let it sit for a week or two.  I was really kind of wishing we had never started the project at all and dreading doing more work.  I finally got up the nerve to finish (it was pretty much a one-man-at-a-time job at this point since the bathroom is so tight) and started by sanding flush all the putty spots.  Then I wiped everything down with a damp cloth to remove all the dust.  We had already picked up some DAP paintable white caulk and I began filling in all those cracks.  I just ran a thin bead of caulk along an entire seam and then ran my finger over it to smooth it out.  I kept a damp paper towel nearby to clean my finger after each swipe.  The first few were fine and then I got to the vanity side of the wall.  In our haste and frustration with the plumbing we didn’t think to caulk & paint before we attached the vanity to the wall (and stripped out the screws).  For fear of destroying all our work with the plumbing I knew we couldn’t remove the vanity however I also couldn’t get the caulk gun into the corners beside it.

Thus ensued round three of fetal position crying (or was it four?  I can’t keep track).  I sat crouched on the ground beside the vanity, squirted caulk on my finger, and stretched to get caulk into those corners.  All the while cursing crying.  We aren’t talking normal cracks here either.  These are most uneven walls in our house which meant both sides had gaps up to a 1/4 of an inch wide.  Maybe not a lot in an accessible place but in a two-inch wide crevice this meant about an hour of ‘squirt, stretch, and spread’ (awkward).  It took me a couple of days to finish it all but in the end it was completely worth it.  The last step was painting the bead board and trim all in semi-gloss trim paint (leftover from building the house) which luckily only took one coat since we bought everything pre-primed.

After letting the paint dry I put back on the outlet covers, re-hung the hand towel holder & picture and added back accessories.

And guys, we’re in LOVE, just check it out for yourself:


IMG_0240IMG_0202IMG_0242 IMG_0241   IMG_0244 IMG_0203

Every time we walk past this room Matt and I both can’t get over what a difference it has made.  And it almost makes us forget just how awful renovating it was.  I’m proud of the work we did no matter how many mistakes we made… and I’m glad it’s done!

One more last ‘before & after’


Beauty and the Bead Board (part 1)

When we first moved into our newly built home the half bathroom downstairs looked like this (minus decor):

 A boring beige oddly-shaped box with absolutely no storage.  And although you can’t tell from the pictures every.single.wall was crooked and the drywall work was sloppy at best.  Having experienced drywall work I know it’s not the easiest job but these guys were professionals.  We knew this was just about the last room of the house to be completed so my guess is they hastily threw it together and just eyeballed measurements.

That’s why less than two years after building we needed to give this guy a face-lift.  Maybe guests didn’t notice the builder issues but it was most certainly the most blah room you could imagine.  I wanted to give it some character and color, incorporate storage with a vanity, and also try to hide the sub-par construction as best I could.

I was originally thinking board and batten with dark gray/blue walls and a white vanity.  This was my inspiration:

Traditional Powder Room Design Ideas, Pictures, Remodel and Decor

via (originally from Houzz but I can’t find the exact picture)

However after some measuring we realized getting everything straight would be a nightmare.  There would be no 90 degree cuts for this room and we don’t even own a miter saw.  However after shopping online for vanities I came across this picture on Lowes’ website and was sold:

Shop Style Selections Ellenbee White Integral Single Sink Bathroom Vanity with Cultured Marble Top (Common: 31-in x 19-in; Actual: 31-in x 18.5-in) at

Perfect!  I loved the bead board inlay on the vanity itself and thought bead board on the walls might actually cover all the mess.  We measured our space and actually went with this vanity, the above picture’s little brother to better accommodate our space.

We also decided we like the square trim look similar to this mudroom by the House of Hepworths instead of the more traditional chair rail (also no mitered cuts needed!).

I took lots of measurements, figured out how to best cut the bead board we would need (it comes in 4’x8′ sheets) and we headed out to purchase our boards.  We ended up at Home Depot because their selection was better after selecting our boards we flagged down an employee to make all our cuts.  This is where planning and measuring come in handy – I knew exactly what size panels I needed and had him cut everything in house for me.  They have a sign that says they charge for anything after the first two cuts which I was happy to pay for (again, we have no saw) but they didn’t actually charge me (which I hear is pretty normal).  Our guy seemed a little peeved when I asked him to make all cuts (13 total) but when Matt offered to tip him afterwards he smiled and refused🙂

So we cleared our calendars for one weekend thinking it couldn’t possibly take too long to switch out a vanity, install bead board & trim, and caulk & paint.

We were so WRONG.

Have you ever seen Renovation Realities on HGTV?  Those naive novices used to amuse me with their exaggerated drama and super bad luck during renovations.  This experience made me realize that perhaps collapsing on the floor crying and covered in covered in caulk all the while yelling at your spouse because you are so frustrated you just can’t anymore might be less staged for dramatic effective and more just plain old normal.  Not that I would know firsthand about that or anything…

There are many great video tutorials on you tube for how to remove pedestal sinks and we watched a bunch before starting.  Everybody’s experience will vary slightly but here is ours: Matt first turned all the water off at the sink faucet valves.  We next disassembled and removed the pedestal for the sink.  Ours wasn’t even bolted in and just slid out of place with a little wiggling.  I cut the caulk attaching the sink basin to the wall while Matt disconnected the faucet from the water supply lines and removed the p-trap, stuffing a rag in to block sewer gases (caution: have a towel handy because there is standing water inside the trap).  Then we unbolted the basin from the wall and removed it.

Here is where things went south.  We had a little trouble disconnecting our water supply lines because they weren’t the typical metal screws but instead some plastic version.  Soon after the basin came off (and we had removed the base board) we noticed moisture behind the drywall on the concrete slab.  Water was dripping slowly down behind the wall into the crack between the hard wood and slab. (see below)

Close up view of the drywall mess left by the ‘professionals’ grrrr.

Water is no joke in your walls.  We immediately called in Matt’s Dad to the rescue and he helped cut the drywall open until we found the culprit:

The connection was leaking between the faucet connector and the pex pipe in the wall.  We guess we must have jostled loose a not-great connection when removing the pedestal sink but this was still a very unpleasant surprise in an almost brand-new house.  The only silver lining was that this probably would have started leaking on it’s own at some point and who knows how much damage would have occurred before we discovered it. blessing in disguise.

We opted to have a friend who is a professional plumber come out and replace the fitting instead of trying to DIY it ourselves because a) the tool alone to crimp the fitting was close to $100 and b) WATER is dangerous and best left to the professionals🙂

Thus ensued round one of fetal position crying on the floor.

… to be continued (dun dun dun)

Day lilies 

The first spring after we moved into our house I came home to a box of bulbs sitting on my front porch.  It was shipped from a nursery with no ‘from’ label.  One year later my backyard looks like this:


Thanks Dad 😊

My first week on Whole30

Thoughts from my first week on Whole30:

  • It’s easy to eat good whole food when you plan ahead and prepare it yourself.  Meal planning and recipe prep are a must.
  • It’s HARD to resist donut holes when your coworker brings in two boxes and they stare you in the face whenever you pass the printer (I eventually shut the box so I couldn’t see them anymore).
  • The only ‘withdrawal’ I have had was a mild headache for a few days.  Not sure if it’s from sugar or sinuses pressure though.
  • I didn’t cut out dairy.  I know it’s ‘cheating’ but my doctor says I need the calcium.  That being said I am sticking to minimally processed ‘clean’ dairy.  Milk, half and half, plain greek yogurt, minimally processed cheese.
  • I miss dessert.
  • I was hungry before bed  the first few nights (my stomach is used to dessert/snacking I think!) but I haven’t let myself snack much after dinner yet.
  • The biggest difference is in how I feel throughout the day.  Very consistent energy, no afternoon crashing, no weird upset stomach pain.  This part has been awesome!

Monday – Day 1

B – two egg, tomato, & mushroom omelette, fried in olive oil (topped with mozzarella cheese), black unsweet iced tea, cashews, water.

Lunch – Chipotle salad bowl with chicken, lettuce, pico de gallo, & guacamole (plus sour cream), dried apples & plantain chips from Trader Joe’s, water.

Dinner – banana with Trader Joe’s almond butter, bacon, sliced tomato, Trader Joe’s sweet potato chips, (mozzarella cheese), water

Tuesday – Day 2

B – two eggs fried in coconut oil, banana, cashews, cup of milk with coffee.

L – tuna salad (dill relish & mustard) over romaine lettuce, sliced strawberries, dried apples & cashews, water.

D – sweet potato ‘not-fries’, grilled chicken (marinated in olive oil & ranch mix), roasted broccoli (olive oil & salt), water.

chicken, brocoli, sweet potatoes

You have to try these ‘not-fries’.  They are AMAZING!

Wednesday – Day 3

B – two eggs fried in coconut oil, cup of milk with coffee.

L – salad: romaine lettuce, leftover grilled chicken, ranch dressing (ranch mix + greek yogurt)

D – crockpot pork roast (rubbed w/ paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder, thyme), mashed cauliflower

pulled pork, mashe cauliflower

I made a huge pork roast and froze at least two more meals worth of shredded pork for later.

Thursday – Day 4

B – smoothie: frozen banana, ice, cocoa powder, almond butter, milk (can use unsweetened almond milk if you’re following the rules😉.  I roughly followed this recipe)

L – Chipotle salad bowl with chicken, lettuce, pico de gallo, & guacamole (plus sour cream), dried apples & cashews, water.

D – bacon & scrambled eggs, sliced strawberries & grapes, OJ.

Friday – Day 5

B – smoothie: similar to above, this time with strawberries instead of cocoa.

L – leftover pork roast & cauliflower, sliced strawberries & grapes, water.

D – grilled Greek chicken salad w/ cucumbers, tomatoes, feta & Greek dressing (out at local restaurant.  places that make their own house dressing are much more likely to be compliant)

Saturday – Day 6

B – smoothie: frozen banana, ice, cocoa powder, almond butter, milk (this is my new favorite breakfast!)

L – Chick-fil-a grilled chicken salad w/out dressing (we didn’t plan to be out for lunch.  the chicken wasn’t compliant but I did forego dressing for just mustard), water.

D – grilled steaks, side salad w/ homemade Greek dressing, sauteed zucchini and baby carrots. (this by far was my favorite dinner of the week!)

Sunday – Day 7

B – smoothie: frozen banana, ice, cocoa powder, almond butter, milk & I added my coffee brewed double strength and chilled.  It was almost like a Starbucks frappuccino!

L – leftover salad w/ greek dressing, apple, cashews, water.

D – lettuce wrapped burgers with tomato & fried egg, french style green beans, pineapple spears, La Croix sparkling water (totally compliant!).

lettuce burgers

I hope this gives you some ideas to help you with your Whole30 journey.  Plan ahead: keep it simple & eat things multiple times in a week to make it easier on yourself (leftovers!).  And most importantly focus on all the delicious things you can have instead of what you’re doing without.

Good luck!

Why Whole 30?

I’m starting the Whole 30 program today.  When I first heard about this program from a coworker I really thought he must be crazy.  I was so focused on the things you can’t eat that I dismissed it as impossible.  Sure I would like to lose weight and be healthy but I could never do something that extreme.  So I kept on doing nothing.

Then my church went through a new study called Body Matters and I began to see some really wrong views I was assuming when it came to my body and how I was caring for it.  It began to expose some real sin (hellooooo laziness) in my unwillingness to care & steward properly for what I began to realize was God’s already.  It’s a pretty foreign idea, especially in western culture, that our bodies don’t really belong to us but rather to God.  And that if I choose to neglect exercise and overindulge in food I am not just hurting myself but actually choosing to be a poor steward of God’s creation.

Being really convicted I started doing research on Whole 30 and on clean eating in general.  I have talked to people who have done it personally and seen how it affected them in physical, emotional, and spiritual ways  Now I am motivated to begin my own journey.  I fully expect this to be hard.  Dying to self always is.  And this program isn’t for everyone, I understand that, but I need clean break and a fresh start.  So here we go!

Discipline is just choosing between what you want now and what you want most. #CheBrown

And to remind myself when I want to quit – this is why whole 30.

Because my body is not my own.  It is God’s temple.

Because twenty pounds in four years.

Because new bigger jeans bought six months ago are already too tight.

Because holy hormones (batman).

Because thirty years.

Because strength.

Because willpower.

Because health and wellness.

Because healing.

Because friends’ testimonies & journeys.

Because a supportive husband.

Because I’m ready.

Pinterest Fail: Iron Cleaning

I’m wise enough to know that if something seems to good to be true then it probably is.  Especially when it comes to cleaning.  There is no magical product that instantly eliminates stains, magically vanquishes mold, and also folds your laundry for you.

However there is still a little part of me that thinks ‘well what if this is the one this that does work and I’m missing out!!!’ (albeit a very lazy part).

And so I still save all kinds of ‘home remedies’ and ‘miracle cleaning tips’ when I see them on Pinterest.  And while I have had varied success with some of them, this is a tale of one that failed.

I have this dirty iron:



I bought this iron before we got married because it was cheap and I needed one.  I don’t iron that often and this one gets me through those few times when Matt needs a nice work shirt (hooray for casual offices!).  I’m not even sure what causes the gunk buildup on the plate but it hasn’t bothered me in all the years I’ve had it.

However the last two times I’ve tried to iron something the first pass has left a gunky stain on the item being pressed.  Not much is worse for this lazy-girl-who-hates-ironing than creating more work by now having to wash, dry, and iron a shirt all over again. (especially when that shirt was one you picked out for your hubby to wear to his sister’s wedding so that he would look good in family photos and now everything is ruined… yes I like to panic)

So I decided to try a tip I found on Pinterest and see what happened.  The tutorial I found was originally from Bargain Hoot and seemed very promising.  Just baking soda, water, and time should magically clean my iron.

So I made my paste using baking soda and a little water…



Propped up my iron on a dish towel and spread the paste on…



And let it sit for the recommended 45 minutes.

Then you were supposed to just wipe the paste off and the gunk should come with it… instead mine looked exactly the same.  I even tried scrubbing a little bit but that gunk wasn’t budging.

I decided to try another tip I had read in the comments to add vinegar for extra cleaning power…



So I filled a pie tin with vinegar, dunked the baking soda-covered iron in, and left it to soak (oooh bubbles!).  By bedtime a few hours later that gunk was still stuck.   I decided to let it sit overnight just to see what would happen.

In the morning I gave the iron a good scrubbing and it still looked like this:



A teeny bit of the gunk came off but not nearly enough to trust the iron on any of our clothes again.

So I’m ready to chalk this one up to a Pinterest Fail.  I’m not saying this tutorial doesn’t work, or that it won’t work for you, but it certainly wasn’t magical for me.

So now I’m on the hunt for a better cleaning tutorial.  If you have any recommendations let me know! (Matt recommended that I buy a new iron, but what fun would that be?)


Has anyone else tried any miracle cleaning tips that failed miserably?  Tried any that actually worked?  Do tell!



Thanks for stopping by!

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‘Falling for’ Fridays

Just a little look into the things I’m ‘falling for’ these days… yard/garden edition!

#1: This tutorial…

how to edge flower beds like a pro, flowers, gardening, Isn t this edge pretty Trust me this is very easy to do All you need are three tools you likely already have on hand

With the addition of lots of mulch I can tell our beds are in desperate need of edging.  This tutorial makes it seem pretty easy (if only their weren’t miles of bed edges in our yard!).


#2.  This view…

Benefits of Oak Trees


We recently came into a little bit of unexpected money (doesn’t that sound shady! seewhatididthere) and Matt decided to spend it on trees for the back yard.  He really loves oak trees and since he so rarely wants things around the house I’m happy to let him pick out a couple of these beauties.  Of course ours won’t look like this guy for years (and years and years) however I am so excited about the potential for shade.  I didn’t know how much I (and my pale skin) would miss trees & shade until we bought this house.


#3:  This space…

Shady Places

better homes & gardens

Speaking of shade, isn’t this a gorgeous space?  I don’t know about the upkeep (or price) with tents but this looks amazing!


#4: This disguise…

Conceal the Air-Conditioner

better homes & gardens

Ugly outside appliances no more!  I just need to figure out the ground cover situation so it wouldn’t be an issue for Matt to mow/weed around the structure.  I’m thinking maybe crushed stone or gravel? (Secretly I wish we had artificial turf like all the Yard Crasher re-dos.  Not really… but the maintenance must be awesome).


#5:  These lights…

Mason Jar Solar Lights

garden therapy

How cool are these lights?  I think we for sure need to make some for the backyard.  With all the sunlight we get back there it would power them for ages!  Not to mention this is a pretty cheap and very easy looking project… just the kind I like.


So that’s what I’m falling for this week!  What are some of the things you’re falling for?


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