Monday, February 16, 2015

Motivation on Monday...

This morning middle TN is enjoying the big
ICE STORM of 2015!

Yesterday it was all anyone could talk about...
the predicted 5-10 inches of glorious snow!!!

Unfortunately, we woke up to one inch of ICE &
freezing rain continues to fall...





Well, anyway.

Lately I've been motivated by slowing down &
trying to keep things simple.

When my kids were smaller,
I ran myself literally crazy trying to DO EVERYTHING
& BE EVERYWHERE!

That was such a stressful time
& was so exhausting!

Well, you know what?

Now, it's over.


That Crazytown window of time has slammed shut.

I'm thankful that I did not miss a minute of it,

but I am ashamed to admit that let myself be so busy & stressed & frazzled...

I really did not thoroughly enjoy it. :(




This past year has been all about slowing things down.
We are two very short years away from having a COLLEGE student...
an 18 year old, LEGAL ADULT!

I think it hit me last fall when he was starting varsity football as a sophomore...
it was like I'd been punched in the belly!

And then one day not too long ago,
I turned around to speak to Miss O &
had to glance up slightly to look her in the eye.

And then it was realizing that Sneaky E really is the same age that Owen was when we moved into this house...which I swear was just a minute ago, but really it was 8 years!






Of course, I know
that a page will turn &
new wonderful things are going to happen with our family.

But right now...
I'm focusing on slowing things down,
because every day that I have left with them at home now is a special occasion.




Today's motivation;
keep it simple.♥

And stay warm. ;)

Happy Monday, friends!

Mwah,

Mandy

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sweet Nibbles on Valentine Weekend...

I am on mean,
green,
sugar detox today!

I am ashamed to admit how much chocolate I nibbled on yesterday for Valentines!
*Burp*
Shame!

I was a pretty excited first thing when P Daddy surprised me with the most gorgeous flowers, accompanied by the biggest box of chocolates I have ever seen in person!



And you know what they say about a box of chocolates,
you never know what you're going to get...

That statement does not apply to this specific box of chocolates,
as it came with the most detailed candy map ever made!




Most helpful. ;)

Needless to say,
the kids & I all tried out one piece too many!

Later, I dropped everybody like hot potatoes to drive to Franklin to Sophie Hudson's book signing at the Lifeway Store. Y'all know how much I LOVE Sophie Hudson!!!



Franklin is a little drive from my house, so I had time to think about all the things I might say that didn't sound too stupid or stalkerish...

And actually if you knew what a serious freak introvert that I really am, me driving to Franklin to do this & actually following though with it...well, that's huge!



It wasn't real crowded so I had a chance to chat with her for a couple of minutes & who knows what I said...I must have come across as fairly harmless because she allowed us to have a picture taken together. She was very sweet & just as wonderful as I predicted her to be.

My only regret is that I forgot to tell her how much I appreciate her introducing me to my favorite motivational phrase "GET AFTER IT"! No one escapes me without a pep talk that includes a little Get After It! ;)

Anyway, you would love her books...
and her blog!

Now for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to watch The Best of Me last night.

I will never trust Nicholas Sparks again!

The last couple of movies that I have seen of his were really good,
they had their signature sad parts (of course),
but delivered a happy ending that left you all warm & fuzzy inside.



I hadn't heard anything about this movie or book,
so I assumed it was going to be harmless as well.

(sidebar)
I like James Marsden (who stars in this movie),
I had a first grader (back when I was teaching),
who has a cousin,
who was married to James Marsden
(but, sadly I don't think they're married anymore).

This little guy always had stories to tell about being related to one of the XMen & I could tell James Marsden was the kind of guy who made sure this kid felt cool & important (however, he never made an appearance in our classroom...ahem). Plus, I had some former students who hailed him to be "a really nice guy" when he was shopping at our local Old Navy (where they were working, like HOW the heck are they old enough to be working?!).

I judge people by how they treat children & animals.
So, I like him.
He's a good actor also, I'm glad to see him do well.

Well, assuming this movie was harmless was the biggest mistake of my whole day.

It was a GREAT movie,
WHAT a story!!
But I ended up using two tissues!
Squallfest!!!
Shew!

Darn you, Nicholas Sparks!!!


However, on a happier note...
the littles & I snuggled up on Friday night watching
Alexander ...



After it was over,
both of them said that movie was exactly like life at our house!
LOL!!
(raw honesty at its finest)

It was a cute, hysterical funny, family movie...
you definitely need to watch it with your peeps!


Today...
I am pretty excited!
This evening my aunt & uncle are coming over for dinner.
I somehow haven't seen them in years!

I'm going to be busy today getting things ready for that
& then there's all this talk about SNOW.

Yawn...
WHATever!
It never snows here in middle Tennessee...
I DID fight the crowd at the grocery yesterday to get my bread & milk.
But, only because I am fixing dinner for my aunt & uncle today.




The hysteria over snow here...
wear me out!


I just stood up &
put my hands on my sides...
I can feel all the chocolate that I ate...
already settled on my hips.
Glorious!

I'll be back with some motivation,
I don't want your Monday to look like this. ;)



 Plus, I want to tell y'all about this little table I snagged
& what all is happening with it! ;)




Wishing y'all a WARM, Blessed Sunday!

Mwah,

Mandy







Thursday, February 12, 2015

I Prefer 50 Shades of Grace...

It's possible that I am the only woman in America that feels this way.
This blog post has been on my mind,
weighing on my heart for some time now.
I really need to share how I feel.

But first, let me start this entry off on the right foot.

1. I love my husband.

I am absolutely crazy about my husband.

I also love to read books and watch movies that weave silly, romantic tales of two people who are as very much in love as he and I have been for many, many years.

2. Do I think other men are hot?

Yes, friends...I do.
I could easily name five celebrities that I find to be extremely sexy & handsome.
That's normal & it's really ok.

I could make a list.

But I won't,
out of sincere love and respect for my spouse. 

Because I do not want to see a list of five extremely sexy women that my husband has made (even though I am sure there are plenty of sexy women he could list & that's normal & that's really ok too).

3. Erotic literature turns me off.

Because a person's sex life is private
& really none of anyone's business.
I am too busy daydreaming about my husband,
I don't need to read erotic literature to help spice it up.

I also don't need those kinds of movies either.
I have certainly seen my share of "sex scenes" in rated R films,
haven't we all...
& I can assure you that is more than enough action for me.

I don't need those kinds of movies or books in my life because I am perfectly happy with this extremely sexy and handsome man that God chose for me to walk beside in this life. I stood before God and vowed to love, honor and cherish him & just him...till death do us part...I said those words. 
I'm pretty serious about it, we both are.

All of that is perfectly ok 
perfectly fine, 
& entirely my private, personal business.

Remember a couple of years ago when everyone seemed to be crazy to read 50 Shades of Grey



I had a friend highly recommend it...
ok, a lot more than one friend...
I listened to their excited summary of it and
I told them 

"wow...I'll have to pick that one up".
(my exact words, true story)

And I did pick one up.

In the store.

I flipped it over and read the back cover...

and I put it back down.
(also a true story)

It completely turned me off...
and honestly, 
my initial reaction to reading that back cover was
"this is garbage".

Shortly after, I made it known on social media that this genre of literature just does not interest me at all...
(and since everyone seemed to have an opinion about that book series, certainly I could have one too...)

I immediately found out that it is ONLY acceptable to have an opinion about this book series on social media if your opinion is in favor of it.

Guess what?
I was wrong.
This 50 Shades of Grey is not just garbage,
it's a complete work of the devil himself.

I was "unfriended" on Facebook because I said I really am not interested in reading a book about a woman who allows a man to bind her, chain her up, empower her and demean her sexually.
(sadly, also a true story)


Whooooah...wait!

STOP RIGHT HERE...
before you pin me for some "judging, self righteous" person.
I don't have a problem with you liking this book;
nor am I looking down my nose at you for wanting to see this movie.
That's your private business,
your mind,
your heart.

I'm simply exercising my first amendment right to say 
"Hey, no thank you"...

because NOW that there's a movie coming out,
now that there's a commercial glamorizing it on every channel,
now that this 50 Shades of Grey is "a household name"...

it's not private business anymore!

All three of my children are aware of it...
my precious, 
beautiful, 
silly romantic,
almost 13 year old daughter is aware of it...

I am exercising my first amendment right to say 
"Hey, no thank you".   

I will not stand for GARBAGE like that to be the "norm".

I will not!
And as a christian, I feel like I should encourage you to not stand for it either!

I found this great blog entry that sums up my feelings about this movie so eloquently (because at this point I am so sick of it in my face everywhere I go, I would like to scream & rev a chainsaw). I am not Roman Catholic, but this author hits every point that shares my feelings about this book & film.

No,
I have not read this book.
I don't need to,
because the day I picked it up in the store
and read that back cover
I felt God tell me NOT to.

What you put inside your mind fills your thoughts, 
it goes to your heart...

Guard your heart, friends!

Guard the heart of your child,
the heart of your little grandchild...

If this interests you PRIVATELY,
that is entirely fine & is your private business.
But don't let this become acceptable,
normal reading and viewing for our culture.




I think if I had to pick, I prefer 50 Shades of Grace.




His grace.
I'd pick 50 Shades, 100 Shades of His Grace...
any day!

If you want to read a racy love story that will rock you to your core,
take your breath away,
be unable to put it down...

Get a copy of this book,
Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers



It will leave you speechless
and your heart full of grace!


Now...
I did not write this blog post to shame anyone, 
I did not write this to preach that I'm better than anyone,

I wrote this blog post because I care about your heart...
and this is not what we need to be reading or watching.


Are you mad at me now?
If you're still reading all the way down here, you might be.

Good!
Get mad about it,
be furious!!

Demand that this garbage stay out of your mind & 
out of the lives of your family.
We deserve better!

My 13 year old daughter deserves better!

You deserve better!

Like I said before,
it's possible that I'm the only woman in America that feels this way...
but I couldn't stay quiet about how I feel when I felt God nudging me to say it out loud.

I'm going to get off this little soapbox now
and hope that these words have touched someone's heart;

because you really do deserve better.  ♥


Mandy







Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Armoire Adventure in Annie Sloan Paris Gray (Chalk Paint)

I recently had the opportunity to paint this gorgeous armoire in a beautiful, warm bathroom (emphasis on warm, as I am SO sick of being cold!!).


It was already a stunning piece, but the owner was tired of plain brown & wanted to give it a new "old" look. 

She wanted a rich variation of gray, but did not want the Annie Sloan (AS) Graphite. So, I started our base layer with the AS Paris Gray (which is a VERY light shade of gray). 



I always distress before adding the AS wax or another finish. 

This piece roughed up so nicely, I love just a hint of aged distressing!


I decided to try a new product on this paint, so I took the drawer home with me to play around with it (the alternative to trying to paint with the sheer terror of possibly messing up a bathroom that belongs in a magazine). ;)



I used Mini Wax Wood Finish in Ebony,
painted on then then wiped down.
I bought this product at Home Depot. 

It's black. 
It was scary. 
I will not lie.

Wear rubber gloves
& have one of your husband's old tee shirts cut up
& ready to rumble.
(just don't tell him you're cutting up his old tee shirts though) ;)


I was very pleased because this stain seals like a finish.
It was smooth & soft.

See what difference it made over the Paris Gray!
It was just lovely! 


It was looking good...
But I didn't stop there. 

THEN I went back and painted on a coat of my favorite Java Brown Glaze.

Yes, this is the SAME can!

You paint it on & wipe it off 
(lightly, heavily, however you want the finish to appear). 




It gave this piece a warm, 
aged look that looked yummy with the original hardware. 
I was so tickled with it!  





It was beautiful before,
but now it really commands attention in this room!

Here's a list of what I used:

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Paris Gray
A coarse hand sanding block
Mini Wax Wood Finish in Ebony
Rustoleum Decorative Glaze in Java Brown

I'll definitely be using that ebony stain again...in my dirty garage, where it's safe to make a mess! ;)

I'm sharing today on Savvy Southern Style,
hop over and check out all the awesome projects on Kim's site!

Thanks for stopping by to visit today.
Stay warm, friends! ❤️

Mwah, 

Mandy

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Random Nibbles...

1. It's Valentine's Week!!

That's great,
but I'm kinda looking forward to April Fools all the sudden...


P Daddy would choke me for sure!! ;)

(seriously, how funny would that be though!?!?)


2. My Favorite Shoes Alert!!!

Me Too Legend Ballet Flats are on sale at Nordstorm!!
I have the WORST time finding ballet flats,
some are so flat they make my feet ache!!

This brand is SO comfortable,
well worth the money!
I have two pairs and have just about worn them out!

This pewter has been down the road & back many times,
I'm excited to get a new pair (on sale)!
Yay!!!


Women's Me Too 'Legend' Flat, Size 8.5 M - Metallic





3. Sophie Hudson book signing...

Eeeekkkkk!
I'm so excited!

Ms Sophie will be at the Lifeway Store in Franklin, TN on Saturday from 12-2!


I've never been to a book signing before,
so I am super excited to have a chance to meet her
& let her know how much I love her stories...
and thank her for introducing me to my favorite encouraging phrase...

"GET AFTER IT"

I say it all the time! ;)

Here's her most recent book, Home Is Where My People Are:


Have you read either of her books?
You would love them...
they are SO, SO good!!


4. Kanye West.

People, wake up.
That man is in business to make money & to do that you have to stay relevant. The social media is full of people commenting about how stupid he is, what an idiot he is...

He's stupid...but yet after he acts ugly at an awards show and two days later WE ARE STILL talking about him?

Mission accomplished.

Can we all stop talking about how he tricked us into talking about him now?
Thankie!



5. Aveda Comforting Tea


Oh, friends!!
You have got to try this tea!
I don't even like tea really, I'm a coffee girl...



This Aveda Comforting Tea is so good,
I don't put anything in it...
just hot water & the tea bag.

It might be the basil in it that makes it so sweet...
but, oh...it is absolutely divine!!!



6. 50 Shades of Grey

I am working on a post about this, but in the meantime...

this morning I realized this was not just "a movie"...

it is a trilogy!

God help me...


Ugh, complete garbage!



7. Shows We Love

During the winter months you will find us parked in front of the TV...
Um...
WAY TOO MUCH...

Normally, we like to watch movies...
but, in the past few months the kids & I have brayed like a donkey laughing over these two tv shows:

The Goldbergs...
(seriously, this is funny stuff)



& Blackish


Have you seen these?
Tomorrow night's episodes are all Valentine's oriented,
they are sure to be hysterical!


8. FREE BOOK Alert!

I have thoroughly enjoyed Melanie Shankle's books...
and this one is

FREE for a limited time!!

Go get one!!!





9. Lunch Box Funk

I am getting ready to hunt up some new lunch box ideas,
we are in a major lunch box funk here!

I saw these the other day,
FunBites Shaped Food Cutter...
they would be really fun!





You can get one on Amazon (they are my shopping kwan) 
(yes, Jerry McGuire was on tv the other day)



10. Big News from my boss (P Daddy)...

the expansion of our Lebanon office!!
I've been helping with paint colors & cabinets & counter tops....
It's very exciting!!

I'll be sharing about that very soon.



In the meantime,
get your appointment scheduled so you can see it in person! ;)



*************************************


I do love our little blog chats...
but that's all the random nibbles I have time for today...

I've got to get up
& go...
get after it!

Tomorrow I'll be sharing a new paint project...
it is a whopper!!!



Happy Tuesday, Friends!!

Mwah!

Mandy

Monday, February 9, 2015

Monday's Motivation & a NEW WINNER

Good Monday Morning!!

Oh, my goodness...
I think I am still tipsy from the GLORIOUS weather we had here in Tennessee this past weekend!

Saturday is was sunny & 65...
people were literally standing out in their front yards with arms outstretched,
basking in that wonderful vitamin D!!

Oh, it was marvelous!

Not like today...
cloudy...
blustery 45 degrees...
blah.

I'm drinking my Spark
& thinking happy, lovely thoughts...

because it IS Valentine week. ;)

pin source

pin source


pin source


Ah....
those are delightful!

Last Monday I announced the winner of the Winter Blahs basket,
but the winner did not claim their prize...
SO...
we have a NEW WINNER!!

Congratulations to Lyndy, 
comment #7


Lyndy, email me your address and I will get this prize in the mail to you asap!

Yay!!!


*************************************

I'm dashing out,
painting this morning...
cannot wait to share this one with you.
It is PURTY!!! ;)

Have a beautiful, blessed Monday, friends!!

Mwah,

Mandy

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Where's Your Cozy Spot?

Normally, I am hopping busy when I am at home.
I just do not sit down unless I'm blogging.

I don't know why,
but in the winter time all I want to do it sit...
in a chair,
under a blanket,
next to the fire,
with a wiener dog in my lap!

I'm all about a cozy spot!

I guess I'm not the only one who likes to do that in the winter time.
One of my favorite blogs, Dixie Delights recently asked readers and bloggers to send in a picture of your favorite cozy spot.

This is a picture of Amanda's cozy spot at home:



Oh, that furry blanket...
I covet!!

Since my game is totally snuggling in a cozy spot,
I just had to jump on board!

Here's a couple of shots of where you might find me on a freezing mid-day in winter (after dark I'm tucked into the recliner in theater room with cats, dogs & kids).




My spot is cozy, but not comfy enough to put me to sleep.
Cozy productive is very much how I roll! ;)

How about you,
do you have a cozy spot?

Snuggle up in yours & head over to Amanda's blog, Dixie Delights to check out the dozens of cozy spots she's sharing.

Wishing y'all a warm,
wonderful
Wednesday!

Mwah,

Mandy

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Painted Kitchen Island in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Duck Egg Blue

Once upon a time
there was a nice brown kitchen island.

It was lovely.

Just simple
& brown.

Over the past 8 years,
it has been on a journey!

I cannot find a full picture of it,
before I painted it the first time.
But it was very clean & very nice.

((I cannot believe I did not blog 
about painting that thing the first time!))

Here's a peek...

(bless that poor, streaked dishwasher)



I did like it very much.
It was perfectly perfect.

Until my family started to abuse it.

So, after a few years I painted it.

It was rad,
it was distressed
& it looked really good with that hardwood floor we had in the kitchen.
(sorry, no picture of that...what is wrong with me!?!)

Last year we updated the kitchen and
put down this fabulous brick tile floor!

Oh, I LOVE it...
it's SO easy to keep clean!!

However...

That rad kitchen island
& that awesome brick floor...
well,
the two of them together...
(competing for your attention)
it was just way too much texture for this room.



And then there was THE TRASH CAN!

That trash can has been the root of my problem from the very beginning.

Hidden in the island,
behind a pretty cabinet door.
It was a nice thought.

Yanked open, slammed shut
Yanked open, slammed shut
Yanked open, slammed shut 

Thank you, children...

As you can see below,
even the painted, 
updated version was a victim of abuse!


 


It was stressing me out 
(yes, I have issues)
& I was ready for a change.

After months of debate 
& about five different color samples on the back side...

I decided to go with Annie Sloan Duck Egg Blue.
(an old faithful)





Annie Sloan chalk paint always starts off a bit scary,
so I glaze tested a spot to show P Daddy there's nothing to worry about. 

(In case he noticed)
(Which he did not)
(I don't think)
(no, probably not)




On a sidebar...

Never paint without making sure the dish is full, 
unless you enjoy participating in the stare down...

I lost this round. 

There will be others. 




Anyway, 
back to painting...

I covered this island in ONE COAT of chalk paint,
with lots left over!
That little can goes a LONG way!




Now, check out this terrible quality work!!!


As always with Annie Sloan paint...
the worse your base paint job,
the better your finished product. 

Yeah...that's character!
Nice & rough!

I always sand & distress before applying wax 
(or as with this project, glaze). 
It smoothes the surface, 
but still leaves the right amount of texture.

After sanding & distressing, I applied the glaze. 
I used this Rustoleum brand from Home Depot. 
I'm sure you've heard me mention this product. 
This is THE SAME CAN,
it lasts forever!!


WHY use this instead of the Annie Sloan wax?

Here's a picture of the finish from the first paint job.
This was back when I was still learning to use Annie Sloan paints. 




I painted it with Graphite,
then Coco,
then heavily distressed.

I SHOULD HAVE applied a coat of clear wax, 
BEFORE applying a coat of dark wax.

(but ain't nobody got time fo dat)

But I wanted the finish to be as DARK as it could possibly be
& applying the dark wax directly on the chalk paint is the way to achieve that look. 

It just turned out dirty looking &
I never really loved it.

The glaze is SO MUCH faster &
SO much less work!

No fancy tricks. 

Just paint it on,
Then wipe it off with a rag. 
No back breaking elbow grease,
no waxy wax mess!




Don't get me wrong...
I do love the wax with the chalk paint,
but for this particular project I wanted a different finish. 





Isn't it pretty!!!

The java brown glaze totally 
gave it the aged look that I was going for.

Now...
Only ONE more step to do!

If you do not use the Annie Sloan Wax...

YOU MUST 
apply a finish.

YOU MUST!

It will dry 
and just flake right off if you don't. 




I decided to use Zinsser Bulls Eye for this project.
I applied ONE coat of their clear Shellac by brush. 

It gave me a beautiful waterproof finish. 
You can find this at Home Depot.

I've been painting with that same gallon for over a year, 
it lasts & lasts!



I do love this finish!!

It is gloss, 
but not a shiny high gloss. 

It gets dark in this part of my kitchen, 
this finish bounces the light just right 
& is a nice contrast to my flat, 
no shine brick floor.





I have one last thing to finish on this project,
the SHELF that goes in the front part of the island.

I couldn't decide if I wanted it painted or
leave it the cherry stain.

I'll be painting it as soon as it thaws out enough down in the garage.
Brrrrrr.... 




I was worried that this would be too "matchy matchy" 
with our kitchen chairs painted the same color. 

If the light is not on in our eating area
(and it never is)
it's really dark 
on that side of the room.

They seem to be far enough apart...
I have hardly noticed 
that they are the same color at all.





It's lighter, 
cleaner & 
turned out even better than I planned!
I'm really tickled with it!
Happy kitchen, yeah!!!




So, there ya go!

Our Updated Kitchen Island,
in just three days!

Here's a list of the materials I used:

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, Duck Egg Blue
Hand Sanding Block
Rustoleum Glaze in Java Brown


If you have any questions,

This was an easy project thanks to the glaze,
you can totally do this yourself!

I'm sharing today over on
Savvy Southern Style

and Dixie Delights Share Your Style Party.


No Minimalist Here



I've got to hop up here & get busy,
but I'm so glad you stopped by today.

Wishing y'all a beautiful,  
WARM Tuesday!!


Mwah,

Mandy

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