Oct 21, 2014

My Closet

One of the selling points of our house is my closet. It's a small (about 8'x10') room in the back of the house. Too small to be a bedroom, but the perfect size for wardrobe overflow or office.

When we looked at the house the previous owner had a large free standing hanging rack in the room and I was instantly in love. With the room and the house. Sold!

We've lived in this house nearly six years in December (yikes!) and it has functioned as my closet ever since. Here are some previous closet blog posts:

Cheap hanging racks are cheap for a reason.

Bryan built me an up-cycled wardrobe last year.

Last October when I started the 31 Day Challenge and organized the closet.

As of July this year it looked like this:

We jokingly called it Rachel Land. I loved this room, but it was busy and cluttered.

After we met with the designer about making our house my function better for us and making room for baby, we worked with Incognito Closets on a custom closet solution. We knew we would have to keep Bryan's samples in this room as well, so we left one wall open to him and utilized two other walls for my things.

Here we are after:

I'm utilizing the top of the system to house craft supplies, items I sell on eBay, and shipping supplies. Because of how functional the system is I was able to move everything in to the drawers and shelves that was previously in a dresser in our bedroom. Everything I need to get dressed is all in one location!

I even carved out a little space to put on makeup. Granted, I still need a mirror in order for that to happen in here!

I'm so pleased with the space, but it's not done yet! I want an area rug to soften the space. I'd really love an oriental or kilm, but for now we are going with a carpet remnant until I can find just the right thing.  I've also ordered a valence for the window that will tie into the treatment in Charlie's room. Some art might be nice as well.

Just a few little things to do, but it makes a huge difference. Plus, it will add value to the home should we ever decide to move.

Have you ever worked with a professional closet solution company? What do you think?

Oct 20, 2014

Monday Garden Update

This post is going up late because cold. It's gotten colder here, especially in the mornings and I procrastinated going outside!

Things are still moving along in the garden. I skipped a fall seed planting a couple of weeks ago because of traveling and lots of rain. But I planted three rows of carrots and beets last week to help make up the difference. So far scheduling out the tasks seems to be really working for me.

What's not working for me are my seeds. I have approximately 3 beet seedlings so far.

My carrots are doing slightly better.

I pulled out half the basil that was overgrown last week. I left about three or four basil plants that hadn't gone to seed yet. In the blank space to the front of that middle bed I planted some spinach seed last week.

Do you see this? This is the work of a very naughty dog. I think my broccoli, which you can barely see to the left side of this bed, is going to make it.

Here's the other side of the garden. I pulled up the "pepper" plant a week or so ago and put it in a pot. It's a very attractive potted plant for fall. I've also been slowly picking the carrots as I need them for meals. There aren't too many left. The tomatoes are still going strong over there.

And now for the back bed:

The tomato plants are growing like weeds. While we were out of town we had some storms and knocked them over. We temporarily have them supported to the fence with twine.  Our first frost date is coming up in two weeks so I didn't want to invest too much time salvaging them.  They are still producing and I want to get every last tomato while I can.

Today's harvest. Lots of peppers. There are still tons of baby peppers on my two or three producing plants, but I picked everything I thought needed to come off the plant.

It's hard to believe the summer is over and pretty soon - two weeks! - I'll be pulling nearly everything up. It's especially bittersweet since I'm not sure what our next year's garden will look like given the presence of an infant in our lives.

Oct 17, 2014

New Music: Amy LaVere's Runaway's Diary

As part of my 30 before 30 goal I wanted to spent more time this year immersing myself in music, specifically new to me music. I hope to post a few of my findings here for you. I'm not a music reviewer so don't expect any titillating review or anything.

Local musician Amy LaVere recently released a new album, Runaway's Diary. I listened to it in full this week as my new listen. We've seen Amy perform several times at the Levitt Shell and have always enjoyed her unique sound.

This album starts off slow and mellow with "Rabbit", but gets into a fun groove with "Last Rock N'Roll Boy to Dance".  Some songs have more of a bluesy, twang. "I'll Be Home" has a bit of a jazzy swing to it.  Amy's lyrics hook me. Which really says something since I can listen to whole albums over and over and over again and never really hear one word.

Favorite Songs: Last Rock N' Roll Boy to Dance, Don't Go Yet John

When to Listen: working, car tunes, hanging around the house

Special note to Memphians: Amy will be playing at RiverArts Fest on the 24th and at Indie Memphis on the 30th. Catch her schedule here.

Oct 16, 2014

One Room Challenge: Week Three

Ummm.... how are we already at week three? I feel like maybe it should still be the first week? What is happening to time? Argh.

Well I have gotten a few things done this past week. I thought I'd break it down diary style this week.

Thursday - yeah, nothing happened in or with this room.

Friday - met up with my mom and visited a local carpet and flooring store, Kiser's, to shop for remnants. They have two locations and we hit up both as they have different items at different locations. I snapped pictures of favorites so I'd remember. Here are a few.

I was in love with the doe print to the right, but it was already on hold and also Bryan hated it.

We ultimately decided on this brown for the nursery. It's incredibly durable and will hide stains well. I didn't think about this initially, but a white or cream would just be too much white/cream in that room with the white furniture and cream trim.

With the carpet chosen we nailed down drapery fabric and Mom has placed that order.

The bulk of the drapery will be the sand color with several inches of the patterned fabric on the trim vertically and horizontally. This was cost effective and also wouldn't be too overwhelming visually.

Saturday - Bryan's parents came over and helped Bryan set up the crib and changing table. We got these from my aunt's mother-in-law. Yay for free!

The Jenny Lind style coincidentally matches the child-size rocking chair that I got from my grandmother's house.

Bryan and I are both blown away that there is a crib in our house. For a baby. This is weird stuff, you guys.

Sunday - Bryan's running partner texted early in the morning asking if we wanted some of their old baby furniture. We brought home the below rocker and another changing table.

We aren't sold on the Jenny Lind style table because a) open storage and b) it might be too matchy matchy. So now we've got options. And I've got a recover project on my hands.

Monday - I was too tired from Friday decisions and weekend set ups and moves to think about this room. The glider is my new favorite talking-on-the-phone chair though. Can't wait to beef up the cushioning on this baby.

Tuesday - Spent time on Pinterest looking at cribs. Confession: I know nothing about babies. I've reached the point where any and all nursery pictures I look at closely to see what is on the crib and changing tables. What are nursery essentials?  It looks like all I need for the crib is a basic fitted sheet. Bumpers and skirts are optional. (Please correct me if this is wrong!) So my plan for the crib linens is to just do basic white for crib sheet and then find a pretty pretty fabric and make a bumper and skirt.

Wednesday - fabric shopping day! Otherwise known as the day I over thought things and gave myself a headache and then came home and finished off the Chunky Monkey. Ha. I wish I was joking. My mom recommended a local fabric store, Johnson's Fabric, which was a hike from my house, but ended up being worth going to. Many of the fabric stores are either too expensive or too cheap. This was the nice middle ground. I ended up liking a fabric in their remnant section which was $4 a yard. You can't beat that!

Next week I'll get into my fabric selection, but it feels good to make some progress this week. My goal for next week is to have started if not finished painting the room. Wish me luck!

Oct 15, 2014

One Year Later

In early October of last year I was fired. Fired from a job I hated.  At the time I was part humiliated and part relieved. It ended a two year streak of being unhappy in a string of ill-fitting jobs. I was lost professionally and I had no idea what to do. So I didn't do anything.

Let me back up.  In case you didn't know, Bryan, my husband, is an independent sales representative for several running specialty brands. He has been doing this for about three years now. When he originally took the job we started dreaming of one day my being able to travel with him and be his secretary.

The day I was fired I knew I needed a break. A break from looking for jobs. I had spent about two years non-stop looking while I had three different jobs in three different fields during that time.  Bryan was gracious enough to let me try being his full-time secretary/assistant.  Amazingly we have been able to swing it financially and maritally.

When we first made the switch it was so funny to hear people's reactions to us working together. The vast majority of married couples say they can not work together. Bryan and I met working retail together and it has always been a natural fit for us. Granted, we have our moments, but for the most part no business fights over the last year.

Every day is different. Sometimes I feel super busy as his assistant and sometimes I have little to do.  It took some time to get used to this flux, but now I love it. When we work 10 days in a row, it's nice to know that in a few weeks we can take a few days off to recover without having to run it by anyone.

A little less than six months ago I became pregnant and we are figuring out the next chapter of our professional and personal lives. I am so thankful for this time to work with Bryan and build his business together.

I'm not sure what the future holds for me professionally. One day I may end up back in the traditional working world. Or I may not.  I do know that God works for the good of those who love them, and I needed to be fired. I needed to be forced into a new role. One year ago I would have never ever guessed that I would be pregnant, but here we are. About to embark on our next great adventure into the unknown.

Oct 14, 2014

New York Trip 2014

Last week Bryan and I spent four and a half days in New York City. My bestie, Allyn, and her husband Josh have been living there for the last year. When they started talking about moving there I knew I wanted to visit. Originally I had hoped to go in early December as a birthday thing. I have always wanted to see the Christmas window displays at the big retailers. Allyn convinced me it was too cold and what with being pregnant and Bryan's travel schedule we decided early fall would be the best time anyways.

Thursday we flew in just in the perfect time to grab dinner at Prune, which was delightful. It was one of our favorite meals of the trip.

Friday morning Bryan met with one of the lines he reps (CW-X) while Allyn and I shopped at ABC Home and Fishs Eddy. We shared lunch at Eataly before meeting up with Bryan at the Natural History Museum.

After the museum we strolled through Central Park before heading to Ssam Bar for dinner.

Saturday morning was a bit wet, but Bryan and I ventured out on our own.  Our first top was Grand Central Terminal. It was breathtaking. Probably my favorite sight we visited.

We spent the afternoon shopping, seeing Rockerfeller Center and cruising through the Met. I wish we had more time/energy to spend there, but we were tired and didn't have much time after the shopping!

On Sunday Allyn joined us in further touristy excursions. Katz Deli, Top of the Rock, 9/11 Memorial, and NY style pizza at Johns.

Our flight wasn't until late afternoon on Monday which gave us time to see the Cloister's in the morning and have ramen for lunch. The Cloisters were another favorite sight.

Aside from Saturday morning, the weather was perfect while we were there. I brought a light sweater with me each day for the evening and was perfect during the day.

I'm so glad we were able to get this trip in before Allyn and Josh move to Cincinnati and before Charlie graces us with his presence.

Oct 13, 2014


The last several years as my interest in gardening has blossomed I've somehow acquired a few fruit trees. It was never a conscience decision, but I'm happy to have a few fruit trees to our name.  I'd even like a few more, but we are running out of space in our small yard and house.

For today's garden post I thought I'd walk through how I acquired these plants and how they are currently doing.

This one started it all. Actually, my grandmother and dad got the notion to have lime trees several years ago. When my grandmother moved to assisted living my dad ended up with her limes as well as his and I offered to take one off his hands. This lime has lived with me two, going on three years now. It produced a few limes each summer and is always a pleasure to watch blossom and grow.

Having a lime tree ignited the desire to have a lemon tree. A couple years ago Kroger had some small "trees" on sale and I bought this "lemon" for $5. I potted it in the same pot as my lime and put it next to it on the front porch. As it grew and started producing fruit it was obvious it was a lime.  Oh well. We enjoy the limes we get off this tree as well.  It's especially interesting to me see the different structures and characteristics of each lime.

I purchased this meyer lemon tree at the 2013 Lichterman Nature Native Plant Sale. It was only three leaves when I brought it home. Earlier this spring we repotted it into this pot and it's been growing by leaps and bounds since. No blossoms or fruit yet, but I anticipate we will see some next spring/summer. I keep this one on the back patio so it doesn't cross contaminate with the limes. I don't even know if that's possible, but I'm preventing it even so.

A note about citrus: I live in zone 7 which gets too cold for citrus to be planted in the ground. My citrus lives outside about 80% of the time, but does have to be brought in when the temperatures are at or below freezing. We repotted the limes into the much larger red pots yesterday and it will be extremely interesting to see where they will go in the house this winter!

This is my fig tree. I purchased it this year at the Lichterman Native Plant Sale for no other reason than I have a serious plant problem. My parents have a fig tree and it's big and beautiful. I'm not even that crazy about figs, but for some reason I felt like I needed to have my very own fig tree. Eventually I will plant it in the ground, but I'm not sure where yet.

Earlier this year my grandfather asked if I wanted a pear tree. I've never been known to turn down a plant, particularly an edible one. So this kieffer pear tree was planted last March and has been doing well since. It is the only tree that is actually planted in the ground.

I dream of one day living on a small hobby farm where I can have an orchard of various fruit trees. But until then I love my orchard in the heart of Midtown Memphis. Who knows what other fruit trees I'll bring home next year!