Building a Summer Garden with No Experience

Hey friendship,

Over the past weekend, I officially started my summer garden.  I’m in zone 5. Typically in Zone 5, you need to plant after the last freeze, which is after May 15 (most of the time, you can’t always predict crazy midwest weather), but everything I read said hold off till after Memorial day.  It’s been steady 100’s where I’m at so I thought it was time to get it started.

Here’s an important disclaimer –

I am not a gardener.  But in spirit of this blog and trying new things, I wanted to try this out. I suffer from a non-unique problem that when I plant things, I expect them to look amazing right away.  They don’t.  Therefore, I do not at this time have an amazing before and after.  I want to make an update to this blog later on in the future and show you if things went well or totally wrong.  So consider this your inside scoop from a mediocre, rule-breaking gardener with no talent, but loads of misplaced confidence and ambition.

Pre-apologize to anyone who thought this was a self-help blog based on the title.  I meant I had personally had no experience. Nonetheless, here it goes.

 

I have a retaining wall, that’s… well, just ugly.  We have overgrown grass, random junk in the yard, and weeds every which way. Here’s a shot of what I was working with.

You see here we have lots of random wood, cinder block, a random rusty firepit.  Oh, and a dog fight over a stick going on.  In case you were wondering who ended up winning…

My girl Zoey came out on top.

 

Sorry for getting off track.  Back to Project Summer Garden.

We ended up digging all the grass out above the retaining wall.  And by grass, I mean clover.  So much clover there. We put a cover of weed blocker over the dug out grass since there is such a weed problem.  I didn’t want a ton of weeds popping up after so much time was spent digging them out.  Then, we had some extra patio pavers from a project from last summer to line the garden.  This was the hardest part because that pile of untouched pavers had so many spiders.  And not the little kind.  The big kind, that are weird colors like mustard and off-white.  Are we sure those are non-mutant spiders? I threw the pavers across the yard to shake the spiders off (mediocre gardener tip).

After lining the garden with spider-free pavers, a layer of brown mulch was laid down.  It took us about 7 bags for this small area.

Then I cut open the weed blocker where I wanted plants with a box cutter (mediocre gardener tip).  Hindsight – I wish I dug and planted the plants before laying the mulch.  I’d recommend that, then you don’t have a bunch of excess dirt over your freshly laid mulch. Then we had some random rocks to throw in to give it that classy, adult, “I know what I’m doing” look.

The end result was as followed:

What did I plant?

The million dollar question.  What did this little no knowledge gardener gave a shot her first round of real gardening?  Well, I’ll tell you.

  • Raven Grass Erianthus
  • Prairie Dropseed Sporobolus Native Prairie Grass (2)
  • Green Leaf Pink (8) – these are those cheap flowers at every store ever
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Lavender (from a seed pack)

I’m confident there’s someone who knows what they are doing and they are literally gagging at my list.

How did I pick?  I went into the store and thought “wow, that’s pretty and grows tall so you won’t see my grass from the patio if we don’t feel like cutting it.”  Minus, the vegetables. Our neighbor had extra vegetables and offered them so I took them because I have trouble saying no and they can see into our yard so I had to plant them.

 

That’s it, there you have it, my summer garden.  I’ll keep you posted maybe mid-summer and god willing, maybe I’ll have a nice picture worth showing.  Or maybe an awful one,  but it’ll still be a learning experience.  Do you have a summer garden you’re working on?  I’d love to hear about it.

All the love and regards,

Taylor

How to feel better about your small bathroom

Hey friendship,

We are plagued by a problem I think many suffer from – a small bathroom.  We’ve been in our house for almost three years, and I’ve always hated that part of the house.  It’s the only bathroom we have, so when we have guests, they also use it and it’s something I could never feel good about showing other people.

I decided to take the matter into my own hands and make my small bathroom something I feel good about. The before and after isn’t some amazing transformation, but there are small things you can do, to make your bathroom somewhere you want to be.

 

Before

 

After

Moderate Priced Items to Upgrade Your Space

To start out, in the before – I hated hated hated our vanity. You can’t tell from the picture in the before, but there was chalky residue in the sink, that no bleach could take care of.  Green stains on the copper faucet no amount of scrubbing could ever get rid of.  Also, the faux drawers on the top of the vanity, were not functional, and the space under the sink was just old and a basket filled with no organization lived under there full of shampoos, random cleansers, band aids, and other various bathroom blah. In a small bathroom, everything needs to have a functional purpose.

We bought a new vanity straight off Amazon (you can find here).  This was the most expensive item, but it helped with the storage place of the and gave the bathroom as a whole a modern vibe.  With the vanity, we had to replace the back splash because the height was different and we picked a brick pattern which brought the whole look together.

We added a fresh coat of paint – a dull tan to a modern blue-grey – “shaved ice”.  This really helped brighten up the space to create a more welcoming, warm area.

Lastly, to complete the fashionable look – we traded in the bracket shelves for floating shelves. (We also got another one of the lights working, 2/3 isn’t a bad upgrade).

I feel like all these items tied together really helped create our small space into somewhere that isn’t disappointing to spend time in.

The real secret to small bathrooms

Baskets on Baskets on Baskets

Not sure if you caught on, but baskets and storage space is so incredibly important to a small bathroom.  We have no closets for towels, so we have a wire basket holds 3 towels, and we stack the extra  towels outside it.  Three seemed to be the magic number that did not make the towels appear smushed. We also have another shelf of baskets that hold the every day large items, like lotion, mouthwash, etc.  Then we have a smaller basket for the small things in life, like washcloths and medicine.

In the new bathroom, you’ll see a basket on top of the toilet.  All the things in there used to clutter our counter space: contacts, contact solution, glasses case, lotion.  We literally used those items everyday and it made sense to be out on the counter, but then it always made our counter looked cluttered.  Utilizing this extra space creates a more organized looked. We just have one rule for that basket, no stacking. If you stack, you’ll just start throwing just anything in there.  Keep it to the essentials.

The basket love doesn’t stop there. I think it’s important to group your items in a way that makes sense to you so you always know where the things you want live. Below you’ll see, we can even use baskets to organize the drawers in the vanity space as well.

 

These are just some small changes we made to our bathroom to make it feel a little more like home.  The nice thing about a small bathroom, if you ever want to tile it – it is a lot cheaper than a big bathroom 🙂 That may be on the list one day, but for now, these small changes make me feel better about my small bathroom, and hopefully you got something out of it too.

Is there any tricks you have for small bathroom organization?  I’d love to know your secrets!

 

All the love and regards,

Taylor

Bucketlist

Hey friends,

The concept of bucket lists is something I have struggled with for a long time.  I feel like there’s this layer of admission of mortality that I find hard to address.  No one thinks of themselves that way, they just apply it to other people.  It almost seems like something that gets brought up on the brink of certain death or as you approach old age.  However, I found myself writing a list of things I wanted to do and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it was in fact a bucket list.  The world is so big and beautiful and there’s so many things to see, experience, and enjoy.  I like to travel and I have a long list of places I want to see with my own eyes to see it is real.  Then there’s experiences I know can happen in a myriad of places.  So I decided to put a documented list out into this world.  I figure as I go on and get to strike things out as I go, that I will write an accompanying blog post to see if it was all chalked up to what it seemed like it would be in my head.  Without further ado:

 

My bucket list

  • Hot air balloon
  • Zip line  [Puerto Rico]
  • Catch a chicken
  • Messy twister
  • Go zorbing
  • Eiffel Tower [Paris]
  • Love Lock Bridge [Paris]
  • Pyramids [Egypt]
  • Seeing a moose in the wild
  • Giraffe Manor [Kenya]
  • Flamingo Beach [Aruba]
  • Pig Beach [Bahamas]
  • Swim with Nurse Sharks [Compass Cay]
  • Swim with Dolphins
  • Whale Watching
  • Dead Sea [Israel]
  • OUE Skyspace LA [Los Angeles]
  • Greece
  • Pink Sand Beach
  • SNL taping
  • Northern Lights
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Antarctica Cruise
  • Stone Hedge
  • Lavender Fields [Provence, France]
  • Sunflower Fields [Lawrence, KS]
  • See Beyonce
  • Live off my blog

 

What’s on your bucket list?  I’m always looking to grow this one and hear about what other people are looking forward to.

All the love and regards, 

Taylor

Baseball Cap Storage

My husband loves his snapbacks.

I hate them for one specific reason. Try and try as I might to organize them, tell him to put them up a certain way, and make them look nice/stack them on each other, somehow they always end up in our mudroom looking like this on top of our shoe shelf –

Granted, it’s a little obvious by the picture there are other things poorly organized, but I think the little stuff like Kleenex boxes and dog leashes would be easier to straighten up if not trapped under a mudslide of hats.  It took me awhile to figure out what to do, but eventually like all great things, I found a good solution on Pinterest and gave it a go.

We bought a small, thin curtain rod from Bed, Bath, and Beyond.  Then we were on the hunt for shower curtain rings that had clips on them.  We could not really find a price point we liked at Bed, Bath, and Beyond which lead us to my favorite favorite store, Target. The end product of nicely hanging hats ended up like this, hanging above our coat rack –

The clips make it incredibly easy to remove and hang up hats.  Typically when some hats get to the bottom of that mudslide pile before, they didn’t get as much love.  Now all the choices are promptly in front of his face.

This was all done for under $15 and only took under 10 minutes to hang up.

This helps me on the quest to organize my life and I would recommend it to any one needing a little organization in the hat area.

 

All the love and regards,

Taylor

Taylor tries Warby Parker

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty helpless without glasses.  I typically wear contacts, but I have a pair of glasses I wear a couple times a week. I feel like to some degree, glasses are trendy, so it’s nice to bust them out every once in awhile.

I have had the glasses I own for about 4 years now.

For the most part they are cute. They get the job done.  The prescription is old, but still usable, but sometimes it is time for a change.  Getting glasses from your eye doctor can be so pricey, so I decided to look into alternative solutions.

My little sister told me about Warby Parker so I decided to give it a shot.  It’s a website where you can fill out a quiz for what type of glasses you are looking for, and it will bring up glasses that you may like.  I felt the quiz was pretty spot on.  Then, you can select up to 5 frames to try on. They’ll send you your frame selections, you get to try them on in your home, and send them back when you’re done. Best part – it’s free.  If you found your match, you can actually purchase the frame with your prescription in it, for what is low cost considering how much getting eyeglasses from your eye doctor costs.

This is my review of the 5 frames I tried on.

 LOUISE – Elderflower Crystal

On the website, this one appears like it will come out to be more of a pink color, considering the other option for this one is clear. However, when I was wearing it, it looked pretty clear to me. I liked it, but my little sister has clear glasses and enough people already think we look exactly alike. We cannot confuse the masses.

 LAUREL – Tea Rose Fade

This pair happened to be my second favorite. I think the color fade on this pair of glasses is so unique.  The reason it’s only second place, is they look pretty similar to my current glasses, and part of the reason to get new glasses is for people to notice them, right? 🙂

 ANDERS – River Stone Fade

This pair happened to be my least favorite, just because the frames are little too thick for my taste.  Also, I feel like a very important feature of glasses, if they are your dominant pair, is for it to be versatile with different outfits and I felt like these ones would stick out in a lot of my outfit choices just because there’s so many colors going on.  If they were a secondary pair, I think it might make more sense for someone.

 EUGENE – Rosewood Crystal

I actually liked this pair a lot.  The only thing that held me back about them is they are so giant.  They almost seem too giant for my face. Also, they hide my eyebrows, which I spend a lot of time making those look good and I’d like the world to see.

 HUDSON – Warm Gold

Saving the best for last!  These were my absolute favorite.  I was trying to stick to the $95 glasses only, and these were my “splurge” glasses, so I was really hoping not to like them.  The picture does not do it justice.  The gold is very reflective.  You also must learn now, I love gold. Gold everything. These just felt classy the moment I put them on.  I could see a few outfits where it might not work, but I think overall, these are a nice neutral pair, but with a flare.

Overall, I am happy with my experience with Warby Parker thus far.  I still need to return the box with all the glasses.  I plan on making a purchase and I would recommend it to someone who was glasses hunting.  It was a fun change up to the normal glasses shopping.

 

All the love and regards,

Taylor

P.S. My husband Jordan wants some “photo cred” for the above pictures for having to be an Instagram husband

Turning 25

Hello there,

 

I have come to a point in my life where I realize there are lots of things I want to do that I have not done yet.  Twenty-five feels a bit of a milestone that I should do something with.

I pin things on Pinterest all the time, make plans but never follow through.  This year is different.

I’m going to commit to doing a project or having an experience, and documenting it here.

Right now this is just a personal project, but I have hopes it’ll turn into something more.

 

All the love and regards,

Taylor