Bucket List: Cruising Down the Highway at 30 mph!

Mr. and I took a much needed vacation last week. He had worked for 26 days with only two days off somewhere in the middle of that madness! We had talked about going on another cruise but I really wanted to go on a road trip. I love road trips! So we hit the road and knocked off two states off my bucket list! You can read about my bucket list here.

Cruisin’ in our shades!

road trip

Our first night we stayed at Delta Downs Racetrack & Casino. Not much went on there…lost 17 dollars and bought t-shirts for our daughter and her roommate (they were cat-sitting Hank). But over at Lake Charles, LA, that’s where we got excited! And it was all about the food! We ate at a restaurant I found on tripadvisor.com. Steamboat Bill’s was listed as #3 out of 176! We figured it had to be good and we were not disappointed. Mr. had the gumbo and I had fried shrimp. However, the highlight of the meal were the boudin balls. I had never had boudin before and I am hooked! So much that we stopped for lunch here on our way back home at the end of the week!

Louisiana

The next morning we hit the road again making our way to New Orleans. We stopped for lunch in Scott, LA just outside of Lafayette. I saw a billboard advertising boudin and cracklins (I told you I am hooked). Once again, Mr. had had cracklins before but I hadn’t. Apparently I have led a very sheltered life when it comes to food! It turned out to be a convenience store with a walkup counter to order hot boudin balls, boudin rollups, and cracklins ready to eat; and of course, we had to try all of it! These locals are some lucky eaters and they know it; the parking lot was packed and there were about 15-20 people in line when we walked in.

Louisiana

Lunch in a greasy sack! Pure yumminess!!

Louisiana      Louisiana

After eating lunch in the jeep, we were on the road again. We were met with three different traffic jams on I-10. At times we never got over 30 mph and twice the interstate was a parking lot! It took us over two hours to go 52 miles and altogether six hours to get from Lake Charles to New Orleans!

We had been sitting about 20 minutes at this point and I had to pee! I told Mr. that I was about ready to knock on the door of the motor home if we didn’t move pretty soon! Thankfully we did, and I wasn’t that crazy woman knocking on their door in the middle of the highway!

Louisiana

30 minutes later another parking lot!

Louisiana

Finally, New Orleans. We drove around the block several times in the French Quarter due to construction and the fact that our GPS kept telling us we had arrived at our destination, when obviously we had not! Nevertheless, we finally found our hotel which was only one block from Bourbon Street. Now…our hotel was really nice and close to all the action, but I can honestly say…been there, done that! Neither Mr. or I care if we ever go back! Although everyone should experience Bourbon Street at least once in their lifetime! But again the food was wonderful! Alligator tail, catfish, and shrimp made it onto our plates for supper at Olde N’awlins Cookery. But breakfast the next morning at Café Beignet was to die for…beignets!

New Orleans

After breakfast, we headed to our last destination for the week, Orange Beach, Alabama. We have decided this will be a yearly trip!  We didn’t even know this place existed, until my friend Jan suggested we go. (I of course, text her pictures of Mr. and I with the message “wish y’all were here”) For three days, we were in paradise!

Orange Beach, LA     Orange Beach, LA

Orange Beach, LA     Orange Beach, LA

Orange Beach, LA     Orange Beach, LA

I was the lucky one and was stung four times by jellyfish! Apparently, I didn’t learn my lesson and kept going back into the water, but I just couldn’t resist. We went snorkeling and saw lots of fish, jellyfish (of course), and Mr. saw two stingrays.

And you know I have to talk about the food! We ate at The Gulf the first night. (another suggestion by Jan.) Mr. had a grilled amberjack sandwich and I had a crawfish salad sandwich. (I had my first crawfish earlier this year. Tasty but a lot of work.) We also ate at The Oyster House which has great fish tacos!

Crawfish Salad

Orange Beach, LA

The Gulf restaurant is an outside-only dining restaurant located on the east end of the beach.

Orange Beach, LA     Orange Beach, LA

I couldn’t resist from taking a picture of this couple that looked to be in their 80’s; walking along the beach holding hands! I told Mr. that would be us in about 30 years. I just hope we look half that good in our swimsuits at that age!

Orange Beach, LA

I hope y’all got to go somewhere fun this summer or maybe had a fun staycation! Would love to hear where y’all went, as I’m always looking for ideas for our next road trip.

Y’all have a great weekend!

~

Bistro Set

I am slowly making my way through a stack of furniture that we brought with us in the move from Oklahoma, plus some pieces that I have picked up here and there. I just can’t resist a piece of furniture that has been discarded or one that someone no longer wants! The pieces for this project came from my mom, but didn’t start out as a set. The chairs were from a garage sale that didn’t sell, and were going to be thrown into the dumpster. Of course, she thought of me!! The table came from her bedroom, where she had been using it as a bedside table. I had given her one of two nightstands that I had so she no longer needed this little table. You can see how I redid the matching nightstand that I kept in this post.

When I brought these pieces in from the garage, I had no intention to use them together. I was going to use the table beside the bed in the Gypsy Room and paint one of the chairs for the little desk also in that room. But once I had them sitting next to each other, I thought they would make a cute bistro set! Once I painted them, of course!

Gypsy Bistro Set

And after a little paint and some fun material, here is what I ended up with!

Bistro Set

The hardest part of this entire project was picking out the fabric. I came home with three different patterns, as I just could NOT make up my mind at the store!

Bistro Set

At first, the owls were my favorite. But the more I looked at them, the more I gravitated to the circle designs. It reminded me of designs you could make with a Spirograph, which I loved doing when I was younger.

I kept the original padding & vinyl and just added another layer of padding. I was going to remove the old, but let me show you why I left it.

89 heavy duty staples!! Eighty. Nine. In one cushion!

Bistro Set

There was no way I was going to pull out almost 200 of those bad boys! Therefore, my cushions are super cushy and comfy. How many staples did I use in one cushion, you ask? 29 in one and 31 in the other.

I painted turquoise tips on the bottom of the table legs to tie the table and chairs together.

Bistro set

And for the finishing touch of the table, I dyed some doilies that my mom and grandma had made.

doilies

The one I picked to use for the table was the white one with purple trim. It was one my mom had made for my grandma. You can still see the purple edges showing through the turquoise, which I love. Purple was grandma’s favorite color and this makes me smile when I look at it.

Bistro Set     Bistro Set

And the necessary one more look at the before and after pictures…

Bistro before     Bistro after

Y’all have a great day!

~

From Trunk to Table!

I mentioned in passing in this post that we are in the process of redoing our master closet. (Yikes, that was a month ago and we haven’t made any progress since!) But we do have the carpet out of there!

Master Closet Makeover

But one positive thing in starting the closet makeover is I had to totally clean it out! And if you remember the pictures from the Under the Staircase Closet , then you know just how much stuff might have been in the master closet!

Back in one corner, under a couple of pillows, bags, and purses, was this trunk that I bought at a garage sale several years ago. Not much to look at, but still in decent condition. (even after two moves) I was using it and another oversize tub to store pictures and scrapbooks. I was able to sort through the pictures (discarding duplicates), throw out old photo albums from the ’70’s, and just get rid of some stuff! What was left fit into a small storage box that now sits on a shelf in the closet!

Coffee Table

So that left me with an empty trunk once again. And this is what I did with it.

Coffee Table

I turned it into a super cute table with storage!

Coffee Table     Coffee Table

It was a pretty simple project. I did the usual primer and paint steps. After it was completely dry, Mr. drilled holes in the bottom and hammered threaded inserts in the inside of the trunk for the legs .

Coffee Table     Coffee Table

To keep paint from getting all over my hands while painting the legs, I poked holes into the bottom of some cheap plastic cups. I was then able to screw the legs into the holes and viola…instant “keep paint off my hands leg holder thingy”!

Coffee Table     Coffee Table

I cut off the old handle, wrapped jute around a piece of cord, and hot glued it in place. I thought this gave it more of a coastal look.

Coffee Table

I plan on using it as a coffee table and storing a couple of light throws and maybe the various remotes we have in it.

Coffee Table before     Coffee Table after

Y’all have a great day!

~

Entryway Makeover: Keeping Memories Alive

WARNING! …if you don’t like painted wood, don’t read any further! There, I warned you.

This piece started out as a 1935 era Singer sewing machine, which belonged to my paternal great-grandma. I remember making Christmas stockings on it when I was in grade school, in the early 1970’s.

desk 4

When my great-grandma passed away, my Mamaw inherited it, and around 20 years ago…I inherited it!

My great-grandma and Mamaw. circa 1941

family picture

The cabinet looks in good shape and all in the above picture, but let’s take a closer look…

At some point, the flip lid had been wet and the wood warped and mildewed. Mamaw had covered it with contact paper and this is what it looked like when I took the paper off. Yuck!

Sewing machine cabinet

I’m not sure what this was, (and I don’t think I want to know) but it was not having any part of coming off!

Sewing machine cabinet

And this was just years of wear & tear, dirt, and who knows what all!

Sewing machine cabinet

After three hours of removing screws and hardware, I ended up with this.

DSCN3679     DSCN3680

Since the top was pretty much a goner, Mr. cut a new top, I sanded it, and put a dark stain on it. (pretend you don’t see a baggie on my hand! We ran out of gloves!)

DSCN3687     DSCN3690

We set up a painting area in the garage for me to spray paint the metal frame. I’m not sure how well everyone else can spray paint, but it’s like a fog storm when I spray paint!! I then put a coat of primer and two coats of Behr Youthful Coral on the drawer boxes and drawers. You might remember that we used this same color in “The Closet Under the Staircase”. You can read about that makeover here, here, and here.

Sewing machine cabinet     Sewing machine cabinet

I painted the side of the drawers white so they would look pretty when pulled out. And the ornate work on the sides of the frame really popped once we painted them white!

desk after     Sewing machine cabinet

My entryway has been bare and boring since we moved in 2 1/2 years ago. But no more!

desk after

beach decor

And of course, we always have to have that before and after shot!

desk before     desk after

I’m super thrilled with the finished product and with my entryway all together! Instead of just being pushed into a corner and gathering dust, I’m able to use my desk everyday and enjoy the memories of where it came from!

Y’all have a great day!

~

“Be~You~tiful” Jewelry Vanity

My daughter was given this secretary desk a few years ago but has never had the room for it in her apartment; therefore, it has been stored in our garage this whole time. And since I have been looking at several different ways to store my jewelry, I thought this little desk would fit the job!

Jewelry Vanity

But it wasn’t in the best of shape. In fact, it was in pretty bad shape! I removed the drop down piece entirely, as the wood veneer on the front of it was peeling off and it would have caused more damage if we had tried to remove it completely. (we tried…no success) And due to the fact that it is so extremely humid here, one of the drawer shelves had completely fallen off. So after quite a bit of wood glue and wood filler, Mr. used clamps to hold everything in place and we left it to dry overnight.

Jewelry Vanity.9

Once it was primed and painted, I made a pattern on the computer and printed out what I wanted to paint on the desk part of my vanity. Talk about nerve-wracking!! I’m not a fan of painting words, but I’m pleased with how it turned out.

Jewelry Vanity.7

I changed the original wooden knobs to a simple, brushed nickel for the top drawers and glass knobs for the lower drawer. I then had to decide what to do with the drawers. I used cord piping and velveteen fabric and made a ring holder out of one of the top drawers. I cut individual pieces of the cord to fit into the drawer, then wrapped and glued each piece with fabric. Then I glued each one in place in the drawer.

Jewelry Vanity.4

Jewelry Vanity.5

Jewelry Vanity.6

And viola…ring holder!

Jewelry Vanity.8

I then made a template for the large lower drawer and cut velveteen to fit into it to hold my bracelets.

DSCN3608

Jewelry Vanity.10

We’re in the process of doing a master closet makeover and I’m hoping to make room in our closet for this. How awesome will it be to have my jewelry right there while picking out my clothes for the day!

Of course, we have to have a before and after shot!

before       after

Y’all have a great day! And remember to always “Be You”!

Be-You-tiful 2

 ~

Upcycled Kitchen Island

Hey everyone! Hope everyone is having a great Tuesday!

I’m back after a three month absence and have lots to share with you, and am so excited about the first project I have to show you!

DSCN3551

If you read this post, you’ll remember this initially started out as a four drawer chest of drawers that somehow ended up looking like this after our move from Oklahoma to Houston!

DSCN3175

Not wanting to give up on using this piece somewhere in our house, I moved it into the kitchen and laid the leftover piece of quartz from our countertops on top of it. I wanted to make sure there was enough room in the kitchen and to see if we would really use it enough to justify a kitchen island. There was and we did!

So I got to work! I removed the front piece between where the top and second drawer should be and the bottom trim piece. They didn’t fit the look I was going for.

DSCN3356     DSCN3502

I then had to fill in LOTS of scratches, dings, and holes with wood filler; even rebuilding a corner that had been knocked off on one of the drawers. Mr. added beadboard to the sides and back that was leftover from our backsplash we installed back in February. He also cut out a shelf to go above the top drawer.

DSCN3503

I primed and painted the chest and the drawers with a white enamel and added hardware that matched our kitchen cabinets. I painted the outer sides of the drawers a fun color (same as the kitchen desk) and lined them and the shelf with the cute paper that I’m lining the bottom kitchen cabinets with. We had the edges of the quartz top smoothed & polished and glued it on using Liquid Nails.

DSCN3537

But who knew that the little towel rods on the sides would be the hardest items to find! I wanted something that wasn’t big or that would stick out. We went to several stores with no luck! I searched online with no success! The closest I had found was a special order drawer pull at Home Depot for $20! That was what I had paid for the entire chest at the auction!! We finally found what I was looking for at Ikea. Two for $7.99! Score! They were perfect to hang my towels Mr. bought me in Galveston!

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DSCN3551

This gives me a place to store my plastic containers and lids, my crock with my cake decorating spatulas, a few of my cookbooks, and those cute whale measuring cups that my daughter gave to me at Christmas!

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And one more look at the before and after.

DSCN3356     DSCN3551

Y’all have a great day!

~

And More Coupons, Groupons, and Savings

Hey everyone! The daughter is back with tips on how to save money when eating out. Be sure and read her other savings tips HERE and HERE.

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Advertisements & Restaurant Offers

While we don’t pay attention to very many advertisements or sales in the weekly that comes in the mail, I do flip through to watch for coupons to restaurants that we frequent. I love Genghis Grill and eat there at least once a month if possible. Luckily, they occasionally include mail-outs in the weekly that include the same three coupons every time, two of which fit our eating habits and save us a few bucks every time we go in. We rarely eat there without a coupon now and let the expiration dates of the coupons determine when we do and don’t eat there. Subway and McDonalds also have coupons in our weekly that add up to huge savings: McDonalds will have a free drink with the order of a quarter-pounder and Subway—I love this—sends out a page of six coupons, all of which are buy one 6-inch and get one 6-inch for free. How amazing is that?! That means that, if we drink pop from our fridge and eat chips in our pantry instead of buying them with the meals, my roommate and I can get two 6-inch subs for around $4-5 for our entire meal. While we have to be careful and only use them occasionally, like once a week, so that we don’t end up spending more money than we would have without the coupons, we have adjusted our fast food habits to follow coupons.

While we’re on the topic of eating out, watch your receipts for opportunities to complete an online survey of your experience to receive a discount on your next purchase. McDonalds often offers these at the bottom of their receipts where you fill in a code given to you at the end of the survey. Take the receipt and code with you on your next visit and you can get a free breakfast sandwich or even a free quarter-pounder. Fancier restaurants, such as Olive Garden, offer you a chance to win $1000 instead, which isn’t quite as instantaneously gratifying; however, we found that, after completing a survey due to a very isolated bad experience at their restaurant, we had been enrolled in their email system. A week later we received a coupon for 15% off a to-go order. Discounted Olive Garden at home while surfing Netflix? Yes, please.

If you are on social media, like the pages for your favorite restaurants. Recently my roommate was excited to see that it was Australia Day (celebrating her favorite continent), and, when she got on Facebook, she saw where Outback had posted a Facebook-only, one-day coupon celebrating the holiday. We took it in and got our choice of a free appetizer or dessert. After eating our free appetizer, we ordered smaller steaks because we had already eaten so much along with their free bread and left the restaurant with leftovers and a great meal that had totaled around $25. Don’t forget to ask for a little extra of the freebies at restaurants when you take home your leftovers. Outback occasionally will give you bread to take home, and Olive Garden has always let us take extra breadsticks and salad home with our doggie bags.

If you get desperate to really save, feel free to steal our eating motto: Leftovers, leftovers, leftovers! You should wave your fork in the air while shouting it to get the full effect.

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My favorite restaurant coupon is Chick-fil-a. On several occasions, I have received a receipt that asks the customer to take a quick online survey. In return, you can get a free Chick-fil-a sandwich! Yum!

Y’all have a great day! Later gators!