Tuesday, August 12, 2014

That Time a Bench Made me Cry

This bench. Our relationship was a tragic love story with a happy ending.

The short version goes something like this: I fell in love, it broke my heart again and again, I cried, we made up, and I fell in love all over. 

The longer version is a bit more detailed:

From the minute I saw I was in love.  However, the sloppy white paint job with out-dated blue and white checkered fabric (I spared you the awfulness of where it started) just wasn't doing it for me.
Before Bench
See that great white paint? Whoever painted it was on a mission to make sure the paint never. came. off.

After 3 hours of sanding with the lowest grit I could find I'd barely made a dent. At this point I was in serious need of a plan B.
Before Bench

Insert plan B. Y'all this stuff is no joke... 
Paint Stripper

Paint Stripper
(See the blue and white checkered fabric in the background?!? Yup, that's where we started)

Four bottles, 50 gloves, 2 industrial strength gloves, and 5 hours later we were left with this. Pretty right? :-/
Bench In Progress

PS: When the directions say industrial strength gloves only. They mean industrial strength gloves ONLY. It took 50 gloves and countless burns (stubborn much?) for us to finally throw in the towel and purchase the real deal. Do yourself a favor. Follow the directions!

After even more sanding we finally got a blank slate. So clean and pretty!
Bench Sanded

Now the fun part...

I had a very specific vision for what I wanted the end product to look like. Problem? I didn't know how to get it there.

We have dark floors so I didn't want it too dark, but I still wanted it natural looking but a little darker than what it was while not really looking stained at all. Confused? So was I.

I tried one stain and hated it! It was orangey redish and all wrong.
Bench In Progress

My mom suggested a light grayish wash. Had she done it it would have looked great, but I did it so it didn't.

So, the only option I saw was to re-sand and start over...again. At this point James was done. He told me to do what I wanted, but he was over it. I can't blame his at all; I was impossible to please.

After thee trips to Home Depot and 2 different stains I was done. It wasn't working and I quit.

Y'all, I cried over bench. If it hadn't been for James stepping in it would have ended up smashed into a million pieces. Have I mentioned I can be dramatic at times?

It took a few days and a "get your act together" conversation with my sister to realize I was being ridiculous crazy.

I went to Home Depot one more time picked up one more stain and was officially done. 
DIY Bench

I fell in love all over again. It doesn't match my original vision, but quite honestly it's even better. 

I told the husband I reserve the right to change it at any point. He said no. I don't blame him :)

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Happy Housewarming

A few weeks ago (um...a month ago!) our families threw us a housewarming party. We had lots of fun sharing our home with friends and neighbors. It's an awful excuse, but moving into our home and renovating kept us busy for a while so it was great seeing people we hadn't seen in a while. 

I'm obsessed with the invitation from AmySimpleDesgins! Seriously though burlap background and aqua? They know me so well :)

I'd say I didn't mean to match the party color scheme, but let's be honest they're my favorite colors for a reason.

Remember how I was lusting after this wreath? Well, I have the greatest sister ever and she made me one! I most definitely did a happy dance/jumped up and down when she gave it to me.

 Hi, my name is Taylor Rae and I have an obsession with aqua and coral. 

Drink Station. FYI Costco margaritas are the jam!

Sis does it again and made the banner. It's so perfect that I refuse to take it down.

Fresh flowers from my MIL's backyard. One day we will have hydrangeas in our yard and I will be so happy.

My hope for our home isn't that it's a perfectly decorate place that has to be spotless at all times. Rather, I want our home to be a place that is lived in and one our friends feel comfortable in. I love it being full of people! I want our home to be shared, open, and welcoming. 
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Monday, July 14, 2014

Our Story

Three years ago I met the husband on a blind date, and exactly a year later he proposed! 

Obviously this day holds a special place in my heart, but I don't think I've shared either story here on the blog. Y'all hear from me all the time, so I thought it may be more fun for James to share how we met and I'll share our proposal story!

How We Met: July 14, 2011

Erin, a former coworker of mine, had been telling me about this girl she was in bible study with who I "had to meet" for weeks. She said she thought the two of us would be good together which, to this day blows my mind that she was able to see the potential chemistry between a UGA and Georgia Tech grad. I was a pretty shy guy and definitely not the type that would ever be willing to go on a blind date but something about this one made me want to go out on a limb. I also may have gotten a glimpse of her on Facebook and that may or may not have influenced my decision to ask for the 1st date. I spent hours upon hours trying to find the perfect place for the blind date and settled on Nine Street Kitchen. I waited on her in front of the restaurant and when I saw her I remember thinking "she's way out of my league." I could tell she was nervous by the way she made the intro short and sweet and immediately headed inside to find a table (I literally said "hey" and ran inside... NBD I'm just awkward like that).  All nerves seemed to settle very quickly though. We had such a great time that we closed up the restaurant that night and had to be asked to leave as they were mopping the floors. It was a great 1st day especially considering I almost stood him up. 

Our Engagment Story: July 14, 2012

I always thought I would know when the proposal was coming because my mom and sister wouldn't be able to keep the secret. They proved to me that they are much better liars then I thought! Also, my dad was in Argentina on a trip the weekend we went to Highlands, and I figured he would at least want to be in the country when I got engaged. So, with all that said, I was not expecting anything to happen that weekend.

James and I decided to go to Highlands, NC to celebrate one year together. We talked about driving to the top of Sunset Rock to watch the sunset before dinner reservations on Saturday night. This had actually been my idea, so I was never suspicious. I played right into his plan. I'm so predictable. It rained all day Saturday so I was becoming less and less thrilled about our pre-dinner plans, but James really wanted to go, so I wasn’t going to make a big deal out of it.

When you get to the top there are two paths to get onto the rock. I was super focused on one of the paths worrying about what the 20 people who were already there and had hiked up were going to think of us in our nice dinner clothes. James grabbed my hand and spun me around to the other path. In front of me was a path lined with candles. I told James we couldn’t go that way because someone had set it up for something special; he smiled and kept walking. I’ve been told I kept saying, “I’m scared." "What are we doing?" "Is this okay?” Once we followed the path onto the rock there was a small table with flowers and champagne. My first thought was that James was doing something nice since he hadn’t gotten me a card earlier for our 1 year (it was all I asked for). 

James started talking and I remember trying not to laugh because I knew he was saying nice things but I couldn't concentrate on what he was saying (he later told me what he said and it was really sweet). Then he got on one knee and asked me to marry him. I remember nodding my head, and he swears I actually said yes.

After crying and hugging we went over to a bench and he showed me a video he had made with pictures of our first year together and how he asked my parents and sister for permission to marry me! I cried through the whole thing! Then he told me to call my parents. If I wasn't crying hard enough already this really set me off. There was so much crying I could barely get words out. I told my mom we were driving home at midnight to celebrate with them (because obviously that makes sense?). 

Then I called my dad and left a message on his phone. I could barely talk. At this point I got really sad that he wasn't in the country and I couldn't talk to him :(

About five minutes later James told me to turn around and my mom, sister, and his whole family came out! Following them was my dad who had flown home early from his trip (I'm crying even now as I type this)! At the sight of him I totally lost it. I was beyond the point of the “pretty” cry! The whole thing was so much more than I ever could have imagined! 

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Anniversary Trip: Nashville

While Nashville one of the husband's favorite cities, I had never been before. He's raved about how great the city is and I'll be honest I was a little skeptical at first. I mean, just in case you haven't looked at a map recently, Nashville is nowhere near the ocean. In order to be classified as a great city in my book there needs to be an ocean . 

Well, the husband wins this one. Nashville is awesome

The music is great. You can hear live music anytime every day of the week. Once you're downtown, it's a walking city. Park your car and walk to where you wanna go. And the food... oh the food, but we'll get there.


I don't always like playing tourist in new cities. I don't like people knowing I'm visiting. It's okay to judge me it's a super odd quirk. I think it has something to do with living in a vacation city where we made fun of tourists. However, for this trip I put my weird fears aside and fully embraced the tourist role. We checked out the Ryman Auditorium and the Country Music Hall of Fame. Both pretty obvious stops for us since we love Nashville (James has a serious crush on Hayden :) and country music.


Country Music Hall of Fame

Let's get real honest here. I judge cities by the food. It's gotta be good and not just the fancy resaturates, but the little hole in the wall places too. Nashville did not disappoint at all.

Puckett's Grocery and Restaurant:
Puckett's is a restaurant downtown that I'm assuming was at one point a grocery (hence the name), but has since been converted into a restaurant. It's southern BBQ and it's good. We went for breakfast and lunch and were impressed with both. For breakfast James got the "Southern Stack." Stick with me for a second, it's a sweet potato pancakes, fried apples, bbq pork, a fried egg, and home fries. It sounded awful. It was wonderful. I hate sweet potatoes, but I loved these sweet potatoes pancakes.

Cantina Laredo:
Probably my newest favorite restaurant. The tuna tacos are to die for and fish tacos that rocked my world. I need them to open one of these in Atlanta ASAP. There really aren't adequate words for this restaurant other than we're still raving about this meal.
Cantina Laredo

Great bakery! They serve Kolaches, a Cezch pastry most often served sweet with some fruit filling, but sometimes made savory. Think doughy yeasty goodness. James stuck with the fruit variety and I got a savory one with sausage, jalapenos, and cheese. My mouth is watering just thinking about these.

I had to give a nod to one of my favorite cities and check out Husk for our anniversary dinner. There other location is in Charleston and I've always wanted to try it out, so I'm glad we got to here. It was everything we hoped for. The drinks were incredible, the charcuterie appetizer was our favorite part, and our entrees were really good. Farm to table restaurants always get bonus point in my book.

My entree: Southern Veggie Plate: embered okra, heirloom tomato salad, sea island pea succotash, fried squash blossom stuffed with cheese, and mushroom grits with a poached egg. So much food and so good!
Veggie plate

We went against tradition and didn't eat our wedding cake. It accidently got thrown out when dad was cleaning out the elk freezer (don't even ask) a week before our anniversary. Whoops! Oh well, makes for a good story :) and who needs tradition anyway.

It was such a wonderful trip and the prefect to celebrate being married for a year!
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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Hey July!

So, it's July. As of today we are officially half way through 2014. Dear Summer, please slow down!

We have some fun things planned for this month, so I'm excited and hoping that this month goes by just a little less quickly than the last. But, before we get to July let's look back on those June goals. 

Overall, I would say June was a pretty good month. I loved loved loved celebrating our 1st anniversary and have really enjoyed get settled in our home. Somewhere along the way it stopped being the "new house" and started being "home." It makes my heart so happy knowing how many memories we will make in this place and how we will continue to make it ours.   

1. Spend more time with GodAbide Journal 
This one gets a big check! It's an 8 week long journal so there are still 4 weeks to go, but so far I'm right on track. There is so much that I'm loving about this study. I love that each chapter is a week long,  so there is lots of time to really dig deep into the theme of the week. The videos that go along with the weeks are also so great. I can't wait to continue this into July.

2. Take care of myselfExercise & walk after dinner
Eh, I guess this one gets a super small check. We haven't been walking after dinner, but I've done an okay job getting up and going walking. Going to expand on this one and get a little more specific for July.

3. Be intentional with my husbandTV free dinners
Big check! We've had many TV free dinners in spite of the World Cup. Apparently my husband is a big soccer fan now. Never saw that one coming, but I digress. I really love the chance to sit down at the table and talk about our days. I love that it's becoming routine to sit down at the table and dinners in front of the TV only happen on rare occasions.  

4. Go on an adventureAnniversary trip
Completed and it was awesome! Can't wait to share all about it tomorrow!

5. Be intentional with othersSpend time with friends
I love that I made this a goal last month, and I love even more that I was able to accomplish it. One of the best things about have a home is being able to host friends and family. I so very much want our home to be a place where people we love come, hang out, and feel comfortable. Not only did we get to have one of my best friends over this past month, but I also got to catch up with a few friends who live out of town who I haven't talk to in way too long! This month our families are hosting a house warming party for us, so I can't wait to open our doors to even more of our friends. 

1. Spend more time with GodAbide Journal and Studying the Names of God
4 more weeks! There is also another bible study that Nicole and Rachel are hosting that I'm seriously thinking about joining in on. 

2. Take care of myself: Exercise Routine
Routine. I work best with routines and schedules. This month my goals is routine with moderation. I am trying to learn that it's okay not to work out everyday. So, the goal this month is to work out 3-5 times a week for at least 30 minutes. The inner crazy athlete is screaming at me that that's not enough, but the much healthier rational side of me is insisting that it's just fine. Routine with moderation.

3. Be intentional w/ others: Stop Saying Sorry
Well, kinda. Have y'all seen this video? It really hit home and even more so when the husband mentioned the other night that I say "I'm sorry" too much. I'm starting to realized I say "I'm sorry" for all the wrong reasons and when I need to say it it's so much harder to say. So, July is my month of not saying sorry when I don't need to and saying sorry when it needs to be said. 

4. Go on an adventure: Beach Trip(s)
Adventures for this month include lots of sun, sand, and ocean water. We'll be on Hilton Head Island and at Holden Beach. I. Can't. Wait. 

Here's to a happy July everyone!!
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Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday Favorites: Anniversary Edition

Happy Friday Loves!

Um, can someone please fill me in on where June went?! This summer is flying by and I kind of wish it would last forever. 

I'm linking up with Amanda to share our anniversary gifts. I hesitate to tell people one of my love languages is gifts. I'm afraid it sounds too materialistic and greedy, but actually it's not about money at all. What's important is the thought behind the gift or the words written in the note. Gifts make me feel thought of and special.

Be forewarned, this whole post is pretty sappy and corny.

{O N E}

One of our favorite things to do as a couple is to go on adventures. Small day trips or week long vacation doesn't matter; we love to travel. For our anniversary we took a weekend trip to Nashville. I had never been there before, but it's one of James' favorite cities so he had fun showing me all around. It was so much fun and I can't wait to share the details about our trip with y'all next week!

{T W O}

We didn't discuss it, but we each ending up sticking with the "paper" theme. I gave him a Datevitation coupon book. Seriously, if y'all haven't checked this website out do so now! It's too easy and fun to put together your own custom coupon book.
Along with the sweetest card the husband gave me a gift certificate to a spa. That boy knows the way to my heart! And of course we celebrated with some pink champagne. 

{T H R E E}

One of James favorite hymns is "Come Thou Fount." It was also one of the songs we had sung at our wedding so it has extra special meaning to us. My gift to James was this beautiful print I found on Etsy here. I had it framed and now it has a special place on our mantle. 

{F O U R}

Let's be honest though. James blew my gift out of the water. I was super impressed that he knew anniversaries even had themes. I was even more impressed that he made me a gift. I know a lot of things about my husband, but what I didn't know is that he's a closet crafter :) The words inside the tree are the lyrics of our first dance song "Sea Breeze." So sweet! Love that man.

{F I VE}

Best gift of all?
Getting to spend everyday with this guy. 

Okay, I gave you fair warning that it would be sappy!  

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!!

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Here's to a year

As of Sunday I've been a wife for a whole year, and what a year it's been. It's been a year of way more ups than downs. A year where I've learned a lot about myself and even more about marriage. It's been the most fun and challenging year and I can't wait for so many more!

 Here's a few highlights of what I've learned over this past year:

1. For us, God comes first always. Putting Him at the center of our marriage makes it all worth it.

2. Everyday I have to make a choice whether or not I'll let small stuff bother me. Some days I make the right choice and other days I don't. 

3. Advice from other married couple is great and super helpful. However, it's also important to remember that what works for one couple may not work for us. There isn't one perfect path for everyone you just gotta make your own way.

4. The first year of marriage isn't the best or worst. It's just the 1st. There's lots of learning and growing going on, but you get to do it together so it's okay.

5. It's okay to go to bed mad as long as you make up in the morning. I've learned I can be more rational in the morning than I was the night before.

6. Living with a boy is fun :) 

7. Being a wife is hard, easy, and fun all at the same time. Thus far it's best role I've ever played.

8. I married a patient, loving, selfless, hard working man, and I love him more everyday.

Thank you James for this past year. Thanks for sticking by me when I'm being "challenging" and supporting me always. I love being on this journey with you and can't wait to see where we go.

Stay turned next week for a post all about anniversary trip!

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