SO SORRY for my long absence! Between starting the job in the Emergency Department and closing on our first house, it’s been one crazy month to say the least! But I’m back and I have lots of great things to share! I’m so excited that I’m not even quiet sure where to start! I can’t show you guys everything at once or it would take away from the excitement so here are the first few projects!

about the house;

On February 13th, we closed on our first house on a little street called Oakridge Manor! It’s a gorgeous 1983 brick house in the most perfect neighborhood surrounded by giant oak trees (hence the street name!). It’s a 4 bedroom, 3 bath house that has 4 sliding glass doors, 2 skylights, and a ton of huge windows that bring in a lot of natural light! It has an awesome flagstone fireplace that we remodeled (keep reading!), huge ceiling beams, a sunken living room, a gorgeous backyard for the dogs, 3 raised garden beds and a brick porch with a fireplace! We always say that we found a hidden gem because it has so much character and beauty.

Getting a house was much more emotionally and physically draining than I thought. From working with horrible lenders, to putting offers on 3 different houses without luck, to our appraisal coming back $28,000 short, it was a roller coaster ride of a lifetime. We learned that we had to be patient and the right house would fall in our laps. I truly feel like God was looking out for us and blessed us with the most perfect home.

Here are some of my best tips to those house shopping or soon-to-be:

  1. Pay down your debt! Set a goal to pay off those lousy credit card bills and stick to it. Credit is so important and showing you’re a responsible borrower is huge when it comes to buying a house.
  2. Start gathering all your paperwork; tax info, marriage license, pay stubs, stocks, social security, your 3rd grade report card! Pretty much whatever you can think of, have it ready to go.
  3. Get an awesome realtor! Coincidentally when we moved to Tampa, a reality business from back home actually opened up an office down here! We got so lucky to get Nicole Duncan! Not only did we take this poor girl out to the boonies to look at houses, she even had to go 4 wheeling off the road because some cows wouldn’t move off the road! We soon learned she was more than just someone showing us houses, she had our back when it came to shitty lenders, taught us the ropes of home buying, and actually was the one who found our perfect home!
  4. Don’t get your hopes up! They’ll tell you closing is one day, and then it won’t happen. The appraisal will come up short. Buyers won’t want to negotiate. Your “dream” home is not the one you thought it was. The lenders will ask for a W2 of an employer you had years ago. It’s a big fat mess but hang in there. Seriously, it’s so worth it.
  5. Write down what you want but understand that not every house will have every single thing you want. Find the house that doesn’t have the double sink master bathroom suite but has the most awesome everything else. It’s going to be your home and it’s going to be perfect.

Okay, okay! Enough of that! Lets get to the fun stuff!

project one;

The previous owners had their microwave on the counter which means less counter space which everyone knows is a major no no. So we decided when purchasing our microwave, we wanted it to fit above the stove. This may not seem like a very exciting project to most but it’s kind of a symbol of this new journey together and learning that we have to rely on each other and figure it out together! We may have had to build an entire new electrical outlet, we may have drilled a few too many holes trying to find the stud in the wall, we may have measured incorrectly a couple times, I may have held the microwave up with my head but we fought through and we completed our first project.


project two;

This is one of my favorite improvements we made so far! We have this gorgeous flagstone fireplace but it was definitely a little outdated and needed some love. Leonard was definitely the Chip behind the Joanna in this project. I told him my vision, he youtubed a bunch of videos, and he made it happen! Here’s the before and after!


what you need:

  • Tarp (to cover your floors)
  • Zinsser Primer,
  • Paint brush,
  • paint tray,
  • rubber gloves

how to do it:

Pour a little amount of the Zinsser Primer into the paint tray and add some water. You want a diluted white color. Dip your paintbrush and brush off excess paint. Start on one rock and just cover the surface of the rock, don’t paint the grout! This is what gives it a nice natural look. Next, move completely to a different spot on the fireplace. For example, if you paint a rock on the top right corner, go to the bottom left and paint a rock and keep moving all around. Don’t paint a cluster, you really want to switch up the tones. After covering a couple of rocks, create a new primer and water mixture and repeat the steps! The main idea is to create different shades of white and have the undertones of the original stone peak out. After all your stones are finished, put your gloves on, create a mixture that is more consistent and dab your finger in the mixture and apply to the peaks of the stones. This gives off a highlighted look and makes it look more natural.
After that, go on a shopping spree to Marshall’s, TJMaxx, Home Goods, Target and Pier One until you find all the perfect pieces and WA-LA, there you have it, a new fireplace!

Okay loves, that’s all for now! Tons more to come! Stay tuned!


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