New construction Home Hiccups

Nothing is perfect. 

Especially when you come to building a home. Sometimes good just needs to be good enough. Get that into your thick heads people. Convey and describe your ideas in a very detailed manner, but just know that one persons understanding may not be the same as yours. And even after all the details have been hammered out. (Construction pun) Things will still break. 

 Not saying set your expectations low, but with a custom home the subcontractors will be working with unfamiliar brands and products. There’s not always instructions included. Really. So some things will have to be figured out on the fly. 

Here’s some of our fixes/uh-ohs/well craps.

Backsplash Tile 

I found some AMAING beveled subway and I wanted it everywhere. I didn’t plan on the beveled edge looking funky when cut. So Edgar, my tile guru told me to get some pencil edging. What the hell is that Edgar? I don’t know. So I walked into Home Depot and bought subway pencil. That turned out to be the wrong size. Still saw the ugly thick cut edge sticking out. So now I drive my butt back to Home Depot and exchange for a thicker pencil marble tile. And I choke as I spend $200 on a “quick fix” but you have to do that some times. And after all… I saved mega $ by doing subway instead of fancier marveled/mirrored/designer backsplash. 

Crank out windows

I wanted to stick my head in my pillow and sob big tears over this one. My windows BENT. Some contractors left the windows wide open and the oklahoma heat cause those suckers to BEND. I was beyond pissed. Thinking I picked a faulty product. But my amazing builder reminded me that companies will stand behind their products. So we called- and they agreed to replace after construction was finished. 2 weeks after move in we got brand spankin new windows. Yay. Problem solved. Or not. One of them was cracking. And now with the changing seasons the small crack is now a mega crack. But still… the company will fix it. So in 4-6 weeks I will get my third new window. And I’ve only lived here for 2 months. 

Master faucets

I really wanted this huge white bathroom with wall mount faucets. Little did I know that would involve cutting into my tile and Sheetrock about 5 times. But the end effect is so so worth it. 

We had one faucet leaking behind the tile and in front of the Sheetrock, so the plumber came back and fixed that of course. Then one of my fancy vintage “hot” handle was cracking, so I got that replaced. And now one of my cold handles came off. Yes. OFF. So yay. I get to wait for the husband to be off work to fix that. Cause I’m afraid to call my plumber. Again. 


Light fixtures

I love my lighting. I feel like the ultimate bargain shopper cause I shopped around to find deals. They all function appropriately. The installs however… Were not easy. You’ve already read about my Restoration Hardware Saga. And now for the stuff we did to ourselves…

 We found some awesome vintage barn lights on vacation in Nashville. But they didn’t come with long enough extensions or a large enough mounting box. So in steps mr. Fix it husband. Thanks man. Extra down rod, extra light box, lots of distressing, and bam. Lights. THAT DIDNT TURN ON. So we had our electrician come out and add another breaker switch. Just for he high voltage lights. And then added a $50 dimmer. Just for the hella bright bulbs. And then one month into life at the real life ranch. The hella bright bulbs blew out. So now we’re back to not burning our corneas even without dimming. Lesson learned. Just buy regular bulbs with a converter. 

Fireplaces

Hunter was so excited for fire. It’s a man thing I guess. We got the blankets and the wine and the cheese and got all sat down. He couldn’t turn it on. The fireplace. Geez. Get your mind out of the gutter. We couldn’t find The on switch. So we called engineering brother. He couldn’t do it either. Even with throwing his 3 degrees at it. So we call fix it Granddude. Grandpas can fix everything right? Not even he could do it. Then I remember… instructions. So I go dig through the mountains of paperwork from the build and find something that finally explains how to do it only to discover… our fireplace was never connected to a gas line. 

I did call the plumber on this one. 

Surround sound 

Husband won this one. He said I would love it and dangit. I do. And I really love it when it WORKS. 

I am a very tech savvy person. But this is intimidating. It’s as tall as I am and there’s lots of blinking and whirring. It controls EVERYTHING. Which is great. But I’ve also been stuck without internet/tv/music for a day or so until the technician could call me back. Now that we’ve been in for a month and we’ve had our “adjustment” (I kid you not- that was the term mr.genius used) things seem to be flowing better. I can actually listen to music in the bathroom while blasting cartoons in the living and possibly have a shower in peace. 

Just know that moving in doesn’t solve all your problems. Sometimes it’s just the start. So keep everyone happy. Keep being kind. And things will get fixed a lot sooner than later. 

#reallife. 

marti

10 Rules to Design By

I’ve done this a lot. 

Decorate. Redecorate. Restyle. Refurbish. 

And I know you probably have too. 


So here’s my quick tidbits of advice about decorating and purchasing for your home. With a side of snark. (As always) Ask yourself these questions to see if a room needs to change/alter/be added to. 

1. Does it bring you joy?  

If it doesn’t make you happy then you need to change it. If you look at your space and something feels off then start moving things! Invest in some furniture sliders for carpet/wood/tile and use them so that you don’t have to kill your back. 

2. Is it in a group of 3/5/7? 

Odd numbers look better. They just do. If your item is too large to cluster than it need to stand alone. MAYBE a small accent next to it. So if you just can’t get a shelf or a tray to look right then start counting. 

See. Small accent:Geode. This works well since it’s a hard modern element next to a natural piece. 

3. Does it serve a purpose? 

Is that tray in your way? Or is it collecting your tiny coffee grounds? Is that candle ever going to be lit? No? Then move it to somewhere you’ll actually use it. My biggest pet peeve is mirrors everywhere. You’re not THAT vain. No one is. Use mirrors for what they’re supposed to be for. Checking your outfit, bringing light to a dark corner, or enlarging a small space. This also helps you from overclutteing your house. You get to decorate shelves. Not stuff them to the brim. If it doesn’t serve a purpose then it’s out. If that purpose is “it spurs a memory” then fine. But all your goods and things better keep you happy or serve a function. 

4. Can it be easily cleaned?

How much is your cleaning lady really charging you for all your chochtkeys. Really. If it does nothing but collect dust then toss it. Sell it. Whatever. If it brings you joy then keep it. But if it’s a random pineapple from an antique store with zero story behind it … pass it on. You don’t need that pineapple to remind you to “stand tall and be different”

5. Do you have enough photos in the space? 

Have you ever walked into a space or a home and thought “brrr. These people are stiff rigid and colder than Elsa” ?Guarantee you thought that because they didn’t have any personal photos. You’re not a hotel. You’re not a model home. You live here. Put your face in it. Put your memories around you. You will be happier and homey-er because of it. I even have photos in my bathroom. Really. 

6. How often does your spouse complain about it? 

No decor is worth a fight. Unless you just love it. I love my little brass duck. My husband always complained “I’m not a duck hunter. It makes no sense.” I would just reply, “I let you put dead stuff in my house. I win.” But now someone gave me a wooden duck I love even more. So bye bye brass ducky. Welcome home woody. Same can be said for the opposite. I always hated our garage space. But it was “his” so I let it go. Compromise people. It saves marriages. 

7. Do you have enough texture? 

I bet Donald Trump doesn’t have enough texture in his home. He’s too stiff. All the time. He needs a big fluffy blanket. Less sticks up the rear. In your own home you can accomplish this by mixing  everything. Mix woods, metals, stones, rattan, wicker, chicken wire, barn tin… (do I need to keep going?) add a wicker basket for pens next to your entirely iron desk. Throw a fur blanket on the back of the tailored leather chair. Warmth. That’s what you’re looking for. Soften up the rough edges so people don’t think “downtown abbey” when they walk in your house. 

8. Would you be mad if it was ruined?

If it’s a priceless antique passed down from grandma and you just have to keep it. Then store it somewhere safe. Top shelf. Behind glass. Don’t mess around. Your house needs to be LIVED in. Not danced around. If you have that “open concept” everyone dies for these days then use it the right way. No more fancy living room and family den. Buy your furniture with the same mindset. Don’t go spend billions on custom sofas if you’re going to cry over spills. Go to your local mass market store and start digging. A couch doesn’t make a room. The way you style it does!

9. What does it cost you? Pain and suffering? Time? Actual money? If it’s costing you too much then fix it. If you love it and just have to have it- pay for it. Two mindsets here. 

First let’s talk about cost of non-tangible things… People love plants and so do I. But I kill them. A lot. So I quit buying them. If someone gives me a plant. I will keep it alive as long as I can. (I have an aloe that’s 5 years strong) but other than that I only buy one tomato plant and one Boston fern a year. Plants cost money. My time watering and fertilizing. And they just don’t bring me much joy. Fake ones bring me joy. Always pretty. Never needing to be watered or replanted. So I fork over the money to get the nicer looking faux plants. So if you hate doing the thing your item forces you do to (dust, wind, water, or coddle) then bon voyage to mr. Mantle clock. Make room for better goodies. 

Now let’s discuss the cold hard cash side of things. Every once in a while I see something I HAVE TO HAVE. I’ve googled and found nothing like it online. Never seen anything like it anywhere else. I’ve tried to haggle the price down. And still expensive. But I keep thinking about it. So I just do it. I pay too much for an item. But I can just SEE it in my house and all the uses for it. Welcome home overpriced item. Pleasure doing business with you. Here’s my firstborn in exchange for your larger than life olive bucket. 

10. What’s its story? 

I love things with a story. A brass doorknob from my high school. A tin peacock from my honeymoon. A photo I drove to three Hobby Lobbys to find. So if it has a story then DISPLAY IT! Don’t stick memories away in a box. Fill a shadow box with your high school items and treasure them. Use them as your decor. Your home will be lots more interesting because of it. 


I think you get what I’m saying… but let me rephrase. Memories are cool. Put out your memories. But not everything has to have a huge history. Sometimes you won’t want to pay for the “real deal.” Some of my best storied items are the ones I found for 70%off at target. Discount shopping. It’s a story in itself. 

But if you’re on a fence about keeping an item, and it doesn’t have a story. Then it’s out. Sell that sucker. 
Happy decorating!

#reallife

-Marti 

Backstreets Back… Alright!

I’m Baaaaaack!

I dug out from under the pails of boxes and packing material to bring you my life lessons learned from packing over the years. 


I’ve done it myself, I’ve paid for others, and I’ve recruited family with copious amounts of pizza and beer. I’ve immediately unboxed, waited to unbox, and stored my life in boxes for years. 

Basically if you’re thinking of doing it I’ve probably done it. So here’s my tips…

  • Moving companies. 

Chain companies: great for long distance moves from state to state. Go ahead and fork over for their packing and boxes as well. That way everything is guaranteed. And if they break it- they pay for it. 

Local small business movers: great for in town or city to city. They will hustle hard for their money. They will also be a little nicer to your pocketbook. Most companies include their truck, moving dollies, and padding for the day of the move. 

Truck rentals: SHOP AROUND. Prices are always changing. Specials are running. And supply and demand in this industry can inflate prices faster than Tom Brady can deflate them. 

Storage pods: look for local companies that have taken parts of the big “pod” companies. The local friends are always more wallet friendly. These are perfect for the movers that want to move out, wait a few days/weeks/months and then move in at a later date. 

  • Packing strategy

Box sources: amazon prime members, Craigslist free, new neighbors. I’ve never paid for a box in my life.  And I’ve moved my family four times and myself at least ten. And I’ve never really been stuck begging at the liquor store either. Ask around! People will have boxes. Neighbors on the Nextdoor app will have boxes. Your crazy hoarding mother will have boxes. Just ask. 

Padding sources: newspapers, Walmart sacks, tee shirts, dish towels, actual towels… wrap it. Stuff it. Tape it. But just don’t buy the cheap tape. 

Taping strategy: I’m a top and bottom taper, but never an inside taper. Use that tape to keep that box structure strong and firm. Seriously. No tape=squishy boxes. I like Club size packs of tape cause you’ll use a lot of it and it’s cheaper. The more fragile the item- the more tape you want on the box. Clear tape can do if you’re in a pinch, but the brown packing tape is way stickier on corrugated cardboard. 

  • Odds-n-ends

Saran Wrap. Not kidding. Wrap your drawers on your nightstands shut. Wrap your spice rack together.  You get the picture…

Mattress bags. Yes. Worth it. Moving is dirty. Even if you’re not storing. Get them on amazon. When they ship to you you’ll get a free box. ๐Ÿ˜œ

Tie-downs. Your man in your life will feel manly. And when you’re the one who uses them more for your antique finds you’ll be doubly happy. The wracheting is easy as pie to tighten things down with wether you’re doing things yourself in a trailer or if you have pros to do the tightening for you. 

Mighty mover furniture moving pads. There are some that exist for carpet and wood floor. Once you get your furniture placed and realize it needs to scoot over half a foot you’ll be glad you paid the $$ for these lil suckers. And yes. I’ll totally screenshot you a photo…

No matter how you decide to move yourself it’s an exhausting day. Get as much done ahead of time as possible. Then the day of you’re not stuck packing and loading. Just loading. Or even better- just pointing where you want things to go. 

Cause hey… that’s #reallife. 

Waiting on a Worker

Anybody know the song,”waiting on a woman” by Brad Paisley? Well change the words to “waiting on a worker” and you’ll understand my life a bit better right now. 

We were supposed to have a clean house, new windows, and complete trim by last week so we could close on the 31st, but alas. I sit on the stairs- the only place to sit other than the floor- as I write and spend my time wisely as… you guessed it, 

I’m waiting on a worker. 

And I’m fine with it. Cause I want to have a good nice complete house. Not a house that’s rushed or hurried and slopped together.  Good work takes time. So get comfy in your temporary housing.  


Custom building is its own beast. Nobody has built this home before so it takes a LOT of your personal time to get your home the way you want it. Be patient. 

Here are some pointers so you don’t have to force your subcontractors to do the job all over again. 

10 Tips to not make your Subs Hate You. 

  1. Pictures. Pinterest is your friend. The more the better. Highlight and circle the areas you like and sharpee X out the areas of the photo you don’t. Tape that on the wall. Nail it to the rafters. 
  2. Written Instructions. Write it down. Explain it in words you’d use for a toddler. Not as an insult- but so anyone can read it and you’re not using a term someone has never heard of. #languagebarrier #googletranslator
  3. Leave Your Phone Number. Some contractors will prefer to call the boss, and thats fine. But when the boss doesn’t answer his phone (or is on vacation) they can call you to get the 5$ fix that’s holding up your construction project. Write those digits on the walls of you have to. 
  4. Get their digits. Ask for their phone number. Not like you’re ever gonna need it. But tell them you want a card to refer them.  They will smile so much bigger at you. Instead of the “oh shit she’s here” face. 
  5. Be Present. Show up. Daily if you can. At different times of the day. Check on the progress. That way they can fix mistakes on site before they move on to another task.  
  6. Ask them their opinion. Even if you don’t plan on using it, asking someone their opinion can make them feel valued and included. You always want to make subcontractors feel valued and smart. Even if they’re the biggest blockhead you’ve ever met. They’ll do better work if they’re happy. 
  7. Be honest. If you don’t like the stain color. Say it. Don’t beat around the bush. Cause I  guarantee they don’t like half the things you’re asking them to do. So just be up front and get what you want. 
  8. Make jokes. If someone doesn’t laugh the first time then stop. But once you break that awkward “you work for me” silence with a hardy-har-har it will be easier to coexist in a space together. 
  9. Dance to their music. Whenever my two year old comes out with me we jam to whatever tunes are currently being played. Even if it’s death metal. And even if you’re plotting their death for punching a hole in your Sheetrock. They’ll fix it. Swearsies.  
  10. Bring treats. Not more than once per contractor. But bring treats to these guys. It boosts their morale, and once again gets you on their good side. My personal fave to bring is gatorades and single serving size snacks. I tried donuts and they looked at me like I had no idea what I’m doing. And then proceeded to make a construction dust/sprinkle pun. 

I hope these pointers help you ease your way into a few discounts! Lord knows saving $20 still goes a long way in the grand scheme of building. 

 Bottom line- fake it till you make it. Act like their your best friend and then move on and air your frustrations to your friends who (don’t really) care but will listen anyway. 

One side note** if you feel you are being cheated or getting crappy work- call your contractor IMMEDIATELY. They don’t want to get you angry either. 
Happy Building!

#reallife

Simple Southern Solutions

I just saw a BuzzFeed article about “26 Questions Southerners Need To Answer” some of them are admittedly funny, but some are also very strange to me and seem to have simple answers. 

Read it here: 26 Questions Southerners Need to Answer

So here are mine. Enjoy. 

1. why do southerners call raccoons coons?Cause “shoot the raccoon” takes a lot longer to say than “shoot dat coon”
2. Why do you like mason jars so much?

Cause they’re free once you eat the contents and then can be used for drinking, pencil cups, lighting, storage… Well… Everything
3. Why do you talk to strangers? 

Cause we’re NICE. Aren’t you nice???? Talk back. 
4. Why do you dress for college football like You’re going to church?

Cause that’s where we catch our men. Taller the heels- higher the standards. 
5. Why do you call shopping carts buggies?

 Cause my momma did. That’s why. 
6. Why do you call stuffing “dressing?”

Stuffing goes inside. Dressing goes ON the side. You get salmonella. I’ll just get fat. 
7. Why do you get a boner from riding a truck in the mud?

I don’t have a bone so I don’t specifically know. But I do rather enjoy getting dirty. And then the subsequent shower afterwards…
8. Why do people call men younger than them son?

Cause we’re all family here. 
9. Why do you get married so young?

So we have kids to mow our lawns sooner. 
10. Why do girls from the south always add “s” and “girl” after the stores they say. 

Cause we’re shocked at the awesome things we found in their store. And we like to give credit where it’s due. “This Dillard’s jacket was so cheap, girl!”
11. Why do you monogram everything? 

So you can’t steal my shit. 
12. Why do people from the south call roaches water bugs. 

I don’t- I just call them gross! And then I shoot them with my .22. 
13. Why do you talk so slow? 

Cause we’re used to talking to elderly people and showing them the respect and time they deserve. And sometimes they’re hard of hearing. Maybe you should talk to your grandmammy too.
14. Why do you say “mondee, tuesdee…”

Cause it’s fun. Words are fun when they sound funny. 
15. Why do you call pop “coke”

Cause only so many people market their products in the boonies. When more sodas show up in our baby bottles that aren’t Coca-Cola then we’ll learn a new name. (Total joke- don’t give coke to babies)
16. Why do you love to tell people your from the south?

Wouldn’t you??
17. Why do you love fried foods?

What other foods are there?
18. Why do you think Olive Garden is fancy?

Cause it took us 20 years to finally get one in our town. #Ltownrepresent
19. Why do you have weird names for your grandmas?

What’s a grandma? Is that like a gagaw/memaw/honey/kaykay/maw maw?
20. Why do you add the word salad to a dish when it doesn’t make it any healthier?

Refer to question 17. 
21. Why do you pronounce wash as “warsh”

Refer to # 5 
22. Why do you think it’s okay to go in the snow in your underwear?

Cause it’s not like we have appropriate weather gear anyway. 
23. Why do you pronounce spoiled as “spoilt”?

Yet again… for the last time… #5
24. Why do you have two first names?

Cause there’d be wayyyyy too many bob and johns and ashleys. 
25. Why do you pronounce oil as “earl”

Good lawrd… please don’t ask again… #5. 
26. Why do you turn words into even longer words. Like pounds into pay-ou-nds. 

Why do you even still ask at this point…. We talk the way we talk cause we always have and always will. Doesn’t mean we’re uneducated. Just stuck in our ways. Cause our ways are the best ways. They’re southern. 
I’d rather be “stuck in the south” than anywhere else any day of the year. 

Red dirt and all. 

Chicken fried country life forever. 

#reallife

-Marti Annette (see, two names)

Abandon All Hope ye who Enter Here.ย 

Okay so maybe the title is a tad bit dramatic, but in a seriousness… when it comes to building a home- adjust your expectations. 

Truly custom home builds take longer, more money, and more patience than you’d expect. We had another building experience with a “cookie cutter”  home build company that was very positive and VERY on schedule. But I knew going into this one- it would be WAY different. Here’s some tips to battle that “construction blues.”

Pick your priorities! 

You will need to have your list of “wants” and “requirements” and prepare for that list of “wants” to get increasingly shorter as your build progresses. Those “requirements” will suck the money away from the already almost non-existent budgets of the wants. Good thing is… those “wants” in most cases can be added at a later date, but you can’t live without toilets. So go ahead and buy the nice no-slam dual flush toilets you want. 

Here’s just a few of what we had to nix:

  • Glass shower enclosure in master
  • Spiral staircase off balcony
  • Vintage-style doorplates on every doorknob
  • Wide plank wood flooring
  • Iron frame front doors
  • Black windows on entire house
  • Extra styleized trim on garage doors

All of these items were things that would have added TONS of character, but ya know what… the window trim and the extra tile backsplash adds just as much character and interest and those ARE NOT EASILY ADDED LATER. Pick your “do now” items based off their necessity to the structure of your home. (And in my case- degree of messiness)

Start Talking with a realtor NOW. 

Our house sold in six days. Talk about stress. We had to move out and find another place to live temporarily. I do not suggest that method, but I worked for us because we knew we had somewhere to go.  Not saying yours will that quickly, but talk with a realtor fairly early on in the process and they can do their magic on average days on market/pricing/staging and all that craziness. It’s worth paying someone the bill. Swearsies. So make that game plan for selling your house. In some cases- you won’t even have to sell yours before you move!

If our plan would have worked perfectly… 

  • 30days on market
  • 60 day close
  • Move out 3 months from list date. 

Seems easy enough right. Plenty of time to finish a house out from Sheetrock and bare bones cabinetry. Turns out- No. we would still have been finding a place to live for 2 months. And heads up- short term apartment rent is EXPENSIVE. 

Stay on top of the Schedule!

Seems like an easy enough statement… but we caught so many snafoos and conflicts ourselves that it was worth the extra nagging. Don’t worry about what your contractor thinks about you. Be annoying. Be picky. He’s making money off of YOU. And if you’re on top of things and able to visit frequently you’ll catch problems before they get too far along to be an easy fix. Get out a calendar and ask him when he expects to have certain contractors out. That way when you go out on a Wednesday and see no one working- you can refer to your schedule and see that the tile guy just finished and he needs his grout to dry for a full day before anyone shows up. We always picked Monday as our day to call and say “what’s on the schedule this week” and when those weeks come that both you and your contractor are out of town… you can always leave the schedule on the wall so the subcontractors know they’re being “watched”. I learned that lesson the hard way



Be Brave. Be Bold. 

The sooner you can laugh at problems, mistakes, and miscommunications the better. Cause you will have your fair share of them all. There will be times you wish you could walk away. And you may even stay up late at night searching zillow for move-in ready options. But don’t fret. As soon as your contractor calls you back… You’ll have the answer that makes sense and will give your heart some rest. 
And remember that realtor you called… use them as a tool. Call them and say “is this normal?” Have them be the bad guy for a bit. But bottom line- DO NOT SUFFER IN SILENCE. If you’re upset or worried voice those concerns to your realtor/contractor and they will let you know if those concerns are founded or not. And remember how you parents always told you not to talk about finances- throw that out the window. Talk about them every chance you can. “How much does that add?” “Will this take me over budget?” “Is there a better option?” You’d be surprised at how willing the subcontractors are willing to help you stay on budget once they know your not made of pure platinum.  So be brave and have the difficult conversation. You’ll find that you’ll be VERY glad you did in the long run. 
True custom building isn’t for the faint of heart- but it’s so so worth it. Stick with it. Fight the good fight. And refuse to close until you get what you want. ๐Ÿ˜‰

#reallife- Marti

Cooking for a Herd

Down on the Ranch we’ve had a lot of changes this past year. The loss of a patriarch, restructuring of job descriptions,  the occasional tractor breakdown, and top that off with floods and lots more plowing. It’s all work we never thought we’d have to do. But more importantly– 

We’re all happy to do it. 

Tarbone has been a working hunting Ranch since 2008 so we’ve always had hunters come and stay for weekends. I’ve shared my budding “cooking skills” (if ya wanna call it that) with my family for years during the holidays and long weekends, but once hunting traffic picked up my mother-in-love would ask for easy go-to recipes to feed the incoming herd and possibly impress their stomachs. 

Talk about pressure. 


I love cooking and I love researching the easiest/least time consuming ways to do it. So here’s two of my standards that we love to use at #realliferanch and down on the actual Ranch. 

Added bonus- both can be made ahead of time and still taste damn good. 


Bison Spaghetti 

(serves 4- multiply as necessary) 

  • 1lb ground bison
  • Diced Onion
  • Spaghetti spice pack
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • Minced garlic 
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • Angel hair pasta
  • Water
  1. Brown ground bison and onions in some EVOO and the garlic (if making with ground beef- drain the grease)
  2. Add spices to meat add salt and pepper to taste 
  3. Scrape bottom of pan for the yummy brown bits 
  4. Add the two cans of tomatoes and one can of water
  5. Bring to a boil
  6. Add bay leaves 
  7. Reduce to simmer for 10-12min
  8. Cook noodles with EVOO and a pinch of salt
  9. Serve and eat. YUM. 

*not like this recipe is super fancy, but it’s wayyy better than letting your company see you dump out some prego on your noodles. 


Lazy Breakfast Bake

(Serves 8)

  • 1lb hot sausage
  • 12 eggs
  • Milk
  • Shredded cheddar
  • 1 can crescent rolls
  1. Cook sausage in skillet- mince it up
  2. Spray 9×12 pan with EVOO spray
  3. Cut crescent rolls into 1″ cubes 
  4. Scatter around pan
  5. Sprinkle sausage into pan even-ish over the rolls
  6. Scramble eggs in bowl with a splash of milk, salt, and pepper
  7. Pour eggs over sausage and roll chunks
  8. Top with cheese to your liking
  9. Bake according to directions on crescent roll can- about 18-20min. 

*I’ve also done this with standard biscuits, polish sausage, and sliced cheese. Cause in real life you forget things sometimes and have to make it work. Still yummy. 


So there you go. The first two recipes up on the blog. Now go fourth and burn something. 

I’m off to figure out how to get my new stove at the new house to pass code… but that’s a whole other blog post. 

-#reallife

Marti

ย Window Woes

I hope you communicated your desires to your contractor so he can budget accordingly. Prepare sell your soul folks. Not kidding this time. Windows are expensive. Not easily price checked, a necessary evil, and if you wanna be all bougie and get anything fancy, well… think long and hard about that. So here’s my tips and suggestions from the experience we had with the #realliferanch house and trying to stick to our budget. 

If you’re anything like me and don’t like throwing money at things you don’t REALLY care about I assume your experience may sound like this…       You’ll traipse into the building supply and happily shake the devils hand cause you’re all hopped up on Pinterest pictures and dreams. Then you’ll slowly sink into your chair as your hopes for window glory slowly circle the drain. 

But take heart! Where there’s a will there’s a way. Here are the lessons I learned the hard way and hopefully they will help you make your process easier. 


Things to think about:

  1. Energy effenciency
  2. Color
  3. Opening method
  4. Side lite options
  5. Quantity
  6. Curb appeal

1. Windows are one of the easiest ways to make your home more efficient. Don’t skimp here. Just don’t. Get whatever your  subcontractor tells you to. 
2/6. If you want an exterior color other than white or beige then it’s going to cost you more. Like DOUBLE the cost of a standard window. If you want the black iron look without the $$$ just know that it’s PAINTED. Read: will chip during construction and need touch ups. This black meant a lot to me so I forked over the cash, and personally I think it makes my house all the better. But, that’s up for you to decide. There is an amazing new product where the color is blended in with the plastic, but the “bronze” is straight up brownie batter in color. Really pretty, but when you’ve imagined black it just won’t cut it. If that color cost is getting you down then decrease the fancy upgrade to front of house only! One other thing to keep in mind… interior color. Try to match your trim color for best aesthetics. My trim is white. My interior face of my windows are “sandstorm” (grey). Shoulda picked white. 

3/4.  If you’re OCD like me and want even-spaced sidelites in your windows and the traditional vertical raise is screwing with your even spacing then go for a crank out! The crank opening mechanism is a concern during construction- so I would suggest leaving instructions. (ours will have to be replaced because workers closed them incorrectly and are now busted) Just don’t let little window salesman tell you that your design can’t be accomplished. A product is out there that will fit your needs. You’re paying HIM remember!! Don’t back down

5. If your cost still isn’t meeting that budget then look at the quantity. This is why you pay your contractor. Look into reducing the number of windows and increase some neighboring windows in size. Sometimes the size of windows can be the cost issue. My floor plan had BEAUTIFUL big windows. So we kept the ones in the living areas and decreased size to builder standard in the superfluous rooms. 

My magic money saving formula: 

  • Colored windows on front only for curb appeal
  • Standard size windows on back and sides of house
  • Divided lites on front windows only
  • Deleted some sidelite windows and header windows- increased window size in doors for same light flow
  • Deco windows in roofline/attic are not “energy efficient” 

If you’ve tried everything and still can’t get that cost to make your husband- wait no- budget happy then request they check multiple brands! See what the price difference on comparable products may be. And once you get one quote. Send it to their competition company and see what they say. A bidding war never hurt anybody. 
#reallife 

-Marti

Where to Buy that Farmhouse Chic

Everybody take a moment of silence to thank HGTV for bringing Joanna Gaines to the masses. 


Moment over. 

Every house I’ve moved into has been some kind of decorated within 3 days. I’m OCD.  Blank walls and boxes don’t get along with me, and lord help you if you try to organize my pantry. I don’t sleep well and I eat standing until I get it all put away. I just have and always will. Which is probably why I’m so antsy to move into the real life ranchhouse. I’ve already decorated it all in my head.  But mainly it comes easy because i have a massive stash of goodies and I get to have that stash because I find it for less. 

Now that the vintage farmhouse vibe is all over America it’s substantially easier for design enthusiasts like myself to not spend hours in a fields of junk or random barns. Ladies and gents I bring you my list of haunts. Even if it’s a standard big box store or via the internet- the deals are out there. Not so much the traditional “picking” that I love so much, but still picking in the sense of deciding which items to purchase for display and which items to hide from your spouse in the closet. 

I love email lists. Daily deals to my inbox. Yes please. 

  1. Bits of vintage
  2. Decor steals
  3. Antique Farmhouse

Are my favorite email-it-to me sites. I like to get small furniture and other small deco items from these guys. Decor steals is awesome cause it’s flat rate shipping per item, but if you don’t buy it ASAP it can sell out. 


When it comes to self searching I like to browse the beauties listed here…

  1. Save on Crafts
  2. Piper classics
  3. Marmalade mercantile
  4. Farmhouse wares
  5. Zulily
  6. HauteLook 
  7. Jane
  8. Painted fox

Save on crafts and Jane are great for smaller items and storage sources. When I order from save on crafts I always add in some new faux greenery to help myself justify the shipping. Jane is mainly clothing, but hey- it doesn’t hurt to browse! Piper, marmalade, and painted fox can be pricier so wait for a sale or search for a coupon code. Zulily can fall in the same category as Jane- mostly clothing- but the decor deals are to be had people!! Keep looking- they’re worth it. 

And last- my local brick and mortar places. I love to support my small businesses. Can’t always stay away from some big box places. I follow the deals people. Everybody loves their target clearance. When it comes to walmart I stick to the kitchen aisles and the items the ladies at “woah, wait, walmart” tell me to buy. 

And don’t even mess with the clothes at tjmaxx/marshalls. Just go straight for the home stuffs. We’re on a mission here people! These “markdown clearance” stores are a whatever goes basis. But be aware… Even if the store clerk tells you no other store has more chairs you’ll need to go check yourself. (Learned that the hard way) 

  1. Hobby lobby
  2. Target
  3. Marshalls
  4. Tjmaxx
  5. Home goods
  6. Walmart
  7. Urban farmhouse
  8. Rust and rot
  9. Feathered nest
  10. Quail springs marketplace
  11. The rink
  12. The mill 
  13. Reclaimed lumber co

#7-11 are all local to OKC- so if you’re not a local okie they’re worth the trip! Yes you’ll be driving all around the greater metro but I swear. The deals you will find are well worth it. Not to mention drop dead gorgeous furniture and store displays!!


No matter where you end up on a site or in a store you’re bound to find something to suit your farmhouse fancy in these stores.  Happy hunting folks!

 #reallife -Marti

Iron Pipe Dreams

Sometimes at night- I dream about my furniture and deco that’s in storage. 

We packed our 1800 sq ft home into two pods and they’re sitting at some undisclosed location with all my precious belongings contained behind two padlocks.  Pray for my stuff people. 

Anywho- one of the main comments I got about my home while selling was my shelving system. And if you know me- I was determined to do it without the multiple zero price tag. So step away from the “kits” and point your car towards your local hardware store. So off to lowes we went. 

Little did I know that even lowes would punch me in the gut on this one. The cedar boards were more than I wanted to spend and the iron plumbing pipes were giving me starry eyes. So as any self respecting budgeting human knows, when a store fails you- call on the internet. 

You will need to do your best google sleuthing and find your flange, Pipe *threaded on both ends*, and cap. Flanges are the most expensive averaging about 4$ each. The pipes should be around 8$ each. And the caps are rather low- about 2$ a pop. There’s not a magic diamater for the Pipe. Just make sure your fittings match the diameter of your pipe. ๐Ÿ‘


I suggest one “bar” setup every 4 feet. So however you want your selves arranged just plan on that rough measurement for your quantity of pipes needed. 

For the wood-your local hardware supply is best – but step away from that pretty cedar and get your standard white pine in a wide plank. Please ensure your selected pipe length will accommodate the board width. Remember that the cap and flange will take up an inch on both ends of the pipe- hence the 12″ pipes. 

 And then mosey on over to pick out a stain color then grab some wall anchor screws and pipe straps before hitting the checkout. 

Once you’re home and have received all your parts you can begin your assembly. 

  1. Cut boards to length- sand ends
  2. Screw Pipe bar supports together. Flange+Pipe+cap=happiness. 
  3. Use Laser level to mark Pipe positioning- measure twice/drill once
  4. Use WALL ANCHORS in your wall so that your shelves won’t come tumbling down. And yes- put screws in all four flange holes. 
  5. Place UNSTAINED boards into position to ensure level and fit. 
  6. If it all fits, pull your boards off and stain- dry overnight
  7. Replace boards and secure with Pipe straps. 

Last step as always is to enjoy your thrifty awesomeness and rake in those compliments. ๐Ÿ˜Š cause lets be honest… we rock.


#reallife – Marti