Auntie Mary

There they sat, sun kissed around a 70’s formica table, salt water creating crispy curls in their hair. The scent of tanning oil wafted through the outdated beach rental. The shag carpet was recently vacuumed, and by recently I mean, at least seven times. The furniture rearranged, dusted, lysoled, and dusted again. The ashtray was filled with Marlboro lights, all with red lips permanently imprinted on their papers. Towels hung over the balcony to dry, a tv in the bedroom creating background noise and sending flashes of light down the hall. Tears streamed down their faces, silent laughter shaking their bodies, UNO cards scattered on the floor. There she sat – mascara running down her cheeks, the corners of her Revlon stained red lips almost touching her ears. She never failed to get the last laugh, the hardest laugh, the rawest laugh, and the most joy watching her audience.

My Aunt Mary. My oh my, was she precious to me. She was the queen of sass, brutally honest to her core (savage as the kids say), always a full face of makeup, at least two precious stones on her fingers, peppermint flavored Extra gum, marlboro lights mixed with some Reds, a can of lysol, and a comment about everything. She was never a distant aunt, an old aunt, a crotchety aunt…she was my immediate family. At times I wondered if my cousin and I were switched at birth – I have Mary’s auburn hair, petite frame, eyelashes for days, and precision with a makeup brush. She could never offend me, she loved in her most unique way, and she was a pillar of my childhood and adolescence. She taught me about makeup, skincare, to assume every surface was once touched by someone’s dirty foot or butt, and she taught me how to find humor in just about everything. Her life wasn’t always smooth, but she was a survivor, she was scrappy as hell, and I adored her, every.single.bit of her.

This precious human being left our temporary world for one eternally filled with joy, laughter, and zero pain and suffering. She leaves behind an equally fierce daughter, two priceless grandsons, a gentleman who loved and cared for her over multiple decades, five younger siblings, multiple nieces and nephews who thought the world of her, and a sweet pup named Jacque.

I Love you Auntie Mary, with all my heart. I am so grateful you no longer suffer, I am thankful you are whole, being made new in every way. I can hear your laugh in my head and pray I never lose it. Kiss kiss hug ❤ 12.3.2018

words on adventure

The thing about adventure is: it is fluid – it is not limited to space and time, and requires an open mind and heart. It will be uncomfortable, at times painful, and scary. But, it can also be life altering – bringing joy and personal growth. Moving to Idaho has been epic in ways I never imagined. The air is ripe with juniper and pine – which, to a gin enthusiast, is basically a dream. The landscape hosts the most extraordinary parts of this country – the conservation of wilderness, the mountains, the massive sky, and the lakes/rivers – it is phenomenal. The people are some of the kindest you will meet outside The South. When they ask how your day is, they actually want to know. Everywhere you go they smile, and offer assistance above and beyond. You might wait 45 minutes at the DMV, and once you get to the counter, you are greeted with a smile and delightful conversation. Honestly – I still cannot get over that part – it’s like Mayberry or a movie lot. For two East Coasters this was the most jarring of culture shocks.

These last four years have been some of the most enlightening of my life. The seemingly organic ways I have grown, perhaps matured, have always felt bigger than me. Even in the trying moments, something in my gut whispered, you are being prepared for so much more. I am still clueless to what that, more, is; however, I would not change a single thing. The relationships we built are of monumental proportions. Seriously. To think in four years we have secured depths and heights with such beautiful souls, makes my insides a little bit mushy and warm. It’s weird…but I kind of like it. These people are kind, generous, broken, loving, forgiving, freaking hilarious, gracious, and stuck with us always and forever.

You may be curious why I am suddenly sentimental, verging on sappy; It looks weird on me, right? Unfortunately, it will continue just a bit longer, bear with me. Our trajectory is taking a sharp right turn – one both unexpected and exciting. In a few short weeks we will be embarking on a new adventure, one taking us back East. It is filled with a lot of excited anticipation, many unknowns, and a constant state of pinching ourselves. If I am being honest, we have been emotionally dehydrated these last two years. We are looking forward to some serious soul feeding times with family and friends. A reset, a filling back up of sorts. Our exit is incredibly bittersweet – it has been a beautiful chapter of life – leaving a permanent bookmark in our story. We are humbled by the love and lives so richly shared with us. It was beyond our wildest hopes to know this place and its people. We will definitely be back here to visit; however, we cannot wait see our Idaho peoples on our coast very soon!

To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life. – The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Image found via Pinterest 

house updates | plumbing & drywall

Yep – we’re still remodeling! Let’s hope the next bathroom doesn’t take nearly this long – Life gets in the way and we’re just rolling with it.

Mick rerouted plumbing and electric, took creative license in a few areas to make space work, and got the drywall up! We still need to mud, paint, tile (we’re subbing this out) and finish the vanity – hopefully that’s it and we can move on to the next project!

Most of the documentation has been in my instagram stories (@misiesface) so below is a small gallery of the last month or so –

Mick snagged our faucet from the remodel he was doing (what a joy it must be to do this 9-5 only to come home to a wife staring you down and glancing over at the gutted bathroom). It took some finagling to install but he rocked it – very impressed! Our vanity light fixture is by Allen & Roth from Lowes – we think a double will work but they also make a triple version just in case – this was such a steal too, only $50! The linens are from CB2 – towels and matching shower curtain – not a steal but, they make my heart happy.

The pocket door is framed and set – just need to refinish our old door, change out hardware and we’re good to go! We never claimed to be “fixer uppers” and if this project has taught us anything – it’s quit your day job. Mick has been so stressed creating beautiful spaces for other folks that it’s a chore to make ours exactly what we want. We should probably revisit our priorities; it would be a lot easier to walk away if he weren’t so damn good at what he does.

Nothing too exciting but progress nonetheless!

house update – b!***$ be shoppin

We still have snow on the ground and the forecast is showing a chance for more – insert eye roll here… Mick braved the frozen tundra for a second attempt at locating the main water shut off. Instead of a six hour round of snow shoveling – it only took 20 minutes!!! Guess where it was….under the snow pile he created last time when shoveling. I, of course, find this amusing because I’m dead in side 😉

While he is sealing off the pipes and tearing out the existing tub today, I busted out the Southwest credit card and did some shoppin (heck yes, MILES!). I figure if a 125lb tub and 115 sq feet of tile arriving in less than a month isn’t motivation, I don’t know what is.

The first image is pocket door hardware, by Emtek. Mick plans to take our existing solid wood door and turn it into a pocket door – the below hardware is $$ but totally worth it; it has a secure locking system and is incredibly sturdy and comes in quite a few awesome finishes.

Mick is building the vanity, although I really wanted a mini farmhouse sink, this one is much more affordable and will look better on a piece of custom furniture. That is NOT the faucet we are getting – Mick was able to acquire a modern wall mount from a remodel he is doing in town. 

We already have a sample of the tile and love it’s matte colors and smooth finish. Each tile is 8×8 – Mick will love | hate the puzzle of laying it. [Mission Stone Tile]

We opted for a modern claw foot tub – both of us fell madly in love with this black and white tub – SWOON. I love their streamlined interpretation of the claw foot – so fancy. Tub is AKDY but we found it on Wayfair.

Next up – research bathroom lighting, pick out a mirror, shower hardware, and find the time to get this done!

house updates | bathroom

We are finally gutting one of our bathrooms!!! I don’t know that you can appreciate in letter form the amount of free form dance moves that occurred when Mick told me. I can never recreate it but trust me, it was epic. We have a nagging leak in the bathtub and it’s only worsening – fast tracking our remodel. Mick started by demolishing a built in cabinet – this was to check out the pipes because the previous owners did not create an access panel. They did almost all renovations DIY, however, lacked the knowledge and skill to produce quality and function. The built-in cabinet was made of seventeen year old plywood and painted what we thought was a horrible brown stain/paint mixture. When taking the remnants outside to Mick’s truck we realized the cabinets have been purple this whole time – Baltimore Ravens purple. Of course they were. Also, two words – drawer liners – blech. Without this cabinet we acquired an additional 10 square feet of usable space AND the tongue and groove ceiling was put in before that cabinet!

We picked out tile (see below) and are currently writing a pro/con list regarding free standing tub/shower combos. If the Pros outweigh the cons, that means even more usable space and taking out a wall which will make this bathroom feel twice as big (Pro). Cons so far: the shower curtain being it’s own animal since it will wrap 360 degrees – I hate when shower curtains touch me – ew. Another con: re-directing the plumbing to run through the floor instead of the wall (sounds expensive), and finally, the cost of a nice clawfoot/freestanding tub vs. a regular ole wall unit. Mick is going to build a vanity which I am super excited about – his furniture building skills are amazing. The design is traditional – an open concept, however, the fixtures will be modern.

I am so excited to be rid of tiled countertops, purple cabinets [who knew?!], poorly insulated windows, orange trim & doors [pocket door for the win!], and glued on mirrors. Other than the plumbing, we will be tackling everything else ourselves. And by we, I mean Mick. I may attempt to lay a tile or two and look forward to taking a sledgehammer to our current vanity, but mostly, I will work on all things design related. If anyone has experience with a free standing tub/shower combo – we are all ears – give us the good, the bad, and the ugly! This house has so much potential, we are excited to modernize it but keep its original character.

  1. the tile – we will likely extend this into our entry way as well – so in love.
  2. Before shots…and Maeby || that vanity is supposedly purple, I guess we’ll find out soon enough. Ignore our mess – 90% of our storage is gone with the built-in, another con.

home.

A virtual friend asked me to describe what home means to me. I quickly rattled off a generic, yet truthful answer. As I’ve had more time to ponder the idea, I worry my response was only covering the surface. I believe it rounded out an idea of comfort, laughter, family and friends – all honest ideals and things for which we strive. However, what gets lost is why those things matter; the reasons and richness of their existence…and our need for it. Our constant and indefinite state of healing not only thrives on comfort, laughter, family and friends – it requires it. Our home has been a safe haven and at times a retreat from overwhelming situations/feelings/memories. We at times make a conscious choice to shut out the world, its inhabitants, its pain and our weakness to function within it, but we also welcome joy inside its walls. We crave gut busting laughter, interpretive dance parties, gin tastings, dinners where it doesn’t matter if the table is set and comfy pants are the required attire – these are the things that make a house a home. Yes, I want it to be lovely and cozy, a cohesive unique design, walls littered with photographs and art, a working kitchen, enough storage space…but honestly, I just want to hear laughter echoing against the walls, warm bodies occupying the space, no matter how imperfect it may be.
** you should check out said virtual friend if you love home design, DIY, puppy dawgs, and an overdose of adorable.