House Tour: A first look (part I)


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Today I’m gonna take you on a little walk through our new house! It’s located on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, just a little under an hour from D.C. We’re thrilled to be living in this part of our great nation, as the hubs and I have yet to explore this neck of the woods (he’s from SoCal, I’m from Missouri, and together we’re from a half dozen-ish places in between). We took our first Smithsonian trek this past weekend with the girls and we had so much fun! Hopefully I’ll come away from all this with a few tips about kids and Washington D.C.

But, back to the house.

This picture is from the day we closed. The girls let themselves in and went exploring!

house exterior, tan, white, burgundy

I love the traditional style of the home and the big front porch (and the touch of brick! I wanna line the sidewalk with a little more). I can’t wait to decorate for fall (without wishing my summer away). The front door isn’t my favorite. It’s a little ornate, but because the sidelights match, it will be a big expense to change it. Maybe someday. Something simple, maybe with just three little windows at the top (but I’d hate to lose the natural light in the foyer). I’d also love to change up the color scheme. I like the tan & white, but I’d love to make the door and shutters black! Like this cutie little home. I think that’s such a crisp combo.

Here’s the floorplan for the main floor.


We also have 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms upstairs and a finished basement with a family room, bedroom, and full bath (bring on the guests!!!). I’ll share those with you in the next few weeks. They’re a wee bit of a mess. I had originally decided to unpack each box as I needed it, but that didn’t really work out. Turns out the movers did a GREAT job of making sure nothing got broken, but they mixed things from all over the house in each box to get the best fit. So one day last week the girls and I dumped them all, piled everything up against the perimeter of each room, and gave the boxes away for free on Craigslist. Now there are tiny piles strewn from heck to breakfast. It’s not awesome.

Here’s how it was painted when we closed. I actually LIKE green. I do. We had a green room in our Las Vegas house. But this was a little toothpaste-y for me (I actually did it some favors in this image) and not at all the look I’m going for.


The foyer, family room, breakfast nook, kitchen, and hallways are “Restful.” Hah! Not for this gal. The Living Room is Sunset Beige, Dining room upper is Stable Hay and the lower third is Ripe Wheat. The Powder room has a coat of Frozen Pond and the Laundry is Sand Pearl. I can tell from some paperwork and paint samples that were left behind that the builder did the whole house in SW Antique White. I wish they would’ve left a little of that (well, they did. In the closets). That’s 6 paint colors in the downstairs alone. Seven if you count the closets, eight if we add the ceilings in to the mix.

Also, the view when you walk in the front door is overwhelming. There are four visible paint colors and if you hadn’t already noticed, they don’t play nice. Nope. The color wheel has rolled outta control down here!

But have no fear! We’ve already attacked some of the walls. The kitchen, breakfast nook, family room, and hall between the powder room and laundry have been given a couple coats of Windfresh White! I love it. It’s subtle and fresh and offers a clean palette for decorating. So here’s what we’ve got as of today…

Floor Plan with paint colors, Windfresh White

Still not awesome, but we’re making headway. Here are a few images “befores” and a couple of progress shots. There is SO much I want to change and I’m excited to share my plan for each room (as I come up with it…the dining room has got me stumped).

realtor photo | July 2014

The living room will eventually be our music room. I am SO excited to add a piano to our home and music education into the lives of our little people. This room will probably be painted Windfresh White, but I’m hoping to do a darker, moody color on the ceiling. Maybe something with a little sheen??? Also, I’m really pleased with the hardwood floors. They aren’t exactly what I would put in myself, but I like the variation in the wood  better than something that is a solid, more uniform color. And can you tell that the realtor photos show the colors looking MUCH more muted than they do in real life?? My pics are waaaay more accurate and truly show how vivid and bright these tones are.

dining room before & progressThis room already has a lot going for it. A chair rail. Check. Crown moulding. Check. The paint color. Notsomuch. But, man! This shows that a little natural light photography can make a big improvement! You also get a glimpse of that green here in my “progress” photo. Very minty. Very bright. I think I’ll go neutral with the walls here, as well. And add some big time color with great curtains. I’m trying to decide if I want to do a two-tone paint scheme (like they did, but not yellow), or add some more trim and do a faux wainscoting around the bottom. Hmmm. And this room is screaming for an awesome new light!!!

I’m so excited to be back to blogging! I hope you’ll let me know if you have any suggestions for the dining room walls or the ceiling in the music room! I tend to be a bit wishy-washy, and while I don’t want to rush, I’m anxious to get rid of the peach, lemon, and lime sherbet that’s currently sprayed across the walls of my house. Gosh. I sound mean.

Well good! These paint colors are the worst! The previous owner and I obviously had different tastes. I hope they loved living here and I know I’m gonna love making it my own!

Stay tuned for Part II of the tour where I’ll show you the rest of the living space on the main floor!

Where I’ve been {1 year later}


My intention was not to quit blogging. I really enjoy it, even if no one reads my posts (ok, its WAY better if someone reads them, but you know what I’m saying). When I last left you, we were getting ready to move to New Orleans. And we did. And it was NOT the best 10 months of my life.

Many factors, some within my control, others that I could do nothing about, gave me anxiety and stress beyond anything I’d ever known. There were nights (and days) of sleepless worry, tears, anger, and loneliness. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all bad. I had some of the most amazing neighbors, now dear friends, that I’ve ever known. And we sure do love Mardi Gras season and the spring in the Crescent City.

But it wasn’t enough. And because my hubs is in the Air National Guard now, not the US Air Force, we had the opportunity to make the choice to leave. And we have. We’ve been in our new home for almost a month. And its far, far away from any place I’ve ever lived before.

This is scary, too. I don’t know anyone here. My husband is in a different type of role at work (after being exclusively a pilot for 12 years!). Our new house is huge and I’ve got to furnish this bad boy. Its double the space we had in N.O. and I kinda loved that tiny little abode. I desperately wanted to share it with you, but my heart wasn’t in it. I was in survival mode.

My head hopes we’re not searching for some elusive, idyllic life that doesn’t exist. But my heart knows it was the right choice. I’ve already slept better here (in a strange purple bedroom) than I did in New Orleans, that familiar city where I had friends and people I loved.

And, back to why I’m blogging again. I want this. And this and this. I want to share my world with people that are interested and interesting. I have great people in my life, but each move reminds me that I want more. I want different experiences, different perspectives, and different time zones in my life. It could be good. Really, really good.

Later this week I’ll be back to give you a little tour of the new casa. Its a little rainbow sherbet-y at the moment, but everybody likes a good “before” while they wait for the “after,” right?

So do you want a clue on where we settled?

Crab cakes. Scrumptious, yummy crab cakes.


Stack it to the sky {Pyrex dreams}


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vintage pyrex @ graceandjoygirlPyrex dishware. The stuff dreams are made of.

At least my dreams.

What? You don’t sit around, wistfully thinking about perfectly stackable glass containers that not only save space in the fridge, save us from death-by-BPA, and make reheating a snap all in the cutest, kitschy colors and patterns?!

vintage pyrex @ graceandjoygirl

Look at all the stacking options!!!

OF COURSE YOU DO! I know I’m not alone because full sets of this stuff are tough to get ahold of and notsocheap when you do.

I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but I have this super awesome sister that loves me oh-so-very-much. She got me this sweet little set for Christmas. I would go on and on and on about how much I love using it…except that I haven’t used it. Not once. In 6 months.

Am I a crazy person?!

Well, yes, but not in this case. It’s because we had Christmas at my parents’ and I haven’t had the nerve to take it back home in my suitcase. I’m too afraid of breaking this precious treasure. Better to me than any silver or gold (well, maybe not gold that I could put in one of those prepaid envelopes you see on commercials because I could mail it in for cash and use it to buy MORE PYREX!!!).

So hopefully, after the big move, my mom will drive it down when she comes for her first visit. She’ll snug it in tightly between her well stocked cooler and the little girl hand-me-downs she’s been storing for me.

I’d love to grow my collection. I adore these primary colored babies and also LOVE the New Dots, Rainbow Stripes, and those darn little Friendship birds.

New Dots | Rainbow Stripes | Friendshipvintage pyrex @

The Crazy Daisy pattern is close to my heart because that’s what my mom rocks at her casa.


Crazy Daisy

Here’s a little snippet from Corelle Corner about my set…

 Multi-colour refrigerator set (1948)
This set includes two red 501s (1½ cup), one blue 502 (1½ pint), and one yellow 503 (1½ Qt).  Although it was emphasized that the dishes were suitable for absolutely any purpose, the 502 was ideally designed to hold one pound of butter and to be held easily in an average woman’s hand.  Multi-colour refrigerator sets remained in production into the 1960s.  Clear 501s & 502s were sold individually, beginning about 1949 and remaining for only a few years.

I’m guessing mine aren’t nearly that old.

So, yes, I love the way they look. But really, truly, I just don’t think the stuff for sale today is nearly as good. Snap on lids that don’t nestle together, edges that are too rounded, dishes too thin that chip and crack.

vintage pyrex @ graceandjoygirl

Come on, look at those cute lids!

Vintage Pyrex has got it going on. And soon, when I get settled again, so will I.

packing is NOT fun {and my tips}


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So I know it seems like I’ve fallen off the face of the earth. I’d like to say I’ve been swamped and have had ZERO time for blogging but that’s just not true. Things have been crazy. Yes. We’re moving. I was gone for 26 days and now I’m back and have to be moved out in 7 days. And make up 4 swim lessons. And have 2 orthodontist appointments, cancel all our utilities, track down the mail that went missing while we were gone, sell a washer, dryer, fridge, crib, couch, and dresser, find housing at our new city 1800 miles away, attend a couple birthday parties, change our insurance, oh, and did I mention, pack our entire house. And still make sure that my girls have a great and fun summer. Whew. Maybe I am busy.

But we’ve all seen those bloggers that manage to take care of this and so much more while still keeping up with regular posts.

That ain’t me. I don’t multi-task. Never have. Don’t plan to start any time soon.

Instead, I’ve been trying to get all that done, especially the last item on my list.

As military peeps, we usually have our stuff moved for us. Some strangers come, cram our stuff into a meeeelllllion boxes, come back another day and load said boxes onto a truck. Because of a few things out of our control (actual some choices we made for our fam), that isn’t happening. We are doing it all ourselves. Packing it all up. Loading it onto a truck. Putting it in storage for 2 weeks. Loading it back into a truck. Driving it 1800 miles across the country. Taking it out of the truck (and hopefully straight into a house…please, please, please not another storage unit).

I know this doesn’t sound like a big deal to a lot of you, but we’re just not used to doing it ourselves. And, DARN, it’s expensive. Thank goodness my hubs knows someone that just relocated here and they’re giving us all their boxes. HUGE score.

So here is what I have learned so far as I pack up our little life into a bunch of little boxes.
packing 101 @ graceandjoygirl

1) Beg, borrow, and steal to get MOVING boxes.

Scrounging grocery stores for cardboard is all well and good for a local move, but if you’re loading your stuff up and carting it a long way, you want good quality moving boxes that will play nice (aka stack well) with each other in the back of the truck. We lucked out and found some people unpacking last week (not too hard in the military) that were willing to share, but I know Craigslist is a good option for free or cheap boxes. We’ll be putting ours on the “list” at the other end. For free of course. I don’t like to profit from something that was given to us for free. Karma and all that. One good deed. Do unto others. You get the idea.

2) Invest in a tape dispenser.

These are not cheap. But it is SAVING MY LIFE!!! If I had to keep track of scissors AND tape AND markers I’d go completely bonkers. This little contraption will be my best friend for the next few days. (By the way, the best price we found for packing tape was WalMart.)

packing tape @ graceandjoygirl

3) Painter’s tape is a wonderful invention.

I use this stuff for everything when I’m packing. To hold curtain rods together, to tape screws to the back of picture frames or bottom of tables, to hold drawers shut, etc. I know it’ll stick long enough to get where I’m going, but won’t be a nuisance to remove once I get there.

4) Keep plastic baggies handy.

This is along the same lines as the tape. Pack your zip baggies last. You will use them for all sorts of stuff. To keep parts together (screws and stuff) and to trap things you don’t want to touch or leak on other things (acrylic paints, candles, toiletries, etc.).

5) Save one box and label it PARTS!

Keep one small to medium box open that you put all the “parts” for assembling furniture in. You don’t want to dig for screws or remotes late at night when you just want to crash or watch some Golden Girls on Nick at Night after a long day of moving and unpacking. Load this box into the truck last. Better yet, put it in the front seat with you. It will be worth it and you can chat with it on the long drive Tom Hanks and Spalding style.

6) Wear pants or knee pads when packing.

packer's knee @ graceandjoygirl

This last one kinda stinks. It’s SUPA hot here. I mean, come on people, it’s Vegas. But if you don’t want “packer’s knee” from crawling around on the carpet while you load boxes, wear some pants instead of shorts. I will be rocking these sexy knees for the rest of the summer, thankyouverymuch, but you can learn from my mistake.

7) Let your kids help.

packing w/ kids @ graceandjoygirl

My small people are only 5 1/2 and 2 11/12, but you can bet I’m letting them help with the move. They are packing their own clothes, books, and toys and LOVE to label the boxes. Is the permanent marker a risk? Yes. Have we already sold the house and the carpet is only mine for 10 more days? Yes. (I kid. Sort of.) They’ve become pros at using the aforementioned tape dispenser and  are excellent at wrapping (not-too-precious) knick knacks. Does it take a little extra time to let them help? Yes. But its so worth it. We are turning their little world upside down and I want them to know that we’re all in it together. Plus, if you let them help for a little bit, they get bored pretty quick and off they go to find something else to do!

I’ve still got a few more days to go in this crazy adventure and maybe I’ll have a few more tips to add, but for now, I’m outta here to have a glass of wine and pack up the girls’ art supplies and playdough. I’m sure its the first thing they’ll ask to play with tomorrow morning.



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