Deck Renovation Part 1: Installing A New Railing

June 20, 2017 in DIY Tutorials / Home Design

Out of all the projects we have done the deck has been by far the most labor intensive. When we initially bought the house we figured we would leave it as is and tear it down in a few years and build a brand new one. Upon closer inspection (and a little planning magic) we decided to take it on this spring so we could enjoy it all summer! Structurally the deck is safe and sound but there were a few minor (major!) tweaks that needed to be done to bring it up to speed. You can check out our initial deck design plan here!

The first big project we needed to complete was tearing down the old railing and installing a new one. The old railing was pretty unsafe – the trellis part would literally dissolve into a pile of dust if you kicked through it – and pretty ugly. The top of the railing (the actual rail) was also super warped and uneven. Here is what we started with.

The stair portion of the railing was different though and had horizontal pieces that were in fairly good shape. We decided to go with similar design to tie into that existing railing and save us a little time and money.

To start we decided on a design – horizontal planks. Most decks have vertical planks and these can be beneficial in a few ways – two big examples are that water runs off them well so they stay more dry and kids are less likely to try and climb on them. Horizontal planks are more affordable and easier to install – we went that route! Read more…

Life Update: Summer to Thrive

June 5, 2017 in Stories

You are probably wondering, what the heck lady? Where is your deck reveal at…it’s been TWO MONTHS!?! Yeah, I know it. I feel like we bought a season pass on the struggle bus these past few weeks. It’s gone so far as the fact that I wanted to print this guide out and I couldn’t even get my printer to work. So I figured I would just post it here and give you all a little insight on our summer plans and goals.

If you aren’t familiar with Jess Connolly, her book, or her company All Good Things Collective hop on over to these two sites and check her out! I have this shirt and this hat and LOVE them! Her Instagram is the best and is a great motivator and inspiration throughout the day. I highly recommend you follow her!

She recently sent out a guide on her No Filter Newsletter on “chilling out and enjoying summer.” She is a reformed summer hater and her intro had my name all over it. I used to hate summer: the 100 degree heat, the humidity, lack of structure, fitting into my old summer clothes and feeling a little (usually a lot) less than about my body and wanting to make the most of it all. September would roll around and scarves would start popping up on each and every neck and before you know it you are prepping to combat the winter blues! I have been struggling with routines lately and with our summer plans quickly approaching this guide is exactly what I need.

A quick little life update so you know what I’m working with. I started working for my mom’s company remotely from KC – so I work from home everyday. JR and I are currently on day 7 of Whole30. We are renovating our deck/our entire house. I’m trying to ramp up my blog and start earning a side income. We are trying to find a new church. We are trying to pay off all our student loans.

Who has two thumbs and is feeling super overwhelmed? This girl.

Enter the Summer to Thrive guide. To get it just sign up for the No Filter Newsletter here! The number one rule of the guide is to “CHILL OUT, INTENTIONALLY.” So here goes nothing! Read more…

Home Buying Advice for Millienials: Margaret Paige

May 31, 2017 in Home Design / Stories

I am so excited to introduce Meg from the lifestyle blog, Margaret Paige, for a guest post on homeownership. She is currently in the process of buying her first home so we decided to team up to share both our experiences. You can check out my interview on her blog here! Take it away, Meg!

Meet Meg!

I’m Meg, a 24-year old Marketing guru who loves to share fashion and advice on my lifestyle blog, Margaret Paige. I currently reside in small town Nebraska. I love online shopping, farmer’s markets, and am currently house hunting, which you’ll hear about today! Follow along on my blog at!

Describe your life situation when you decided to buy: 

After graduating college with a business degree, I realized how much money I was “throwing” away in rent. Living in Chicago, over 50% of my paycheck was going toward my 1-bedroom apartment, which wasn’t healthy for my budget. When I moved back to Nebraska, I vowed to be more financially conservative. Here I am today, 23-years-old, and I’m at a point where I can take on the commitment of buying a home, staying in the same place, and starting projects! I’m single and debt-free, and I’m at a place in life where I want to own my space. Read more…

A Must Read Guide For Your Palms Springs Vacay!

May 24, 2017 in Travel

With our one year anniversary approaching we decided it would be fun to plan a trip in May with some of our close friends. We went on a “double honeymoon” to Mexico with one of my bridesmaids, Fayola, and her husband, Nick, (they were married the week after us) and then went on another weekend getaway with them to Colorado last September. We figured the week before our first anniversary would be the perfect time to squeeze in a third honeymoon – you can never have too many, right? We decided on Palm Springs, California and invited Nick’s two brothers and their wives along too. Here are some of the places we ventured to and some tips for your next Palm Springs vacay.

Getting There

One of the main reasons we decided on Palm Springs was the cheap flights to LAX from Kansas City and Omaha. Palm Springs is about 2 hours from LA, 4 hours from Las Vegas, and 3 hours from Phoenix so there are quite a few options to pick from. Palm Springs also has its own airport but there is a substantial price increase compared to larger airports. We flew into LAX late in the evening (around 10:00 p.m.) and rented a car so traffic was minimal. It worked out well but it was a bit stressful navigating through LA and worrying about rush hour traffic. I think next time we will fly into Phoenix for a change in scenery and overall less traffic stress. The other couples connecting flight into Omaha ended up being in Phoenix so they would have been better off booking through there and saving 2-3 hours. We also rented a convertible as our little “anniversary splurge” and it was seriously so fun! So worth the extra $60 for all the driving you have to get there and back! Read more…

Currently Obsessed: Trust Me, It’s All Good Things!

May 4, 2017 in Stories

Anyone else feel like their calender is already complete for summer? We will be gone the next three weekends for family events and our anniversary vacation which leaves little time for projects. So for today here are a couple things I have been obsessing over.

This hanging chair. I ordered two of them for the deck but they are GIANT! I would have easily paid $100 had I saw it in a store. But since it is so large (you probably need a 55-inch radius) I can only fit one on the deck. If I could go back I would probably order this one instead. I’ll have to return the other…or maybe give it away….? Stay tuned.

All Good Things Collective. I heard one of the co-owners, Jess Connolly, speak at Business Boutique last fall when they were known as Amen Paper Company. They just went through a rebrand and you guys, this stuff is GOOD! I really want to order this shirt, this hat, and this tote bag.  They have free shipping for Mother’s Day now through Monday with the code: MAKEMOMSDAY. Check out their insta here!

Lime LaCroix. So I may be super late to the party on this one but seriously you guys….it’s the best one.

Skincare by Glossier. I decided to take the plunge since I am on track to replace everything in my bathroom with more natural products and ended up ordering a skin cleanser, moisturizer, this thing called “balm dotcom,” skin tint, concealer, eyebrow filler, lipstick, and highlighter for $106. YES. ONE HUNDRED AND SIX DOLLARS. So cheap. Some things I really love and can’t wait to order more and some things I may pass on – this was by far my favorite. Maybe I will do a review of it all…thoughts?

I have also been following along with this home renovation. Mandi and her husband are turning an old mercantile into THEIR HOME! I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

She Reads Truth Bible. I am currently attempting to read the entire bible in less than a year and started on my phone with the She Reads Truth app. We have two really great bibles at home but they just launched this one and I couldn’t wait to check it out. The poppy orange color was backordered so I got the linen grey. It is seriously great and catered toward women. It is also packed full of resources including 189 devotionals and reading plans for every book.

Char Bar in Westport in Kansas City. So JR and I stopped here for dinner on Sunday night and it was seriously the coolest place. They have a huge outdoor area where they allow dogs and have all sorts of games and even a wading pool. And the BBQ was delicious – that is a big deal coming from barbecue connoisseurs like us! 😉

Amika Hair Products. SO this wasn’t on my natural beauty plan and I have no idea what the rating is so I got a bit off track. My mom had their dry shampoo and it smelled so good and she so graciously treated me to their dry shampoo, shampoo, and conditioner last week! I’m writing this with my post-shower wet hair and it smells SO GOOD.

That is all I’ve got for this week. Happy Thursday!

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Deck Renovation Design Plan: What We Learned From Big Little Lies

May 1, 2017 in Design Plans

As the daughter of a farmer I should never, ever, complain about too much rain but 2-3 dry days in a row would really help us out a bit. We started working on the deck as the next project in mid-April and have hit somewhat of a standstill due to the rain. I actually started working on the budget for another project (indoors) just to see if there was any way to get a head start on that. So pending the weather….here is our next design plan!

This is what we are working with people. It is a pretty large deck – our deck at our last house was so small you had to move the dining table just to get around to sit down. From how it is built I believe the farther side near the fireplace was an addition. The deck honestly could use a huge overhaul but it is just not in the budget for us and we want it up and running to enjoy all summer. So our goals are budget friendly and timeline friendly.

Overall the base of the deck is structurally sound, it could just use a little TLC. The lattice railing definitely has to go. The railing is up to code but if we learned anything from Big Little Lies (the book, not the show) it is to make sure your deck railing has got its s#!* together! The top handrail is rotted and you could easily kick your foot through that lattice – it is about a 10 foot drop to the bottom. No Elvis and Audrey parties will be happening on this deck until that railing is good to go! Read more…

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