6/29/14

Master Bedroom Update #3,657

Our Master Bedroom has gone though more changes and updates than any other space in our home. Due in large part to 2 reasons: my tastes have changed and matured greatly in the past 6 years (at least, I like to think they have) and that the starting point was truly awful.


Phase 1 (six years ago)



Phase 2


Phase 3
 

Current

I'm not sure I can ever call a room 'done', because I'm the type of person that may wake up tomorrow and have a sudden urge to paint our bedroom blue, which literally happened yesterday morning. Our bedroom now has blue swatches over the walls now. I don't like my environment to be stagnant and constantly rearrange and move things around. For the most part, I am really happy with where our bedroom is currently. It is definitely our oasis from the outside world.

Justin and I had grand plans of building a new bed. However, due to busy work schedules and packed weekends, we never found the time to dedicate to such a large project. When I saw that One Kings Lane was offering a 30% discount  off their already lower prices during a one-day flash sale, I quickly logged on to search for beds.

I came across several and ultimately we ended up selecting this one.


I do wish the gray color was a bit darker. Overall though, I am happy with the purchase and find it to be great quality. Plus, the fact that we no longer have a dust ruffle (my nemesis)  is amazing to me. It feels much cleaner without the dust ruffle, and I don't have to worry about the dogs accidentally pulling the dust ruffle down on one side etc.

Once the silvery gray bed was complete, the taupe x-benches at the end of the bed were NOT working anymore. Luckily, it was a quick fix.

You may recall that I first purchased these x-benches at Kmart.com for a steal. However, they came covered in cheap, leopard-print polyester.
 I recovered them with the same taupe chenille fabric from our original DIY headboard.

This time, I wanted a charcoal linen-like fabric.

While browsing Hancock Fabrics over the weekend, I found just the look I was after. Unfortunately, it was in the form of window curtains. I figured one curtain would give me enough fabric to cover both seats, so I picked it up.


After cutting the curtain to size, I got to work with my trusty staple gun. Justin was watching the World Cup at a friend's house, so I was working alone which means I wasn't able to get many in-progress pics.
 I then decided to dress them up with some nail head trim, that I still had left over from the DIY headboard from eons ago. You can pick up a roll at Joann's for $20 (or $12 with a coupon).Justin was home to help with this part. Using a nail head trim kit is very easy but it does help to have 2 people. One to hold the trim down and the other to nail in.

One last Before and After-

I also ended up finding a pair of drapes at Hancock Fabrics that I couldn't resist. The silvery blue print is gorgeous, hard to photograph but stunning in person. I felt as though they lightened up the space, in contrast to the existing espresso brown Thai silk drapery from Restoration Hardware. I love that drapery as well, but they feel very heavy both literally and figuratively in the Summer time.

We are planning on painting this room a dusty blue color and then calling it done. My sights are set on our bathroom next... No rest for DIYers.
xoxo, Suzanne

6/12/14

How to Plan a Successful Road Trip: A Weekend Away in Arkansas



Justin and I just returned from a long weekend in Northwest Arkansas, an area I refer to as God's Country due to the amazing beauty and the miles and miles of gorgeous hills and greenery.

I'm happy to say this short trip was a success, thanks in large part to pre-planning. Here's how we squeezed in a concert, museum visit, nature hike, yummy food and visit to an awe-inspiring chapel in 2 days.

Our Tips to Planning a Successful Road Trip 
*These are meant to be general tips but I will reference our latest Arkansas trip specifically
1. Research, Research, Research!
I hadn't been to the Ozarks since childhood, and I had forgotten just how quaint this part of the county really is. I also had no idea of what landmarks are worth a stop and which places to skip.
Thanks to my new favorite website and iPhone app, Roadtrippers, I not only had directions but also great suggestions for offbeat attractions, tasty local food stops and more. This website lets you plan your entire trip and allows you to search for all sorts of point of interests: museums, campsites, shopping etc at your destination, as well as along the way.

I, of course, also checked out my trusty Yelp app.  Yelp has never let me down and I have found some great local restaurants, shops and stops when traveling. After some time online, I had a list of places to visit and how to get there.

*Be sure to write down the hours of the places you hope to visit. Many museums and places of interest may be closed one day during the week or close early on certain days. You don't want to get somewhere only to find it closed.

2. Think Local! Eat Local. Shop Local. Explore Local.
One of the local shops with a sense of humor in downtown Fayetteville, AR

Justin and I prefer to eat at local, non-chain restaurants in general, and especially while traveling. What better way to truly experience the local flavors than by visiting unique, one-of-a-kinds dives and diners.

Thanks to Yelp and to a few friendly Fayetteville locals, we were directed to Hammontrees' Gourmet Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, for our first meal in Arkansas. I don't typically eat grilled cheese, but when in Rome...


Two filling entrees and 2 beers came to just $25, gotta love college town prices! It was great to try something that we don't have at home and ended up being a delicious meal.

3. Pack a Variety of Clothes
After our first lunch, we walked around Fayetteville for awhile and stopped in a few local pubs for a beer. We also checked out the darling boutiques that line this college town. While we were out exploring, the weather went from hot and humid to cool and rainy in a few short hours. My comfy yoga pants I wore in the car were no longer keeping me warm. Luckily, I packed a pair of jeans and cardigan that got me through.

The sunny blue skies after the storm.
 
Bring a pair of tennis shoes...always. We ended up walking WAY more than planned, and I was so thankful to slip out of my sandals and into tennies. We had tickets for the Florida Georgia Line concert in Springdale, AR that first night. Our hotel was just about 2 miles from where the concert was being held, at the Arvest Ballpark. As we made our way to the hotel, we noticed that traffic was at a complete standstill due to the concert.  It would've taken us over an hour to drive the 2 miles from our hotel to the ballpark, so we walked. It was one of the more interesting experiences I have had in my adult life, walking on the side of a highway (luckily, there was a sidewalk) but we quickly had a several other concert-goers, who were tired of fighting traffic, join us.

The concert was well worth the crazy journey there. Florida Georgia Line started and the crowd began singing along to every word. It was such a fun concert. Although my husband is not much of a country music fan, I even caught him bobbing his head to the music. After it was over, we walked the 2 miles back to our hotel, stopping first at a Braum's for a well-deserved ice cream sundae. It was my first Braum's experience and it was delish!

4. Get Cultured
Similar to the 'Think Local' mantra of #2, explore the culture of the city you are visiting.

For us, this meant stopping at the well-known Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. What an amazing place! Although we were a bit unprepared for the expansive outdoor trails surrounding the museum, with Justin wearing sandals and I in a dress, it didn't stop us from hiking about 3 total miles on the nature trails (yet another reminder to pack plenty of clothes).

Crystal Bridges is definitely a cannot miss stop, if you are in the area. The actual structure of the museum looks as though it belongs in New York or California, not in the middle of Arkansas.


 
 
 
 
A few pics of the interesting art inside (non-flash photography is permitted inside the museum)
 
An artist's self-portrait that was so lifelike, it was eerie.


  
5. Be Flexible
After a few hours exploring both the inside and the outside of Crystal Bridges, we headed to our next stop on our list, the Thorncrown Chapel. We ended up making 2 unplanned stops on the way; the first was when we passed signs for Beaver Lake/Dam. We just couldn't pass up a chance to get out and check out this huge lake with such a pretty backdrop. The major upside of a road trip is that you can easily pull over and check out anything that you pass that looks interesting.
 

Beaver Lake, AR

 We sat along the shore for just a few minutes and enjoyed the breeze by the lake. Just down the road a few miles, we passed a large clearing with a big sign that read, 'Inspiration Point', and it was worth the pit-stop, offering a picturesque view of the valley and farmlands below.



6. Get Spiritual
I do not mean that you have to visit a church, synagogue or place of worship necessarily. I mean take the time to reflect on your environment and the beauty around you that you are discovering for the first time. For me, I feel most at peace in nature.
 
 
The next place on our list, a little chapel in the woods, is Thorncrown Chapel. This chapel is ranked #4 on the American Institutes of Architects top designs of the 20th century and is located on the outskirts of Eureka Springs, AR.
Words do not do this place justice. It is everything you could think of: inspiring, comforting, spiritual and grounding.

 
We sat in the chapel (we were the only ones there for awhile) and enjoyed the solitude. Not to get all dramatic and cheesy, but it was the most spiritual place I have ever experienced. The sky had been overcast all day, but the rain didn't start until once we were inside the chapel. To be in the middle of the woods with nothing but trees surrounding you for miles in the middle of a storm but protected from the clear glass structure was an experience I won't soon forget.



7. Embrace History
Most cities have strip malls and new shopping and dining areas that are devoid of any real character. You can go the Gap or Applebee's in your own city. Visit historical sites that are unique to the area you are traveling in, for a one-of-a-kind experience.

As the rain started to let up, we made a mad dash to the car and headed to the 1886 Crescent Hotel in historic downtown Eureka Springs. It is said to be the most haunted hotel in America.


This hotel was originally built in, you guessed it, 1886. At the time it was the largest and most luxurious hotel in the nation. Because it was still sprinkling, we ditched our plan of having lunch on the rooftop patio of the hotel and headed to the main downtown area.

 
The St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church built in 1882

A great wine bar in downtown Eureka Springs


8. Have fun!
Enjoy yourself. This is vacation, even if it's just a few hours from home and you have to go back to 'reality' the next day, embrace the moment.
Justin and I inside Crystal Bridges Museum #museumnerds


I enjoyed this sign hanging at the entrance of the Rowdy Beaver in Eureka Springs

9. Don't Forget the Most Important Item of All: Your Camera!
The people that write-off the Mid-West as being flat farmland are very mistaken. It is the heart of our country and, in my humble opinion, offers equally breath-taking  scenery as the coasts. I wished I would've packed our DSLR, but sadly I left it at home. Here are a few of our favorite shots taken on the road with our iPhones.











And a few more shots from Crystal Bridges Museum-



 



Love the frames found along the nature trails outside the museum to help inspire artists to draw their own masterpiece.

 
Overall, we had a great albeit short trip. We were able to squeeze in so many fantastic places in just 2 days and look forward to returning to Arkansas again soon. I'm thinking the Fall would be an amazing time to visit!
 
Any road trips planned this Summer? I'm hoping to squeeze in at least one more.

xoxo, Suzanne