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Operation: Brighten It Up!

So a few weeks back I was sitting in our living room enjoying the quiet and eating my lunch. As I was sitting there… it dawned on me that our living room was WAY too dark! We live on a really wooded lot so our big bay window doesn’t really let a whole lot of light in. Our walls closely resemble terra cotta (they are NOT the orange that my pictures are portraying.) Our couches and furniture were dark. All in all… it just needed a heavy dose of some brightness!

I kept thinking about it and thinking about it and finally hit the road and went to Lowe’s to pick up my “Quail Egg” paint. The next day it was game on! My furniture was getting a facelift because I didn’t want to sacrifice my wall color. I love it too much even though it is dark.

I have to say, white paint is definitely my new best friend! It made a world of difference and it is SO much brighter in there now. So I painted two pieces of furniture, I made some new pillows for the couches, made some tie-backs for the window panels to let some more light in from the big (and only) window, and a few other touches here and there.

It just made me so excited I had to show you the before and after! Granted, they are iPhone photos and I didn’t really take any good before photos… but you get the gist! Enjoy 🙂



Ta-Da! It’s amazing what a little white paint can do…

Until next time! 🙂


my little knock off

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I have never really been the person to sit down and make jewelry… up until recently that is. I’m basically googling how to do it and learning as I go. I guess that’s the best way to learn anything… with some help! 🙂 So from time to time when I’m feeling inspired, I use some of my free time late at night and get to work!

Today I was browsing Anthropologie (love love love this store!) and ended up looking at their jewelry and accessories. I came across this necklace that I just HAD to have… and then I looked a little to the right and noticed the price tag of $198! Yowza! That’s when that little click went off in my head and I thought “I can totally make that!”

Shortly after my wheels started spinning I took a quick trip to the craft store to pick up a few things… I had most of what I needed already.

So tonight after hubby and I got home from running around town, he wanted to watch a movie that we have already seen. It was the perfect time for me to gather my goodies and sit down beside him while he watched his movie and get to work! So here is my end result… I can’t wait to wear it!

Here is the necklace from Anthropologie… $198.00

Here is my version… $4.00 Yay! Sorry for the poor quality photo… blame it on my iPhone. I love the thinner stripes on the Anthro version but we’ll find that ribbon some other time. I wanted to use what I had for the first go round!

Lose the shoes?

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Lately I’ve been toying around with the idea of having a no-shoes policy in our house. This has never been a rule that I have had to follow… only out of respect for other people who have this policy in their home. You would think it would be an easy decision… but it really does take some committing to follow through on it.

I was never a Sex in the City watcher but I did run across a few episodes back in the day. There was one episode I saw where Carrie went to a party where the hostess asked all of the guests to remove their shoes before entering her home. I remember thinking “Who does this woman think she is asking everyone to take their shoes off?”

I wouldn’t ever be the person to make everyone take their shoes off at the door at a large gathering… after all, the shoes make the outfit and I wouldn’t ever want to sabotage a cute outfit! I recently read an article at one of my favorite blogs that got me thinking about the topic. The article was talking about the benefits of not wearing shoes in your home. I’m not a neat freak by an stretch of the imagination but (until now) I’ve never really thought about all the germs, dog poo, chemicals, and who knows what else you can carry into your home on the bottom of your shoes… Not to mention the dirt that I just can’t seem to get rid of on our hardwood floors. Plus… you just feel so relaxed when you ditch your shoe at the door.

It’s actually considered disrespectful if you wear your shoes in someone’s home in Hawaii and Japan… I’m sure it is this way in more countries (I know, Hawaii is not a country) but those are the only two places I ran across. They must know something that we don’t (well… now I do… but you get what I’m saying!)

If nothing else, I think we can commit to this as an ode to hubby’s Japanese roots 🙂 I’m interested to see if I notice a difference in the cleanliness of our home and the condition of our hardwood floors over time.

What are your thoughts on the subject? Do you have a no-shoe policy in your home? Have you notice a difference if you have recently made the switch?

And just for kicks (no pun intended) I thought this little chihuahua was cute 🙂

a quick game of catch-up

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howdy y’all! 🙂

holy mother of pearl it’s been almost 4 months since my last blog. and yes, i will be the first to admit that i have intentionally neglected it… oh yes, i kept telling myself “karen, you need to get on there and blog about this… and this… and this”, but i was so distracted reading up on all of these other fancy blogs that i just didn’t feel like it. there, i said it… but i’m back in the game!

so let’s do a fun, abbreviated game of catch-up since we last spoke in March. i feel pictures with brief explanations will suffice to catch you up from April until June 🙂


April was my sweet, sweet Nanny’s birthday. We combined an Easter celebration with her birthday and she was so happy! 🙂 It is quite difficult to care for her by ourselves so it is always a special treat to kidnap her from her “apartment” and bring her to Mom & Dad’s to have her all to ourselves.

April is also mom’s birthday. We celebrated up at the lake house. It was a simple celebration… just perfect time with family, good food and sunshine playing on the water!

Before we ate Mom’s birthday dinner, Brittney Grace was wiggling her tooth like cuh-ray-zeeeee! I thought it was so cool to have a loose tooth when I was her age but after watching her wiggle that thing it was absolutely grossing me out. So finally after a major battle and convincing it wouldn’t hurt… it finally came out (with a little help of course)! Just in time for a fabulous spaghetti dinner… perfect!


May was a super busy month! We had something to do it felt like every time we turned the corner! I love that feeling… so productive and accomplished! 🙂

A good friend of ours is a phenomenal photographer. She just started her photography business last year and wanted to expand the wedding section of her portfolio. I gladly nominated myself and Philip to play that role since I didn’t have any formal portraits I was thrilled with from our actual wedding day. We had a blast taking photos around the Dorothea Dix campus in Downtown Raleigh. You should totally check her out at!

I did manage to throw a surprise party for the great sister in the world… mine 🙂 She is always talking about how much fun it would be to go to one of those clay painting places with a group of girlfriends and just go to town. So that’s just what we did. It was a blast!

Well… I told you I was going to update you on June but it seems I didn’t carry my camera much last month. We had a wonderful birthday party for Philips cousin, Jordan… who just turned 4 and is cute as a button. We celebrated our wonderful Dads on Father’s Day. And before you knew it… June was over and July has begun!

Lots of fun stuff is happening in July! And I promise… I will not neglect my blog as I have these past few months. Have a wonderful day, everyone!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

St. Patrick’s Day has always been a tradition in our house as I was growing up. If for some reason I’m ever caught not wearing green on St. Patty’s, I simply state that having red hair and the last name “Sullivan” should make me exempt from the pinch! Am I right or am I right? 🙂

This morning, I should be working but there is a man changing out my work computer so I’m pretty much twiddling my thumbs around the house until he is finished… so I decided to look up some history about St. Patrick’s Day… I’m a stickler for history and found some of this stuff pretty fascinating!

OK so here are my bullet points 🙂
-Contrary to popular belief, St. Patty’s is actually a religious holiday. St. Patrick spent 30 years spreading the Word of God throughout Ireland. Over the years it has gotten watered down by people using it as an excuse to go on pub crawls and get schnockered with their green dyed beer.
-The shamrock is associated with St. Patty’s day because St. Patrick used these in his teachings to explain the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
-St. Patty’s is believed to be considered a one day break from Lent… kind of a halfway point I suppose.
-Originally, the color associated with St. Patrick’s Day was blue.
-The Celtic Cross: Early Pagans would go around drawing circles on rocks, trees, etc. as some sort of idolatry to worship. Whenever St. Patrick would come across these circles, he would draw a cross through them… hence the Celtic Cross. (that was my favorite learning of the day)

My favorite memory of St. Patrick’s Day is my Nanny making everyone crocheted shamrocks to wear. They looked a little something like this.

To this day, I cannot find any that she made me… after all the times I’ve moved I guess they have just gotten misplaced. So Mom & Dad, if you’re reading this let me know if you have any extra! 🙂

As I looked around at other traditions around the country and saw that Chicago dyes their river GREEN! That’s a lot of dye… but so cool! I would love to see this in person. I absolutely love this picture.

Now after all this stuff the leprechaun slides down the rainbow and rescues the pot of gold… I didn’t research that stuff but you know the drill 🙂

I’m looking forward to tonight… we’ve (semi) started a tradition with the Ridouts having corned beef and cabbage for dinner! I’m not sure what corned beef is, but I’ve decided not to research that either… ha! So off I go to make some green cupcakes for dessert.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, everyone!

super bowl sunday

This year we got a special invitation to hang with some of our dearest friends down at Holden Beach to watch the Super Bowl (not much watching went on on my part… but that’s beside the point… who even played?… haha!) But we had an absolute blast hanging with such awesome people and friends and meeting new ones as well!

It’s usually a tradition that the boys gather together and play football, or basketball, or tennis… so this time around it was football (I mean, what else do you play on Super Bowl Sunday?)

huddle up!

after hanging out on the beach taking some pictures with some girlfriends, we headed back up to the house to hang with the big group of girlfriends! 🙂 then a few of us snuck away to the theater room to watch 24. i’ve never watched 24 but i can see why people are so hooked! i don’t have the time to catch up on all the missed time but someday, my friends, some day…

so right in the middle of our 24 episode we were called to dinner! the Snipes family does it up right every time we go visit them… we had dinner catered in which consisted of prime rib, baked potatoes, green beans, salad, and some super delicious dessert cakes… i think they were coconut, double chocolate, 7 layer and some cake with fruit in it (definitely not fruit cake!) everything was so delish!

then we got our bellies full and the game started! and i was kidding earlier… we were rooting for the underdogs… go saints! but there were so many games to play around the house… so that’s what we did… in particular was this awesome tabletop shuffleboard game! i don’t think philip left this game the entire time we were inside 🙂

then me and some girlies had to get our game on with foozball… i’ve never liked this game until this night… i think it’s because philip is so good at it that he never gives me a standing chance! hahaha but it was fun because these girls were on my level!

some of my favorite ladies in the whole wide world!

OK so I have to wrap up with this picture… if you know Stacie and Stephanie you know they’ve never been huge dog people. Well who am I kidding they’ve never been dog people at all. So Bishop came into their lives a few weeks back and they absolutely love him to pieces! Which makes me so super happy! This picture would have never happened a month ago… so proud of you girls! 🙂 hahaha love y’all!

fisher dean turns one!

It’s amazing how fast a year can fly by! Fisher Dean Ridout’s 1st birthday was on January 28th but due to the snow “storm” his birthday party had a minor delay… so we celebrated last weekend! We had a blast playing with all the kiddies!

It’s so funny how children can get the coolest toys but then they always seem to resort back to to simpler things in life… like balloons or cardboard boxes. The balloons seemed to be a HUGE hit at this particular party.

I mean how cute is little Fisher as happy as can be just bouncing a balloon!…

He also got a super cool lawnmower… he was so excited about it he didn’t even want to give his mommy the time to put it together for him… hahaha i love this picture!

but once she got that baby together he was ready to go… happy as a clam (whatever that phrase means)

He’s such a happy baby (well… now a big boy!) and we just love the Ridout kiddies! So Happy Birthday, Fisher Dean… it seems like yesterday you were just a bitty boy in the hospital…