Country Living...Island Dreaming

November 29, 2012

Clean Grout Once Again

Awhile back,
I wrote a post about how I clean my ceramic tile grout.

Well, after some time,
(and a messy Thanksgiving)
I decided to splurge on getting my grout professionally cleaned.

The method I used in the past is fine for small sections,
but let me tell you, it was a lot of work to do a whole room!

This time I called Stanley Steemer.
My neighbor just used them and was very happy with the results.

 Here are a couple 'before' pictures...

I know, it's kind of hard to tell how dirty the floor is.
(I don't know why my walls looks so yellow?!!)
They are Benjamin Moore Monroe Bisque but you'd never know!

Here are some better examples of the grime...
Gross.

Embarrassing.


And here is what the tile looked like afterwards...
Hurray!

Shiny and new looking!

Pretty nice huh?
(Rosie likes it too!)

Stanley Steemer cleans the grout and then applies a sealer.  There is a huge difference in price between the clear sealer and a colored sealer.  People tend to go for the colored sealer if the grout doesn't clean well and looks uneven.  Thankfully, mine cleaned up really well plus I told them when they gave me the estimate that there was absolutely no way I would be paying for the colored sealer!  Sure, it is supposed to last 4 or 5 years and is waterproof, but I just couldn't justify spending that much.  Plus my husband was traveling yesterday and didn't even know I was having the floor done.  I don't think he would have enjoyed coming home to a huge bill!  And by the way, I was not compensated in any way to mention Stanley Steemer.  I am just giving you my honest opinion about hiring them.

But I must say, I am thrilled!
I am also embarrassed that I went as long as I did.
Now that the grout is really clean, 
I realized how dirty it was before!

And I also realized I desperately need
 to repaint the baseboards!
Why does every project have to
open a can of worms?

How do you clean your grout?

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November 28, 2012

Decorating the New Shelves

The other day I showed you my new 
Sonoma Bookcase from Ballard Designs.

I was so excited to have something new in my house
that I had to decorate it right away!

Come on in...
This is the entrance from my living room.

As you can see,
most of yesterday's snow already melted.
My kids are not happy!

Here is the new Sonoma Bookcase!

I wanted to set it up like a bar 
since I plan to put in a pub table and bar stools.

Those awesome martini glasses were a gift 
from several years ago.  
I think they came from Pier One.

I shopped my house and Christmas storage
for most of the items.

That stainless drink tub really should be filled with something.
If I were a "real" blogger,
I would have put some bottles of Pellegrino in there!

 Cranberries left over from Thanksgiving.

Would you like a drink?
I guess I should put some brandy or something in that crystal.

One of my dear friends just gave me this sign
 at my birthday dinner on Saturday.

I just bought this little lantern at Homegoods.

The watering can is not new but I just bought the cute little conifer plant.
We'll see how long that thing survives in there!

The sign on the stainless tub says it all.
Cheers everyone!

How is your holiday decorating coming along?

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November 27, 2012

It's Snowing

Today we are getting our first snow of the season!

(I don't count the little dusting we had during that nor'easter 
right after Hurricane Sandy.)

Here is what it looked like when I was driving home from the store
a couple of hours ago.

 And I took this picture before when I was in here
decorating my new shelf.
Stop by tomorrow to see it!

I am surprised you can't really see all the footprints
from my lunatic dog.
She was going crazy out there earlier today!
I will show you those pictures in this weekend's 
"Weekend Pupdate".

How is the weather in your area today?


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November 26, 2012

Ballard Shopping

Recently I purchased a few items from Ballard Designs!

I had been looking for a shelf or bar...or something to put in our conservatory.  This has been a neglected room for awhile and I am finally getting my act together to decorate in there.

I purchased the Sonoma Bookcase and I am thrilled with it so far.  My husband assembled it over the weekend and we set it up in the back corner of the room.

I have always had trouble with this long narrow room.  The dimensions are 25' X 13'4" so when we first moved in, my husband thought it would be perfect to place a pool table right smack in the middle of the room.  The pool table was not a great investment because we rarely use it.  Over the years, this room has just been an overflow room.  Play dates have moved into here, guests wander in here during parties (which is really the only time we play pool) and I hate to say it, but furniture and things I don't know what to do with end up in here.  Yes, it is sad that such a lovely room is being wasted.  But now I am making an effort to change that.

The room has beautiful views and tons of light.  Most of the time we keep a cover on the pool table to protect it from the sun so I really should invest in some window treatments one of these days.  But honestly, I do like the openness.  It's not like you really need privacy in here.  Plus, I think I want to change the pool table felt color anyway.

So, part of my plan involves the back of the room.  With the new shelf set up, I think I will buy a pub table and two bar stools to put in front of these windows.  That way the shelf could be used as a server or bar area when we have company.  We already have a seating area on the opposite side of the room which I will show you next time.  (I have a few things piled there at the moment.).  I am trying to decide on the type of pub table though.  I like the look of the pedestal type but since this room is carpeted, I am a little nervous the table could be top heavy and wobbly.  Darn, I wish I could convince my husband to put hardwoods in here!  Anyway, I am still working on that...

So back to the bookshelf.  It went together pretty easily and is quite sturdy.  The only complaint I had was the stickers.
C'mon Ballard, why do you have to put stickers on each shelf!  To remove them, I took a little cooking oil and rubbed it on while carefully scraping the stickers off with my fingernail.  It is a good thing I did not have a fresh manicure!  Can anyone recommend a good method for removing stickers from wood?  

Anyway, I am excited about the shelves and I cannot wait to start filling them up!

And as far as my other Ballard purchases go...
They are already sitting in the garage getting ready to be shipped back.
I ordered two black Grecian urns and BOTH of them arrived damaged!
So annoying.
Oh well, at least my shelf is fine!

Have you done any online shopping recently?

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November 25, 2012

Weekend Pupdate #41

As it turned out,
I didn't have anything to worry about
with Rosie and Thanksgiving.

Not only was she an absolute angel with our crowd of 18 guests,
but she managed to make everyone fall in love with her.

As you can see,
she worked her way up onto the couch at one point.
I don't think my step-father minded one bit!

With all the attention she got during the day,
she was exhausted by the time everyone left.
And we couldn't blame the tryptophan in the turkey
since she never even had any!

So all my worrying about Rosie
 being trouble on turkey day was unnecessary.

Now my next concern
is bringing a live Christmas tree into the house.
She gets into everything outside!
This could be interesting!

But at least we survived Thanksgiving!
Did your pets behave on Thanksgiving?
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November 19, 2012

Charleston - Restaurants and Shopping

Are you sick of hearing about my Charleston trip yet?
Today, will be the last installment of my girls getaway.
I promise.


Today,
I will show you where we ate, shopped...
and had a few cocktails...
Our first lunch was at the Fleet Landing.
What a fabulous way to start our Charleston dining experience.
The food was outstanding - and it was just lunch!
We had fish tacos
and a delicious fried green tomato BLT
(with arugula for the lettuce so I guess it was a BAT to be exact).  Delish!

Wall art...

Here is the view from the table.

What fun - I never get to have cocktails at lunch!

That night for dinner we were able to get a last minute table
Excellent restaurant.

And the drinks were very festive too!

Three broads at Slightly North of Broad.
We ordered a bunch of healthy appetizers and salads for our meal
so we were able to sample a wide selection without feeling too full.
I think we kept the waiter entertained with our ridiculousness!
Why are people so fascinated when you say you are from New Jersey?

The next day, our friend from Savannah
 drove up and met us for lunch on Sullivan's Island.
We ate at the bar at Poe's Tavern.
Fun place!

We loved the decor.

Lots of funny things to keep us entertained.

 Not that we needed any help in the entertainment department!
Seriously, I don't think I have had drinks at lunch
since my husband and I traveled to the Caribbean without kids!

After lunch and a few drinks, 
we visited an art gallery and then took a stumble stroll onto the beach.
Yes, a few more homes I would love to own...

Such a beautiful place,
although I felt sad thinking about
what the Jersey Shore is looking like these days.

That evening back in Charleston,
we started out with appetizers (and yes) drinks
at the roof top bar at the Vendue Inn.

It was a beautiful evening to be outside.
The band was playing Zac Brown
 so I could have stayed there all night!

I was beginning to feel a little homesick as we watched three little boys and their fathers pull up to the table next to ours.  The fathers kept apologizing for all the ruckus going on, but we just laughed.  The fathers were obviously not used to handling this type of outing.  (I wondered how my husband and boys were doing at home.)  All three of the boys had huge lollipops in their hands when they walked in...those big round ones that kids beg for at a candy store but you would never buy them for fear that the sugar rush and eventual sugar crash would be too much to handle.  These men had their work cut out for them.  At one point, one boy put his lollipop down on the table and then casually picked it up again and stuck it in his mouth.  No one seemed to be concerned with germs.  And speaking of germs, one of the boys thought it was funny to pick up a napkin from under the table and then stick it to his face.  Then they started running all over and to calm them down, the fathers ordered them sodas.  Because the lollipop sugar was not enough.  It was just too funny.

Anyway, the views from the rooftop were gorgeous.

You can see the Harbourview Inn where we stayed
on the left.


Just call AA now...
We wondered why two of us had normal glasses
and one drink came in a plastic cup...

The sun set on our last night in Charleston
and it was time to move on to dinner.

Dinner that night was at the Southend Brewery.
We were exhausted by that point
but the food was very good and the restaurant was full of energy.
And not only was the restaurant bustling with adults
but the (now frazzled) dads and the three little boys from the rooftop bar showed up.
By then I think two of the boys were being carried in.
Obviously the sugar crash had occurred.  Such entertainment.

We made sure we had some hush puppies before we left.
Can't miss out on all the southern cuisine.
I must say, I actually thought the hush puppies
 were better in Savannah though.

During our stay,
we also shopped in some of the charming shoppes
like The Spice and Tea Exchange
 where I stocked up on some teas.

I have been drinking them every day since,
 in fact I am almost out already.
Time for another trip back!

We also shopped in the outdoor market
where we picked up some jewelry and a few other trinkets.
There were so many vendors selling such beautiful hand made things.
We wished we had more time to browse
but that would have probably meant spending more money!
Either way, it was a wonderful city to visit!

If you want to read more about my experiences
in the lovely city of Charleston,
here are my links to those posts:
Charleston Homes
Charleston Hotel Tour

I just have to get back there someday!

Have you been to any great places recently?

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