Pedernales Falls State Park

We had a gorgeous 4th of July weekend here in Austin, and the FAA flew Matt back to celebrate with me, which was nice of them.  I think we really needed a fun weekend together where we weren't working or busy with a project around the house. 

We took the day and went out to explore Pedernales Falls State Park, which is such a cool spot.  Although, "spot" might be a little bit of an understatement.  The park is actually pretty big, with hiking, biking and even horseback riding trails all throughout. The Pedernales River runs through the park, and the upstream portion has some of the most interesting rock formations.  This is the portion known as "Pedernales Falls".  While our waterfalls in central Texas may not be comparable to those we've experienced in other countries {or states}, because of the rock formations, they truly are unique in their own way. 

Matt and I walked upstream, which was uphill as well, and with every step, you could see a little more of the falls.  It just made me want to keep going further and further to see what was just over the horizon.  Although swimming wasn't allowed in this area, we may have taken a quick dip in a few of the infinity-type pools created by the falls... it was so hot out that it was hard not to!

Downstream on the Pedernales, where swimming is allowed, Matt and I filled up our tubes and went for a relaxing float down the lazy river.  After much sun and water, we ended up in the town of Gruene for some food and festive red, white & blue margaritas.  Watching fireworks our whole drive back to Austin, it was one of the best days so far this summer.


Hill Country Lavender Farm

This is Tessa >>>>>

Fellow designer and lover of all things rustic.  Fellow outdoor enthusiast.  One of my favorite people to take photos with {who also happens to be an excellent photographer}.  And fellow wine, cheese + chocolate fanatic {but, who isn't?}.  She is my amazing friend from Portland, Oregon, who you'll probably be seeing quite a bit of in my next few posts!

This particular day of Tessa's visit to Austin was probably one of my favorites, even though we were sweating buckets.  Out in the rolling hills of Blanco, Texas, you can find one of the cutest little lavender farms, complete with tiny shop selling hand-made products crafted from their very own lavender.  I am pretty sensitive to a lot of floral scents, but lavender isn't one of them.  It reminds me of being at a spa and makes me feel instantly more relaxed.  I've even been using pure lavender oil recently on my wrists before going to bed at night, which has been really helping me get a much more peaceful rest. 

Anyway, back to the farm... What an adorable place. And the girl that ran the little store was really sweet and explained the differences between the lavender that grows in Texas versus the Oregon lavender that Tessa is used to.  She then proceeded to give Tessa {who has a garden with lavender in it} some tips for trimming, while I {who has no such garden, currently} made my way around the store, taking pretty pictures. 

If  you are ever in the Blanco area during early summer, I would definitely recommend making a stop at Hill Country Lavender Farm.  I hope you're having a great summer so far + thanks for reading!


Misadventures in Home Renovation

So, I haven't blogged in a good couple of months.  I guess the in-a-nutshell explanation is - I've been really busy.  But the more honest explanation is that things {and by "things", I mean our monstrous master bathroom remodel that WILL.NOT.END} have hit a lot of bumps in the road.  Let me explain.

The last post I shared with you all about our bathroom, we had just laid our own tile, and everything was looking up.  The final few touches seemed super easy breezy, and I figured once the floor was done, I'd be posting "final reveal" pictures within a week or two.  Well, that didn't happen.  What DID happen is a whole slew of problems - one after another.  Now that I'm through this mess, safely on the other side of it all, I'm going to touch on just a few of the main things that went awry.

First off, our custom vanity countertop finally comes in.  We go to set it on top of our cabinets, and my worst fear {at this point} comes true - it doesn't fit on the cabinets.  We went back and forth with the store about what exactly went wrong, whose fault it all was, what our options were... at one point I was sure we were going to have to wait another two months for a new one to be made.  I'll spare you the technical details {there are so many of them}, but we ended up having to modify the cabinets ourselves quite a bit {ie. Matt with a saw} in order to make it work.

After what felt like weeks of trying to figure that whole situation out, we finally go to screw this vanity to our wall and realize that our wall is SO. VERY. BOWED that the countertop backsplash won't sit flush against it.  It's not even close.  There are huge gaps between it and our wall.  We were stuck on this problem for a very long time - weeks went by while we were talking to professionals and trying to figure out the easiest and cheapest way to deal with this.  Again, I won't bore you with all of the insane details, but I, personally, ended up fixing this problem myself.  Let's just say there were about 75 wooden shims and a whole lot of drywall putty involved.  It still doesn't look perfect, but it did help the situation enough to get the vanity flush against the wall and properly installed.

Actually, not even properly installed.  I went to screw the cabinets into the wall studs, and after ruining about 4 screws and making no progress whatsoever, I realized all of the studs in our wall had metal plates bolted to them to prevent someone from screwing through them.  That was another fun night.

And, {I think} the funnest story of them all is when we wanted the project done so badly that we decided to hire a professional electrician to finish up installing outlets and light fixtures.  This is something Matt would do himself usually, because he's really good at electrical stuff, but at this point in the story, he is in Oklahoma City, going through school for his new job.  So, if it sounds like a lot of the things I've mentioned in this post were just me trying to do them by myself, that's why.

Anyway, I hired an electrician to finish up the job.  She {yes, a female electrician, strange} was supposed to install 3 new outlets on our vanity wall.  When she left our house that day, not only did none of the new outlets work, but she had lost power to multiple other outlets on our second floor.  Outlets that were working perfectly fine before she came over.  Some outlets that weren't even in the same room as she was doing the work in.  And she couldn't figure it out.  A week and four electricians later, we had restored power to our upstairs outlets.  No big deal.

Oh, and the toe kick board that came with the cabinets is too tall to fit.  So, I had to buy a tool {a planer} to whittle it down myself to make it fit.  Again, no big deal...right?

At this point, it just seems kind of laughable how much trouble just these last few steps have been!  I feel like I have had  to really fight to get this bathroom up and running!  Hopefully, we are past all of this drama and moving on to a completely finished master bathroom very soon.  We are already using it - I just want to wait until we have the trim back up and the last few pieces of hardware on the walls before posting reveal pics.

What our bathroom looked like for a very long time

It's good to be back, though - thanks for reading!