Friday Favorites

I’m up a little earlier than normal this morning, trying to soak in every last minute of our vacation (more on that next week). I’m sitting on the porch, listening to the water lap up against the dock and the chipmunks scurrying around in the bush. Despite the fact that it’s an overcast day, there are birds chirping, the air is fresh, and I know I’m in a little piece of paradise. If heaven is real, I sure hope it looks, sounds, and smells a bit like this place. Unfortunately tomorrow morning the birds and the chipmunks will be interrupted by the sound of me kicking and screaming as Dave drags me into the car to head home. 

You’ll have to forgive me for not keeping up on reading all my favorite blogs over the past week, because I’ve been to busy enjoying paradise. But I’ve still managed to round up five of my favorite things from the internet this week for your enjoyment. 

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Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve probably seen all of the ALS ice bucket challenge videos that have been posted by your friends, relatives, and celebrities. If you’re like me you’ve seen Facebook posts of people participating and loving the idea, and also posts by people who are tired of seeing the videos, are concerned that people are only doing the challenge and not donating, or that celebrities are only doing it for their own self promotion. Whatever your thoughts are on the subject, check out this infographic that someone shared on my Facebook feed this week. The “death” data is a tad old (2011) but I bet it’s still pretty accurate. 

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I’m not saying this should dictate your charitable donations…after all we all have to die of something, and given that I happen to suffer from a non-fatal-but-still-debilitating somewhat-rare condition that needs some major research funding, I know that there are a lot of great causes out there that aren’t depicted on this table. That said, I still think it’s interesting food for thought. Just sayin’….

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Earlier this week the Ukraine detained a bunch of Russian paratroopers that were found in Ukrainian territory, and the Russians claimed that the paratroopers were “lost” while patrolling the border. Apparently they were found 20km from the Russian border. For anyone not familiar with kilometers, that’s a bit over 12 miles. Personally, I have a hard time imagining any military troops patrolling 20km (12 miles) in the wrong direction! I saw this cheeky tweet by @CanadaNATO about the incident. My fellow Canadians never fail to amuse me.

 


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 Fonts That I Love: Part 1 – The Grits Blog

I’ve been having a lot of fun downloading some fonts lately, so this post was made for me! I might just have to post some of my favorite fonts, including the ones you see most often on this blog, in the coming weeks!

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Fall Film Challenge 2014

I was clued into this by Seriously, Sarah? You can read all of the rules here. Basically it will run from 09/01 to 11/13. You need to pick 25 movies that you have never seen before and that fall into various categories (and you can’t use one movie for more than one category). For example “any movie adapted from a novel” is one category and “any movie awarded an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay” is another category. You join the Facebook group and post your completed list on the page. The thing that makes this even better? There are prizes! Each film is worth 10 points. The person with the most points gets a $50 Amazon.com gift card. The first 5 people to complete the challenge (watch all 25 movies!) before the end date (11/13) get a $10 Redbox gift card. There’s going to be a bonus round announced in October, so I’m assuming that will help separate out the winner because otherwise all the people who complete the entire challenge would be eligible for that $50 Amazon.com gift card…right? Anyway, Dave always quotes movies that I’ve never seen (or even heard of) and watching new movies was part of my 101 in 1001 challenge so I’m going to try and participate in this Fall Film Challenge. I doubt I’ll be a winner, but I’ll definitely broaden my horizons a bit!

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Last but not least, one of my favorite pictures from our current vacation that will be a little teaser for the blog content next week….

Flying Pelican

Until later, Ashlen

All The Joys Friday Favorites

End of Summer Plans

We’re not big campers. We’ll pitch a tent once or twice a summer and that’s about it. One of the times we usually camp is the weekend before Labor Day weekend. We join a group of Dave’s friends and head to Cedar Point in Ohio, stay in a hotel there overnight, ride all the roller coasters, then stop for groceries before boarding a ferry to Kelly Island where we camp for the next two nights. I first joined in the fun with Dave was three years ago. For multiple reasons we decided just to take in the Cedar Point roller coaster day before heading back home. Two years ago I had to miss out because I was in Kansas. Last year we joined in for the entire weekend of festivities, and it was spectacularly fun. I was really excited to do it again this year…but in the end we decided not to go. It was a tough decision, because it is such a fun time and we really enjoy hanging out with this group of friends. As far as trips go, it isn’t too expensive…gas, one night in the hotel (which includes tickets to Cedar Point the next day), groceries, the ferry ride, and the fee for the camping sites (which is split between multiple people). But when all is said and done we end up dropping a few hundred dollars, and recently we’ve really been trying to save up money. Once we get into the house we’re going to have a lot of expenses, including trying to buy a lot of new furniture. In the end we decided against the trip, and eventually we made other plans for the weekend (but more on that later)….

Another almost-annual tradition for Dave’s family is to camp out on his family land (also known as “The Pond”) over Labor Day weekend. If we had gone to Cedar Point & Kelly Island this year, that would mean we would have camped last weekend and next weekend…which is a lot of camping for a family of not-so-avid campers. I say that it’s an almost-annual tradition because it really hasn’t been an annual event. We were there three years ago, and I’m almost positive that they didn’t do it two years ago because I actually traveled back to Indiana from Kansas over Labor Day weekend and we didn’t do any camping. I’m pretty sure we didn’t do it last year either, because we were right in the middle of wedding planning. So I guess it’s really more of an “every few years” event. Whatever you want to call it, we’re doing it again this year! We get together with Dave’s mom’s side of the family (the same side of the family that we celebrated with for Christmas, Easter, and 4th of July this past year). Dave’s mom has 2 sisters, which have a total of 5 kids (aka “the cousins”). Last I heard we will be joined by one of Dave’s aunts (and uncle), and at least three of the other cousins (plus significant others…I think). The older generation heads back to town (which is only about 5 minutes away) to sleep at home for the night while the cousins pitch tents and sleep at The Pond. It’s what I like to call “camping lite.”

Labor Day 2011
Labor Day 2011

When I was a kid in Canada my parents sent me off to a summer camp for two weeks. I did this for three years when I was a pre-teen. Each year the camp sent us off on a canoe trip for two or three nights. Before the camping trip we learned all sorts of survival skills….how to tie all different kinds of knots, how to waterproof all of our gear, how to build a fire. We had canoe lessons, and we sat down with our cabin-mates and planned out the trip route and our food with our camp counselors. We had two or three counselors on the trip with us, but we were responsible for pitching our own tents, cooking our meals, and packing everything up the next morning. We slept in these ancient canvas tents that I swear had probably been left over from the military during WWII. I’m only kind of kidding. 

After my childhood camping experiences, when Dave asked me if I wanted to go camping my answer was “HECK NO!” Been there, done that, got the t-shirt, the postcard, and all that jazz. What neither of us realized was that we had two very different definitions of camping. I can barely call Dave’s version “camping” because it doesn’t even come close to resembling my camping experiences as a kid. There are some pretty big differences between “camping” and “camping lite.” For example, when you’re camping, you sleep right on the ground. That means you have two things between all the rocks and twigs: the bottom of the tent, and your sleeping bag. Camping lite involves the use of an air mattress! This was a completely novel concept to me. I thought air mattresses were for your parents when they came to visit your one bedroom apartment and didn’t want to sleep on the floor…not for camping! Camping lite also involves the use of blankets and pillows plus a sleeping bag…so in the end you’re essentially sleeping in a bed inside the tent. I have to say, it’s much more comfortable way of camping. My big question then was….how do you blow up the air mattress? That requires a pump! Pumps are heavy and not waterproof and certainly never would have made the cut when packing for a canoe trip. But when you’re camping with your car only a few feet away…pumps are completely acceptable accessories. Oh, and if your pump needs an electrical outlet, that’s okay too, because electrical outlets are readily available if you’re “camping lite.” When you’re really camping on a desolate island in the middle of a remote lake, asking for an electrical outlet is about as realistic as asking for an elephant. Not gonna happen. Overall “camping lite” really isn’t that bad of an experience! 

Anyway, one of our friends asked to borrow our tent for the Cedar Point / Kelly Island trip, which was fine with us because we weren’t going to be using it. Unfortunately we changed our plans at the last minute, which meant that we wouldn’t be able to get the tent back in time for when we needed it over Labor Day weekend. Since last year’s camping trip I had been bugging Dave (half jokingly half in earnest) to get a new tent. Technically his tent is functional, and it’s certainly a big upgrade from those army surplus tents I used as a kid. But…some of the rods broke at some point in time and are now held together with duct tape, and it’s a little on the small side for two people, a dog (sometimes), an air mattress, and a bag or two of personal items. Not having our tent available to us for Labor Day weekend gave us the perfect excuse to make an upgrade.

My eyes just about popped out of my head when I first took a look at tent prices. A $500+ price tag seemed insane for something that we only use once or twice a year. We really didn’t want to spend more than about $150. That slimmed down our list of potential options pretty fast! The decision came down to the Coleman Red Canyon versus the Coleman Montana 8. 

Coleman Montana 8 versus Red Canyon

In the end we decided to go with the Montana 8. I know it seems ridiculous for two people (and a dog) to use an 8 person tent, but as anyone who has used a tent will tell you, realistically you can probably fit in 1 less person than advertised if people sleep like sardines. If you want to account for “camping lite” (sleeping with air mattresses) and some luggage / personal items, it’s best to cut the recommended capacity in half. This 8 person tent could probably accommodate 4 adults fairly comfortably. Having a slightly larger tent isn’t going to be a horrible thing, given that our family will eventually grow (in people and / or dogs) having a bit of extra space isn’t the worst thing in the world. I really liked the hinged door, because I hate tripping over myself to get into a tent, then getting the zipper stuck when trying to get the door closed up. Of course you always have the most problems with the tent door in the evening when there are a million mosquitoes attracted to the flashlight you’re holding, and they’re all zooming right toward the light in the wide open tent because that stupid zipper gets stuck. 

We’re looking forward to our little “end of summer” plans, but let’s face it…Indiana stays HOT for several weeks after Labor Day (aka the unofficial end of summer)! Stay tuned for lots of pictures. If it’s anything like the last Labor Day camp-out I’m sure that I’ll have a few fun stories to share!

Until later, Ashlen

Friday Favorites

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Goodreads Account Link Up – Seriously, Sarah?

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What a brilliant link up idea – I love recommendations made by my fellow bloggers, so why wouldn’t I want to get book recommendations from them!? The idea is simple: link up your Goodreads account, and friend some of the other people in the link up on Goodreads, and leave a comment about your favorite book recommendation. FYI – I seconded a recommendation for “The Forgotten Garden” by Kate Morton and added my recommendation for “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” by John Berendt. If you don’t have a Goodreads account (although you should, if you like to read) you can still join in on the discussion. I have a feeling that I might have a few more books on by “Want To Read” list in the next few days!

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My Beef with Bloglovin’

 Blogging Tip

I enjoy writing my blog, and like a lot of other bloggers I also enjoy READING other blogs. By far the easiest way for me to follow my favorite blogs is on Bloglovin’. Every morning I sip my coffee and check my feed to see what all of my favorite bloggers have posted in the last 24 hours. I click on your new post, read it, and maybe click around a bit more before heading back to my feed and continuing on down the list. The problem? Unless I leave a comment (which, I should admit, I should do a bit more often), you won’t know that I was ever there. Continue reading

House Update: Backfill

As promised, I have more pictures to share of our house construction! Actually, these pictures are less about the construction of the house and more about the dirt around the house. Backfilling the dirt is the last step before framing the house, which will begin in 1 to 2 weeks. Part of me feels really happy that we’ve made so much progress in the last month, and then part of me looks at the “before” and “now” pictures and realizes that everything has been below-ground. So I’ll be super-duper excited when framing begins and we get to see some above-ground progress!

Backfill

Before the backfill, it was hard to get a good idea of the size of our front and back yards because there were two giant mountains of dirt sitting on top of them. When the house was staked out we thought the backyard might be a bit smaller than we wanted, and we kept having to convince ourselves that it was really a decent size. Now we don’t need any convincing….the back yard is HUGE! The front yard also looks really big. I think Dave is worried about the amount of mowing that will be required, but the sidewalk on front of our house and the walkway leading up to the front door still need to be poured, and our HOA requires a pretty big landscaping budget to be used on the front of the house, so I’m sure we can put in some plants and whatnot that will decrease the amount of space that needs to be mowed. Continue reading

This Girl is on Fire

I’m not actually on fire, but I certainly feel like I am…in a very literal sense. Late yesterday morning I noticed that our apartment was really warm, and when I checked the thermostat it was 77F. Our Nest has an auto-away feature, so if I’ve been in the bedroom for a while and it hasn’t sense any motion in the apartment, it will let the temperature get up to around 75F before it kicks on…so having the temperature at 77F was a bit unusual. I kicked the system on, and waited for it to cool down. Instead, it just got hotter…and hotter…and hotter. When I noticed that it was up to 79F I called Dave to let him know we had a problem. The system was running, but no air was coming out of the vents. In the past our system had frozen over, but that wasn’t the case this time. Dave put in a maintenance request with our apartment complex, and within an hour or so they were at our door to check things out. They replaced our filter and went outside to charge the system. After they left I kicked the system on again (our apartment was now around 81F) and waited…and waited…and waited. When Dave got home an hour later I knew that our problem wasn’t fixed, but by that time we wouldn’t be able to get maintenance out until the next day. Wonderful.

I was worried that Katie-dog would overheat if we left her alone in the apartment, so we decided to take her with us in the car while we ran some errands to give all of us some much needed A/C relief. Dave stayed with her in the car while I ran into the bank, and then all three of us headed out to the house to see the progress. We knew that they were filling in the dirt around the foundation yesterday. It was actually the perfect day to take Katie to the lot for the first time because there were no more dirt mounds and we could walk around the entire property! I’ll definitely have pictures up on the blog soon, because for the first time since we excavated we can actually see the construction progress from the street without being blocked by a mountain of soil. It is also really exciting because it was our first opportunity to see exactly how much space we have in our front yard and back yard. Let’s just say that it was more than we were expecting…I’m hoping that we can put in enough landscaping to significantly shrink down the amount of mowing that we need to do in the front yard because right now it looks HUGE! Anyway, Katie got to trot around and she marked a couple placed in the back yard. I think she’s really going to enjoy roaming around there! 

When we got back home, the apartment was 83F…about the same temperature as outside. Katie was actually shivering from the A/C in the car (she just got groomed last week, so she’s missing her big fur coat), so we figured she would be okay in the apartment on her own while we headed out for dinner. There was no way I was turning on the stove or the oven in an already over-heated apartment! 

To say the least, last night was miserable. our apartment is on the top floor, so we always tend to be on the warmer side. We usually don’t have to kick on our heat until well into the winter. Even though we had the windows open, and it was in the low-70s outside when we went to bed, our apartment pretty much stayed at 83F all night long. We had a single fan on that we put int front of the window to blow the colder outdoor air over our bed. I usually sleep on the window-side of the bed, but Dave’s come down with something and ended up with a fever last night (of course of all nights to have a fever it ended up being the one night when we had no A/C) so I switched sides with him so he could be closer to the fan. Katie-dog decided that she wanted to get into bed with us….at 5:30am. She didn’t seem to appreciate when I put her back in her bed! 

Thankfully maintenance came back out this morning. Apparently our air conditioning unit had been mislabeled, so whatever they had done yesterday was actually been done to another apartment’s until that was labelled as our unit. I was about growling when I heard that news. So now they’ve figured out which unit is our and are working on making repairs. 

Here’s to hoping that we cool down soon, because this Canadian just might melt away!

Until later, Ashlen

My Other Half

My other half (and the better half) is Dave. My readers hear a lot about Dave, and there’s a little blurb about him in my About page, but until now his voice has never been heard on A Diamond with Sapphires. I’ve decided to do a little interview with him so that you can get to know him a little better!

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Engagement RingA: Let’s talk about the blog’s name: “A Diamond with Sapphires.” You were the one who designed the ring that the inspired that name. Can you tell us about the ring and that design process?
D: I knew I wanted to have diamonds on the band of the engagement ring. When I showed you some rings you really liked one with sapphires on the band. I was mainly looking at Tiffany’s to start with, but Tiffany’s doesn’t usually custom-make rings so you’re stuck with their supply. For their sapphire ring, there were only 3 or 4 nationwide, and the diamonds on those rings were either way too small or way too big in comparison to what I was looking for. There weren’t enough options. I had them bring in one of the sapphire rings and one with just diamonds on the band (no sapphires), but I wasn’t thrilled with the customer service. I felt that for the amount I was spending, I wanted better service. So before I decided to buy from Tiffany’s I wanted to check out some custom options. I had heard great things about Distinctive Diamonds, and I had a much better customer experience from the second I walked in the door. Their rings aren’t pre-assembled, so you can pick out exactly what you want. I told them that I wanted something similar to the sapphire ring at Tiffany’s, but I ended up tweaking the design. I added two extra sapphires to the band. I told them my desired size of diamond and my price range, and they gave me 5 different options to inspect. They explained each diamond’s rating to me. I ended up picking a diamond with high quality color and that was the size that I wanted, and I was able to keep it within my budget. Then I got to pick out the sapphires. Apparently there are three grades of sapphires, and I picked out the higher quality ones because they’re a deeper blue color. I got to see each individual gem that would be part of the ring. After that they made a cast, and once I approved the design they went ahead and put it all together. When I picked up the ring they also gave me a complementary bottle of wine for us to share. 

I also purchased the necklace that you wore on the wedding day at Distinctive Diamonds, and we picked out my wedding band there as well.  Continue reading

Friday Five

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We had some major progress on the house construction yesterday! If you missed it, check out my first construction update (with lots of pictures!) here

When I last posted about the construction, they had just poured the basement walls….

Basement-Walls

House Foundation

Garage

Concrete Slab

When we were standing by the basement window, our voices were echoing. Having the concrete slabs poured was another big milestone, at least in my opinion. There are 8 other houses going up in our neighborhood right now, and we’re last in the construction process (we won’t be the last in the neighborhood though, there are still 4 lots that haven’t been excavated yet). Watching all the other houses is kind of giving us a timetable of when we can expect to see things happen. There’s one house in particular that we think is about 1-2 weeks ahead of ours. I noticed that after their garage slab was poured, it seemed to “sit” for about a week or so. When we were out there on Tuesday they had just started framing one wall, and when we were our there last night (Thursday) there was a complete skeleton of a house! So I know that we won’t be seeing a lot of visible progress for a little while now, but once framing starts the house will take shape really fast. I know that I’m going to be completely frustrated once the house is framed, and there are walls and a roof, because the house looks “livable” from the exterior! We see houses that practically look complete, other than the exterior paint job, but there are still a ton of workers there every single day. I know that they’re working on the interior, and maybe I’ll be appeased if I can go inside and walk around to see the progress, but I still think I’ll be a bit antsy! That said, I’m really excited to see the framing process start because it will be so much easier to visualize the final space. 

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“Florken” First Home: An Open House At Last – the “florkens”

We’re building a home, so having other bloggers share what they’re doing or what they’ve done in their home piques my interest. The “Florkens” shared the progress that they’ve made with their home so far, and their plans for the future. I really love their new kitchen cabinets. I also loved the backsplash in the kitchen because it’s so subtle. I’ve seen so many really bold backsplashes lately, and frankly I’m just not a fan. We still have to choose our backsplash, so I’m looking for lost of nice subtle ideas. So thanks to the “florkens” for sharing!

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Reader Space: A Neatly Organized Office Space – iHeart Organizing

Office Nook

iHeart Organizing has inspired me on more than one occasion, although you wouldn’t be able to figure that out by looking at our apartment. The insane lack of space does cause some restrictions when it comes to being organized. Dave has a desk (don’t even get me started on that mess) but I have….the couch and a few random spaces on the counter top. It’s a disaster. I’m really looking forward to getting my giant office nook (I know that’s an oxymoron) when we move into the house. I still haven’t met with the company who will be designing the space, but I’m really excited to spend some time there and I’m determined to keep it insanely organized. I want it to be cozy and cute…I really like that this office nook has a plant and some pictures to add some homey touches. Plus, I’m a nerd and I like the constellation pillow. 

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She Said Yes! – Two Thirds Hazel

Erin posted about her brother’s engagement story, so if you want a smile, go check out this post. It’s seriously cute, and it includes a dog (which will always make my heart melt). 

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An Announcement… – cupcakes and cashmere

I’m in my mid-20s, so I’m seeing my fair share of baby announcements lately. This one is pretty adorable…and I only wish I had the kind of creative genius it took to create it!

 

Until later, Ashlen

All The Joys Friday Favorites

 

The Grits Blog - Little Friday Linkup

 

House Update: Plumbing Fixtures

Plumbing fixtures

We were supposed to have our selections meeting for plumbing fixtures last week, but I was a little under the weather (ok, more like a lot under the weather) so we had to re-schedule it for this week. We don’t want to hold up construction down the road due to our inability to make selections on time, so we tried to book this meeting as soon as possible this week…aka 9am on Monday morning. 

I didn’t think this meeting would be too intense, because I thought I was cool with all of the base selections when it came to plumbing fixtures. I guess I didn’t realize how many options are available for these kinds of things! I also didn’t realize how picky my husband could be about things like a bar sink…

Master Bathroom

We really didn’t change a lot in the master bathroom because we liked all of the standard options in this space. All sink faucets, the shower head and faucet, and the bath tub faucet are all “vibrant brushed nickel” and part of Kohler’s Devonshire collection

Kohler Devonshire faucets

 We also kept the original sink selection – Sterling Wescott Sink in white:

Sterling Wescott White Sink
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When we had this selections meeting, the showroom happened to be under construction. They temporarily moved some of their displays outside, and then onto a truck, to make room for the construction process. Unfortunately, at the point in time that we needed to check out our toilet options, they happened to be sitting out on the sidewalk. The store just happens to be located right on a main road in our town, so we were out on the street picking out our toilets…and of course one of Dave’s friends happened to drive by while we were inspecting potty options. 

So given that we already picked out our toilets in front of the whole world (literally), I guess it’s not a big deal for me to share our choices in this department with the blog world! Our master bathroom is going to have a pretty spiffy Kohler Memoirs Stately comfort height two-piece elongated toilet.

Kohler Memoirs Stately enlongated comfort height toilet
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Last but not least, we have our bathtub! I’m really looking forward to taking a bubble bath in this a few months from now! It’s a Kohler Sunward 60” x 42” tub in white.

Kohler Sunward bathtub in white
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Jack & Jill Bathroom & Basement Bathroom

We made a few changes in these areas. The sink faucets were still going to be from Kohler’s Devonshire collection, but originally we had centerset faucets rather than widespread faucets. If you’ve had the joy of cleaning a centerset faucet before, you know that it can be a pain because there are small little crevices. Not only do I prefer the look of the wide spread faucets, but they’re going to be easier for me to clean. We had already decided that we would be using “vibrant brushed nickel” for all our bathrooms, not just the master bath. The brushed look just doesn’t show water marks as much as the polished finishes. We are also going to be using the same Sterling sink in these bathrooms that are used in the master bathroom. 

The shower fixtures in the basement bathroom will be identical to those in our master bathroom, but we decided to pick something different for the Jack & Jill shower. The Jack & Jill bathroom will most likely be used for our future children, and will also probably be the tub we need to use to bathe a dog if we ever end up with a canine bigger than Katie-dog (who will fit in the tub in the laundry room). Bathing small children or large dogs could benefit from a removable shower head. We ended up going with this Brizo Baliza Hydrati 2|1 Shower in brushed nickle:

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The toilet in these bathrooms will be a Kohler Wellworth Classic:

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Powder Room

I decided to have a little fun in the powder room. It’s a place that is seen by a lot of the guests in your home, which is why I thought that we could give it a little pizzazz. I think Dave thought I was a little crazy when I started roaming the design studio with our selections coordinator trying to match sink basins with faucets, but whatever. Remember, our powder room vanity is going to look like this:

Powder Room

I really like vessel sinks, but I didn’t want to make that kind of upgrade for every sink throughout our house. BUT I decided I did want to make that upgrade in the powder room. After looking at a couple options, I picked this Ronbow white round ceramic vessel:

White Round Ceramic Vessel Sink

THEN I picked out this awesome Pfister Ashfield vessel faucet in brushed nickle:

 

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This is a different vessel than the one we picked, but it kind of gives you an idea of how it will all go together:

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The toilet in the powder room is similar to the one in the Jack & Jill bathroom and the basement bathroom, except the tank is slightly slimmer. It’s a Kohler Wellworth (as opposed to the Kohler Wellworth Classic). When we started building the house, I didn’t expect that I would start noticing small differences in toilet styles….

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Laundry Room

Delta Allora Single Handle Pull-Down Faucet in Arctic Stainless
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When I saw the faucet for the laundry room sink I knew we needed to make a change. It had no sprayer, and the laundry room sink is primarily going to be used for washing Katie-dog, and all future dogs in our family that are about Katie’s size. I also know that my parents’ dog Mischa will need to use this sink when she comes to visit because she’s going to looooove playing ball in our big open back yard, and she will inevitably run through mulch, either in our yard or our neighbours’ yards, which will result in her getting really dirty and requiring a bath. I ended up picking out a kitchen faucet to do the job. I only wanted one handle, because managing two handles while trying to keep one hand on a dog can be a bit problematic. I also wanted one with a swan neck so that we could keep the faucet generally out of the way of the dog during the bathing process. The final pick was the Delta Allora Single Handle Pull-Down Faucet in Arctic Stainless.

Then I decided to upgrade the tub. Unfortunately the included model was made of a plastic material, which apparently can get stained….not an ideal option when you’re using it to bathe a muddy dog. We switched over to an acrylic option that will never stain. Meet our MTI Versatile laundry sink:

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Kitchen

I thought that we had already made all the kitchen upgrades humanly possible. I really didn’t think that our kitchen sink needed upgrading. We were going with a stainless steel double basin sink, and I had already made sure that our faucet included a pullout sprayer. Sounds great, right? Apparently Dave really wanted me to consider a cast iron sink. I didn’t think that upgrade was necessary, but he kept having me look at them and they’re just so pretty! Sigh. My husband is probably confused as to why he needs to convince me to upgrade things in my dream kitchen! We still need to pick out a color for the sink, and we’ll make a final choice after we pick out our granite. Right now we’re liking Biscuit and Sea Salt:

Biscuit     Sea Salt

 

We had a few style options for the cast iron sink, and we decided to go with the Wheatland undercounter model:

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Our granite counters will not be pure black, so it won’t be quite as contrasting as the picture above. We’re hoping to make it almost “match” the granite so they look like they flow together.

We stayed with the standard option for the kitchen faucet, which is a Kohler Forte in Vibrant Stainless:

Kohler Forte kitchen faucet in vibrant stainless
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Wet Bar

Wet Bar FaucetDave had only one thing to pick out for his wet bar: a sink. Unfortunately my husband is Mr. Indecisive and giving him every faucet option in the world was a little problematic. Finally I had to strongly suggest that he pick out the faucet on the left. It’s a Brizo Tresa Single Handle Kitchen Faucet. He still wasn’t 100% sure about it when we left the store, but he hasn’t been obsession over other options since then so I think he might just be okay with the current option. Getting him to tell us what he liked or didn’t like about certain options was about as easy as pulling teeth, so I’m not exactly sure what he’s looking for in a faucet. Sigh. He did want a sprayer, and that will come as a separate item with this faucet. I really don’t think that most of the basement dishes will really require the use of a sprayer, but there is no dishwasher down there so I guess it’s not a bad idea to have the sprayer just in case (because heaven-forbid he carry the dishes upstairs to the dishwasher). We’ll have a simple stainless steel single-basin sink in the wet bar. 

That’s all for now!

Until later, Ashlen

 

Under the Weather

I’ve been MIA from the blog for the last week or so, and unfortunately that was because I’ve been sick. You would think that being sick would give me more time in bed and on the couch to think up great content, but I really wasn’t feeling it. On top of that, my life has involved a lot of watching Netflix, drinking Sprite, and sleeping. Not exactly great material for a blog post! I’m not 100% better yet, but I’m starting to feel like I might be on the upswing.

 

 

We had to reschedule our plumbing fixture selections meeting last week because I wasn’t feeling well, so we had it this Monday instead. I should be getting the list of all our final choices soon and I’ll be able to post those within the next couple of days! I didn’t think that our plumbing fixtures would be difficult to pick out, or that it would be one of our more “fun” selections meetings, but it was a bit difficult and we did end up having a bit of fun with the process. Just wait until you see the fun I had with our powder room….

Until later, Ashlen