I turned my garage into a master bedroom!

My husband and I bought the second house we looked at on the first day of home shopping. I started crying in the driveway and we both just knew it was absolutely perfect for us, with one exception – it only had three bedrooms and an open loft.

We have a family of five so we were looking for a four bedroom house, but standing in the driveway that day we made a plan: our son could temporarily have the loft as his bedroom while we renovated the garage into the master bedroom.

“Six months”, my husband said, when I asked when he thought we’d have it completed. Three years later, we finally moved in (and our son got a bedroom with a door)! The actual work took us about eight months, since my husband and I both work full time and only had weekends to work on it. Factor in busy weekends, vacations, and the holiday season, and it really seemed to drag on forever!

My husband and I are DIYers, but certainly not professionals, so we had to look up (and make up!) a lot along the way. There were times when I thought we were in over our heads, and days when I thought it was never going to be done, but the final product has exceeded my expectations and I’m so excited to share it with the world!

Before & After #1
The garage already had some nice windows that we left in place. The new door in the after photo leads to an existing bathroom. That wall connects the old master to this new one – so we just moved the door from one wall to another so we could access it from here.

Before & After #2
We added a mini-split A/C-heat unit that is a-m-a-z-i-n-g. We control it with a remote and it keeps the room super cool and dry in the summer and nice and toasty warm in the winter. We added these rectangle windows that look out over the driveway so bring in some natural light without having to look at cars in the driveway all the time.

Before & After #3
Another shot of the bathroom door we added – in the after photo the doors lead (from left to right) to the bathroom, house, and closet.

Before & After #4
We have well water and for some reason the water filter/softener was added to a corner of the garage instead of inside the utility closet. It would have been such a pain to move it, so we decided to just build a little corner wall around it with an access door. You can also see it in photo #1.

Before & After #5
The utility closet was so super gross and dirty I never thought I would want to keep my clothes in there! I do not have a dresser, so all of my clothes are hung up or stored in bins.

Before & After #6
Another shot of the closet.

Before & After #7
This was inside the utility closet. We lost a good amount of space building this wall and door, but didn’t have much choice – and it provides a little additional out-of-sight storage.

Some bonus shots of my jewelry & scarf storage (with some artwork made for me by my kids).

And a close up of our custom black out curtains.

This is my solution to the issue of shoe & purse storage! This open-front cabinet came with the house and I just hung a curtain on the front and stuck it in the corner of the room. You can also see it above in photo #2.

Bonus shot of my work from home space and bar cart. Thanks for looking!

248 seconds of 2017

I thought it was a novel idea; you use an app to record one second of every day of your life. At the end of the week, or month, or year, you can watch a video of your life flashing in front of your eyes. I did this throughout 2017 and it was fun, and sometimes a burden, and I didn’t start until late March and missed an additional 81 days, but it turned out to be a unique and enjoyable way to document my life. Continue reading

In Defense of Facebook Birthday Wishes

facebook gift

A little presumptuous, isn’t it?

Last year I got irritated at Facebook and their insistence that I wish every single one of my friends a happy birthday. It’s one thing to remind me when someone has a birthday approaching, it’s another to prod me to post on their timeline or suggest I use the convenient and totally impersonal method of just pressing “1” on my phone. It seems that one of my friends has a birthday just about every day. And now I’m also being pressured to buy people a gift – with real money!

What’s the point of a virtual birthday greeting anyway, when it is sometimes the only direct interaction I have with that person all year long. An acquaintance from high school or the girl in the other department at work won’t notice if my “happy birthday!” never comes. Continue reading

The Family Book Club: Month 1

Photo Jan 31, 1 00 43 PMI want to read more books.

I read a lot of industry articles, longform stories, and Instagram captions, but I haven’t made a dent in my “Books to Read” list which now has over 100 items. I want to read the newest popular fiction making the bestsellers list, and I want to read the classics I should have read long ago. So in 2016 I made it a resolution to read at least one book per month. Naturally, I’m dragging my family along for the ride.

There are five people in my family ranging in age from 8 to 40 (just to be clear, I am not the 40-year-old). Some of us prefer YA dystopian novels and others are strictly military/true crime nonfiction readers. Creating a family book club to provide an opportunity for us to share our love of reading and inspire each other to explore books in other genres was a challenging undertaking, but I’ve made some good headway.  Continue reading

Buying Broken Toys with Fake Money

Seany centsThis is “Seany Cents.” I can use it to buy things from Sean’s room like masks, toys, magazines, or pencils. The prices are determined by the number of LEGOs placed in front of each item on the carpet. You must have a ticket to enter the Seany Shop, which Sean will give you if you ask. Remember, all Seany Cents expire in two days, so act now!

I knew Sean was up to something this morning when his older sister asked if she could change the channel on the TV and he replied “Sure, I’m busy making up my own money system.” I was busy folding laundry and she was getting into a new episode of her favorite show, but before long we were haggling prices and strategically spending our “money” in the Seany Shop. I purchased a talking Woody doll (that no longer talks), the front cover of a recent LEGO magazine, and Pantyhose, a stuffed black panther that was mine as a kid, which Sean discounted to one Seany Cent, just for me.  Continue reading

My 2015 Goals & Why I’ve Already Abandoned One

New Year’s Resolutions are for losers. Yeah, I know it’s good to reevaluate and all that, but really, it’s just an excuse to put off something you should have started doing a long time ago. I do, however, like setting goals; for the year, for the summer, for the month. It keeps me motivated and always working toward something. This year I have three goals… Okay maybe only two; I’ve already allowed myself to give up on one of them. (I fully realize that I’m posting this 6 weeks into 2015. I’m busy; give me a break.)

#1: Run a 5K, a 10K and a half marathon.
Last year I started running and I’ve come to really enjoy it. I get up at 5:00am two days per week to run on the treadmill, but much prefer my outdoor runs on the weekends. I ran my first and only race in October 2014 – a 5K all by myself because I couldn’t find anyone to join me – and barely managed to run the entire time. This year I set the bar a little higher. I’ve recruited friends and family to run with me in the Atlanta St Patrick’s day 5K, the Peachtree Road Race in July (I even joined the Atlanta Track Club for guaranteed entry), and the Disney Wine and Dine half marathon in November. Continue reading

What Big Brands and Pop Culture Have Taught Me About Social Media Marketing

2014 Was full of lessons in social media marketing if you were paying attention. Here’s what I learned from people and brands who are doing social the right way – and some who aren’t.

It’s okay to admit you messed up if you’ve made an honest mistake.

Brands make mistakes on Twitter pretty regularly, tweeting inappropriate or offensive remarks, then quickly delete the problematic tweet and issue an apology. Fine, whatever; we forgive you. But one brand’s fantastic apology turns what could have been a costly mistake into their best ad of the year.  Continue reading

Nat Geo, Here I Come!

10.8.14 Conservation Biology trip to Sapelo Island (8) copyIn my current position at Oglethorpe University, a lot of my job is the creation, curation and promotion of original content. My team and I have experimented with many different ways of displaying our content, from Storify to Animoto and testing all kinds of Word Press plugins. In recent months have begun to lean toward using fewer words and more photos. We want to capture our community members’ attention, and we have learned that what they like best is photos. Photos of campus, photos of their favorite faculty members, photos of our traditions. They do not want to read an article we’ve had an intern write about it, they want to see it.

So, last week when a coworker popped her head into my office and said one of our biology professors was looking for an extra van driver to accompany him and his class on a 4-day trip to Sapelo Island, I jumped at the chance. It was a perfect opportunity to do accomplish several work-related goals: Continue reading

16 Minutes

That’s how long it took me to run one mile on the day I decided to finally start running; 16 minutes. It actually didn’t involve much running – more like short intervals of barely moving above a walking pace, mixed with longer intervals of barely moving at all, panting like a dog, my chest so tight it hurt.

That was the day in June that I finally deciding to stop making excuses and saying “I’ll do it when…” and just start already. You’ve probably seen that quote floating around Pinterest that is supposedly a Chinese proverb: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” Well, that one hit home for me and helped me get my butt in gear.

Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 3.31.45 PM

An Instagram post from one of my first days running, when I decided I would get new shoes if I committed to using them!

Run, Debbie! Run!

I’ve always admired runners, jealous of the way they so effortlessly run several miles a day – without stopping! I want to be a person who runs because I want to, not because I have to. I want to be able to tell people I run to relive stress. I want to be able to run a few miles without struggling to do so. I want to be a runner. Continue reading

Taking Care of Debbie

IMG_0757I remember how I felt when I found her on the top shelf of the closet in our guest bedroom. It was a wonderful sense of accomplishment immediately followed by overwhelming regret. It was the first and last time I was successful at snooping for hidden Christmas presents. Once I found her, I realized what a mistake I had made. I now had to keep my discovery a secret for the coming weeks, and would have to fake my excitement on Christmas morning when I opened what would be my “big” present that year. I never searched for hidden presents again.

I named her Debbie because of her resemblance to me, in the self-centered manner expected from an 8 year old. She was a high quality doll, the fanciest one I owned throughout my childhood. I outgrew her eventually, and she spent some years stored in the basement. I was 15 when my parents divorced and the contents of our house went different directions. I took with me a box of memorabilia from when I was a kid: my pencil collection, a dollar bill signed my a Washington Redskins player I once met, the leg brace I wore when I tore a few ligaments in my knee that was signed by my friends, and Debbie. Continue reading