Summer reading.

After reading on vacation, my urge to read continues.  I go in phases.  I won’t read for months, and then I can’t stop.  I heard someone say recently that they were trying to read 10 novels over the summer.  And when I thought about it, it seemed totally doable and enjoyable.  Scott watched the Tour de France this month and I basically have been reading by his side.  I have several books under my belt already.  Why not?  Vacation reading marked three.  And I just knocked out a few more.

51Y0eAmT1xL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_The Rosie Project was one of the most enjoyable books I have read in awhile.  I laughed.  I was intrigued.  I didn’t know how it would end.  Don, the main character, is a genetics professor at a university in Australia and though he doesn’t acknowledge or even seem to know so, he appears to be somewhere on the autism spectrum.  And he engages in a project to find a wife.  It is delightful.  And I am glad to know that there are talks of it becoming a movie AND there is a sequel that just came out.  Put this on your list.  You will love it.

51grMGCKivL._SX307_BO1,204,203,200_Next up for me was a second reading of To Kill a Mockingbird, perhaps with the rest of the world anticipating the Go Set The Watchman release.  I will admit, I did not remember the story, but enjoyed the reread immensely.  In reading the book, it was easy for me to see why it won a Pulitzer Prize and is such a classic.  Not only is the story so compelling and excruciating, but Scout tells the story is such a perfect child perspective.  It is one of the few books I have read that compelled me to write down a few lines for remembering later.  Its high acclaim is deserved.

515p3OrN1KL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_My sixth book of the summer was one that caused me the most angst.  The Nightingale is the beautiful story of two sisters living in France during World War II.  While reading it, I kept making the obvious statement to Scott that, “the Nazis were really awful.”  He looked at me like, “are you just now deciding this?”  Anyway, the story starts in present day, with a woman remembering back to her days living in France during the war.  Then the book bounces to the story of the sisters, who each act as war heroes in their own unique ways.  It is not until the end of the book that you understand who the present day storyteller is.  I cried, but was so pleased with its ending.  I had a hard time putting the book down, but when I was not reading, I found myself worrying about the sisters.  The characters are lovable and the story is incredible

I want to read Go Set The WatchmanJudy Blume’s new grown-up bookOrphan Train (though it sounds sad), and Stir.  That will get me to 10.  Let’s see how long that takes.

Master bathroom after.

When we moved into our home on Bonnie Road I was so grateful for it, just as it was.  However, over the next few years, I would stand in our tiny 3 x 3 shower and dream of something larger.  And perhaps something with counter space other than the closed toilet lid.  Gratitude is fleeting.

Our bathroom looked like this when we moved in, and from that post, you can tell that the dreaming of what it could be was already in full gear.

When we began the Great Remodel Project, we turned our master closet into more master bathroom (our shower to be exact), and moved our master closet to the other side of our room to be the buffer between our bedroom and the kitchen.  We added the space where our master closet, pantry, and kitchen are now located.  It is hard to picture unless you are walking through the house, but just trust me.  The change is 100% better.

Note: taking pictures of a bathroom is hard!  I now respect professional photographers even more than I already did.

The carrera marble came from our friends’ house.  They removed it from their kitchen when they first moved in and stored in their garage with no plan to use it.  I hired marble movers (my title for them, not theirs) to move and store it until we needed it.  Best money ever spent.  (Thanks, Sonya and Russ!)  The marble was really the basis for the bathroom.

The upper cabinetry is set into the wall, so that it is deeper than it appears on the counter.

My handy electrician (Scott) wired a magnifying mirror for me that turns on with a switch.


I love a white bathroom but hate white flooring (my brown hair sheds like crazy).  While encaustic tile was my first choice, I decided $10,000 or whatever crazy amount it was going to cost was not worth it.  I am happy with the honeycomb tile with contrasting grout with money in my pocket.


In the cabinet above, Scott installed a plug especially for his hair clippers, which I thought was brilliant.  He is one smart guy.


He also made the towel rods from plumbing supplies.  I love the size of them.


The star of the bathroom is definitely our shower.  My plumber (Scott) is a rockstar for figuring all the plumbing out for the four shower heads.  I am in love (with my husband and my shower).  It may be that we overcompensated for our previously tiny shower, but I am not sorry.


Scott’s side, ever the minimalist.


And mine.

I would not change a thing.


A jewelry solution and 6th grade memories.

One of the hardest classes I ever took was Mrs. Browne’s english class in the 6th grade.  Mrs. Browne, with an “e” on the end, is legendary at Hill County Middle School for her high expectations, her command of the classroom, and the fear she instilled in her students.  I was equal parts terrified and captivated with her.  She taught me key lessons about how to use prepositions, that “a lot” is two words, “separate” had “a rat” in the middle of it, how to use “good” versus “well,” and how to write a good “how to.”  She also stressed the importance of deodorant, which in hindsight was likely for her own self preservation.  She remains my favorite teacher of all time.

Mrs. Browne was the first hard teacher I ever had.  I went on to encounter other hard classes: Dr. Charlie Marler’s Communication Law class and Randy Harris’ Christian ethics, both at ACU and my whole law school career at Pepperdine where I was a ball of stress so tight I lined my Tylenol PMs up on the counter to count down to the end of finals each semester.  But Mrs. Browne was the first.  And I am grateful for her kindness and diligence to teach us to take on the real challenge of learning.

In the far right corner of her room, she had a reading rug, which was a little unusual for middle school.  She reserved it for reading how-to assignments. How to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, how to tie your shoes, and a number of others.   She would test our instructions, which seemed to fail most of the time.

As I sat down to write my “how to” for my most recent project, I thought about how ashamed Mrs. Browne would probably be of my lack of detail and instruction.  So let’s not call this a “how to,” but instead a report on a simple project that YOU TOO can accomplish with a few tools and a trip to Home Depot.


The project: create a hanger for short necklaces.  I use the angel for long necklaces and the saint for bracelets, but I hated to crowd the space with additional deities for shorter necklaces.  For several months, they hung on the open doors of the cabinet below.

I had the frame tucked in my stash, so I tucked it under my arm and headed for Home Depot.  I dug through their scrap wood pile and found a piece of plywood, kindly asked a Home Depot man to cut it for me, asked the price and learned that it was “F-R-E-E.”  The salesman actually spelled it out to me.  Digging in the scrap pile was a success!  I also bought small cup hooks.


Back at the home front, I marked where I wanted my hooks–2 inches a part, bottom row staggered from the top.  I then pleaded for Scott’s help with a drill.  The pleading was necessary only because the Tour du France has started, meaning Scott’s productivity plummets downward.  I don’t mind.  He loves it.  He drilled tiny holes where the hooks would go.  I then covered the wood with fabric, using a staple gun.  I also used a little glue to keep the fabric in place.  Next, I used the sharp end of scissors to find the drilled holes again, and twisted the cup hooks into the covered wood.  I then slipped the covered wood into the frame.  It was snug enough that I did not even need to secure it.  Easy-peesy.  The hardest part was motivating myself to get it done.

A few hours on the 4th of July well spent!


Just a few things.

I am almost ready to show “after” pictures of our master bathroom.  We need to add a few cabinet pulls and we still need to remove some paint tape.  Maybe next week?

In the meantime, I wanted to share just a few random things….

I recently read about Harper Lee’s new book and it made me want to reread To Kill A Mockingbird.  I read it in school but couldn’t remember the exact story.  I am loving it.

My favorite moisturizer of the moment.  I keep it in my bathroom with this.

The best waterproof sunscreen.

This is on Scott’s short list of places he wants to visit this summer.  Who knew Waco could be such a destination?

I read about this shirt on a blog and bought one.  It lives up to my high expectations.  I want it in every color.

I have never taken a good fireworks photo.  Maybe now I can?

We love the movie Chef, and the Chef Pasta (with a few modifications: reserve some pasta water to add to the mix, cut the pepper a bit, and DON’T let the garlic burn).  The movie makes me hungry!