Monday, April 23, 2018

DIY Cat Hammock Chair

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Okay, I have to be 100% honest right now, this might be one of the most fun DIY projects I've ever done.  Y'all know how much I love my cats, so anything for them is always high up there.  On top of that, I had this wild idea to make a fun play spot for them, and Mike helped me make it happen.  Seriously, they love every aspect of this chair, and I'm so excited to share it with you.  Moral of the story for this DIY project is definitely that my new favorite go-to tool in the garage is a staple gun.  That thing can do anything!
I went thrifting to find this perfect chair and pair of pillow cases.  Bonus was that part of the back was broken (that I knew I was removing anyway!) so everything was only $6.  Clearly Roxy isn't good with change (me either, girl) and loved it from the second I brought it home.  I knew I'd win her over in the end, though.
In addition to the chair, 2 pillow cases, a staple gun, and scissors, I went shopping at Dollar General for the rest of the items I needed: thick sisal rope (similar to hemp), a hanging cat toy, mug hooks, a grommet kit, and, of course, their favorite: 9Lives® cat food.  They have so many varieties that cats can't resist, from Meaty Pate with ground meat, poultry or fish to Hearty Cuts with chunks, cuts, and shreds in a rich, thick gravy.  9Lives is dedicated to the health and happiness of all cats, and it definitely shows in the quality of their products.  Check out to find coupons and save on 9Lives wet and dry cat food!
 Alright, now here is how to make your own cat activity chair!

1. Take the chair cushion off the frame, and wrap it inside one of the two pillow cases.
2. Set the covered cushion back on the chair, pulling the new cover fabric tight, and staple the pillow case in place.  Keeping the cushion on the chair frame for this step will help keep all the fabric in place while you staple it in place.  
3. Remove the cushion from the chair again, and cut away all extra fabric.  Place the cushion back on the chair one last time.
4. Tightly wrap the sisal rope around the back of the chair (and the legs, if you wish).  This is a perfect way to cover any unsightly cracks or scuffs, especially if you're using a thrifted chair.  Cats love to scratch this rope, and it'll keep them off your nice furniture!
5. Staple a hanging cat toy to the top of the chair to add additional play fun.
6. Screw large mug hooks into the legs of the chair at even heights. We used an electric drill to create pilot holes and make this process a little easier. 
7. Measure the size for your hammock and mark off where you will place the grommets to hang the hammock on the mug hooks.  We made sure to leave a little extra room between the grommets and not pull the fabric tight so that it would look and hang the most like a hammock for the cats.  We purchased an all-in-one grommet kit that had the parts of the grommet and all the tools needed for installation at Dollar General.  It was so easy to use, and the whole process only took about 10 minutes to insert 4 grommets.
Here it is: before and after!
Clearly Shadow is loving it! ...and the food, too.
Do you have a cat who's part of your family?  Have you treated them to 9Lives cat food?

Friday, April 20, 2018

30 Before 30: Halfway There

My half birthday was earlier this month, so I thought it was about time to make my halfway update for 30 before 30!  So far I've officially completed 9 of 30, so I still have a bit to go, but a bunch of them are ongoing throughout the year so I do feel more accomplished than that!

1. Invest in an original piece of art - The below canvas is from Modern South Studio
2. Get back to my ideal strength and weight - I gave up dessert for Lent, and that really put me on the right track.  I still have a bit to go, but I think at the halfway point, it's a good start.

3. Volunteer - I still want to do this more, but last month, my friends and I made dinner for the guests at the Ronald McDonald House.  It was so much fun!

4. Get 8 hours of sleep each night - Since the time change, I have been rocking at this.  I think it's because it gets light later in the morning, so I haven't been waking up before my alarm.  Yes, I know I'm strange to usually do that.

5. Purge and donate my closet - Spring cleaning got this done for me!  Everything is back to organized!

6. Start an herb garden - I started this last October.  Most things made it through the winter and are back to thriving.
7. Have a girls night once per month

8. Visit more baseball stadiums - After Dallas this month, we checked another one off the list.  Hopefully we can get to one or two more this summer.  I call this one halfway there, too.

9. Network more - I've really been trying to step out of my comfort zone.  I've started trying to attend more of the events I get invited to, and not just talk to the people I know.  I've made some great connections and even better friends!

10. Run another race

11. Take a cooking class - Mike got this awesome book, Salt Fat Acid Heat (here's the link), so while I haven't taken a class, we have learned a lot about what goes into cooking.

12. Try yoga

13. Start a family tree

14. Do something nice for a stranger everyday - Working on this one!  Who has other ideas besides holding doors, buying the car behind you's coffee?

15. Visit the rest of the breweries in Charleston - We only have 3 more!  Here is my latest installment of local breweries.
16. Try something just for the adrenaline rush

17. Learn about wine

18. Make a plan to get to Cuba - It's in the travel plans, we will see when!

19. Be a positive encouragement to those around me

20. Make an effort to break out of my introverted shell - This has definitely been helped with #9.  I'm trying to meet new people every way I can!

21. Go on a hike - We have an awesome hike planned over Memorial Day weekend!

22. Advance my career

23. Buy a new camera - I bought my Canon 80D around Christmas and could not love it more.  There is so much versatility.

24. Travel internationally - Still hoping for that London trip this fall!

25. Invest for the future - We are now meeting with a financial planner, and we're on our way!

26. Cut my hair to donate again - It's getting loooong.  My goal is 12 inches, and I think I'm almost there!
27. Grow this blog - In terms of page views, I had my biggest blog post ever with this Kitchen-Themed Easter Basket last month (90k!), and it all came from Pinterest.  I think I need to work more on my social media to help this keep happening!
28. Stay more connected with family - With all of our trips planned to New England this year, we will be seeing them a bunch!

29. Learn all the words to Rapper's Delight

30. Write to my congressmen about causes about which I'm passionate

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Because Everyone Needs A Funny Door Mat...

We're a couple of weeks into the One Room Challenge (here's my inspiration and "before" photos), and as you might have seen on my Instagram, we made the cutest purchase ever last week.  I still don't know how I got both cats to pose (okay, I lie, it was with a lot of treats), but clearly they like their new mat.  I actually found Shadow curled up on it the next day, right in the sun.
The mat is from the cutest Etsy shop, Nine to Wine Design.  I actually found them on a Buzzfeed article about "everything a crazy cat lady in training needs."  In that piece, I was inspired by her "There's, like, a lot of cats in here" mat.  We decided that three would be the threshold of "a lot" of cats, so we went in search of a different mat, and she did not disappoint.  Seriously if you type "funny door mat" into Etsy, you will get so many hysterical results.

Even if you're not participating in the One Room Challenge, I know this is the time of year to refresh our outdoor spaces, so I rounded up a bunch of my favorite designs from a bunch of different artisans to share with you today!

A mat like this is just such a fun way to add a little humor to your home, and it's already become such a fun conversation starter for friends who come over!  Which one is your favorite?  I think we'll be getting one for our front door soon, too!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Springtime in Charleston: Favorite Front Doors

It has been the most beautiful weekend in Charleston.  My college golf teammates are here, and we are exploring every part of the city we can.  This time of year might be my absolute favorite for walking around the city.  It's something about how the pastel homes and colorful blooms go together - I just love it!  Last month, I shared some of my favorite flowers around the city, and today is all about my must-see homes.  They aren't just the backdrop for Charleston photos, but they're all so unique and pretty that they deserve to be front and center!
Charleston seriously has everything: brick homes and walls, iron gates, beautiful wooden doors, historical gas lanterns, and every paint color of the rainbow!
Shop my look "Alpaca My Bags" romper ||| earrings ||| necklace ||| clutch ||| sandals
And where else can you get photo-bombed by a horse-drawn carriage?!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Adventure Planning: 2018

Thinking about how much fun we had on our first trip of the year last weekend (here's the link to the blog post recap, if you missed it!), I thought it was time to start planning the rest of our year!  We love traveling and have some ideas for the rest of 2018:

In terms of our baseball bucket list, we are one-third of the way there!  Our remaining MLB cities (East to West) are: Boston (we've been separately to Fenway but have to check it off together!), NYC (Mets), Philadelphia, Baltimore, Miami, Tampa, Pittsburgh, Toronto, Detroit, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Houston, Phoenix, San Diego, Los Angeles, Oakland, and Seattle.  Yeah, that's a lot, but we will make it happen...eventually!  Any suggestions where we should hit first?
Our friends are all getting married this year (and Mike will be the Best Man twice!) - April, June, and October in Boston and August in New York City.  Would you believe that none are when the Red Sox or Mets are home?!  Seriously, friends, plan better - haha!
It didn't take much convincing to get Mike to agree to go to London this fall - the Eagles are playing the Jags!  We don't know exactly when yet, but we will be there in October for it.  I need all of your recommendations for the cutest spots for afternoon tea, the best views of the city, the most colorful Notting Hill homes (#doitfortheinsta), and the most delicious food!
Emily gave me a link to an awesome cruise from Tampa to Key West to Cuba.  I'm not sure if it'll happen this year, but if there's any place I want to visit more than anything, it's Havana!
And, of course, we will be making our annual pilgrimage to Cooperstown, New York this summer for the National Baseball Hall of Fame Induction.  This will be #30 for me!

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