Brussels, the city of junk food and Smurfs

Our first trip of 2023 was Brussels and Paris. We were there 8 nights!! Honestly, that was too long. We were both ready to come home by the end. We spent 3 nights in Brussels and 5 nights in Paris. Brussels was okay but I LOVED Paris. Caveat, my preference is large metropolitan cities. I’ll break my vacation summary into two posts. Even though we were only in Brussels 3 days I have a lot to report on.

We flew into Paris and took a 1.5 hour train ride to Brussels. Brussels is a fairly small city known for fries, chocolate, waffles, beer, and the Smurfs. The highlight of the trip for me was the Belgium waffles…OMG, I can’t even! They were soooooo good!!!! The most popular place to get them is at Maison Dandoy. They must be doing something right, since they have been in business since 1829. Their waffles are crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside, with little flavor bursts of sugar crystals in each bite. I would eat these everyday if I lived in Brussels.

Brussels is also known for their fries, maybe because they fry them in animal fat. If I’m being honest, you can get much better fries in the United States. The fries were just a little too thick for my liking but I still tried multiple places just to be sure ūüėČ And, yes, I am all about mayonnaise as my fry topping.

We did a walking tour while we were in Brussels and I am so happy we did. We were able to see so many unique landmarks. The first photo below is the Le Carillon du Mont des Arts, a Jacquemart¬†Carillion clock with 24 bells. There are 12 figurines that represent important historic and folkloric figures of Brussels that come out of their niche during the top of the hour. The silver figure on the top of the building bangs the bell with a hammer. It was built for the 1958 World’s Fair. I had no idea that the Smurfs were a Belgium product. They have murals throughout the city but we only saw one (picture 3 below). We stopped by the Royal Saint-Hubert Galleries, an ensemble of three glazed shopping¬†arcades (picture 4 below). The motto of the galleries is Omnibus omnia¬†(Everything for everybody) but they ended up attracting a higher class clientele due to its extravagant design. We tried a luxury chocolate shop in the gallery, Pierre Marcolini’s. I am not a huge chocolate fan but these were pretty good, especially the caramel filled ones. We finished the tour with a beer flight. I don’t drink beer but I tried the Lambic beer, fermented through exposure to¬†wild yeasts¬†and bacteria, and it was delicious. It kind of tastes like a cider, with a berry fruit flavor, but without the distinctive beer taste, if that makes any sense. The final photo below is the most famous tourist attraction in Brussels. It is a statue of a little boy peeing (Manneken Pis) in a fountain. As you can see, the little boy is dressed up. He has hundreds of costumes they change out on a daily basis.

We visited Grand Place, a market square surrounded by gilded buildings. It was destroyed in 1695 during the Nine Years’ War with France but rebuilt four years later. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.

I mentioned Mannekin Pis, the famous boy peeing in a fountain. There are two more famous statues in Brussels of Het Zinneke (dog peeing) and Jeanneke Pis (girl peeing). This city is strange!

We visited the Atomium, a¬†landmark, modernist¬†building originally constructed as the centerpiece of the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair. It was designed¬†as a tribute to scientific progress, as well as to symbolize Belgian engineering skills at the time. I don’t even know how to describe this place. It sort of feels like you are at Space Mountain in Disney World. You can go into each sphere of the structure with a restaurant on top.

The food was so good in Brussels. One of the highlights was Chicago Caf√©. That sandwich in the picture below doesn’t look like much but it was fantastic. You can’t go wrong with eggs, cheese, mayonnaise, and siracha. We had the tasting menu at Le Rossini and it was fabulous. The artichoke and black truffle soup was to die for. My favorite dish was the chestnut gnocchi with sage butter and crispy bacon at Winehouse Osteria.

We stopped at a few cocktail bars in Brussels and they were ok but one stood out for its entirely unique d√©cor, ¬†La Pharmacie Anglaise. It’s a cross between a hunting lodge with taxidermy and an abandoned mansion by an eccentric millionaire.

Bon voyage Brussels, the city of light is up next.

Tallahassee Kitchen Remodel

Well, well, well. Haven’t posted a remodeling story in awhile but we have definitely been busy the past 2.5 weeks. We recently got back from Paris and Brussels (future blog post) and just listed our Tallahassee house on the market (please, please, please sell fast). But today it is all about where the magic happens, the kitchen.

We bought our Tallahassee house in September 2020 and it took us 2.5 years to finish the remodel. It was a big project – new floors, all new paint, a new bathroom, a refurbished bathroom, and a new kitchen. That blog post is coming soon but lets focus on the kitchen.

Here is our 1979 kitchen (below)! It doesn’t look bad in the pictures but it is a Monet – not bad from a distance but lots of problems up close. The tile backsplash was haphazardly put on with jagged edges and randomly cut tiles. The countertop around the sink wasn’t level so water leaked everywhere when you did dishes. I really liked the vintage wall oven but you couldn’t fit a full size cookie sheet in it so it wasn’t very practical. This was a complete remodel.

Time for demo. Everything came out without much fanfare but that leaky sink I mentioned above caused us some problems. Adam had to cutout all of the rotted/molded drywall and replace that section.

Here are the before and after photos so you can get a true appreciation of the changes.

Here’s a few more photos from different angles.

We wanted to keep the remodel as practical as possible, aka CHEAP. Don’t get me wrong, we wanted a quality remodel but no extra bells and whistles. We still did the soft close drawers and cabinets, stainless steel appliances, and quartz counters. We saved money by keeping the existing layout, existing tile floors, and scaling back on upper cabinets. I knew we were not going to keep this house so it didn’t make sense to design it as if I would be living there long-term. I really like the layout of this kitchen, with three distinct work areas; the refrigerator, stove and sink are all spread out and don’t impede on each other. The peninsula gets used all the time.

I can’t wait to show you the pictures of the whole house remodel. It is dramatically different! But I need a break. I am exhausted. But, I can’t stop. Once we sell our house in Tallahassee, I want to sell our condo in Alexandria and buy a townhouse.

Next time I’ll tell you all about Paris.

The birthplace of democracy

So sad we weren’t able to stay in Athens longer, I feel like we only scratched the surface. But, we did hit the biggest tourist attraction, the Acropolis. A lot of the statues/structures are not original. Due to the decay and desire to preserve the artifacts, the originals are in the Acropolis Museum.

After touring the Acropolis we toured the Acropolis Museum. Gotta see the originals! Below are the original Caryatids. You’ll notice one is missing and there is quite the controversy associated with it.

Lord Elgin (Thomas Bruce) was the seventh Earl of Elgin and became the British ambassador to the Ottoman sultan in 1799. Not long after he sailed to Greece he requested a firman that gave him the rights to take away the artifacts of the Acropolis, although the ambiguous language in this document in now debated.

Originally, he had them in his home but when he ran into financial strife he sold them to the British crown. The term Elgin marbles refers to the collection of marbles that Lord Elgin took from the Acropolis in 1801, that are now housed in the British Museum in London.

The collection includes about half of all the marbles that remained of the Parthenon, including just under half of the frieze and much of its pediment. Elgin also took a caryatid from the Erechtheion and parts of the frieze from the Temple of Athena Nike.

We stayed at a great hotel, The Modernist. It was located in an upscale neighborhood. It was very quiet but a good 20 minute walk from the center of Athens.

We visited some of the top bars in the world; The Clumsies (#19), Baba Au Rum (#20), and Barro Negro (#52). Our favorite was Barro Negro. It is a tequila bar so of course I loved it but Adam was a fan too.

Barro Negro

Baba Au Rum – This bar was really cool. I loved how it was decorated but the drinks were just okay.

The Clumsies – I have no idea how or why this is a Top 20 Bar in the world. To each their own.

We found another great bar, CV Distiller. They are known for their bourbon selection (which most Greeks don’t drink) but they also had an awesome spicy margarita. I have to give a shout out to their snack mix. I devoured this and those little glowing orange cheese balls were divine!

I heard Athens was dirty and most people skipped it and went straight to the islands. I loved it. It was such a lively, vibrant city. It felt very safe and we found some really cute neighborhoods.

Sometimes you just want a reminder of home and we found a really good Mexican restaurant, Mamacita, while in Athens. I loved how it was decorated too.

I would highly recommend visiting Greece. They have beautiful scenery, tons of history, great food and drinks, amazing cheese, delicious wine, and everybody speaks English. We stayed eight nights which was just the right amount of time.

We are definitely stepping up our travel game in 2023. So far we have booked trips to Paris, Brussels, Belize, Norway, and Bali. I can’t wait! First up is Paris and Brussels. I have already plotted out the entire trip. All restaurants are bars have been reserved and we are going to visit Versailles, The Louvre, Musee de Orsay, Chateau de Malmaison, and throwing in a couple walking tours. One of my favorite parts of traveling is the planning process and Paris was a handful. I can’t wait to share the highlights with you.

Mykonos

I wish I could say our vacation to Greece was perfect but I’m not going to lie. By the time we got to Mykonos Adam was extremely sick. He ended up spending most of the 3 days we were there in the room asleep which left me by myself to wander around the island. Luckily, I’m pretty independent so I made do. The problem was, the island was vacant. They take the off-season seriously! But, it allowed me plenty of opportunity to take pictures minus tourists.

The streets of Mykonos are so tiny. Our taxi driver couldn’t drop us off at our hotel because the street was too tight. You’ll notice in the photos below the itty bitty trucks that can make it down the streets.

The highlight of Mykonos for me was Kazarma, my go-to restaurant while we were there. I ate lunch here every day. Normally, I would have tried other places but I only had about 5 restaurants total to choose from. I had mushroom truffle pasta which was amazing, carbonara which was delicious and a special uni pasta of the day.

Another restaurant we tried was Mosaic (pictured below). It was pretty good but you can smoke inside and that really bothered us. Unfortunately, practically everyone in Greece smokes. They talk about the Mediterranean diet being so healthy. Well, let me tell you what I saw. I never saw anyone eating. People were either drinking a coffee, drinking wine, or chain smoking. But, we were told Grecians eat dinner late, like 9 pm – 10 pm late. I would die if I had to wait that long to eat. Luckily, restaurants open around 6 pm-6:30 pm and we usually had the place to ourselves. There is no such thing as Happy Hour in Greece. I’m trying to remember if other European cities we visited had Happy Hour. I feel like London did.

For Mykonos, we booked a Marriott Homes and Villa. I think this is their version of Airbnb. It was nice and I booked another one for our trip to Paris. I don’t know if I would recommend staying here during the in-season. I feel like the street noise would be very loud but for our trip it was perfect.

Knowing what I know now, I would’ve cut Mykonos short and spent more time in Athens. Athens was busy, vibrant, metropolitan, and safe. But, I am curious what Mykonos is like during the in-season. Maybe an excuse to go back?? I’ll be back soon to wrap-up Greece with our stay in Athens.

Greece is the word, Santorini version

I know it has been awhile since I have shared remodeling updates but I have a kitchen renovation post coming soon, but in the meantime lets reminisce about our recent trip to GREECE!!!! We went to Santorini, Mykonos, and Athens. I loved everything!

First, a little story about how this trip came about. Originally, we planned to go to Sri Lanka, an up-and-coming travel destination (only a two-hour flight from the Maldives). But, Sri Lanka had other plans and overthrew their government. It was a peaceful overthrow but some of what drove it was a lack of basic necessities like food, gas, and water. We quickly pivoted and found a good flight deal to Greece. The problem is, there are in-season dates and off season dates to visit Greece. We picked the off season dates which was great when we were in Athens and Santorini but almost everything was closed in Mykonos. Looking at the bright side I was able to get so many photos that I otherwise would not have been able to do in the crowded streets.

I have so many pictures so I will break up my posts for each leg of the Greece trip. First up is Santorini. We stayed three nights in Oia (a village in Santorini) at Olvos Luxury Suites. If you stay in Santorini you want to stay at a hotel on the caldera side, the site of the largest volcanic eruption ever recorded ‚Äď the Minoan Eruption. The views are considered the best. We spent the first day in Oia, the second day in Fira, and the last day on a private wine tasting tour. Here are the views from our room, below. What you can’t see is the steep climb up and down the side of a mountain to get to the hotel.

As I mentioned, we visited in the off-season so many shops and restaurants were closed but it didn’t distract from the beautiful walkways and blue domed buildings. The first day we wandered all through the village of Oia.

For our second day in Santorini we went to the village of Fira. I highly recommend going because we took a bus, which was super convenient and only cost 3 or 4 euros for both of us one-way. Same as Oia, a lot of the shops and restaurants were closed but we found an awesome cocktail bar, called PK Cocktail Bar.

PK Cocktail Bar

On our last day in Santorini we took a private wine tour, visiting 3 different wineries. We got really lucky because this was the last tour before closing up for the season.

Our first stop was to the Koutsoyannopoulos winery and wine museum. We took a self-guided tour of the history of Santorini wine and finished with a tasting. This place was not my favorite. Very odd, they didn’t have their most popular wines as part of the tasting. But, we got a couple cute pictures.

Our second stop on the wine tour was Estate Argyros. This was my favorite stop. I loved the modern design of the winery and the wine tasted the best here. We got a little carried away with our pictures here. Is that Adam doing a meditation pose below?

Our final stop on our winery tour was and I’m embarrassed to say, I can’t remember. We had to walk down a flight of stairs into a cave-like building. The wine wasn’t memorable either so we’ll keep it moving.

An interesting observation about Greece. When we arrived in Santorini and were given a tour of our hotel room we were told DO NOT put toilet paper in the toilet. Where does it go you might ask? Obviously, they are aware of how foreign this is to an American. When you use the restroom you put your toilet paper in the trashcan next to the toilet. The hotel person told us they will empty the trashcan daily. There was also a little magic water wand next to the toilet to clean your derriere.

A friendly reminder, no toilet paper in the toilet.

Santorini is known for their stray cats. We had a couple interesting run-ins with them. They beg horribly bad for food. In the picture below you can see a cat slowly crawling over the glass divider getting ready to jump on our table at dinner.

Also, the cats are everywhere. I went into a store for less than five minutes and came out to find this…Adam, the cat whisperer

I can’t stop screaming from the rooftops how good the food was in Greece. So good in fact, we have almost no pictures to show for it. Here is the list of restaurants we ate at, just in case you plan on visiting Greece sometime soon: Thalami (we ate dinner here twice, the food and drinks were really good, food was Mediterranean) , Oia Gefsis (we had lunch here, a traditional Greek restaurant, we sat outside, I had wine, and had my first introduction to the stray cats), NAOS (we had drinks here), Pelican Kipos (this was such a cute place, with outdoor seating and plants everywhere, we had lunch here in Fira, traditional Greek), Kokkalo (we ate here after our wine tour so dinner is a bit of a blur but they had delicious steak), and Diverso (we had drinks here – meh, felt very commercial, but we were limited on options).

I’ll be back soon with parts two and three from our Greek vacation. We have another trip coming up soon to France and Belgium so I can’t wait to share that experience with you too. Open to any recommendations you have.

Copenhagen, Denmark, one of the happiest countries in the world

The first Scandinavian country we visited was Sweden and I absolutely loved it. Copenhagen was no different. And yes, it is true, it is continually ranked as one of the happiest countries in the world. One of the main reasons why is because they practice hygge, which is basically about¬†taking time away from the daily rush to be together with people you care about – or even by yourself – to relax and enjoy life’s quieter pleasures. They also work on average 37 hours per week…yes, please! On top of that they have amazing food, beautiful architecture, and they bike absolutely everywhere. There were more bicycles than cars (they still have a lot of cars though). The weather was perfect, in my opinion, hovering right around 50 degrees Fahrenheit the entire time we were there.

We stayed four nights in Copenhagen at the Manon Les Suites. I totally got sucked into this hotel by their Instagram worthy photos of their pool area and boy they did not disappoint. Look!

The hotel is known as an eco-hotel, whatever that means. But it was very chic with unique d√©cor everywhere. I didn’t get any pictures of the gym but it was legit, with a full size boxing ring! The entrance to the hotel is shown below.

Our room was pretty cute, with a mid century modern vibe. The bed is behind the slate wall the tv is on. We also had a small balcony which we never used, sigh!

My favorite part of the trip was visiting Tivoli Gardens, the third oldest amusement park in the world. It opened in August 1843 and was said to be the inspiration for Disney World. Before we went, I wondered what all the fuss was about for an amusement park but it was amazing. They had it decorated for Halloween and there were photo ops galore. This was such a cute, quaint park. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Here’s a huge photo dump for you.

One of my other favorite parts of our trip to Copenhagen was our visit to Rosenborg Castle, originally built as a country summerhouse in 1606 by Christian IV. The reason we visited Rosenborg (because we had our choice of a few castles/palaces) was for the crown jewels and they were fancy! Here are our pictures of the exterior of the castle and surrounding gardens.

The interior of Rosenborg Castle was spectacular but my favorite part was the painting of Queen Anne Cathrine’s (wife of Christian IV) dog, with her monogram on its collar, dated 1598. The crown jewels and accompanying swords were amazing. I am obsessed with the serpent and apple sword below. Also, look at photo #7, now that is a real wood floor!

We visited the Round Tower which Christian IV built in the early 17th century at a time when Denmark was famous for its astronomical achievements. Architecturally it was beautiful. I mean, look at those stone floors and stucco curves.

No trip to Copenhagen would be complete without the obligatory visit to the Little Mermaid, a bronze sculpture¬†depicting a mermaid becoming a human (based on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale) and Nyhavn (the colorful houses are one of the most iconic spots in Copenhagen).

Finally, we ate really good in Copenhagen and went to some fabulous cocktail bars. We barely took any food photos because we quickly devoured everything we ate. My new favorite thing to do on vacation is to seek out cocktail bars. I have slowly been expanding my pallet but Rome wasn’t built in a day.

I didn’t have time to include everything from our trip. We also visited the Design Museum and Christiansborg Palace. We were able to squeeze in some shopping too. My favorite places were Flying Tiger (a cross between Ikea and Five Below), Illum’s Bolighus (a Scandinavian department store), Notre Dame (a home goods store with beautiful pottery, dishware, and accessories) and S√łstrene Grene (a home decor and hobby store). I hope you enjoyed our trip to Copenhagen. Stay tuned because next up is Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini.

Curacao wow!

Just got back from an amazing trip to Curacao. When I would tell people where Adam and I were going I would get a blank stare, “it’s the country right next to Aruba.” “Ohhhhh,, nice.” And it reminds me of Aruba just not as commercialized…yet. If you have a couple hundred grand laying around and want to invest, I suggest you get in on this island before it turns into an Aruba. Curacao is out of the hurricane zone so any time of year is a good time to visit. It is a Dutch Caribbean island and all of the locals speak 4 languages; English, Spanish, Dutch, and Papiamento (local Creole). It is actually in South America, about 188 miles off the coast of Venezuela.

We stayed 5 nights at the Marriott Beach Resort. The resort was recently remodeled so it was beautiful and spotless. It is a little off the beaten path (so they can keep you there) but we escaped and toured Willemstad city, went to a couple beautiful beaches, swam with the sea turtles and went off shore fishing. Here’s the view from our room (below). I’m disappointed in the room because even though it is oceanfront, it is an obstructed view. We were at the far end of the resort right next to the property line so we had trees blocking half of our view. I know, first world problems.

The resort was a tropical paradise. They spend a lot of time caring for the property. Someone was always pruning a bush or cleaning the pool or pool deck. The resort had two pools, one adult only, so that was nice. The main entrance to the property is completely open air, definitely living the Caribbean lifestyle. The gym was amazing, not that it ever got very crowded. The private beach was beautiful with crystal, clear water. Here are some resort photos.

The highlight of the trip for me was swimming with the sea turtles and going to Playa Kenepa, such a beautiful beach. The sea turtles will come right up to you and they are so cute. I highly recommend to do this type of excursion if you ever get the chance.

This is Playa Kenepa Beach. The water was crystal clear.

Another fun beach we went to was Mambo Beach. This beach had restaurants, shopping, and brand new condos going in everywhere. The shops weren’t super touristy so I was about to get a couple nice souvenirs to bring home.

If you ask Adam, the highlight of his trip was probably the offshore fishing. I usually stay behind at the resort when he does the fishing trip but I agreed to go with him this time. Yeah, not my favorite thing to do, especially when we were headed back to the beach and began getting pelted but torrential rain that felt like cold needles being poked into every part of my body. But, other than that. The good news is he caught two Mahi. It was absolutely delicious. There is nothing better than fresh Mahi.

Apologies for my finger showing up in the picture, the boat was rocking and I had a very short window to take photo.

I do have to give a shout out to a couple local restaurants we ate at, MosaCana and Blklyn. MosaCana was a tapas style restaurant, with the most delicious homemade harissa dip and beef tataki. We could not stop talking about the beef tataki.

Blklyn was a Dutch gastropub. We had to try their local delicacy, funchi fries. It is basically boiled cornmeal that is shaped into blocks and then fried. It kind of tastes like polenta. The restaurant was pretty slow the night we were there because most of the island was at a festival called Kaya Kaya. It was sold-out or we would’ve checked it out.

Overall, we had a really good time in Curacao. Language wasn’t a barrier, it was similarly priced to DC, they take US dollars, and it felt very safe. I did like the Marriott Beach Resort. If you have status with Marriott they have a lounge with free beer, wine, liquor and snacks. That was a nice touch. So what are you waiting for, book your trip to Curacao. One word of caution, the flights to Curacao are not cheap. I watched for months but never saw them drop in price.

My, How Times Change

This has been the craziest timeframe in a loooooong time! Since the pandemic I have been living in Florida but a surprising change of events has me back in DC full-time. My manager was promoted to a Vice President and I was promoted to her job. I had to interview with the Postmaster General and CEO before I was offered the job. It was surreal but I am happy to report I am now Director, Industry Engagement & Outreach for the Postal Service. I am managing 17 people and an almost $10M budget. So crazy, right!!! Enough about work, it is all consuming right now.

By now, I thought I would be sharing our Florida “master” bathroom remodel with you but after a 2 month delay on our glass shower doors I finally canceled the order. Now the hunt begins on a new set of glass shower doors. I said all of that to say, our Florida remodel has come to a screeching halt. With me in DC, there is no “project manager” in Florida to keep Adam on task ūüėČ I am still shopping for the Florida house and have found a super cute comforter I want to buy. Usually, I am all about duvets but the Florida heat is no place for a duvet. At first, I wanted this comforter from Marimekko:

After more searching, I learned Justina Blakeney (one of my favorite designers) is about to debut a collection for Target so now I am eyeing this comforter:

Being back in the DC area, the shopping is sooooooo much better than Tallahassee, and because of that, I added another girl to the collection. I found her at my new favorite antique store in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of DC. This is Olivia:

Olivia is residing in my guest bedroom at my condo. I don’t think I have shared my guest bedroom with you so today is the perfect time.

Next year is a milestone life event for Adam and I; it is our 20th wedding anniversary. I wanted to do something really special, a once in a lifetime experience so I booked a luxury safari to Africa. We are going to Tanzania and Kenya. I cannot wait! I am beyond excited! This has been a bucket list item for a long time and I finally pulled the trigger. Flights are already booked and the custom safari is partially paid for ūüôā All that is left to do is buy the visas and get the shots (yellow fever and malaria). We are going to the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania and the Maasai Mara National Reserve, Giraffe Center, and Elephant Orphanage in Kenya. I know I have mentioned this in a prior post but I am eyeing a trip to Bali to round out our anniversary celebration. I’ll keep you posted.

Just a Spoonful of Sugar Helps the Medicine Go Down

I am really excited to share the final photos of our “master” bathroom with you but we are stuck right now with a shower glass door on back-order. I can’t share an unfinished product with you so the wait continues. When I do our big reveal I will give you a breakdown of the costs as well. I love looking at and reading about full remodels but what I don’t like is the budget and final expenditures are rarely ever shared. And there is a good reason why….when you see a gut bathroom remodel and the after photo features marble and luxurious upgrades please note that remodel cost somewhere between $15-$20K. Doesn’t sound so great anymore, huh? I honestly get more satisfaction out of trying to find the most cost effective way to do something with the biggest bang for the buck.

We did just buy these cute towels for the bathroom from World Market:

After the master bath remodel we were going to move onto the kitchen but now I think I want to detour and do the secondary bathroom. I have decided to live with the current tile around the bathtub and just focus on replacing the vanity, painting, adding removable wallpaper, and redoing the floors. This should be a fairly quick project (famous last words). Here is my inspiration board:

In my last post, I promised to share photos of our condo in the DC area. So, here you go. This is our living room and dining room.

I would say our condo is decorated in a transitional style in designer speak. Our house in Florida has a more mid-century modern vibe. I love experimenting with different styles but I always come back to transitional. You’ll notice my female portraits make a few appearances in the living and dining room. I have even more at our house in Florida. I just can’t quit the portraits. In fact, I bought another one. This is my first watercolor.

Hopefully, I’ll have a bathroom remodel to show you next time.

Glutton for punishment

We decided to tackle our bathroom remodel to get a quick “win”. I mean, nothing could take as long as tiling the whole house, right?! Oh silly rabbit. Here we are in another massively long remodel. Part of the problem is we lost a couple weekends here and there and right now I’m in Virginia so when the contractor is away my labor will play.

We have everything tiled and grouted and we just have the vanity and accessories to complete. But, Adam is building the vanity from scratch. So, that’s probably going to take a minute. I do have a tip if you are remodeling a bathroom and need a standard size vanity top. Both Floor & Decor and Home Depot sell quartz and marble tops for pretty reasonable prices. The undermount square sink is included and it is pre-drilled with 3 holes for your faucet. I think we are going to give that a try.

Here are some progression photos.

After we finished tiling, we grouted. You will not find any photos of the grouting process because it SUCKS!! Finished product below, minus the caulking we need to do. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. We went with black grout so the tile would just seamlessly blend. It’s kinda hard to tell from the photo but it looks really cool.

When we start a remodeling project we always find ourselves adding more to the list and this bathroom was no different. Since we went down to the studs we decided to put in a new window too. Good choice but not a good experience. The first window we bought had a crooked sash. Weird! So, we had to go with the more expensive option, figures….

The original window was frosted, ewww. It let in barely any light so we went with a traditional window with grids. It lets in sooooo much more light.

We also got the floor tiled and grouted. It kinda looks like penny tile but it’s actually a small hexagon pattern. I am so in love with hexagons. We have put them in 3 of our bathrooms we have remodeled. We put the black grout on the floor too. We either needed to do white or black grout. Anything else would have looked dirty. So, we went all in with black.

I’ve been back in Virginia the past couple weeks to take care of a few things at the condo. Man, I missed the cool weather, the shopping, and having literally everything at my fingertips. Also, the food! I couldn’t resist buying a few things on Marketplace either. So far I have bought a Hoover vacuum cleaner (my Shark sucked) and another female portrait (from France). I am on the prowl for anything and everything that will fit in a Honda Civic, lol. That severely limits me.

I’ll be back soon with a tour of my condo. There are a few rooms I haven’t shared with you before.