My thoughts on perfection during the holidays

About 10-12 years ago I had a close friend who was a pastry chef (yummy perks right?!) and a perfectionist in most areas of her life. One day, when she was having a group of us ladies over to her home for an informal, but well laid out, party she told me something that really stuck with me, she said “If I waited until everything was perfect I’d never have anyone over and my home being perfect is just not as important to me as you guys are”… wow! The idea of not having to have everything perfect went off like an explosion in my brain! For you see I had always felt like our home needed to be somewhat “perfect” in order to entertain people. You know, perfectly cleaned, painted, decorated etc…  maybe I thought people were judging me based on how well I could “keep” a home, I don’t know.. I thought a lot about what she said and realized never once have I gone into someone’s home and judged them based on their surroundings… so why did I think my friends/family would judge me on mine?

It was almost like a switch flipped in my head that day… In general I do keep our home picked up and if someone is coming over I would like for it to look decent, but not to the extent that I wouldn’t open my door to a friend or family member who happened to drop by because I was concerned about what they would think of me.

There’s a reason I’m telling you all of this and I will get to it soon I promise…

When I was young my dad seemed to always want to start (but NEVER finish) a home “improvement” project right before the holidays. Now I’m not talking any little project, I’m talking taking walls down, renovating common rooms, exposed ceilings and shit, you know the big stuff. I hated it, my mom REALLY hated it and the memories have stuck with me like taffy sticks in the back of your teeth.

So here I am many, (many) years later doing the SAME.DAMN.THING and wondering why I have chosen to repeat a pattern I hate…

While it is not a HUGE deal, I know it could be MUCH worse, I currently have the wall over my range in the kitchen tore open…

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When I could be here, if I’d just left it alone and waited to start the project after Christmas.

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But I have plans for this kitchen and I’m ok with where I’m at (well sort of)… I am hoping to be farther along in the kitchen updates by Thanksgiving. I am trying to make the kitchen look as good as I possibly can given the circumstances I have put us in, but it will be a work in progress for a while.

When I showed my youngest sister the photo of the current state of the kitchen she asked me if I was going to get that done by Thanksgiving, to which I quickly replied “hell no” and then she laughed, like REALLY laughed. You see my sister (admittedly) has some OCD about her house looking just so and it would be a cold day in hell when she would let anyone in her home with it in the same condition as mine currently is, but she says she envies my ability to not let it bother me… I will take her at her word on this…

So here I am getting around to my point… THAT IT IS OK… IT IS ALL OK…. if you like your house to look perfect before having people over fine, if you don’t care if it’s messy fine, if it’s a partial construction zone fine.. your real friends don’t care and your family has to love you no matter what (right?) so you just keep on being you and I’ll keep on being me and that’s awesome! Perfection is so highly overrated and all but impossible to achieve, so why put that kind of stress on you during the holidays? While it is nice to see pretty rooms in the magazines all decked out for the holidays with all of the latest decor, I don’t think that’s what the holidays are truly about… shouldn’t it be about spending quality time with the ones you love no matter what you have or don’t have?

My plan is to make a fabulous Thanksgiving meal, have my family over and enjoy the shit out of the day because that’s what it is all about to me…

BUT I DO HOPE…

… to have a range hood installed (please oh please)

… to have some more sheetrock installed

… I don’t burn anything

AND the hot rolls rise

But above all I hope that everyone has a great time, including me!

Thanks as always for stopping by and I hope you all have a wonderful, stress free Thanksgiving!

From my family to yours!

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Guest Bathroom Mini-Makeover

Well I am so excited to have completed a room update to share with you! Ok, so it probably won’t be that exciting to you, but for me it totally is…

The photo I have of the bathroom is one my Hubby took as we were considering buying the house, the house was “professionally staged” for sale. The bathroom was just an ok, builder basic bathroom and as this house is only 2 years old there was nothing technically “wrong” with it, but it just wasn’t our style. This is kind of a “mini” makeover, but that is all that this bathroom is going to get from us. Would I have loved to replace the fiberglass tub with a gorgeous tiled walk-in shower and the flooring for something with a little more personality, why yes, I would have, but this is the downstairs guest bathroom and not really where I want to allocate a lot of funds which is why just the mini-makeover (that and maybe because I’m so not in the mood to do any tiling, just sayin’).

BEFORE

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The first thing I did (other than paint it) was to remove the towel bar across from the toilet (not shown). As this bathroom really functions more like a powder room for us (and I hate towel bars) I decided to install a double towel hook instead.

Having never had these particular type of towel bars in my homes before I just assumed that the mounts were caulked or screwed onto the drywall… nope!

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Yup, they are installed into the wall, so now this project becomes slightly more complicated/longer.

I used a ½” piece of wood I had on hand, cut it bigger than the hole, applied Loctite to the edges to help me hold it in place and then angled the wood into the hole (I used a screw in the wood to pull it to the back of the drywall) and screwed through the top and bottom of the drywall into the wood to hold it into place.

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Then I cut a piece of drywall (you can buy 2×2 sq. ft. pieces from the Lowe’s or HD) and applied Loctite to the back of the drywall.

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I then pressed the drywall into place.

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I then applied several coats of drywall compound to the area and sanded it smooth.

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After they were painted they were undetectable!

As I metioned before our home has textured walls, except for in the bathrooms and kitchen, so I was glad I didn’t have to match that up. Quite honestly if the walls had been textured I would not have attempted the patch… just keeping it honest here folks!

So the rest of the mini-makeover consisted of:

Which now that I listed it all it seems a little less mini to me, but it is what it is…

Board and batten came first, we removed the toilet and sink since we were replacing them, during this step.

The first step was to measure the walls to determine the placement of the rails and stiles, that takes a little time, but you want to ensure you have equally spaced rails. After determining placement, I used a piece of the MDF board to act as a template to speed up the stile placement. We just cut the MDF to size, applied Loctite to the back of the boards ensured they were level and nailed them in place with our nail gun. The process went fast.

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The next step is the tedious one of filling nail holes and joints and caulking all the seams, when it gets to this step I always think why in the hell did I decide to do this… it’s pretty much a tedious pain in the arse!

The last step was to paint everything, I stuck with the same color and sheen as the rest of the woodwork in the home. My reasoning was I thought that it would create a more cohesive look and that there was NO WAY I’m painting all the rest of the trim in the house another shade of white, it’s just not going to happen… so SW Shell White for the board and batten and Benjamin Moore Penthouse (CSP-35) for the upper part of the walls. By the way if you’re looking for the perfect blue/grey/green this is your color! I painted the Family Room in it and plan on painting the master bedroom and bath the same color too, it’s pretty awesome, I’m a H-U-G-E fan!

Guest bathroom mini update, board and batten, brass and chrome fixtures

We chose the American Standard toilet, well, because it is awesome and we had previously installed it in our Master Bathroom renovation in our last home. It’s easy to install and it includes everything you need to install it.

Guest bathroom mini update, board and batten, brass and chrome fixtures

The vanity top I chose from a granite remnants that I locally sourced, it is called Fantasy Brown and it has a honed leather finish, it’s pretty darn fabulous I think… something much more user friendly than marble, but that still has a lot of movement in it. Plus the taupe colors pick up the color in the vanity very nicely.

Guest bathroom mini update, board and batten, brass and chrome fixtures

We love the way the sink sits on the granite and adds a little height to the vanity itself, which is more comfortable when washing your hands. I also replaced the traditional towel ring with a towel hook, it’s just a preference thing…

The faucet is also the same as what we installed in our previous Master bathroom renovation and I liked it so much I’m using it again, seriously things do not have to be complicated…

Guest bathroom mini update, board and batten, brass and chrome fixtures

By the way this is the second time I’ve mixed metals (brass and chrome) in the bathroom and I really do love the look. I find that if the mix is done at the same eye level the effect works very well. This is the most color accurate photo below, it was very hard to photograph this small space without the light on!

Board and batten DIY in guest bathroom, large round brass mirror and brass sconce

The art piece I made myself from a scan of an old black and white photo of my hot momma long before she had me, now that’s a great pose! When I showed that to her she said that she thought she was fat back then… crazy right! Well I think it works perfectly in our new home at the beach and I love seeing it every day!

Board and batten DIY in guest bathroom, large round brass mirror

My hubby and I like to work on projects together and this one was no exception. He’s the plumber and electrical guy and I’m pretty much everything else… we love our projects no matter how big or how small, but this small update really has made a big difference in making our new house feel like our home. I hope you enjoyed!

Thanks as always for stopping by…

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PS… now that the bathroom is complete we are moving on to the kitchen, why is it always right before the holidays?! And no, we didn’t put those holes in the wall, they were behind the range hood..

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The Challenges of a Two Story Foyer

So sorry for the “radio” silence, but in all seriousness I was feeling very overwhelmed and quite honestly a little sad after our move from Louisville to Virginia Beach. When friends in Louisville asked us where we were moving to they felt not one iota of sorrow for us because of our proximity to the beach, I guess being land-locked will do that to a person after a while… Well anyway, I have my head firmly above the water now and I feel like I’m making progress after being here for three months. We’ve done a lot of little projects (like replacing lighting and painting), but have some big ones on the list that I’m just starting the planning process for (like flooring and kitchen updates).

This is our story about changing out our light fixture and painting the walls in our two story foyer. While this is our second two-story foyer home where we have changed out the foyer light, this was my Hubby’s first attempt at doing it himself. Having said that though he and I have changed out many (many, many) light fixtures over the years and most of the time it is a very straightforward process… turn off power, remove old fixture, install new fixture following original wiring plan (i.e. white wire to white wire, black wire to black wire, ground wire to ground wire) however being up two stories makes this a tad bit more complicated.

Here is a shot of the foyer light after I had already started the painting process, basically I finished all I could do up to this point.

Painting two story foyer

My hubby considered quite a few options (some of which I would say would have been not very safe), scaffolding was the front-runner until he spoke to one of the guys at or local United Rentals and explained to him what we were trying to accomplish… needless to say this was the tool of choice (Oscar didn’t care for it not.one.bit.).

Personal lift for two story foyer

It’s a personal lift (JLG FT140), I truly think he just wanted to try this bad boy out, it is pretty darn cool, it breaks down into 3 manageable pieces, it’s battery operated and comes with 2 batteries and a charger. He also used this rig to finish up the painting, as I had painted as high as I felt comfortable with an extension pole… overall the cost savings was pretty significant to DIY the lighting install and paint the foyer ourselves, saving money always makes me happy!

Changing light in two story foyer with personal lift

The lift worked perfectly though, it was a tad wobbly when it was fully extended, but it was very safe and worked like a charm!

Painting walls in two story foyer with personal lift

The foyer, downstairs & upstairs halls we painted a very neutral color, Benjamin Moore Classic Gray (#OC-23 in Eggshell).

Coastal foyer light Shades of Light

The front door I painted in Behr Blackout #N510-7 (Satin finish) which adds some contrast and overall interest to that wall.

painted two story foyer Classic Gray

The walls and ceilings have a swirled (shell) plaster finish to them, which was both a pain and sort of a blessing when we painted these walls. We had to use a thicker nap roller which made the roller much heavier and I had to be sure to get into all of the nooks and crannies which used a lot of paint and took extra time, but I was able to start and stop without worrying about lap lines which helped when painting the 2 story area.

Two story foyer lighting, coastal, Shades of Light

We purchased  the chandelier from Shades of Light (we have one here locally in Virginia Beach), it looks like driftwood but is really metal painted to look like driftwood, we love the coastal vibe of this light!

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So this project was most challenging so far, but I’m excited it’s complete and we can move on to the next room!

As always thanks so much for stopping by…

Until next time!

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What four years can do for a garden

When we first moved into our KY home four years ago the landscape was in dire need of some love. The house had been rented for the last three years and there was a LOT of weed overgrowth in the very back borders, barren borders and weedy lawn… the homeowner did have a landscape company come in and trim, weed and mulch next to the house before listing it for sale though so that was something.

So this is what the backyard borders looked like then… they were all lined in ugly pink cement pavers… YUCK! In general I am not a fan of lined borders, there are exceptions to this though like for stacked stone or metal edging.

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One of the first things we did was remove the overgrown shrubs from the corner of the house, expand the border slightly and plant 6 (5 ft. tall) Arborvitae’s “Thuja” for privacy on our patio, you see the neighbors had 3 Great Dane’s that were prone to staring and drooling… (I think he wants to eat my little Chewy)

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We also built this planter box for vines etc. to add additional privacy while the shrubs were growing…

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This is what that area looks like today! Very private and lush and as a bonus I can plant plants in the planter that I can’t plant on the ground because of those rascally rabbits!

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This is the view from the neighbor’s side (taken in Feb.), the Arborvitae’s are about 15 ft tall today!

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By the way I listed the pavers on Craig’s List for free and a guy came and pulled them up and hauled away all of them… man am I so glad that he did the work for me!

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We got rid of the Euonymus, mainly because I hate them but also because the deer eat them which would bring them up to the patio to search out other plants as well. We relocated the Princess Spirea to the end of the border and planted lots of herbs, Lambs Ear, Bleeding Heart, Russian Sage and one of my favorite trees a River Birch.

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We also extended the border and removed the “sandbox” (that square thing with all of the weeds in it) and we relocated the rock from the “firepit” (the round thing with all of the weeds in it) to the backside and shaded area of the property.

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The border extension was just done 2 years ago so most of the plants in this area are only a year or two old, except for the Princess Spirea of course.

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They’re Butterfly bushes at the very tip along with Grey Owl Junipers in the background which helps disguise manhole cover.

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We are very proud of what we accomplished in our garden in four years! We love seeing the plants grow and thrive especially as a lot of our plants were started from seed… So now we have to start all over in a new home, with a lot of empty borders… Hubby installed 16 yards of mulch all by himself last Saturday!

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So glad I was not there to help, which sounds awful of me I know, but I also know what a job this was!

Our new borders will eventually be full of plants, the fuller they are the less mulch we will need because I’m sure I won’t be let off the hook next time we need to mulch!

Thanks so much as always for stopping by…

Until next time!

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First Things First

Pretty much without fail when we move into a “new” home we generally start with replacing lighting. I know that may seem strange as it would make most sense to start with paint, but for me sourcing the right lighting is one of the more difficult tasks. It would seem like it would be fairly simple as my taste runs more toward the traditional side (in general) but finding the right light at the right price just tends elude me (especially vanity lighting)!

Even before I walked into our new home in Virginia Beach I had started the search for new lighting, specifically dining room, family room and eat in kitchen lighting. I found this light at World Market. Antique Whitewash Wood Bead Chandelier

It looks perfectly suited for a causal coastal vibe and at $200 it wasn’t going to break the bank. Plus I have plans to modify it by wrapping the metal rim in either sisal or leather lacing, basically making it look more upscale for very little money and effort! The other thing about this light I love is that it has 4 bulbs (40 watt each) which since I’m using LED lights I can use a higher wattage and add a dimmer to adjust brightness as necessary.

The other light I found that I’m totally excited about is for the family room. It’s from Ballard Designs and at $400 it’s not exactly cheap but I totally think that it is priced very nicely!

Bamboo 6-Light Chandelier

Unfortunately the light is backordered until July, but I plan on it setting the tone for the whole room. I’ve also decided that if for some strange reason we LOVE utilizing the fan/light combination that’s currently in the family room I can use this in the dining room, bedroom or the foyer I think it’s that versatile.

There were some other options I considered for the dining room, but I want to wait to get the bamboo light installed before I pull any triggers.

How cool is this one though? Very masculine I know, but I’m totally digging the feel of the leather and brass! It’s by Savoy House and it’ll cost about $600 depending on where you source it, but it’s pretty bad ass looking and my Hubby totally loved it of course!

    in Brown Leather Full Size

I also saw this bad boy at Lowe’s and while I like style a lot it wouldn’t jive with our dining room furniture and that furniture is not going anywhere…

Kichler Lighting Basford 21-in 6-Light Distressed Antique Gray Rustic Cage Chandelier

My hubby installed the beaded chandelier already and I’m thrilled with how it looks even if there’s no table there yet…

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We also installed these Lutron motion sensor lighting in the two master closets, it is just so convenient (or lazy) to be able to walk into the closet and not have to turn on the light. We set them to turn off after 1 minute of no movement or we can manually turn it off ourselves, which for some reason is no problem for me to turn them off but I do want them to come on automatically… go figure! Super easy to install by the way…

Another item we just “had to install” was this Lutron remote control dimmer for the master bedroom and media room. We love being able to remotely control the lights and we were used to it as we installed two of them in our KY home in the master and the media room as well. They are super easy to install as well, but if you have little kids (or maybe just irresponsible teens) you may want to find a place to store the remote so you always can find it, but I did find out that you can buy a new remote if the old one is “misplaced”…

So I have a crap ton of lights to replace, but it may be that I get to the painting before I buy more lights… we’ll have to see as I am still living in Louisville until June 1st (last day of school) and Hubby is already living in the new home like a nomad without any permanent furniture, so I don’t have a lot to do but pack and daydream about our new spaces!

While I was at the new house for Spring Break I needed a place to set my coffee etc. down while I was watching TV (this is how Hubby is living for 8 weeks!) so I found a cool antique store with lots of goodies and found this TINY table for $20! I just love it and I plan on using it in a bathroom after the “real” furniture arrives, but it is so dang cute I smile every time I see it! I mean it’s SUPER tiny!

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So I’m off to pack a few more boxes, I did a little calculation and determined that if I pack just 2 boxes a day I will be done by the time the movers come, I hope that is the case as I’m pretty much sticking to that number!

Thanks as always for stopping by…

Until next time…

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PS Have you ever tried this Grapefruit Vodka? If not you might want to it’s delicious, I enjoy it mixed with La Croix Grapefruit Sparkling Water… they have other flavors too if you’re just not into grapefruit…

 

 

 

Good news and bad news…

Well the good news is we sold our home (officially closed and everything), the bad news is we sold our home…

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The short version of this is that we listed our home for sale and after showing it 6 times the first day we received 4 very good offers! So we accepted an offer that allowed us to rent back until the end of the school year, which is June 1st, which was a huge deal so I didn’t have to try to find temporary housing for 2 months!

On the flip side my hubby has already started his new job in Virginia and he found us this house in Virginia Beach! (Man does this house need some shutters and contrasting paint or what!!)

Exterior

We closed on our new home last week while I was in Virginia Beach for spring break with our youngest daughter. Now I will tell you that Hubby did all of the house hunting, we had put together a list of potential homes prior to him starting this process, but he went with the realtor and viewed them all, so he was a little nervous as to whether or not I would like our new home… which of course I do, but having said that it is pretty much is a blank canvas, lots of creamy white walls and off white carpet, but you know we’re up for the challenge!

The house was built in 2015 by the previous owners, the floor plan below shows the layout.

Floor Plans

I know a lot of people really like open foyers, but having built our last 2 homes with high open spaces I really do prefer a nice 9 to 10 foot high ceiling and no 2 story ceilings. You also may be able to see the textured walls, not what I was anticipating at all, but for whatever reason it’s the thing to do in the Virginia Beach area. The weird thing about it is that there is texture on all the walls and ceilings except for the walls in the dining room, kitchen and all of the bathrooms…. is that because these areas are most in need of cleanable walls? Do you have a clue as to why they would do it this way?

Foyer

(FYI, the house was staged by a professional staging company as the homeowners had already moved out.)

OK, so why oh why did these homeowners choose to install carpet in their dining room, ugh…. almost as bad as carpet in the bathroom but not quite…

Dining room

Nice office off the foyer with french doors.

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Oh the kitchen, I almost cried, not because it’s ugly but it literally looks almost identical to the kitchen we just remodeled… 😩

Kitchen

See what I mean…

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I’m not sure I have another kitchen cabinet painting bone in my body (as this would be the 3rd) but I may…. the cabinets are very well-built quality cabinets so replacing them would probably be out of the question…

There is a great little eat-in space off of the kitchen and the whole downstairs gets a TON of indirect natural light throughout the day…

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While I think this setup in the family room looks nice, having the TV mounted over the fireplace is just not our thing, I found a great inspiration photo on HOUZZ that I’m hoping we can emulate to make this focal wall work for us.

Family room 2

The master bedroom is spacious with a tray ceiling, but again are you seeing all of this non-color? It’s not white either, it’s more like a french vanilla and I really detest yellows… I see a ton of painting in my future…

master bedroom

The master bathroom is also very spacious but has its drawbacks as well… like a tub built for a 4 ft. tall person sunk into the largest tub deck EVAH, but at least it has a tub and it is super deep!

master bathroom

We do have very nice sized his & hers closets off of the master bath and big bonus NO WIRE SHELVING ANYWHERE in this house! Not in the pantry, laundry room or anywhere which is totally awesome to me!

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The upstairs media room is a new thing for us, but there are no basements in this area so they have to put them somewhere!

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A view of the back of the house…

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Looking out from the deck is hugely different than our KY view… hello neighbors! This is a pretty new neighborhood so mature plantings are pretty non-existent.

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KY home backyard view… hello mature landscaping!

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But I’ve decided to make the best of it just crossing my figures that our neighbor’s are awesome! We also will start planting some evergreens for privacy as soon as possible, I’m sure as soon as they are big enough to actually afford us some privacy we’ll move again… UGH!!

 Or maybe we will spend more of our time here…

(please ignore our hair, it was SUPER windy that day)

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Being 3.6 mile from Sandbridge Beach will certainly have its benefits… now if I can only figure out how to tan without freckling or burning 😎

Thanks as always for stopping by…

Until next time!

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